Friday, July 31, 2009

Bad Car!

What a boring subject to write about. Sorry.

Yes, my dear little Honda (named Aretha, the same name my mom gave her first car) is acting up. I'm very lucky though, this time she waited til I was almost home. As I was pulling on to our street, I began to smell the distinctive scent of something sweet burning and saw smoke coming from under my hood.

Now, I understand my car is 11 year old and "stuff" happens. However, I just replaced my radiator and entire cooling system last fall.

Every time my car acts up, my dear husband decides that now is the time to buy me a new one. I appreciate his concern for my safety, obviously. And hell ya, I'd love to have a brand spankin' new car. But it's really not practical. I come from a family that runs cars into the ground. We would rather bite the bullet and pay $400 (um, or more) every year or so to keep the car going, rather than pay $400 every month as a car payment. My father, 63 years old, has had 4 cars in his lifetime ('68 Pontiac, '77 Pontiac, '85 Pontiac, '92 Mercedes). I have had mine for 10, and will keep it as long as the Car Gods keep her running. And it only has 145,000 miles on it! That's next to new for a Honda, right?

That does not mean I do not have my "dream car" picked out. If our family's mechanic comes back and tells me it will take a substantial fortune to keep Aretha going, I would pick a Honda CR-V. EX-L, Glacier Blue Metallic. Gray leather interior. Tinted windows. (it is not a gas guzzler and does not take up the same space as a tank on the road, so it is exempt from my general SUV hatred).

But like I said, hopefully the day I "upgrade" is far away. I love my car! No, the passenger window and the defroster don't work. Yes, she is dinged beyond measure from 4 years of parking in UF campus lots. No, the trunk hasn't closed or sealed properly since I was rear-ended in 2002. But seriously, no one in my life (aside from family and very close friends) has been a part of my life for 10 years! Aretha and I, we've got history.

So let's hope my mechanic calls with some good (cheap) news, haha...

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sharpie Goodness

I love Sharpies. But that's nothing special, everyone does. Everyone I'm buddy-buddy with, at least. It must be something I subconsciously seek out in a friend, or a characteristic that comes with people like "us". We get excited over new colors. I am already plotting buying one of those big rainbow packages during the Back to School sales (one of my fave times of the year).

So yes, Sharpies in general are fantasticness in stick form but my main purpose in this post is to share the wonder that is....the Sharpie pen.

Just why is it so fantastic?

* It writes in a nice, crisp, thin-but-not-too-thin line.
* It does not bleed through paper.
* And, best of all (fellow Lefties, are you listening???) the ink dries fast and does not make a smudged mess out of your paper and hand!

The pen comes in black, blue, red and green. I realize these have probably been out forever and my rave is nothing new. But I am a pen geek and office supply junkie, and right now these are definitely my favorite. When a Leftie finds a good pen, she just about cries and is obligated to share the knowledge. This is a goodie!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First is the worst, second is the best....

Well, there is one national championship we will not take 2 years in a row.

The Princeton Review lists are in, and Penn State has overtaken us as the number one party school in the nation. Tragic, I know. But they have an on-campus creamery, nevermind the booze, how can we compete with that?

The Top Ten are as follows:

1. Penn State University
2. University of Florida
3. University of Mississippi
4. University of Georgia
5. Ohio University
6. West Virginia University
7. University of Texas
8. University of Wisconsin
9. Florida State University
10. University of California-Santa Barbara

I'd like to ask my fellow SEC girls to raise their glasses for a toast, we've got 3 out of the top 5 schools (and UT came in at #16). The Southeast Conference is the best, both on and off the field. And props to FSU for helping give the Sunshine State two appearances in the Top Ten. If only every state could be so proud.

Sometimes I worry that our quest to become a solid Top Ten Public University is compromised by these silly reports, but I (and plenty of others) know that Florida is a great university. So what's the harm in a little fun?

PS: I have been trying in vain to find an image of the "Sloppy Gator". When I was at UF, the slogan "Nobody likes a Sloppy Gator" was everywhere. The little guy was actually pretty cute. He had little drunken "x eyes". I know they still use that slogan! Next time I'm in G-ville, it's going to be a mission to seek him out and capture him on film.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Mondays. I haz it.

How 'bout 43 non-connected thoughts? Because it's Monday, that's why.

* Hubby and I had a lovely weekend at Cocoa Beach. The days were gorgeous and sunny (yet thanks to my spf60, spf-treated sunhat and tunic, and umbrella I didn't burn or even tan, yay!). Sunday before we left, we drove over to the port to watch the cruise ships leave. We drank Bud Light Limes (hey, they're not bad), leaned against the dock and toasted the fact that in roughly 40 days, that will be us sailing away!

