Dec 28, 2012

Another Year Has Come and Gone

It is crazy to think that yet another year has flown by. I used to remember my parents along with other adults tell me to live it up while you can because time will fly by. Boy were they right. I am now on my third year of being out of college. Only one more year (2014) until my 10 year class reunion. CRAZY.

2012 has been a year that I will always remember. There are some years that some things stick out but this year there were so many HUGE changes I don't know how I can ever forget it.

Serving as Ladies of The Houndstooth President was such a great experience for me. I love The University of Alabama and all that it stands for. Being able to do community service projects for the Tuscaloosa Community on behalf of the Alumni Association was a great feeling. I will forever be a part of UA and hope that I can always guide people to my home away from home.

I celebrated and year with Lankdmark Properties ...The Retreat at Lake Tamaha. This was a big deal for me. I have had part time jobs in college that lasted for a long time but this was my first Big Girl job that I celebrated a year with!

I also celebrated a year of dating Ryan! I know, really this sounds like a middle school girl talking. However, when you are excited about the future and the possiblity of forever it really is a special date to remember.

I became ENGAGED!!! You see that year with Ryan was important after all. It only took me 27 years to find Mr. Right but I'm sure glad I had the patience to wait on THE ONE. He is so good to me that I can't even put it into words. He makes me laugh all the time....which is one of my favorite things about him. Get ready as these next few months fly by, this blog will be letting you know all about my wedding planning. May 25th will be here before you know it.

I took a new job with Peak Campus!! This was a really really big decision for me. I had never left my comfort zone. Sometimes I think change is good and I know this was a great decision for me. I love the company, people, and what Peak stands for. I have always said when you can wake up every morning not dreading to go to work then you have found a great thing!

With my new job required moving to Atlanta. Let's just say this was the HARDEST thing I have ever done. I have lived in Alabama for 27 years and to be honest I really could care less if I ever left. In 2004 I moved to Tuscaloosa for college at The University of Alabama but that was still only an hour and a half from home. I shed a few tears, but I packed those boxes and made a move for my carreer and my future. I can't help but be proud of myself for the carreer I have worked hard for in these 3 short years. I also am proud of myself that I was willing to give up what was comfortable to better myself. I learned a lot about myself during this time. I am capable of doing anything even if it invloves risk. On a side note Atlanta traffic will NEVER become my comfort zone!

I turned 27. Don't know how excited I should be about this :( Each year gets closer and closer to 30. Here we go again ...where did my college days go? GEEZ Taking naps between classes, hanging out on mom and dads money, no "real" bills, those were the good ole days.

I spent my first Christmas is 27 years away from my parents. Ryan and I started our new normal this year. Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his. We are both from Alabama but with us both having to travel from another state there is just no way to squeeze both sets of parents in. So for now possible forever this is how we will do this!

I am sure there are many other memories that I can't even think of now. These are the ones that made the biggest impact. Take time to think of the moments that impacted your 2012. It's so nice to go back and think of the things that brougth a smile to your face thoughout the year!

Dec 27, 2012

Terrific Thursday

Today is the 2nd post for Terrific Thursday!! It's funny to me how from week to week the things we are using the most change. Yes I am still using many of the items I posted last week however, I am in major need of some of the items from today. With that being said let me get started with the goodies that I am in LOVE with this week!

It's Winter and my skin is so dry. My hands literally hurt sometimes they get so dry. I have found some amazing hand cream that solves that problem. My friend Paige told me about it so I had to give it a try. "HANDS OF HOPE" by Philosophy is AMAZING! It is a little pricy however, a little goes a long way! I also hate greesy lotion that makes it hard to write or gets all over everything. This lotion does not do that. I purchased this at but you can also find it at and at

A few weeks ago and I had a stomach virus. Ever since then my stomach has been very sensetive to what I eat and drink. Really sensetive to what I drink. I usually drink Diet Coke like it is going to stop being sold tomorrow. Well since I was sick my stomach has almost said no to Diet Coke :( I can have one every once in a while. My new drink of choice is SPRITE...something I used to NEVER put in my mouth. Until something changes SPRITE will be my best friend.

As many of you know from reading the Blog I am getting married in May. I want to soak up as much knowledge about marriage as I possibly can. I know that nothing will take the place of the 1st hand experience but sometimes books can give us information that we never thought of before. I recently bought a book by Gary Chapman called "Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married." This book has been eye opening. Yes, some things I already knew but at the end of each chapter it gives you questions and exercses to do as a couple. Some of the questions are really hard and bring skeltons out of the closet. I am still not finished with it but from what I have read so far I would encourage anyone to read it.

