Thursday, December 30, 2010


I hope you are all enjoying this post-christmas, pre-new years time to relax and reflect. Personally I don't do either of those very well so instead I took to decorating the animals.

If you can't tell from her tortured expression, Sammy did NOT enjoy this as much as I did.
Picture 262

Franklin, on the other hand, was pretty indifferent about the whole thing, which made for good picture taking.
Picture 255

The bulbs must be getting warm, he's had about enough in this picture.
Picture 249

Thanks Mo for providing the photo inspiration!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas

I can’t believe Christmas is on Saturday. I’m so excited!

It seems I am more excited for Christmas this year than in the past. It is probably the combination of finally being healthy for the first time this month, having all my Christmas shopping done, and I’ve started supplementing with sunshine in a bottle (vitamin D). Take that cold weather!

This year, we added tinsel to the Christmas tree to honor the Good Cook’s husband. Read their beautiful story here

After reading her story, I thought my husband might get the same joy from throwing handfuls of tinsel on the tree. When I told him what I wanted to do, he was all for it.

Then I was faced with an unexpected problem, locating tinsel. I went into two local craft stores. When I asked where to find it, the high school girls behind the counter stared up at me wide-eyed and oblivious. One of them even said, “what’s tinsel”? SERIOUSLY? Luckily a seasoned woman in line spoke up and said “Try Lowes”. Thank you wise woman, Lowes was a success.

When it came time to adorn the tree, I began throwing fistfuls of tinsel on the tree. Husband, who I previously thought would enjoy this immensely, was instead displeased with my process. Turns out, he is a one strand on each branch kind of guy, like the good cook. We compromised to ensure that I didn’t have the clumps of tinsel still attached to one another before I threw them in wild abandonment at the tree.

I’m just going to say that I LOVE the tinsel on the tree.I think it is beautiful in that tacky, homemade, lots of love kinda way.  I think this may have to bee an ongoing tradition.

What do you think? Can you feel the LOVE! Thank you Linda for bringing this joy to our holiday.

I hope everyone has a safe, warm, joyful, Christmas full of family, love and LAUGHTER.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tis the season...

Tis the season for my pants to fit a little too tight, alas I’m headed to Momma T’s this weekend to make Christmas cookies with all the girls. If you know us at all, making Christmas cookies is not-very-secret code for drink a lot and make a mess….

This year I think I’m going to try and make these yummy lemon cookies. Maybe if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll try and reprise the cream puffs. I might have more success at Momma T’s house. She has better baking equipment than I do, not to mention a convection oven.

Tis the season to buy for others and not yourself, that is, until you drop your phone in your soup. Husband desperately needs a new phone and I was going to surprise him with one. Instead, surprise, I’m a klutz. It all will work out since there are so many BOGO phone deals. Too bad for husband he has to wait until Jan 3rd for his phone, while I’m typing away on my new one. It’s a long story but lets just say cell phone contracts SUCK.

Tis the season for snow and cold weather, which makes me oh-so-happy that I have Roxy. The butt warmers in my new call melt my anger away and ALMOST get me to appreciate the beauty of snow.

What do you love about this season?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baking FAIL

So I don’t know what has gotten into me lately but I’ve fancied myself a baker. I think it started with attempting to make cream puffs, (pate choux). Well they came out beautifully the first time. I figured that must be the hidden talent I’ve been searching for. While my sisters and mom are the masters of the stove, I would be able to tackle the science of pastries.

I am so confident of my new skill that I am going to make cream puffs for every occasion. But that one instance of beautiful tall cream puffs failed to reoccur. Well, maybe pate choux is just too difficult to tackle for a novice like myself.

Then there was the soufflĂ©. I’m going to just erase that one from memory. It was bad…

I forged forward. I still envisioned myself a baker extraordinaire. As I mentioned before thanksgiving, I set my sights on the elusive crepe cake. The last time I made it the taste was awesome, but it looked like a gloppy mound. This time, it would be BEAUTIFUL, worthy of bakery display case.

I was diligent in my goal. I carefully made the crepes, froze them, thawed them, layered them with the mousse stacking carefully and glazed it all with a beautiful ganache. I even fretted over transporting the thing.

In all my worrying, I messed up the mousse! I didn’t beat the egg whites long enough, it got warm, or the weight of my stress was too much for that light hazelnut concoction to hold up. The mousse fell and ran.

