Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIWW--First Full Week of Fall!

I seriously cannot believe that another entire week has passed since my first What I Wore Wednesday blog! In case you missed last week, I'm just jumping on the WIWW bandwagon. Some of my friends and fellow bloggers are how I found out about it, but the woman who originally started the series did so as motivation to get out of her sweats and into cute clothes! :) It's amazing how different your attitude about the whole day is if you are in an outfit you put effort into. Go visit the Lindsey's blog, the creator of WIWW!

pleated poppy

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Headed to work

Black skinnies: Old Navy (on sale)
Blouse: Belk (several years ago)
Purple tank: Gap Outlet
Black flats with bow: Target
Black chandelier earrings and bangle: I have no idea! They're so old...haha.

(The earrings are pictured several times, but I'll only mention them here.)
Friday, September 23, 2011
Headed to work
White shirt with gold sequin stripes: Marshall's (Ellen Tracy)
Dark jeans: Marshall's (7 for all mankind)
Black scarf: Dress Up Boutique (Dahlonega, GA)
Camel-colored, heeled boots: fab'rik boutique (Macon, GA)
(I'll do much better getting a close-up of these next time!)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Getting creative since there was no one to take my picture! haha.  I was headed to a fall ladies' event at my church where were had to take a recipe to put in a church-wide cook book.  I made a yummy Paula Deen recipe, "Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Butter Cake".

Jean skinnies:  Old Navy
Camel-colored flat boots:  Old Navy
Brown tank: New York & Co.
Cow-neck, wide-sleeve sweater:  T.J. Maxx, in the Memphis, TN area (Olivia Noon)

Sunday, September 25, 2011
Headed to church

Racerback Dress:  T.J. Maxx  in the Atlanta, GA area (W118 by Walter Baker)
Camel-colored flat boots:  Old Navy
Navy jersey-knit cardigan:  H&M
Brown & gold balls necklace: Charming Charlie
(I'll get a close-up of that next time as well.)

Monday, September 26, 2011
Headed to work!

Jeans: Banana Republic Outlet (on clearance)
Ruffle tank:  LOFT (clearance)
Taupe, cropped cardigan: Charlotte Russe
Taupe flats with bow:  Ross (Rampage)
Turquoise (or jade-ish?) stone earrings:  Charming Charlie
Bangles:  Charming Charlie

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Headed to work (picture turned out blurry... sorry!)

White cardigan (worn closed as sweater):  New York & Co.
Gold, sparkly skirt:  Gap
(on clearance)
Taupe flats with bow:  Ross (Rampage)Bangles and "tangled" gold necklace: Charming Charlie
White watch: Michael Kors
Faux pearl earrings: Express

(Once again, sorry for the lack of close-ups on jewelry!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Headed to work

Dress:  Ross (London Times)
Black, peep-toe pumps:  DSW (on clearance)
White watch: Michael Kors
Oversized, white ball earrings:  Belk
(Kim Rogers)

Well that does it for this week's WIWW!  
Please follow (top right corner above "About Me") and let me know what you think...comments and suggestions welcome!  And me know if you start a WIWW blog so I can follow.  :)

Until next time, 

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to: Customized Decorative Stand

We all have talents... but "crafting" was never one of mine!  Even as an adult, I have a hard time coloring inside the lines! :)  With that said though... I REALLY do enjoy craft projects.  So it occurred to me lately that although I don't have a knack for it and it doesn't come to me naturally, there's no reason I can't get better at it!  I mean, practice makes perfect, right? :)  So my goal is to at least try craft projects that I'm interested in.  I mean, what is there to lose?  (Except for valuable things like time and money...ha!)  As long as I keep the projects inexpensive, it's going to be a go from here on out!  I personally am very satisfied with the results of this experience.

This is an original idea, but I must say it's been derived from ideas like this DIY serving platter (by fellow blogger Jamie Cooks it Up) that I found through Pinterest.

