February 28, 2010

straight out of the camera.

I hate over-post-processing of photographs.

Let the comments/snarky looks at your computer screen commence. But really. I do.

People dependent on Photoshop to make their images look good annoy me. I think a lot of photographers process their images to death. Enough already!

In my opinion, a good photographer needs not waste time editing photos for hours and hours. A photo should be good straight out of the camera. It just should. That's photography: understanding light and flattering angles and composition - not creating them on top of a crappy photo with imaging software! Ugh! There is a tremendous difference between being a photographer and someone who just understands Photoshop. If I see one more photo of a baby with alien eyeballs I think I'm going to die.

With that being said, I DO use Photoshop Elements as little as possible occasionally to touch up some photos. Mostly, though, I keep my images as they are, straight out of the camera. Perhaps I'm a bit old-school, but I don't care. I get a lot of flack from colleagues, who gasp (especially) when they hear that I don't own a graphics tablet. Yes, I edit with a mouse. Yes, it's like painting with a potato, but uhm, I'm not a painter.

What's my point? I don't really know. I just wanted to get that off my chest. I know making people look flawless in their photographs is supposed to make me more money. My goal is to make them look flawless, through the lens of my camera, not by wasting hours in front of a computer screen. Art should imitate life, I say! Have I downloaded and used Photoshop actions? Yes. Do I use them on every photo? NO!

Here are two shots I took today that are straight out of the camera. I'll probably crop the second one and I might warm up the first one. But other than that, I am leaving them alone. This was life for this family today. And that is what makes a photograph so special, people flaws and all.

And coincidentally, it's those shots that need the least editing that make me the most proud. Funny how that works.




February 25, 2010

back at the shop.

I went back to work today for the first time in what I felt like forever! It was so nice to be around those lovely people again. And when I pulled my first shot of, the smell of freshly-ground espresso beans filled my heart with rainbows!

I was only there a few hours, as per doctor's request, but it was so great to HAVE to fix my hair again! I was slightly nervous when a few customers started showing up. I felt like I needed a quick refresher course. But I think I managed to make a few good drinks today. I'm sure it will be no time until I'm back in my groove.

Yay, lattes!

cardio, cardio, cardio!

604 calories worth of it, actually!

I went to my friend's Cardio Dance Party class tonight. It was a blast! She told us to pretend we were Dallas Cowboy's Cheerleaders. I pretended as well as I could with a healing back. LOL.

It was so much fun! Feels so good to sweat again! I promise the next post won't be about working out. At least I hope not.

walking: who knew?!

I know these workout posts aren't the most exciting, but I HAVE to post about them. It keeps me motivated!

I walked again yesterday for 22 minutes and burned about 240 calories. Who knew walking could be such a good workout? I walked at about a 3.8 rate on a 2% incline. It was a real workout!

Since I go back to work to the coffee shop this afternoon (YAY!!!), I am saving my workout for after work. I am going to hit up a new Cardio Dance Class. My friend teaches it, so it should be a lot of fun!

My back is having a lot of trouble getting back into the swing of things. I notice that I am very sore after the workouts, but it is manageable. I hope and pray that this is not going to be the case for the rest of my life. I am just going to keep working out and keep strengthening my core muscles so that they can hold that spinal cord in place, nice and firm.

Here's to taking my life back!

February 24, 2010

petitioning prayer.



We got very bad news today. Please pray Magan comes home safely. There has been no Amber Alert for her because she's a runaway (I think that's the reason cops are giving). I think it is beyond unfortunate that no alert has been sent out and it is maddening to think of reasons why not. Please pray.

Why am I so concerned? She is my husband's cousin.

let's get physical!

I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally post under this category! YAY!

I went to the gym yesterday for the first time in nearly three months! It felt so great! All I did was walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes, but it was still a good workout! I put it on a 2% incline and walked as fast as I could without jogging. Does that make sense? All in all, I burned about 189 calories.

I am doing a soft start to this whole workout thing. That last thing I want to do is overdo it and hurt the back again! I shudder at the thought!

I am headed back out to the gym shortly. Probably just more fast walking, but that's ok :)

I need to sit down and work out my "official" plan soon. That will hopefully start next week. I'll post all about it. You know, to bore you to tears.

Here's to slightly elevated heart rates!

February 23, 2010

a buncha stuff.

