Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vitamin D is Good For You, After All...

I was going to post something cute and witty, and then I spent five hours in the pool with Amber today.  My brain is fried, but in the best possible way.  And I am soooo tan!  (But I promise I am using sunscreen, and lots of it, applied often.)  It was fun to hear all about her adventures in NYC and she brought me more magnets for my fridge, so no complaints here!!

So instead, let's talk about our plans for the weekend.  I'm hoping to run into Sephora, see the next movie on my movie list (Crazy Stupid Love, out Friday) and eat entirely too many good things.  After all, just two more weeks and I will be back to work! 

What are your plans for the weekend?  Are you trying to squeeze in that last bit of summer fun like me?  Let me hear all about it in the comments!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursdays - 7/28

1. What makes you smile?

     Right this minute it would be something like:  Seeing Melissa's baby belly and having a million ideas for her shower, swim days with Amber, YouTube videos, and Designing Women reruns.

2. What do you want most?
     I want to find a godly man to share my life with.

3. What three questions do you wish you knew the answers to?
  • Why is it so difficult to eat healthy and exercise when I know it is good for me?
  • How do I live in a society where Snooki makes $100,000 an episode and I don't make that in a year?
  • Why has God taken so many wonderful people in my life home and left the crazy ones?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 7/26

1. July is National Ice Cream month...your favorite flavor? Soft served, hand dipped, or frozen yogurt...which do you prefer? And technically yogurt is not ice cream but its hot outside so I'll let that slide for today.

     I love ice cream.  I prefer homemade vanilla, pineapple, or peach.  I will eat just about any of it.  I have a definite passion for gelato, and I've been in morning ever since my favorite place closed.  There was nothing that could compete with any of their flavors.

2. When you travel do you tend to pack too much or too little?

     I wish I were at home, because I would show you how much I overpack, particularly for car trips when I don't have to worry about the luggage situation.  I'm the kind of person who always wants to pack one more thing "just in case" and never even uses half of it.  But knowing that doesn't prevent me from overpacking the next time, believe me. 

3. What's your favorite cleaning product?

     Windex.  And none of that generic stuff either.

4. Which is the greater tragedy-an innocent person imprisoned or a guilty person set free? Explain.

     I think that they are both pretty awful, but the greater tragedy is someone who is guilty going free.  Especially if it's on a technicality.  But we also have to keep in mind there's a long way between assumed guilt and actually knowing a person committed a crime too.

5. What's the longest trip you've taken by car?

     When I was in my very early 20s (read: dumb enough not to know any better), I drove overnight with friends twice.  The longest one by distance was to San Antonio, Texas for a friend's Air Force graduation (about 13 hours straight after I'd worked a full day, eventually sleeping in my car in the parking lot of the hotel).  The longest by cicumstance was to Biloxi, MS to see the same friend at tech school.  The car I was in quit just south of Memphis in Horn Lake, Mississippi and we had to wait for my friend's stepdad and brother to bring us another car before we could continue.  When we got to Biloxi, we had been up for around 36 hours straight. 

6. tennis-golf-canoeing-biking...pick one.

    Biking?  It seems like the one I would be most likely to do.  The others require skills like coordination, and I'm not big on that.  The one time I went canoeing the guide climbed into our boat to help because we kept spinning in circles.  No joke.

7. What sound drives you crazy?

     The sound of water pouring into my basement.  Through a series of unfortunate events, I ended up with about two inches of water standing in my basement and there was nothing I could do about it but call in assistance.  We got the water stopped, but now there seem to be bigger problems (a majorly clogged pipe and uncooperative pump).  Needless to say, it's been a long day.

8. My random thought: 

     As sucky as my day has been, I am so thankful that I can crash at my parents' using not only their water but their cable and food.  Knowing you can always go home in an emergency rocks! 

Kids and Animals

 Photography is one of my favorite hobbies.  But the more pictures I take, the more I am discovering that I have serious preferences.  My favorite subjects?  Kids and animals.  Like Tara's fur baby, Spencer, for instance.  I know what you are thinking.  Are you crazy?  Who would rather deal with kids rather than adults?  But what women is going to let you take her picture with no makeup and curlers?  And just look at those eyes. 