Flats Flats Flats. I travel a lot with my job. It would be an absolute sight for all to see if I was running through an airport in heels. Better yet I would have some sort of hospital bill. I have noticed when flying a lot that my feet will swell. I have no clue if this is normal or not but without my flats I would have to go barefooted. I have a wider foot so sometimes flats put pressure in all of the worng places. I have 2 pairs that really are wonderful in every sense of the word. Lucky Flats and Tori Burch Flats. These are the exact 2 pairs that I have. I got the Lucky ones at Off 5th the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet store. They still have them as of the last time I went in there. They cost me about $30! They also have them at The Tori Burch Flats were not a deal as far as price but they are super comfortable. I got them from Saks but they can also be purchased from

My most recent purchase is the Urban Decay Naked Basics pallette. I am not much into wild colors for my eyeshadow color. So if you are like me then this pallette is perfect because it is the nutrals. I of course got it at I am telling yall any points I can get to get a reward Im sold! With Ulta I get rewards for buying things that I need anyway!

Hope someone out there finds something that will become there new favorite item! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!! I know I sure did!

Dec 21, 2012

Wedding Planning 101...

(Jesus, Jesus, Fiance, Jesus, Friends, attempt Family, and Jesus)

Planning a May wedding for the past two months, I have learned a lot. I love helping others with the details of their BIG DAY but trying to plan mine has been super stressful. Entirely many people want it their way, not your way. I am a believer that there should always be give and take but when it comes to YOUR BIG DAY it should be YOUR way! I have cried far more than I have smiled but I know at the end of this stressful journey I will spend the rest of my life with the man God created just for me!

Vendors: I knew before I even got the ring who I wanted to do what. BIG MISTAKE. Now days weddings are planned so far in advance that you might as well plan a 3 year engagement if you have people in mind for who you want to be your vendors. The day after I got the ring I started calling the photographer, caterer, florist, bands, rental companies, etc.

Call one went something like this. September 28, 2012
Hey _______ I love your photography. I have been dreaming that you would one day do my wedding. The time is now do you have May 25, 2013 available. Well actually I dont have anything until December 2013. Would you like to reschedule your wedding date? If so I can go ahead and pencil you in. Ummmm the date we picked is simply because that is the only date we have so I guess this will not work out. Hang Up Burst into Tears.

Let me just say that this continued on for everyone except the caterer and florist. I called poor Ryan everytime in tears and he would say oh no what happened this time. Eventually I called my friend Kalyn and asked her how in the world did you handle all of this? She is the sweetest thing you will ever meet. In her soft voice she assured me that everything would work out. Just to try to remain calm. I listened to her every word. From the sounds of it all brides go through some form of stress during this process. It may be the same type it may be different but I have yet to talk to anyone where their world was that of a fairytale. I felt better after talking with her. I then called Ryan and we talked and Ryan being the sweet man that he is said look " At the end of the day I just want to spend forever with you. If that means we elope, or if that means we go through all of this to get to that day it does not matter to me. There is a reason things are not working out and I believe it is because something better is right around the corner." Oh ye of little Faith, I should have known the Big Man upstairs had my back and yes everything was under control.

A few days later up pops a photo album of one of my wonderful friends Kimberly Franks who has recently started photography. I instantly sent her a message and got the answer I was looking for. She is open, she will be happy to do it, and most of all I know she will be a pleasure working with. Even better I am saving $4,000.00 dollars...yes you ready that right.

I am learning to Let go and Let God. It's hard but it is much better that way! And now....EVERYTHING is booked and UNDER BUDGET!

Dress Shopping: I went shopping with my friend Shelby for the very first time. I thought the best way to handle the situation would be find the styles I like first then get my parents in on the action. This way I would not have to go through five million options with them I could just have the top 5 or so. The very first dress I put on I LOVED however I felt like my Dad would not like it. So I convienced myself to fall in love with something else. I found nothing else to fall in love with on this visit. I then went to Birmingham by myself and I would one that I thought was perfect and that my Dad would like. It was then time to bring my Mom and MeMe to Birmingham to show them the top dresses. I saved the one I loved for last without ever saying which one I liked. I wanted to see what was their pick before I said a word. My Mom showed up with a picture of two dresses my Dad had sketched. On the paper it said "these are the styles I think will look best on you. What ever the cost do not buy and ugly dress. -Dad" I tried on the first one that I fell in love with because funny it looked exactly like something my dad had drawn (go figure). We continued one after the next until what I thougth was the big reveal. So here I come out of the dressing room in THE DRESS and the look on my MeMe's face said it all. THEY HATED IT. I literally burst into tears right there in front of God and everybody. I went right back into the room and came out in my clothes ready to go. I did not want to buy anything. We went to lunch and I finally had, had enough of dealing with dresses. To be honest I am not that big of a girly girl. Yes I like girly things but to me PICTURES will be the most important part of my day. You will not remember my dress five days after the wedding but you will never forget the SMILE I know I will have on my face all day and in every picture. So we went back and bought the first dress I ever tried on. I of course can't show you the dress, that would break all of Emily Post rules! You will see on May 25, 2013!

