Saturday, April 30, 2011

movie time

True Grit
We watched this last week when my in-laws were in town because my father-in-law and John are big western movie fans. I'll have to say that this is the first western that I've watched where I stayed awake the entire time. And I really liked it. I thought it was a good movie, which I'm sure makes my father-in-law beam with pride :) I definitely suggest it and now I would like to see the new version, however I'm sure the old one is better (aren't they always?). My favorite line: "They tell me you're a man with true grit", Mattie. I know that sounds silly since that's the title of the movie but the way she says it, with such a confident bravado (considering she's no older than 15). I just like it. And now I can say I've officially watched a John Wayne movie and enjoyed it, now I feel a little more American.

An Affair to Remember
The other night John was with friends and I was at home suffering from sickness/possibly allergies so I decided it was time to watch an old romantic movie. I ended up choosing An Affair to Remember and I'm so happy that I did! What a sweet, classic old movie. I loved the drama of it all and the old timey romantic ways of the guys back then. Aaaah, swoon. Oh and btw, Cary Grant is just dreamy. Yeah I said it, dreamy is the only way he can be described. And oh yeah, why wasn't I born back then? I kinda feel like I was supposed to live in those days. Oh well, a gal can dream. Meet you at the top of the Empire State Building, Cary. :)

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! How is it that I just saw this movie?! Yeah, I know it's a classic but I just watched it last night! Oh Rudy. You are so headstrong and hardheaded. But man, did it make for a sweet victorious story. If you are a "root for the underdog, Cinderella story" kind of person then should definitely watch this (if you haven't already and I'm sure you have). Loved it. Maybe there was a tear on my cheek at the end, maybe there wasn't. (There definitely was)

Friday, April 29, 2011

your daily quote

I don't know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future.

Ralph Abernathy

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

i almost forgot!

We (read: John) booked our vacation flight last night!!!! Wahooo!!! I mean I'm real excited ya'll! Spending uninterrupted (read: no computers/internet) time with my husband in freaking sunny Florida!! Yippee!!! We are going here. Check out this view from the place where we're staying.

cool and completely unrelated

love this. found here.

words to live by. found here.

hee hee, just to make you laugh. found here.

time to review

Here are a few reviews from a few things that need some reviewing :)

The Kennedys (the mini-series)

While perusing gossip magazines last year I was able to see pictures from the filming of this mini-series and I knew that I needed to watch it! I adore Jackie O. Here's a Jessi Kelly fun fact: when I was a little girl I had a Jackie O doll (thank you, Franklin Mint) complete with legit outfits from the pumps to fitted suits and pillbox hats. I knew what a pillbox hat was wayyy before my time. I think it may have even included her inauguration gown. OK, back on topic...the mini-series was fantastic! I love history, drama and Jackie O so this was sure to be a success in my book. I heard that The History Channel was going to show it but they turned it down. I'm not sure why because I thought it was pretty awesome myself. Hmm, who knows. Anyway, I love the way that they go back and forth between the years explaining various back stories (i.e. how Jack and Jackie met) while also following his presidency. It was just wonderful (sorry I feel like this review is kind of going around in confusing circles, but I'm kinda sick right now so bear with me)! I definitely recommend it and yes I still cried at the end when President Kennedy was shot and then when Bobby Kennedy was shot. Also, I think I have a crush on Bobby Kennedy. Oops, sorry John :)

(Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy...I mean, come on...)

Mamma Mia! (the musical)

I saw this last week and it was a-ma-zing!!! I saw the movie and fell in love with that a few years ago. And I've listened to the soundtrack multiple times. Now seeing it live was just incredible! If you get a chance to go see it then I think you should absolutely go! Love it and yes, I am the dancing queen :)

The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love

Talk about a hilarious book! I came across this book at a going out of business sale and thought it would be worth the few bucks that was on the price tag. And was it ever! I love Jill Conner Browne and her Sweet Potato Queens' view on life! I want to be a Sweet Potato Queen! But as I understand, it is a very hard and strenuous process. Maybe I can be an honorary member or something. There are like a million phrases that I want to bring back/start using that are in this book. To keep the Sweet Potato Queens' stories anonymous they all go by "Tammy" in this book. Brilliant. I want to start referring to people in my life as "Tammy". And any book that has sections labeled "how to declare yourself a queen" and "how to do jacksh*t" is the book for me. If you are Southern and you are woman (hear me roar) then I think you should definitely pick this book up! I've already added the rest of The Sweet Potato Queens' books to my reading list. (side note: if you are not Southern you can still read it, she provides explanations for terms/phrases that you may not understand)

your daily quote

Loyalty means not that I agree with everything you say or that I believe
you are always right. Loyalty means that I share a common ideal with you
and, regardless of minor differences, we fight for it, shoulder to
shoulder, confident in one another's good faith, trust, constancy and