 I don't really know what it is about animals.  I mean, you should know by now that I have a thing about birds.  I love the simplicity of an animal just hanging out, doing its thing.  These hummingbirds weren't even bothered by my presence or my camera.
 And I mean, seriously, what's cuter than a little kid smiling? 
 Maybe this guy?  (He's sooo fluffy!)

 What is comes down to is that kids and animals aren't worried about that 15 pounds they meant to lose or if their hair is just right.  They don't do that weird no-smile thing that guys tend to do.  And a subject that isn't self-conscious makes it so much easier to be the photographer.  Who wouldn't want to take pictures of a face like this?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Time Flies Like An Arrow. Fruit Flies Like a Banana.

I am about to get real honest here.  I know I am not the best housekeeper ever, but I keep it clean enough.  So to say I'm a little stressed right now is a bit of an understatement.

It seems my house is under siege.  From fruit flies.  And it's my own fault.  You see, once upon a time, there was a pitcher.  It was filled with sangria and it was wonderful.  After emptying it of its contents, I washed it out and put it on the counter, so that I could properly clean it the next time I did dishes.  (Which recently, had been pretty often.)  I promptly forgot about the pitcher for a few days, or a week-ish.  Until I realized that maybe I hadn't washed it out...about the time I figured out where the h-e-double-hockey-sticks all those stupid fruit flies were coming from. 

And so, I've spent the last three days trying to kill them all with my SwatMaster 3000---whom I lovingly refer to as Smacky.  I'm considering it my cardio, and with all the stretching to reach the little pests, it's practically yoga, too.  My bathroom (Why, oh why, can't they just stay localized?) looks like a battlefield.  You know what they don't like?  The one-two punch of hairspray and Smacky.  Oh, the humanity...oh, the carnage...oh, the nervous breakdown my constant swatting is about to give Delilah. 

Needless to say, I have learned my lesson.  I can't be trusted to do my dishes in a timely manner.  I will be drinking my wine straight from the bottle from now on.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Prayer Monday - 7/25

I'm in a bit of a dry season lately.  (And not just because it's hot outside.)  I'm just not focused on much of anything, and as the school season draws nearer every day, that just isn't acceptable.  I want to make sure that I am doing the things God wants of me.  And some days, I just feel like I'm spinning in circles. 

It seems like other people in my life are still waiting for things.  For job offers, potential housing, and all manner of things.  And when you are in the waiting place, it can be the loneliest, most frustrating place in the world.  Trust me on that.  So, I ask for prayers for them.

Tara goes back to work for the first time since she had Macy today.  I know that I will be lifting up a few for her as she not only goes back to work, but goes back to a completely different schedule than she's used to. 

And, of course, when I think about prayers, I think about Lucy and her family, as she's continuing to kick cancer's butt!

Finally, I promised Taylor (AKA The Lumberjack's Wife) I'd mention this request, but I am going to quote it directly from her blog:

"PS-Would you mind praying for my cousin’s baby?  Her name is Abigail and she was born about 4 weeks ago  at 26 weeks.  She is pretty sick and could use your prayers.  Thank you!"

Summer Movie Review: Friends With Benefits


On Saturday, I went to see Friends With Benefits with my mama and LuLu.  If you remember from this post, it was first on my list of movies I'm dying to see.  I'm happy to report that is was worth the price of admission!  It was certainly rated R for a reason, but it resisted becoming vulgar, or at least in my eyes.  (We all have different breaking points for such things.)  Let's just say I was fine watching this with my mom, but wouldn't have invited my grandma or anything.  Some have said that it was a little too close to last year's No Strings Attached (which I never saw), but LuLu assures me that this was a much better movie! 

Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake have a great chemistry, and that's really makes the difference for the whole film.  I think that the story could have been trite or flimsy, but they gave it the right sense of humor and sweetness.  Patricia Clarkson is the perfect flaky hippie mom to Kunis' Jamie and Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins, and Noah Gould round out Timberlake's character's (Dylan) family with a bittersweet reality.  The plot touches on more than just the "friends with benefits" idea, and I think that's really what makes it more dimensional than a typical rom-com. 