The Guest List: Who knew that a wedding could jump from 150-175 to 450 people?? I instructed Ryan to get me his guest list, his parents guest list, I made mine, and then told my parents to do the same. The goal was originally 150-175 people. We are way past that. I am not going to say that I am not stressing it. However, I am learning to roll with the punches and if we are Blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives then so be it.

As time goes on I know more and more will come about that I can fill you in on. I am actually starting to find humor in all of the craziness. However, some exciting things have been happening to us here lately that I can't wait to fill you in on. The first exciting this is ............

We have a WEDDING DIRECTOR!!!! You know that sweet lady I was talking about eariler Kalyn Randolph?? Well she is the type of support system I am talking about you need to have. I have asked her to be a part of my special because she is a precious friend,  wonderful person inside and out, and knows what she is doing when it comes to planning a wedding. She is a woman who Loves the Lord, her husband, cooking and I know she and he husband Tony even thougth younger than us will be a huge guide for us!! I know Ryan is going to look forward to the whole she knows how to cook I can get lessons!

She also has an amazing blog that you can check out
So excited for her to be my sidekick. I can rest easy knowing that everything will be perfect!

I was long winded today but I hope that some of you going through some of the same things can get some relief knowing its not just you!!

Have a wonderful Holiday Weekend!

Dec 20, 2012

Terrific Thursday's

I am going to start a new Thursday tradition ...TERRIFIC THURSDAY'S! I will post my can't live without items/things for the week. There are so many things that I use on a day-today basis that I could post however, some weeks there are certain items that stick out more than others. One thing that drives me crazy is when I tell someone I like something they have and they won't share the vital information of where they got it. So no worries, I will be spilling the beans! Why would I not want you to try something out that I think it AMAZING??

Here we go for the first ever Terrific Thursday post:

 I have had a cold for the past week. My lips have been severly suffering because of this lovely cold. Without Cherry Chapstick my lips would look like a reptile. Literally can be found anywhere you it should be an easy to get item!

Also due to having a cold I have been in the bed A LOT. Without this handy dandy game of Bingo Blingo on my iPhone I would have been even more bored than I already was. PS. this is also a good time consumer when you have hours of time in an airport (Trust me)!

I have recently become obsessed with Scentsy products. I am very sensetive to smells and have a hard time finding anything that will not give me a headache. It was a process trying to find the right scents don't get me wrong, but they have so many choices it was easy to find some that work for me. It is so nice to have a nice smelling house and me not be sick at the same time! I can also give you some reps names if you would like. They will ship it directly to your front door no matter where they live!

Ok Ok...I know I have listed two lip items but if you know anything about me you know that I love having my lips on. This product was introduced to me by a co-worker. Tarte Lip Stain. Don't let the Lip Stain part stop me you will miss out on some goodness. I as I said like to have my lips on at all times. With the Tarte Lip Stain you can put in on first thing in the morning, let it sit for a few minutes, and then you have georgous color for most of the day. The colors are beautiful and the best news is they have a hint of mint in them to make your breath smell fresh as you are talking! Smart thinking Tarte! My store of choice is because every purchase you make you earn rewards points. These reward points in turn will earn you an item for free!

As most of my friends know I like my nails to be painted. Most of the time I do them myself because that is money that I can save. My nail polish collection is very large and ranges in brands. However, my favorite brands are OPI, China Glaze, and Essie. Today I am wearing China Glaze, Hey Sailor. It is the perfect shade of red for Christmas ...what am I talking about red is always the perfect shade anytime! I did however, paint them red for Christmas! I also purchased this at Once again those rewards points get me. It may not be much that you get for free but at least it is something!

Hope you all venture out and try a new item/thing that you may not have before. Sometimes we just need to hear that it was great for someone else to try it. I am really excited about Christmas and spending time with my family and friends. I have not been home since Thanksgiving and it was so crazy then I did not get to see everyone. I will be finishing up the final items on the list this afternoon and then it will be stress free!

