Friday, August 30, 2013

Reminiscence of Wilmington

Every summer my family would alternate between going to Florida or North Carolina to visit family.  Since our family in Florida moved to South Carolina, then to Georgia we started just going to North Carolina every summer for the family reunion and to the beach. Some of our favorite places to go are Raleigh, Laurinburg (which is where we usually stay for a couple of nights with family,) and the occasional visit to a Farmers Market that has the BEST shrimp burgers, and a stop and walk around Duke University's campus. (My dad's parents were married in the Duke Chapel.)  I think our favorite stops that ranks way up there is Wilmington, NC.  It's a fun and eclectic port town filled with antique shops, Port City Java (one of the must go to's while there,) little restaurants and shops, The Cotton Exchange, and of course, the Downtown Wilmington Ghost Tour, which we go on every time we're there. While we're there, we always spend a day at Wrightsville Beach where we lounge in the sand, take kayak rides through the marshes, and eat at the delicious Dockside Restaurant . The past two summers, since I've gotten a big girl job I have been unable to go with my parents to these wonderful North Carolina places.  Being the wonderful parents they are, they've brought my sister and I back small pieces of Wilmington. This year, it was two pounds (two different blends) of coffee from my favorite Port City Java.  Two years ago, my souvenir was this dress and belt from Down Island Traders on Front Street.
    It's a nice springy, breezy strapless dress that is so comfy.  And get this: It. Has. Pockets!  That's right folks.  It's a cute and functional dress.  You now have a place to store your phone(for those of you that store your phone in your bra if you don't have any pockets, like I do, this was a real winner,) a couple of tissues, and maybe a tube of lipgloss.

 {A beautiful hand stamped necklace from The Vintage Pearl that I won from a spinning wheel at the Edmond location's grand opening. It says love struck.}
 {Delicate starfish earrings to tie in the nautical town from whence the dress came.  Earrings are from Kohl's.}

{And of course, what we've all been waiting for since Starbucks stopped carrying it last: it's time again for the Pumpkin Spice Latte!}

What are some of your favorite places to travel?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fall's Just Around the Corner

You might have noticed already, but Fall is my favorite time of year! Filled with crisp autumn mornings complemented with a nice cup of coffee, cool evenings with hot apple cider, weekends going to the pumpkin patch and fall festivals, carving pumpkins, eating candy corn, candy corn kisses, pumpkin pie, I could go on and on. I wanted to start a little early this year. Say hello to my latest craft project. I've been collecting old bottles to decorate in every way imaginable. This is my fall version that I hope to make more of and eventually sell in sets at a flea market booth. They were really easy to make once I figured out the right kind of glue to use to help secure the string, yarn or jute cord.
Below is a compilation of all the materials and tools I used. Yarn, jute cord, assorted colors of felt, rubber cement to secure the cord around the trickier parts of the bottle, sharpie (to trace out the felt letters,) and scissors.

I've started putting out a couple of fall decoration s little by little.  I can't help it, I'm obsessed!!  But I promise not to put out too many decorations before September 1st.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From Trash to Treasure

This evening was a good evening. I went and had dinner with my parents at Mexicali Border in downtown Tulsa. Their guacamole was amazing! The company even better. After dinner, Dad took us to this new coffee place in Tulsa that opened about a month ago. It's on 11th street, close to Lewis. It had a really neat modern/art deco interior.

Another treat came on the way home from the coffeehouse. We were passing by a house in my parents neighborhood when I saw a bunch of old windows leaning up against a tree in someone's yard. I had my dad go up with me to the person's door to inquire about them. It was a very nice older lady that answered the door. Seems they'd recently replaced the original windows on the house and she'd been hoping someone would take them. It was my lucky day!! It was another story getting Hubby to drive over with his truck since a couple of them were too wide to fit in Mama's SUV. I'm not entirely sure what I'll use them for yet, but I'm certain I'll find something wonderful to use them for. They're over 60 years old!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Like New

 I love antique shopping! But mainly I just love antique shopping with Hubby. I don't get to spend enough time with him, it feels. This is a little guy that we picked up on one of our trips. A cute little ceramic owl on a stack of books. He was in pretty good shape except for some little nicks here and there. Having worked at Kirkland's home decor for almost 3 years I picked up a few at home quick fixes. This works on ceramics, picture frames (plastic or wood,) and many other decor items. All you need is a sharpie!! Depending on the color of the object, black is a good color to keep around, along with a couple of shades o brown and tan.

Just lightly fill in the white spots and dab to take away any shininess to make it blend better. Sometimes sharpies can tend to have a blue or purple hue when held in the right light. Dabbing it with your finger or paper towel helps keep that to a minimum and blend it.  And voilĂ !


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hello, St. Louie!

  My office worked hard to win a few St. Louis Cardinals tickets.  And win them we did!  So we packed up our bags and headed to St. Louis for the weekend.  The drive isn't too bad.  Only 5.5-6 hours, depending on your driving habits.  If we'd had more time, we would have stopped at all of the antique places along the way.  The closer we got to St. Louis, the more there seemed to be.  As it was, we only had time to stop at one place.  Naturally we chose the candy factory.  They had baskets and baskets of just about any flavor of taffy you could imagine.  I was excited about the candy corn taffy! (And initially about the red velvet taffy, but that ended up being way too sweet.) Now, I love candy corn in just about any form that it comes; original candy corn, candy corn pumpkins, candy corn m&m's, candy corn Oreos (thought they were sadly short lived,) candy corn taffy, and candy corn kisses (though those were short lived as well. They were replaced the next year by pumpkin pie kisses which were just as divine!...just not candy corn kisses though.)  I hope to try making a candy corn cheesecake this year.
We also stopped at the World's largest gift shop, which was right behind the candy factory.  I had to take a picture in the model outhouse they had.

We got to go into the bottom part of the arch, but not up to the top.  Unfortunately, if you don't get there early enough then all of the early tram rides up sell out.  A tram goes up about every 15 minutes I believe.  But we did get to enjoy wandering around the Westward Expansion Museum.  It was neat getting to see the development of civilization.
    Saturday night we ate at Schlafly's Tap Room. (Pronounced Shla-flees.)  The food was a-ma-zing!  I didn't taste a single bad thing while there.  For appetizers, we had pretzel sticks and little pieces of bread dipped in a delicious goat cheese sauce.  Both were hard  to get enough of.  With dinner, I had the best Pumpkin Ale I have ever tasted.  It smelled like pumpkin pie and had all of the hints of pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon all blended together for a smooth drink that embodies the tastes of Fall.  I had to buy a 6 pack to bring home because they sadly don't distribute in Oklahoma.  For dinner, I had beer steamed mussels with a cheesy sauce and bacon pieces.  They were delicious!!  There were so many of them though that I couldn't quite finish them.  Hubby had a bacon wrapped meatloaf muffin with an egg, between an English muffin.  It had the most exquisite taste.  I am going to try and recreate it at home sometime.  Like I said, none of us tasted a single thing that we didn't like.  The atmosphere was great, the service excellent.  I would definitely recommend this place to anyone that visit St. Louis.  It's at 2100 Locust St.
  We got to see the Cardinals vs the Chicago Cubs.  It was a neck and neck game.  But of course, since we were in St. Louis to see the Cards play, they won!  The company was great, the food spectacular, the experience wonderful.  It was a very good trip.  I got to spend time with my coworker and boss outside of the office setting.  It's always nice to spend time with people that you care about and a bonus that you get to work with them!   It was a very good trip and helped quench my travel fever, if only for a while.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

Happy Friday everyone!  Fridays always make me happy so I thought I'd share a few other things  that make me happy as well!  Now these are in no particular order, mind you.  Just the order in which I found them.
    First up, I love it when Bandit cuddles with me!  I myself am a big cuddler so I love it when he snuggles up with me during the night.  I know what you're thinking, and yes, I do periodically wake up in the middle up the night and feel that Bandit is in a cute position so I must take a picture!  Yes, a lot of the pictures on my phone are of him.  Yes, I love him very much and almost feel as if he is a child.  I worry about him when I leave the house, I don't want him to get too lonely, or have to go to the bathroom but can't because there's no one to let him out.  So yes, I do take pictures of him sleeping.  Sometimes I take pictures of Hubby sleeping too, but only if I go to bed later than him.  I know, I know.  Creeper I am!  But I don't do it very often!  Only if it really strikes me.

                                                                         One of my biggest joys in life is my husband! He is so sweet, funny, kind, loving, generous, motivated, encouraging...the list could go on and on.  He makes me feel beautiful and special, loved and wanted.  Here is a  throwback picture of him!  I'm not sure what school year this was, but it was for one of his school proms.  That's his first car pictured with him, the one that I mentioned in a previous post about bringing home a '68 Lincoln.  Isn't he handsome in that tux?!

  Though we may not look like it in this tin type picture, my family makes me very happy.  I am blessed to have such a caring, enthusiastic, sharing, encouraging, supportive family.  They helped me through 7 years of college, not to mention everything from changing my diaper to who can keep track of what all else!  They make me laugh, make me feel loved.  I know you guys probably have a great family too, but all I'm sayin' is that mine's the best.

  I get a lot of joy out of Pinterest.  They always have helpful, silly, insightful, inspirational things on it.  Here is one of the silly pictures that I found a lot of humor in.  Look!  It's a dog!  Holding a gun!  That's silly, cause dogs don't carry guns.  Get it?  And it says pew, pew, pew.  That's what I call my little 380 handgun sometimes, my Pew Pew.  But you have to say it in a high pitched voice.  You can't say it in a normal tone.  I dare you to try it!

I am thankful for my other job at the BOK Center.  I work in guest services and sometimes get to scan tickets for concerts.  I love people watching.  I love getting to help and serve people.  So it's the perfect place for me to do so!  The last concert I worked was the Taylor Swift concert.  She put on a really good show and had a good message for all of the little kiddos that were out in the audience.

Below is a picture of my puppy again.  I told you I liked taking pictures of him!  Here is is, drowsy and ready for bed.  He came up from underneath the covers cause I guess the TV was too loud.  The shot was perfect so who was I to resist?

Gummy candy is my favorite kind of candy!  I love neon sour gummy worms, those Haribo sour peach candies, sour peach rings (can you tell I like peach too?!,) those juice filled gummy bugs.  You name it, if it's gummy, I like it.  I love those gummy candies that look like sunny side up eggs.  Has anyone else ever had those?  Mm-mm.  I was killing time before dinner out with friends one night and wandered into The Fresh Market off of 81st and Yale and ran across the funnest gummy candy that reminded me of our recent trip to Boston.  Gummy Lobsters!!  And no, they don't taste like lobster.  I probably wouldn't have eaten them if they had.

   And lastly, my corn.  I planted these stalks when they were but mere seeds.  Now look at them!  They have started getting their first little ears of corn!!  It was so exciting to see those little tufts sticking out periodically.  Now I'm just ready for them to get big enough to eat!  Right now they're about as big as my pinky.

    So there you have it!  Some of the people and things that bring me joy in life.  What brings you joy and happiness?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Good Gospel Singin' and Molasses Cookies

I had a very nice, unproductive weekend.  Everyone needs one of those now and then where they just relax and enjoy the company of others without having to do anything strenuous or anything they don't want to do.  Hubby was more productive than I was though and got some good work done on his project car.  My crowning accomplishment this weekend was a couple of batches of delicious molasses cookies to take to our church's Gospel Singing fellowship Sunday evening.
    Sunday was a really good day.  We ended up having a lazy morning where I made banana walnut pancakes for breakfast, then lounged around the house and played with Puppy until we headed out to Grandma's house for Sunday dinner. (We call it Sunday dinner, even though it's at lunchtime because once you have lunch at Grandma's then you won't even need to eat dinner.  It's that much good, filling food!)  We had two types of lasagna; Chicken and ground beef, garlic bread and green beans.  Raspberry streusel or raw apple cake with ice cream for dessert.  I checked of my little row of corn that got planted back in June I believe and I found that they'd started growing their first little tufty ears of corn!  I wish I'd planted more, but I was having a bout of craziness and only planted one row.  I had been running out of light on planting day anyway.
    Sunday evening, we loaded up my 50 molasses cookies (well really 47 because I'd taken a few out to save for Mama and Dad) and headed to church for a joint singing with the choir from Collinsville First Baptist.  We took turns singing pieces, and joint pieces and congregational singing.  It's amazing that so many people can come together all for the common purpose of praising our amazing God.  Afterwards, there was a homemade ice cream and cookie social.  I might have eaten a few too many cookies, and probably didn't really need that second bowl of ice cream... but the socializing was good!  That is one thing that I love about Olivet Baptist.  Everyone is friendly and loves God and so generous. I believe 17 gallons of homemade ice cream accumitively were brought by several different people (my Grandma included) and dozens of cookies were brought.  It was a good fellowshipping time had by all.

MOLASSES COOKIES (Made in the food processor!)
(This recipe makes approx. 2 1/2 dozen 2 in. cookies.)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar (I use Splenda)
1 egg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cup all purpose flour

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
*Place knife blade in bowl.  Combine molasses, oil, sugar, egg, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking soda in bowl and pulse until mixed.  (In btween some of the mixing, I would run a rubber spatula along the bottom edge of the bowl to make sure all of the molasses was mixed in.)
*Incorporate 2 cups of flour a spoonful at a time.  Mix until just incorporated, but make sure there are no pockets of flour hiding in the dough.
*Place by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and cook for 10-11 minutes.  (I found that 10 minutes was the perfect time for my oven.)