I give it 3.75 out of 4 completely inconsequential stars, and the ultimate compliment, "When does it come out on DVD?"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Swamp People and Other Things I Love

I don't know about you all, but I love Swamp People.  The season finale was last night, and now I'm unsure how I will spend my Thursday nights.  If you haven't seen this show, well, first of all you are missing out!  But let me sum it up for you.  The History Channel follows alligator hunters during the 30-day season in the swamps of Louisiana.  PETA doesn't care much for it, but I think it's pretty awesome!  It doesn't mock the hunters' way of life.  It shows them as the proud, strong, hard-working people they are.  My favorites are Troy, who's sort of the star of the show, and Liz, his shooter.  Liz is both tough and feminine, and I just don't think many shows would bother to highlight that (plus she uses the same kind of gun Annie Oakley did!).  If you haven't checked it out, consider this an official recommendation.

But Swamp People isn't the only thing I love.  Lately, I'm also loving Celia Rivenbark books (so is my sister), rewatching all the seasons of How I Met Your Mother, and Adele's version of "I Can't Make You Love Me." 

What you are you loving right now?  Tell me all about it in the comments.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursdays - 7/21

1. What do you love?
    Today, I love:
  •  flip flops
  • good jeans
  • a song that perfectly suits my mood
  • TV on DVD
  • chocolate
  • homemade ice cream
  • Squirt soda over Sonic Ice
  • The Swamp Tigers
  • the wine trail
  • laughing with my friends
  • blogging
  • singing praise and worship     
2. What makes you uncomfortable?

      This could be a long list too--it all depends on the day.  People who let their children run wild in places, like the dad who let his kid run back and forth across the bleachers at top speed during the LPN pinning last night.  People who feel the need to share all the details of their life when you just meet them.   People who use pet names for one another.  People who claim to have the love of Jesus in their hearts, but are mean, petty, and just plain awful out in the world.  (Okay, this is turning into a list of things that make me angry, so moving on...)

Lately, my size is making me uncomfortable, so I'm going to have to get serious and do something about it.  At least that's a problem I can do something about.

3. What do you think about when you lie awake in bed?

     Sometimes, it's how much I love Gilmore Girls (I have to have the TV on to go to sleep).  Other times, it's how I really need to go to sleep or some other worry, especially when school is in session.  I used to have panic attacks in high school when I was awake in the middle of the night because I would stress about things.  Now, I try to use it as an opportunity to pray, especially if I am awak in the middle of the night and something big is going on. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How To Make Dumplings-- A (Sort Of) Photo Tutorial

Sunday was Chicken and Dumpling Dinner Day at my grandma's.  She makes the most amazing dumplings, ones that are often attempted but never quite duplicated.  Here's a little photo shoot of our family's tradition.  This cannister has been on my grandma's counter all my life...  
Then she makes the dough, which is supposedly just broth and flour, but I don't really believe she's giving away all of the secrets here...
Then the rolled dough is cut with this antique dough cutter, which also makes them all pretty...

This is my grandma, maker of all things yummy. 
The almost finished product, ready to go into the pan
Once they boil, they are ready to eat.  Grandma said that she made seven cups worth of dough for dinner, and every last one was eaten by the end of lunch!  I think that says it all!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 7/20

1. July 20th marks the anniversary of the first time man stood on the moon. Flash forward 42 years to July 8, 2011 which marked the start of the final Space Shuttle mission. Should we continue to explore space? Should nations devote more or fewer of their resources to exploring space? Would you want to go into space if the opportunity arose?

      I have a cousin who used to work for NASA (now he teaches), and while I didn't every really understand what he did, I do think the work they do there is important.  It's impossible for us to know how something they discover or some technology they develop could be used in our daily lives if they never get the chance to research it!    Though personally, I would not want to go into space.  I'm barely a decent flyer, forget if I was going all the way to space!!

2. What are three things in your freezer?

     Peach All-Fruit Popsicles, Dark Chocolate Chips, and California Pizza Kitchen Barbeque Chicken Pizza

3. If you could see any band/artist perform live tonite who would it be? It has to be someone Beatles, Elvis, etc.

     Miranda Lambert, because I've really been wanting to see her in concert recently.  My second would be to see James Taylor again.  Best.  Concert. Ever.

4. Ice-cubed or crushed? Or are you one of those people who don't like ice?

     I love ice!  My favorite is actually ice from Sonic which you can buy and bring home.  But I am an ice cruncher and not particularly picky.

5. The owner of a small restaurant outside of Pittsburgh recently announced he was banning children under six, saying they regularly disrupted other customer's meals. You can read the story in more detail here but isn't this a perfect topic to discuss in our Wednesday Hodgepodge? Have at it friends...what are your thoughts?