In the end, it did look better than the last one but it was just a stack of crepes with ganache on top. It was chewy and disappointing.

Not to worry, I will forge ahead. I will make a better cream puff!

Oh by the way, check out a suggested christmas gift for me…..

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm thankful for traditions...

Next week is Thanksgiving, which means the turkey trot. This year is the first year Momma T is participating – GO MOMMA!

Thanksgiving, that reminds me… I’m going to try and reprise my baking of this crepe cake. This time, however, I know the pitfalls and my expections of final presentation are much lower.
AND, I will do my research.

Luckily, I found this lovely blogger that was also enchanted into attempting the Martha confection. The blogger, self proclaimed Cream Puff, was disappointed in Martha's recipe so she tracked down the original crepe cake recipe from a famous NYC bakery, Lady M Cake Boutique. After baking both the MS and the original recipe from Lady M’s, Cream Puff claims the original kicks Martha’s crepe cake’s ass!

The only problem….the original recipe lacks a key saliva-inducing ingredient CHOCOLATE.
Now my dilemma-
 Do I attempt to tackle the original recipe, staying true to proven success? Do I stray not far from the path and find a way to work in some coco confection? Do I give Martha another chance now that I am older, wiser and know what the pitfalls are?

What do you think I should do?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Not Feeling The Love

I'm wondering if should take a break from this for a while. I feel like I'm talking to myself. Does anyone really even care about this crap? Am I writing this for myself? If so, why on the internet, such a public channel.

Maybe I'll feel differently in a couple of days....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beautiful People Portrait Series - Part 5

Part 5 in my series is dedicated to my always beautiful older sister. Monkers has always been exponentially more beautiful than she thinks she is. Her beauty is effortless. While I have to spend an hour in the mirror, putting the package together, she looks best au natural. If you don't get lost in her big blue eyes, her engaging manner will draw you in. I think she is a storyteller by nature, her expressions, energy and excitement turn even a boring car trip into a song.

If you ever get invited to her house, don't decline. She has a way of dotting on you and putting you at ease, maybe it's the glass of wine she has ready for your arrival!

She has always been paving the road, teaching me as I follow behind her.

Beautiful even candid


Scientifically stylish

because we all share the same gene pool
Picture 397

Standing up for me at my wedding (notice my beautiful sister-in-law in the background)

Stolen from her wedding album because she made such a BEAUTIFUL bride

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beautiful People Portrait Series - Part 4

I wonder if my beautiful sisters even read my blog. If they do, like any good sister would, I wonder if they are nervous about their picture being posted on the Internet for the world to see. They shouldn’t be, mostly because they are beautiful, but also because I have only a handful of loyal readers.

Speaking of loyal readers, who is Stephen? Padre, my finger is pointed at you.

Ok, back on track.

Today, a visual ode to a beautiful Biscuit. Not only does my younger sister have the hair, grace and sense of style that makes me green, but she also embodies a laugh-until-you-pee sense of humor. Couple that with her underappreciated cooking skills and care giving nature and it appears the family gene scales were tipped in her favor.

At the fair, being corn-ey
Fun at the fair

Diva-licious – She is in her favorite place, on stage, with a drink in hand.

Just lounging in the back yard – This was not posed. Seriously she’s weird.

Showing off her beautiful melons. And you should know, she loves her melons:
Picture 108

On the edge of the world:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beautiful People Portrait Series part 3

Part 3 in a series of portraits that best showcase the many facets to the beautiful people in my life.

Momma T (AKA TNT Dyn-o-mite) is not only the matriarch of our clan, but also the humor, spontaneity and  spice. It's always more fun with Momma T around. Plus she is a nurse so she's good to have around in a pinch. It's amazing the sense of calm and purpose that comes over her in an emergency.

On vacation.

In costume for my 80's themed roller-skating party.
Picture 055

At my bachelorette party (it wouldn't have been as wild without her!) Oh and notice the pin she is wearing, so funny.

This must be right after she said "Isn't this so much fun my Marci!!!!" 
Picture 434

Being supportive.
Picture 267

The mix master emcee.
Picture 361

She teaches me a new way to be beautiful every day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beautiful People - Portrait Series 2

Part 2 in a series of portraits that best showcase the many facets to the beautiful people in my life.

The elusive Padre. He almost hates his picture taken as much as I do. I think it is because we are similarly inclined to be behind the camera.

