Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bobbing for Daylight

What? October already?! I know I say this each month, but seriously--where did September go? I have no idea, but I am digging the chillier mornings. Anywho, it's to-do list time!

1. I'm going to Dollywood with Ann Marie in a couple of weeks!! Yes, there will be a blog post--or maybe even a series. Pumped.

2. Celebrate birthdays (again). Let's see...there's my friend Sarah's baby, one of my nieces, and my twin brother.

3. Eat more apples. This is the ideal time of year for that. Plus, it's one of the few items from the produce aisle that does not elicit snarls.

And what's on the not-to-do list?

1. Overdo it on the candy! Halloween is so great for buying (and enjoying) those little individually wrapped portions. Whew.

2. Forget to sanitize my desk, phone, and hands at work. Yuck. It still astounds me that customers will come in, hacking and sneezing, and admit to having the flu or other disease.

3. Neglect to thank my loyal blog readers! Tah dah! Thanks so much for visiting and for leaving comments. It really does mean quite a bit to me. Enjoy October!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh, Patty

It's been a while since I've done an endorsement, but I find myself, headphones on and heart pumping, just needing to spread the gospel of Patty Griffin.

Ok, so she's not a religious artist, but she may as well be. What she writes and sings, she believes, and you can tell. She's been around the music business for many years, but she sort of flies under many people's radar. (Thanks again, Amy J., for introducing me to her!)

Patty has a range like you rarely hear these days, moving easily from heart-wrenching folk-y songs to all-out rock. Plus, she writes (almost?) all of her own music, and she has tons of more famous fans. The Dixie Chicks have covered several of her songs, including Let Him Fly and Top of the World.

A few years ago I picked up her first album from amazon, and I have never been sorry. In fact, it's in my top five albums of all time. (Mind you, I don't have a completed or ordered list and probably never will.) I have since bought everything else she's put out, and they're all masterpieces to me. It's only $8.99, and I fully support the decision to make a purchase. When I saw her perform live a few years ago, it brought chills and smiles and respect.

This song and this one are two of my absolute favorites. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just a Good PSA

You just can't beat a thorough and well timed public service announcement. They certainly know what they're doing over in The Beehive State.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall, with sprinkles on top

Well, fall has officially begun, and although the TN was a bit cooler (and rainy) today, it rarely feels like fall here until almost winter. Of course, it doesn't really happen like a light switch or anything, but the seasons here are not particularly delineated.

I ran across this picture from Real Simple and decide to post it because it looks simple and indulgent. Those are two good qualities. Plus, it reminds me of summer--but the very best parts of summer. Not that sweltering heat/mosquito business.

I hope that your week is going well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Right Flavia

Amazon and several magazines that I read recommended this book, so I recently checked it out and finished it yesterday. A murder mystery at heart, this novel by Alan Bradley is set in rural England in 1950 and is narrated by Flavia de Luce, the awesome protagonist.

She's 11, loves chemistry (especially poisons and antidotes--yikes!), proves to be extremely astute, and is completely, endearingly British. Her mother died before Flavia could remember her, and now she's sort of stuck with a standoffish father and two older, dramatic sisters. When the dead body of a shady stranger turns up in the cucumber patch of her family's stately mansion, Flavia immediately goes into sleuth mode to solve the crime and protect members of her household who could possibly have had a motive.

The author writes so convincingly from a girl's perspective that I often forgot that Alan = male. It's a wonderful read, and I was pumped to learn in the author's notes at the end that it's in the process of becoming a series. Give it a whirl, won't you?

I also wanted to share an excerpt from the book (page 85) that especially stood out:

I detected instantly that she didn't like me. It's a fact of life that a girl can tell in a flash if another girl likes her. Feely says that there is a broken telephone connection between men and women, and we can never know which of us rang off. With a boy you never know whether he's smitten or gagging, but with a girl you can tell in the first three seconds. Between girls there is a silent and unending flow of invisible signals, like the high-frequency wireless messages between the shore and the ships at sea, and this secret flow of dots and dashes was signaling that Mary detested me.

A female co-worker of mine told me (basically) this exact thing several years ago, and reading this passage brought back that idea and made it real for me. Do you agree with this assessment?

Just In Time

The first day of fall is only a few days away, but it has felt like 500 days of summer. Ok, I exaggerate a bit, but a good segue is hard to find.

As I've mentioned before, going to Maiden Alley Cinema is one of my favorite things to do. Yesterday my pal Ann Marie and I headed out and watched this movie, which is correctly billed as not a love story. It follows the relationship of Tom and Summer, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, who happen to meet at work and start dating.

There's a cool storytelling device that switches up the timeline throughout the movie, and it alternates between some very funny and very sobering parts. The soundtrack and costumes are also quite good, which never hurts a movie's chances with me. That's the sugar. Here's the medicine.

It was sort of annoying that certain characters act the way they do, but I feel like it does approximate real life. This was irritating, even though it may have been the intention of the filmmakers. And I hope that Ms. Deschanel evolves as an actress very soon. She seems to play roughly the same quirky character in every movie of hers (that I've seen).

This is still one to watch, though. I have not seen a movie quite like it before, and I recommend catching this at least once.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oh, Roy...

I have been a Kiehl's fan for a couple of years now. They have really good shampoo and face "stuff." (It's a pineapple scrub and works wonders, especially pre-shaving.) Plus, they give out free samples like candy.

The Kiehl's aesthetic is very old-timey apothecary. And although I've not really been a huge fan of their advertising, I got an e-mail today that caught my eye. This shot is for a new line of Acai-based products. Isn't it really cool and Lichtenstein-esque?

