"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Monday, June 29, 2009

the more you know

What I learned this weekend:

1. Sonic steals. I drove through our friendly (and I use that term loosely) neighborhood Sonic yesterday and ordered a large Diet Dr. Pepper. Having just missed the Happy Hour time slot, I was grudgingly prepared to pay full price for my beverage. I ordered (they repeated it incorrectly twice) and pulled to the window as instructed. (Interjection – How great is a drive-through Sonic? I really hate waiting at those stupid little parking places. I think they feel like they can take their sweet time if you happen to be parked.) After confirming with me that I ordered a Diet Coke (wrong again! That’s 3 strikes!), they told me my total was $1.83. I gave the woman $2, she said “Thank you and have a blessed day,” and shut the window. I was speechless, without speech, for a few seconds and eventually pulled away, still baffled. Did I say, “keep the change”? No. Could I launch here into a soliloquy about how out of control tipping has gotten in America? Yes, but I’ll spare you. So, the moral of this story is, pay at Sonic with correct change, or pay (literally) the consequences.

2. Target has Snuggies!

3. Keep the white ends of your green onions! If you put them in a cup of water for a few days, they’ll grow new green stalks! Now, it won’t happen overnight, but it’s still cool.

I’ve got my first book review for you! OK, so if you haven’t read any Jen Lancaster books yet, you MUST. I had Bitter is the New Black saved in my Amazon wish list for about a year and totally forgot about it until MK mentioned it. And you know I hate chick-lit, but this is hysterical. She’s also the author of Bright Lights, Big Ass, and I just finished Such a Pretty Fat. Reading her books makes me want to be her friend; she’s sort of like Bridget Jones except smarter, meaner and not British. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can identify with this book. And even if you haven’t, it’s still hilarious. Warning: Ms. Lancaster is NOT scared of a colorful word here and there. To get a taste of Jen, visit her blog! I’m currently reading The Help (as the “What I’m Reading” feature denotes), and I’ll have a review for that as soon as I finish.

In the meantime, here’s a good recipe for summer:

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cup purple onion, chopped
3-4 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper (I added more)
1 tsp. cilantro
1 large avocado, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and chill. Garnish with avocado slices and fresh cilantro if desired. Makes about 6-ish cups.

My tip: chop the onion, tomatoes and avocado to be about the same size as the corn and beans. It doesn’t have to be exact of course, but it does allow for more even veggie distribution. If you like some heat, you could probably add a diced jalapeno or something. And the longer you let it sit, the better it is.

Have a great week!

Friday, June 26, 2009

r.i.p., moonwalker

I wish I knew Farrah a little better. Her red one-piece, her lovely locks and her gorgeous smile made her an icon of Americana. I have a great deal of respect for her talents and her bravery. Hollywood is a little dimmer today after her loss. Still, she was a little off my radar screen, but the sudden death of Michael Jackson was not.

Being a product of the 80s, Michael Jackson was a significant part of my childhood. Harris and I loved him. And I’m pretty sure I actually participated in Derby Day they year my sorority had Michael Jackson as the theme (our dance won that year, by the way, and it was freaking awesome.)

Before the scandals, before the trials, before he had kids of his own, Michael Jackson was a true performer, with songwriting, singing and dancing chops like no other. And amidst all the shakiness that surrounded his sensational image, many forget all he did for the world. He broke barriers and built bridges, and wasn’t just King of Pop in the 80s – he was pop in the 80s.

I can’t say anything in this blog that hasn’t already been said and written better than I could ever hope, but I would like to make a little tribute of my own. Readers, you know I love a list, so what better way for me to honor the Gloved One than with a list of my favorites of his works, in no particular order.

Thriller - I accidentally left this one off in my original draft, and I assure you it was only due to my grief. Who would make a video last 13 minutes? Michael freaking Jackson, that's who.

Smooth Criminal – One of many songs ruined by re-makes. Don’t even try, wannabe pop stars out there. He’s not the King for nothin.’

Remember the Time – Not only a great song, this was such a cool video. Michael Jackson, Shaq and Eddie Murphy together? Poetry, my friends.

Human Nature – This song is totally different from the others on my list but I love it anyway. Why? Why?

Bad – Stupid Weird Al had to go and take a perfectly awesome MJ song and make a mockery of it. Who even likes him?

