Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lesson(s) Learned: Bye Bye 2009!

Where did the time go my friends?  I don't know, but as I sit on this comfy couch to type my very last blog entry for 2009, I thought I'd share with you the two most important lessons that I have learned this year.  My prayer is that they will help to develop me into a more Christ-like woman. 

What My Experiences From 2009 Have Taught Me (the abridged version! LOL!):

Most Important Lesson #1: PRAYER!
I've discussed this in a previous blog.  This year has taught me more than ever about the necessity of prayer.  It is our communication to the Lord Jesus Christ and it has built/strengthened my relationship with Him in a way that has done WONDERS for me this year!!  I look forward to 2010 to continue to better my prayer life and thereby form an even closer walk with Jesus!!  Within the latter portion of 2009, I can say that I have whispered and cried out prayers and watched Him answer them in ways that I couldn't even imagine.  Prayer has strengthened my confidence in Him and I truly cannot relay any words to tell you all how important it is to continue to better this aspect of life!! The rewards are priceless!!

Most Important Lesson #2:
Treat Others Like You Want to Be Treated EVEN IF It Is Not Reciprocated!
The tendency to return hurt for hurt, evil for evil, gossip for gossip is carnal.  It is not Holy.  But man oh man, is it a natural reflex most of the time.  (Luke 6:32-34)  Whether it's a close friend, family member, co-worker, associate, enemy, or those people in our lives we can't seem to categorize, it is clear that LOVE is a commandment, not an option!  It is also clear that Jesus presented us with a perfect example (Himself) of love so that we would treat others with love ESPECIALLY WHEN it is not being reciprocated.   Clearly, this is not something that I am just now hearing about in 2009.  But 2009 has taught me that there is no true peace of mind until I truly grasped and put into practice that regardless of the hurt one may feel, love MUST be what we respond with or give in return.   Nope, not saying that I have mastered this concept in 2009, but I can say that I am learning and able to see the growth in this area of my life.   It has not always been easy to accept that not everyone will value things as I do--holiness, friendship, time, family, etc...-- but despite that, I must not allow things/circumstances/situations/people to shade my view of what I value most!

Alrighty my friends, it is time for me to head to service.  If you're reading this in 2009, leave anything that is not positive and Jesus-glorifying in 2009.  If you're reading this in 2010, Happy New Year!  And I truly do hope that this year is your very best yet!!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thankfully, Better Late Than Never...

While the Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone, my blog entry about my fantastic Thanksgiving is just now making an appearance.  This year Troy & I traveled to his hometown of Mt. Pleasant, SC to visit the family!  Here are a few highlights:
  • Bootleg Parade.  Upon arriving to Mt. P, Troy and I were sad to find out that Snowden's (the area where Troy's parents live) annual "parade" was not going to happen this year.  Now, let me clarify what this "parade" consists of: random people in the neighorhood riding in trucks, fire trucks, small bikes, & motorcycles with signs on their cars & children throwing candy.  It is pretty much as bootleg as you can get.  But I sure was looking forward to taking pictures and sharing them with my blog readers!!  I will never forget my first experience with the Snowden Community "parade" Thanksgiving 2004 on my first visit to Mt. P to meet Troy's extended family! 
  • Midnight Outlet Shopping!!  This year was my first experience going out to the outlets at midnight!!  Accompanied by Allison and her sister Kristen, we arrived at Tanger Outlet in North Charleston right at midnight only to find traffic, a PACKED outlet, and not-so-nice people fighting over parking spots.  It was so crowded that I had to park across the street from the stores at IHOP.  The shopping was pretty fantastic I must say!  50% off EVERYTHING in Banana Republic & Ann Taylor Factory Outlet (probably my two favorite stores out there!) and other great deals everywhere else!!  

The lines were pouring out of Coach & Rue 21
(still trying to figure out whether Rue 21 was giving away clothes!)
It was crazy!! 

