RSS Feed

Category Archives: Pictures

my father’s daughter

Posted on

I know, I know…it’s not Father’s Day. But Sunday was, and I didn’t get a chance to blog about my awesome dad—I was too busy having dinner with him and thanking him for helping me track down tires for my car!

Christmas...dad had an unlimited supply of those scratchy plaid shirts.

That’s my dad in a nutshell. He does so much for me, and most that come to mind immediately are automobile-related. Oil change? Call dad. Engine running hot? Call dad. Horrible wreck on the side of the road involving an overturned Sunfire and a disfigured magnolia tree? Uh…call mom, and then have her call dad.

Dad has an eye for fashion. Fun fact: He STILLS owns that shirt he's wearing.

My dad is also the one with all the answers. This bothered me when I was younger, because he thought he knew everything, and only now do I realize that he kinda sorta does. It’s hard to admit because I am just like my father: hardheaded, stubborn, and yes, smart. I call my dad for the final word on most everything, because I just need him to tell me it will be alright. He’s talked me down in a lot of situations, and he’s gotten me out of many scrapes.

Like that time he saved me from that bear...or is that a gorilla?

Other things my dad has given me? My green eyes (his are more brown), a great head of hair, a (sometimes) short temper and a strong work ethic. He’s worked very hard to build a good life for himself, his wife, and his two girls. After the steel mill in our town (which supported many, many families in our community) shut down, my dad was forced to find something new after almost 25 years in the same job. But he did it.

My grandfather, my dad’s dad, passed away unexpectedly when he was only 71. My dad was 46. I remember seeing him break down in a way that I didn’t think dads were capable of; I thought dads were too strong for that. Dad always told me that he never got enough time with his father; 46 years just wasn’t enough.

No, no dad—YOU'RE number one :)

My dad will be 60 this year. I find myself striving for his approval more and more these days. I want him to like me. I want him to be proud of me. I want him to see me, and know that he was a positive influence and that he’s been the best father I could ask for.

I love you, Dad.

oh, yeah—another April milestone

Posted on

I almost forgot another big moment in April when I was doing my whirlwind month recap

24225_555232793439_156803730_32038869_5745110_n

Three years with this guy.

Hard to believe, but Jonathan and I have been dating for (over) three years.

n156803730_31079108_3108

It all started back in 2007 at JSU, where we first *really* met. Emphasis on the really, because we’d had two brief encounters before we actually had a real conversation. Oddly enough, we went to college together for four years, in the same department, and we never met.

167877_583242127509_156801544_32707603_3596102_nWe were a pretty unlikely couple, he and I. To some, we couldn’t be more opposite, our biggest division being political: he, a staunch conservative; I, a tree-hugging liberal.

5611_536395084359_156803730_31533254_3954110_n  But we make it work. Our differences are what bring us together; he is my Mr. Right (Wing).

25175_554205207729_156803730_32009134_6391408_n33689_574729681519_156803730_32525831_6741461_n37557_563952898279_156803730_32286308_649750_n

I never was the relationship girl, and I feel like I’m living proof that love hides in the most unexpected places, and it truly does happen to you when you least expect it.

19761_549271599719_156803730_31881460_5778207_n29517_558518324209_156803730_32124139_3351018_n

Because honestly. Who would have put the journal-toting, tree-hugging, can-recycling liberal lady with this straight-laced, clean-cut conservative “fraternity man”?

30415_556882931549_156803730_32079290_2000923_n29517_558518284289_156803730_32124138_5322660_n

Well, maybe he’s not as straight-laced as he looks.

155157_576983080689_156803730_32566427_6612795_n Differences or no, it’s been a good three years, never short on surprises and fun times. I love you, babe.

reunited and it feels so good…

Posted on

Way back when I was in college, during a time when Facebook was new and reserved only for college kids, there was an option on the burgeoning social network to put in what classes you were taking. And like all the other cool kids, I put in my schedule. Shortly thereafter, I found myself with a handful of new adds from people I’d not yet met but who I’d be having class with that fall. It was actually a pretty clever function; we could set up study groups and such and communicate missed assignments. I remember noticing one girl in particular who added me and who I’d never seen around.

n156803730_30318231_7048 On my first day of PR Writing at JSU, I sat in the back. I saw a vaguely familiar head of hair sitting in front of me. I tapped her on the shoulder. “Excuse me, but are you Kristin?” I asked. The beautiful girl nodded and smiled at me.

