Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tag: 7 Things

One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley, from the blog Ashley on the go! was thoughtful enough to think of me when she passed along the 7 things tag. It's pretty straight forward...just write 7 things about yourself that would help other bloggers get to know you better. I hope I picked things that I haven't mentioned before, sometimes it's hard to remember personal things you've shared on your blog. Here it goes:

 1. I'm a country girl with a thick southern accent, in fact I grew up on a home that sits right in the middle of a cotton field (we call it Carolina snow).

 2. I love reality tv shows....the trashier the better. MTV True life, Teen Mom, Jerseylicious, Bridezillas, and the list goes on and on.

 3. I lost my dad when I was 13 to the liver disease hemochromatosis. He was on dialysis before he died so I have a soft spot for kidney failure patients - it's been my career focus ever since I became a dietitian.

 4. I have two nephews and one niece but I'm an only child. How does that math play out? Well, I'm super close with two of my cousins and when they had children, I saw an opportunity to be an aunt. My niece and I have a regular "date night" where we go shopping, or ice cream, or to a movie.

 5. I love the Lord and I'm trying to find myself and who I want to be through Him. I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and listen to what He is trying to tell me. For years I thought I could try and control things but I've really learned to let things go and put it in His hands. I was baptized in January of this year.

 6. I LOVE to cook and I have a soft spot for entertaining / cooking magazines. There is so much to learn...Food network, tablesettings, centerpieces...oh my. I really love outdoor parties like crab boils, pigpickings, tailgates, and barbeques.

 7. I'm allergic to cigarettes and ivory soap. I had a good time doing this and I'm going to love reading them. Speaking of which, it's my turn to pass the tag to other bloggers that I admire (I noticed Ashley and I have a similar blog roll!): Simply*Southern The Charlotte Observer BeautyTipsByCrissy Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles kdizzle Lilly's Style Saltwater Dreams

Day 5 of the 12 days of Christmas

Favorite Holiday Movie / TV show Special

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 4 of the 12 days of Christmas

$$$ Tricks for staying on budget $$$
This is something I used to struggle with around the holidays. All the parties, cocktails, gift buying, holiday movies and shows, and fundraisers really start to drain the bank account around Christmas. At least with buying gifts you can be flexible and hit the sales. I believe in having a plan and a maximum you are willing to spend. If you struggle the way I did then only take cash with you when you shop. Make a list of all the people you need to buy gifts for, a gift idea (or two) for each person, and know about how much it will cost. Check all sales ads - particularly for Black Friday and bring any additional coupons that were emailed or sent in a sales flyer. I think it's great to look year round in the clearance section of stores like Pier One or TJ Maxx for "generic" gifts that can be used for hostess gifts, gift exchanges, or coworkers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 3 of the 12 Days Of Christmas

Today is technically my Day 3 of the 12 days of Christmas blog challenge. The best gift I have ever received was a king size hand sewn quilt made by my "granny". She gave it to me Christmas 2008 and it took her most of that year to complete. The fabric was over 50 years old, purchased at an estate auction. My mom bought some burgandy fabric to use on the back. On my birthday this year mom had a quilt rack custom built for me so I could showcase my quilt. Unfortunately all the ones I found in stores were too short for such a large quilt.
My granny died last black friday. This will be my second Christmas without her. I was really close with my grandparents, my parents worked opposite shifts so when I was young I stayed with them nearly every day. I love my quilt because I know how much time and effort and love went in to every stitch, even with her arthritis she completed the whole thing by hand.

Day 2 of the 12 days of Christmas

But I really didn't want to be late on my day 2 post...you see...there was this accident and then I got stuck in traffic...when I got home my dog had eaten the assignment... Here it is. Black Friday Tips and Tricks. Only 1 or 2 days late. The only tip I can share about Black Friday shopping is have a plan and a partner. Mom and I scour over the sales ads and decide our route and a timeline. If we have to wait in a line we usually bring camping chairs and blankets but most of the time she drops me off at the store and while she parks I shop. She comes in and gets in line to pay and I meet her with the items when I'm finished shopping. We reverse if there are items she wants to get. This year we headed to our local outlet mall that usually opens at midnight (though several stores opened at 10 pm on Thanksgiving Day and it made parking an overall nightmare. Kohls opened at 3am so we were in line when it opened and we made it to the mall by 4am so we could get to all the major department stores (which usually have additional coupons in the circular). We hit additional stores such as Express and Justice as they opened in the mall and stopped by the food court for breakfast around 6am. Then we were at a strip mall for bed, bath, and beyond, Ulta, kirklands, etc by 8am - this is where we parked in a central location and split up to get our shopping done on time (we were also buying for each other). We were at Walmart and Target by 9am when - at one point I left mom in line to pay at Target so I could get to Walmart to look an item for my niece. Basically make sure your cell phones are charged so you can keep in contact and have an idea of what you're buying for everyone so you can get in and get out. My last tip is know how much money you're willing to spend. With all the great deals it's easy to get off track with great boots or sweaters. I had an amount I wanted to spend on each person for Christmas and a max amount I wanted to spend total so I had wiggle room in case I found a great deal for items for myself.

