Friday, April 29, 2011

Wed to perfection

It’s here and gone. Royal Wedding Day 2011. I wasn’t one of the billions of sleep-deprived people to wake up and watch it live, but I did catch most of the highlights and saw the kiss live this morning. In my opinion, the best moment, which I actually caught live while at work (thanks boss for being as excited about the wedding as me), was seeing William and Kate in their getaway convertible, elated and somewhat amused that they surprised everyone by driving off by themselves. With foil balloons trailing behind, plastic bows firmly affixed and a JU5T WED license plate, they managed to incorporate a fun element into the staunchly formal affair. They looked like a couple of kids having fun with daddy’s fancy car, and that made them relatable, human, like a couple of really cool friends of mine just got married, albeit the getaway car was some kind of vintage Aston Martin.

{via Pinterest}
Of course, what I was most eager to see was THE wedding dress, which ended up not really being about the dress at all. Sure, the dress was absolutely flawless, but it was an adorning embellishment to the bride and merely highlighted and enhanced her natural beauty. Unlike Princess Diana, where the yards of silk taffeta and tulle swallowed her up and weighed her down, Kate seemed comfortable in a dress that flowed effortlessly with her. She looked breathtakingly beautiful, radiant and oh-so-elegant, as well as modest. The simple satin, classic lace, timeless silhouette. She looked the part of a modern-day fairytale princess bride and did it in her own style, which exuded classic elegance, likely to stand the test of time. This leads me to my next installment in the list series.

30 Timeless Fashion Staples/Trends that I LOVE:
1.    Pearls
2.    Ruffles
3.    Lace
4.    Silk
5.    Diamonds
6.    Bows
7.    Satin
8.    Feathers
9.    Ribbon/Sashes
10.   Pumps
11.   Cardigans
12.   Ballet flats
13.   Scarf/Pashmina shawl
14.   Little Black Dress
15.   Pencil skirt
16.   Trench coat
17.   Denim jeans
18.   Plain white fitted t-shirt
19.   Collared button-down shirts
20.   Capri pants
21.   Sunglasses (oversized & aviator)
22.   Jean jacket
23.   Designer leather purse (Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc.)
24.   Wrap dress
25.   Fitted blazer
26.   Hoop earrings (gold or silver)
27.   Turtleneck
28.   Classic watch
29.   Pea coat
30.   Flowers

One British trend that I haven’t quite embraced are those over-the-top hats that all the women wore at the Royal Wedding. They look really fun, but I’m just not quite sure I could pull that off anywhere here. Check out the interesting styles…

Did you miss out on the wedding and want to know the play-by-play of the ceremony? Here is the official program of the Royal Wedding…

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal wedding frenzy

Have you heard? There’s a wedding on Friday…it’s kind of a big deal. Actually, it would be hard for you not to have heard anything about it if you watch any TV, listen to the radio, surf the Internet or go grocery shopping. Virtually every magazine cover in the checkout line is plastered with photos and headlines of the big event. For those of you hiding under a rock…there’s this prince, and he’s going to marry this non-royal commoner, who will become a princess on Friday. It’s the stuff of fairytales and happens maybe only once in a lifetime. I think that’s what’s making people crazy and obsessed over this whole royal wedding deal. It’s the biggest wedding of the year, unless of course you’re getting married this year – then I’m sure you probably think your wedding takes the cake.  

To top it off, the bride and groom are both ridiculously beautiful-looking people. Kate is classy, stylish and has an air of simplicity and sophistication about her…a natural princess. I even like that she goes by “Kate,” instead of the less formal and more common “Katie” or the stuffier and more pretentious “Catherine.” William is handsome, seems to be a gentleman, and really, who can resist a prince…especially with a British accent (Don’t British accents automatically add a few points to your attractiveness rating)? We’ve been brainwashed by Disney movies as little girls to want to be princesses when we grow up. I admit that I used to have quite a crush on Prince William as a pre-teen and planned our imaginary wedding in my head. It involved a lot of silk and fresh flowers.

I’m rather enamored with the whole royal wedding thing myself and am a little taken in by the frenzy. In fact, if I didn’t have to be a grown up with an 8-to-5 job, I would probably stay up really late, invite some friends over and have a sleepover viewing party with tea and crumpets and everything. Alas, I will have to settle for the countless reruns and recaps that, I’m sure, will dominate television over the weekend.