Dec 19, 2012

Time to think

As I have mentioned in previous post I took a new job in October with PEAK Campus. To say I LOVE it is an understatement. I have amazing people surrounding me on a daily basis. It is so nice to love going to work, feel encouraged, and know that people are proud that you are on their team! With my job comes a lot of travel. Traveling is fine with me minus the being worn out when you get home. In two and a half months I have already been to 6 different states! I realized on my flight the other day back from Baton Rouge that this is the time that I am always asking for.....TIME TO THINK! I always dread long flights because I feel like there is nothing to do. I watch movies, read books, magazines, anything to make the time go by quicker. As I was sitting looking out the window I realized even more how awesome our CREATOR is.

View from my window when I got all of these amazing reminders!

I know God is awesome and I never doubt HIS love for me and what all he is capable of. However, when looking down at the world below me, I can;t help but me amazed. Only MY GOD could have created this amazing place and all of its wonders. I now know what I need to not waste my time on and that is spending time with HIM on these flights. I am going to make it a point on my flights to spend some time with HIM. I am always saying I need more time for this, that, and everything in between. I got a big slap in the face that said HE needs more time with me. I need to MAKE time for HIM, Praise HIM, shower HIM with love, and most of all continue building my relationship with HIM. Sometimes we need to step back and realize this world is not about us it's about HIM. Thank you Jesus for reminding me that you love me and want more of me!

As I said I was in Baton Rouge for work. You all also know I am a die hard BAMA fan so being in Tiger country is not my idea of fun haha! Just kidding I had a blast and was able to get a lot done!

Love my Chrissy Cooke!! She is my Regional, my Mentor, and an amazing encourager!

Tiger Stadium ....Where BAMA breaks all the hearts!

 Being from the south you have to make good chicken fingers....these were great!
My favorite thing from LA, Pralines !!

Our New property University Edge's Temporary Leasing Office in Baton Rouge

Dec 13, 2012

The day that changed my life forever!

Warning is long but why would something this big not be????

While I was on a work trip in Athens, I got a call that Peak Campus wanted to interview me as soon as possible for a position they had open. I was extremely excited because this job is exactly what I had been looking for. I told them that I would be leaving Athens at noon on Thursday and could stop by on my way back to Tuscaloosa. They said that would be great we would start interviewing at 1. After hanging up I got an email with the times I would be interviewing with whom. I had no clue that I would be going through 5 interviews. It then hit me that they were really interested!! I got super nervous, called Ryan flipping out because I did not have any clothes to wear (he disagreed), then I got even more nervous because I saw that I had an interview with the President of the company. Ryan being the wonderful man that he is tried to calm me down by telling me that I just needed to be me.

 Fast forward, Thursday is here. I am dead tired from being at a conference for 3 days, my allergies and contacts were killing me, now I must go interview with 5 people, oh and to top it off my boss called and said I had a meeting a 9pm when I got home about marketing with Alabama Athletics. I get through the interviews and felt great about everything. I called Ryan and said we have got to pray about this because I feel like this is what we need. He agreed and said that everything would work out exactly how it needed to but to get home safely, go to your meeting, and then get some rest. 

If any of you have ever been to Atlanta then you know saying they have a traffic problem is an understatement. I was sitting in 5 O'clock traffic ready to pull my hair out. I then remembered that I had promised my college roommate, Byrd, I would bring her some Varsity dogs. So I pulled over and took a break from traffic, got her dogs, got me a drink and pie, and then hit the road again. Keli my boss texted me and said don't forget our meeting tonight. Now I did not tell her that I had no plans on going to that meeting but I did let Ryan know I would NOT be attending any meeting at 9PM as tired as I was. He told me that work sometimes asks us to do things we don't want to do and that I just needed to do it because Keli would not have asked me to go if it was not important. I made it to Anninston and was dead tired. I called Ryan to try to stay awake but he was at football practice. I then called my mom to talk to her. She instructed me to stop and walk around for a few minutes. About that time I saw a TJMaxx. I love a TJMaxx so I decided that would be the perfect place to walk around. As we women do ...I found a few items that I just had to try on. 