And the rest is friendship history!

248712_506514330629_156803730_30267680_6913_n

Kristin and I became fast friends, and as I remember it, that very first week, she invited me out to dinner and drinks with her friends. She was not only the most gorgeous girl I’d ever seen in real life, she was also super down-to-earth and funny. We spent many a late night drinking wine, eating cookie dough and laughing our asses off.

250662_506514315659_156803730_30267666_1127_n

We were study buddies, drinking partners, and karaoke queens. Kristin and I, along with my friends Kevin and Kaitie, became a very close-knit group within the communications department.

In 2007, Kristin moved to New York for a fabulous internship, and it was a big change that soon became semi-permanent. We kept in touch, and no matter how infrequent our conversations may have been, she was still one of my very best friends. I swore I’d come for a visit, but the money and time were never available.

The next year, Kristin moved home for a little while, and we were able to see each other a little more. But before I knew it, she’d found a new job and new place to call home: Washington, D.C. (Virginia, to be more correct). A lot closer, but still so far away. We continued to have sporadic visits as she returned home to see family, including a fantastic whirlwind trip last fall when we attended our alma mater’s homecoming festivities.

74492_576727198479_156803730_32562278_2129641_n148324_576727278319_156803730_32562280_3664546_n155071_576727647579_156803730_32562294_3236586_n

This past March, I decided to check out flights on AirTran, on a whim. Kris had told me she’d been able to find reasonable tickets between two smaller airports, and I just had to see. As luck would have it, I found a round-trip ticket over Memorial Day weekend—for just under $150 total.

I bought it immediately.

So in less than 24 hours, I’ll be DC-bound and reunited with my BFF Kristin. We’ve been looking forward to this trip for a very long time, and I foresee a lot more wine and late-night chatting on the agenda.

And if we’re lucky, maybe a little karaoke.

n156803730_30318221_4769

Take a few minutes to make a phone call to someone with whom you might have lost touch. I’m sure it’ll brighten both your days. I hope you all have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend—see ya on the flip side!

22561_550250532929_156803730_31909135_3042270_n

we can’t keep meating like this.

Posted on

So as you know, I’m gradually dipping my toes back in the meat-flavored water after a short hiatus during the season of Lent. One my first meat-centric recipes back on the wagon was this delicious turkey-spinach-feta turkey burgers. Jonathan and I decided to take the leftovers and recreate one of our favorite restaurant dishes at home: chile rellenos.

We started out by roasting the Poblano peppers on the grill, along with ears of corn and skewered veggies.

DSC09433DSC09432

To roast the peppers, we blackened them on the grill, then put them in a bowl and covered them with plastic wrap and let them sweat it out a while.

DSC09435

(Emily would be so proud!) Then we just peeled off the skin. Easy peasy ;) Or easy pepper-y.

While these guys hung out on the grill, we cooked the ground turkey in a pan with some leftover mushrooms and taco seasoning. (No pictures…it’s just boring ol’ meat.)

The next step was a little more involved, but not necessarily complicated. We rolled the peeled peppers around in some flavor to get them ready for the “batter.”

DSC09438 For the batter, I whipped one egg white (into a frenzy, of course), then folded in the yolk.

DSC09437

Then I dipped the floured and stuffed peppers in the mix, and from there, it was a trip to a nice, hot olive oil bath.

DSC09439

Look how crispy! Just like the pros.

DSC09442

With a side of homemade guac and some chips, it was the perfect Mexican feast. Not too shabby for my first try, if I do say so myself.

who wants man meat?

Posted on

Then my man meat he shall have.

Name that show! Or…click on that link, and then giggle, and remember the name of that show!