  • Black Friday Mall Shopping!  So, after leaving the outlet's at 3:30 a.m. (by the way, when we left the outlets Chick-fil-A and IHOP were crowded!! It was such a surreal experience!  I mean there were so many people out at 3:30 a.m. it was unbelievable!) I headed back home and thought I'd sleep in until about 11:00 or so.  BUT NO!  I woke up at 9:00 with coupons and an itch to hit the mall.  So while Troy rested I started part 2 of black Friday shopping and OH what great deals I found on items for myself, Troy, and our nieces! 
  •  A Few of My Favorite Finds/Bargains.
$12.00 at Ann Taylor
So many great deals!

 Winter Purse from Banana Republic
50% off!! 

Blue boots!!! Man, this was such a fun purchase!
Thanks to a BOGO deal & coupon they cost like $10.00!

FREE Dress from Ann Taylor Outlet :-)
Super fun belt $6.00!

Winter Calvin Klein Dress
Warm & Comfy!
  • Sister from Another Mother (not literally, but spiritually speaking! Had to come back to update this b/c people thought Allison was my half sister)Troy and I visited our other Charleston family on Friday afternoon--Allison's family.  Troy and Allison's dad had MORE than a ball together once Troy found out that Mr. C owns a Hammond and once Mr. C learned that Troy knows how to play the organ.  It was SO hilarious to see Mr. C break out the keyboard and his saxophone and the two of them played until it was time for dinner.  Literally!  They paid us women no attention until it was time to eat!  It was major fun though!  

Troy playing the organ, Mr. C on the keyboard & Allison and Mrs. C
singing "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" along with the two men!

Allison joining the men by pecking away on her piano from childhood

Thankful for seeing another Thanksgiving,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let Me See Ya' Work It Out!

Calling all ladies who have busy schedules & want to stay in shape.  I have a recommendation for you--Jillian MIchael's 30 Day Shred.  This exercise DVD is convenient, tough, and really brings about results!  In 20 minutes you get a warm up, 3 circuits of exercise, and a cool down.  Now, please don't be fooled by 20 minutes--it is 20 minuets of non-stop terror/movement!

The Setup:
The DVD comes with 3 Exercise Levels (I'm currently on Level 2).  Each 20 minute Level has 3 circuits each of which consist of 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, and 1 minute abs.  You will need hand weights (I'd recommend 2-3 pounds) and I use a jump rope for the air jump ropes.  Jillian has 2 assistants working out with her--one doing beginner moves and the other doing the advanced techniques.

What I Really Like About the DVD/Workout:
  • 20 minutes!  Very manageable with my schedule 
  • 20 FULL minutes--I am moving the entire time, sweating, panting, screaming, etc...
  • the increased levels of difficulty
  • the toning results & how fast they show!  In particular arms, abs, & legs.
  • every body part is worked on by the end of the workout
Jillian is no joke so let me put that out there! Level 2 is pretty brutal, but each day I "punk out" less than the day before.  Troy also "motivates" me by saying "Don't quit!!" "go lower!!" "don't do those girl push ups!" (LOL!) from time to time!  Here's a compilation clip courtesy of youtube for your reviewing pleasure! :-)

If you purchase the DVD please let me know your thoughts and how you progress! This really is great for a pre or post-work workout for us busy women who have demanding jobs/activities, husbands to feed, or children to tend to, etc...

Kicking & Screaming...& Exercising along the way,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


This picture popped up in my google reader today and I cannot stop laughing!! I just had to share!

The Ultimate Snuggie!! 

I'm a big fan of a warm blanket on the couch...but this one is something else!  I know her feet are cold!


Monday, November 30, 2009

December's Poll/Question of the Month!

Reply by clicking on COMMENTS and then scroll down to leave a comment. Thanks!

December's question comes from another blog.  When I read the question, I actually had to pause for a minute to think this one through.  I'm quite interested to hear your thoughts.  Here goes the question:

Would you rather be in the best fiscal or best physical shape 
(health included) of your life right now and why? 

