Friday, June 29, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

A bit different this week, because honestly, not much good has happened (yet) this week - it's been a lot of working hard to not see results yet. But lots of good will be happening in the next week. 

Also, no theme.  My brain isn't doing themes right now.

I probably would have skipped it all together this week but I really wanted to link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog because I've so enjoyed "meeting" new bloggers and discovering their sites since I started linking up!

Top Five Favorite Things That Will Happen in the Next Week

1 - Today is the end of our fiscal year at work.  That means it's the culmination of all the work we've been doing in my office for the last year.  As a fundraiser, it's so rewarding to see gifts coming in from people you've been talking to all year.  If you haven't supported your alma mater later, make a gift today, no matter where in the fiscal year you are.   Trust me when I say you couldn't have gone to college without alumni support - even if you weren't a scholarship student.  Pass it on!
A little secret to my friends out there - if you make your gift right at the beginning of the fiscal year (Augsburg and Belmont peeps, this applies to you right now!) you won't get the "annoying" (in quotes because I love them!) phone calls asking for money, you'll cut down on the amount of mail you get, and you'll make a difference in the lives of students for the entire academic year!

2 - I'm moving today.  Finally.  I feel like I've been packing boxes forever, even if it's only been a week.  I cannot wait to live in a bug-free, air conditioned place again.  The 102 temps coupled with lack of central air probably explains why I'm so exhausted.  That does mean it's the last possible moment for you to weigh on the room layouts!

3 - The drive to Wisconsin this week will be long but therapeutic.  I can't wait to plug in the iPod, turn on archived NPR podcasts and get out on the open road.  I'm probably driving over night on Saturday night because I don't have AC in the car and the temps are supposed to be off the charts again.  Going to be a long night but also some much needed time to clear my head.

4 - Floating in Mom & Dad's pool.  Some of you know that I am ridiculously anal about wearing sunscreen.  This morning alone I put on my daily moisturizer (SPF 30), my facial moisturizer (SPF 20), and gradual fake-tan moisturizer (SPF 20).  When I leave to walk across campus later, I will spray myself down with SPF 50.  All of this is to say that I am usually the whitest person on the planet (hence the fake tanner), but my skin will be healthy when I'm old and I *fingers crossed* won't have to deal with skin cancer ever.  So even though I will be slathered up with ridiculous amounts of sunscreen and won't get a tan out of the pool-floating experience, I will get to relax at least a little.  Hopefully with a book and a fruity cocktail.  I've made it know that I will work 23 hours a day next week to be ready for the wedding as long as I get one hour every day in the pool. 

5 - T-minus 8 days til the wedding of the century!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Early Morning Musings

My girls and I are very used to being alone.  Just the three of us.  A little person-cat family with habits all our own.  Not really all that different than a person-child family.

Every morning, sometime between 4:00am and 6:00am, Charlie (the baby) wakes up, crawls up to my chest, looks lovingly into my face and lets out this truly pitiful, questioning “MEOW” that I have come to realize means “Mommy, is it time to get up and play yet?”  Typically, I pat her head until she snuggles into the crook of my arm and we drift off to sleep again.  At least until she wakes up a few minutes later and repeats her morning ritual.

Lady Bug (the older sister) will sleep as long as I sleep.  She harrumphs her way onto the bed every night, sprawls in the small space between my left side and the edge of the mattress, and falls asleep with her head rested on her paws.  Most mornings, I wake up to her squished between me and the edge of the mattress, sprawled to get the best angle of the fan, with her head on her paws – in absolutely the same position as the night before.  She meows a little meow at me and snuggles in until I’m ready to get up.  Lady knows that when I am ready to get up, the world will start moving very quickly around her and she relishes quiet moments like this.

Today, Lady Bug got up a bit before me.  When she realized she was up a little early, she climbed back on the bed and laid her head on my leg, waiting patiently until I got up and turned the bathroom faucet on for her morning drink of cool running water.  Charlie ran circles on the mattress, twisting and turning, rolling around to rub her head on the cool sheets, meowing and whining as if it was the greatest injustice that I was not yet ready to get up and play.

