Monday, February 28, 2011

Mondays and Miscellany

This is my first Miscellany Monday. I feel like I know the host, as she and I share quite a few non-blogland friends. Also, her blog is pretty great.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1. Friday Night Cupcakes
On Friday night, the hubs and I had a lazy night at home. However, before settling in for the evening, we drove downtown and bought four little mounds of deliciousness to eat while watching a movie.

I love Cupcake. There is one in my hometown and two in the general vicinity of my adopted city. Mine was Pumpkin Spice, and the hubs had a Chocolate Tuxedo and a Red Velvet. (I saved my Vanilla one for Saturday.) When we were younger, my friend and I had a fantastic idea to open a cupcake bakery. I promise we came up with the idea first, but sadly we never executed in it (ha!).

2. Dust Woes
I think our parents had the right idea when they purchased lighter wood tones. I know the trend is "mocha", "cappuccino," and any number of other woods for "dark brown." It looks pretty. It does. But I cannot keep the visible dust off of our dark wood furniture for more than 20 minutes before I see it again. Any ideas?

3. Purple Heart
We have been working diligently to make our front flower bed something more than the "contractor's special." Last year, my parents gave us five small purple heart plants to put in the bed. (You see purple heart in the large planters outside of the lovely homes in downtown Charleston.) My mother warned me that it was hardy and capable of spreading quickly. Just to test the theory, I threw a one stem in the back corner of our bed, and sure enough it grew. In fact, it didn't even die off during the winter. We went outside yesterday to do some weeding, and I couldn't help but take a picture.

4. Marathon Update
I mentioned a few weeks ago that my dad and my husband were running the Myrtle Beach Marathon. They both finished! My dad finished in 4:08, and Brandon in 4:17. 26.2 miles! My mom and I were super proud, and we got some good girl time in while they were running. The weather was fantastic for us spectators.

5. Green Ginger

(image via)

I remain obsessed with this tea. They used to sell it at Starbucks, but they did a tea overhaul a few months ago, and now I only find it at Publix or online. Buy it; it's wonderful.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

JJ and Chick-fil-a

I went to the doctor today - just a yearly check-up, so nothing out of the ordinary. But, the thing is, I've always dreaded going to the doctor. I'm so thankful for access to medical care, but honestly, I'm not so good at being thankful for something when I'm busy dreading it.

I have had many conversations with my mom that went something like this:

Me: I hate going to the doctor.

My mom: Well, I don't think there are too many people that look forward to it.

Me: But I really hate it.

My mom would then break into somewhat of well-knowing, exasperated smile that might be interpreted as "Well, what do you expect me to do? Tell you to never go to the doctor?"

Alas, I went today, and it was fine. (Except that I really should have gone to the bathroom before I left the waiting room. That last stage of waiting for the doctor felt like it took ten years!)

On the way to the doctor, I was a bit anxious, per previously stated reasons. I put in my JJ Heller cd, and listened to her sing "Save Me".

This lyric always speaks directly to me:

You are stronger,
Than any terrible possible scenario today
Come and save me
You’re the only source of all the peace I need.

(I am awfully good at creating terrible scenarios. For his peace, I am eternally grateful. Even when I get caught up in the circumstances and forget to be thankful for it.)

In other news, our dog, Kona, silently begged his heart out while I ate the Chick-fil-a sandwich I had treated myself to on my way home. (Yep, I thought the completed appointment deserved a chicken celebration. And a Diet Coke.) Access denied. I ate the whole thing, plus crumbs, myself.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On the topic of wreaths -

I find crafty blogs inspirational. I love the idea of seeing something in the store and thinking, "I could make that!" Realistically, I'm not there yet. (Not. At. All. Some women apparently carry chalkboard paint and a sewing machine in their back pocket at all times.)

However, after discovering that wreaths are really expensive, I decided to make one - as in, go to the craft and fabric stores with my 50 percent off coupons in hand.

This wreath was my inspiration. Isn't it too wonderful?

(image via)

Unfortunately, once you purchase all those little balls of felt, it's still an expensive wreath.

Enter inspiration two from The Crafty Nest.

This is the result:

Isn't it cute? I choose purple so I could be used throughout the spring, instead of just for valentine's day.

Here's a close up:

It took a few hours to cut out felt circles, but it involved no sewing or gluing, so it was definitely my type of project.

Plus, it makes my door look cute.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thoughts from "the smart one"

Honestly, today has been one of those days.

When I was younger, I wasn't the cool one. I wasn't the pretty one. I wasn't the friendly one. I was most certainly not the athletic one. I was the smart one. I won writing contests (The prize for a 2nd grade writing contest was a HUGE Easter bunny. I took it home. Be jealous.). I got A's. My handwriting skills were impressive - case in point, I was known as the "typewriter" by some kids in middle school. (And I promise this was actually a complement and not something the cool kids called me before throwing me head-first into the lunch room trash can.)