Boating (notice the camera in his hand, what did I tell ya..)

Picture 280

Eating chocolate (what else)


Dressed to kill

Picture 105

Rollerskating -  I can't believe he puts up with us, but he does with a smile)

Picture 097

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beautiful People - Portrait Series

I’m was flipping through my THOUSANDS of photos on flickr the other day and admiring how beautiful my family is. In celebration of them, I’m going to do a portrait series. Each week (maybe twice a week) I will find the pictures that best showcase the many facets to the beautiful people in my life.

First and foremost, the Husband.




Txt mch?

Loving the wuppiest puppy


Bringing home the bacon


Mischievous - This one might be my favorite because I know what is lurking behind that innocent look....


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ch Ch Changes

I am not a spontaneous person by nature. I like routine. I’m all about expectations. I’m a planner. Between Husband and myself, we make a lot of compromises. I try to be OK with surprises and changes in plans and he tries to set expectations no matter how spontaneous the idea.

As you can imagine, a boring, routine person has to really gear up for a big change, like a new job. Given that, it should come as no surprise that it has taken me almost 10 months to settle in to my current job.

Just as I was settling in to my role, I was lucky enough to find myself being recruited for other jobs. In this job environment, I know better than to pass up opportunities. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to find out more. Well, one conversation led to another and soon I had two competing offers.

So here is the scene, two companies eager to hire me, me just now comfortable in my current role and then my manager puts in her two week notice (Read major opportunities at current job where I was JUST NOW COMFORTABLE)

So here I am in the middle of a career minefield. I know no one else saw it this way. Everyone told me, it is a good place to be. Which is was, BUT it felt like each decision along the way could trigger a bomb that would blow up all three opportunities at once.

My normal, fear-of-change self wanted to stay put where I know what to expect. But standing still felt like a trap as well. I’ll never have all these opportunities at once again. If I don’t take a step forward, I might as well go backward.
So for the past two weeks I’ve been making calculating moves to cross the minefield and end up in a better place.

I’m speaking to you from that better place. The decisions have been made and there is calm around me for the moment. People have been notified and I have two weeks before I panic about having to learn a new company, new processes and new people.

Am I excited? Not yet, more like happy that I made it through the land mines and can relax. Will I get excited? Yes. But for right now I’m trying to reassure my routine, expectation-setting self that it will be an easy transition. Luckily, Husband and I have a trip to Florida planned for the in-between job stage.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Return to the Lost Lodge, part two

There is so much going on right now that I can’t talk about yet, but hopefully by next week I can clue you all in to the craziness of my life.
So back to recapping our Labor Day trip.

If you remember...the boat was broken and we resigned ourselves to swimming off the private dock and hanging out. So, we loaded up a cooler of beer, the best accompanment the sun, and headed down to the lake. Husband was busy hosting his fantasy football draft, which left me, Padre and Momma T to conqure the lake one floatie at a time.

We were a few beers into the afternoon when we were noticed we had some company across the channel. There were two goats wandering around the opposite bank. We had seen interacted with these goats the day before. Momma T., who fancies herself an animal whisperer, was quick to engage the couple.

True to form, Momma T began swimming towards our new friends. Padre and I followed suite in a more leisurly manner, bobbing across the lake on our yellow floaties. It wasn’t long before she was on shore and calling to the goats. The male goat (the one with big horns, you know, the kind made for ramming into things) headed her way. Momma T might have forgotten that these goats were wild, despite our warnings.

Once the goat was close to her, he reared up on his hind legs. Now, Momma T is not a stranger to an animal rearing up on her, but I think she forgot that she was a stranger to this animal. She stood her ground for a minute, a show that he hadn’t frightened her away. Padre and I were yelling emphatically to “LEAVE HIM ALONE”. In two seconds her body language changed from “I’ll show him who’s dominant” to “maybe I’ll sit down so he doesn’t think I’m a threat”.

About the moment that she turned her back to the angry goat, Padre yelled “DON”T TURN YOUR BACK ON HIM”. She turned back towards the goat just as he headed toward her with his head down. In a moment of self preservation, she put the floatie between her and the goat and dove (was bucked) into the water.

The thoughts raced - "Is she ok? Did that seriously just happen? Why didn’t I have a camera? Did that seriously just happen? (Floating in the middle of the channel) Should I swim towards her or back to the dock in case she’s hurt?"