Friday, November 26, 2010

12 days of Christmas Day 1 (yea I'm 4 days late starting this)

I'm a little late on my blog reading but I came across several that are doing a 12 days of Christmas challenge. Technically I'm 4 days late on it but I'm going join the fun starting today. Again I'm starting late so when you read about my Black Friday tips after the fun then you know I'm not behind in real life.
Okay so my Day 1 will be today and it's about family traditions. I think I did a post similiar last year so I'll make it pretty short.
My family traditions start on Thanksgiving afternoon when we go see a holiday movie and the Christmas lights in our town. My family loves to go Black Friday shopping and we put up our Christmas decorations that weekend. One thing we love doing is getting an angel off the donation tree and buying Christmas presents for them. Some years we have actually "adopted" a family of children or an elderly shut-in to buy gifts for. Our church has "hanging of the greens" and a childrens Christmas play every year that puts us all in the mood for the season.
Some of our Christmas Eve / Day traditions have changed since my grandparents passed away and some family members have gotten married and also visit inlaws during the holidays. Most of my life though I spent Christmas Eve with mom making desserts for the next day and prepping the food. We usually watch a Christmas movie on television and make one last visit to the Christmas lights. I get to open one gift on Christmas Eve (and when I was younger I'd get a new set of pajamas to wear, mostly for photographs the next morning). On Christmas Day of course there are presents under the tree that morning followed by a quick breakfast and a morning of cooking. We have extended family over that afternoon for dinner and gifts for the children.

Shutterfly 50 free holiday card promotion!

After reading about 10 blog posts related to the shutterfly free card promotion I had to check and see if it was too good to be true. I've been a shuttefly user for years now and especially after the fire when many photos of my niece and nephew were destroyed, I was so grateful for the site for storing all of my pictures safely. Last year I ordered photo Christmas cards with a cute photo of Lilly and maybe I'll do the same this year. Especially since shutterfly is being super generous to bloggers with the 2010 Holiday Card promotion. They have a great new series of cards perfect for those of us that love paper goods. These are a few of my favorite cards from the new collection:The last one is my favorite. I love the Christmas cookies!
This isn't my style but I love the idea of it, especially if you have a great family vacation photo.
Shutterfly doesn't only do holiday cards, they offer mugs, ornaments, mouse pads, and calendars. This one would make a great gift for my aunt who has three very photogenic grandchildren!
If you would like to join in with the promotion you must have a blog and submit an application here. You'll receive an email promptly with directions on how to get your 50 free holiday cards.
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes

This is the type of deliciousness I look forward to every year...
Turkey Dressing - we don't mess with stuffing in our house, moms dressing is comforting and super filling. I look forward to the leftovers!
Fresh veggies - our family farms so we enjoy veggies at their finest. Corn, collard greens, turnips, green beans - we don't do a lot of casseroles and canned just doesn't work. For some veggies we freeze them when they come from the garden and enjoy them all year.
Candied yams. I love these and there have been many years when this was my dessert. I like them best cold.
Bourbon pecan pie. In a traditional recipe just sub out the vanilla flavoring for good quality bourbon and it makes the flavor of the pecans POP. This is delightful with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Our family makes a lot of desserts and snacks using pecans - some years they cover the ground.
Pumpkin cheesecake. This is a pretty new addition to our Thanksgiving. I love pumpkin pie but my mom makes it pretty often around September / October and I make a lot of pumpkin breakfast bars. Add those to the pumpkin lattes and the coldstone pumpkin ice cream and by Thanksgiving I'm looking forward to a new pumpkin treat.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

*~Happy Thanksgiving~*
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hands are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker." - Psalm 95: 1-6 Have a happy holiday and rest up for all the black friday deals!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Guess what I did today...

In the Kitchen: Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake (I made this for my dialysis patients this year as a Thanksgiving treat; I adapted the recipe from the October edition of the South Carolina Kidney Foundation newsletter.) 1 box yellow cake mix 1/2 can pure pumpkin (I used Libbys) 1Tbsp pumpkin pie spice 2/3 cup sugar 4 eggs 1/4 cup oil 1 cup water Mix all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour batter into a lightly sprayed tube pan. Bake for 40-45 min on 350*. ***options for icing: cream cheese icing (this sounded too sweet for my taste on this cake), a confectionary glaze, or a dusting of powdered sugar (this was my choice).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Moving Soon...