     I heard this discussed on one of the morning shows last week and they said that legally, the guy is within his rights.  You can't discriminate on the basis of sex, color, religion, etc. but age is not included in that.  Also, I think that it's not always appropriate to bring your kids to some places.  Most people are good at determining this, but every time I see a ton of kids at the wineries, I realize not everyone is.

6. What was your first car? How did it come to be yours?

      It was a 1991 Madza MX6 that was wrecked and my dad fixed it up for me.  They gave it to me right before I turned 16.  And I loved that car and am still sorry I got rid of it when I did.

7. If I had a nickel for every time I ____checked Facebook________ I'd be rich.  (It's my favorite time waster, for sure!)

8. My favorite days of the summer are quiet ones floating in the pool with my friends.  There's nothing like a good dose of Vitamin D and girl talk!

Swamp Tigers, Wine Trails, and Pie

Before I give a weekend recap, let me start by illustrating that I do, in fact, have the weirdest cat ever.  Sure this looks like blankets on my couch, but what you can't see is that my sister and I watched for 10 minutes on Friday as my furry roommate burrowed herself inside.  (She only had a little bit of space because it was tucked in.)
What's that?  You need proof?  Okay, where here's what greeted me when I lifted up the blanket.  I've never seen a cat so fond of very tight spaces.
Meanwhile, here's what happened the rest of Friday and Saturday.  This is my only other picture from Friday, also known as my dad's birthday.  Why would I take one of my dad when I could get one of the knife he used to slaughter the coconut meringue pie we bought for him?  We had dinner and presents too.  But apparently this was what I considered to be the most important thing. (And I don't even like pie!)
Saturday, we went out for my friend's birthday!  This is the birthday girl, Megan, and her boyfriend, Tim, at my favorite winery, Blue Sky.
Here's Sheena and her Precious with the birthday girl.
And Jessie and her hubby stopped by too!  (It was practically a blogger party!)
Of course, Casey brought the snacks, including these beauties.  The kabobs were cheese ravoli, tomatoes and mozzerella, smothered in pesto.  And they were every bit as delicious as they look.
This is just a cool looking bottle.  It's Tim's favorite.
The ceiling has these fan made out of (or at least made to look like) windmills.  The whole place is just a gorgeous setting for an afternoon!
One of the guys in our group made friends with the girls in the bridal shower at the next table over.  So we got a picture of him with the birthday girl as well as the bride in all of the fun stuff her party shared!
After we finished with the party, Casey and I went back to hear the Swamp Tigers play at another winery.  It was so hot that we only made it through one set!  (The good news is they played three of my four favorite songs in that set!)  I felt really sorry for the guys.  It was just oppressive out there and they still had a lot more show to go! 
And those were just the first two days!  Sunday it was time for a family feast, which you will see a litle more about later this week!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'd Like To Make An Announcement!

People!  I need your attention for just a minute.  Do you all remember these two crazy kids?

(If you're new here, they are my darling brother and sister-in-law who were married last June in a super-fun wedding. Recaps can be found here, here, and here.) 

Well, I have been given official clearance to tell you all--coming in January 2012---THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE A BABY!  And Aunt Katie couldn't be more excited!  I've known for entirely too long now, but have been keeping it under wraps per request.  But now that she's in her second trimester, I've been given the all clear to share on the blog. 

We won't know any more details until the middle of September, but I (and the Chinese zodiac test) totally think it's a girl!  I'm chomping at the bit to start buying goodies, and may already be squirreling a few things away.  Anyway, just had to share because I could!

Prayer Monday - 7/18

Here we are at another Prayer Monday.  Yesterday, at lunch, I was reminded of God's goodness as I sat with a great majority of my extended family and had dinner.  My Uncle James was healthy enough to be there to eat with us.  He moves a little slower, and is still hooked up to oxygen, but his personality is back!  It was such a welcome thing.  And I can't help but think about all the times that we weren't sure he was going to get another day, the close to 150 days he spent in the hospital, and realize how good God really has been.

I needed that reminder.  While I believe in God and know that Jesus is my Savior, I get distracted easily.  I see all of the crappy things going on in the world, in my own life, and forget that God is still here.  And that can be problematic.  Sometimes I am so focused on the things I'm praying for that haven't happened that I forget to count all the ways that God has answered.  And I don't want to forget those.

