Friday, June 30, 2006

A Not-So Guilty Pleasure

This post is for anyone who has a chocolate-loving sweet tooth while also trying to maintain the waistline... ME! I posted earlier this summer about a new website that I found that provides nutritional values to menu items at various restaurants; now I'd like to share some new, extremely simple cake recipes that I got from my mom and aunt that make eating chocolate cake guiltless!

1.) Cola Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can diet soda

Mix cake mix and diet soda for two minutes.
Pour mixture into greased bundt pan.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

2.) Choco-pumpkin cake
1 box of chocolate cake mix (During the holidays, substitute chocolate cake mix for spiced cake mix.)
1 can of pumpkin
1/2 cup of water

Mix ingredients for 2 minutes
Pour mixture into greased bundt pan.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

*Note: These recipes are lower in calories and fat because you are omitting the eggs and oil. Nutritional values will vary depending on the cake mix of your choice.

Instead of icing or ice cream, I have been serving it with lite coolwhip.

I have made them both, and they are ooey-gooey and moist, delicious, satisfying-my-sweet-tooth desserts! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A lost art...

Disclaimer: ranting ahead...

There are several things that are pet peeves of mine about wedding/social etiquette:
1. Not RSVP-ing to weddings, showers, birthday parties, dinners, etc. This especially bothers me when someone shows up that did not RSVP. It is a simple common courtesy to let a host/hostess know whether you can attend the specified event so that they can plan accordingly. I have not always been the best at this, but after showers I have hosted and our wedding, I have vowed to pay that respect.
2. Not sending a gift after receiving an invitation. It's just rude and lazy.
3. Not sending a thank you note. This is probably my biggest pet peeve and current rant. While numbers 1-2 can be frustrating social faux pas, not sending a thank you note is simply unacceptable. Don't you think? Both Emily Post and Amy Vanderbilt agree that thank you notes for wedding gifts should be sent within 6-8 weeks after a wedding. They even suggest that for gifts received prior to a wedding, one should send a thank you within 2-3 weeks. I will even go as far to say, though, that a thank you note is always better late than never.

Many people get overwhelmed at writing thank you notes because they want to make them personal. I definitely appreciate a note that makes me feel special and my gift valued over a generic "blah" note; however, the overwhelming feeling is not an excuse to not write a note. And if it does take you (*someone*) over a year to write your thank you's, please make your note dang good. A once close friend sent her thank you note 10 months after her wedding, and it was so impersonal, you would think we hadn't even known each other.

One of the last mini-lessons that I shared with my seniors this year was the "how-to's" of writing a thank you note. I emphasized to them that graduation gifts that go unthanked will not lead to future gifts for college graduation, weddings, babies, etc. We talked about 1) acknowledging the gift; 2) its use; 3) and the hope for a future meeting with the giver. It's that simple.

I realized today that 5 out of the last 8 wedding/baby gifts that I have given (some to friends and others to aquaintances) have gone unthanked. This is problematic to me for a couple of reasons:
1. Did they get my gift? Some were sent in the mail, and what if they got lost? I even asked one of the girls over Christmas if she did, indeed, receive the gift... She did. Still no thank you.
2. Is thank you note writing a lost art? I hope not...
3. Do people in general appreciate others' generosity? I hope so...

I think I am going to write a thank you note to a friend for her personal, appreciative thank you note... sigh.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Opened Eyes!!!

Maggie has been born!!! These are the 3 girls from the litter. They are 18 days old and have just opened their eyes. I cannot wait!!! I have been waking up thinking about her... Lindsay and I held two little bichon puppies today at the flea market, and we played with Sugar (our cousin's pup) Tuesday night. Both times I have melted. So we're deliberating over her registered name... I have a slight aversion to anything with Margaret. No offense, just not for my puppy. Mom mentioned Maggie Magdalene. Patrick vetoed it. I love Maggie Moo ice cream, but isn't that sort of cliche? Any ideas for a unique registed name, pass them along!

