April 28, 2011

Things I love...

So...we already know I have a slight Pier 1 obsession. But did you also know I'm obsessed with Pottery Barn catalogs? Yes, I said the catalog, not the store. I can count on one hand the times I've been in an actual Pottery Barn store, but I read the catalog likes it's the newspaper. I love everything they have to offer. I love the way they put things together. I love their style. Well...I just love Pottery Barn.

I own exactly two items from PB. One I purchased online and one I purchased in the store. My online purchase was a CD tower that looks like an apothecary cabinet. I have since given it new life as a jewelry box because CDs are like so 1995. My store purchase was a clearance table top apothecary cabinet to match the CD tower. I've always used it on my desk at work to hold rubber bands and paper clips. I love them both, but they were NOT cheap. Even on clearance. And, if I'm being honest, which I am, I'm pretty cheap. Tight. Stingy. Or frugal if we're being nice. I will spend GOBS of money on purses and shoes, but beyond that everything should cost 2 bucks. If everything cost 2 bucks, the world would be a happier place.

My favorite thing to do with the catalog is "borrow" their ideas.

I used this idea for a wall arrangement in my living room. I was looking at the Fall catalog and this is the Spring edition, but it's still fairly similar.

My version includes lots of Coke memorabilia, of course, because I love Coke more than life itself. Ok, maybe not that much, but it definitely ranks right up there at the top. Along with bacon. Oh, and my family.

This is still a work in progress or a WIP as I like to say, but honestly most of my house is a WIP. I don't have the table on the right anymore because I found a super cool set that I'm currently refinishing. Someday I'll have the sofa recovered, but I can't decide on a color or pattern so I'm sticking with the 1970s yellow and green for now. It actually doesn't look that bad and you would totally agree with me if I were to show you the rest of the room... I'm also not in love with the butter cream-esque paint color, but it's what came with the house and the thought of painting all those walls wore me out. Painting is definitely going to be a down the road a ways project.

This is another idea I want to "borrow." I already have the secretary which my mom gave to me so it was my favorite price of all next to 2 bucks! FREE! But I've been struggling with filling the shelves in a functional yet stylish way, and this is just the ticket. I can probably even do this from items I already own which is even more FREE!

I also love a mismatched table and chairs. I already have a table similar to this that belonged to my grandparents. Currently, I have the same chairs sitting around it that my grandparents used, but they're kinda dainty feeling. The seats are cane and the legs are spindly and it's not that they aren't beautiful chairs it's just that I don't feel comfortable sitting in them for more than a few minutes at a time. And considering I sit at that table for hours at a time working on different craft projects I would love to have something more comfortable and eclectic feeling.

Like these perhaps...

Oh, wait! I already have 6 of these babies. I paid less than half price for them too! I love, love, love them, and I desperately want to put them around my pedestal table, but I think my mom would have a heart attack if I used chairs other than what the table came with since it all belonged to her parents. Oh well, maybe someday I'll work up the courage.

I also love these light fixtures...

I'm sure I could figure out how to make either one of these myself and save a ton of money. I especially love the one made from jars. So clever!

And these...oh man! If I had a Money Tree it would definitely be buying me one of these babies to go in my dining room!

I love me some PB. Pottery Barn. Peanut Butter. Pretty Boy. It really doesn't matter. PBs are ALL good in their own way, but the first one...it's great for inspiration, and if you have the Money Tree I wish I had growing in your backyard just buy it all and send me pictures so I can drool over them.

April 26, 2011

MOH Chronicles: Part 1

Always a bridesmaid and never a bride? More like always the flower girl and never the bridesmaid for this girl! Ha! I've been a flower girl four different times (a super cute one!), but this will be my first stint as a bridesmaid, AND I'm Maid of Honor, to boot!

Who's getting married? One of my nearest and dearest friends, Jesse. The wedding plans have been underway for a while now, but I've only recently begun any preparation and planning on my part. I know, I know...I should be more involved, but we live one thousand, two hundred seventy three miles apart. More than a hop, skip, and a jump for sure, so it makes it hard for me to be involved more than just phone calls here and there.