I can definitely get on board with this type of ad. It was about time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This picture is from my archives. :) I went to a conference in Snowbird, Utah last June(ish), and this was one of the views from the resort.

It was about 50 degrees on the mountain, and I loved it so much. Going from the draining humidity of a Tennessee summer to the dry, coolness of Utah was awesome.

Seeing this picture makes me long for cooler days, but I know they're right around the corner. I hope that you're having a great week so far.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Little Sugar Quickie

Ok, ok. Cavities. I know.

But I also made a caramel cake yesterday on the spur of the moment for Barb. She needed a quick birthday gift, and I didn't have to let my butter come to room temperature for this one.

The final product was not my best work, but I did like the look of this boiling caramel. The icing was pretty much brown sugar and butter, but it was such a cool texture. It just sort of undulated, and I definitely used a wooden spoon. Mesmerizing.

I will be trying this recipe again.


You just can't beat a classic. Whether it's a car, movie, book, song, outfit, or sweet treat, there's a reason certain things have stood the test of time and are always the perfect go-tos.

Today I broke out my chocolate chip cookie recipe to placate our delightful bookkeepers who are super busy but usually manage a weekly call to ask when I'm sending treats their way.

From a pretty humble bowl of (room temperature) butter and delicious brown and white sugars, I love seeing the way chocolate chip cookies come together. With just a few extra steps (room temp eggs, a splash of vanilla, salt, and flour/baking powder), the dough is ready for chocolate chips.

Then it's just a little scoop, metal sheet, and hot oven to...
the finished products. Here's hoping that they will put a smile on our bookkeepers' faces and keep them at bay at least until Halloween.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Pop is All You Need

Sometimes I get a little bored with what I get to wear to my office this time of year. It seems like a not-so-endless combination of striped button-down shirts and pants. Plus, I hate tucking in shirts, and I find it grossly unfair that female employees can wear glorified T-shirts, workout pants, and flip flops without consequence. The minute I wear an untucked shirt, I'm pulled to the side. (micro-rant over)

At any rate, I do enjoy spicing things up just a tad with my sock selection. I have about 15 pairs in various colors, patterns, and intensities, and they usually brighten my day. Some of my favorite co-workers even ask for a sock show before the noon hour. I am only happy to oblige. It was also cool to read this quick article for a sense of validation.

This is one of my favorite combinations--brown loafers, green argyle socks, dark jeans (on Fridays), brown belt, and a solid green button-down.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Right on Target...

Yeah. Sam wishes that he'd made this choice. As far as store brands go, you cannot beat Archer Farms. I say this after devouring a bag of the Chocolate Drizzle Indulgent Snack Mix. Yesterday I finished the Sweet & Spicy Indulgent Snack Mix. It's like Chex Mix cranked up to 11.

(Sidenote: I'm back on solids after this stomach bug debacle.)

I have tried several items from Archer Farms over the years, and they never fail to impress. Chips, Rice Krispie bars, pasta...all of it. It's available at Target (of course!) and is very reasonably priced. That is why I'm endorsing Archer Farms. Give them a whirl! I'm even thinking about giving out packets of the snack mix for Christmas this year.

Harry and David, eat your heart out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Give 'Em a Whiff

Yes, this picture is a little more racy than what I usually upload. But specs appeal? I am sure of it.

On a Labor Day shopping jaunt to Memphis, it was with much surprise I learned that a) Sephora had downsized its men's cologne section to about 1/8 of what it used to be and b) they had not even heard of the new D&G 'fragrances.'

When I had flipped through my latest magazines, this ad campaign was running through most of them. It's a unisex line that is getting lots of buzz. This is why I was irritated at Sephora. Usually I like going there because they had tons of cologne, and no one bothered me. I was free to sniff to my nose's content. *sigh*

So it was off to Macy's, where a D&G rep was restocking a case. And I have to say that I tried all of them, and each is unlike anything I've ever smelled before. Some are definitely more feminine or masculine, so I don't know if they can all be called unisex. But if you like it, wear it. They're strangely addictive, and I recommend trying them out if you get a chance.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not Totally a Wash.

I guess I haven't really paid too much attention to these print ads by Kohler. They've been around for a while, and I've always given them a good once-over. But they're better than I remember.

One ad I do remember is this commercial. It hasn't been broadcast recently (that I know of), but I think of it at least once a month and have a little laugh to myself.

This brand makes me think of renovation but not necessarily innovation. However, if you're in the market for a new sink or bath fixture, they're definitely worth a look.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009's subjective.

"Art," of course. Even after my one college art course a few years back, I still challenge my own idea of what constitutes art. Van Gogh? Yes. A big red splotch on canvas? Probably not.

Then again, Pollock? Yes.

I think that art has now taken on a new context, and I blame/credit Trading Spaces. It's crazy, I realize. But people call candleholders art now. You know you've seen it and heard it. I guess I'm more of a purist.

At any rate, I recently grew tired of my above-bed...umm...decor. It was a canvas that I had painted a cool green color for the background and then started painting gray lines. I got lazy with it, and it ended up looking like a lop-sided Christmas present. Ehh...changes.

Now I have a big piece of striped paper from Paper Source in a wooden Ikea frame. The whole effect was accomplished for about $20, which is good. This picture is from farther back than I usually like because, ya know, there was a bed in the way. Plus, you can see my wall color. Oh, and that frame was super cheap, but the glass cracked like a nerd under interrogation.