To be greeted by my babies every morning is a wonderful thing.  Every single day, I wake up knowing that where ever I am, I am home.  I may not have a husband or children, but I do have my own little family.  In the next four days, we will switch apartments again – this will be the fourth apartment Lady has lived in during her three short years of life – and then pack up the car to drive north to Wisconsin to see the family and celebrate my little sister’s wedding.  The girls will be with me for every step of the way, calming my stress and allowing me to calm theirs.  We will experience virtually the same morning ritual that we always do, only we will be in my parents’ basement instead of our own bed.  We will wake up every morning and have a bit of quiet time before the rest of the world intervenes.  It’s moments like these that I live for, that keep me grounded when the world seems a little too crazy for comfort.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Color Inspiration: 50 Shades of... Purple?

I hate how busy I am right now.  Combining busy-ness with lack of Internet, it means the blog is being put on the back burner.  I have so many things I want to write about.  The good news is that next week I'm on "vacation" (aka - the week leading up to the greatest wedding ever) so maybe I'll have a little more time to blog.  Let's hope I do.  I don't like neglecting my faithful readers.

Ok, back to the point of the post.

Last Wednesday, I showed off my Warm Watermelon inspirations.  Friends from college will attest to the fact that I was obsessed with anything pink at that time.  I still love warm, bright tones but I'm not as into the bubblegum pink anymore - thank goodness.

I've now moved on to purples.  My current apartment is almost all greys and purples.  The new apartment will be even more greys and purples.  One of the writers for Sex and the City once described their philosophy for decorating Miranda's house as making it look like a soft bruise - or something like that - and apparently I liked it because my house is the same way.  It's my philosophy that as long as it's in the purple family, it matches so at least it's not lavender on lavender or plum on plum or whatever.

Today, I needed a little bit of purple in my life.  It calms me.  I planned to wear a white linen shirt dress I just bought but didn't want to stick with the white belt that came with it and the predictable pumps that I originally paired with it.  Instead, I applied my purple-matches-purple philosophy and came up with these accessories.

Everything except the nail polish is ancient. 
  • The shoes, as you can see, have been worn to death but I love them.  If I remember correctly, my mom purchased them for me while I was still in college... from Sears.  
  • The belt was a rummage sale find that an old roommate left behind when she moved out.  
  • The necklace is Lia Sophia but was purchased while I was still in college.
Do they all actually match?  Probably not.  But the necklace has all of these shades of purple in it, the shoes aren't touching the belt and the nails are just finger nails, afterall.  So I don't care.

It's really livened up the basic white shirt dress.

If I were any good at taking photos of myself, I'd share the whole ensemble.  But alas, I'm not.  Sorry to disappoint.

(Let's also take a moment to see the larger view of the picture above... Yep, more purple).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

Hey friends!

No theme this week because, quite frankly, I'm too tired to be creative and theme-y.  Instead, I'll stick closer to the High Fives for Friday format that Lauren at From My Grey Desk uses.  Sorry if that disappoints in any way.

1.  I'm moving to this building!  (Also, my post from yesterday didn't publish somehow and it's a fun and interactive one so keep scrolling and enjoy yourselves.  At this point it's already a little outdated but it'll do!)

 2.  My baby sister gets married TWO WEEKS FROM TOMORROW!  Ah!!!  Way back when they got engaged (two years ago) I planned to write a post about them and it never happened.  Expect wedding posts soon.  Because really, after I move next week, that's all I'll be thinking about for a good week!

3.  That nail polish from yesterday is still a high-five.  Seriously.  It's rocking my world.

4.  The blog address has changed - subtly.  I started the blog before I had two little munchkins (the photo is from the first day I had Charlie.  My how they have grown.) and never got around the changing the address.  So I've finally added the "s" officially instead of just having an (s) in the title.  I needed to make the change now because.......