But, before you tell me I'm the worst MOH ever, I am making her veil so that should totally earn me some MOH brownie points. :-)

Never having been a bridesmaid before I don't really know exactly what I'm supposed to do or if there is some specific order I should do things in so I've basically been flying by the seat of my pants. Not something I do easily. Being overly strange with obsessive tendencies will do that to a person. Plus, since I've been doing Weight Watchers to get rid of this extra person I'm carrying around on my hips, thighs, and butt I didn't want to start dress shopping too early.

Anyway, this is what I've accomplished so far:

1. Purchase various items for veil making
2. Purchase bride gift (no, Jesse, I will not tell you what it is!)
3. Lose 24 pounds!!! Go me!!!
4. Buy my dress
5. Nothing yet, but I think having a 5 on my list makes me look like I've been busy

I feel like I've really made headway now that the dress is ordered, and let me tell you, those chicks at David's Bridal sure thought I was a crazy for ordering my dress in April for a July wedding. I say it fits right in with my need to procrastinate. How does someone who is overly strange with obsessive tendencies deal with procrastination? Very well. Very well, indeed.

Without further ado, here's the dress.

I would like to say those are my legs, but I would be lying... The dress on the left is what I'll be wearing and the sash and peek-a-boo skirt from the dress on the right will be paired with it.

I'm thinking I could rock this bridesmaid bit and start a business. Bridesmaids For Hire. I would totally call them.

And now, I will entertain all of you with my favorite Jesse pictures. She's a hoot and a holler, and even though she's totally turning into a Yankee she'll always be a good ol' Southern girl in my eyes.

This is my favoritest picture of us ever. (Jesse is on the right)

And this is my secondest favoritest picture of us ever... Don't you just love Jesse's sunglasses? I tried them on, but they just made me look like a freaky bug. I can't wear hats without looking like some kind of freaky square headed weirdo either. It's a curse. It truly is.

My third favoritest picture of us is up there at the top with my profile info. Check it out.

This is a typical Jesse face. I told you she's a hoot and a holler!

Oh, Jesse, how you make me laugh. :-D

Have you ever seen anyone this happy to be in Pennsylvania? Jesse is ALWAYS this happy!

I love, love, love this picture, and not just because I took it and it turned out ok, but also because it's just beautiful. The scenery is beautiful (Niagara Falls) and Jesse is beautiful. Love it!

And last, but not least, my most favoritest picture of Jesse of all time, and I took it too!

The glasses really make it, don't you think?

Part 2 will be headed to a theater near you. Or a web page. Whatever. It's coming. That's what matters. As soon as I get my rear in gear, that is.

April 25, 2011

McAlister's Monday

Ah, Monday. The beginning of the week. The reminder that I have to work for a living. The most evil of all days....well, really you aren't ALL bad. You're just a day, after all, and besides I almost always go to McAlister's on Monday so I almost always have that to look forward to. So, see? You're not ALL bad, you're just not as good as say, a Friday or a Saturday, but you'll do.

A couple months ago I wrote about my love for McAlister's Tea. Specifically unsweet tea with no lemon or as I like to say: Tea, straight up, on the rocks, no lemon. Now, being from The South or close to The South, anyway, you would think I would be all over the sweet tea, but sweet tea is right up there with lettuce in my book. The hatred I feel for it is deep and knows no bounds.

Why does it know no bounds? It's your lucky day because I'm here to tell you!

First, I would just like to say that the amount of sugar which goes into the making of tea to make it sweet is utterly ridiculous, and in my personal professional opinion if someone is going to drink something with a pound of sugar in it they might as well drink a full flavored soda (for those of you who don't speak Amanda-ese, that means non-diet) or one of those nasty energy drinks or a melted Popsicle in a glass.