(image via)

Oddly enough, this "smart" title didn't drive me to despair. In fact, it was quite the contrary. I took this title and ran with it. I ran with it through elementary school, through middle school, through high school, and brought it with me to my college dorm room. Occasionally, I longed to be better at something more socially acceptable (especially music - how I wish I could sing well!), but at the end of the day, I was content. The Lord placed wonderful friends in my life along the way (I remain confident that these friends are much the result of fervent prayers by my parents. They knew the "smart ones" still needed friends!).

I fully anticipated that once I graduated from college, I would be appreciated. In the corporate world (or the non-profit world), it's your skills, your brain, your Type A personality that are marks of greatness - right?

Unfortunately, along the way, I seem to have forgotten that it's not all about me. Apparently, there are other smart(er) and (more) capable people in the world. I may not be the only person who can run an effective project team or create a well-written document. It doesn't mean I'm incapable or stupid, but it does mean that I don't always know what's best or right.

Hello, pride! When did you decide to rear your ugly head?

Recently, my current circumstances have taught me the importance of being humble, of exercising meekness in my daily life. I'm continuing to develop those things, and I know it's a life-long process and something I simply can't do on my own. I still get frustrated and think, "I deserve better." If only! I've been given so much, and I deserve none of it. I work with great people. I have a supportive husband and church family.

I don't have to be the best. I shouldn't expect to be the best. It only breeds frustration, inadequecy, discontent - nothing I want to represent. Instead, I want to remember what it's really all about.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Galations 5: 22 - 24

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A bedroom evolution

A few months before we got married, we bought our first mattress - a queen - at one of Sears' "50 percent off all mattresses" sale. (In retrospect, I'm pretty sure they run this sale 365 days a year.) This was quite exciting for both of us, who slept in our respective double beds after a childhood in a single. I made Brandon promise not to wet the bed or let any guests sleep in it until we got married, and I moved in.

A few months into our marriage, and after hours spent online searching for my dream bed, we bought a headboard. Once it arrived and we put it together, I was in love. But, my love didn't extend to the rest of our bedroom furniture. It was (and remains) a hodge-podge mess. I really wanted to splurge on the dresser that matched our headboard, but $650 seemed like a stretch.

Fast forward to three months ago, when we scored a $60 solid wood dresser off our local Craigslist. It was a bit rough around the edges and not at all in line with the wood tones we preferred, but it was solid wood, very sturdy, and had streamlined legs that were reminiscent of the Danish Modern furniture we had scattered throughout the rest of the house (all Craigslist and garage sale finds). So we brought it home.

And it set in our garage.

We threatened to refinish it to a color more consistent with the rest of our bedroom, but neither of us knew what we were doing. (And frankly, we're not the do-it-yourselfers that some folks are.) We thought about painting it, but he wanted to paint it black, and I wanted white, and neither of us was budging. Then, we jumped back on Craigslist and found someone trying to start up a furniture refinishing business. Three weeks and a few dollars later, we have a new-to-us dresser.

Satisfaction. It cost us a bit to pay someone else to do our dirty work, but the dresser still cost half of what we would pay for for a new one. Now, I'm onto accessorizing. (Both the frame and the bin have already been moved in favor of less monstrous items.) Once, we replace the (charming) gold handles with some streamlined silver ones, I think I can call it a day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

These are the days.

On Sunday night, we decided to go to Cracker Barrel. This is not a restaurant we frequent, but it sounded truely delicious. The husband's lamenting cracked me up:

"It's 6 PM on a Sunday night, and we're on our way to Cracker Barrel. When did we fast forward to being married 20 years?"

Today, I opened one of our upper cabinets (I was perusing for some headache meds.), and left my left hand gripping the cabinet knob while I was making my decision. Without warning, I sneezed, and my ever jumpy self slammed the left side of my head with the kitchen cabinet door. Oops - at least I already had the headache.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

(Image via)

My husband is the first real valentine I've ever had. I think that perhaps in middle school I had one or two one-week relationships that began a day or two before valentine's day (and tragically, ended a day or two after). But, this guy - he's a keeper, and he definitely makes this "Valentine's Day is such a commercial holiday" girl swoon.

Our first picture, taken on our first double date in August 2008:

Our first Valentine's Day (2009), the hubs planned a fantastic dinner cruise in the Charleston harbor. He may or not have also planned a helicopter tour of Charleston at sunset that we may or may not have taken because I may or may not have freaked out about doing it "because I don't like small planes." But, that's a story for another day.

(Ugh on the poor image quality.)

This year, we plan to celebrate tomorrow (we were a bit slack about making dinner reservations at our restaurant of choice). For today, I'll just revel in the fact that this wonderful man is in my life, and he makes me embrace the adventure (even if I often protest).