5.  My dear friend Lindsay (why do I always call her that when I write about her?!) is in the process of helping me revamp the blog.  Stay tuned, friends.  I'm jazzed about the upcoming changes and am so happy she's forcing me to stop procrastinating.  Even if she is a total pain in my butt for adding one more thing to the to do list right now.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Behold, The New Apartment

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a love / hate relationship with moving.  Like, I love living in my new places and trying new parts of various cities but I hate packing and the physical act of moving.

So I've decided to move yet again.  In a week.  Two days before I leave to go home for my sister's wedding.  During the busiest work week for the year.  Sheesh. 

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you've probably read my rants about my loud neighbors and the weird bugs I get in my current apartment and all of that.  I've done the pretty big, really old house with lots of character that costs a fortune to heat and cool for the last year so I'm changing to the opposite end of the spectrum.

I'm renting a studio in a high rise apartment building right down town.  In a building with an indoor pool and hot tub, one block from where I hang out ALL THE TIME and only 5 blocks from work.  Above the library.  (Which of course means more book reviews coming soon!)

Yes, downsizing is a little scary.  But I'll be saving money, will be in the heart of downtown, and have a killer view out my window.  You'll have to wait to see pictures until I'm all moved in an settled (exciting things coming your way, trust me!) but in the meantime, I need a little advice on this whole downsizing thing.

If you want to help with some furniture arrangement / give me some input on my ideas, feel free to click the link below.  If you'd rather be surprised, then don't.  Up to you!  (But really, I could use the help.)

Color Inspiration: Warm Watermelon

I have no been intentionally neglecting my dear blog after my meltdown last week.  In fact, I have about a dozen posts that I need to get to in the next two days - crazy things are happening around here!

Unfortunately we had a little incident involving a tiny little cat, a glass of water, and an internet router a few days ago so right now the internet is out at my house.  Considering that I'm moving in about a week (see "crazy things" above), I'm not worrying about fixing it before I leave.  But that of course means I only have internet access at work and work has been decidedly crazy as well.  Let me tell you, planning a move and helping to plan a wedding without the internet in this day-and-age* is pretty impossible.

Ok..... On to the point of this post.

All of my favorite bloggers do fun little vignettes about what they are wearing and how they got inspired.  I don't have that cute of clothes, nor am I good at taking pictures of myself.  But this morning I woke up with an a-ha moment and had to share.

My color inspiration for the morning was this beautiful nail polish that I just picked up for $1.47 at Walmart.  I'm obsessed.  It's my new favorite color.  I supposed we'd describe it as "Warm Watermelon."  It's the perfect melon color - and not the watered down, nasty fleshy pink watermelon.  The perfectly ripe, sitting out in the sun all afternoon, eating watermelon while watching fire flies watermelon.  Got it?

When I woke up this morning, I realized that I had shoes (Clearance $7 from Old Navy!) that exact color and a necklace I made years ago that was almost perfect.  I paired all of these with a plain white button-down shirt and black capris and wah la, it's a perfect outfit for a busy Thursday at work.

*I like how I say "this day-and-age" like I'm 85.  I'm obviously not.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Favorite Things Friday (Pizza!)

Remember a few weeks ago when I did the ice cream edition of FTF?  Let's keep going with the food theme, shall we?

I love pizza... Even more so than ice cream.  All kinds of pizza.  In my world, Dominos, frozen pizza, Brooklyn style pizza, stuffed crust...... all different foods.  I could eat each of those in one day and not feel like I ate the same thing over and over again.  I probably eat pizza 6 days a week and I'm not even ashamed about that.  It's the perfect food in my opinion.

So here, because I know you were wondering, are my favorite pizzas, in no particular order.  Just writing this post makes me want to travel to all of the places that I am so lucky to have called home or to have visited.