I love these decorative stands because they were cheap, easy, and customized! I went to my local thrift store and dug around until I found the exact plates/chargers and bases that I wanted. I then went to Wal-mart and got spray paint colors of my choice and Gorilla glue! Here are my supplies and what I started with, as well as what it looked like when they were glued.

I paired the smooth charger with the smooth base (I think the bases were supposed to be chunky candle sticks), and the textured charger with the textured base. I chose a green color for my living room to go with my color scheme. 

I then "Gorilla glued" the chargers and bases together.  After they were completely dry, I spray painted!
 This is the end results below!  (I don't like the red and green together because it reminds of of Christmas, so that stuff is just there until I can get something else.)

I have these randoms on the green right now until I get different stuff to go on.  Probably several different size candles is what I'll end up doing.
The top of the bronze.  I like that it has a textured rim as opposed to the smooth rim of the green!
Finished product of the bronze.
The bronze is in our bedroom right now and is currently serving as my jewelry catch-all! :)
What do you think?  Let me know!
As for the next project... that's still undecided.  However, I'm thinking about doing something with Hodge Podge!

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Fall, Y'all!--Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Happy Fall, Y'all!

I honestly don't know if I have ever been so excited to see fall in my entire life! This has been an unusually hot summer, even for Georgia, and I'm definitely ready for cool (not cold) weather.

Just today, I wore a light scarf, jeans, and boots...and it was still in the mid 80's today. But I can't help it--I've caught fall fever!

Tomorrow morning my church is having a ladies' event called "Taste of the Forest," (since we're Pine Forest Baptist Church--cute, right?) where you bring a food item to share plus the recipe to go in a church-wide cookbook. Well, I don't have many "original" recipes...but I'm pretty good at following them. :)

I've gone with a variation of Paula Deen's, "Ooey Gooey Butter Cake." It's PUMPKIN! I absolutely adore spiced, pumpkin-flavored anything, and I figured what better way to celebrate the beginning of my favorite season? :)

What you'll need...

1 (18 1/4 oz.) box yellow cake mix
1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin
4 eggs
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese
2 sticks of butter
1 (16 oz.) box of powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
**(I use additional cinnamon to taste, along with some all spice, ginger, and cloves because I like pumpkin good and spiced. You can also just use pumpkin pie spice if you like a spices on the mild side.)
cake mix
1 egg
1 stick of butter, melted

In large bowl, combine the entire package of cake mix, 1 egg, and one stick of butter melted and beat with electric hand mixer until well-blended. Pat mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking dish/pan.

cream cheese
3 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
vanilla extract
powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat pumpkin and cream cheese until smooth with an electric hand mixer. Beat in eggs, butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and spices and mix well. Spread evenly over cake mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the temperature is reached, bake 40 to 50 minutes. Be careful not to overcook...the center should still be "gooey."

Finished "Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Butter Cake"

Don't ya like how a the left corner is gone?! haha. I had never made it, so I had to make sure it was tasty enough to 1.) take to "Taste of the Forest" and have put in a cookbook and 2.) share with y'all!


I've always liked pumpkin pie, and this "takes the cake" over that any day! However, as you can see from the entire box of powdered sugar and 2 sticks of butter, it won't exactly shrink your waste line. But it's all good; we Southern folk' can handle a little extra butter now and then. ;)

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend of fall fun! Until next time!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WIWW--"What I Wore Wednesday"

What I Wore Wednesday...
Heard of it?  Maybe, maybe not... but the idea is to motivate women to put a little bit of effort into getting dressed! :)  In other words...not staying in your sweats or grabbing the same ragged t-shirt out of your closet!  The oh-so-brilliant idea comes from a blogger named Lindsey of "The Pleated Poppy."  You can access her WIWW blog from the button below!

pleated poppy

This is my first attempt at WIWW, and I'm not at all satisfied with my outfits.  I also forgot to take pictures most days... haha.  But that's ok!  I'll try to do better.  My friends and experienced bloggers Lauren and Lori do an excellent job of keeping up with the outfits they wear and they always look precious!  Be sure to check them out. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011
Gooooo DAWGS!  
I actually only left the house for about an hour on Saturday (sad) so this is the best picture I got.  Forgive me for the lack of creativity!

