Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Change Is In the Air

Reality has set in. I haven't become a famous blogger in the last two months. And quite honestly, I am a really lazy blogger.

It's probably a good thing that I didn't buy my own domain name and the complete bells-and-whistles theme package that I wanted to do the first day I started my blog. My wise husband urged caution. He knows my history of discarding hobbies easily. Aw shucks - he was right. Which kind of stings because I kept telling him that I was "really serious about this one," and, well, "you'll see!" Curses. The man's a genius.

I have the utmost respect for those who make a substantial living out of blogging, because honestly, it's A LOT of work. I don't know how you blog regularly and do giveaways and network constantly, while holding down a full-time job and having a family and doing anything other than blogging. Well done!

Ok, so I'm not going to make it big as a blogger overnight. But I'm not ready to give up this blogging thing entirely. In fact,  I'm sprucing up this thing a bit and making it look like a shiny new toy. That should re-kindle my interest.

So - drumroll please - you can find my new blog at http://cupcakesandcourtrooms.wordpress.com/.

Visit me there! I'd love to see you. I'll be there - for awhile. I think.

Thanks lovely readers!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Watch out Twitterverse. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Last week I became the final person on earth to join Twitter. 

If you know me at all, you know that one of my favorite pastimes is scoffing derisively at social media. Particularly Twitter. I have proudly declared on more than one occasion that I would absolutely, under no circumstances, compose a tweet. I have relentlessly mocked the serious use of hashtags (for the record, I hashtagged ironically before JT and Fallon's epic bit), and I have waxed eloquently on the perils of interpersonal communication being reduced to 140-character sound bites.

Clearly, I am full of it.

Since I have admittedly laughable plans at growing this blog to reach a large audience actually show up in Google searches, I have been consulting with blogging gurus. Said gurus have continually advised me that despite my wishes, social media is not going away and I need to join the new digital world. Needless to say, I found this news incredibly distressing, especially since I assumed that when I took a 3-yr-law-school-hiatus from Facebook, everyone else stopped using Facebook too. Oh - is that still a thing?

So, I begrudgingly joined Facebook again last month. I have always preached that Facebook destroys the natural order of things (i.e., it's not normal for me to peruse the vacation photos of people that I haven't seen or spoken to in literally 20 years). Upon rejoining, however, I was pleased to discover that I am now immune from the Facebook spell. I no longer awake from a Facebook-induced stupor in front of my computer, wondering what I have done for the last 6 hours. Victory! I started to feel less like a sell-out. I could justify this to myself, like so: "Yeah I'm on Facebook, but only because of my blog. I don't do anything else on it."

But my blogging gurus were relentless. "You really need to join Twitter. It's the new wave." 

Resistance was futile. I caved. And here I am, tweeting. Like a complete hypocrite.

This Tweet summed up my initial feelings: Click here 

In my first week of Twitter, I have probably broken every rule of Twitter decency. To those that I have offended and will likely offend soon with my lack of tweeting etiquette: I'm sorry. I think it's painfully obvious that I am a fish out of water here. I didn't even know what "RT" meant until yesterday.

But the most disturbing discovery?


Monday, October 21, 2013

Better Than Nick Lachey

      Oh snap. My husband is making my dreams come true. As usual. This time, he is fulfilling my fantasy Nick-and-Jessica-The-Newlywed-Show-style. 
     No, this is not about Lasik surgery or Chicken of the Sea. No, this is about....the surprise romantic getaway. You remember that episode too, right? Of course you do. We all do. 
     My husband is the only other person I know who suffers from the same infection of voracious wanderlust that I do. We obsessively travel the world together. But, as a true modern man, my husband does not plan trips without consulting me. In fact, one of our favorite activities is trip planning; dreaming up and crafting our future escapades is just delicious.
     However, I have always harbored a quite traditional desire to be whisked away and taken on a surprise getaway. For fun. Not because I'm being kidnapped. 
     IT'S HAPPENING. As a you-graduated-from-law-school-and-wow-you-passed-the-bar-exam treat, my husband is kindly indulging a wish that I have audibly whispered at every birthday in his presence. (Once we got married, I traded in my standard I wish to be a beautiful princess someday for this one. I'm sticking with this kid forever so unless we have some serious genealogy surprises waiting for us, I have made my peace with my permanent status as a commoner. Because I'm still living in a real-life fairy tale with him. And you never know, I've still got that First Woman President wish in my back pocket.) 
    I don't know any details, except that the secret getaway is in November. He's planning it, he's packing for me, and I just have to show up. I have purposely turned off my Sherlock Holmes + Nancy Drew-like investigative powers. I love surprises, but I am rarely surprised. Maybe that's why I love them so much. 
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! {virtual scream of excitement}
    For your viewing pleasure, I have included the referenced clips from The Newlywed Show. I want to hug the lovely person who took the time to painstakingly upload numerous segments of this show to Youtube so that I could re-live 2003-2005 all over again. 
    And watching this again - I miss them together. I really do.