Best Pizza in Minnesota - Pizza Luce
Picture taken straight from their website.  Such a familiar sign - a little piece of home.
By far, one of the things I miss most about not living in Minneapolis.  Pizza Luce's Seward location was my own personal place of heaven in college.  It's amazing what you can get done over a large plate of delicious cheese bread and a side Caesar salad.  I wrote many a final paper in one of their over-sized booths, watching the world walk down Franklin Ave.

Fast forward to 2am when you've been drinking beer all night with your friends.  Nothing beats their Garlic Mashed Potato pizza.  Nothing. 

And if it happens to be 2am downtown, when you're waiting for your friends who are bartenders to get off of work and you're freezing outside because it's December and Minnesota is obviously cold in December, the Pizza Luce downtown serves food until 3:30.  In a town where bars close at 2:00, that's a godsend.

Best Pizza in Green Bay - Sammy's Pizza
(I was lucky enough to have this just a few weeks ago!)
This delightful family place is literally across from my parents' house.  We've been eating there since I was a kid.  In fact, my sister and I both went to preschool with the children of one of the owners and my mom waited tables there when I was a kid.  While the service has left a little to be desired the last few times I was home, you cannot beat their food. 

I highly recommend the Classic Combo pizza - fresh mozzarella, the most delicious pepperoni you have ever tasted, onions, green peppers, Italian sausage (which I don't even like anywhere else!), and fresh mushrooms.  I am a girl that likes a lot of toppings piled on my pizza.  The best thing about Sammy's is that you can have a boatload of toppings and not feel overwhelmed.  If you're anything like me, however, you will probably drop at least one piece of pizza covered with boatloads of toppings in your lap.  I think I've only made it through one dinner there without staining whatever I was wearing at the time.  It's just that good.

Plus, because it's Green Bay, you can get a pretty great glass of Chianti for only a few dollars to go with your pizza.  Always a perk!

Perhaps my favorite thing about Sammy's is that, while we think of it as a Green Bay original, it really isn't.  One late night in college, I was discussing "back home" with a friend and we discovered that she too had grown up on Sammy's pizza - only she was from Northern Minnesota.  Turns out it was the same family - small world.  You can get the whole story here, but it was worth mentioning.

Best Pizza in Lexington - Goodfellas
(Had this for lunch this week!)

Like I mentioned above, in my world Brooklyn style pizza isn't even in the same food group as other kinds of pizza.  On my occasions than I should probably admit, I have eaten Goodfellas for lunch and order Dominos for dinner.  But I digress...

Goodfellas quite possibly has the best lunch deal available in Lexington.  Their pizza is always hot and fresh-enough and a slice is as big as my head.  Literally.  Their lunch deal includes a slice of pizza, a beverage, and a side - usually a breadstick that is half as tall as I am, but sometimes if I'm feeling "healthy" I get a salad instead.  Or a cannoli.  Yum.

As I said, Goodfellas is "fresh-enough" - it's typical, thin crust, Brooklyn style pizza that isn't always 100% piping hot but is always gooey, greasy, and downright delicious.  They always have creative toppings (spinach artichoke is a favorite of my coworkers) but I stick with the classics.  Hawaiian or plain old pepperoni or, if I'm lucky, pepperoni and mushroom.

Best Pizza that You Can Get Delivered Almost Anywhere for When  You Want to Cozy Up in Bed with After a Long Day, When it's Raining or When You're a Little Hungover... - Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust
For any of the above occasions, I usually load on the toppings - Green Pepper, Black Olives, Mushrooms, and Ham
Or When You Just Want Beer and Pizza... 
You can't beat Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust with loads of pepperoni and a six pack of Bud Light.  They were MADE FOR EACH OTHER.

Best Side of Cheesy Bread that You Can Get Delivered Almost Anywhere - Domino's Stuffed Cheesy Bread with Spinach and Feta
Have you tried it yet?  No.  Order some now.  It's delicious.  Too bad I don't particularly care for Domino's pizza.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Have a Confession To Make...