Looking forward to hearing your answers!

Recipe: Chicken Parmesan

Can you believe that it's time for the LAST month of the year already!?!  WOW!!  Well, here goes November's recipe.  Check out December's yummy dessert recipe--skillet cookie!!  I actually plan on making October's recipe tonight--bean soup! YUM!

Chicken Parmesan

Angel Hair Pasta
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed)
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded
4-6 cups Marinara Sauce (I lean toward MORE than less)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

Level of Difficulty: 2.5 (scale of 1-5)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine the bread crumbs, grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and parsley in a shallow bowl (bowl large enough for chicken to be rolled in later).

3. Place the beaten eggs in a separate bowl.

4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

5. Dip each chicken breast in the eggs and then in the bread-crumb mixture, shaking off any excess.

6. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook, in batches if necessary, until golden, about 2 minutes to each side. When cooked, remove from the pan and place on papper towels to drain.

7. Cover the bottom of a 9- X 13-inch baking dish with 1 cup of marinara sauce (or more if needed to fully cover bottom of pan).

8. Add the chicken cutlets and sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Cover the cutlets with 1 cup of marinara sauce, sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese and shredded mozzarella.

9. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

10. Boil pasta while chicken is in oven.

11. Serve the chicken over the angel hair pasta & ENJOY!! SO delicious!!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's In A Name?

I tend to name most of my household gadgets (my super cute vacuum, sweet pea, is one of my recent favs!).  I recently purchased a new toy, a Garmin that is super fun, sleek, pretty,  and has bluetooth capabilities and traffic updates.  After much thought I named her Vivian.  Why you say? I'm glad you asked...

Two reasons.  First, what does Vivian do? She knows the streets and maneuvers them well.  Who else do I know who did the same thing?

Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman also known as Vivian!  But Vivian wasn't just a street girl, she was also a classy lady (at least at the end of the movie!)

How refined!  Just like my sleek & super cute Garmin! 

Second reason why I named her Vivian: she was a replacement of my first brand new Garmin that was stolen from my car (while I was at church!!)  So, who else do we know that came in as a replacement?

new/replacement Aunt Vivian 

Remember how we lost our first Aunt Viv on Fresh Prince of BelAir for the more "boug boug" one in later seasons? My first Garmin was super cute, petite, and it was just what I wanted.  Now my second one has all the great features of my last Garmin AND is a little more "boug boug" (more features!)!

So I'm excited about Vivian Garmin, the newest addition to our gadget family!  If you think I'm crazy for giving this much thought to naming a gadget...thanks! I am! And I love it about me! :-)

Calling people in the car just because I can talk to them handsfree,

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today’s Sunday School lesson on Giving has sparked something within me that really transforms the way I think about a lot of things.  Below is my attempt to summarize the lesson as well as share my thoughts on the lesson & other related things that have since come to my mind.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a Part II pops up later!

The lesson was divided into three fundamental principles: (1) stewardship (2) giving and (3) sowing.

1. Stewardship—“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”  Psalm 24:1

A steward is one who manages another’s property, finances, or affairs.   The primary principle that we must grasp and accept in order to truly become givers is that we are stewards.  Nothing (not one thing) that we possess belongs to us.  Jesus owns everything and we are blessed to be stewards over His possessions.

Interestingly enough, this is a principle that we may say or want to believe, but it truly takes some growth, I believe, to allow our minds to be transformed into understanding, accepting, living, and practicing this belief in stewardship.  Nothing I own is mine.  When I go to work, it is by the grace of God.  Therefore, the paycheck that I draw is also by the grace of God.  It is His money.  He gives me the talent and the ability to perform my job.  Therefore, nothing I have done to purchase “my” belongings is of my own ability.  Humbling huh?