Otherwise things are still pretty quite here.  I appreciate your prayers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Let's Go To The Movies!

I love a good movie.  Actually, I love bad movies, too.  Basically, if it's on I'll watch it, though I may mock it as well.  There are a few movies getting ready to hit the theaters that I am really excited about (and no, one of those is not Harry Potter and the Infinite Sequel.)

The first is Friends With Benefits.  So, yeah I know that there was a similar movie like this last year, but I'm much more excited about this one.  First of all, I love Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.  And it's from the director of Easy A, which is one of my all-time favorites (starring Emma Stone).  While I have issues with the principle of "friends with benefits" I can only believe that hilarity will ensue with the movie version.  And it has Emma Stone in it.

Next, I want to see Crazy Stupid Love.  Basically, it's like I cast this movie.  I've been in love with Ryan Gosling since he was a Mousketeer with Christina, Britney, and J Timberlake.  He's an exceptional actor, though usually in heavier indie fare and easy on the eyes.  Julianne Moore and Steve Carrell (when he jumps out of the funny) are both funny in the best and most understated ways.  And it has Emma Stone in it.

And then, there's The Help.  Since I found out they were going to make the book (which I loved) into a movie, the only thing I had to say was "They better not screw this up."  Kathryn Stockett writes with such clarity and purpose that if they muddle these characters, I will storm the gates of Hollywood.  And it has Emma Stone in it.

My last movie selection doesn't come out until the fall, sadly.  I think that America is going to be wildly split on it, due to its controversial nature. 

Ya'll, they are remaking Footloose.  I'm still not sure what I think about this MTV version of the classic 80s film, but you better believe I'm going to go see it and find out. 

The original car.  The horrible prom jacket.  The choreographed-to-look-unchoreographed dance rage.  It's all in there.  The speech even seems to follow the original.  And they play chicken---with buses!  The only thing that could make it better is if Emma Stone was in it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursdays - 7/14

It's time for more deep thoughts from a shallow mind!  If you want to join us, answer these questions on your own blog, then hope over to Sheena's and link up!

1. Who is the strongest person you know?
     I am blessed to know many strong women.  One of the first that comes to mind is Marla, a lady from Bible study.  She's overcome unimaginable obstacles with faith that just takes my breath.  She's such an inspiration to all of us.

2. What are you uncertain about?

     I'm uncertain about where I'm heading next.  I feel like I have the right now in check, but in pretty much every area of my life, I have no clue about how I'd even want the next phase to play out.  I'm trying to just believe that God has it in control and He doesn't really need my help.  But, there are days that's easier said than done.
3. What has life taught you in the last week?

     Life has taught me that I am not a fan of photo editting, that I need to spend a little less time on YouTube, and that Swamp People not only provides entertainment but valuable life lessons.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Celebrating 500 and Other Random Thoughts

  • This is my 500th post!  How should we celebrate?  Should I give something away?  Everyone gets a car!!  Wait, I'm not Oprah.  Okay, I can't give everyone a car.  I can't actually give everyone anything, but I do appreciate you stopping by and reading me! 
  • I love So You Think You Can Dance!  It's my favorite summer show.  And I'm saying it right now,  Melanie and Marko are the ones to beat!!  They have had incredible routines this season (The Statues, last night's Moth To A Light) and I'm a little sad that they won't be dancing together anymore, but I think they will continue to be amazing on the show!
  • In case you didn't see it, Casey did post the spinach-artichoke nachos on her blog at your request.  They are awesome!  Share them with your friends and neighbors.  Or make a big old batch and eat every last one yourself.  Whatever floats your boat.
  • My parents are having a yard sale again this weekend.  Which mostly means that I will be over there watching whatever they have saved on their DVR.  Swamp People and Toddlers and Tiaras, anyone?
  • I keep a running list by my computer about things I want to talk about on the blog, but is there something you are just dying to know about?  Any questions you want to ask?  If so, leave them in the comments and I will see what I can do. 

A Word About Miranda Lambert

I realize that this summer this blog has somehow become more of an entertainment listing that it already was.  But it's summer, so I have a lot of time to read Entertainment Weekly and watch videos on YouTube.  If this bothers you, I apologize.  I might also suggest that you're reading the wrong blog in the first place if this is where you came for deep topics like raising the debt ceiling or raising anything other than plants or hell.  Anyway....

