Thursday, May 31, 2012

Almost Famous

My good friend recently got a job working for 919 Magazine, which is local to the North Raleigh/Durham area. When they needed to feature a food recipe in their premiere edition, I quickly volunteered myself for the job.



Fortunately, I was able to get a full page spread and an entire article all about ME!

I wrote the whole article myself.

It's written in the form of an interview.

Yes, I was both the interviewer and the interviewee.

C'mon. Did you expect anything less?



This was a really fun experience for me!

I'm sure once word gets out, 919 Magazine will be just the beginning.

 



Pretty soon I'll be taking the magazine industry by storm.

Me and my little dog too.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This is what I do all day. Don't pretend not to care.

A lot of people have asked me what my typical day looks like.

Correction: A lot of people are probably wanting to ask me what my typical day looks like.

So this is for you:

6:00-7:00 am: My Morning Routine, Pre-puppy.


I jump out of bed the moment my alarm goes off. I have an actual alarm clock and an internal alarm clock. On the weekends, I curse my internal clock because I am always up at the crack of dawn!

I immediately turn on my Keurig coffee pot and eat breakfast. I take the time to make oatmeal or an omelet. After breakfast, I take about 15 minutes to do a lesson from my daily devotional or  read a chapter from "The Power of a Praying Woman,"  and then I'll say a quick prayer to start my day. I savor these few moments of silence in the morning. I then get ready for work and head out the door.

Yes, I am a morning person! Can't you tell?

{Coffee in the morning. One of life's greatest pleasures}



7:15-8:00 am: Morning Commute

8 am-1 pm: Work

Thankfully, I love my job! As an administrator in the finance department, I act as a receptionist, I manage an executive's calendar, and I do a lot of random stuff. Some weeks are extremely demanding and there's a lot of pressure. Some weeks are slow and laid back. I tend to be more fulfilled during the stressful weeks; either way, I feel so blessed that I'm able to get up and go to work each day.

1-2 pm: Lunch

I almost always go to my parents' house for lunch because they live very close to my job. Instead of eating lunch during this time, I typically take Colby on a 30 minute walk. For lunch, I tend to be a grazer. I'll eat a handful of almonds, a banana, and a yogurt, but I rarely sit down to a full meal.

{On a walk with Colby. One of life's greatest pleasures}




2-5 pm: More work!

5-5:45 pm: Afternoon Commute

5:45 pm: Wine and Cheese

When I walk through the front door, I waste no time making a plate of cheese and crackers. I also like to have a glass of wine. This has become my after work ritual.

I then take about 15 minutes to tidy up the house once I get home. Weird Fact: This is when I usually make the bed!

{Cheap wine is one of life's greatest pleasures.}




6-7 pm: Walk

I go on a walk around the lake beside our house. Sometimes I go to the gym with Brian. (Sometimes= hardly ever).

I prefer to be outside, especially during the warmer months. So I go to the lake and I take pictures of ducks. I'm usually the only duck photographer out on the trail. Hey, I've never claimed to be normal!

{Here is a picture of...ducks? geese? a hybrid of some sort?}


7 -9 pm: Dinner, Leisure, etc


Brian and I tend to eat dinner relatively late, usually between 8 and 9. I always like to try new recipes, but I often just fix one of our usual staples. It's also during this time that I'll sit down and read a magazine or book, work on my blog, or start making cakes. On an average week, I spend about two evenings decorating cakes for The Sweet Tooth Bakery. I run errands, go to the grocery store, or do a load of laundry at some point.

Tuesday night is literally the only weekday night that is "normal." On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays we both have other stuff going on. Brian and I both stay busy with our own personal hobbies. He plays in a pool league and regularly meets up with friends to shoot pool or go to the gun range. I bake cakes, participate in a monthly book club, and have recently started volunteering at the animal shelter.

Needless to say, I stay busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm happiest when I'm being active. As you may have noticed, the television is rarely ever turned on and we also don't get cable. TV is not a priority in our lives.

Two of my personal mantras: "There are always enough hours in the day" and "You are where you want to be."