So this one time...not at band camp I was spending the night at a friends house. Her name was Misty and she lived across the street from my grandma. She was older than me and like so totally cool with her acid washed jeans, oversized t-shirts, neon scrunchies, and crimped hair. I would beg my grandma to let me spend the night with her before we would leave on our Summer harvesting excursions and be gone for 3 months (I really need to make a point of telling that story so people won't think my parents ignored me for months on end). Well, one evening I head on over to Misty's house and she asks me if I would like a drink. Since I didn't want to be rude and I'm always thirsty, I said, "sure!"

What you need to know before I continue is that my entire family drinks unsweet tea. My grandma's on both sides make unsweet tea and my parents make unsweet tea and I make unsweet tea. We're just one big family of unsweet tea makers/drinkers.

Misty hands me this big glass of iced tea and I take a huge gulp. Yum! My little heart soared. I had never tasted anything so delicious in all of my years. After I inhaled the whole glass I asked her what it was and she said, "sweet tea, of course." My brain did not comprehend what she was saying. "What is sweet tea?" I asked so she told me, "you brew the tea like usual and then add sugar making it sweet." I couldn't believe how easy it was to make this amazing beverage. I wanted more and more and more. I drank sweet tea that night until I was floating in it. And then I went back to grandma's house and proceeded to make my own sweet tea.

But, I didn't know the proper measurements...

First, I poured what was probably 20 ounces of regular tea.

Then I began to scoop in sugar by the tablespoon.

I added one...

And then another...

And then another...

And then another...

And then another...

And then another for good measure.

By the time it was all said and done I had about 6 tablespoons of sugar in a 20 ounce glass of tea.

I gulped that sweet sugary bit of bliss like it was the last drop of moisture on Earth, and then I started to feel sick. Really sick. Vomit-y sick.

I spent the next few hours in the bathroom hugging the toilet.

I don't remember what my grandma was doing during all of this, but this was the same grandma who tried to force me to eat lettuce so maybe she was standing by and letting me learn my lesson. Who knows?

What I do know is this: I despise sweet tea. What I once, for one whole day, thought was the most delicious beverage to ever roll across my tongue is now hated as much as the dreadful lettuce. If there is so much as a speck of sugar or sweetener in my tea I will taste it, I will gag, and I will refuse to drink anything from that glass until it is washed. I also know that I have issues and I can admit it, but as I always say, it's just part of my charm. :-)

April 19, 2011

Lettuce Hate

So, I know it's not nice and polite and all that good stuff to hate anything, but I HATE lettuce. I despise it with every fiber of my being.

Side note: I used to think when people said fiber of my being that they were actually saying fiber of my BEAN and I couldn't figure out why they were talking about their beans like that. I mean what did beans ever do to anyone besides make them a bit...musical?

I'm sure you've noticed my references to my hatred for lettuce here and there and how I think it's a completely ridiculous food product that's only really useful as a green landscape for displaying other types of food like ribs or pork butt, and I'm sure you've wondered why this is, so because I'm me and I love to talk...oh, you didn't know that about me? I suck all of the oxygen out of a room according to my daddy...I'm going to tell you just how much I truly HATE lettuce.

The year was...a long time ago. I was 10ish so 1992ish maybe? I don't recall the specifics so just work with me.

It was summer time.

I was on harvest with my grandparents somewhere in Kansas or Colorado or Nebraska or Montana, but that's a whole other story for another day.

One day for lunch my grandma decided I needed to try to be more healthy with my food consumption. What did this mean exactly? Well, along with the fried chicken and fried potatoes and buttered slabs of bread she thought I should be eating a lettuce salad. I have to specify that it was lettuce salad because she also made things like orange glow salad (I think that's what she called it) which was nothing more than shredded carrots in orange jell-o. In a word: sick.

The thing is, even at that early age I did not eat lettuce. I would eat plenty of other vegetables (if you can even call lettuce a vegetable...), but no leaves for me please.