Likewise, my body belongs to God; therefore, I will carry it around this Earth in a manner that is pleasing to Him.  I don’t get to define what to do with His body/temple that He has given me.  The choices I do make must be in accordance with His Word. 

Even the breath that I breathe at this very moment belongs to God.  I think I am going to write down this principle/thought (“Nothing I have is really mine! It belongs to Jesus!) and post it in places around my office, car, and home.  My daily calendar would be a great place to put this reminder because even “my” time belongs to Jesus!!  And I sure do live by my daily “to do” list.  Truly, it is something that needs to be etched in my/our hearts in order to understand and obey the act of giving.

The second principle that the lesson discussed is that we must understand that giving is an act of worship.  Just as our prayer, fasting, and praise reflect God’s characteristics within our lives, giving is also an act that reflects the character of God.  The lesson text states it this way, “Our giving patterns either testify to the abiding character of God in our lives, or they bear witness to its absence. . . Giving is an outflow of a life that is consecrated wholly to God.”

Side note: It is also important to note that giving any kind of way does not work!  We cannot give God anything in any manner.  Giving must be done cheerfully!  (2 Corinthians 9:7) So if you’re on your way to bible study and complaining,  “I really don’t have time this week for bible study.  I have so much work, laundry, etc… to do…”  You’re giving your time, but not cheerfully!!  It is important that we not treat serving Jesus as a chore, burden, or just something on our “Christian” to-do list.  That type of giving produces little to nothing for your spiritual growth.  This is another thing that I believe takes growth and awareness.  A lot of times we are so caught up in our daily schedule and routine that we don’t realize how we treat giving and living for Jesus as just another mundane item on our to do list that we get to if we have time.  Backwards much? 

Giving begins with me.  Another portion of the lesson discussed that a prerequisite for the act of giving is to first give ourselves.  If my life belongs to Jesus then I won’t have as difficult of a time understanding that everything related to my life also belongs to Jesus.  Giving isn’t a burden. 

During the lesson I thought about the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) who told Jesus that he had kept all of His commandments from his youth and asked “what lack I yet?”  Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect to sell what he has and give it to the poor and “thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”  The man’s response?  See ya!! The Bible says the man went away “sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”  This man literally looked Jesus in the face and walked away after being told to give up his possessions.   Perhaps he didn’t understand that NOTHING that he possessed could match what Jesus was offering Him in exchange.

I should pause here and make sure that I emphasize that giving involves more than money!  While giving does involve money, there are so many other things that Jesus requires that we give—ourselves (our lives/body), our time, our talents (He gave them to you for a reason!), our spouses (any minister or deacon wives out there?  I know you understand this one!), etc… None of those things belong to us anyway.

Lastly, I note that we should really find pleasure in giving!  God does!  (Philippians 4:18) 

3.  Sowing—An Act of Faith!

The lesson states, “when the farmer purchases the seed and places it in the ground, he understands that he may not see it again.  He is, for a season, poorer than he was.  He cannot dig that seed up and use it for his own food.  Once it is planted, it is gone from him.”  I found this to be a helpful illustration of sowing.  Sowing is an act of faith.  For we believe that what we are giving will produce something, but the evidence of the product is typically nowhere to be seen.  The motive for sowing? Pleasing Jesus and blessing others!  The expectation, however, is a hope to reap because that is a scriptural promise! (Galatians 6:7-8)  The only thing that can prevent reaping is failure to faithfully sow.

So that was the Sunday school lesson! I thoroughly enjoyed it!! It really makes me think about every single aspect of life.  In particular, one thing that came to my mind while studying this lesson was some of the things we may take for granted that are gifts given to us by Jesus.  Our health, for example.  Our ability to hear, see, walk, etc… is a gift!  Our health is a gift, and while I 150% know that Jesus is a healer, during the times when I may experience bodily pain and sickness, one thing that helps me is to appreciate and praise Jesus for the times when I was fully healthy.  It was a gift that I never earned!  In that respect, I believe that it is imperative that we remain mindful of the many gifts that Jesus bestows upon us, that we may appreciate them while they last!  (“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits”!!) Psalm 68:19

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day, Jesus is giving to us whether we acknowledge Him or not (the very ability to see and read and breath right now: GIFT!).  All He asks in return is that we do likewise.  GIVE! 

