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Retail Therapy

January 23, 2015

I just paid off my credit card for my post holiday shopping while I was in Cincinnati and surrounded  by so many malls in driving in one beltway. All of those sales, that Dillard’s outlet closeout, the large selection of winter coats (there were hardly any in the South), the Bengals shirt I had to have. I went a little crazy. Actually, most of the shopping started after I survive two and a half tense hours with my mother….


So yes, I really do wish retail therapy was covered by my health insurance… totally a mental health relief! At least it made me laugh, and that is my Friday funny folks.

Throwback Thursday: Comps Celebration, 2006

January 22, 2015

About 8 years ago at this time, I was frantically studying for COMPS. Short for The Big Scary End of Grad School Comprehensive Exam. Four to five hours at a computer answering questions about 15-18 classes covering anything and everything over two years of a grad program. Talk about stressful. But after it is the celebration.

Group pic post comps

Group pic post comps


From left to right my closest friends from my grad cohort: Me, Vicki, Elizabeth, Liz and EWH. Flowers and champagne were necessary!

Vick and Liz both have toddlers now and Elizabeth is pregnant with twins. We’ve all been going back and forth over group messages the past few days trying to find a good weekend to have a reunion before four little addition feet are added to the world! I am so excited about seeing them all sometime this spring I wanted to go back to this moment…. where we were all so excited to be done with a major part of our educations!


Translation Tuesday: Too Big For Your Britches

January 20, 2015

Oh, this one is a fun one that I use fairly often.

Too Big For Your Britches via Southern Living

Too Big For Your Britches via Southern Living


Don’t go getting too big for your britches now… which basically means don’t go letting your ego get to big or don’t go letting all that go to your head. Try using it this week if you haven’t before!

Fun in Louisville

January 19, 2015

Growing up in greater Cincinnati I went to Louisville, KY fairly often in my childhood an teen years. My mom had a number of events there so we went a few times a year. In high school I would go for conferences for a group I was in each April. My Dad even lived there for a year when I was in middle school for work. It was an hour and a half from Cincy, so it wasn’t hard to go for a day or weekend. So when a conference I regularly attend announced it would be in Louisville I was so excited! As I mentioned HERE I was able to fly up a day early and drive up to Cincy to see my loved ones, so double bonus there! The Bestie goes down all the time for work, so we were talking about things in Louisville and it made me realize I hadn’t been in about 14 years. Like, senior year of high school or freshmen year of college was the last time I was there. I can report that Louisville is a much cooler city than I remember. Here are a few recs about where I went in case you are heading there!


So, this conference actually came with a ton of meals and I ended up only eating out twice. BOTH places were yummy and very distinctive to the area.

1.  Bluegrass Brewing Company

We ate at one of the downtown locations and it was really good. Burgers, wraps, and local brews. Not that I drink beer, but several others seemed to really like them. Randomly, I ran into someone I went to high school with…. proving that it is a super small world.

2. Hillbilly Tea

Adorable local hole in the wall restaurant. We found it on Yelp and I think we overwhelmed them a bit for a random Monday at lunch. Immediately after our group of six was another group of six and the place wasn’t all that big. The food was all local and very good. I got to have some Ale 8! Ale 8 is a soft drink made in Kentucky and similar to ginger ale. I rarely get to have it when eating out! So fun!

Ale 8! A childhood fave and Kentucky made!

Ale 8! A childhood fave and Kentucky made!


Chicken Salad at Hillbilly Tea in Louisville.

Chicken Salad at Hillbilly Tea in Louisville.




I was at the  Louisville Marriott Downtown and it was great. Wonderful service and a very nice room. My only complaint was not enough power outlets in the room and a shower curtain that didn’t like to stay on the hooks. The customer service was wonderful though, really top notch. If they had ever bothered to send me a follow up survey I would have told them that.

The Louisville Marriott Downtown

The Louisville Marriott Downtown

Things to Do

A couple things to note that are fun: The Louisville Slugger Museum and Churchill Downs- the museum specifically.  For those of you that don’t know Churchill Downs is the home of the Kentucky Derby that is run each May. Lots of memory of derby parties growing up! The fun thing about this museum is they have so  many Derby outfits on display. ALL of those hats! It is awesome! If you like college campuses like I do: The University of Louisville campus and Bellarmine University are both lovely places to tour and have some amazing facilities. I’m a higher ed dork, what can I say?