I’ll Be There – Though technically not a Michael Jackson song, but a Jackson 5 song, he’s still in the group, and this is my list, so it counts. I only wish Mariah Carey hadn’t ruined it. PS – there’s a grammatical error in this song…do you know where it is?

Black or White – I remember when this video made its debut on primetime TV. Now, how can you deny a musician’s power and influence when he can introduce his latest music video at the same time America was watching the news?

The Way You Make Me Feel – I love the swingy nature of this song, and I always wanted him and the girl in the video to really date.

Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough – MJ disco-style. Keep on with the force don't stop indeed.

Billie Jean – She’s not my lover, people. She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one. Take MJ’s advice: remember to always think twice. And when you walk around, pretend like your footsteps light up the squares on the sidewalk.

I Want You Back – How fun is this song? I wasn’t really around when the J5 were in their prime, but I still thought it was a little weird that an 11-year-old was singing about the one that got away.

Beat It – No one did videos better than Michael Jackson, and though most people think “Thriller” when they think of his videos, “Beat It” is by far my favorite. I once even heard that he was so intent on the authenticity of the video that he hired real gang members for the extras.

One of the CNN.com guys described MJ the best I’ve heard so far. I won’t even try to top it.

“He was lauded and ridiculed. He broke down barriers and built them around himself. He soared to heights unimaginable with his music, and he made the ignominous front page of gutter tabloids worldwide.

For Michael Jackson, the spotlight was always present, and the rest of the world followed."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

new stuff

I’ve got a couple of new things for you on this hot as fire Wednesday in Mississippi!

Though I claim to be Mediterranean, and half of me is, I’d never actually had tabbouleh (pronounced teh-BOO-lee) until I moved to Jackson. Some time ago, I went to lunch with some friends at a local mom-and-pop restaurant (We Love Yogurt for all you Jacksonians) and was introduced to this lovely Lebanese salad. WLY was my only outlet for my new greeny love until discovering my new favorite restaurant Ely’s offered it as a delightful alternative to the standard house-salald-with-ranch. So excited was I! This weekend perched on the couch during one of the many hours of Food Network I watch, one of my favorite chefs, Ina Garten, made it for a picnic party (I desperately want to be her friend – to be invited to a Barefoot Contessa party signals your arrival in the food world). And as Ina always does, she made it look so easy. So I tried it, and success! Here’s the recipe:

Tabbouleh (adapted from Food Network recipe)

1 cup bulghur wheat
1 ½ cup boiling water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (not that bottled junk)
¼ cup good olive oil (I like Bertolli)
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
3/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (be sure to get flat-leaf; the curly leaf has much less flavor)
2 tomatoes, chopped, small dice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in boiling water, and add lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover to refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

*This recipe is super-easy but pretty time consuming with all the chopping, slicing and dicing. Totally worth the work, but make it ahead when you have plenty of time, not at 9:00 p.m. like I did. The recipe on the website says 3 ½ teaspoons of salt, and it was WAY too salty for my taste. Come to find out after reading the reviews (which I should get better about), the recipe is supposed to read 1 ½ teaspoons. Much better. Though I still had some for my lunch today. Also, Ina used halved cherry tomatoes in her recipe, but I used regular tomatoes – it looks more authentic. She also in her show added a slice of good feta and served it in a pita pocket. What a great summer lunch!

Take a look at the right-hand side of my blog, and you’ll see that I’ve added a new little feature – the “what I’m reading” section. I love to know what other people like to read, so I thought maybe, just maybe, you’d like to know what I’m devouring at the moment. And after I finish each book, I’ll be sure to review so you’ll know what you’re getting into.

Have a great hump day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I am sure the blogosphere is all abuzz with the recent happenings with Jon and Kate Gosselin. I’m fully aware that I’m not posting on an original topic, but I still want my two cents thrown in the pot.

I started watching J&K+8 two years ago when I was at a trade show in Toronto. I remember being sick with what turned out to be a wicked cold, and I spent one night watching a marathon of what would soon become America’s favorite TV family of multiples. I laughed out loud despite my misery at those precious kids and their funny parents. Over the coming months and years, I among millions of others watched the Gosselins take ski trips, visits to DisneyWorld, celebrate Christmas, go to the dentist and even renew their vows – as a family. I recommended the show to anyone who would listen, confident that they would like it as much as I did. I quit watching the show after last year’s Christmas episode and even deleted it from my DVR. I was just over it. The kids seemed a little too old, and the shows seemed a little too forced.