If you're on Facebook, you might know that I was cleared by the doctor yesterday to resume LIFE. I am able to go back to work for 3-4 hours at a time and I am able to go the gym, but I cannot do full-body workouts. I am so excited!! And so happy! These have been a very long three months! I plan on hitting the gym this morning....because I can!

As for the jewelry conundrum, I opted to do the second system. However, it was not as easy I had hoped! Trying to find a Homasote board in Arkansas is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. This state does not carry too many "green" products. No one had a Homasote board. Anywhere. I got really frustrated and decided to go with cork - yuck. And of course, cork only comes in rolls or it comes in small segments. I did NOT want a bulletin board. So, I ended up spending way too much money on 8 cork segments that I plan on using...somehow. Once I get it all figured out, I'll post pictures. I opted not to use fabric, since I already spent too much money. Ugh!

We tried another Pioneer Woman recipe last night and it was NOT good *gasp*. In fact, it was terrible! I won't say what it was or link to it because I don't want to sway your opinions of the dish, but I will say it involved shrimp and pasta...and it was awful! I ended up eating a bowl of ice cream instead.

I am formulating a new diet and workout plan according to the book, Biggest Loser 30-Day Jumpstart. That's another post for another day, though.

I guess that's all for now. Going to hit up the gym and then pick up my Girl Scout cookies that are waiting for me at Coffee Shop. Hehe.

February 21, 2010

jewelry conundrum.

I really need a jewelry-organization system. I have lots of nice stuff, but can't locate it anywhere. Because of this, I end up wearing the same earrings and the same rings every, single day! And it's driving me crazy!

I found two different systems online. I need your help - which do you think is better/more aesthetically pleasing?

I really liked this system...




Until I saw this system...(Sorry you have to click on the link. I tried everything I could think of to get it on the blog. Nothing worked).

The second one would definitely be cheaper, but I can't help but think it looks sort of cheap? I could get a pretty fabric, I suppose. But I'm not crazy about the white hooks. The first system would cost more, since I don't have a little drawer set to put all the stuff on. I need some input. System 1 or System 2?

February 20, 2010

exhausted!

Yesterday was...exhausting. I did a 7-hour training session with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I toured the NICU, and my goodness. I am so drained, I don't even want to write about it! Maybe one day. All you mamas, please go hug your babies and kiss their faces. Be thankful, thankful, thankful. Each and every day. Please.

All in all, I've decided that I do want to be a part of this organization. However, I don't have the lighting equipment I would need for these types of assignments. But I will have that equipment one day. So, NILMDTS is put on hold for the time being, and that sucks. But until I accrue this equipment, I'm just not qualified.

I am so tired. Aaron wants to "go out" tonight. I want to wear sweat pants and eat spaghetti. We'll see who wins.

February 18, 2010

a lovely day.

Today has been so nice. Can I brag a little?

I woke up early - which is crazy behavior for me. I got up around 7am, made my coffee, took a shower, and then headed to Cracker Barrel to meet the lovely spouses of Husband's squadron.

We had a nice breakfast together and I got to make babies laugh...which always makes me happy.

We then headed over to the Inviting Co. Warehouse Sale, which I blogged about last year. Remember all the paper goodies I got? So much fun! Today, I managed to fill a gigantic TJ Maxx tote with my goodies and upon checking out, paid...are you ready for this? 13 bucks!! I got oodles of fun and festive napkins, invitations, paper plates, gift boxes, etc.

Then I headed home just in time to catch Husband before he went to bed. Yes, you read that right. All week (and until Saturday) he has been working from 10pm until 2pm the next day and only sleeping in between. Insane!!! He is in charge of some Super Important Exercise at work, so I haven't seen much of him lately. That's ok. At least he's still in the same zip code.

While he slept, I started some laundry, put on my pjs, and RELAXED. I've been watching the Olympics, entering giveaways, and just generally enjoying myself. I also had an ice-cold Dr Pepper, which was a real treat.

I am headed out soon to attend our monthly Chill N Chat at the squadron. Good day, indeed.

February 17, 2010

things that make you go "hmmm."

Read latest private post here. Would appreciate any and all comments!

just a fine and fancy ramble to the zoo.


Click here to see photos of animals at the St. Louis Zoo. I love animals and I love comments, so please share!

Some of my favorite shots:







honest scrap award!