Once she surfaced, grinning from ear to ear we began laughing hysterically. We were back on the dock reliving the play-by-play when Monkers and Mr. B arrived. We were falling all over ourselves trying to tell them about what JUST HAPPENED. Monkers later told me she thought we were just REALLY DRUNK.

There is still much debate about if the goat actually succeed in the ramming her. She insists the goat didn’t touch her however, Padre and I have never seen her jump/dive that far unassisted. I swear I remember seeing her body jolt from the contact of GOAT HORNS against her backside.

We spend the rest of the day catching up with Monkers and Mr. B. Occasionally reliving and laughing about the earlier goat incident.

The rest of the trip is a haze of good times (probably because of the amount of alcohold consumed). Momma T and Padre left early, so Husband, Monkers, Mister B and I took our time the next day packing,soaking up the last of the sun and driving back.

There could be no better end to the summer!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Return to Lost Lodge

So last weekend we took another weekend trip to Cumberland. With budgets tight, we decided to go back to The Lost Lodge. I love the charm and VALUE of this place. Be sure to refresh your memory here.

Our trips down to the lake are too few and far between, but we all enjoy them. Poor Biscuit couldn’t come this time, although Sammy and the cat were happy she was home to play with them.

Me, the husband, padre and momma T took Friday off work and headed down for what proved to be a beautiful weekend. The sun was hot, the wind was cool, the lake was warm and the humidity was non-existent. The summer transition to fall might be my favorite time on the lake. Or maybe it’s just that I am trying to saturate myself in all the summer goodness before I have to say goodbye.

Padre was always apprehensive about this trip considering Mellow Yellow has been raising red flags about her health. The last trip down, she was making a clunking noise. While she didn’t sound the same, she was running well. The second day we were there, Padre was playing with the trim and got the old girl up to 46 MPH. We were proud. We had made our way far from the dock.

We stopped a couple times to swim and Husband even did a little cliff jumping.

Picture 267

Looking at the clock, we had to head back to the dock to pick up Momma T. (She was in Lexington for training for her upcoming volunteer work at the World Equestrian Games). We were flying back to the dock when suddenly the clunking noise turned into a sudden and extreme vibration that threatened to shake off the back end of the boat. Husband and I sat tensely as Padre played with the throttle to investigate. The vibration was so strong, we were afraid to drive the boat over idle, fearing the back end would shake off and we would sink. At 2mph, we were more than a couple hours from the dock. So with what pride we had left, we ever so slowly made our way back. Better to putter than be towed.

Once we got the boat back on the trailer and back in storage, we scoured the marina for a rental. On Labor Day weekend with pristine weather conditions, fat chance.

We all agreed that we were just as happy to not spend money and soak up the sun from the comfort of the Lost Lodge private Dock.

I know that Padre was disappointed, but I was pretty content with our new plan. Little did any of us know the adventures we would have on that dock. Check back next week for the arrival of monkers and the big man, wild goats, drinking escapades, a serious euchre smack down, swimming, fishing, and the last sunburn of the season.

Picture 284

Friday, August 27, 2010

A visual state of mind....

I haven't felt like writing much lately. I go through waves of expressing myself through words, and then through pictures. Right now I'm more into photos. See below for some of my favorite recent pictures and some oldies but goodies.

The Fair
Picture 164

Thirst Quenchers

Costa Rica


The Kids


Friday, August 13, 2010

Little Bee: A book review of sorts

Last weekend I grabbed a new book as I was headed to the pool (a local apartment complex pool I crash at, don’t judge me). I bought this book a while ago but didn’t start it right away. The pool seemed like the perfect opportunity to begin.

After a trip to the book store, I’m always hesitant to start a new book. There is so much pressure for the book to live up to my expectations. I want it to be good. On the contrary, if the book is as good as I expect, I will have to say goodbye to my daily responsibilities. I will devote every minute, dream, thought and waking moment either diving deeper into the book or lost in my own thoughts about the world the author has designed.

Little Bee did live up to my expectations. My house is evidence to this fact, a tower of dishes so high they teeter on disaster, tumbleweeds of animal fur gathering in the corners, shoes strewn about, the grumbling stomachs of hungry pets and husband, and most noticeable, a butt shaped impression in the corner of the couch.