If you’re lucky enough to be having a royal wedding watch party, you can find some really pretty free printables for your party at the amazingly impressive Hostess With The Mostess blog…here & here. Some lovely images from the site…
As with anything, there are always those people who take the obsession to a whole new level. Here are some examples of the craziness as a result of the upcoming royal nuptials:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What a spud

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted a recipe on here. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking. I have, but for some reason, some strange phenomenon happens when I cook. I follow the directions step-by-step, and then oddly enough I end with something that looks nothing like and (I don’t think) tastes anything like the recipe. Isn’t cooking just following a set of directions? Easier said than done. Let’s just say that some of the recipes I tried weren’t exactly successes. However, once in a while, I’ll make something that’s worthy of a blog mention.

Recently, maybe since the weather’s warmed up some, I’ve had a craving for some potato salad - a summer cookout staple. Also, it’s a good way to use up some of those leftover Easter eggs you might have. The first place I turn to for recipes is the Internet, since there is no shortage of cooking and recipe websites. is one site that I’ll sometimes visit to find quick and easy recipes. I found a pretty simple potato salad recipe and adapted it a little so that it would be a little healthier.

Creamy Red Potato Salad

3 lbs. clean, scrubbed red potatoes
1 package of turkey bacon, cooked
6 eggs, hard boiled
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups fat free or low fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and set in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. Peel and chop hard boiled eggs. Crumble cooked bacon and set aside.
  3. Chop the cooked potatoes, leaving skin on. Add to a large bowl, along with the eggs, bacon, onion and celery.
  4. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Chill for an hour before serving.
Modifications I might make for next time: 
Add some dill and/or paprika for some extra flavor
Cut up some pickles and mix them in or add relish
Use green onions instead of a red onion

Click here to download the recipe card

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Going green

I’m not really a total tree-hugging type of person, but I feel like I should do my part to take care of the earth and natural resources God has created and provided for us. My husband and I do our best to remember to recycle and try to be somewhat eco-conscience. Yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day and as part of the Earth Day festivities, Lowes is giving away one million tree saplings today. Since our dying landscaping is in dire need of some revitalization, my husband, pup and I all ventured over to our local Lowe’s to adopt and bring home a little tree baby. We will name her Tree-sa after her mother – haha, I'm kidding. I can’t guarantee that she will survive our neglectful arbor care, evidenced by the dried-up, brown magnolia tree in front of our house, but we will do our best to keep this one alive. Here are a couple photos of our needle-y little bundle of joy…
It is a Western Yellow Pine, also referred to as a Ponderosa Pine...hope it doesn't get too huge!
Actually, I kind of think that my black thumb is greening up a bit these days. If you can recall, I planted an indoor herb garden a while back, and I am happy to report that it is still alive and thriving. Here is a photo as proof. 
I've already plucked a few leaves from the basil and cilantro...they were quite tasty.
Okay, so the rosemary hasn’t flourished as much as the others, but I was reading online how rosemary can be difficult to germinate from seeds…I’m just happy to have a couple sprouts. Everyday I’ve been watching my little herb garden grow in the windowsill and have enjoyed the benefits of having fresh herbs. Today I planted a couple more herbs for our master bathroom - lavender and spearmint; I just need another pot for my chamomile. 
My new crop of pots for the two herbs and new baby tree sapling.
Lavender, Spearmint and Chamomile for our master bathroom...ahh, relaxing
My next challenge that I’m considering tackling will be to grow a vegetable garden in our backyard. So, here’s another list for you, a list of vegetables I would like to grow (this one isn’t 30 long though, because that’s just crazy).

15 Fruits & Vegetables I’d Like to Grow:
1.    Tomatoes
2.    Cucumbers
3.    Carrots
4.    Green Beans
5.    Lettuce
6.    Sugar Snap Peas
7.    Broccoli
8.    Garlic
9.    Onions
10.   Green Onions
11.   Spinach
12.   Strawberries
13.   Cauliflower
14.   Sweet Potato
15.   Watermelon

On the Better Homes and Garden website, there are several free vegetable garden plans, as well as a free interactive, online Plan-A-Garden software tool to help you design your own backyard vegetable garden. Some photos for inspiration...

Friday, April 22, 2011

It’s a good day

Today is Good Friday. Why is it so good anyways? It’s a time of reflection of the life-giving sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, so that we would be redeemed and saved. Holy Week and the days leading up to Easter are a special and sacred time of remembrance and celebration of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This year, my husband and I decided to participate in the Good Friday Experience at our church, Henderson Hills Baptist Church. The church has offered this multi-sensory experience for a few years now, but this is the first time that I’ve actually participated. It was such an incredible physical journey, using all the senses, to really understand the gravity of the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

Galations 2:20 is a perfect verse to remember during this time. Download the free 4x6 printable here or click on the verse above to download and save the image as your iPhone wallpaper. Click here to download the iPhone 4 compatible image.