I love music.  You all know that.  But I am not a fan of the Barbie doll, studio-manufactured images that too many young stars have to put on in hopes of succeeding.  If Miranda Lambert was a Barbie doll, she'd be Kickass Barbie.  She hunts, she fishes, and she looks good in an evening gown or a t-shirt and jeans.  She sings with the conviction of a full gospel choir and she likes to blow stuff up on stage.  And tonight, she's getting her own VH1 Behind The Music

Now, I don't know where you fall on the TV spectrum but, Behind The Music is a staple of my generation.  You follow an artist from childhood to stardom, discussing the pitfalls, the close calls, and the really cool things that happen when you are famous.  Never have I been more excited about an episode than the one playing tonight at 9:00 Central (check your local listings). 

I like that Miranda is as real as real can be.  Check out any of her videos on YouTube, especially those with her now-husband Blake Shelton (Ya'll, imagine the karaoke at THAT wedding!).  She's tough.  She's funny.  She's in love (which from the preview clip I've seen will definitely be a point of discussion).  I just can't say enough things about how much I love her (other than how I've never been to one of her concerts, and certainly think that would make an excellent gift should you ever be in the market for such a thing!  ha!).  But I can show you....

 Or what about...
And we can't forget about those classic duets with her hubby, Blake...
and her new project, Pistol Annies....

Don't you just want to be her friend?  Or at least meet her?  And if not, what artist would you love to meet?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 7/13

1. How has your hometown changed since you were a kid? What has changed most about the neighborhood you grew up in?

     This question kind of makes me giggle.  Aside from maybe who owns the businesses, my hometown hasn't really changed much at all.  And I didn't grow up in a neighborhood, I grew up on my family's farm, which I would never want to change.  It's one of my favorite places ever.

2. What song makes you laugh?

     "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers.  This started out as a joke on How I Met Your Mother, and ended up as the Official Road Trip Song of 2011.

3. Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Read the books? Seen any/all of the movies? Will you be standing in line somewhere close to midnight later this week? For those of you playing along today who live outside the US or UK is Harry Potter a phenomenon in your part of the world?

   No, I'm not a fan.  I've never read the books or seen the movies or any of it.  It's just not my favorite genre.  But, thanks to Crys, I have been at a few of those midnight book release thingies, and let me tell you, those Harry Potter people are serious about their stuff!

4. If the truth hurts, will you tell a lie? Are we better off as a society in a world that allows no form of deception whatsoever?

     I think it's important to tell the truth as much as possible.  However, I also think that it's not always necessary to go around telling everything you know.  There's no reason to be hurtful to someone if it's about something that doesn't really matter.  Perhaps your friend doesn't look great in green, but if she just bought a green sweater she loves, keep your mouth shut.

5. What is your favorite 'sauteed in garlic and butter' food? Or garlic and olive oil if that makes you feel better.

     Casey made these magical spinach nachos for Tara's baby shower.  I would eat them every day if I could.  They had garlic and butter and heavy cream...and oh my goodness, I miss those nachos.

6. Attending any reunions this summer/year? High school? family? Other? Do these events stir up excitement or dread?

     No reunions on tap.  My high school isn't really great about the whole reunion thing.  I see some people now and then, and keep up with others thanks to Facebook.  I wasn't a big fan of high school, so I think I might feel a little dread.  My family doesn't really have big reunions either, though I would love to have another big one sometime.  And that would be worth getting excited about! 

7. Lilac, hydrangea, peony...pick one.

     Easiest question of the day!  I love peonies!  They are the most beautiful flower, and so fragrant.  See below:

8.  My Random Thought:
     After 29 years of being less than enthusiastic about housekeeping, this week, I've been all about it.  I'm beginning to worry that something might be wrong with me, but my house is finally starting to look put together.  Weird. 

This Is My Confession...

I've been living with a secret.  And it's time that I get it out so that it no longer holds any power over me. 

Every single Tuesday morning, I rush out of bed, log onto hulu and watch Secret Life of the American Teenager.  It started as a joke, something to kill a little time, mock endlessly.  But now, I guess the cosmic joke's on me.  Don't get me wrong, the writing is still pretty terrible, but now I find myself wondering what will become of Amy, Ricky, Adrian, and Ben. 