Can I just say thanks for the awesome, well thought-out responses yesterday?? Vegetarianism is a super hot topic these days. I’m glad to have people with whom I can have a good conversation about it all. Something Jaclyn said about “losing the identity” really resonated with me, and I’ll touch more on that soon.

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I haven’t really been eating meat since Lent ended. I mean, I’ve dabbled, but I haven’t really jumped back aboard the meat train, so to speak.

Last week, Jonathan and I decided to have a low-key, cook-at-home evening. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, but then it just came to me: burgers. I saw a recipe on someone’s blog earlier (I can’t remember whose, I think maybe Rachel?) this year for burgers with feta and spinach. The thought invaded my brain and wouldn’t let go.

Burgers it was!

We decided to go with lean turkey, spinach, feta, mushrooms and onions, and oven fries with olive oil and dill.

It was fairly simple. I chopped up the mushrooms and sauteed them in a skillet for minute or two, then mixed them in with the meat along with ripped up spinach and about half a cup of feta cheese, maybe a little less. We pattied them out and cooked them on the grill while the potatoes roasted in the oven.

DSC09376 Perfection! I had mine on half a whole wheat bun with a generous pile of ketchup.DSC09377

Closer…

DSC09378

Closer…

DSC09379

In your face!

These burgers were perfectly juicy and the flavors all mixed together very well. I added a little feta to the top of my hot burger. I think next time I might add some garlic into the mix. Other than that, they were amazing. Pretty delicious for my first main meat meal back on the wagon. Will it last?? Time will tell…

Lent and what it meant.

Posted on

So as you may remember, I gave up meat for Lent (except for seafood). I had been abstaining from meat for a while, but I decided to try and make the big change over Lent. Verdict? It wasn’t that hard. The worst was going to events/places where there were absolutely no options. And the only real time that was a problem was when I went to a fraternity event with Jonathan and it was allll BBQ. And mayonnaise. (Ick.)

I was able to get all kinds of creative in the kitchen.

195876_590906767509_156803730_32826992_2892714_n196482_612126303389_156803730_32879133_944878_n198561_592923411139_156803730_32851424_453948_n208083_613515689049_156803730_32897473_7008320_nDSC08697DSC08772DSC08969DSC08963DSC08955DSC09137DSC08991DSC09264

So much good stuff…and recipes to come.

I ate good food at various restaurants…

DSC08901DSC09087DSC09136DSC09064198539_594202398039_156803730_32870410_8074734_n

The last one would be veggie Chicago-style deep-dish from Tortuga’s. Oh, how I love Tortuga’s. I was able to find good options pretty much everywhere I went. Of course, it helped that I was still eating seafood.

DSC09145

Oh, and I went to three weddings while I was a vegetarian. Above is a plate from my favorite. So many fresh, delicious options!

The main question now, at least for me, is will I continue on with the vegetarian diet? And my answer is a little tricky. I was considering becoming vegetarian for a while, and for several reasons. I’d felt a strong urge to stop eating meat, and it intensified after watching the movie Food Inc.

The movie doesn’t use scare tactics like some others do, but it basically makes you feel more informed. And it opens your eyes to a lot of dirty practices in the food industry. It made me want to make better choices.

I had thought that when I finished abstaining from meat, I’d go from there. And my thoughts were that if I decided to eat meat, I’d make smart choices.

And I think I still feel that way, but I’d be lying if I said all the meat I’ve eaten since Easter has been organic, grass-fed, and so on. It was really hard to actually get used to eating meat again. I had ham on Easter, and then I think I had it twice that first week. Since then, I’ve not really gone out of my way to order, cook or eat meat.

Well, I did last week, but more on that later.

I think I”m eventually going to transition back into the pescatarian lifestyle. In the end, what you eat is very personal, and it’s nobody’s business how I choose to eat. I don’t want to label myself.

Sooo…as I said, I tried a lot of delicious recipes, and I can’t wait to share them all with you in the coming weeks! Now tell me—have you ever experimented with meatless eating? Thoughts? I know Jaclyn just ended a long-term relationship with vegetarianism, and she couldn’t be happier. One word: bacon!

this is a man’s world…

Posted on

…but it would be nothing without a woman, or a girl.