Dr. Karl A. Menninger

(I feel like this should be used in a wedding ceremony or something...)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

your daily (Easter) quote

Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

"In Christ Alone"
by Keith Getty

Saturday, April 23, 2011


what a powerful, amazing picture. found here

love this :)

found here

your daily quote

Awake, thou wintry earth-
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!

Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Things are about to get real vulnerable 'round here. Don't worry my faithful (few) male readers, it's not that vulnerable, so you can continue to read the post. I'm just saying I've discovered something wonderful and I am well aware that it is nothing new to the rest of the world. Therefore it's taking some real vulnerability to admit this. This wonderful creation is, ahem, steel wool. That's right, steel wool. Let me explain.

I have stainless steel pots and pans, fancy right? Wrong. Well, I guess it was the combination of cooking with a gas stove for the first time and stainless steel for the first time. Btw, this was almost 3 years ago. Well I noticed that a couple of my pans started to get charred. These pans soaked, they were scrubbed, they were soaked some more. I finally resigned to the idea of having charred pans. Well, obviously it hasn't affected the food because we're still alive and well.

So for some reason, a few weeks ago, I bought steel wool. (I really can't remember the original reason.) But then I decided to try it on one of the charred pans. And just like that, the black charredness just started disappearing. I was thrilled! I announced my revelation to John, to which he replied "oh it looks great, wow" to which I'm sure he was thinking (really? she didn't know about steel wool? wow). But man it's incredible. And it's incredibly sad how thrilled I am over (finally) spotless pans! Oh and you may want to wear rubber gloves because I'm pretty sure I shaved off a little bit of my nail bed in the process, sacrifices people.

Another confession: today I fell and scraped half my shin walking up our cement steps. You may be thinking, oh well I'm sure it was wet from all that rain. Nope, it was bone dry. Well maybe it was dark and you couldn't see where you were going. Nope, it was broad daylight. Wellll maybe your shoelaces were untied and you tripped. Nope, I literally tripped over my own feet. Well, I think I did. It all happened so fast except that I fell very slowly. And this isn't the first time I've fallen walking up steps. My gracefulness is out of control.

your daily quote

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!

Bob Marley

(thought this was fitting for today, hehe :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

your daily quote

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

C.S. Lewis

Monday, April 18, 2011


As most of you know there was a huge spring storm (read: multiple tornadoes) that ripped through NC on Saturday. When my mom first texted me that a tornado was coming through I didn't think anything of it. It's kinda like her texting "it's going to snow" well little did I know that this was a very real tornado. When she said that her and Katie had been evacuated to the basement of the convention center I started panicking. My head began swimming and the lightheaded feeling began to set in as I feverishly texted my dad to get updates (so as not to worry Mom and Katie)...Dad was at home and Mom and Katie were in Raleigh. Minutes later I was assured that Katie and Mom were safe. The tornado(s) was headed towards Dad now. Again, after a small amount of time he informed me that he and the pet pals were just fine. Thank the Lord. Seriously, so thankful that my family and friends are doing well and were not injured. Here is an interesting and definitely heroic story: Lowe's in Sanford, NC

Please keep the other families with fatalities and/or missing people in your prayers.

your daily quote

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived...this is to have succeeded!

Ralph Waldo Emerson

(This should be our daily mantra.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

lipstick jungle

When I finished this little gem earlier in the week I felt empowered and ready to take over the world in the "I am woman hear me roar" kinda way. I think Candace Bushnell has a way of doing that to me. It's the same kind of feeling that I had after I read (and later watched) The Devil Wears Prada (not written by Bushnell but the same kind of idea) and after each episode of Sex and the City. I like that feeling. I definitely recommend this book to all women. Especially women that are working in a male-dominated atmosphere. Bushnell speaks to the hearts of all women while making you think and laugh all at the same time. Love it. If you're into chick lit then you would definitely like this book. My inner feminist is telling me that I shouldn't use terms like "chick lit" but whatever, that's exactly what it is. Any man in his right mind would probably not read something like this. Enjoy ladies!

good article

Tim Keller on the Resurrection

One of my fave parts:

On the Day of the Lord—the day that God makes everything right, the day that everything sad comes untrue—on that day the same thing will happen to your own hurts and sadness. You will find that the worst things that have ever happened to you will in the end only enhance your eternal delight. On that day, all of it will be turned inside out and you will know joy beyond the walls of the world. The joy of your glory will be that much greater for every scar you bear. So live in the light of the resurrection and renewal of this world, and of yourself, in a glorious, never-ending, joyful dance of grace.

your daily quote

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

Anne Bradstreet

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

your daily (spring) quote

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.