A reviewer on amazon captured the story better than I could: "Little Bee is a 16-year old refugee from Nigeria who is always looking for a suicidal option for "when the men come". Her character provides a unique and captivating narrative; by page three I cared about her, by page nine I knew she had terrible story to tell me and I dreaded it.”

It was a great book that I enjoyed reading. I was rooting for Little Bee, almost audible telling her to be brave and bold. I was disappointed with Sara’s character, but that may have been by design. While she proves she has a good heart, there are times she is painted as self-involved and immature. I was willing her to do the right thing, even though I wasn’t sure if she did, it would be believable.

As with all engaging books, once they are over I continue to analyze the characters, their story, and the relationship (if any) with my own life.

If you enjoy being enthralled in a story as much as I do, I recommended escaping into this story.

P.S. Somewhere I read that this book was marketed as a comedy with a horrific tragedy. I would strongly disagree, this was not a comedy. It makes me wonder if the marketing team even read the book.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The State Fair

Its that time of year. The time of year when the sun is so hot, everything concrete and steel sizzles. The time of year when the humidity is like a wet blanket that is glued to your skin and amplifies body odor. The time of year when you wear a thin layer of sweat that hurricane-force winds can't dry up. 

What better to do during this time of year than embrace it. Where better to embrace it than at the FAIR. At the fair, everything is HOT, everyone is SWEATY, and everyone STINKS.

As my three loyal readers know, Biscuit and I have a love affair with the fair (read the 2008 posts here and here). We go every year (with only one lapse due to budgetary constraints). For that one day in early August each year, we tease the grim reaper on questionable rides, with heart-attack inducing fried food, and with hyperventilating laughter.

Our risky behavior is contagious. This year, our duo turned into a caravan. Husband, Momma T and Monkers joined the fair celebration.

The Terretts (rineharts) take on the fair

We ate!
  • Corn on the cob (have to make sure they dip the entire ear in the VAT of butter before you eat it)
  • Fried buckeyes (the candy, not the nut)
  • Smoked Turkey Leg (the overall favorite)
  • Fried Pickles
  • Fried Cheese
  • French Fries
  • Lemonade/Gatorade/Water
Picture 094

We rode rides.
  • Momma T did not like the ride that spins you in a circle so fast that centripetal force pastes you to your seat
  • I should NOT try to take pictures during the ride! Broke the camera slightly....but fixed it when safely on the ground.
  • Husbands' stomach is stronger than I thought.
Picture 165

We laughed, perspired and we were tuckered out. It is something that we can only do once a year!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Burt is a tease

Our peach tree, Burt, has been so laden with fruit that the branches are working hard just to stay off the ground. Just walking into the back yard, we have a curtain of branches we have to navigate through. The orange fruit screams to be picked. I think it says something like this: “Look at how bright and juicy I am. I am so full of flavor, even the branches can’t hold me up. YUMMMM. If you don’t pick me soon, the critters will get me and you will have waited to long. PICK ME NOW!”

What a tease.

I could no longer ignore the Burt’s taunting, so Tuesday was HARVEST DAY. We only picked about half the fruit, hoping it would lessen the load on the young branches. No success, the branches still hang heavy with abundant fruit. We are trying to let as much of it ripen on the tree without losing the fruit to the critters. I think a dinner bell rings when they hit peak ripeness. We’ve lost an entire harvest to the critters before.

So now, how to take advantage of all those peaches? First, sangria with fresh Peaches on the back patio with Linda while the pups play. Second, a peach cobbler to celebrate Momma T’s birthday. I found a great recipe that calls for crystallized ginger – yum. Hopefully I can do Burt’s peaches proud and honor Momma T by baking something delicious.
What about all the rest? We’ll eat them for snacks, give them as gifts, and they’ll be gone before we know it (kinda like summer itself).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sammy's Never-Ending Search

Just recently I bought matching ID tags for the Dog and the Cat. These are very durable metal tags with their names and our phone number engraved on the back.

Just Monday I received the new tags in the mail. I immediately went to work, attaching them to the kids’ collars. The next day that I arrived home to find Sammy in a heightened state of alertness. I walk into the living room and she is intensely searching every nearby surface for something. Husband is watching the scene with amusement.

It just so happens that around 6:00 PM the sunlight streams in through the living room window. As Sammy walks through the stream of sunlight, the light reflects off her new ID tag. The reflection inevitably lands just in her peripheral vision. Surprised by this flash of light, she jumps quickly to get a better look. With her sudden movements, the reflection jumps or disappears. We were entertained enough to take the following video.