UGA Shirt:  Kohl's (Sophee)
Jean crops:  American Eagle
Sunglasses:  Charming Charlie 
(which my brother felt the need to make fun of by saying, "Deana, have a pair of sunglasses or three!")
Shoes: (not pictured) Rainbow flip flops

Monday, September 19, 2011
I was lucky enough to have Monday off to spend with my sweet hubby Brian who'd just returned from a two-week business trip.

Tank top:  New York and Co. 
(on the right there's a flowy ruffle that's hard to see in the picture!)
Cuffed Jean Crops:  Charlotte Russe
Flip flops:  Rainbow
Watch:  Michael Kors
(I forgot to get a close-up picture.  Sorry!  I'll do better next time!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Back to work on Tuesday!

Dress:  LOFT (clearance)
Black flats with bow:  Target
Necklace:  Dress Up boutique in Dahlonega, GA
(see Wednesday's outfit for close-up!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
PLEASE excuse the untouched hair and make-up!  Should have cropped that part out...I was running behind and that part of my "outfit" wasn't complete just yet.

Shirt:  Belk (sale)
Jeans:  Marshall's (7 for all mankind)
(Marshall's is the BEST place to by these jeans...however, not to be confused with "Seven" jeans.  They try to fool you!)
Red, Peep-toe Wedges: Target
Necklace:  Dress Up boutique in Dahlonega, GA
Knot Earrings:  Tiffany & Co.
(If I don't specifically picture my earrings, I'm probably wearing these!  They're special to me because they were a first wedding anniversary gift from the hubster!)

So there were no revolutionary outfits to write home about...but it's a start!  Let me know what you think.  
Suggestions?  Ideas?  Comments?  Post, please!
Also, let me know if you decide to jump on the WIWW bandwagon! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicken & Dumplings (embarrassingly easy...I promise!)

Chicken and Dumplings...
It sounds daunting, I know!  But it really, really doesn't have to be.  I fully believe that it's alright to take short cuts as long as you aren't a professional chef!  But in my opinion, these are better than -any- others I have had.  However, this is my Mom's recipe that I've grown up on, so I guess there's a chance it's just personal preference.  However, as EASY as these won't be out anything to try them for yourself and see!  They're the ultimate comfort food for fall and winter.

Here's what you'll need...

32 oz. box of Chicken Broth (you decide if you want low sodium or not)
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup (regular soup size can, unsure of the ounces)
1 package **Mary Hill frozen dumplings 
(only use Mary Hill, other frozen dumplings aren't near as good.  I know for a fact I've found them at Publix and Kroger...never tried anywhere else.)
Raw chicken (not pictured) (I use 1 pkg. boneless thighs, but you can also use a small chicken.  I don't suggest using all chicken breast because the flavor isn't as good.  If anything, mix dark and white meat.  Also, DO NOT use cooked chicken... you'll be very disappointed.)
Black pepper to taste (I put a lot!)
**Garlic salt/power to taste
 (If you use low sodium broth, use garlic salt.  If you use regular broth and soup, use garlic powder)

1.  Put your chicken on to boil.  (Yes, boil, and only boil.)  Fill up a large pot with enough water to cover the chicken (although the chicken isn't in there yet) and bring to a boil.  When at a rapid boil, turn water to medium and add chicken.  Keep temperature right below or at a low boil until chicken is done.  Cooking time varies, but you can't "over cook" boiled chicken, so longer is better than not enough.  Mine cooked for about 40 minutes I think, but it probably didn't need that long.  As long as the internal chicken temperature reaches 165 degrees for 15 seconds, you're good.  Don't season the chicken water with anything at all.  Only boil in water, not chicken broth.  If you add anything, it'll be too salty.