So to the few people out there who are reading this, I have a confession to make.

All of this blogging lately has felt very forced. 

I'm feeling like I don't have a voice or anything interesting to say and I'm feeling downright not pretty enough, funny enough, creative enough, smart enough, fill-in-the-blank enough to even be trying right now.

Maybe it's because I decided recently I want to be a real blogger with a real point of view that people who don't know me want to read about.  So I start looking at all of these other people who are out there doing that in order to help determine my niche and I realized I'm never going to cut it. 

I can't take cute pictures of my outfits and put them out there because a) I don't have that cute of outfits and b) I am horrible at taking self portraits. 

I can't do anything fun and DIY-y because all of my DIY projects are taken from other people and that's just lame. 

My job isn't all the interesting and the parts that are, I can't really talk about out on the internet.

I'm not all that funny. 

I'm not a new mom - and I really don't want to be possibly ever.

I haven't been reading classic works of art that people want to hear about. 

I don't travel around the world having adventures. 

I'm not on a dating quest to find the perfect person for me.

I'm constantly looking to others for inspiration and am not all that inspiring myself.

I might just be the least interesting person on the internet.  I literally had a post scheduled about how I made lunch leftovers last for a week of meals.  (Don't worry - I'm sparing you from that one.) 

Maybe I'm just not cut out for this blogging thing. 

It's not only about the blogging.  Really, everything I've done lately has felt very forced, very inauthentic.  

My life lately has been filled with so many people doing so many wonderful things and I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels and am going nowhere.  I'm not good with mediocrity and that's what my life is filled with right now.  I might simply be "good" enough but that's never been okay with me.

So there.  This might be the most honest post I've written in a while.  Deal with it.

And stay tuned tomorrow for another Favorite Things Friday post.  Because really, I will keep trying.  For now at least.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Anti-Book Review

So as many of you know, this blog started as a way to review the dozens of books I read every month.  But right now I'm broke and am not living all that conveniently to a library so I pretty much subside on free (or very, very cheap) Kindle books.  Yes, I know I could go over to the library on campus and borrow some things but I never think of it until after work and then it's too late so free Kindle books it is.

The issue with free and very cheap fiction Kindle books is that they fall into a very very narrow categories -
  • Non-fiction B.S. (Example: Einstein's Refrigerator: And Other Stories)
  • Really trashy romance (Example: Intentions of the Earl, Scandalous Sisters Book 1)
  • Christian romance (Example: Paper Roses, Texas Dreams Book 1) No trash here, by the way.  These always sneak up you on!
  • Old classics that I've read 100 times and have no reason to review because you've also read them 100 times (Example: Anne of Green Gables)
Now don't get me wrong, I have been known to read all of these categories and have been reading a lot of all of these lately.  In fact, all of these examples came off of books currently loaded on my Kindle.  But they sure as heck are not worth reviewing on any sort of blog.

Every summer I got through a slew of really trashy, female-centered, romance mystery books.  They are the definition of "chick lit" and really, as embarrassing as this should be, I cannot get enough of them.  There isn't much in this world that is more fulfilling than sitting on my porch with a (insert name of favorite summer drink of the moment here) reading a book that I know I will finish in one sitting.  These books tend to have quirky female characters who get caught up in some sort of misadventure that usually involves a hunky cop /  fireman / other man in uniform (which I for one cannot get enough of).  Basically, they're the perfect beach read even if you aren't at the beach.

However, in the last couple of months I have read a number of these books that give me pause and cause me to vent here.

If you've taken the time to write 200 pages and gotten us wrapped up in the mystery and romance, why do you think it's appropriate to wrap up the storyline in a matter of 3 or 4 pages?!  If it was worth taking an entire book to lead up to the climax (literally and figuratively in most cases), what part of the author in your thought you should sum up the who-done-it story and the romantic relationship in a very brief, almost breezy ending?!