Friday, February 11, 2011

You're wrong, Billy.

A few months ago, my dad uncovered this clip on YouTube. (It was courtesy of a coworker, I'm sure; Dad's not one to spend hours searching video clips.) He thought it was hilarious. I did not. I don't think the hubs did either. Still, Dad required us to watch it probably 15 times.

In the end, something good came of it. A quote from this clip has become an official part of our vernacular. Whenever we disagree, someone almost always busts out with, "You're wrong, Billy." It always lightens the mood.

In other news, after two busy weekends, it will be pretty low-key around our house this weekend. Maybe some Mexican tonight. Next weekend is a big one though. My better half is running his second marathon alongside my dad (his 50 billionth or the like). We'll be traveling up the coast for the big event - the Myrtle Beach Marathon. They tried to run it last year, but the weather said otherwise. Last year, the Myrtle Beach Marathon was canceled by snow. I'm hoping for slightly higher temps this year (but not too high, because both my dad and my hubs prefer to run in the cold). I can't wait to see both of them cross the finish line.

This is a picture from last year. Even though the marathon was canceled, they still suited up and went for a long run. Aren't they awesome?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A bowl of kale-infused wonder.

(image via)

Kale is a favorite at our house. Typically, I throw a bag of pre-chopped kale into some boiling water with a few sliced onions, a couple tablespoons of olive/canola oil, and some salt and pepper. Simmer on med-low for about 20 mins. This makes 6 or so servings, so the husband and I eat it as part of our lunches and dinners for a several days - so convenient. You can also saute kale in a skillet with some olive oil. After the oil is hot, throw the kale in and let it wilt, stirring occasionally.

The other day, I mentioned to a coworker that we were a kale family. Within 5 minutes, this Rachel Ray recipe was in my inbox. We made it last tonight, and it was delicious.


Portuguese Chourico and Kale Soup


2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium white waxy potatoes, like yukon golds, peeled and diced
2 medium onions, chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 pound kale, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and pepper
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzos (chick peas), drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pound diced chourico, casing removed
1 quart chicken broth (My note: I thought this wasn't going to be sufficient liquid, but once the kale wilted, it was plenty.)


Heat oil in a deep pot over medium high heat. Add potatoes and onions, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic, bay leaves, and kale to the pot. Cover pot and wilt greens 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomatoes, chourico, and broth to the pot and bring soup to a full boil. Reduce heat back to medium and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

Serve soup with hunks of crusty bread and butter.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Extended Introduction

(image via)

I love reading blogs. It is rare if a day goes by when I don't say to someone, "So I was reading this blog..." But, without a blog to call my own, I often felt like an illegitimate lurker. So, with a little inspiration from some of my friends, I've bit the bullet. I've joined the revolution. I've jumped on the bandwagon. I've made the decision to start a blog.

Who am I?
- I live on the south (east) side (of the US) in surburbia but within 30 mins of the beach.

- I don't actually love the beach. (Gasp!) It's just. so. sandy. And hot. But, it's a beautiful reminder of Who I belong to, so I'll accept it until I can move my husband to a lake in the mountains.

- I moved to said locale when I married a real-life sailor. Love makes you give up walking distance to your favorite stores in favor of one, sub-par outlet mall. He also gives wonderful foot rubs.

- I'm 27 years old. As such I'm older than 90 percent of my non-work friends, and I'm younger than 90 percent of my coworkers. When I meet anyone born between 1982 - 1984, it makes me want to give them a hug and start a conversation about Salute Your Shorts.

- I work from home for a technology company; I'm in marketing. When I started a long distance relationship with my husband, my company graciously allowed me to move from my office cubicle into my (very not) fancy home office. I'm on the phone a large portion of my day, and sometimes reading blogs makes a less-than-interesting conference call surviveable. Unfortunately, despite my marketing title, I will never have a part in any commercial you see on TV or any ad you see in your paper (hard copy or virtual).

- In my spare time, I am trying to learn how to use my new Nikon DSLR. I'm walker/runner. I might even use the term "wogger," though I did not coin it. My heart is with ABC from 8 - 8:30, and 9 - 9:30 PM on Wednesday nights, and my heart is with the lovely town of Pawnee on Thursday evenings. (The hubs obliges on both counts.) If this last sentence doesn't make sense, please let Google enlighten you. Your life will be a little brighter.

If you are the visual type, our faces:

No bambinos yet, but we have a cute black dog named Kona. He's our Rottie/cattledog mutt.

And as a reminder for myself, as much as anyone else, I'm writing for myself, to remember the feelings, the stories, and the memories that made certain days seem unforgetable for a moment in time.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Introduction

Honestly, sometimes I just think things that happen would be better shared.

(Fair warning, this is the third blog I've started in three years. Perhaps this one will make it past post three.)