So there I am sitting at the table with this bowl of lettuce in front of me. Literally, it was nothing but lettuce. Grandma says, "now, when you eat that you can get up." I could not believe this was happening to me! She had never done this before. She had never forced me to eat anything I didn't want. My own mother didn't force me to eat food or sit at the table until I was finished. It was just not something that ever happened to me. My poor little 10ish year old heart was torn asunder. I sat there staring at that bowl of pure evil for what felt like hours. My lip trembled, tears swam in my eyes, I was a sad little soul. And then I spied the ranch dressing. I proceeded to pour the whole bottle into my bowl until the lettuce leafs were actually floating in a sea of ranch.

Finally, I picked up my fork, I stabbed a piece of ranch drenched lettuce and shakily brought it up to my mouth. I stuck out my tongue to give it a little taste. Yes, like a snake would do. I was a weird child. The taste was SICK. I hated it. I wanted to die. Even with the ranch I could still taste the lettuce. I threw the fork back into my bowl and sat there for 50ish more years until thank goodness! my grandma finally let me get up and throw that nasty stuff in the trash.

She never tried to make me eat lettuce again. To this day I'm not sure what that whole thing was about, but I do know this...it scarred me for life. Also, to this day, if there is even so much as a sliver of lettuce hiding on or in any of my food, I will taste it and throw an inner tantrum (that's a tantrum no one can see, in case you were wondering). I will spend more time picking lettuce out of my food than it would have taken me to just eat it, that's how much I HATE it.

Here she is, the woman who magnified my hatred for the green leafy stuff, but I love her anyway. :-)

P.S. Contrary to popular belief, ranch dressing does NOT always make things taste better.

April 16, 2011


Ok, I'm finally going to write about this before I forget. The first weekend of April for as many years as I can remember, my dad participates in the Blaze-a-thon at the Elk's Lodge. It's a BBQ contest for anyone who is willing to pay the entry fee. Friday night is for fun and Saturday is for competition.

From my perspective, it's one big BLD extravaganza!

This is my Daddy's smoker. He built it with my Pop-po (his dad) in the late 90s. I love it and the memories it carries. Plus, it smokes up some mighty tasty BLDs.

And, here's my Daddy. The head chef. He always looks like that when I'm around. I think I confuse him...

This is Robbie, aka my second dad, aka sous chef.

This is my mom. Isn't she adorable? She's the keeper of the peace and the placer of the meat upon the lettuce. It's a very important job.

And...my younger, but not so little, brother. He's the fire watcher and giver of his all mighty (or so he thinks) opinion.

Placing meat upon the lettuce. You know, lettuce is really only good for decorative purposes. Those of you who are eating it thinking it's healthy are being fooled with every bite.

What?! That's not a BLD! That's chicken! What is going on?! ...we interrupt this broadcast to bring you breaking news. Apparently there are wimps in this world who can't handle the pork, the BLD, the bringer of bacon. They think they need chicken. Please provide it and perhaps we will give you a ribbon. If you win. If not, you can feel good about yourselves for placing the blasphemous chicken so neatly upon the lettuce...

Ah, pork ribs. The fourth best thing next to bacon. Y-U-M

They're so sweet and innocent upon their bed of lettuce. And delicious.

Oh. My. Word. Look. At. That. Specimen. Of. Beauty. Pork butt, aka pork shoulder, aka the third best thing next to bacon. YUMM-O

Please don't mind my drool. I just love pork!

And now, I will show you a few of the other smokers I deemed worthy of snapping a picture.

Mmmm, nothing quite like smoked dinosaur for breakfast.

And now, something so completely and utterly rude and crude I will show it to you without commentary because I'm sure you don't need me to point out the obvious...

I'm not going to comment. I swore I wouldn't. I'm just not going to do it.

Oh, who am I kidding???

Who builds an anatomically correct dog smoker complete with balls???

I'll tell you who. Men.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I hope I've left you salivating for some scrumptious BLDs, and seriously considering removing lettuce from your diet, but most of all I hope you're wondering just what IS the best thing next to bacon?

And once again, to all of you non meat eating individuals out there, I'm sorry I've subjected you to this awesome display of cooked meat, but I just couldn't help it. I don't understand people who willingly eat lettuce and I never will.