2.  In a separate large pot, pour entire box of chicken broth and bring to a boil.  When it reaches a boil, turn the stove setting to "low."  Add each dumpling to the broth individually.  When you're done adding the dumplings, give it a gentle stir.

3.  Add cream of chicken soup, garlic salt or powder, and black pepper and give it another gentle stir.  Cover and cook for about 25 minutes, or until tender.

4.  When chicken is done, remove from water and cut into bite-size pieces.  Don't throw away the water!  

5.  Add chicken to dumplings and gently stir until mixed.

6.  This part has to be done by "eye balling."  Depending on how "wet" or "liquid" your dumplings are, you'll want to add some of the water the chicken was cooked in.  Usually, anywhere from 1 to 3 ladles full.  I used two, but depending on your tastes, you could us more or less.

7.  ENJOY!  Goes well with green beans, collards, or mustard greens.  However, it's great as one-dish meal!

Should look something like this...

I didn't take any step-by-step pictures, and the dumplings kind of broke when I put them in the container for leftovers, but you can hopefully tell how tasty they look!

It's certainly not homemade dumplings and the recipe is embarrassingly easy (see, I told you!), but no one will know how easy it is.  It truly doesn't taste like it or I wouldn't be sharing the recipe!  I prefer this recipe to homemade dumplings, but that's my personal taste.  Please, please try them and let me know what you think!  (Even if you don't like them!)  And if you're scared of boiling chicken, just trust me and do it.  Also, if you typically dislike dark meat, I promise you'll like it in this recipe!  However, you can use half white meat and half dark meat.

Have fun eating your comfort food, and HaPPy FaLL, Y'aLL!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Freaky Fridays--my fave pointed toe flats under fire!

Do you ever have those moments on Fridays that just don't belong on one of the happiest days of the week?  It's the little things--or big things--that just put a damper on what would otherwise be a perfect start to the weekend!  To capture these little pesky little moments, I'm going to try a weekly Freaky Fridays blog! 
 So without further ado, here's my Freaky Friday moment for the week.

I've been meaning to remember to take pictures of my outfits every day of the week for a new blog (explanation post for a different day).  Needless to say, I keep forgetting to snap the pictures.  So today as I was getting dressed for work, I made a mental note that I -would- remember to take a picture today!

So, half the day's gone and I still haven't taken a picture.  I totally had forgotten.  But I was about to remember soon enough!  Long story short, my Mom ended up coming over to my apartment on my dinner break from work.  We had a nice visit, but as we were walking back out to get in our cars (I was headed back to work, she was headed home), she takes a look at my outfit and notices my shoes...they were grey, suede, pointed toe flats.  She says, "Are you sure pointy-toe shoes are still in style?  I don't ever see anyone where them."  I tried explaining to her than nothing goes better with skinny jeans than a leg-lengthening pointed toe shoe!  But she didn't get it... 

This week's Freaky Friday moment:  Having to listen to listen to my 50-something-year-old mother attempt to give me a lesson in fashion.

However, I absolutely loved my outfit today!  Although it was under attack, it reminded me to snap a pic of clothing choice for the day!  Unfortunately, you are seeing the half-done version because it was taken by a co-worker at 10:45 p.m. :)  Earlier in the day I had on bracelets, my hair was fixed, and my shirt wasn't wrinkled!

Shirt: Stein Mart sale (It has a lot of pretty embroidery and lace detail that doesn't show up in the picture.)
Black skinnies: Old Navy sale
Grey Pointed Toe Flats: DSW clearance (They have tiny, round, metal studs on the top that don't show up.)

And just in case you're wondering, pointed-toe flats are still hot, hot, hot!!  ESPECIALLY for Fall 2011.  (Ugh, what do Moms know?!)

The above picture is from online fashion magazine niche.  
It's an article on Fall 2011's "must have shoes."  I highly recommend the article!

Here are a few of my personal favorites...from bargain to splurge!

