November 29, 2011

Trimming my first real tree and taking bets on my cat

Say hello to my first live Christmas tree. It's in the midst of being lit. 

It's a real tree!

With tree stems, seed looking things and everything.

Grace doesn't seem to think much about it. She sniffed it a bit while it was drying out in the garage, but she seems kind of over it. 

But what about this guy? 

What's he looking at? Is he eyeing the tree? Does he have a plot to take it over and climb to its very top? 

We're not sure either. So the tree will sit, lit and waiting, two days before an ornament touches its branches. If the tree survives two days, surely Porter will no longer care. Surely. 

So what's your vote? Will the tree survive a cat's curiosity? Leave me a comment and tell me your vote. Happy holidays!

November 28, 2011

The Thanksgiving Grind

This Thanksgiving, Chris and I traveled home to see my family. The night before Thanksgiving lunch, my mom and I set out to make cornbread dressing, and we discovered we didn't have any corn meal. You know, the corn meal to make the cornbread that goes into the cornbread dressing? 

I offered to drive to Kroger and fight the fight of everyone else who had forgotten one ingredient the day before Thanksgiving, but before I got in the car, Mom said that she did have polenta. Polenta is just a larger grind of corn than corn meal. 

So you know what? I ground (in the food processor) the polenta to get it closer to corn meal. 

And it worked! The cornbread came together perfectly. I felt very pioneer-like doing this successfully. 

But I didn't get a photo of the finished cornbread dressing. I was much too busy eating. I was able to get a group shot, thanks to my new remote control for my camera. 

A pretty good looking group.

And, yes. I did cut my hair again. It's even shorter than before, and I'm loving it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2011

Ceramic magic

A few Saturdays ago, I met a group of women at a paint-your-own-pottery shop in Germantown, Paint A Piece. 

I've visited shops like this, mostly in SeaSide. You pick your ceramic piece and paint it. Pretty simple. The nice thing is that the shop has all the paints, and they fire the pieces in the kiln for you. 

Last year in SeaSide, I wanted to make a ring holder, but they didn't have the piece. I don't know if you think about a ring holder a lot, but I do. I always think how I would use one by my sink so that I could put my ring and small jewelry on it while I'm washing my hands/face/etc.

Paint A Piece did have a ring holder, so I was all over it!

I decided to try one of their pottery glazes. It paints on a totally different color than it fires in the kiln. The nice thing is that they have some built-in textures and colors. I chose the glaze called Robin's Egg. We have brown and blues in our master bedroom, and I thought the ring holder would fit in well in our to my sink. 

This is what it looked like when I finished it at the shop:

Questionable I know. The white inner ring you see if a white treatment that I was told could lighten the area you put it on but the other glaze color would remain. 

My ring holder was ready in just a few days, and it looked like this! 

Can you believe it? I'm really happy with it, and I find the pottery glaze amazing. How did it transform so completely? You can see the lighten inner ring too, which I'm really happy with. 

I also did the bottom because you have to cover the entire piece with the glaze, and I added an A initial with the year. 

I had a fun time at the shop, and I'm really happy with the results. I could see doing this again!

November 17, 2011

Book Review: Sea Change by Jeremy Page

I just read Sea Change by Jeremy Page. I found this book to be very intriguing. The overall premise is sad: Guy loses his wife and child. There you know. By the way, his name is Guy, not just a descriptor.

BUT, he keeps them alive in his mind and grows their lives' stories in his diaries. He continues to write about his family as if they are all still together for five years while he lives on a boat at sea. As a writer, I found it interesting that you could keep someone alive by writing about them. Could you really keep your life as you knew it going in your writing? I enjoyed the idea that his writing took on a life of its own, and there were times that even he was surprised by the outcomes, as if some other force was really writing the story...much like real life.

If you are a writer, I highly suggest you reading this book. If you're not a writer, you will still learn some life lessons from Guy, his diaries and his life on his boat. If you read it, come back and tell me the significance of the bird in the box....just wondering.

Go here to learn more about the book and talk to people who have read it. 

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

November 16, 2011

My iphone, American Express, Charlie Sheen and me

Right about the time we moved to Memphis, I got this guy. 

He's the original 3G iphone. He changed my life. I used him when I got lost in Memphis; I used him when I needed to find a restaurant; and I used him to call people and ask for a job. Basically, he was my best friend. 

Recently, he had gotten old. He just wasn't running as quickly as he once had, and he seemed to be forgetting things. I had strong feelings for him, but my eye wandered. 

It wandered right into this guy. 

New and improved, sleeker and with the boost of Siri. It was like a better powered, more personal and faster partner. So I made my move. The first day available, I pre-ordered a brand new iPhone 4s. One week later, the very day it was available in stores, my new friend arrived, and he changed my life. Maps were faster; he reacted to my voice commands; and he knew things about me like where I lived and what time I usually set my alarm. 

28 days later, this happened. 

iPhone 4s and I were getting out of the car, and it slipped. 

It slipped from my lap onto the pavement. Serious damage occurred. 

I didn't know what to do. It still worked okay, but the disfigurement was terrifying. I knew it didn't feel like itself. I visited the Apple Store. They said they could fix (replace) it for $150. I spent $200 to get iPhone 4s just 28 days ago. I couldn't stand to shell out that kind of money again. So I left the store. 

The next day, I realized I purchased iPhone 4s on my American Express card. I knew this because the bill for it just came in. It wasn't even officially paid off, and it was broken. American Express...they have a Purchase Protection guarantee. I did my research, and they cover damage to items paid for with an American Express card within 90 days of purchase. So.......would this include iPhone 4s??

Yesterday, I filed an online claim on the damage to my phone. This afternoon I received an email from American Express:
     "Thank you for choosing to use your American Express Card for your purchases. We are pleased to inform you that payment has been approved for your Purchase Protection program claim.  Your payment of $218.49 has been processed as a credit to your American Express Account."

Y'all that means my iPhone 4s is paid for. Seriously paid for. Because I dropped it and broke it. Now, meaning tomorrow, I will go to the Apple Store where they will replace my broken phone for $150. You do the math. I'll also be purchasing a new iPhone 4s prevent breakages from falls and scratches.

I think this scenario is actually what Charlie Sheen was referring to: winning!

November 10, 2011

Get your Bounce on

Thanks to BlogHer, I'm trying out the new Bounce Dryer Bar. 

I got to choose with variety I wanted, and I definitely wanted the dye and scent free. I don't like added chemicals on my skin, thanks. 

When I took it out of the package, it said Bounce. 

According the package, when it's time to change it, it will say Replace. Pretty cool.

It sticks to the side of the dryer. 

I have run three loads of laundry since installing it, and so far I'm really happy with it. There is no scent and the clothes come out well fluffed, soft and not sticking together. It's also awesome not to have those pesky dryer sheets that end up everywhere when you're folding and putting away the laundry. Does that happen to you too? I find them everywhere!

I'll keep you updated as I use the bar up. How is it going to change the words on it? Crazy!

November 9, 2011

Showering Sarah

A few weeks ago, Jenny, Laura and I co-hosted a baby shower for Sarah. We held it at ArtJamN, a paint-your-own canvas studio. We were able to bring in our own food, and we had a spread of confetti rice krispie treats, lemon drop cupcakes and caramelized onion dip with veggies and chip. 

We also had rainbow fruit skewers and pasta salad skewers. We wanted everything to be hand-held for easy painting. You can also see the cute invite, and the table runner, which matched. 

Here's the mom-to-be as her friends began to arrive like Dana. 

Jenny, one of my co-hosts.

There was some serious conversation going on here.

But Kendra was still all smiles. 

Someone tell me to stop crinkling my nose when I laugh!

Before we began painting, each of us signed a note to the baby, and the instructor told us how everything was going to go. 

I think Sarah enjoyed herself. 

We played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who would start the painting. 

The group began with the sky.

The canvas was so large that several of us could paint at once.

We painted the sky blue all over the canvas. 

The instructor had already outlined a design with a texture. 

Laura and Kendra worked on the grass area. 

Fun times!

All of a sudden, the painting really came together. 

Dana was in charge of the red leaves. 

How pretty is this?!?!

There's a heart cut into the tree, and there's a little bird on the branch. 

Sarah is going to hang it in Baby's nursery. I kind of want it to hang in my house!

Here's the group in our aprons. 

And one without aprons. 

I think everyone really had fun, and Sarah got a one-of-a-kind piece of art out of the deal. 

November 7, 2011

I made fire!

I worked with a group to make a Halloween display for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The theme was the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. We needed a flame for our fireplace, and I offered to make it. I make fire!

I took our house fan, and created tissue-paper flames.

I placed the flames so that when the air blew, the flames blew and made a fire-log sound. See it on this video: 

Here's the completed scene with my flames!

Listen to it one more time: 

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