Alright, enough about me and my day.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Bulldog Puppy

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, I'm getting very excited to spend time in Annapolis with friends and family!

This will be our last weekend sans puppy. Next Friday, we will be bringing home our little bulldog! I feel like now is the time to tell you the abridged version of a long story:

On Easter weekend, Brian decided that it would be a fun if we got a puppy (cue: Hallelujah Chorus). I was over-the-top excited and would have gone right then to get a dog, but buying a puppy is not a snap decision. There was a lot we needed to discuss.

Which breed? Animal shelter vs Breeder? High Energy vs Low Energy? Big vs Small? Will a dog fit in with our lifestyle?

Brian had mentioned a French Bulldog, so I was thrilled. French Bulldogs are awesome!

So I started looking into French Bulldogs.

Then Brian said...Um, wait.....let's get an English Bulldog instead....

So I started looking into English Bulldogs.

We found a breeder with a brand new litter of English Bulldog pups, and it seemed perfect that we could bring home the puppy in eight weeks.

I saw the first picture of the  puppies and I was the happiest person in the world!


Fast forward a few weeks.

Brian decided he wanted a boy dog. We decided we would name the dog Sam. We finally were able to go to the breeder's house and select which puppy we would be getting.

I immediately fell in love with one particular puppy.

In my head, he was our Sam. In my heart, he was already mine.

This is Sam:


Also known as "Sam the Brute."

Sam puts the bull in bulldog. After about 30 minutes of being outside with Sam, he became adorably bad. He would knock himself full-force into the other brothers and bite their ears.

Sam was a force to be reckoned with, but of course I still wanted to take him home. I had already claimed him as my OWN CHILD.

Brian, however, had another favorite.

This here is Not Sam:



This  was a battle I didn't win.

Not Sam is the dog we will be bringing home, which isn't an easy thing for me to accept. Not Sam is well-behaved and laid-back. He is cute, of course, but he did not feel like mine.

I am currently suffering from postpartum puppy depression.

When I look at pictures of Not Sam, all I'm thinking is "This doesn't feel right"...."Why am I no longer excited?"..."Am I ever going to warm up to this little guy?"

I think I will overcome my disappointment once we actually bring home Not Sam. Once he has an actual name and once he is officially ours, I'm sure I will fall in love. But for now, I miss the idea of Sam.

Brian has stomped on my dreams and he has flushed my heart down the toilet.

As a peace offering, Brian has said that I can choose the puppy's name (since we are no longer naming the dog Sam).

Whoop-ti-friggin-do.

Please take a moment to think of the world's WORST dog name and add a comment below.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Twenty Five Today!

I can't even pretend that I'm in a wonderful mood today.


I feel like crying and eating chocolate. My stomach is a little queasy. And to top it off, I feel fat.


I think this birthday happened to fall at a bad time of the month.


I would love nothing more than to be snuggled on the couch right now with the love of my life, Colby.



Last year on my 24th birthday, I posted twenty four of my fondest memories. I can't believe that it has already been one year since that post! This year has been great for me and I feel extremely blessed, especially in regards to my career. I am so excited to see where the next year takes me. I plan to make strides in my job at Duke, continue to advance my skills in cake decorating, and I would really love to buy a house.


Birthdays are a good time to reflect on the past year and start thinking ahead for what is to come.


In my very near future, I think there may be a couple birthday presents waiting for me at my parents' house!


I hope everyone has a wonderful day. I am looking forward to a nice, long weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Afternoon at Lake Lynn

Five o'clock came early for me today.

Thanks to a power outage at work, I got to leave right after lunch and go home for the day! It was a lovely afternoon, and I headed over to Lake Lynn to enjoy a leisurely stroll. One of the many things I love about living in Raleigh is that Lake Lynn is just a stone's throw away from our house. I go almost every day for a 2 mile walk, which is one of the main reasons I wanted a dog. I need a workout partner!

Well, we are getting a dog, but I still may need a workout partner....