Here are a few photos from my new apartment. It's quite a bit (over 100 sq ft) smaller than my last one but it's a great neighborhood, awesome location, and a reasonable price. I love how quiet it is in the community. Most of my neighbors work at the hospital as medicine residents or nurses so many of them keep odd working hours. I only have photos of a few rooms that I needed to purchase additional furniture for. This photo is a bit squished but the breakfast bar is bigger than shown here. I purchased a couple of the Ashley 30 in bar stools (photo below). I usually hate stools but these are super comfortable and I got them at a liquidation store so I had a great discount.
I purchased a foyer table to try and create an entryway. This table arrived from Overstock.com in perfect condition and I love the Merlot finish. It's the perfect size for a small apartment.
I had to buy all new drapes and curtain rods for my apartment. I sold the brown ones I used two years ago and my last apartment only had one tiny window. I want to hang sheers behind heavy "energy efficient" drapes all of which I found at a great price between two TJ Maxx stores. Unfortunately I didn't realize how hard it is to find the double rod hardware - the ones I found are ridiculously expensive and there isn't much variety. I finally found some that match at Anna's Linens but I'm willing to part with them if I can find anything less expensive.
My kitchen. The appliances are actually very modern compared with ones I've used in past apartments. I LOVE the pantry and all the cabinet space. My last apartment was pretty skimpy with kitchen storage.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dressing a pear shaped body

Jenny wrote a helpful post recently about dressing an apple body shape that inspired me to look up guidelines for my body shape.
I'm a pear - see helpful "so flattering" image above.
The top half is slender including the neck, bust line, arms, and shoulders and the waist is generally smaller and defined. The bottom part of the body is usually 1-2 sizes larger than the top half. I'm a 0/2 on top and a 2/4 on the bottom. These guidelines were found online and I added my own critique at the end.
1. Apparently shoulder pads are my best friend...thats awesome if I was born a decade earlier and yes I realize they are making a come back but they are not for me. NEXT!
2. Black pants and skirts are musts for my wardrobe. Look for fabrics that do not cling and that have elastic in the waist. Hum...for me personally I do choose dark denim and in general solid color bottoms but I love some skinny jeans and of course I think it can be done in a dark fabric with a blousy top that can balance the extra weight on the bottom. I won't wear clingy skirts, period.
3. Boot cut pants and jeans are flattering to balance a pear shape. I totally agree with this, boot cut or a "barely boot" are my favorite styles to wear.
4. Wear jackets, shirts, or tunics that end below the widest part of the hip. Call attention to the waist by wearing a belt but make sure the top can hide the hips and make them look smaller. I understand this piece of advice, I always choose longer tops but my rationale wasn't because of my pear shape but because I have a short waist with long legs. I like to make my torso look longer. Oh and I love a belt, either a very skinny one or one of the wide ones with the elastic in the back.
5. Generally a blouse and skirt are easier to fit than a dress. I totally agree with this, though I rock more dresses than skirts it is significantly harder for me to find dresses that fit correctly. I like shirtdresses that are meant to fit loose or A line dresses best. I only have one shift dress because they are such a challenge to fit and wrap dresses are a total no go for me.
6. Avoid full or gathered skirts. Yep this is true, I tried on a cute pleated khaki skirt years ago and it just looked awful. And those prairie style skirts? Eek! Certainly weren't cut for my body shape.
7. Just a common sense comment that I'm going to add. As a pear I like to draw the eye upwards. I like wearing patterned or brightly colored tops, scarves, jewelry, and jackets that keep the focus on my upper half.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Because I just downed a mug of this...

Holiday Hiatus

So it's been awhile. The past several weeks have been chaotic to say the least.

 1. My grandmothers house caught fire and burned to the ground. My niece and nephew were living there but thankfully were at church when the blaze started. I've been spending time with family and when I'm not with them I've been shopping for them. Afterall my 6 year old niece is a fashionista who needs accessories and bows to go with ALL outfits.

 2. I've signed a lease and I'm moving in a couple of weeks. My mom has returned to work after her illness which means I can move on with my life as well. The apartment I've rented is quite a bit smaller than the last one but with price and location to consider I'm happy with my choice.

 3. Football season. Of course I've been trying to see lots of home college games but I've been watching it on tv as well.

 4. This is quite a full week coming up - I've been invited to several Thanksgiving get togethers (which are all "bring a dish" type affairs). I've also planned a special holiday treat for my patients that requires me to spend some time in the kitchen. Of course there is Black Friday shopping to consider and some great movies coming to theaters. More posts to come, I've really missed blogland!