Ryan called me back wanting to see where I was and check on me. I told him where I was and he said Lara Ellen did you forget your work meeting? I told him no I had not forgotten it but I was not going. I left with my purchases and got a Starbucks coffee for the road. Almost home Keli texted again. I thought to myself you have got to be kidding me. She let me know that since I was running late they had changed the meeting from dinner to ice cream but that we had to do it because he would be out of town the rest of the week. She then said I am waiting at your house to pick you up as soon as you get back. There was no getting out of this meeting. So I wheeled in, hopped out of my car into hers, and we went to TCBY. We had not been in the parking lot a minute when one of our employees Shelby called needing a ride. She said she had been drinking, got upset with someone, and started walking down the road. I asked Keli could we go get her and she said well he is not here yet so lets go really quick.  I asked Shelby where she was and she said walking toward the stadium. I told her to stop where she was and i would be there in a minute. Keli and I pull up and sure as the world there sits Shelby beside Bear Bryant’s statue. We walked up to her and she started telling me what happened. Out of nowhere I hear Ryan's voice so I turn around and there he is down on one knee. 

All I remember from this point on is Ryan saying I have prayed for God to bring me a woman like you my entire life.....insert crying and loss of memory here. 

If you know much about me, you know I love The University of Alabama and Alabama Football. I have said for a while now that my dream engagement would happen somewhere on UA's campus. I never dreamed that my dreams would come true.

Lesson learned...DONT BE STUBBORN, it could be your future husband at the meeting!!!

Dec 3, 2012

About this Blog thing.....

I know the whole point of a blog is to keep it going everyday. Well let me be honest, my life has been so crazy that I literally have not had time. I know I know, I say that all the time but this time it's for real. Let me explain....

The last post I made was talking about how I was dreaming of getting married to man who was created just for me and most importantly can put up with me. GUESS WHAT????

I'M NOW ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!! On September 27th Ryan Locke drove down to Tuscaloosa and with the help of some of my friends/co-workers he popped the question. He not only asked me to marry him he did it in front of Bryant Denny Stadium at the feet of Bear Bryant's statue. For most women I am sure you are thinking what in the world would a man propose there for?  Well he had listened to my every word one day while I was showing him my classrooms as we walked across The University of Alabama's beautiful campus. As many of you know I am a proud BAMA grad and love anything ALABAMA. I always thought that my dream proposal would be anywhere on campus. Ryan Locke made it happen!!!! I will update you all on the proposal later. Right now I want to catch you up on my life.

                                    First Tailgate as an ENGAGED woman!!

                         He did AMAZING!!! Pictures do not do it justice...ROLL TIDE !

On October 1, 2012 I got a call that I was being offered my dream job. You see on September 27th I had gone to Atlanta to interview for the job of Regional Marketing Specialist of the East Coast for Peak Campus. After the interviews I was in LOVE and really wanted the job. I called Ryan and expressed how excited I was and that I felt really good about the interviews. He said we would pray about it and what was meant to be would happen. Little did I know that in a few short hours I would become and engaged woman. So within 4 days I was engaged and had a new job. Did I mention that with this new job I had to move to Atlanta within 2 weeks???
My amazing friend Paige went to my house for a week and packed while I was at work and after I got off work to help me prepare for this move. Thank goodness for her or it would have not gone nearly as smooth. I have no idea how she got me organized but somehow she did!

        Peak Marketing Department in the Real World Suite at Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas

It gets even crazier.... One week one of my new job I flew to Vegas for the week(for work of course). The very next week I went to Los Angeles to help with a transition for the West Coast. I had a couple of days of working at the office, a weekend of engagement pics, and then jumped on a plane for a week in Richmond, VA. I had my first full week of work the week before Thanksgiving. On Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day I went to Enterprise and picked up my rent-a-car. I was home in Butler through Friday and then it was back to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl (Ryan's first ever game in Bryant Denny)!!!

                                                        ROLL TIDE!!

On Monday I left and headed to Oxford, MS then went to Huntsville, AL. I am now back in Atlanta for the week ...for now anyway!!!

                    Ole Miss-Oxford, MS such a beautiful town with wonderful food!

   Huntsville, AL close to home and allows me to stay with friends who are like family!! Some of my favorites POBOY Factory, Rosies, and my property Huntsville Place !!

Can you see now how this blog thing kind of fell to the wayside??? I am back now ...I hope!! I love being able to write about life even if it is boring to others. I love knowing I can look back at this one day and see my life and all the memories I am making.

My new job is everything I hoped it would be. I am learning a different side of Property Management from the Corporate World. Peak is such a positive company that only continues to become better and better each day. I am so proud to work for Peak. I can't thank them enough for the opportunities they are giving me!

So far I am staying on top of wedding planning while working. We will see how long it last! Visit our wedding site if you get a chance!

Can't wait to keep you all in the loop about my wedding planning! It's going to be a Southern Barn Wedding and I can't wait!!