I won't share a specific story that does that because that's not the point.  I've read 3 or 4 series - not just individual books, but installments in a series - lately where this is the problem.  Every book leads into this huge climax and then the author gets tired of writing this particular story so they wrap it up in 3 or 4 pages and then expects us to want to keep reading the next book.  Which I suppose works, because usually I'm so confused by the quick wrap up that I end up reading more, hoping it will be explained in the next book.  (It never is, by the way.)

Just a tip to any authors out there reading this: 
Women want to savor things.  We eat ice cream slowly so as to taste every single bite.  We sip fine wine.  We take long, hot bubble bathes and revel in the relaxation.  We like leisurely strolls through the mall. window shopping for things we can never afford. 

We want the same thing in our books.  We lived and breathed the characters right up to the end.  Don't disappoint us by whisking dessert away before we've had time to digest it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Simplicity (New Collars and California Kitties Tags for the Girls)

It's been a while since I did a Saturday Simplicity post.  Probably because my life is far from simple right now.  So today I'm sort of going to do a SS post.  I say that because I really want to post more than a picture but that defeats the purpose of SS.  So here's the compromise.  The picture is below.  If you want the true SS experience, just stop reading.  If you want the full story (highly recommended of course!) and want to know where I got those beautiful tags for the girls, click the link below the picture to get the rest of the story!  (How's that for compromise...)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Favorite Things Friday (Living Alone)

Last Monday night, I was laying in bed relaxing when something totally freaked me out.

In fact, I was laying in bed, working on the blog post that follows (ironic, because this really was the topic) as well as one that will be published later about a book I recently read, snuggling with the cats,
when someone pounded on my door.
When you are a single girl who lives alone and isn't expecting company, that's a terrifying thing to happen.

When you are a single girl who lives alone, isn't expecting company, and are watching an episode of Cold Case that is about a serial rapist who attacks women who live alone, who he meets at book clubs, and have cats it might just give you a heart attack.

(For what it's worth, in case you missed the conclusion on Facebook, I think it was just the pizza delivery guy at the wrong apartment.  At least, that's what I'm still telling myself it was.  Because otherwise I still wouldn't be sleeping.)

Ok, on to the topic at hand.  Sometime living alone can be a bit too quiet or a bit freaky or just a bit boring.  But anyone who has ever lived alone knows there are some pretty great things about it too.  There's an episode of Sex and the City where the ladies discuss their secret single behavior and I know that all of my single girl friends (and guy friends I'm sure) know exactly what they mean.

I, for one, embrace my own weird single-girl who-lives-alone habits.  So today, I'd like to share some of my favorites.

Watching television shows mostly for the hot men - Criminal Minds may be my favorite show now but I am not afraid to admit that I started watching it specifically for this man, Shemar Moore:
Or more specifically, for his arms.  Because I definitely watch tv shows just because the men have great arms.  That's allowed when you live alone.  When my ex-boyfriend was around all the time, he didn't necessarily appreciate it.

Addition to watching television shows mostly for the hot men - Watching television shows in bed - I don't have a tv in my living room right now.  Why?  Because I am so tired at the end of the day anyway that all I want to do is snuggle up in bed and watch my shows (if I watch tv at all) so I just moved the big tv and dvr box into the bedroom.  At first I thought it was weird but I've decided it's fine.  It has to be, because it isn't going to change anytime soon.

Shower beers - I know for a fact that this is not something unique to single girls.  But it is something that I cannot even imagine doing if I had a roommate.  Because let's be real, you look weird taking a beer into the bathroom.  Except when you live alone and you're getting ready to go out it's not only necessary but not all that weird because there is no one there to judge.  Don't judge now.  Because if you haven't tried drinking a beer (or glass of wine or whatever you drink of choice is) in the shower either before you go out for the night or after you get home from a very long day, you're missing out.

Being able to eat just about anything you want - I'm not ashamed to admit I eat pizza pretty much every day.  And no one can tell me that's not ok.  (Stay tuned next week for the FTF pizza version!)