{Photo Courtesy WelcomeToTheDoghouse.net}


Going to Lake Lynn in the early afternoon proved to be a real treat! There weren't many people on the trail, and I got to take a lot of pictures with my iPhone.


Enjoy!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Patio Project

You may remember that one of my goals for the month of May was to plant flowers and decorate the patio. I am well on my way to completing that project- just in time for the beautiful Summer weather!

This weekend, Brian and I made a trip to Lowe's to pick out a few plants. I also purchased a custom-made hummingbird feeder at the Outdoor Bird Company in Durham. For the hummingbird feeder, you fill it with a homemade nectar made by mixing sugar in water.


(That picture is for my mom!) :-)

While my sugar water mixture has yet to attract a hummingbird, it has indeed attracted many ants!

I've ordered a few more items for the patio, and they should be arriving later this week. Until then, here is a sneak peek at what the patio looks like right now....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beauty on a Budget

When I started my job at Duke last fall, I set out on a mission to SAVE MONEY.

While I'm not doing bad, I'm not necessarily doing good.

There are days when I need a more professional wardrobe, so I buy new clothes.

There are days when I just don't want to cook, so I go out to eat.

There are days when I want to pick up poop off the ground, so I  buy a new puppy.

There are days when I feel like poop on the ground, so I buy a beverage (of the alcoholic variety).

Getting my drift? Saving money is darn near impossible.

One thing that helped me budget my finances and save a little money was determining my priorities. The things that fell to the bottom of my priority list tended to include beauty products, manicures, expensive makeup, etc. While it may not be much, saving on the little things can add up over time.

Here are some of my tips for staying BEAUTIFUL on a BUDGET:

Tip #1: STOP STOP STOP going to get your nails done!!!!!!!!!

These are my chipped nails.

I'm totally okay with it.

Nothing bothers me more than people who claim to be struggling financially, but then drop $30 in a salon getting their nails manicured. While I too love a good pampering, I made a personal decision that it's just not worth it for me right now. Painting your own nails or giving yourself an at-home manicure may not sound as appealing, but you will save a lot of money in the long run. Dave Ramsey first introduced me to the "I deserve it" complex. Yes, you probably deserve a trip to the spa. You probably deserve an hour long massage. You probably deserve a gel manicure. But at what cost?

When I feel I deserve to be pampered, I take a break from my busy life, light a candle, and quietly paint my nails at home. Then I proceed to the couch, where I lie down for an hour without moving and shout out commands to Brian, such as "unload the dishwasher" or "please turn on Netflix for me." (When your nails are freshly painted, it's vital that you do absolutely nothing for a solid hour).

Tip #2: Take it from Brian. Stop Washing Your Hair.

Brian has great hair.



Brian has had the same bottle of shampoo since we started dating three years ago. (That's not a joke).

Washing your hair too much can do more harm than good.  Not gonna lie...I buy expensive Nioxin shampoo and conditioner. At TJ Maxx, however, you can always find high dollar salon products for half of the cost. I bought a $20 bottle of Nioxin shampoo that will hopefully last me most of the year. I only wash my hair two or three times per week.

Adele, the famous singer, recently claimed that she only uses water to wash her hair, so if you're looking to go an even cheaper route....just sayin'.

Tip #3: Go to Walmart to Buy Makeup.


ULTA = ULTAmate waste of money.

Sephora makes ya poora.

Tip #4: Even a $12 haircut from Great Clips is paying too much.

For me, I have straight long hair that is not styled. It's cut straight across the bottom. So why would I pay someone twenty bucks to trim my hair? Exactly. I wouldn't pay someone twenty bucks to trim my hair.

I have recently attempted to enlist my mom as my hair cutter. I only cut my hair about once a year anyways. I once offered to cut Brian's hair for him since he needs his trimmed pretty regularly, but he has yet to take me up on my offer.

Tip #5: The Closest Bath & Body Works Store is NOT at the Mall. It's through the Bedroom, Into the Bathroom, and Under the Sink.

This is a good tip. Probably my best.

Go look in your bathroom cabinet. Now observe how many body washes and lotions you have stored in your cabinet that have collected over time.