Churchill Downs. Louisville KY

Churchill Downs. Louisville KY


The Kentucky Derby Museum

The Kentucky Derby Museum

Translation Tuesday: The Best Line Ever

January 6, 2015

I can’t remember how old I was when I first saw Gone With the Wind. All I remember is being little and being enthralled. Just a small part of my path of falling in the love with the South. In that case, it was the dresses. I loved the hoop skirts.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest


And it gave one of the most iconic lines in all movie history. “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.” And I use that phrase all the time. How can you not?

Saying Yes

January 5, 2015

The holidays, travel to Ohio and back, sickness I got from a three year old, the list goes on… and has therefore been a crazy few weeks. Potential posts to come covering some of adventures.  But this is my new year post. Not about resolutions exactly, but more about a frame of mind for the year. One night over my visit in Ohio the Bestie, TT and I were having one of our long “what is happening in life” conversations. I’ve been friends with them for 20 years… these conversations always pop up. We move around from topic to topic, person to person, but when we got on the topic of things I want to do in my life, the Bestie looked at me and said: “Just say yes. Make this the year of saying yes.” We were talking about one thing in my life in particular, but she went on to say that I need to just say yes to more things and see where it takes me. I thought about it and said, what the hell, why not. So here I am going with the flow and not freaking out about what the plan of my life is supposed to be and seeing where saying yes will take me.


via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Throwback Thursday: Christmas 1985

December 25, 2014

December 1985. This was my first southern Christmas. It was my first Christmas not with my Mom’s family and my first with 95% of my Dad’s family. There are several cute pictures from that Christmas day at my Grandpa Bob and Grandma Pat’s house… but this one that is a total mess and totally hilarious seems the most appropriate to share when I consider this family.

My crazy family.... Christmas 1985

My crazy family…. Christmas 1985

So, in the back going from left to right… we have my Uncle Brian- the professional photographer trying to get everyone to look at the camera. Then we have my Uncle John looking at the camera… like, how did I get pulled into this family? He is holding five month old Jenna who seems to be reaching out to grab a chunk full of my Dad’s hair below. We then have my Aunt Wen and Aunt Sue who are paying attention and probably a little happy from all the wine I’m sure was consumed (note the partial wine bottle cut out of the pic on the left). Sitting we have Holly (my Uncle’s first wife) giving the look of “take the damn photo already” holding five month old Blake… who is looking at my Dad who is making silly faces at him. Then we have me doing my own “I’m a princess, don’t tell me what to do” playing with the table cloth and then my Grandpa Bob holding a very wiggly toddler Dane and trying to get him to look at the camera.

We never did get a full group picture with all of us looking at the camera. Typical crazy family.


I had planned to do a whole smattering of pics from both sides of my family today, but looks like I need to by a new scanner. My old one doesn’t want to work with my laptop… stupid Windows 8.

Hope each of you have a lovely Christmas!

No Time For Christmas Cards

December 24, 2014

I won’t say it is is a Christmas Fail (unlike the Christmas Cake I mentioned yesterday) but more of a conscious decision to not stress about Christmas cards this year. I usually try to get them out in the second week of December, but I just didn’t have time this year. Too much travel, too many family responsibilities, general holiday busyness of shopping, parties and events. Plus, the insanity that is the end of academic semester…. it just wasn’t going to happen. So to my family and friends who normally get my Christmas card and to all of you lovely folks that somehow find this blog interesting enough to subscribe to…. here is what my card would have been:

From Allport Cards

From Allport Cards


For the record, the eleven line is my favorite. I hope each of you have a very wonderful and happy Christmas. I am looking forward to time with some family, reading the books I bought my Dad for Christmas (yep I got him books I also want to read- I am either a horrible person or just very economical. He’ll love them though and think they are great), a walk on the dam and one very yummy Christmas dinner of prime rib. Turkey is for Thanksgiving in this family.

Merry Christmas!

Also- for those of you who are family, tomorrow is Thursday. Therefore, my Throwback Thursday will be Christmas edition from Christmases past. Tune in.