Being able to wear just about anything you want - I mean around the house, of course.  I can wear pretty dresses to do the dishes just because I want to (not that I'd ever do that of course............), or I can wear next to nothing because it's hot and I haven't turned on the AC, or I can change my clothes 4 or 5 (or 14 or 15) times before going out at night, or I can try on things just to plan out outfits for the next week.  There aren't any roommates to tell me it's weird or ugly or any of that.

Keeping weird hours - I have gotten some of my best house cleaning done at 4am.  Of course, with a roommate that would be rather annoying.  Honestly, the cats find it annoying too as every time I can't sleep and get up to accomplish something in the middle of the night, they burrow under the covers or hide in another room so that they can sleep even if I don't.

This is of course not a comprehensive list.  In fact, I've worked on this post for over a week off and on because trying to compile a list of things I love about living alone is actually pretty difficult.  Not because I don't have lots of things I love about it, but because it's hard to narrow down favorites.  Or to pinpoint what exactly is is that I love bout living alone in the first place.  It's just a feeling - a good feeling - of accomplishment, of freedom.

Update:  Linking up with Lauren at From my Grey Desk.  Her High Fives Friday is similar to what I do every Friday (it's obviously way cooler since I discovered her blog all of 5 minutes ago and am already obsessed) but the theme there is all the favorite things from the week but since my entire blog is basically giant high fives all the time, I'll stick with my FTF theme.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Lady Bug!

Lady turned 3 yesterday, which means I've had for a 2.5 years. 

The last 2.5 years have been pretty full (for me and for her, I'm sure considering that she's seen more of the world than some children at 3).  That's 2.5 years of moving, traveling and road tripping, working, snuggling, reading, arguing, and loving.  I didn't even like cats that much when I first got her and now I literally could not imagine my life without Lady and Charlie to go home to.  They really do make anywhere I'm living feel like home.

Below is a photo collage of some of our favorite moments in Lady's 3 years.  The day I brought her home, the day I brought Charlie home, outfits I've made her wear (my favorite moments, not hers), football games, days she came to work with me, driving to my parents' house, hours looking out the window at the world outside, and countless mornings and nights spent cuddling in bed.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Movie Review: Dear Frankie

If you didn't know, I have a not so secret obsession with films that have unique and mind-provoking story lines.  Ok, I have a not so secret obsession with movies in general (see my post on Battleship from a few weeks ago) but I really do like a good story.

I had the pleasure of spending last Sunday with my grandmother.  This grandma loves movies as much as I do.  She also has impeccable taste in attractive actors.  (When I was in middle school, I received her copy of People's Most Beautiful People issue in the mail, complete with post-it notes marking her favorites as well as mine.  She's a hoot.)  Her current favorite is Gerard Butler so to kill a few hours Sunday afternoon, we put in a favorite movie of hers starring her current favorite actor which I had never seen.

Dear Frankie is the story of a young, deaf boy who lives with him mother and grandmother.  While his father is not part of the family, the story is narrated by Frankie's letters to his "Da."  You learn early on that his Da is not really receiving the letters.  Instead, his mother has created an elaborate lie regarding why his father is not involved and is reply to the letters herself.

The story that follows is of a mother who is trying desperately to give her son the best possible life and a young boy who truly wants his mother to be happy.  Gerard Butler plays a stranger that the mother hires to act as Frankie's father.  The interaction between characters is heart-warming at its highs and heart-wrenching at its lows.  The movie is loaded with strong emotions and keeps you wrapped up in the story from the very beginning.

Dear Frankie is a simple film in that it focuses on a very short time period in a very small family's life together.  But the story that is woven for the audience is complex and (I thought) unpredictable.

The next cold and rainy day you have (it may be June but the weather has been beyond unpredictable), go out and rent Dear Frankie.  Curl up on the couch under a warm blanket, make a mug of cocoa, and prepare to have your heart warmed.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On the Road Again

Remember last month where I gave you the run down to a very quick trip to NYC?  Let's do the Wisconsin version of that, shall we?