Do not buy a single product until you have nothing left in your cabinet to use. Stop hoarding all of that stuff under your bathroom sink. Or in your bathroom closet. Or on that shelf.

By the time it takes you to use what you already have, and considering that many gifts that will be given to you typically involve bath products, it will take you a long time to run out.

If you need more advice, I have plenty to shell out. Don't hesitate to ask.

 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Christian Grey takes The Road Less Traveled and that Makes All the Difference.

Do you love poetry as much as I do?

Have you read the awful (and awfully addicting) Fifty Shades of Grey book?

At our book club last month, I gave each of the girls the assignment to write a "BDSM poem" to go along with the risque theme of Fifty Shades of Grey. The only rules were that the poem had to be 4 lines, and each line had to begin with B-D-S and M (which is the abbreviation for bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism, otherwise known as "S & M").

I must say we have some talented ladies in our group!



 

Poem #1


Before Anastasia he was so crazy


Dominating Subs- their minds so hazy.


Soon she became his against her wishes


Making him forget all the other bitches.


Poem #2


Bedrooms, elevators, tables, and floors


Doing it over and over...and then some more.


Sex was all this book was about,


Movie will be R-rated no doubt.


Poem #3


Bonded


During


Sex


Most days and night.


Poem #4


Bend over, don't look at me.


Bright eyed, the more enticing it will be.


Say you want it, don't dare move.


My name you'll scream as I'm in the groove.


Poem #5


Balls


Deep inside me


Silver


Metallic


Poem #6 titled "Christian Grey"


Brave


Dominant


Sexy


Man


Poem #7 


By chance they meet


Domination discreet


Stopped by a kiss in the street


Makes them complete


If you haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey, it's time to jump on the bandwagon! Everybody's doing it.


Also, I just noticed that the author of Poem #4 broke the rules about starting each line with a BDS and M. Well, to that I say "good work." Christian Grey would've broken the rules.


Rules...and Contracts...were made to be broken.


*The book is not appropriate for everyone (or anyone for that matter). Reader discretion is advised.* ;-)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Law of Averages



Occasionally, I will have time to read some of my favorite blogs, and a recent favorite of mine has been Making Things Happen. I don't know these girls and they do not know me, but I was instantly drawn to their inspirational writing, their hard work, and their positive attitudes.

When one of the writers referenced the above quote, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with," I found so much truth in this statement. I instantly began evaluating my Top Five, and I am definitely proud to be the average of these people. They are kind, caring, positive people to be around. They definitely bring me up rather than bring me down.

Can you say the same about the five people you spend the most time with?

I'm blessed to be immediately surrounded by a such wonderful people, and I also am fortunate to have so many positive role models in my life.

About a year ago, I started recognizing that I was drawn to certain women as role models. What's unusual about these role models is that they are not celebrities, nor are they close friends or family. They are people  I barely know, but whose lives I watch from a distance. I silently inspect what they are wearing, what they are saying, and how they are living. I constantly look to them for cues about how I can portray more warmth, embrace a more positive attitude, and live a life of greater purpose.

For instance, one of my many role models is Nancy Ray, who I met briefly in college and who now works as a photographer in Raleigh. Another is the pastor's wife, Karen, at Greystone Baptist Church. There are a handful of others, but I'm afraid I'm starting to sound stalkerish. :-)

Above all else, the thing that these ladies have in common is their unconditional kindness. That is the main reason I find their personalities so magnetizing. Their mannerisms are always graceful and their style is always timeless. I can tell that they work hard without a single complaint. Also, I've noticed that they think before they speak. They approach every situation with utmost class and dignity.

From what I've observed, these women are truly saints. While I'm sure they have some character flaws (maybe?), they are the epitome of strong Christian women who practice rather than preach.

I have so much to learn from these individuals and I am in constant awe of their gracefulness.

The neat thing for me is that these women aren't even aware that I am watching them. Their behaviors and actions are completely genuine. When I think about how much I notice their actions, I'm reminded that other people may be noticing me as well.