Well, that concludes my Freaky Friday moment.  I'm going to try and post every Friday.  I'd really love to hear about yours too!  (Even if you have to write about it on Saturday or Sunday!  :) 

Friday, September 16, 2011

25 Things About Me (That you probably don't know!)

*Drum roll, please..........*
It's my first blog post!

 Or at least it's my first post of another attempted blog...  For some reason I always lose interest!  I think it's actually finding the time to sit down and collect my thoughts.  I need more of that though, so here goes nothing! :)

One of my friends from college and fabulous blogger Lori (A Crazy Walk on the Safe Side) recently posted a blog about "25 Things About Me."  Since this is my first post, I thought it'd be a fabulous place to start.  Here we go...

1.  I take terrible care of my nails.  It's another one of those "time" issues.  I love to paint them, but when I do, I never keep up with the chipping, breaking, peeling, etc.  I do my best, but they look gosh awful right now.

2.  I'm only 1.2 lbs. away from losing 20 lbs. since the first of July!  I'm finally down to the weight that I was at my wedding.  Now, if I can just get to that college weight we'll be good! :)

3.  I really, really dislike talking on the phone.  REALLY dislike.  If I am totally bored and there is literally nothing else to do, then I'll do it.  (Example?  Driving!  :-x )  Someone has to be VERY important for me to suffer through phone calls.  It has to do with feeling restricted I think.

4.  I love eggs so much that I eat a "fried" (with cooking spray in a non-stick skillet) egg sandwich for lunch at least four days a week.  The eggs are accompanied by Nature's Own Double Fiber Wheat Bread, low fat cheese, and jalapeƱos or Tobasco sauce.
(True Story:  I -only- buy Eggland's Best Eggs.  They're way better for you.  Find out why.)

5.  (Speaking of fiber...)  My freshman year of college, while I was at Macon State, I worked at the Endoscopy Center of Middle Georgia, LLC (doctors of Gastroenterology Associates of Central Georgia) as a Medical Assistant.  My position was in recovery after patients had EGDs or Colonoscopies.  Besides the fact that the doctors and nurses were a pleasure to work with, I learned a great, great deal about the digestive track.  We're talking from the time it goes in to to the time it goes out.  :)  This proved particularly meaningful for me though because I was born with severe acid reflux (almost took my life as a baby) and I've had to control it all my life.  No worries though, it's second nature now.  After missing weeks of my senior year of high school simply because I was throwing up too much to go to school, the science behind what causes ARD helping me learn to keep it SO much under control that I forget about it most of the time.  I was also able to talk my Dad into getting his first colonoscopy (by my doctor of choice).  Once again, extremely important since my Dad's mother died from colon cancer.

6.  (Really, only number 6?)  I don't love movies.  They are SO LONG.  I have the hardest time sitting still and paying attention for that long...unless it's a favorite of mine.  (You know, like Twilight or Soul Surfer or Blind Side, etc. haha)  I'm also very picky about the movies that are worth my time.  I like what I like...what can I say?  That's not to say I won't sacrifice for the hubster or friends and family, but we're talking if I had my choice.

7.  I've started considering law school one day.  (Trust me, I'm as shocked as you!)  I have said over and over that I did not miss school and that I wouldn't be going back.  I even looked at people like they were nuts when people mentioned the desire to go to law school after being done with college.  However, a certain case changed things for me. (See the Lauren Giddings Murder).  I've always been fascinated by criminal law, but while following this case so closely, I've realized what a deep desire I really have for the right thing to be done.

8.  I could sing for hours.  Upon hours.  Seriously...just ask my husband, Brian!  I oodles and oodles of karaoke CD's, iTunes downloads, accompaniment/performance tracks.  And all but the songs I sing in church are for pure enjoyment!  Ever since high school I hardly sing at all.  Mainly because...well, where would I?  It used to be Chorus, Competition Trio (we came in second in State by 1 point difference out of 200!)  Church Choir, One Act Plays, School events/assemblies/talent shows, Funerals, Cherry Blossom Festival, Bass Pro Shop, Christmas events, etc.  I miss it a great deal!