Monday, June 19, 2006

bathing suits and pajamas

I love my friends! This weekend is going down in the books as one of my favorite EVER. 4 of my best girls (Lia, Kelly, Andrea, and Mindy) made the trip down to Fun-gomery this weekend to reunite, and I had been looking forward to it for months... Now that it is over, I am a little sad, but still laughing at all of the fun that was had. At good ole' DLHS, I was blessed to be a part of the class of 97. I loved so many things about our class and have so many great memories of unique friendships, and that is what made high school not just bearable, but SO much fun for me. There were 9 of us girls who were pretty tight, and we still get together for holidays, weddings and babies, summer trips, and random spontaneous events. These girls are so special to me!

This weekend we celebrated Andrea's pregnancy (she finds out boy/girl news today!) and Kelly's upcoming adventure to Japan (she is going on an 18-month stint there with her cool husband who is an engineer for Nissan). We also brought recent pictures and videos of vacations, weddings, and babies to just laugh, cry, and share the special things in each others' lives. We definitely missed Tara, Nicole, Jenny, and Kristen, who were unable to come, but I promise you, girls, you were definitely there in all of the conversations and walks down memory lane that we went through... And we pretty much covered them all from...
  • Spring Break trips
  • Tara's campout
  • Stewart and Brad's lakehouse weekend
  • Spartan Cheerleader
  • Lia's bachelorette weekend
  • our fateful Gatlinburg trip
  • the Charleston summer
  • New Year's at Karkau's
  • STARS Spunky and the cigar
  • 8th grade Washington and the bus mess
  • Basketball with BA
  • sleepovers at Nicole's
  • Class Days
  • Homecoming dress disasters
  • Junior/Senior dates
  • old boyfriends
  • all our crazy guy friends
  • our Senior song... All the places I remember...
  • Getting pulled over in Panama city, sun roofs
and so many others that I can't remember. All weekend was spent staying up late talking and laughing, wearing only bathing suits and pajamas, grilling out, sitting on the back porch, and swimming. We did take a nickel tour of Montgomery, and we all just had fun. One of our main goals was to name all of the 124 graduating seniors in our class. We got to 109 and then stonewalled. I've got one more to add girls, Cliff Chunn... If you think of others, let me know.
My favorite thing about the weekend is that no matter how we all change and go our own directions, our friendships remain the same. We pick up where we leave off, and we laugh until we cry.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shout outs!

Lindsay and Daniel Meek just celebrated their 1-year annniversary, and Mom and Dad just celebrated their 30th year of marriage!

Thank you for being good examples of marriages. Can't wait to see you ALL next week.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pool Party via the "Calypso"

I am whipped. So is Patrick. He got back from camp late Friday afternoon; we had an intense work-filled Mexico meeting for several hours on Saturday; and then well went full-force in planning our "Summer Kick-off" party for the teens at Landmark. We did not sleep this weekend.

Just before he left for camp, we realized that our Kreepy Krawler, i.e. pool cleaner, was broken... Not what we wanted to hear. We priced these contraptions, and to our dismay, regular-priced they were in the $400- 500 range, and even on Ebay, they were going for around $350. A huge would-be dent in our "Maggie fund." That's when we were charmed by the Calypso pool cleaner... We bid on this product on ebay and got it for about 1/3 what we would have paid for anything else. Thank goodness! Our lifesaver product arrived just in time for Patrick to come home from camp. (Yes, I swam in a dirty pool last week...) It was amazing what a difference a working cleaner made on the lining of our pool, and now it's so clean you can't get me out of it.

Our summer kick-off turned out great. We had around 40 teens, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, ate homemade ice cream made by Jeremy and Hannah, and swam, played 4-square (sort-of), and volleyball/badmitten. It was a good bonding time dunking kids in the pool, playing "Categories" and catch off the diving board, and hanging out. A fun time was had by all.

Then we crashed, and we're still recovering. We are, however, grateful for our Calypso which made the whole thing possible.

Eating out without packing it on...

This post goes out to all of you weight watchers out there...