I may always be far from perfect, but each day I can make a conscious effort to be better. And if I am one of your Top Five, please hold me accountable.

After all, I'm influencing your average. ;-)

Alright, the Sweet Tooth Bakery is calling my name, so I'd better go. It will be a busy Mother's Day Weekend filled with cake, cookies, and buttercream!

Until next time,

Kelly

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo last Saturday? Brian and I basically celebrate Cinco de Mayo once a week.

Mexican Food? Check.

Beer and Margaritas? Check.

The only real difference between Cinco de Mayo and any other day of the week....

THE WAITING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our favorite eatery, El Rodeo, had over an hour long dinner wait on Saturday!

Did we wait? Heck yes we did.

We crowded into a tiny restaurant, ate stale tortilla chips, and drank little Coronitas all in honor of Mexican Independence.

At least I think it's in honor of Mexican Independence.

I don't think anybody really knows cares.

{Senor Brian Fresa}




For Brian's "Fiesta" theme birthday party last week, I made Chocolate Stout Cupcakes. I wanted to post the recipe on the blog before May 5th, so that you could recreate these for Cinco de Mayo, but yeah....that did not happen.

Apologies for keeping you waiting.

Also, I ended up bringing most of the cupcakes into work because Brian's sister sent us a caramel cake. We had way too many desserts to choose from! My coworkers loved these Chocolate Stout cupcakes and several asked for the recipe.



Recipe for Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

I found the recipe for these cupcakes on Food Network's website, and selected them after reading several reviews. I definitely think the beer flavor was lost during the baking process, but regardless, these were tasty!



 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's a Boy!

So we officially decided to get a MALE bulldog puppy.

And by "we" I mean....



Brian decided we are getting a male bulldog puppy. He apparently rules the roost around here.

Well, he rules the roost for now.



I'll be honest, I don't like boys.

I don't like their smells. I don't like their bad manners. And I don't like their...humping.

You all know exactly what I'm talking about- those awkward moments when you're like "Uhhh...down boy."

I'm already having nightmares.



Of course, Brian and I have spent weeks reading books, watching the Dog Whisperer's Mastering Leadership series, and researching everything there is to know about bulldogs.

We've even decided to give the dog a raw meat diet.

(Ok, stop judging. Yes, this dog is our entire life. No, we don't even have the dog yet.)

Every decision is of the utmost importance. Which vet to use, which obedience class to attend.

I joked with Brian that we might need to start looking into private schools for our dog. This is obviously going to be one spoiled rotten baby.

I can only think of one other dog that receives this kind of spoiling.....



Yes, I'm looking at you Colby.

Alright, I'm off to go  cry over my dwindling bank account and swoon over my future dog baby.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bar Golf Shenanigans

One of the events I planned for Brian's 30th birthday bash included an afternoon of bar golf.

While I knew the gist of bar golf, it took me a while to research the rules and details needed to prepare for the event.

Here's what you'll need to do:

1. Map out a course that includes nine bars of close proximity (or 18 bars if you're playing a full course).

2. Decide on how you will score the game.

Here's an example of the scorecard that I used:

  Player 1 Final Score:  ____      Player 2 Final Score: ____   Total Team Score:_____     













































































Location



Bogey



Par



Birdie


Score

The Flying Saucer *



Beer of Choice



Bogey + Beer of Choice



Par + Beer of Choice


 

Oak City Tavern*



Beer or Cocktail of Choice



Bogey + Jager Bomb



Par + New Holland’s Dragon Milk beer


 

The Big Easy



Any Beverage (including water)



Bogey + Beer



Par + The Ragin’ Cajun


 

The Raleigh Times*



Pitcher of Beer with Partner



Finish Bogey  in ten minutes or less



Par + Beer


 

Landmark Tavern



Any Beverage (including water)



Bogey + Beer



Par + Red Bull and Vodka


 

London Bridge Pub



Beer of Cocktail



Bogey + Beer



Par + Irish Car Bomb


 

Tir Na Nog*



Any Beverage (including water)



Bogey + beer



Par + Dance a Scottish Jig


 

Woody’s *



Any Beverage (including water)



Bogey + Any Specialty Shot



Par + Take a Picture with Stranger


 

Rum Runner’s



Any Beverage (including water)



Bogey + PBR



Par + Fishbowl drink


 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   TOTAL:


Scoring:              Rules                                          Penalties   


Bogey= +1       30 minutes/hole       *Water hazard* If golfer uses restroom on this hole, add two strokes.