Chelsey over at Moss Moments gave me the Honest Scrap Blog award. We're not quite sure what it is, exactly, but I'll take it! Thanks, Chelsey! A note on the award:

"The Honest Scrap award comes with a caveat or two. First, you have to tell your readers ten things about you they may not know, but that are true. Second, you have to tag 10 people with the award. Third, let all the people you've given the award to know that they've gotten it (comment on their blogs or something). And finally, make sure you link back to the person who awarded you."


Here are my 10 Honest Things:

1. I really want a pair of Christian Louboutin platform pumps. But they're $695...which is ridiculous. But I still want a pair.

2. Sometimes I wish I had studied forensics in college. I am addicted to cop shows and A&E. It's all so fascinating! And I think I would make a really good detective. But alas, I was a journalism major. Maybe I should be a crime reporter?

3. I always say that I hate routine and that I am NOT a creature of habit. But then I realize that every morning, I do follow the same routine: Bathroom, take the dog out, make a pot of coffee, look outside my kitchen window, make breakfast, get on the computer. If this is thrown off at all, I sort of freak out and get REALLY grumpy.

4. I abhor thin-crust pizzas. I think they are a total waste of money. They are so...lacking. This is a point of contention between Husband and I. He thinks thin crust is "healthier" because there's less bread. I agree with that, but if I'm going to spend $20 on a pizza, I'm going to do it the right way - gummy, chewy crust and all!

5. I am considering taking a strip-tease/pole-dancing class. It that crazy, or what?! Husband is all for it!

6. Crowds scare me. They sort of scare Husband, too. We don't do well in crowds at all. I feel claustrophobic and he feels paranoid that a fight might break out or something.

7. I love to bake, but I hardly ever eat what I make. I usually eat a cookie or two. A slice of cake. But I never just chow down on baked goods. I guess I know what goes into them and I just can't justify putting that much sugar and fat in my mouth. It's quite dumb because a lot of what I bake ends up in the trash can. I guess I just like the process of baking. It's very relaxing to me. What a waste, though!

8. We are considering buying a Sleep Number bed. We tried them out and they are wonderful! Pretty pricey, but might be worth the money for a comfortable and supported night's rest. On the same note, we are talking about getting new living room furniture...one day. All the stuff we have is from our college days! You wouldn't know it, because I like to think it's pretty nice stuff, but it's getting old and worn out, especially our couch. Poor couch! It looks so tired!

9. I have been researching becoming a part of this organization. I need to make a decision soon, as the training is on Friday. I just don't know if I can handle it. Thoughts?

10. This was a lot harder than I thought. Trying to come up with ten things that you don't already know...yikes. One more. Uhm...did you know I used to play the guitar? I wasn't terrific, but could play praise songs and songs with simple chord changes. I stopped after college. Don't really know why. I sort of miss it.

Now it's your turn! The Honest Scrap Blog award now goes to...


I look forward to reading your 10 Honest things! Congratulations! ;)

February 16, 2010

private and palin.

Read latest private post here.

In other news, I am going to see Sarah Palin tonight! Myself and a few other conservative women are going to eat dinner and then head over to see our girl, Sarah herself!

"Maverick!"


I am sooooo excited! However, I am really annoyed that cameras and recording devices are NOT allowed in the arena; this rule even applies to the press. How frustrating! Reporters are only allowed to take notes. I considered taking my press pass to the event, but that won't get me anywhere, apparently. I wonder why they're doing this...I hope it's not going to turn into some Republican Cult meeting, where they will throw us into a sweat pit and force us to sacrifice lambs...

Even if you're not a fan of Sarah Palin, you have to admit this is cool for "seeing famous people's" sake ;)

For funnies:

February 14, 2010

st. louis restoreth my soul.

Husband and I had a terrific time in St. Louis! We did everything we planned to do and yes, I took lots and lots of pictures. I will probably just upload them to Facebook and leave a link here (later). Too much work otherwise.

We got there pretty late on Thursday night, checked into the hotel, and went to bed. Then, the next morning, we ate breakfast in the lobby then headed to the zoo! It was FREEZING cold outside, so we pretty much had the zoo to ourselves, which sort of felt like an episode of The Bachelor, which made me very, very happy. A lot of the animals were hiding, but we managed to see enough of them to make the trip worth it. Plus, admission was free, so no complaints here.

After the zoo, we headed over to the Anheuser-Busch brewery (which is really like a small city) and saw the Clydesdales, the dalmatian, the big barrels of beer, and other beer-like things. After the tour was over, we were offered two complimentary samples of beer. I chose the new Golden Wheat and it was pretty good (although I'm not a huge beer fan). Neither one of us went back for a second sample. I think we were too cold! That tour was ALSO free, which made it even more enjoyable.