We soon tired of her relentless attempts and moved on. Even after the sun set, she waited patiently for the light to return, providing her with another opportunity to “GET IT”.

Sure enough Husband called me at 5:45 yesterday to tell me it is now a daily event. She is again positioned near the window, chasing the elusive reflection.

Monday, July 12, 2010

DVR tonight

Be sure to record No Reservations tonight as Anthony Bourdain visits C-bus and the restaurant I write about here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fourth Annual 4th

Last weekend the Husband and I hosted our fourth annual Fourth of July cookout. I think it was un-officially the biggest event yet.

Every year we set the stage as relaxed atmosphere with an open invitation to come when/if you feel like it. While I like the relaxed attitude, it makes it impossible to plan. We ran out of everything, bugers, dogs, lemonade, Sangria and even PROPANE for the grill (where were you Hank Hill?). I have no idea how many people showed up, but I would guess that throughout the day, we had anywhere from 50 to 75 people.

It has taken us (me) four years of throwing this party to learn not to take it all on myself. I’ll just go crazy from the stress and break the bank while doing it. It takes a community to throw a party that big. I hope that everyone had fun and would like to throw a shout out to my community that helped us keep the tradition alive:

Thanks to the following:

  •  Both my BIL’s (Brother In Laws)
    • One BIL for providing the awesome tunes. You can check his record collection and DJ stylings here at Queen City Crates.
    • Picture 333
    • The other BIL for always managing the grill. The Husband tends to be too social to suffer the task of paying attention to the cooking. But we can always count on my BIL to be the master of the grill.
    • Picture 347
  • Biscuit for helping me all weekend long AND bringing the liquor, you kept the party going girl.
  • Monkers for ALWAYS being there to help keep things flowing and organized while I run around helpless and hopeless. I am not a hostess by nature, she is.
  • Picture 341
  • Momma T and Padre for showing up. What a great surprise! And Momma T even tried her hand at spinning 45s.
  • Picture 361
  • EVERYONE that brought food. It was all so delicious. Special shout out to my SIL’s mac and cheese- yum.
  • The neighbor for NOT calling the cops this year when our fireworks show was underway.
  • Cory and Zach for supplying The BAC (Big Ass Canopy), Corn hole boards, and all the extras we forget.
We had a great time with lots of corn hole, wiffle ball, home run derby and a fireworks display. Hard to believe we are halfway through summer already!
I’ll leave you with the Sangria recipe, which was the only thing I could claim as making for the party.
White Peach Sangria 
1 bottle white wine (dry Riesling)
4 peaches quartered
1 cup Grand Marnier (I used Triple Sec because I’m cheap)
1 can ginger ale
Mix the first three ingredients together 2-3 hours before serving and refrigerate. Add the ginger ale right before serving.*

*Fourth of July recipe modification per Biscuit – when the sangria is gone, but peaches are left, cover with vodka and hand over your keys.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Teach a (wo)man to fish...

Sometimes there are days when I feel like I don’t have two pennies to rub together. On these days, I am haunted by the green-eyed monster, envious of my friend’s fabulous vacations, admiring the beautiful wardrobe of a co-worker or wishing I could spoil the Husband with a fancy dinner out. When the wanting and wishing gets so strong that psychoanalysis would diagnose me as an entitled brat, I have to take steps to remind myself of how lucky I am.

One of my favorite ways to remind myself of my comfortable place in the world is to give back. Whenever I’m having a blah day, I look for ways to do something small for a stranger, someone not expecting it. My favorite is paying for the person’s Starbucks behind me in the drive through. It reminds me that no matter how broke I feel, I can find money in my pocket for someone else, which means I’m not really that bad off (and I’m caffeinated, bonus).

While the Starbucks treats for strangers can cheer me up on an ugly Monday morning, I realize it doesn’t benefit someone who is really in need. And while you all might start following me through the Starbucks line in the off chance I’ll support your caffeine addiction, I doubt you are in any real need.

So the internal conflict began, how do I give back in a small way that is still a meaningful contribution?

Around this time, I saw this New York Times article and the journalists interviewed on Oprah.

I was inspired.

I have since been sponsoring a women’s education through the organization Women for Women International.