Happy Mother’s Day!

DSC09001

My mom truly is the best. Anything I’ve ever wanted, anything I need, she’s right there. I recall crying phone calls at 1am after I moved to Birmingham, desperate pleas on how to make the perfect meringue, more crying phone calls after getting my heart broken…she’s always there, telling me what I want to hear, but also what I need. There’s no better place to be than curled up in my mom’s bed, just talking, laughing…or even just sitting in silence. I may not have been the best child, and I may not have been the ideal daughter—but my mom has never let me down.

6129_266227215156_673970156_8622263_4032529_n Check out my hot mom at her prom :) I happen to think my dad’s hair is pretty sweet.

I think one of the reasons why my mom is so fabulous is because she learned from the best:

222887_10150573187025083_628705082_18367581_1429687_n My mom’s mom is the perfect grandmother: She makes the best biscuits and whips up pie recipes right off the top of her head; she has the softest skin and gives the warmest hugs.

I know everyone thinks that their grandma is the best cook ever….but mine really is. She did win an award for her chocolate pie, you know.

DSC07357 I snapped this photo in an album last Christmas—she served that pie at dinner, and I barely managed to snag a slice! I only hope that one day I make as many delicious treats as she.

Another fun picture from that album:

DSC07364

My ma and her sisters. That’s her on the far right!

cinco de reago!

Posted on

Last Thursday, our friends gathered together to celebrate a very special holiday: Cinco de Reago!

Also known as the anniversary of the birthday of this lovely lady:

181528_588139029079_156801991_32791118_7421141_n Reagan requested angel food cake and strawberries for her birthday (“since it’s healthier than other options”), and I was more than happy to comply. After calling my mom for advice, she told me to just go with a box mix to simplify things; she assured me it would turn out delicious.

She told me I would need a specific type of pan, a tube pan. I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I decided to go with loaf pans. The directions seemed simple. Mix, pour, bake. Easy peasy right?

Sigh. Nothing is ever easy.

DSC09382 Looks can be slightly deceiving. While this may not look that bad, I had some problems. The cakes puffed up beautifully…and continued to puff up until they spilled over and onto the burners in my oven. And consequently caught on fire.

It was all good, though. I managed to get it under control.

DSC09383

  Not so bad, eh? We’ll just ignore the metal tin of disappointment off to the side.

DSC09381

Oops.

We headed out to Jim ‘N Nick’s for dinner, then to karaoke for drinks and entertainment. Some shots from the evening:

DSC09391DSC09385DSC09386DSC09387DSC09390DSC09388DSC09398DSC09397

Dresses with pockets rock!

April, where did you go?

Posted on

Sheesh, it was a busy, busy month. Let’s see…

I’ve been to three weddings:DSC09023 No good pictures of me from Tyler and Jennifer’s wedding, so here’s a good one of J and his college roommate, Matt. This was the 1st weekend in April.

Then two weeks after that, our friend Juliet said “I do,” too.

DSC09149

Juliet and Mr. Juliet have their first dance.

DSC09157DSC09145

Me and Jonathan on the left, tasty treats on the right. I was so pleased with the food options! Tons of veggies and fruits (including sugar snap peas and blackberries!) and a delicious pasta salad.

DSC09156DSC09155

Me and Jonathan with the lady of the hour.

And the this past Saturday, a girlfriend of mine from high school got hitched at Noccalula Falls.

DSC09317DSC09351

We walked around the falls a bit and snapped some photos.

DSC09333DSC09330

The legend is that Indian maiden Noccalula was promised (in marriage) to member of another tribe. She was so in love with another and so distraught (and angsty) that she dove off the falls in protest.

DSC09334DSC09320DSC09325DSC09327

No worries, we kept both our feet on the ground.

The same day as the first wedding, Jonathan and I attended a cookout for my Uncle Phil.

DSC09019

He’s in the Guard, and he is being deployed. In addition to giving him a swell sendoff, we also celebrated his birthday and his daughter’s. It was so nice to have the ENTIRE family in town.DSC09001DSC09012

My sister and I with good ol’ Mom.