Here are some of the church's photos of Good Friday from last year:
"...washed by the cleansing of God's word" | Ephesians 5:26 {hhbcphotos via}
"It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." | John 13:1 {hhbcphotos via}
"Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over." | Matthew 26:14-16 {hhbcphotos via}
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” | 1 Peter 2:24 {hhbcphotos via}
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." | Isaiah 53:5 {hhbcphotos via}

"...Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds." | John 19:39 {hhbcphotos via}
"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." | Luke 23-34 {hhbcphotos via}

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Around the…country

This will be somewhat of a continuation of my last post. If you haven’t read it, scroll down or read it here. The travel bug can hit at a moment’s notice, so here’s my list of places to visit that are a little closer to home.

30 American Cities I Hope to Visit (“Again,” if I’ve already been there before):
  1. San Diego
  2. Seattle
  3. New York City
  4. Boston
  5. Chicago
  6. San Francisco
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Orlando
  9. Atlanta
  10. Grand Canyon
  11. San Antonio
  12. Portland, OR
  13. Washington D.C.
  14. Philadelphia
  15. Nashville
  16. Los Angeles
  17. Baltimore
  18. Providence
  19. Portland, ME
  20. Minneapolis
  21. Denver
  22. Phoenix
  23. Kansas City
  24. Charleston
  25. Myrtle Beach
  26. Tampa
  27. Indianapolis
  28. Savannah
  29. Phoenix
  30. Key West
For some design eye candy, here are a couple city poster series that caught my attention…one with geometric shapes and bold colors and the other with interesting typographic placement. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Around the world

As a child, I remember my parents would subscribe to National Geographic magazine. The glossy, colorful covers, framed with distinct yellow borders, were irresistibly enticing and magically mesmerizing. Even the smell of the ink and the weight and texture of the paper between your fingers would evoke a sense of adventure. The photographs practically came to life and sucked me into this mysterious world that I knew existed somewhere out there, but I’d yet to see. 

My fascination with travel and exploration began at an early age, and even awarded me a first place trophy in my fifth grade geography bee. I actually remember that a National Geographic Kids magazine subscription was included in my winnings, and I also remember the winning answer – glaciers! It happened to be just my luck that my last family vacation had been to Glacier National Park in Montana. To this day, traveling is one of the things that most excites and inspires me, except now I realize that plane tickets aren’t cheap and now my husband and I have to fund these adventures somehow. Even though traveling can be somewhat expensive, I tend to value the time and experience much more than the investment. This brings me to the second installment of my list series – 30 places I would like to see in my lifetime…
30 Places I Hope to Visit (in no particular order):
1.   Alaska
2.   Hawaii
3.   Greece
4.   Italy
5.   Costa Rica
6.   New Zealand
7.   Fiji
8.   Great Britain
9.   France
10. Spain
11. Virgin Islands
12. Israel
13. Egypt
14. Australia
15. Great Barrier Reef
16. Bahamas
17. Rio de Janeiro
18. South Africa
19. Tahiti
20. Hong Kong
21. Germany
22. Thailand
23. Turkey
24. Puerto Rico
25. Manchu Picchu
26. Ireland
27. Dubai
28. Switzerland 
29. Japan
30. St. Lucia
Source: via Teresa on Pinterest

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

List mania

If you can’t already tell, I love lists…making lists, reading lists, checking things off lists. So to feed this obsession, I’ve decided to start a series of lists featuring different topics about anything and everything. You’ll just have to check back to see what list I’ve conjured up next. For the inaugural list – a list of 30 catchy, upbeat and uplifting songs that you can work out or dance to. Okay, I know that’s really not a good title and it ends in a preposition. However, the inspiration for this list stemmed from my Zumba classes. If you’ve ever been to a Zumba class, were you ever a little put off by some of the lyrics to the songs that were played? Really, I would rather not have to listen to songs about drinking, clubbing or something related to the female anatomy. Sure, the beats and tunes are kind of catchy, but I’m also left with an uneasy feeling. So, without further ado, the first list. Some of these songs are also ones that I’d like to choreograph for Zumba, whenever I become an instructor.

30 Uplifting Workout Songs:
3.      Tonight {Toby Mac}
9.      Life {Beckah Shae}
30.  Trinity Takeover - Latin Dance Collection, Vol. 1 (awesome for Zumba)

Also, just for fun...have you seen Rebecca Black's "Friday" video yet? It's one of the more recent Internet sensations, with more than 100 million hits on YouTube and more than 2 million dislikes. Yes, it's almost unbearably painful to watch, but then you realize the tune is stuck in your head and you start singing it in the shower. You can thank me later when you find yourself singing along with these deplorable lyrics. Here it is in all its teeny-bopper glory.