     Nick and Jessica - Romantic Dinner & Romantic Getaway Part 1

     Nick and Jessica - Romantic Dinner & Romantic Getaway Part 2

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday: My Grandma's Peanut Butter Pie

I want to fervently thank my little group of supporters - you have been so positive about my freshly hatched blog. I am truly humbled by your enthusiasm and I am honored to rank among the numerous online distractions that limit your work productivity.

One day very soon, I hope to have a delightfully complex blog with a myriad of drop-down menus and stunning graphics. One section will be solely dedicated to travel - my husband and I both happen to be infected with voracious wanderlust. #Soulmates. Over the years, I have had a number of friends and colleagues ask for travel recommendations, and I'd love to finally consolidate our adventures into one place for your perusal. Another section may include a few of my favorite recipes, because pretending to be a chef is one of my favorite hobbies. I love food as much as I love travel - it works out nicely that they go hand-in-hand.

But, alas, until I enlist the help of a dear friend who is very talented at web design, code, and all of the things that make my eyes cross, I will continue my painfully simple blog in the form of public diary entries.

Today, instead of my usual musings, I have a recipe for you.

It's very easy. It's very tasty. And it's a recipe from my grandmother. Which automatically makes it good.

I was blessed with two grandmothers who were both phenomenal cooks. They were always in their respective kitchens, making succulent treats. I tried to gather as many of their recipes as possible so that I could carry on their culinary legacies. Each time I re-create one of their scrumptious recipes, I imagine that I am infusing the world with a little bit of their grandmotherly sunshine.

Most refrigerated peanut butter pie recipes are shockingly similar and this one isn't very different, except that it originated from the cozy kitchen of my beautiful grandmother. But if you make this pie, I do believe the world will be a bit brighter that day. Drop me a note and let me know how you liked it, won't you?

Recipe for My Grandma's Peanut Butter Pie

*I only use organic ingredients. I thought I'd tell you that here instead of writing "organic" in front of every ingredient (that just seems obnoxious and annoying).

For the filling:

1/2 cup MaraNatha Organic No-Stir Peanut Butter, creamy style
4 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1 graham cracker crust

For the topping: 

1 cup heavy whipping cream (I love Kalona Supernatural)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3 tbsp confectioners' sugar (depending on how sweet you like your whipped cream)
1 milk chocolate bar (I like Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate)

Filling: In one bowl, mix the peanut butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on low until thoroughly blended (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment because I have no upper body strength). Pour the filling into your pie crust.

Topping: [Tip: chill the stainless steel bowl and wire whisk before whipping.] Pour the heavy cream into the bowl and whip on high with your mixer until peaks start to form. Add the vanilla extract & sugar; continue beating until peaks form and the whipped cream reaches your desired consistency. Don't overbeat or the consistency will be more like butter.

Smooth the topping onto the peanut butter filling. Take the chocolate bar and, using a knife, shave off curls onto the top of the pie.

FREEZE for at least 24 hours.

To serve, let the pie soften a bit. Some of my guests have preferred it on the softer side, but my husband loves it when it's very frozen. Experiment and enjoy!

Until next time,


Monday, October 7, 2013

Icebreaker Monday: Let's All Go Around & Share Our Most Embarrassing Moments

It's the dreaded and inevitable question of Day 1 of the Corporate Team-Building Event.

Clad in your best rendition of "business-casual" (no one looks good in khakis), uncomfortably shifting in an equally uncomfortable chair, and pretending to be fascinated by the pastel artwork of the drab conference room, you're surrounded by a group of humorless co-workers chowing down on stale bagels and tepid orange juice. It's not exactly the ideal environment for revealing the worst day of your life. Besides, you already have a feeling that Herb in Accounting's most humiliating moment will haunt your dreams.

A blog, on the other hand, is a perfect space for reminiscing about traumatizing memories. For most people, these shudder-inducing moments involved copious amounts of alcohol and the resulting shenanigans.

Sadly, I can't blame anyone or anything but myself and gravity for the story I am about to relate. But this tale does prompt a variation of an age-old question: When a tree falls in a lonely forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Or rather, can you be completely humiliated by an event that happens to you if no one is around to see it?

For most of my college years, I rocked knee-high boots with a 6-inch+ heel. I trekked all over campus in these beauties (which probably explains my current chronic knee injury more accurately than my classic excuse of "I run too much"). At 5'2 3/4", these boots added a lot to my image, literally. Upon review, this look was rather vampy for a conservative Southern college, but all the ladies wore them. Maybe the boots compensated for my frumpy skirts - I hadn't yet discovered the magic of tailoring, and my Herve Leger Bandage Dress Fund only contained $13.27. And let's be honest, I needed some generosity in my garments to forgive infrequent late-night carb binges.

One bright and sunny day, clad in an unflattering skirt and my sassy boots, I strode across campus confidently. Just like any other day. Or so I thought.

I had to make a quick stop at Student Accounts to pick up my meager student paycheck. The office was located at the bottom of a steep set of stairs. I wasn't a stranger to stairs and neither were my boots. We always took the stairs between classes together.