DSC09008DSC09009

Left: Me and all the girls (pretty much the whole family) and then J and I, flanked by festive balloons.

DSC09013DSC09014

The grandest grandparents in all the land. Truth.

DSC09003DSC09018

Left: My Aunt Alice holding one of the grandbabies—doesn’t she just look like a little doll?

On the right: My Uncle Donnie, my granddad and my Aunt Dolores—siblings!

The second weekend of April, Jonathan and I joined a friend of his, Rachel, to visit another friend from college, Adam.

DSC09083

We drove to Knoxville, TN, to hang out, stopping by Chattanooga to visit more friends on the way home.

DSC09111

This sign tickled me. I felt like it was saying, “Horses: THIS MEANS YOU.” I wondered if they’d had problems with horses trying to get residents to pony up for candy bars and horse scout cookies.

DSC09074

This was so amazing…I went on and on about it for a while. Probably too much. It’s a vegetarian muffuletta from Jason’s Deli (with a side of fruit). SO good.

DSC09109DSC09108

They’re so sweet.

DSC09094DSC09084

Beeeeeer. Beer as big as my head and as multitudinous as my fingers.

DSC09107

After a fun night out with the college kids from UT, we headed south towards home and another pair of good friends.

DSC09134

We met up with Brandon and Kristin (newly married this year) to have lunch in the super-cute arts district. From there, we walked over this scary glass pedestrian bridge:

DSC09115DSC09114

And THEN we walked over this massive bridge:

DSC09127DSC09117

Just so we could get some of this:

DSC09133 So…there’s most of my April, in a not-so-small nutshell. (Well, there was also a monster brunch on Easter last Sunday, but more on that later.) It was so jam-packed! I don’t think the next month will be nearly as full, but I have some fun things on the sched. What was the most fun thing you did this past month?

green me up, scotty.

Posted on

Ok, ok…that was cheesy. Let it slide? Just this one?

Great.

For St Patrick’s Day, my friends and I usually head towards Lakeview. And now that I live closer, I’m all about drinking at establishments that are walking distances of my dwelling. We started out at the Oasis, then made our way over to Moe’s Original BBQ for dinner (no meat for me, please) and then On Tap for our own personal last call.

DSC08816

Chug, chug, chug!

Last year, I made Rachel’s awesome black-and-tan brownies to share with my buds. This year, I wanted something equally as festive but a little easier and slightly cheaper.

Enter mint chocolate chip cookies.

Delicious, easy, and the green food coloring makes them fit for any St Patty’s Day drinkfest. I started with this recipe, but I ended up changing it around because I didn’t want to buy a bag of cookie mix.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-1/4 c sugar
  • 3 cups flour (I used 1 c whole wheat flour, 2 cups all purpose)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tsp peppermint extract
  • optional: green food coloring
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c Andes mint baking pieces (or do what I did and chop up a mint chocolate bar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sticks butter

Combine your dry ingredients (including the chocolate chips) and wet ingredients separately, then mix together. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the edges start to brown slightly.

DSC08788

The dough looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream!

DSC08786

These cookies were so simple, yet so awesome. I think the others agreed, too.DSC08792DSC08793DSC08794

Here are some other fun pictures from the evening:

DSC08804DSC08801

Still not sure exactly how this “leg in someone’s photo” thing got started. (I’m blaming Jason.)

DSC08798DSC08805DSC08802

I believe this was around the time we all started trying to tell every joke we knew.

DSC08810DSC08819

My dinner at Moe’s…yeah, I had to pick meat out of the corn, and yeah, I’m sure that’s not allowed on a vegetarian diet…but I did what I had to do.

DSC08795DSC08813

On the left: Mandy and Reagan looking cute. On the right…I found a hole in the floor and convinced Dennis to stick his finger in it. (I got a giggle.)

Since I know that St. Patrick’s Day was about two weeks ago, I won’t ask you what you did for the (arguably best ever) holiday. But instead…what’s your favorite go-to cookie recipe? These were so easy to make and so tasty, I definitely think I’ll revisit it again.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.