I hope this lesson is a blessing to someone as it was to me!  My prayer is that it sparks something within us all to be mindful (daily) of the giving nature of Jesus, that we might strive to exemplify it in our daily lives.  Remembering that we are stewards of all that we posses.  Let’s take good care of what He has given us (start with your body!!!) and let’s use them to His glory and never be too selfish to know that we are blessed to bless others.

“For of Him, and through Him and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thankful that Widsom Doesn't Reside In My Teeth!

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
James 3:17

Bye bye wisdom....teeth!  After yesterday I no longer house any wisdom teeth in my mouth!  Having had the top two taken out in undergrad, today I had the bottom two extracted.  Unlike my first go round, this time I had to visit Mr. Oral Surgeon!  I am happy to report that the Lord Jesus was with me all the way!  I was comforted by His peace and had a praise in my heart during my moments of consciousness (I'd like to think during my moments of unconsciousness as well!). :-)

I am still amazed how I cannot recall not a thing that happened during the procedure.  I was told it lasted about 30-45 minutes, but all I know is a nurse told me "You'll feel better in about one minute" and that's the last thing I recall.  Next memory--people wiping my mouth and the IV coming out.  How amazing is our God, He kept me through it all!!

Waiting for Dr. to Come In

Now I'm home and can't complain about a thing!  My soul is rejoicing and I'm just so joyful and grateful for the mercies and promises of Jesus Christ!  Here are a few of my survival foods for the weekend.  Let's hope that I can eat normal food sooner than later! Soup is for the birds when it's not accompanied with something that I can chew! But the baked potato and ice cream diet has been pretty yum!!

Clay pack that doesn't freeze/burn my face!

I'm being very well taken care of by my mommy and hubby!  And I've had many check-ins from my fabulous friends (thanks for the ice cream & card Charity!!)!  So, while I'm now without my wisdom teeth, I'm still rich in love, friends, and the ability to gain more wisdom!!  Sounds like a win/win situation to me! :-)

 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: 
and with all thy getting get understanding.  
 Proverbs 4:7

Recovering beautifully,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Poll

November's poll is a little different from the past two month's polls.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the screen you will see the question:

If you were given $5,000 cash and told
(1) you MUST spend it on yourself
(2) you CANNOT pay any bills with this and
(3) you CANNOT save it,
what would you do with the $5,000?

For this poll you will not click on an answer, rather you simply LEAVE A COMMENT to this post with your answer!! Simply click on the comments button below, scroll down past comments & leave your comment in the COMMENT box!  Looking forward to hearing your answers!! :-) 

Excited to read your answers,

Recipe: Bean Soup

Time keeps flying and the recipes keep coming!  Here's October's recipe of the month!  Now on to November...chicken parmesan!!

Bean Soup

2 cans mild rotel
1 can black beans
1 can navy beans
1 can pinto beans
1 package ranch dressing
1 package taco seasoning
1 pound ground turkey
1 small onion chopped up
(some use 1 can of corn as well)

Level of Difficulty: 1

1. In a large pot warm the beans & rotel.

2. While beans & rotel are warming in pot, cook ground turkey and drain. (clean any grease from skillet)

3. Place cooked ground turkey back in skillet and add package of taco seasoning, 1 cup of water, and chopped up onion to the ground turkey and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

4. Add turkey and ranch package to large pot with beans/rotel and mix well. Simmer all ingredients in pot on medium heat for approximately 30-45 minutes.

5. Enjoy!! Bean Soup goes great with corn bread or tortilla chips. I also add shredded cheese on mine as well!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig!