After the brewery, we went back to the hotel, where we took a quick nap. We then got ready to go see JOHN ELDREDGE! He and his wife, Stasi, delivered an amazing message at Grace Church. It was so much fun and really spoke to our hearts. And of course, a portion of Stasi's testimony made me cry. I hope to share my notes with you guys soon. Remind me to do this!!

I got some great shots of them on stage and then afterward, Husband and I got to meet them! John signed our book and I got a great photo of John with Husband. John is one of Husband's heroes, so it was a real thrill for them to finally meet! We learned SO MUCH from their message. It was mind-blowing. I can't wait to get into their book!

Oh, and by the way, Grace Church is the LARGEST church I've ever seen in my whole life...and I've seen a lot of churches! I believe there were about 1,200 people present that night and in no way was the entire auditorium close to being full!

After leaving the church, we went to "The Hill" and ate at Rigazzi's. The Hill is a delightful, little Italian district full of old, old houses and Italian restaurants. Folks fly the Italian flag on their porches, next to, of course, the American flag. It was so quaint and wonderful. Dinner was beyond delicious. I had spaghetti and meatballs and Husband had some ziti/sausage/cheese concoction. We ate so much that the both of us immediately fell into a "carb coma." Husband could barely keep his eyes open on the drive back to the hotel. As soon as we got back in the room, we both passed out! It was the best!! Lol!

The next day, we slept in SO LATE. I had to call and re-schedule our visit to the arch, and luckily, we are able to do so. We ate brunch at St. Louis Bread Company, which is where Panera got its start, then headed over to the Gateway Arch! After a short squabble over parking, Husband and I finally made our way up the hill to the arch. It was fantastic! Looking up at the thing made us dizzy! We went inside and got in line for the tram tour. While we were in line, a little boy immediately in front of us starting pouting/crying. His dad got quite annoyed by him and kept telling him to stop crying. After all, nothing was wrong. Fast forward to 5 minutes later...the little boy threw up in the line. Not once, not twice, but three times. Bless his little heart!!! Something really WAS wrong!

Most people in the line starting commenting on how "gross" it was. And yes, it was gross, but people -- he was a little kid. I don't understand why folks get so immature when someone vomits. Yeah, it's gross. But geez. Act like adults! He was whisked away by his dad, who I'm sure felt about 2 feet tall at this point, and then we continued to stand in the line while workers tried to clean up the mess. What a way to start the day!

We eventually made our way to the tram and upon seeing how small the compartments were, I started feeling claustrophobic. My heart was beating very fast, but Husband assured me that I "would be ok." I took a deep breath and walked into the compartment. Luckily, the only other folks in our tram were two little boys and their Dad. I smiled when I sat down and said, "It's a good thing you guys are little!" We made our way up to the top of the arch and got to see St. Louis from 630 feet in the air. WOW! It was breath-taking! I have pictures of that, too. Don't worry. After looking around for a while, we headed back down the tram - this time with three high school softball players in tow - and made our way safely to the ground. What an experience!!

Deciding it was probably time to head home, Husband said we had to make one more stop to Ted Drewes, a St. Louis landmark and home of the best frozen custard on the planet. We finally found the place and I ordered a Brownie Concrete - which was to die for. We hit up a Starbucks on the way out and to the highway we went!

It was a wonderful weekend getaway and just what we needed! I feel refreshed and ready to tackle life again.

Today wasn't too exiting, since we already celebrated Valentine's Day. I got Husband some candy and a card, and he got me Taco Bell and picked up the paper from the driveway while it was raining. I'd say we're good :)

In other news, I am LOVING the Winter Olympics, need to do lots of shopping tomorrow, and am in generally good spirits. Yay St. Louis!

February 10, 2010

cajun chicken pasta.

Another yummy Pioneer Woman recipe! You can print it out here. And no, mine didn't look as pretty as hers, but whatever. It tasted great!

This meal was especially yummy and comforting on a freezing-cold snow day. I know I probably could have made it more "Cajuny," but yours truly gets heartburn, so I went a little easy on the cayenne.

Note: I didn't have white wine and I wasn't about to go to the liquor store for less than a cup. Oh, and I used spaghetti, not fettucine, since that's what we had on-hand.

The sauce, pre-whisk. See? Not too crazy with the cayenne. Just enough to make it flavorful.