So needless to say when I heard of the turmoil within the family, I was sad for Jon and Kate, but heartbroken for the kids. I hope that 5, 8, 10 or 20 years from now, those twins and sextuplets, those 8 children, don’t end up on Oprah or worse, Dr. Phil, lamenting how their parents splashed their childhood all over cable TV. We are certainly not placed on this Earth to judge anyone, and none of us is privy to the whole story. If there is anything I have learned as I’ve gotten older, it’s that each person navigates through his or her own life the best he or she knows how. Sure, we all make mistakes, and we disappoint just as we are disappointed. But there are a myriad of factors that affect how a person views his own world – be they emotional, psychological, physical or otherwise.

Jon and Kate, because I’m sure you are dedicated readers of this humble blog, this is my plea: stop. Stop the show before you and your kids are shells of your former selves. I hear you when you say you’re doing this for their future, but what good is their future when your children that you fought so hard to bring into the world are hurting? Let your books, DVDs and syndicated shows be enough. I feel confident the kids would prefer their family back to normal over future Master’s degrees.

Wow, looking back on what I just wrote, that was pretty dramatic! I promise I have a life outside of TV.

Monday, June 22, 2009

daddy dearest

Happy (belated) Father's Day to my daddy (the ultimate 70's guy in the aviators and v-neck)! Here's to you, Dad, and to your never minding to hang out on the sidelines.


Friday, June 19, 2009

cold noses, warm hearts

I love my dogs. Even though they drive me insane sometimes and I get exhausted of their often inappropriate barking and general undesirable dog behaviors, there’s nothing like when I get home and they run to greet me, tongues panting and tails wagging. And not being a mother of human children, this is all I’ve got to go by. I know some of you out there aren’t dog lovers, but just bear with me – anyone can appreciate a good story.

This is a great article about the “healing” power of puppy love. Ever wonder how service dogs get their training? At the Fishkill Correctional Facility, specially chosen inmates are given 8-week old puppies to train to be service dogs for the disabled, included wounded soldiers. The pups are with the inmates 24/7, even sleeping in crates in the cells. During the time the two spend together, the dogs get valuable training to help those in need while the prisoners learn to care for something other than themselves.

What a great way to utilize the unconditional love of a pup to need and depend on someone who has perhaps never had such a companion!

Happy Friday. Woof!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

happy birthday, kell!

Happy birthday to my sweet husband!

This year marks our 9th birthday together, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. If you know Kell, you probably know that this post will probably be his worst nightmare – he hates being the center of attention, which frankly, is inevitable on your birthday. Still, I went on with my A to Z list in hopes he’ll forgive me later.

Kell A to Z

All Star athlete – tennis, football, golf, you name it…
Blizzards at Dairy Queen – no chocolate sauce
Country-fried steak
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Fierce Mississippi State fan
Gifts of safety”
History buff
Impeccable driver
June birthdays (both of us!)
Karate Kid (“Sweep the leg!”)
Loyal friend
Married me!
Navy New Balance shoes
Orange Gatorade
Pet parent
Quiet… sometimes
Strings his own tennis racquets
Tell Olive she’s pretty”
Undefeated at Brickbreaker on his Blackberry
Vacuums the house without being asked
Watched every episode of 90210 in chronological order…twice
eXcellent son-in-law
Yard pro
Zzzz… and snores.

Happy Birthday, Kell! I love you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

i heart ny

Fresh back from my trip to the Big Apple, I’ve had an epiphany: traveling for fun is so much better than traveling for work.

Seriously, I didn’t know what to do with myself when I got back to work on Monday morning and didn’t have an expense report to complete. I didn’t have to keep up with a single receipt, and my only carry-on bag was my purse. Granted, if someone at work approached me and gave me a check to cover everything, I wouldn’t turn it down. But still, it was a nice change considering I haven’t gone anywhere not work related since my honeymoon.

Anywho, it was my first trip to NYC, and it certainly did not disappoint. We did everything I wanted to do – cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, a hot dog from a street vendor and dinner in Little Italy. Not surprisingly, every one of my requests revolved around food. Thanks to MK who let me bunk with her – I owe you a big one!

Here are some pictures from my fun trip:

Cool John Lennon signs in Soho.

One of our magnificent desserts from Serendipity (Kim K was here on Valentine's Day!).

The girls at Serendipity. Kim was most definitely there in spirit.

Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery (just around the corner from Sarah Jessica Parker's house. Yes, we stalked.). Readers, I'd like for you to meet Yellow Cupcake with Chocolate Icing and Red Velvet Cupcake.

My dear friend Martha was there! (PS - buy her cookbook; it is wonderful.)

And the Guv!

FDNY - so hunky!

Jealous much? I’m already ready to go back. I’ll leave you with a final photo with a sweet little quote.

(From Dylan's Candy Bar)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

new york state of mind

I'm leaving on a jet plane bright and early tomorrow morning for NYC! I've never been before, so I can't wait to see a new place. I'll be back in a few days to report on my trip.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, June 8, 2009

the ology of me

What is your salad dressing of choice? Greek
What is your favorite sit-down restaurant? I am LOVING Ely’s in Ridgeland. If you’re in the Jackson area, you should give it a try. Great food and great people. The tabouli salad is perfect.
What food could you eat for 2 weeks straight and not get sick of it? I don’t know of anything I could eat that long and not get tired of.
What are your pizza toppings of choice? Pepperoni, onion, mushroom, bell pepper OR tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil
What do you like to put on your toast? The other day I had a piece of toast with a little peanut butter, marshmallows and chocolate chips. I zapped it in the microwave for a few seconds, and it was amazing. Don’t judge.

How many televisions are in your house? Embarrassingly enough, 4. Yes, there are only 2 humans living in my house and we have twice the TVs.
What color cell phone do you have? black. And it is falling apart before my very eyes.
What does the first text message in your inbox say and who sent it? traffic alert from MDOT
Who was the last person to call you? Kell

Are you right-handed or left-handed? right
Have you ever had anything removed from your body? wisdom teeth and some weird cysts that had hair and teeth inside. Really. I am a Discovery Health special waiting to happen.
What is the last heavy item you lifted? Curtain rods

If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? No way Jose.
If you could change your name, what would you change it to? I like my name.
Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000? Absolutely. Bring it.
How many pairs of flip flops do you own? 2 – black and brown
Last time you had a run-in with the cops? Never. knock on wood.
Last person you talked to in person ? Whitney
Favorite Month? November

Missing someone? Yes
Mood? content
What are you listening to? people around me talking on the phone.
Watching? Nothing – I am in a cubicle with no windows. Like a lab rat.
Worrying about? Hanging my new curtains straight

What’s the last movie you watched? The Hangover. HYSTERICAL.
Do you smile often? I think so.
Do you always answer your phone? I HATE talking on the phone.
It’s four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it? MDOT.
If you could change your eye color what would it be? green
What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic? Diet cherry
Do you own a digital camera? I do.
Have you ever had a pet fish? Yes, Ringo, named for my favorite Beatle. He died on my birthday.
Favorite Christmas song? “Carol of the Bells,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
What’s on your wish list for your birthday? whatever.
Can you do push-ups? Probably the girly kind
Can you do a chin up? Doubt it.
Does the future make you more nervous or excited? Both I suppose
Do you have any saved texts? nope
Ever been in a car wreck? no--THANK GOODNESS. knock on wood.
Do you have an accent? Southern
What is the last song to make you cry? Don’t recall.
Plans tonight? Work out, make fruit dip and a fruit tray
Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? yes
Name 2 things you bought yesterday. Movie tickets and popcorn
You ever been given roses? yes
Current hate right now? childish behavior from adults
Met someone who changed your life? yes
What song represents you? no idea.
What were you doing 12 AM last night? Snoozing. And a.m. by definition is not “night.”
What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I have a dog paw in my face.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

federer express

Tennis superstar (and super hunk) Roger Federer got his French Open title today, tying him with fellow great (and fellow hunk) Pete Sampras for most career grand slams - 14. Rodge defeated Robin Soderling in straight sets today to clench the one slam that has eluded him for years.

Congratulations, Roger! You did it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

oh happy day!

It’s National Donut Day! And I cannot think of anything more deserving of such a distinct honor.

Thought to have been invented by the Dutch and called “oily cakes”, the donut gained popularity in the US in the 1900s. During World War I, young American men fighting overseas were even served donuts by grateful Frenchmen as reminder of food back home. My personal favorite: chocolate-covered with sprinkles.

Celebrate with your favorite fried treat!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

common denominator

What do...

banana chips...

grandpa's dentures...

and chocolate glazed mini donuts have in common?

They're all cute soaps from soapopotamus's etsy shop! How great would these be in your guest bath or as a sweet and silly housewarming gift?
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