Par = 0               No  Cheating               If player gets physically violent with anyone during game, add 5 strokes to final score.

Birdie= -1                                                   If player gets kicked out of a bar or denied service, they are disqualified.

 

I decided to make guy/girl teams, so that each person also had to rely on a partner to drink their fair share of alcohol. Official team names are listed below (and they obviously had to include naughty humor).

Team Names:

Fore Play

Balls of Fire

Tiger's Wood

The Wedgies

Reckless Drivers

I like Big Putts

As expected, the night was a riot! We had a wonderful time with friends, and I'm happy to say that we actually made it ito all nine bars! Well, most of us anyway.

We did, however, have an issue determining the official winner. Most people lost track of their score around hole number three.

And, um, about the blurry pictures....

Blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-alcohol.






Remember to Drink Responsibly. :-)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 2012 Goals



The wonderful month of May is here!

I'm sure I'll stay busy these next four weeks. Cinco de Mayo...Mother's Day...my birthday...and preparing for the arrival of our new puppy! Between working full-time and baking  part-time, my life has become crazy busy! Great time to add a puppy, right? Luckily I've had this week to kick back and relax a little.

Our pool opens this weekend and I couldn't be more excited about the 90 degree weather! 8-)

Alright, well it's May 3rd today and I can think of no better time than right now to conjure up some goals for the month.

May Goals

*Organize and clean bedroom closet.*

*Purchase and assemble flower pots for the porch. (And also keep the plants alive).*

*Start utilizing social media more often to promote The Sweet Tooth Bakery*

*Begin a new Bible study with daily devotionals. (Yesterday I purchased "Designing a Woman's Life Bible Study." After reading and re-reading "The Power of a Praying Woman" about five times, I felt like it was time to try something new!)*

*Shop for new work clothes*

 

I'm really gonna make an effort to do these five things in addition to the 348375983 things I have going on this month! I have a feeling that I won't have much trouble with my goal to do more shopping. Ha! But honestly, I rarely go shopping these days, so I think a trip to TJ Maxx is in order for this weekend!

What are you hoping to accomplish?

Whatever your goals, big or small, I hope that you have a wonderful month! Enjoy this beautiful Summer weather!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I started dating Brian around the same time that I developed an interest in cooking and baking. Unfortunately, Brian is one of the pickiest eaters that I know!

99% of the recipes that I come across are not suitable for our mealtimes because Brian does not like fruit or vegetables. He does not like potatoes. He does not like anything green, anything with a weird texture, anything breaded, anything mild.

Here is a sample conversation between me and Brian:

"What's for dinner?" -Brian

"I'm making lasagna." -Kelly

"I hate lasagna." -Brian

It only took me a short time to realize that Brian will claim to "hate" everything, so we usually eat the same three meals on a rotating basis.

I still continue to search for recipes I think Brian and I will both enjoy, especially for those times where we get stuck in a rut eating the same thing over and over again. I was psyched to come across a recipe for Spicy Sausage Pasta from Kevin and Amanda's blog. I love Amanda's blog so much! Great pictures, honest writing, and amazing photography.

This recipe seemed like it could be a potential winner.

Spicy....Check.

Sausage...Check

Pasta....Check.

And plus it looked really delicious in the picture.

{Photo courtesy KevinandAmanda.com}




I followed the recipe with only one exception: Brian requested that I use the Rotel with Habaneros.


Overall, it was a tasty dish that was easy to assemble! Of course, it still wasn't spicy enough for Brian's taste so he had to add some extra heat in the form of ghost peppers.

I don't know the key to a successful dinner, but the key to failure is trying to please Brian. ;-)