Sure, they all have babies and are married or live together and are only juniors in high school.  But as someone who was raised on the Brenda Hampton classic, 7th Heaven, I'm willing to suspend belief for 42 minutes in favor of some mindless TV fluff.  We don't even have to learn a valuable lesson each week, unless how to guilt your parents into sending over a pullout couch from their furniture store counts as a lesson.  I know real teens, and somehow I highly doubt this is their secret life.

Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest.  I couldn't live with the shame any longer.  If you need me, you know where to find me.  It is Tuesday, after all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why Sephora Is Going To Be The End of Me

It's official.  I've fallen in love. 

With a store.

 My local JC Penney's has added a mini Sephora in the middle of its store.  It opened in April, but I had put off going until just a couple weeks ago when I could bear the siren song of the motherland no longer.  But, let's back track. 

From the time I was in grade school, I was obsessed with makeup.  My cousin and I would do makeovers almost every weekend.  I did theater, so I always had a Caboodles (Do you all remember those?  Mine was a tri-level purple one) full of cheap eyeshadows and lipsticks.  By the time that I was in high school, I had quite the collection.  Now that makeup is less playtime and more necessity, I've found that quality does really count and, in most cases, you get what you pay for.  Cue the montage of me and my new love...

I'm a sucker for Benefit.  Smashbox takes my breath away.  And don't even get me started on Philosophy.  I love it all.  This ministore is probably only a 12x12 box, I could happily waste an hour or three there just trying things out.  So far, I'm keeping it simple with the basics--a good concealer, a mascara, some fun little samples.  This may not be great news for my bank account, but isn't that what a good guilty pleasure's all about?

What is the thing that you know you can live without but can't help but give in every now and then?

Prayer Monday - July 11, 2011

I don't know what to say this week.   I mean, I can only assume that's what staring at a blank computer screen for five minutes indicates.  I don't have any big trials in my life right now, no divine revelations.  And I find this a little disconcerting because it's been my experience that everything is quiet just before it gets crazy again.  So maybe you can just store a few up for me?

Meanwhile, there are a lot of other people in my life who are going through huge, game-changing things right now.  So, I would certainly covet your prayers for all of those situations, and there are a bunch!  I know what I want to happen in all those situations, but it's not really about me, no matter how hard I would like for it to be.  At the end of the day, I just have to remember that God is God and I am not.  And aren't we all the better for that one?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Am I Too Old For This?

Okay, fashion friendzies, I need to hear from you.  Last weekend, I wore this out, like in public.  I've always been a girly girl, so the giant flower really shouldn't be a surprise.  But here's the issue:  I actually had to ask myself if I was too old to wear it?  I'm almost 30, and I am all about being age-appropriate...

Here's the close-up
 and the front view (Please ignore how pale I am.  It's hard to take a self portrait using a camera and a rear-view mirror.)
 What it amounts to is, I want to be cute, but I don't want to look like this.
 Instead I want to be cute, and fashion forward.  More like this:
Okay, maybe not exactly like this.  Scarves are Amber's thing.  But you get what I am saying?  I really need to hear from you all on this one!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Lori McKenna

My life is a grocery store line
A “We’ll be just fine”
Don’t know how we survive, but we do
My life is an early spring snow
The last thread of hope
That I just keep hanging on to

My life is pieces of paper that I’ll get back to later
I’ll write you a story, how I ended up here
Why the little things make us and how long it takes us
To figure out what matters the most. . . . .

                                Lori McKenna/Barry Dean  "The Most"

I have loved Lori McKenna since I saw her on Oprah.  She was there because Faith Hill used three of her songs on her Fireflies album including the title track, which was one of my favorites.  I bought her album out at the time, Unglamorous, listened to it once and decided that it wasn't my thing.  But, several years later,I came across her newest album, Lorraine, which you can find out more about on her website (and can also buy on iTunes and Amazon). 

I haven't been able to stop listening to Lorraine since I downloaded it and have even discovered that Unglamorous is amazing as well.  I chalk it up to being at a completely different place in my life and in my musical tastes, because I don't think Lori McKenna could possibly be any better.  Vocally, she's much like Patty Griffin, another favorite of mine, but lyrically, she's unmatched.  I can't think of another songwriter today whose lyrics are so spot on about what it's like to love and lose.  I'm tearing up just thinking about some of my favorites. 