All the vegetable/chicken goodness in the pot! I was surprised how much I liked this dish. I'm not crazy about cooked veggies. I like most of them raw, but not cooked. The Roma tomatoes in this dish were DELICIOUS!!! I ate more of them than any other veggie.


The finished product. Yum!

behind the scenes.

Read latest private post here.

And yes, it's about what you think it's about. But there is a very good link in there that you might want to check out.

February 9, 2010

meet me in st. louis!

Since Husband has been consumed with IP school (which is now over, thank God) and will be consumed with an exercise on base in only a few days (yay...), I decided that, for Valentine's Day, we would take a little vacation. You know, to see each other and actually...talk.

We are headed to St. Louis!

Our plans include:
  • Staying at the Parkway Hotel
  • Visiting the St. Louis Zoo. I've always wanted to go to the zoo with a boyfriend. I don't know why. I just thought that was always a romantic/fun thing to do. Happy to be going with the Hubs!
  • Taking a tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery (I am really exciting about taking pictures of the Clydesdales).
  • Seeing John and Stasi Eldredge and hearing them speak about their new book, Love & War. I am so pumped about this! What a great way to strengthen a marriage, and at such a perfect time!
  • Eating at an Italian restaurant on "The Hill," and
  • Going up, up, up to the top of the Gateway Arch.

Sounds like a perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day, no?

CANNOT. WAIT.

assignment: shallow depth of field





As part of my coursework for NYIP, I am now to the point where I have to submit photos that were taken with certain effects in mind. You know, to prove that I was paying attention to my lessons. The prints will then be critiqued and graded by the powers that be in New York. No pressure or anything.

Here are some photos that demonstrate a shallow depth of field. Pioneer Woman gave "us" the assignment today and since I am already working on various projects, I felt it was appropriate to enter AND share them on my blog. That's all.

February 7, 2010

dark chocolate cherry brownies.

Yeah, you read that right.

And guess what? They are made WITHOUT oil! I want to shout that from the rooftops! I've found delicious OIL-FREE BROWNIES!

You cut out so much fat by nixing the oil. What do you use in place of the oil? Cherry preserves. It's quite genius. You won't miss the oil, by the way. These are just as moist and yummy as those oily brownies of yesteryear. Take a gander...





See that reddish sheen? Husband declared these "the best brownies I've ever made." And I've been making that man brownies since 2005.

Don't like cherries? You'll get over it.

Ingredients:

Cooking spray

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cherry preserves

1/3 cup water

5 tablespoons, butter

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 large egg white

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray.

3. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine cherry preserves, water, and butter in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Add preserves mixture to flour mixture; stir well. Add egg and egg white; stir until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired.

Scroll down for another delicious recipe!

zebra cake.

You'll love this one! A no-bake cake!

I came across this decadency when I visited my BFF in Atlanta. She was making this for her nanny family. It is so much fun to make and sooooooo yummy to eat.

Ingredients:

2 boxes Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (these are kind of hard to find and a bit pricey). I found mine at Kroger and paid a whopping $8.38 for the two boxes. Yikes! But I'd say they're worth it, every now and then.

1 large tub Cool Whip (I use the Lite version to save a few calories)

Yup, that's it! Two ingredients!

Directions:

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of Cool Whip on the back of one wafer. Repeat. Press them together like a sandwich. Repeat about a million times. Form a circle around a serving dish - or you can get creative and make a log...or an elephant...or the Eiffel Tower...or whatever.

After making one large circle, form a smaller circle on the inside. Then just sort of fit the rest wherever. There's no exact science to this, people.

Continue the process until all your wafers and Cool Whip are gone. Feel free to taste the wafers and Cool Whip during this process...you know, for poison.

Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You MUST do this or else the wafers won't get soft and cake-like.

The next day, take off the plastic wrap and go to town on your super-delicious zebra cake!!

Here are some terrible photos of mine. I forgot about the camera and sort of wrapped it already...oops. But you get the idea. This is a crowd pleaser!! I can't wait to eat it tomorrow!




glitter in the air.

If you ask me, the best part about the Grammy's this year was Pink's performance. My jaw was on the floor...and I might have cried a little. Despite your opinion of the woman (or her less-than-conservative-outfit), you have got to admit that this was just beautiful. Or as Husband said, "Dude, that was hot."

What she did took incredible athleticism and grace. She sang upside down...while she was spinning! I have much love for Pink now. I posted the lyrics to this song below the video. It's really quite lovely. And to quote Tyly, "it may or may not" be my new ringtone.