To this day, I still don't know what happened. If my life depended on it, I wouldn't be able to tell you.

I have a distinct memory of being at the top of the stairs.

And then I was completing a quick succession of somersaults down the stairs at a pace that would shame Gabby Douglas into giving me her gold medal. You know that cute little catch phrase "head over heels"? The literal version isn't so sweet. I was a human slinky, desperately clawing at the handrail, the stairs, and the wall in a futile attempt to slow my rapid descent.

I eventually sprawled to a stop two stairs from the bottom. Completely upside down. Face to the ceiling. Except that I couldn't see the ceiling because - my skirt was completely over my head. And this wasn't "tights & leggings" season, if you get my drift. (Obviously, if I had been wearing a bandage dress, this never would have happened.)

I laid there, stunned like those adorable baby birds that fly into high-rise windows and knock themselves senseless. I may have blacked out.

After rousing myself, I tried to scramble to my feet, not an easy feat when upside.down.on.a.staircase.with.a.piece.of.cloth.over.your.head. Apparently gravity can be kind of a jerk. I could only flop awkwardly in a seal-like manner until I was lying sideways across the stairs and could frantically restore my skirt to its proper position.

At this moment I became aware of the sensation of pain. Everywhere. And an inexplicable yet strong desire to just give up and lie there indefinitely.

But, through the haze, I realized that a true miracle had happened. There were no witnesses. Somehow, in that notoriously congested stairwell, all foot traffic had ceased for a brief moment in time and not one soul had observed the (potentially) most mortifying moment of my life.

That's an undeniable gift from heaven. Which quickly spurred me into action.

Through a series of crablike motions, I finally managed to prop myself up against the stairs. I was in the midst of attempting to stand up when a fellow co-ed burst through the doors and said "Oh my gosh, are you ok?" Oh honey. If you only knew.

I delivered an Oscar-worthy performance of nonchalance and sheepishness, acting as if I had just experienced a silly stumble UP the stairs. After she continued on her merry way, I took a deep breath and turned for my second attempt at navigating the evidently treacherous route. After all, I still needed my paycheck.

Every movement was excruciating. Apparently my legs had caught on fire within my flammable boots during my initial descent. Gotta love pleather.

I hobbled into the Student Accounts office, whimpering to myself. The grandmotherly woman at the front desk gave me such a kindly look that I nearly burst into full tears but I allowed myself only a half-sob disguised as awkward laughter.

Clutching my paycheck, I limped back to my dorm to nurse my wounds (clearly I would not be attending class). And wounds I had. It's amazing what a staircase can do to you.

To return to the question I posited at the beginning of this already-too-lengthy story, I would answer "yes."Yes, you can feel like an utter fool, even if no one else is around to make you feel that way. You can actually be embarrassed at yourself, by yourself. I'm sure that my therapist best friend could provide a thorough analysis (to clarify, she was my best friend and then became a therapist, it wasn't that she was my therapist and therefore my only best friend...).

If you haven't yet experienced this phenomenon personally, I can assure you that your time will come. And I'd love to hear about it when it does.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Encounters of the Urban Kind

One of the best parts about living in urbanity is the free entertainment that you encounter every time you leave the confines of your own home. Today I want to highlight a few of the folks that made me smile recently in this concrete jungle.

# 1. The disgruntled employee at a favorite neighborhood bakery who, when asked if she could cut a pastry in half for us, informed us rudely: "It's 50 cents extra." In response to our incredulous stares, she retorted, "It's just the cost of labor." Our quick mental calculations revealed that we had just met the most well-paid bakery employee of all time. Privileged to know you, ma'am. Forget this lawyer thing, I'm going to go serve cupcakes for 8 hours/day and retire early.

# 2. The skipster* cruising down the middle of the street at 10:00 pm, stopping under a street lamp to check his hand-drawn map for directions. You don't see that kind of well-rounded authenticity every day.

# 3. The guy in a multi-colored wig, red cape, and knee-high red pleather boots excitedly clambering off and on a stone wall in the park as his friends pretended to ignore him. "Calm down dude... I thought you were going to be a chill clown this time."

# 4. The tourist that, as my husband and I were stretching after a morning run, screamed over to us, "TIME!" Cue incredulous stares. He repeated, with increasing notes of hysteria, "TIME! RIGHT NOW!" After finally realizing that this was his primitive way of inquiring about the current time, we replied, "We don't know." To which he snarled, "Oh really - like you have NOOOO idea." As if I was actually carrying a gigantic pocket-watch in my spandex running outfit but was simply refusing to check it for him. Move along, Captain Grammar.

#5. The man that served us delicious vegan treats from his food truck while wearing a chicken suit. Now that's my kind of irony.

*This has always been my name for skateboarding hipsters. I just Googled this term to see if I actually came up with an original word, and found the most delightful dictionary definition I have ever encountered. Urban Dictionary's definition of a skipster: "a person who is hip, but not too hip to skip." No need for me to perfect my boarding skills - I've been a skipster all along!

Until next time...