As a result of this Internet craze, there have been a surprising number of parodies. One of these is the Christian remake of it by Christian Community Church, called "Sunday."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guest Post | Classy Career Girl

I am excited and honored to introduce you to my first guest blogger - Anna from Classy Career Girl! She offers practical career advice and encouragement and talks about her experiences in business school. I wish I would have found her blog when I was in school for my MBA. I just recently came across her blog and enjoyed it so much that I've asked her to guest blog on here. She even has a 30 before 30 list herself! Thanks for being my first guest, Classy Career Girl!

Barriers to Reaching Your Goals
Classy Career Girl is a consultant by day and a MBA student by night. Her blog documents the speakers, professors and classmates she is learning from and her challenges and accomplishments at work. Classy Career Girl provides encouragement and positive advice to young professionals, students and job searchers with hectic and demanding lives.  She encourages readers to reduce stress, find work-life balance, accomplish goals and have great business chic style. She also tackles office issues and provides etiquette advice for young professionals just like her. You can read more about her journey at

Networking is crucial for career growth and is the stepping stone that can help you reach your dreams and goals. Many people think networking is simply building relationships and meeting people. But, strategic networking is different. Strategic networking is focused with a goal in mind. Here are some barriers that can stand in the way of strategic networking:

1) Not being clear about what you want. You need to know where you want to go. Write it down, create a career map and identify the holes that might arise. A recent study showed that only 5% of Americans have goals written down. Being clear about what you want and writing it down is the only way that you will be able to find out who you need to talk to in order to learn the information you need to reach your goals.

2) Being afraid to ask others for help. I recently heard a man in my company say that women often approach him saying “I know you’re busy, but can you help me with something?" But, when men approach him, they say "I need your help" and what a difference that can make. Be assertive and don't be afraid to ask others for help. People can't read your mind! Let them know why you are reaching out to them and how they can help you get to the next level in your career.

3) Not having time to network. This is my biggest pitfall. I am often too busy with work and school to reach out and connect with someone over lunch. The key that I am working on is changing my thinking so that networking is a part of my job. I have learned that you have to make it a priority and this is my goal over the next year. If possible, think of your job as 50% in office and 50% connecting and building relationships with those in your office.

4) Being an introvert. If you are an introvert like me, it is hard to be open and let strangers into your life. To network, you have to be open and curious. You must also show up and be present in all conversations. Sometimes the hardest part is getting to the event, but you will be glad you did once you get there. Meet one person and start speaking with them and asking questions. This way, it will be easier to meet others since you know one person very well. Also, don't be afraid to speak up if you have something to say and have a question ready to ask such as "How did you get started in your career" or "What are you passionate about?"

4) Not sure who to connect with. Easy! Let your friends and family know your dreams and goals and ask them if they have any connections that they could introduce you to. Another great tip is every time you get to know someone new, ask them if there is anyone else they know that they could introduce you to. Never leave a meeting without another connection!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Medieval times

Knights, wizards, pirates and dragons (well, maybe not the dragon part) were just a sampling of what we encountered this past weekend as we journeyed back in time a few hundred centuries at the Medieval Fair. Every year in Norman (home to the University of Oklahoma), the first weekend in April draws hoards of interesting and eclectic people to Reaves Park for this free fair. Its website even claims that this is the state's largest weekend event. Below are just a few photos of the festivities:

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools!

Happy April Fools’ Day! For a special treat, in honor of the prankster’s holiday, let’s have a little fun around here! Below are some links to sites that showcase some of the most side-splittingly hilarious, creepy, bizarre and just plain odd images. The most recent site I discovered is Cake Wrecks. After you peruse this site, you’ll understand why I want to learn how to decorate my own cakes.
Here is the cake that started it all:
"Best Wishes Suzanne | Under Neat that | We will miss you"
Some of my other favorite funny sites include:

All this laughing isn’t all for naught either - laughter is actually good for your health. Here are some fun facts about laughter from Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana {via}:
  • Laughter lowers the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol suppresses the immune system. Lowering these levels enhances the work of the immune system and may prevent disease.
  • You can stimulate your heart and lungs, elevate your blood pressure and improve breathing capacity by laughing.
  • In terms of exercise, you can get the same benefits from laughing 100 times a day, as you can from 10 minutes of rowing.
  • 15 minutes of laughter equals the benefit of 2 hours sleep.
  • One good belly laugh burns off 3 1/2 calories.
  • Laughing for 15 seconds adds 2 days to your life span.
  • The Chinese laugh more than any other culture in the world (Yes! Seriously?).
Here’s another good article about the health benefits of laughter:

If you’re looking for this year’s high-tech April Fools' Day pranks, check out these links:,2817,2382937,00.asp

Leave a comment if you know of any other sites that leave you in stitches.