April 13, 2011

My 'hood

Every day after work when I head South to come back to my lovely little humble abode I drive by this mobile home park called "The Neighborhood." And every day it makes me giggle. Not to be confused with a laugh. It seriously makes me giggle. Like a little school girl.

I'm not sure why I think this is so funny. Maybe it's because the font is all scrolly and victorian and pretty. Almost like they're trying to really class up the place. And, in case you were wondering I have absolutely nothing against mobile homes. There's practically one on overy corner around here along with banks and Subways. Plus, I used to live in one up until the day I signed the papers on my spectacular house. Can you tell how much I love my house yet?

Anyway, it's just crazy funny that this dinky little run-down mobile home park would call itself "The Neighborhood" and use such feminine font on their sign.

So...I've decided my 'hood needs a name, but then I decided I don't really care if my neighbors have a cool name with ridiculous font on the sign I just care that my little corner of the world has a cool name with ridiculous font on the sign, and I have already come up with my name.

Are you ready?

The Grotto

Yep. I don't even know what a grotto is. I just like the word. I like the way it sounds and the way it's spelled and I think it would look fabulous in ridiculously scrolly and feminine font on the sign I plan on placing at the entrance to my driveway. Don't think I won't do it...

Excuse me while I go google Grotto. I simply can't use it if it means something like eater of lettuce.

Ok, I'm back.

According to Wikipedia (and we all know how much I believe in anything that rhymes with Encyclopedia...) a grotto is:  any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide.

Hmmm, I will not let this deter me from calling my 'hood The Grotto! I have a storm cellar which totally counts as a cave (and if this drought would ever end I would know if it floods) and I have a water hose which shooots out...well, water. Cave. Water. What else do I need? Oh, and my house was built in the 70s so that totally makes it prehistoric right? No? Well, whatever, it's older than me and in my personal, professional opinion that counts. I'm considering this a done deal.

I'm off to make a sign. See ya next time at... The Grotto!

April 12, 2011

Slice and Dice

The other night I was having a terrible time going to sleep. Actually, this is a nightly problem for me. Perhaps I shouldn't have that hot cup of java before I lay down? Wait...I don't drink coffee. Maybe I should stop watching scary movies right before I turn off all of the lights for the night? Wait...I only watch scary movies in the daytime and that's rare. Or I could shut off the light switch that runs my brain? That would work...if I could find that switch. Is there a brain shutter offer switch installer in the yellow pages? I'll check into it.

So, this not being able to fall asleep thing is typical, but the other night was not at all typical. Not only could I not go to sleep, but each and every time I closed my eyes I could visibly see myself getting a paper cut.

On my eyeball.


I despise paper cuts. I would go so far as to say I'm afraid of paper cuts. Similar to my fear of glass, the thought of being on the receiving end of a paper cut or having to hear about a paper cut makes me cringe. Literally. My face scrunches up and I try to fold my body in on itself. It's a real fear people. I'm sure of it. I bet it's in all the important science books.

It's probably called something like... paper cut phobia. I was really creative on that name, huh?

Wait! I just found this phobia website and it's given me hope that I'm not a freak!

Here are the names for my glass phobia: Hyelophobia, Hyalophobia or Nelophobia

Unfortunately, for my self esteem, there isn't one for paper cut phobia, but there's one for paper: Papyrophobia which I will now modify and make my own so I can feel whole again. I don't speak Latin, but I used an online translation thing and it says the word for cut is: incidere so I will now attempt to combine it with Papyrophobia to create my new word.

Do not look away from your screens. This will only take a few seconds and you should come through the episode with your brains fully intact and your tray tables in their upright and locked positions.




Whew! That was hard. I might need to take a break after that. Kidding, kidding! Of course, I have no idea how to pronounce Papyroinciderephobia, but I'm going with it. It makes me feel like a whole new person to have a name to go along with my ridiculous fear.

Until next time...beware the paper. It's sharper than it looks...