I'm basically saying all of that to say this--if you haven't given her a shot, take a listen.  She may be the perfect fit for you, too!

Update:  Lori just posted this brand new song on her YouTube channel.  (Mamas:  You may want to go get a Kleenex before you watch.  Just sayin')  Thought I'd share!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursdays - 7/7/11

1. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness of strength?
    I'm not really a public crier.  If I'm crying and you see me, I'm either really sad or really angry.  But, I get that's not really the question.  If I were to be completely honest, I think that it's more commonly considered a sign of weakness.  How many times were we told to stop crying or our parents would give us something to cry about.  I think that as a woman, crying can sometimes get you what you want, but it usually just makes people think that you can't handle your emotions.  (Please don't throw things, it's just this non-crier's opinion.  If you are a crier, I think you should embrace that about yourself.)

2. What sustains you on a daily basis?

     Hope sustains me.  I hope that things will work out for the people I love, and for myself.  I don't know how people survive if they don't have that hope in something more.  And for me, that will always be anchored in Jesus Christ.

3. What do you do to relieve stress?

      It depends on what the stress is.  Sometimes I eat.  Sometimes I go out with my girls.  I might scream or snap.  I will make list upon list upon list.  I shop for things that I don't really need.  I'm not saying all of these things are healthy, so you may not want to try this at home...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 7/6

1. What is the most useful book in your house?

     The standard answer should be the Bible, right?  So, we're looking for second most useful....hmmm...would Glamour magazine count?  Sometimes it's really thick and it's full of useful tips.

2. What's worse-being too hot or too cold?

      TOO HOT!!  The AC is out in my car right now, and it's been in the 90s.  You can always put on more clothes if you are cold, but you can only take so many off and still be socially appropriate.  (Though I have seen entirely too many people testing that theory recently!  Put some clothes on, ladies.  No one wants to see all that!)

3. Share something that made you smile this past weekend.

     Hanging with all the hilarious people for Crystal's birthday!  I did better than smile, I laughed until I cried.  My friends are too funny!

4. How do you like your hamburgers? Or don't you?

     I love a good hamburger!  And I want it cooked well on the grill, on a fresh bun with cheese, lots of pickles, and ketchup.

5. What's your summer beach read? If it's not summer in your part of the world then tell us what book you're reading in front of the fire while sipping hot cocoa.

     I just finished Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner and now I'm finally reading The Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin.  Reading books that aren't textbooks is one of my favorite things about summer!

6. How was your birthday celebrated when you were a kid?

    Birthdays are a big deal in my family.  I always had a family party and especially once I was in school, I usually got to have a sleepover.  Sometimes it was just one friend, but several years I got to have as many as 10 friends stay the night.  I also had one birthday party at my grandpa's barn.  I love a good party!  I'm trying to decide what I want to do for the big 3-0 this year, in fact!

7. What's something that is totally uncool that you love anyway?

      I'm a nerd, so there are a lot of things that I love that other people think are uncool.  History, for instance.  Or The Antiques Roadshow.  I love cheesy rom-coms, sappy love songs, I could go on and on...

8. I'm looking forward to the adventures of the upcoming weekend!  Yard sales, movies, swimming, sleepovers.  I love summer vacation!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Dear Photograph Plug

I have fallen in love with a website.  A friend of mine posted this site on Facebook, and ever since, I can't stop checking it.

Take a second and actually go there. It's worth it, I promise.

What a cool idea, right?  I just wish I had thought of it first!  If you could ask a question of the past to the present, what would it be?  If you want to share, holler at me in the comments!

Yesterday, I....

  • had a great time with my friends
  • celebrated the birthday girl in style
  • got a brand new sunburn (even though I reapplied the sunscreen!)
  • didn't take a single picture
  • laughed until I cried and couldn't breathe
  • ate entirely too much several meals over 
  • swam for hours on end
  • was so thankful for such a great day!  (Still am in fact!)
There's more to come!  Stay tuned!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Special Bulletin...

I know it's been quiet around here, but I've been busy cramming a bunch of things into this long weekend, much like you, I'm sure!  But I wanted you to know that I have a lot of really great (in my mind, at least) posts planned for this week.  So, stay tuned for that!

But mostly, I wanted to wish everyone a safe and fun 4th and wish Crys a very happy birthday!  (Because that's the birthday we celebrate in these parts...none of that America's Birthday junk around here :)