Enjoy.


Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face
And said I just don't care?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn
The thunder before lightning, the breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table, the walk before the run
The breath before the kiss and the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee, calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it ever get better than tonight?

Tonight.

February 6, 2010

the girl thinks too much.

I love the quote Rae has on her blog. Ya know, the one placed just so under her photo.

"It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then."

I dabbled with the thought of making this a private post but decided against it. No need to shy away when the truth wants to reveal itself. This is me. Heart-on-my-sleeve-me. And I gotta do me, right? ;)

I wouldn't trade my life for any other version. But every now and then, typically once a month - if you know what I mean - I find myself thinking about the past. It usually starts innocently: a nice memory from a high school choir concert, a moment from college that made me laugh until I cried. And then, if I allow it, reminiscing on the past turns into dwelling on the past, which turns into sadness.

Which is all quite dumb.

I never think of "what could have been" in terms of the way my life has worked itself out. I suppose I get sad because while staring into the looking glass of what used to be, I miss who I was.

It's still there. I'm still there...but only in fleeting instances. I used to be funny. I used to be confident. I used to dance. I used to sing. I used to lust for life. These things show themselves every now and then. But for the most part, I feel sort of...hazy.

I suppose it's all a part of this whole "growing up" thing. We can't stay kids forever. We are not, indeed, forever 21. Ha. Oh, how I ache to be 21 again. To be 18 even. To be 23. 24. Why does getting older have to make one feel so...old?

I don't want to change the past. Sometimes, though, I would like to revisit it. To feel what I used to feel. To put myself back in certain scenarios. To feel the rush of a first kiss, the elation of cheering at a high school football game, the overwhelming sense of being undeniably alive. I have a beautiful past.

And I miss it.

It seems now that life is full of deployments to Iraq, sick daddies, back surgeries, dirty dishes, dog vomit, weight issues, and lethargy.

What do great minds say of this? Surely I am not the only one who has ever felt this way.

A gifted writer says, "Looking back you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life - and it was you. It is not too late to find that person again." (Robert Brault)

An eastern spiritual leader once said, "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." (Buddha)

A successful investor says, "If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians." (Warren Buffet)

A comedian says, "The past is a ghost..." (Bill Cosby)

A philosopher and poet says, "With the past, I have nothing to do; I live now." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

A prophet of God says, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

All these people are way smarter than I'll ever be. And I trust in that. And I can't go back. Nor should I. I suppose, as cliched as this sounds, the only option is to go forward. To make new memories, to create new scenes in my life that take my breath away. It's just much harder now, isn't it?




Disclaimer: I get this way when I'm hormonal. Mom, don't call me. I'm not depressed. This is just one of those girl moments. I like my life. I am happy. I think I just need to work on a few things to get some of me back. This post could also very well be a product of cabin fever. That's all. Amen.

February 4, 2010

grilled chicken pasta in a tomato cream sauce

There's not much to say about this recipe other than it is delicious.

I changed things up, slightly. Instead of grilling the chicken, I cooked it in the skillet. Instead of penne, I used shells because that's what I had in the pantry. And to the sauce, I added about a 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan. Then I sprinkled some more Parmesan when I served it up.

A delicious, comforting meal, especially if you like noodles. I love noodles.

Mmmmm....noodles.


Did I mention I love noodles?


The finished product. Bon appetit!


February 3, 2010

my super-exciting wednesday.

  • I sent off three resumes today. Yay.
  • I got another "You did not get this job" email today. Yay.
  • I saw When in Rome with a girlfriend tonight for only $5. Got free popcorn, too. I bought some Goobers. That was my dinner. I was happy. Movie was very cute. Need to go to Italy...now.
  • Husband had his check ride today. He passed! He is now an official badass Instructor Pilot. I am very proud of him. He worked his butt off!
  • Taking Husband out to celebratory dinner tomorrow night since he was way too tired to go tonight and oh yeah, I was at the movies.
  • Today was my first day out of this house in a week. It was glorious. One more week until I can drive again. Seems like an eternity.
  • Yup, that's pretty much it. Goodnight.

hate laundry?

I actually enjoy doing the laundry. I love how the clothes feel right out the dryer and I love how they smell. It makes me quite happy, really. Side note: Want the best-smelling laundry? Buy these things:





Yup, regular 'ol Tide and Snuggle fabric softener in Blue Sparkle. I spent YEARS looking for the perfect laundry-smell-good-combo and this is it, folks. Oh yeah, back to the point...