W. Earl Hall

it's been a few days

Sorry bout that folks. So here are a few updates from the past few days:

1. Ever since this incident I have been a little queasy when I look at anything sweet. The real reason isn't because the cake was a fluke but because I was licking my fingers while "decorating" and then decided to eat a piece after it was declared a fail. Then I had Chickfila later that night because I "hadn't eaten dinner yet" (note to self: don't eat Chickfila after you had a piece of chocolate-chocolate cake, idiot) and then I threw up. Eww gross, I know, but we're all adults here. And not right after I got home from my Chickfila adventure but after hours of feeling "ughhh, my stomach hurts....ughhh". And kablamo, there it came and now when I see the cake I sneer at it. And now when I see other sweets my stomach rolls around a bit inside. Maybe it's God's way of telling me to lay off the sweets. Awesome. A post it note would have been appreciated instead but whatevs.

2. Dixie and I are not on speaking terms right now. Being the awesome dog owner that I am, I decided to take Priss on a walk today. It's been raining since Sunday evening. That means there is a lot of mud and a lot of puddles up in this neighborhood. I was careful, she was not. Then there were men busting up concrete, which is pretty loud, and since Skiddish gets so scared with any loud/unexpected noise she pulled a little extra hard. That combined with mud puddles and my general lack of grace ended up with two knees covered in mud, previously clean shoes covered in mud, a scraped knee, scraped hand, mud under nails, tears brimming in the eyes and an escapee. Of course, first things first, I yell "DIXIE, COME!". She looks back like "crap, I know I should come but I'm so freaking scared right now" and all I can think is "wow, we're on a really busy road, holy c-r-a-p she better get back here STAT!". I yell again and she looks back in fear and trots a few steps forward. (you should all know that there are two men walking by and I'm sure are completely judging me because my "faithful companion" is not the least bit concerned that her poor, sweet owner is picking herself up off the muddy sidewalk and btw I'm a hot mess at this point). After a couple of intense commands yelled in a furious/embarrassed voice, she stops. While this sounds dramatic, she didn't go further than 10 feet or so. But that's ten freaking feet! I was so pissed at her! Still am. I called her a few choice names on the walk back home (don't worry, nothing too bad, just along the lines of jerk and traitor) and after cooling off explained to her that I still loved her but am not happy with her. Hmph!

3. I made Barbecue Chicken Burgers the other night (when I thought I was over the queasiness) and they were so great! (later my stomach reminded me that it was still pissed at me over the chocolate cake incident and that I should lay low on the whole eating thing) But seriously, the BBQ chicken burgers were so easy and tasty. Also, pretty healthy and cheap. My fave things; cheap, easy, tasty and healthy. Love it. Oh and John loved them too, said it was one of his fave things I've made, now that is a compliment.

4. I've read some books lately and here are my assessments:

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers: Good, not her best but still a good book.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous: Good but depressing book. What? You didn't think something could be good and depressing? Yeah it can :) It's a memoir of a girl in the 60s/70s(?) who gets involved with drugs/sex/etc. I think it's something every teen/tween should read so that they know that the ever elusive "getting into drugs" image isn't as glamorous as their peers may make it seem.

Jay's Journal by Anonymous: Somewhat along the same lines as Go Ask Alice but with witchcraft added in the mix. I'll have to say this book really freaked me out. I don't really recommend it because I was really creeped out. I feel awful for this guy and definitely think his story should be told but man, it was weird for real.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

movies i wasn't impressed with

We've somehow managed to watch all three of these movies in the past week or so and I was not impressed with any of them. Boo. Wouldn't recommend. If you like them then more power to you, at least you didn't feel like you wasted time from your life by watching them (not that we had a lot of other things demanding our time, but whatever).

This one was the least bad (yes, that is a term). It was filmed in Pittsburgh so we had fun recognizing the various settings. Also, being the cynics that we are we had to point out every inconsistency with the actual city. (like being able to hop right on 79N from the zoo, come on people we all know that ain't happenin') Let's be honest, that's what made the film for us.