The Christmas Cake Fail

December 23, 2014

Folks, I like to think that I’ve shown myself to be a decent cook over the last few years of keeping this blog. As I’ve mentioned, I am from a foodie family, so you have to learn how to cook. Now, I admit… I am probably a better baker than a cook. Last Christmas we did the holiday celebrating over at my Aunt Joy and Uncle Brian’s house and I was in charge of dessert. I typically do pies, but Pinterest had inspired me and I decided to do a cake. What could be more festive at Christmas than a cake with cranberry, orange and nuts?

I should have stuck with the damn pies.


This is what I attempted to create: A cranberry cake from Taste of Home

I mean really, start with a basic cake mix. Add some other things in. Not hard, right? The only thing I did differently… I soaked the cranberries overnight in OJ and I made it into a bundt cake and not a layer cake. This is the disaster I got:

Looked okay coming out of the oven....

Looked okay coming out of the oven….

and then…

I took it out of the pan

I took it out of the pan

and it fell apart

and it fell apart

It wasn’t just that part of the top came off, it was so crumbly and literally one side was disintegrating. So, I thought… maybe I can use the frosting to act as a glue to help it stay together? That has helped me in small cake scrapes before…..

and it got worse

and it got worse


Literally, one side of the cake was just collapsing. It was noon at this point and I was heading over to the family thing and 2. Time was running out. So, I pulled out a big knife….

the final product

the final product


I cut out the horrible part the was falling to pieces and went with a half of a cake. It still looked awful, but you could at least cut a slice without it totally falling a part. It tasted good… but more like a super soft cranberry muffin with cream cheese frosting. A year later, my family is still giving me a hard time. Lesson learned: I am sticking with holiday pies. At least I can laugh about it. Got love the #PinterestFail

The Cold Never Bothered Me… Yeah, Right.

December 19, 2014

Oh, Frozen… such a cute movie. Lili forced me to watch it in August and it is adorable. I love it, but I love the jokes that have come from it more. Example, the sweatshirt below. Any friends still need to get me a gift, try this! Ha!

the cold never bothered me via pinterest

the cold never bothered me via pinterest

Throwback Thursday: Lili visits the South, August 2012

December 18, 2014

I’m so excited about heading back to the Fort at the end of the month and getting to spend some time with sweet Lili. I can’t believe she will be FOUR in February! Where did the time go?! So this throwback is for when she (and her parents) came South to visit me for the first time. July 2012.

Hanging with Lili, July 2012

Hanging with Lili, July 2012

She was 17 months old and her cute little Shirley Temple curls were just starting to be really curly and defined. And she was just so sticking cute. I mean- look at those eyes? How can you say no to those? Such a sweet little toddler and she dealt with the heat like a champ. That was the week where we had that awful heatwave and hit 113 degrees one day. Miss this sweet girl, not that heatwave.


Holiday Fruit Pie Trifecta: Apple, Pear, Cranberry Pie

December 17, 2014

My typical Thanksgiving pie is Carmel Apple Pecan Pie. It is amazing and you can find it HERE. When I asked my Dad what sort of dessert he wanted for Thanksgiving he said something with out nuts (he has a tendency to get diverticulitis… nuts and seeds can be contributors to that) so I decided to make a different type of pie. I looked through my recipe books, searched Pinterest and the some other places and couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. So I ended up combining about four different recipes and made my own: Apple/Pear/Cranberry pie. I liked it, it was very tasty… but I didn’t love it. For two reasons. 1) I don’t LOVE pear. I tolerate it, but I love apple and cranberry. Pear seemed like a fun idea and it was good, but not something I would crave enough to have again. 2) I hate nutmeg and for some reason I made a last second decision to toss some nutmeg into the filling. The fact that I bought the nutmeg over a year ago and actually had to break the seal to put it into the pie should have been my reminder that I don’t like it…. but I was trying to be festive. I won’t do that again, so I will say the nutmeg in this recipe is optional. Regardless, it was a very yummy pie.

Apple, Pear and Cranberry Pie

Apple, Pear and Cranberry Pie with ice cream!