For everyone else on the planet, laundry is a dreaded chore. Real Simple magazine has a neato article you should take a look at, unless you're crazy like me.

Now if only they would offer 11 tips for getting those dishes done...

an unexpected reunion.

I'm a terrible person who did not tune in to any of the Haiti money-raising marathons. It's not that I have anything against these things, I just wasn't near a TV when they aired.

Hearing rumors that Justin Timberlake, who I love almost as much as my husband (he's okay with it), sang Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," one of my favorite songs of all time, on said marathon(s), I had to YouTube it.

Watch/listen in awe for the next 4 minutes.


Le sigh. I love the more subdued side of J.T. Who am I kidding? I love all sides of J.T. I must say though, that once the second verse began, I titled my head slightly to the right, much like a dog would while trying to decipher Shakespeare (or something) and wondered, "Who is that other guy and why is his voice, uh, awesome?!" Googling ensued. Turns out, he is Matt Morris.

Yeah, I didn't know who that was either.

More Googling.

Apparently, Matt Morris is a singer-songwriter who has written loads of songs of which we are all familiar. More digging into this elusive cap-headed wonder and I discovered that he used to be on the Mickey Mouse Club in the early 90s. "Surely, I must know who this person is!"

I watched The Mickey Mouse Club religiously, y'all. I feel a kindred spirit, a connection, if you will, to Britney, Christina, and J.T. I really do. I feel like I grew up with them. I suppose I sort of did.

Anyway, I google image-searched this Matt Morris. I found this:

Ahhhhh!!! I remember him now! Do you?! Matt Morris. My goodness, we have all grown up, haven't we? I spent a good 30 minutes watching MMC YouTube videos of his performances and all the memories of the show came flooding back. Made me want to be a kid again.

I remember Matt as sort of the dorky side-kick to the hotties on the show.

Oh yeah....Tony Lucca in a wife-beater. Chest hair and all.


Loved him then, even with those ears and chipmunk voice.


Hello, little Noah!

I always sort of felt bad for Matt. He was the sort-of-cute kid that lived in the shadows of The Greats. How could he ever compete with the likes of little J.T., and soon-to-be N'Syncer, J.C. Chasez?

Clearly, he does not need my sympathy and can hold his own. The dude has a CD, was just on Ellen, and seems to have a good music-making collaboration going on with Justin. All in all, I am impressed...

and headed to iTunes to hear more.

Matt Morris. Who knew?!

February 1, 2010

cinnamon nutmeg waffles: could they be the perfect waffle?

As you know, I've found the perfect pancake. Could it be that I have also found the perfect waffle?

Coincidentally, Amanda posted this recipe on her blog this afternoon. Seeing as how dinner was already in the Crock Pot and I had nothing else to do tonight except watch The Bachelor, I made a batch of these goodies while Husband studied planes in our computer room.

Verdict? Delicioso! Yes, I ate one while watching The Bachelor. I just had to.

These are probably 800 calories each, but that's ok. The diet and workout regimen start once this back is healed. Why not live it up until then? Terrible philosophy, I know. But I don't care.

Mine didn't come out quite as honey-golden as hers did, but my, oh, my, are they delicious! And I didn't have any pretty natural light to work with since it was night-time, so my photos aren't that stellar. But you get the idea.

Here they are in all their cinnamon-nutmeg glory.


Aerial Stack View.


The best part about this recipe is that it makes it smell like Christmas in your house. Remember that scent? These bring it all back, baby. Oh, and they're pliable. Most waffles I make could break a window, assuming you threw one at a window, of course.

My favorite way to eat waffles? With a little bit of peanut butter and sugar-free syrup.



You should make these this weekend. Or right now. Bon appetit!

backflip gift wrap.

Dunno why, but I'm pretty proud of this. I found a new way of wrapping clients' CDs and it makes me happy.

Sad that I had to youtube how to tie a bow. I didn't quite master the art for the bow in this photo, but have made significant progress since then. Janet, any bow-tying tips?



I got some stickers custom-made off etsy, as you can tell. I think they're darling. Just wanted to share, that's all.



"bless her heart..."

* Great Crock Pot recipe after this post. Don't forget to scroll down! *

The phrase "bless her heart." Women in Texas say it often, but women in Arkansas say it even more. I'm sure you've said it yourself, right? Oh, come on. You know you've said it at least once.