Wednesday afternoon, I loaded up the car and made the trek up to Wisconsin again.  The 4.5 day trip went something like this... (read in letter order, not in order from top to bottom - it's a bit of a brain teaser)

I can't help but feel like my life is being lived in the car lately.  Good thing I don't mind driving!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Favorite Things Friday (Ice Cream)

I've been pretty bad at posting these the last few weeks.  Really, I've just been busy and when you don't even think about what you'd write until midnight on Friday night, it's a bit of a moot point.  But this week I didn't want to skip it!  Because let's be real, this post is important.

I live in Kentucky where last weekend had a string of days that were all over 90 degrees and I have yet to turn on my air conditioning.  We didn't have central air growing up so I've learned to survive the heat.  Plus last summer, I tried to use my air and it never worked that well - it would run all day and the house would still be 85 degrees - so it basically just made my electric bill go from $50 monthly to $200 monthly.  Not something I really want to deal with or can afford right now.

So last Sunday I used the heat as an excuse to eat ice cream off and on all day, in the end sampling three different flavors.  Ice cream to me is its own separate food group.

So without delay, here are my top five favorite ice cream flavors.

Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra While not as scandalous as it sounds, it is as seductive.

I have been known to eat an entire pint of this ice cream after a really bad day - especially if that day was really bad because of problems with a man.  This flavor is half chocolate ice cream, half caramel ice cream with bits of chocolate sprinkled throughout and a solid core of creamy caramel in the center.

Basically, it's a pint of PMS-curing goodness.  I highly recommend eating this flavor while up to your neck in a bubble bath.  Not that I speak from experience.

Culver's Single Scoop of Chocolate in a Waffle Cone - I will admit that part of why I was willing to move to Lexington without knowing anyone was because they have two Culvers locations here. When I lived in Nashville, I would drive all the way to Bowling Green, KY just for a butter bacon cheese burger and chocolate custard.  Lately, everyone in Lexington is on a frozen yogurt kick.  I don't care if it's better for me, I don't like fro-yo that much. 

I'm a custard fan because I love how thick and creamy it is.  This flavor is best eaten on a park bench while people watching.  And always in a waffle cone - it makes me think of my grandfather who was quick to point out that when you get it in a waffle cone, they have to give you more than a single scoop in order to fill up the cone.

Haagen Dazs Fat-Free Raspberry Sorbet - My one exception to the ice cream / custard favorites is sorbet.  Really, I love any raspberry sorbet but Haagen Dazs makes a special one.  It's especially wonderful because it's fat free, dairy free, and extra delicious.  Sorbet is so incredibly delicious when it's 90 degrees out because it's refreshing.

Raspberry sorbet is best eaten out of the carton, while sitting on the front porch enjoying a glass of wine.  It's also pretty great to eat in bed while sharing tiny bits with the cats.  Again, not that I know from experience.

Cold Stone Creamery's Cheesecake Fantasy (with a few modifications) - The way this combination is on the menu (and what is pictured to the left) it has blueberries.  I love blueberries but I tried a bit of a modification once and it stuck.

I make my cheesecake goodness with the cheesecake ice cream, strawberries, graham cracker crust, and caramel.  Only in this case, it's in a dish because a waffle cone or bowl is just too much.  I have been looking for cheesecake ice cream that is half this good anywhere else and have yet to find it.  This flavor is best eaten with a big group of friends or family - I save Cold Stone for special occasions usually.

Mint Chocolate Chip - Up until now, I've been rather specific in my favorites.  Last but not least, is any mint chocolate chip.  I prefer the real mint kind - which is white instead of green - but any and all mint chocolate chip will do.  It's especially good when it's ridiculously hot out and it gets all melty and soupy before you have a chance to eat it.  

Can you think of any especially good flavors that I'm missing?

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