In following through with one of my summer goals of eating healthy, I have been researching nutritional values and figuring out how to eat out without putting on the pounds. I walk with a dietitian on Thursdays who I have been pumping for tips; I have a friend who has been on Weight Watchers for a year who has lost 28 pounds, and I asked her how she planned her meals. She gave me several helpful websites that have been a springboard of information. During the summer, I like to eat out for lunch pretty often since during the school year I am locked in at Lee; it's also a good time to get together with teens or friends. However, I stress out at restaurants because I want to be healthy and make good choices without being annoying. Well, I will worry no longer thanks to Dottie's Weight Loss Zone. Looks can be deceiving, so just scroll down to the button that says, "Restaurants." Included in this list are almost all of the restaurants that I frequent, and I am now able to make informed choices. Hope this helps any of you who are interested.

Windfall: My Summer Filler?

Thursday night I watched NBC's new summer show, Windfall. I was intrigued by the show because I am familiar with several of the characters: Dylan McKay from 90210--yes!; Kate Warner from second season 24--the girl whose sister is a terrorist and woos Jack; and Sarah from 24 Season 3--the girl who is wrongly framed for being an insider mole and then demands "two pay grades" in a saucy little voice... Then there is the premise of the show: 20 friends go in for lottery tickets and when they win, they split their winnings of 380,000,000. The show is basically about how the money affects their lives and relationships. I was glued to the tv Thursday night. The jury is still out on how I feel about it, but it will provide me with a summer filler from my tv withdrawals... I hope.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

In Cold Blood

I just finished watching Capote. It took me three times, and he really creeped me out, but I'm glad I watched it. I loved that Harper Lee, a fellow Chi Omega and a major reason for me pledging, was in it. I plan on rereading To Kill a Mockingbird and then following up with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. My mom and dad both really enjoyed it...

Some of my favorite things...

Yesterday I spent the day in Auburn. I get a good feeling every time I drive on campus--something just clicks and makes me peacefully reflect; it's quite inspiring. :) Living in Montgomery, you'd think I'd visit quite often. Sadly, it's not often enough. I had a gift card to use from speaking at a retreat, a free day since Patrick is at camp this week, and some friends to catch up with... It was a good, refreshing, fun day, and I thought I'd write about some of my favorite things about the place. Disclaimer: This list is inconclusive; it just includes things I did yesterday...

1. The Auburn Christian Student Center: I don't really know how to begin to put into words how this place impacted my life. I thought I knew what being a Christian looked like before I came to Auburn, but I say with conviction that my faith was solidified through my involvement with this ministry. Jim and Mary are spiritual heroes to me. I learned that being a Christian didn't mean being perfect or even "good." I learned how to share my faith and study with someone who was seeking to know God. I saw lives transformed. In this imperfect, but genuine place I learned a little more about what I wanted my life to be like. Yesterday, I got to see Jim and Mary and spend time with one of my best friends who is interning there for the summer. It was good.

Chi Omega : Before coming to Auburn, I had all of those Lifetime movie channel preconceived notions about sororities. I went through RUSH to meet people (since I knew no one), and I was surprised by Chi-O. It was not carbon copies of girls, but unique individuals who intrigued me. I pledged, and my life has been blessed through that organization with some of the coolest friendships I have experienced... All of my roommates in undergraduate years were Chi-O's, and during our Junior and Senior year, we were privileged (at the time we really believed this :)) to live at this big old house called the Chi-O mansion that had been passed down from pledge class to pledge class. I have so many fond memories from there, and I spent a big part of yesterday with one of the "mansion girls"--as we were called.

3. Amsterdams: The home of the famous "turkey wrap" with honey mustard and sweet potato chips. I'm salivating as I write this...

4. Heartstrings: The best gift shop on the planet... and the place where my gift card from the retreat was from. I remember thinking during my last days at Auburn, "IS there life after Heartstrings...?"

5. Momma G's: There's not much better than a Momma's Love combined with the famous nachos... (doritos with melted pepper jack cheese... I've tried to recreate them at the house, and I can never do it...) Yes, I ate the whole thing by myself, and, yes, I'm salivating once again!

Anyway, it was a good summer day, and it helped me not miss Patrick so much... Sigh.


That's me.

I didn't vote yesterday in the primaries.

It's not that I just didn't get around to it; around noon I intentionally decided not to vote. I felt angry at the whole idea for some reason...

What does this say about me? What happened to all of my SGA/politically active days from college?

Did you vote?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

what kind of coffee are you?

Rainy afternoon drinking some coffee... yum.
You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high