Friday, April 8, 2011

chocolate cake

Even though the cake looked like a disaster it really tasted great. Like, seriously, one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever eaten. So I thought I would share the recipe (it's the one on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa box):

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. Hershey's cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-in. round baking pans.
2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into pans.
3. bake 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting.

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting

1 stick butter
2/3 c. Hershey's cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Melt butter. Stir in cocoa.
2. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

note to self

Do not bake a cake when it looks like this outside.

Also, do not pretend that you star on Ace of Cakes while you are icing a cake.

Because then your cake turns out like this:

(side shot of the cake wreck)

The story goes a little something like this: I was enlisted to bake a cake for my sweet little neighbor's birthday party (thank God it's tomorrow and not tonight). So I started. The cake smelled delicious. I even went the fancy way and greased and floured the pans instead of spraying PAM on them. Partially because I don't have any PAM at the moment and partially because this is a special cake and I do that for all my special cakes.

Then when I went to flip the cakes out they didn't come. Now I'm sure if you've baked a cake (an important one at that) and went to flip it and it didn't come out you know what I'm talking about. My heart drops to my stomach when that happens. So I craftily took a knife and tried to coerce the cakes out of their pans. They came out. With a HUGE chunk of cake stubbornly remaining in the pan. "No big deal" I think. Icing can fix all things in cakeworld.

So I begin my icing and I start to get quite confident. First mistake there. Oh, and I also did this fancy trick where you fold two sheets of wax paper under the cake so that you can slip them out from under it once you're finished icing which leaves a clean and tidy cake plate. At the end of the icing process the cake doesn't look too bad. It's leaning slightly but I think "hmm that can be fixed...I'll just give it a little push" and then comes "oh sh*t, oh sh*t". Yea people, I don't mess around when it comes to cakes, everything is that serious. Sooo then I try to slip the wax paper out from underneath the cake and the cake slides and starts to tear apart slightly. I frantically call for John, he doesn't respond. Apparently the Masters was turned up to a ridiculous volume. I call out again at a higher pitch and a tad more frantic. He moseys in and I quickly explain the situation and remind him that he's an engineer and that should be pretty helpful right now (another note to self: engineer does not equal miracle worker). So he tries his best and it starts to split and a huge hunk of cake comes out with the wax paper. I turn away for a second and see that John has the hunk of cake in hand and almost in his mouth. I shout "you can't eat that! I have to put it under the cake to even it out" then I decide against it, accept defeat and announce that I'm making another cake. John then promptly says "perfectionist much?". Umm pot calling the kettle black much? Can I get an amen people?

So I made another one. I refuse to ice it. I have officially handed it over to my neighbor to complete. I will never again attempt icing/decorating a cake (well at least not for like 3 years or so). Lesson learned.

your daily quote

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Steve Martin

(Very fitting for this particularly overcast day in the good ol' city of Pittsburgh.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

your daily quote

It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.

Dale Carnegie

a few things

1. We are now in the month of April. It has snowed here. Twice already this month.
2. I took Dixie for a walk earlier and it took me about an hour to defrost (partially my fault but mostly the weather's fault).
3. Why am I not really crafty like this?
4. My friend was telling me the other day that she made Ramen noodles and mixed in a cup of frozen peas with the water before it began boiling. Why haven't I thought of this already? As if I needed another reason to eat delicious Ramen noodles. Easy, cheap, fast and now pseudo-healthy? She told me this last week. I've already had them twice.
5. If you haven't tried this then you're really missing out.

6. I went to Old Navy this past weekend and they were having a nice little sale. I decided to raid the clearance section and thought I'd have a little fashion show for ya'll. (Also let it be known, I don't know a dang thing about a camera other than how to take the picture and how to view the pictures, so excuse the lackluster pics)

Bengals shirt for the hubs (btw why are they selling that in a Pittsburgh store?). He showed his extreme excitement with a smirk. Also, the khaki skirt that was a little more than $10.

Cute sundress for mmm $5 I think?

Close up of the fabric. Love me some gingham.

Nice striped long sleeve tee and dark gray skirt. Did I mention that I feel really awkward taking pictures of myself? Ok, good.

One solution for the ol' awkward self portrait.

2 skirts, 2 t-shirts, 1 long sleeve tee and 1 sundress for $42. Gotta love that.