For kicks, I googled the phrase. The first entry that popped up was a link to Urban Dictionary. I had to click on it to get their take on this phrase. The last time I visited Urban Dictionary was to learn what "superman 'dat ho" meant. Don't look it up. Please, don't. I know you're going to, but be warned: it's quite offensive.

According to Urban Dictionary, "bless her heart" is: 1.) a phrase used by Southern women to excuse themselves for speaking ill of someone. 2.) This is a term used by people of the southern United States, particularly near the Gulf of Mexico, to express to someone that they are an idiot without saying such harsh words.

This made me laugh. Partially because of the "Gulf of Mexico" mention and partially because Urban Dictionary hit it right on the head.

What's my point?

I got an email this morning from a vendor in the town in which I currently reside. I read it once. I read it again. And then I said, out loud, "Bless her heart."

Here's the email I'm referencing. Read it once. Read it again. And I dare you to tell me that the phrase, "bless her heart" doesn't come to mind...this is copied VERBATIM, two periods and all.

Vendor Name Will Remain Anonymous

Mexico Pottery is finally here!!
Lots of 3PC vases for inside or outside..
Starting at 2ft-6ft
Beautiful Peaces
Only place around to find this..

New shipment of shirts..
#1 Even though I dress cute I still can shoot
#2 Put your big girl panies on and deal with it
#3 My town might be little bitty but its better that the big ole city
#4 Ark girls love there Razorbacks
#5 Peace Love Raz

More new shirts coming today! First time from this company and there really cute!! (I only have a few sizes in each shirt..)

Lots of new purses coming today! This shipment is from a new company..nice bags at a great price!!

New high-top shoes!! 4 diff designs
Lots of shoes, sandals and flipflops still coming in every week

Luggage Sale

Flip-Flops $2.50
Sandals $6.00 and 8.00
Shoes 12.00-18.00

What did I say? Bless her heart in full effect. For fun, how many errors did YOU find? Post below!

going in the pot...

I don't have much to write about since 1.) I haven't left the house in 5 days, 2.) I can't drive for another week and a half and 3.) I just woke up about an hour ago. Note to self: No more muscle relaxers before bedtime. Those things knock me out!

So since there's not much to talk about, I thought I'd throw out a recipe, a crockpot recipe, which I know are fan favorites!

Here's what's going into the pot tonight...

Crock Pot Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:

1 package onion soup mix
2 cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 cup uncooked rice (I'm using brown rice)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
6 tbsp margarine or butter (I use butter, margarine is a terrible thing to put in your body)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Mix onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, milk, water, and rice in a small bowl. Spray Crock Pot with cooking spray (I use Crock Pot liners, one of the best inventions in the whole, wide world. I use them every time I bust out the Crock Pot. Easiest clean up, ever). Lay chicken breasts in Crock Pot. Place one tbsp margarine butter on each chicken breast. Pour soup mixture over chicken breasts. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Cook on low 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.

Serves 6.

Now doesn't that just sound cozy? I'll let you know how it turns out.

Oh yeah! Recipe lifted from here. The woman scrapbooks her recipes! I don't have that kind of patience, but how cute is that!?

the healing process.

In case you were wondering, I am slowly on the mend. Each day I notice that the soreness is slowly dissipating. I am anxious for the day I wake up and feel no pain at all. Will I even recognize that feeling?

I still have to take pain medication every 4 hours and a muscle relaxer before bedtime (which makes me sleep like a baby, by the way) but I can feel my body healing itself.

I can't drive for another week and a half. I know. That's like an eternity. Talk about cabin fever! I imagine my head will start spinning round and round in a few days.

I'm not sure when I'll go back to work at the coffee shop. Only time will tell.

I feel like I've gained a thousand pounds since November because I've been rather sedentary since this whole thing began. But what can I do? I suppose I'll hit the gym hard once I'm all better. Ugh.

Oh, and the incision? It looks like a bullet hole. Weird, I know. We're checking it twice a day and so far, so good. No infection. No nastiness. It's a bizarre-looking thing, especially since they used "glue" to hold it together instead of stitches. But I'm okay with that. Scars are cool, right?

So that's what's up with me and surgery. Slowly and steady wins the race. Each day gets better. These last two months have surely been a test of patience for me. And I think I failed. Ha!

I can't wait to get back in the game of LIFE! Daytime television is really terrible and one can only update her blog so many times...
 
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