Ingredients- Pie and Filling

  • 1 pie crust (I buy them in the dairy section, but you could make them from scratch)
  • 3 apples ( I like granny smith). Peel and slice into small slices
  • 3-4 pears (it depends on the size). Peel and slice into small slices
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (plus a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: nutmeg

Ingredients- Crust

  • 1 and ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour (maybe a smidge more than a half cup)
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • ½ cup of butter, cut into squares.
Pie filling all in the pan

Pie filling all in the pan


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease pie pan and roll pie crust into the dish
  3. Mix flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in small bowl and set aside
  4. Toss sliced apples and pears with cranberries and lemon juice in a large bowl
  5. Slowly mix the dry mixture into the large bowl with the fruit. Toss until mixed well.
  6. Spoon filling into pie crust
  7. Mix the brown sugar, flour and oats from the crust recipe in a medium sized bowl.
  8. Wash your hands
  9. Add in cut butter pieces and mix well with hands so it all sort of crumbles together. It almost makes a crumble/ paste.
  10. Cover the pie with the topping, there should be enough to cover it completely, but you have to apply it with your hands
  11. Cover pie with aluminum foil, bake on a cookie sheet for 40 miutes
  12. Remove foil from pie and bake for another 10 minutes

Hot out the oven

Hot out the oven


This best served warm and with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!


Translation Tuesday: Just Piddlin’

December 16, 2014

“Just Piddlin” is not one that I use that often, but some of my native southern friends do.

Just Piddlin via Pinterest

Just Piddlin via Pinterest


It means just messing around, just killing some time, just tinkering…. something along those lines.


“Hey, what are you doing out there in the garage?”

“Oh nothing, I’m just piddlin around!”

My Favorite Christmas Movies

December 6, 2014

Oh, the holiday season is upon us and one of my favorite things to do when wrapping Christmas presents is to watch holiday movies. I know everyone has their own personal favorites and there are plenty of newspapers and magazines that have lists… some of those I like, some I don’t. For example, I know many people think It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the best ever. Now I love Jimmy Stewart as much as the next person, but it doesn’t make my list. These are the movies that I usually watch some point each December. Mostly while wrapping presents, but sometimes curled up on a rainy weekend (like today) or after opening the presents. Just depends.

some of my fave holiday movies!

some of my fave holiday movies!

  • White Christmas– I saw it for the first time in 5th grade and loved it because of the singing and dancing. It is probably my all time favorite Christmas movie.
  • The Family Stone– This has been a favorite since I saw it in the theater.  It is surprising that I like it so much because (Spoiler Alert), Diane Keaton’s character dies. I HATE it when people die in movies (well, not action movies, that is okay). But I love the ensemble cast, THAT HOUSE and the funny scene in the kitchen on Christmas morning.
  • The Holiday– This movie makes we want to visit England in winter and we all know I don’t love winter. I love the movie, but I especially love the music! Such a good score.
  • Home Alone– One of my favorite movies from when I was a kid. I totally remember seeing it in theater!
  • Little Women– The 1994 version. Loved the story, love the 1860s set, loved it all. Oh, and the Orchard House instrumental is totally on my playlist. I just fast forward through that part where Beth dies.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia– All three movies that have come out, even though only the first one has a Christmas scene in it. Love these and wish they would make the rest!
  • The Wizard of Oz– Okay, really it is my all-time favorite movie and just watch it anytime 🙂

There are some others I like: the Santa Clause, Santa Clause(1985) and couple of cute Lifetime or Hallmark movies. Those are more that I will watch them if they are on, not that I have to see them. What are your favorite Christmas movies?


Throwback Thursday: Beach in Belize, May 2007

December 4, 2014

Mainly because it is the end of the semester, I am tired, super busy and it is getting cold. Therefore, I want to think about something fun, stress free and warm. So, today’s throwback is to a beach in Belize with the Bestie.

A Beach in Belize with the Bestie... May 2007.

A Beach in Belize with the Bestie… May 2007.


While not the best picture, it is one of the few I have of us both that day. We were on a cruise for the wedding of our friends Brooks and Heather and Belize was the port that day. Such a fun trip with friends! We went snorkeling on the reef on the coast of Belize that morning and spent the afternoon sipping cocktails on the beach. SOMEONE had way too many rum punches and it made for an entertaining day. Hint: the person is in the pic and it is not me 🙂

Years later and I still love to give the Bestie a hard time about that. I really need a tropical beach vacation soon. Time to start researching.

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