9.  When I was like 12, I beat all the girls AND boys in the NFL's "Punt, Pass, and Kick" Competition held here in Macon.  It's a competition scored by how far and accurate one can, well, punt...pass...and kick a football.  The scores are then averaged together for one main score.  My strength was the punt because I was a soccer player.  Anyway, I had to go on to compete at the region and state levels (with my brother who also won his age group) and be put in the newspaper.  Just what EVERY middle school girl wants... too seem "boyish."  This was the age I had finally started to come out of my tom-boy phase!  I was mortified.

10.  Out of every major city I've ever been to, Boston is my absolute favorite.  While it's cold a lot, it has the most cozy and homey feel for a big city!  And history like that can't be found anywhere else either.

11.  I've seen the Grand Canyon four times from an airplane

12.  I was born in Fort Worth, Texas.  I spent most of my childhood in Live Oak, Florida, before ending up in Macon, Georgia.

13.  I love my almost 2-year-old Westie, Bella, like she's my child.  She acts just like a person, she has the best temperament of any dog I've ever owned, she's cute as can be (Bella as a puppy), and she's incredibly smart.  She literally comes and get us when she has to throw up so we can hold her over the toilet!  (It's true.  I couldn't make this stuff up!)  Her "I'm sick" whine is completely different from her "I have to potty" whine.

14.  I do not believe in ghosts.  I'll repeat, I do not believe in ghosts.  Now with that said, I saw SOMETHING in a hospital one time.  I ran so fast down the fall to where my Mom was she knew that I at least LOOKED like I'd seen a ghost!  I can still see her.  Old (and I mean old!), black woman; pink night gown and slippers; short, curly gray hair.  She stared at me so hard without looking away as I passed her in a hallway (with no doors) that she made me incredible uncomfortable.  When I turned around to see if she was still staring at me a few steps after I passed, she was  I do no believe in ghosts, but I have NO explanation for the experience I had that day.  My brother and Mom still remember my reaction!

15.  The only shorts I wear are athletic shorts.  Ever.  Period.  They are soooo uncomfortable and unflattering to me!

16.  MAC Studio Fix Makeup changed my life!  I'll never use anything else.

17.  I can cook, and I actually really enjoy cooking...  If someone else goes to the grocery store and picks up the ingredients for me!  There's nothing worse than skimming aisles for ingredients you rarely use, so you don't know where to look and you can't find them.  Uggghhh.  (Note to self:  Remember, patience is a virtue!)

18.  I can pop both my big toes on command.

19.  I learned every single book of the Bible in second grade, and I can still recite them to you now.  Seriously, that's the best, most useful school assignment I've ever had.

20.  It's rare that you see me without a water bottle in hand--no matter where I am.

21.  I -love- the idea of being crafty, and I thoroughly enjoy making, creating, painting, arranging, etc. anything... but I'm just not GOOD at it. haha.

22.  Favorite Bible verse ever:  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
--Proverbs 3:5-6.  What a promise!

23.  If my feet wouldn't sweat and people wouldn't give me funny looks, I'd wear boots year-round.  LOVE boots. :)

24.  If I could live my life over, there are things I would CHANGE!  I have never, ever understood the whole "If I could do it over, I wouldn't change a thing" stance.  Are you kidding me??  I wouldn't have wasted time letting my body be obese and unhealthy taking years off my life, I wouldn't have said hurtful things out of anger, I'd have spent way more time with my Grandmother before she died since she was my only grandparent I ever knew...  And the list goes on and on.

25.  I use "..." all the time because I'm a News Producer, and that's how we write for the teleprompter.  

So, that does it.  Blog post #1.  

Throughout this new blog, I want to try things that help me keep my interested.  In other words, I don't need a public, online diary where I share every inner thought of every day! haha.  So, if you see cool ideas or have any suggestions for posts, labels, topics, etc...let me know.

XOXO!  (Who am I, Gossip Girl?)

Make that XXOO!! :)