Last weekend was Homecoming Weekend for all of my fellow Furman Paladins out there!!  This, I must say, was a particularly special Homecoming for me, as I had not been to a Furman Homecoming since 2004 (when I was a senior).  So, last weekend I was pretty excited to have one of my best FU buddies, Regina, come to town for the weekend to run a muck like we used to!.... or so we didn't take too long for us to realize that we are OLD!   Friday night after a delicious (and FREE!!) dinner at Thaicoon [only the BEST Thai place EVER!], we were too tired to go to the carnival on campus, so we did a drive by waving at our sorors and then we took the "party" home only to fall asleep while attempting to watch TV on the couch!

Saturday was super fun and VERY VERY cold!  Regina and I did a little shopping (definitely not like we used to shop! whew!!!) and headed to campus for a tailgate where we received free snacks and Furman goodies!!


YAY for free stuff!!!  I also got to see Christina--future President of the United States of America!!  (I actually have footage where Bill Clinton came up to her and told her she's going to be President one day!)  She's always doing something important on the Hill where she works for the Senate.

After seeing a lot of familiar (and many unfamiliar) faces, we headed to the game where we met up with Troy!  On our way to the game, we were, yet again, given more freebies!! A FU Homecoming T-shirt.  [Note: I just said a few weeks ago that I have WAY too many T-shirts from undergrad, but I couldn't let this shirt go, so....]

My favorite part is the back which reads:  SORRY SAMFORD!!


And YES we did beat them in football!! GO FU!!! I almost forgot how dedicated the Furman fans are, here's a girl who really went all out--decked out in homemade Furman overalls!

 Anywho, going to the football game really brought back memories!  My favorite cheer: FU 1 time, FU 2 times, FU 3 times, FU ALL the time!!! (FU being Furman University), the fight song, the knight riding in on a white horse at the beginning of the game, jingling our keys and yelling "FU!!" when our team kicks the ball to the other team (don't know fancy/official name for this!), and so much more!


The cold weather didn't permit us oldies to stay after half-time so we left after the crowning of the Homecoming queen.  But it was a good time had by all!  Can't beat seeing old familiar faces, meeting new FU students, and FREEBIES!! ::smile!::

Next year will be the FIVE year reunion for my class and I'm pretty excited.  Lord willing and the balloon don't burst we'll be there!!

Go Paladins,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sugar Pie Honey Bun!

I just have to give a sincere "shout out" to my sweetie pie honey bun husband!!  We both had to go out of town on Friday and when I returned home there were the sweetest (and funniest!) sticky notes around the house left for me!  I tell you those little handwritten notes placed the biggest smile on my face and in my heart.  Truly, I am an abundantly blessed woman!

Loving my sweetie,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to Lose 50 pounds in 1 Day!!

The past few days I challenged myself to cut down at least 30% of my clothes, shoes, purses, etc... by cleaning out our closets.  The road was long and it required the cutting of many sentimental ties (i.e. finally getting rid of my prom dress from my senior year of high school), but I am SO pleased with the results--cleaner closets, TONS of bags filled ready to give away, and a better sense of how little I need.

So, what sparked this challenge?  This article!   An article entitled  "How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear" came into my Google Reader last week and it really hit me--I shop so much sometimes I forget what I actually own!  So, before I bought anything else I wanted to take inventory of what I already have!

During the cleansing process, I found five items (one shirt, one coat, a shirt/suit jacket set, and a dress) with tags still on them that either didn't fit or I didn't like anymore!  And, why, WHY do we have SO many bookbags?!! We're not in school anymore!! So, what did I do?