From the organizations website “Our Theory of Change: Women for Women International believes that when women are well, sustain an income, are decision-makers, and have strong social networks and safety-nets, they are in a much stronger position to advocate for their rights. This philosophy and our commitment to local leadership builds change and capacity at the grassroots level.”

This is something I did purely for myself, putting my money towards my values, not towards what is the new style, technology or product. I never anticipated writing about this or even sharing it with my friends, but how than could I expect the message to spread to those who have similar values. So, I hope you have the chance to read the article, check out the organization, or at least enjoy giving an unexpected surprise to someone in the near future.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Difficult Rite of Passage

It was two weekends ago that Biscuit, Husband and I went boating and camping in Cumberland. This was a big trip, not only did we camp, we brought Sammy, AND it was our first time taking the boat out without Padre. We might have taken on too much.

In between the laughter, swimming, cooking and eating, there were definitely arguments and tension. Luckily there weren't too many people around as I tried to back the trailer into the water for the first time. Husband was screaming directions, I was telling him to shut up and Biscuit was on the verge of an anxiety attack because of it all. Once we got her safely in the water, we were all ready for a cigarette and a stiff drink. 

The whole trip was a rite of passage that Biscuit and I took very seriously, titling our trip "Women's Empowerment Weekend". We didn't tell Husband this until we were already there. He didn't like that too much...

We had a great time but I think Sammy had the most fun. She slept for a week straight afterwards.

Picture 136

Picture 111

Picture 120

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Little Lift

I love shoes, but mostly I love heels. Slip on a new pair and step out the door to take on the world. But they don’t have to be new. The old standby’s make me just as giddy. There is nothing like the flood of femininity stirred together with power and confidence.
Heels make me taller, giving me a new perspective on the world. I look down on things that used to be eye level. I also am brought up to eye level with those that I want to challenge, Husband for one. Times like this I love being a woman–Three inches closer to the top and STYLISH.

Oh the style choices… You can go from princess to rocker chick with just the change of shoes. There are shoes to fit almost any mood, summer wedges and strappy sandals, powerful pumps to red stilettos, boots and Mary Jane's, preppy to sexy….

Then there is the fit. They always fit, despite how long it has been since I’ve seen the gym. I pull out a 6 ½ and the shoe fits like a glove. If it’s too tight, I grab a 7. No thought to why I need a bigger size, did I eat too much pizza. They make me feel sexy without size making a difference. Having a fat day? Step up a couple inches and voila, diva coming ‘atcha.

Then there is the price. My happiness doesn’t cost me a fortune. The Sex And The City-so-deep-in-debt-you-need-3 inches-to-see-over-the-credit-card-bills type of heels are too impractical for me. I’m smarter than that. I don’t need to spend a small fortune to love my shoes and have them fit my style. I’m sure fashionistas would argue this point, but I can still get my lift from the discount rack – thank you DSW! Besides, I’d be too nervous to really wear the shoes if they cost me more than my monthly mortgage payment.

So ladies, If you have the same love affair as I do, don your favorite pair this weekend,relish the satisfaction of being a little taller, celebrate your femininity and show off your style.

The inspiration for this post came from The Good Cook, who asked what makes us happy. Thanks!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Father's Daughter

As a rule, I usually stay away from political/topical/polarizing topics because the passion behind it can cause arguments that register on the Richter scale. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is now an environmental nightmare and I'm breaking my rule.  

While following the series of events in the news, I’ve also been following a parody twitter account @BPGlobalPR. This rouge character claims to work for BP’s PR department. The 140 character tweets are satirical jabs at BP’s attempts to keep the angry public at bay.

Put aside for a moment how I feel about the spill, the company's attempt to maintain its brand persona or the anonymous tweeter, I think the whole parody is a cultural reflection of how today’s savvy consumers expect more from a global corporation and that expectation gets attention.

These cynical consumers have lived through enough Enron's, Goldman Sachs’ and corrupt lenders to know better. They expect more from a global corporation. They expect transparency and honesty. While BP may think they are being transparent and honest, actions, like ensuring their workers sign confidentiality agreements, speak louder than words. 

The person behind this rouge twitter account has gotten so much attention that he/she/they recently release a blog post to explain why they are doing this. You may not agree, but I think it is an interesting perspective and an even better lesson on how communication is changing.

You can read it here

I would love to hear your thoughts...

I promise I'll be back to flowers, sunshine and puppies next week.

We bought sammy a lifejacket.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre