June 27, 2010

Catalog Comedy

I've been told more than once by family members that I can't "live in a magazine." Although it would be nice to have my home look like a magazine, I know it's far from realistic. It's just so easy to flip through catalogs and get swept away by their incredible staging skills and think, "I want my life to look like that."

But really, who lives like that?

The new blog Catalog Living is perfect for pointing out the over-the-top designs in some of the most famous catalogs - and the author's captions are hysterical. I was reading last night and laughed so hard I started crying.

What a great reminder to not take ourselves (or our home decor) too seriously!

Images courtesy of Catalog Living via Young House Love

June 21, 2010

Crisp and Chewy

In five minutes I consumed all of the calories I burned at the gym today, but it was totally worth it. I'll run another few miles for these cookies!

I've been on a baking kick lately. I've noticed that as I read through magazines, I've been ripping out all of the recipes for pies, cobblers and cookies. It's a good thing Todd and I have a membership to a 24-hour gym!

The recipe I used tonight was from Everyday Food

Crisp & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1.   Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
2.   Preheat oven to 350. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and  fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat eggs in 1 at a time. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; beat until combined. Mix in chocolate chips.
3.  Drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden around edges but soft in the middle, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

June 18, 2010


I've been a fan of TOMS shoes for a long time, but I never seriously thought about buying a pair. The TOMS business model is genius: buy a pair of shoes for yourself and TOMS will donate another pair to a child in need. What a great way to help clothe children in poverty stricken countries across the world.

My only hesitation was that the shoes were never really my style. Don't get me wrong, they're really fun, but I've always felt they were a little too young and funky for me.

Until now.

TOMS now makes wedges and they're adorable! I think I may have to start saving my lunch money to get a pair - and the fact that a child in need of shoes will get a pair as well is just extra motivation.

These are just perfect for summer!

June 15, 2010


I baked today. It's Tuesday and I should be at work, but we had a bit of a scare last night and instead I'm home keeping a close eye on my husband. I'm making him rest today and I figured a little comfort food couldn't hurt.

When Todd picked me up from work last night he mentioned feeling jittery. Thinking it was from all of the coffee he had consumed that day, we shrugged it off and headed to dinner. Dinner was great, he felt fine, and we spent the evening laughing and catching up with close friends.

As we were leaving and saying our goodbyes, I noticed Todd was leaning by the wall with his hands on his knees. I didn't think much of it until I looked down, noticed he was pouring sweat, and heard him say he was going to pass out. Our friends loaded him in the car and we rushed to the emergency room. Thankfully he was feeling quite a bit better by the time he was sent back to see the doctor. They ruled out dehydration which was our initial thought and said instead they believe his heart may have skipped a beat. While they didn't say coffee was the culprit, my gut says the cups upon cups that he drank combined with his forgetting to eat lunch had something to do with it. How he "forgot" to eat lunch baffles me. I don't know if I have ever forgotten to eat a meal!

Today he's taking it easy. We want to make sure he doesn't feel light headed again. I also went ahead and put the espresso maker back in the cabinet. It could use a break for a few days. I'm sure his heart will appreciate it.

While Todd was resting, I slipped down to the kitchen and made us some warm, crispy popovers that I found here, via Food & Wine. We ate ours with orange marmalade. Then with peanut-butter, bananas and honey. Yum!

There is such a feeling of healing when you cook for someone. Maybe because it feels like the one thing we can do, or because it's how women have brought comfort for years, but my nurturing instincts definitely appeared as I sifted the flours and whisked the eggs.

He'll be back to normal soon. Until then, I hope he likes the popovers.

June 11, 2010

Counting Down the Days

This fall I will be taking a long overdue trip. One of my best friends from high school, who until recently lived in Virginia Beach, just moved to Philadelphia where her husband is working on his doctorate in psychology. With the demands of my job and both of our busy schedules, I never made it out to Virginia Beach to see Mary (although I was thrilled when she visited us in Nashville during their move to the East Coast).

When she told me she was moving to Philadelphia, (and just hours from New York) I knew I had to go see her. I started checking dates on my calendar, landing on October as the best time to visit. As I started researching flights, I had a crazy thought. What if our group of high school friends all went to visit and spent a weekend in New York City? I knew it would be a long shot. The five of us have been together only once since we graduated high school nearly ten years ago. Once we graduated we moved to different states, met new friends, got married, had babies and left our old lives behind.

This year I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and thinking about friendship. There are people who come into our lives that make a lasting difference. They help you grow and make you better. With life getting busier each day, I'm choosing not to invest my time in people who bring me down or try to change me into the person they think I should be. My "girls" from high school were more than worth the investment. They made me laugh. Sometimes too hard. They used to tease me – “Don’t talk about that, Tara will pee her pants!” (Because that might have happened more than once.)

Too much information?

But those are the kinds of people I want in my life - the people that I can be my truest self around. They saw my ugliest moments and they stood beside me as I faced my biggest fears. They loved Todd. We would never have gotten together had it not been for these girls. They pushed me to reach for the stars and celebrated with me when I grabbed them. They held me when my world came crashing down. They taught me what love is and loved me well.

I miss them.

 From left to right: Ashley B, Andrea, Ashley C, me & Mary - Fall 2000 

Ten years is too long to go without sharing life with the girls that made me who I am today. Although I knew it might be easier said than done to get us together, I went ahead and sent the invite and to my surprise they all want to go. Words can’t describe how excited I am!

As the e-mails went back and forth, I was reminded of how much fun these girls are:

The fall would probably work the best for me. One request...or make that two...Kleinfelds and Matt Lauer!
I think the fall would be best. I think New York would also be so pretty in the fall.
I think we can make your dreams come true Andrea
Ashley B
Oh man Ann you read my mind! I can't go to NY without seeing me some MATT LAUER!!
And you all can take my word for it...I’ll be sure to bring a sign for the today show....yes I will also have tourist written across my forehead...but it's all good!
Ashley C
I'm soooo in! I am excited...can we shop at Bloomingdales???
Of course Ash! What's NY without Bloomingdales?
I'm so excited. Yes to Bloomingdales and a big yes to Matt Lauer!! Andrea - if you've got the posters, should we work on homemade t-shirts?
Yes...Mary can you start on the homemade shirts? Maybe like one of those holiday themed sweat suits you used to whip up?? We could have shirts made...Missouri Girls love Matt Lauer!!!
Oh I'm on it Andrea....I’ll even put on some Easter eggs to hang off the shirts!
These girls are crazy. I’ll have to “introduce” them on this blog, but in the mean time, I’m really looking forward to our reunion; to sharing new stories and reliving the old ones.

If even for a couple of days, I will spend time with the women who surrounded and carried me as I ventured into the scary world of adulthood. I’m so thankful for this opportunity.

More details to come!

June 7, 2010

Eclectic Nashville Condo & New Curtains

Last week I had the opportunity to be part of a video shoot for work. The video was a lot of fun, but the condo where it was filmed made my day. An incredibly talented co-worker of mine offered her condo as the set. From the moment I walked in I felt like I was in a high-rise apartment in New York overlooking Central Park. Her design taste is drastically different than mine (as seen below), but I love her style.

I did a little "design" work of my own this weekend. I had originally been going for the "everything the same color" look. That seems to be the trend in the blog world - all white rooms, all blue rooms, etc. It's harder to pull off than you would think. Or maybe it was just me. Either way, I was getting tired of the bland look and added some color. Thanks to a good friend's advice, I made my first visit to World Market and picked up some new curtains. I'm now a huge fan of that store and I'm pretty happy with the results.
Ah, color. Much better!

June 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Friend

Today we celebrated the birthday of one of my dearest friends. In honor of her special day, we spent the day at the pool, soaking up the sun. I can't think of a better way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon.

I just love those girls.

Happy Birthday, Christi!

June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

“My home is not a place, it is people.”
- Lois McMaster Bujold

Todd and I had a great trip to Missouri this past weekend. We went to a family gathering on my side of the family where Todd met people who hadn't seen me since I was "this tall!"

Todd's parents have officially started building their new home. We can't wait until it's finished.

My parents surprised us with the news that they're moving too! Our trips home are going to be quite different in the coming months. But no matter where our parents live, we'll always be excited to make that seven hour drive to see the people we love.

Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!