First I pulled every single item out of our closets: skirts, shirts, shoes, hats, suits, purses, etc...  And I took inventory: Do I still like it? Is it my style/taste? Is it age appropriate? Does it still fit (most things that didn't fit were too big so they will go to alteration)? Have I worn this in the past 3-6 months (if no, give away!)  Will I wear this in fall/winter 2009/2010? (if no, give away!)  I then separated the clothes, purses, etc... into piles: keep, throw away, give away (nothing really went into the throw away pile except for one white t-shirt).

Second I took what was left to stay (clothing/shoes that I ranked with 3-5 stars, 5 being the highest) and organized by color, size, length, etc... and placed back in the closet.  All summer/spring items that survived the cut were stored away and I switched our closets into fall/winter mode!  If there was not enough room in the closet, something had to go until there was room!  I really had to put my "big girl" skirt on for this challenge!!

Sidebar: Let's talk about SHOES!!  The shoes in our main closet alone created two tall pillars that towered over my head!  That's not counting fall/winter shoes/boots that were stored other places around the house!  Lesson learned: there just may be such a thing as TOO MANY (or at least enough) shoes!!  Cutting down on my shoes was a tough pill to swallow! Cutting down my purses by 50%, however, was pretty easy!

Anywho, it's all over now and I feel SO good about the entire process.  It was very cleansing and enlightening at the same time.  I recommend a good closet clean to any and everyone!
And what do you do with all of the great things you no longer need--while I am typically a fan of Goodwill, may I make a better suggestion?  GIVE them to a local shelter!!  Shelters won't sell the clothing/items, rather they will go to a child/adult in need.  If you're in Greenville, check out Pendleton Place a shelter for children who have to be removed from their homes for whatever reason.   And for those of us out there that are still hanging on to book bags, extra lap top bags, etc... give them away!! We're out of school!!   Pendleton Place welcomes all donations!  Here's just one pile of our donations:

Lastly,  I'd like to share two FABULOUS finds: First-- Try these ultra slim hangers!! I thoroughly enjoy them!!  Not only do they give your closet a cohesive look, they are thinner (i.e. giving you more closet space) and the material of the hanger clings to your clothing so that the clothes don't fall off!  They also come in a number of colors (blue, pink, camel, black, to name a few!)!

And second, this website!! is a fantastic online website that allows you to create an online copy of your closet!! It helps you to determine what you have and what you need!  It also allows you to do cool things like: create outfits, create a wish list, upload outfits to a calendar each day to keep track of your outfits, create suitcases for traveling detailing which items to pack, and so much more!!  Definitely couldn't keep this find to myself!! If you join, please let me know!

So are you ready to cleanse & cut down your closet belongings? Go know you wanna!!

At least 50 pounds lighter,

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Snickerdoodle Went to Town Riding on A Pony!...

Guess whose getting into baking homemade cupcakes for fun?!  I'll give you one guess.... ::insert drum roll::


I'm starting a new hobby and I'm hoping that (1) this hobby is cheaper than shopping [my current #1 hobby] and (2) the fruits of my labor are yummy!!  For my first attempt at "from scratch" baking I decided to keep it simple with Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

That's Martha's picture (above).  Here's my final product:

I started off with purchasing a number of items that I did not have:

This is a cool cupcake/cake holder that allows you to carry 24 cupcakes or a really tall cake!  It collapses also for easy storage and/or if you just want to carry 12 cupcakes!  Here's the inside:

I also bought these pastry tips but had to return them because they were too small.  I found some larger tips but plan on ordering some even larger ones from a cookware website! 

After purchasing all of my food & baking items, it was time to get to work!


Homemade buttercream icing! (Thanks Brittany for the recipe!)


I definitely plan to buy more pastry tips.  I think I like the star icing design better than the big circle.  I'm pretty pleased with the results from my first attempt, but looking forward to perfecting my technique and making the cupcakes fluffier/bouncier.  :-)

Since the recipe resulted in over two dozen cupcakes, Troy and I took twelve to church as treats to the first twelve adults in Sunday School this morning!  They were a hit!!  Anywho, stay tuned for more adventures of cupcake baking with SG!