April 10, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Yesterday was my Grandma's 83rd birthday. I meant to actually write this ode to her yesterday on her day, but I was at the Blaze-a-thon, a local BBQ contest which I'll write about later, with my family until late afternoon, then I went to a baby shower for my friend Mandy, and then I proceeded to take a two hour nap so blogging was just not on my agenda, but I'm sure Grandma won't mind if I'm a bit late.

This is my grandma back in the day. Wasn't she gorgeous?

And skinny? I hate her just a tiny bit for being that skinny, but I mostly love her so it's ok.

When I was a little girl I would go visit her and Grandpa for the weekend. Grandma would wash my hair in the kitchen sink. I loved it. She would also let me use her Estee Lauder body powder after I took my bath and I would put it on till I looked like a ghost, but she never said it wasn't ok.

There was always something so calming and soothing about being at her house. It was always quiet and cool and comfortable. In the mornings when I would wake up I could hear her and my Grandpa talking over their morning coffee and the sound of their voices was so comforting. Then I would go out in the den and curl up on the couch next to Grandma and she would "scratch" my arms and hands with her fingernails. I don't know why, but that is one of the best feelings in the world.

Looking back I wish I had visited more often, but I'm not sure I would appreciate the visits I did have as much if I had been there all the time.

During the summer visits we would all go sit out on the back porch after I had eaten dinner and had my bath. I loved that as well. I always felt a little scandalous being outside in my pajamas even though only my grandparents could see me.

I love talking to Grandma, especially when she's talking about kitchen type things because she pronounces some words so funny. Like when she says we need to make some ROOM in the freezer it comes out like this we need to make some RUM in the freezer. Rum! Ha! My cousin Jessica and I have made fun of her for this for years. The lush. Also, she says suh-redded cheese instead of shredded cheese. Unfortunately, Jessica and I are the only two people on Earth who think our Grandma is hilarious. What can I say? We're special that way.

Happy 83rd Birthday Grandma! I'm sorry I'm a day late, and I hope you had an amazing day and have many more to come you gorgeous lady!

And...I'll forgive you for being so skinny back in the day since I love you so much.

April 8, 2011

A Very Merry Un-Birthday To Me

A few months ago I decided the time in my life had come to grow up and become a real adult. Ok, not really, but I did decide to start thinking about buying a DSLR camera . I've been harassing politely discussing with my mom the possibility of us sitting for family pictures for quite some time now and she slaps me and says not only no, but HELL NO just doesn't seem to be feeling it so if I can't take my family to the photographer I'll have to BE the photographer. For this endeavor my sweet little Nikon Coolpix just wasn't going to cut it. It takes a decent picture, but I don't want decent, I want fabulous!

I'm sure you can guess what's coming right? If you guess a camera, you're the winner of a pat on the back! Go you!

And here she is! What a beauty!

I went with the Nikon D90 because it's a bit more than beginner, but not so crazy I won't be able to figure it out. Plus, it should grow with me while I'm learning and becoming even more amazing than I already am. What's that? You think I'm full of myself? You haven't seen anything yet! Ha!

And for your viewing pleasure I will now show you the first pictures taken with my new beauty of a camera.

First we have...me! Sure, my nose is shiny and I'm missing the top part of my head, but at least I was first, dangit!

And then we have....the top of my cup from lunch. what can I say? I know true art when I see it.

Next, are many, many, many, many, many pictures of my lamp shades. Hey, I was just working with what I had, people. It was night. There were no lights. I didn't want to use flash. I'm a beginner. I could do this all day, but I won't.

Finally, I used this cute little snowman as my model. He was very cooperative and held his pose just so while I snapped away. I'll bet he gives lessons on posture too.

In conclusion (my BCOM teacher thinks you should end everything with this phrase so I'm testing it out), my first 20 pictures are nothing to get overly excited about, but I'm convinced the next 20 will be better, and the 20 after that will be even better, and then the next 20 after that...yeah, you get the idea.

Oh, yes, and a Very Merry Un-Birthday to me!!! I just love buying myself presents!