* I need to lay off buying books. I worship, I can't imagine shopping at B&N ever again. I just got "Eat This, Don't Eat That!" Supermarket edition, which should be very helpful. I also received "Angela's Ashes" (super strange coincidence, I bought it the day before Frank McCourt died....cue that twilight zone freaky music). I also recently scored "A Southern Belle Primer, or why Princess Margaret will never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma" at a local thrift store (love those!), and it has made me bust out laughing several times. So wait, remind me again why buying books is bad? I'm getting them second hand....

* My sister in law came over last week with her 4 kids (gee, too bad I was at work and missed that...). I expected to come home and find our house looking like WWIII had rolled through--but no, S-I-L hung all of our pictures and such that we hadn't done anything with. I hate grouping and hanging art/pictures, I have no eye for it. That is why the task has been basically ignored for the year we've been in the house. 3 cheers for Hubby's almost makes her over-dramatic tendencies and poorly behaved children tolerable (almost). It looks like, dare I say, a home?

* I am going off hormonal birth control. I have gotten so that I don't have a period, ever, even during placebo weeks. Little Miss "I must be in control" here doesn't like that. I want to be more in tune with my body, especially if Hubby and I were to think about having youngins'. I've been on HBC for quite a while now, so I am actually going to have to re-learn how my body works. I just seriously hope my skin doesn't go last attempt at going off HBC ended with me as a cystic acne mess. Obviously if I am ever going to have kids I'll have to come off my good-skin-crutch at some point, but I'm still nervous about that aspect. I am what I am, and I am vain, I can't help it.

* Hubby's having knee trouble again. About 2 years ago he injured his left knee and had surgery on it. Now, his right knee is giving him trouble (to a lesser extent). He'll probably go in for an MRI this week, and hopefully the damage will not require surgery. If it does, he and I are both hopeful that he can manage his discomfort and be able to schedule the procedure for after our cruise. He'll still have 2 months to recover before basketball season starts, but he'll also be able to enjoy our trip. Poor guy. It's always something!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


(Just noticed my post from yesterday was never published. Don't know how I screwed that up, but that just means you get 2 posts from me today. Lucky you!)

Hubby and I are chomping (hehe) at the bit for college football season to get here. Less than 50 days!

We always try to go to at least one game from our respective alma maters. Last year, we were lucky enough to get tickets to see our teams play each other.

As I may have mentioned, we are a house divided. I went to the grand and glorious University of Florida and am a proud orange-and-blue Gator. Hubby attended our archrival, Florida State University and is not just a diehard garnet-and-gold Seminole, but was an athletic trainer for the football team all 4 years (capped off by a national championship in 2000, his senior year). Our allegiances run deep. Is anyone else a "blended family"?

When I first told my mom about him, her reaction was priceless. I could have told her I was dating a black, Jewish, Republican (you get the point, whatever is totally opposite from our family) and she'd have been fine. But her eyes got wide and she said, "Really, Kate? A Seminole?" She did recover from the 'shame' I brought to the family and ended up loving Hubby despite his 'shortcomings', hehe.

So far, we are definitely attending the Florida/Arkansas game and the Florida State/Maryland game. Hubby decided a few years ago that we must always go to FSU's last home game, just in case Saint Bobby decides to retire (we don't predict he'll give any notice before the end of the season). I'd love to get tickets to the UF/FSU game (in Gainesville this year) but those are difficult to come by.

I can't wait for a good tailgate. Or at least a good football party at our house. Grill some burgers, make up some other munchies, chill some beer, float in the pool and watch some college football. I need to start planning some stuff early, I want this year to be good!

The point of this post? Nothing. Did you need to read any of that? No. I'm just tired of baseball, need some football in my life and want to talk about it!

Interweb babies!

You know technology is both a scary and absolutely awesome thing when you've been following the blog of a pregnant couple for their entire pregnancy, their due date is today and you know they're at the hospital, and the first thing I want to check up on as I sit down at my computer in the morning with my cup of coffee is how far apart the mom's contractions are. Email can wait.

I don't know them from Adam. They don't know me. Even so, I've been drawn in to their story (or as they probably think of it, their life, haha) and am so excited for them. Man, the interwebs are cool.

They have even made me use the Twitter account I signed up for so long ago and never log into. They're updating from the hospital (they have over 15,000 followers, they're quite a phenomenon). Hallmark should make a card that expresses that sentament.

His Boys Can Swim is the name of the blog (the 12 year old boy in me finds the name hilarious and still giggles every time 'he' sees the homepage graphics). I think I like them so much because they seem so down to earth and "real". Like people Hubby and I would want to go out for beers with (aww, look Sweetheart, I'm setting up imaginary double dates for us with strangers!).

Ok, now off to hotmail and msnbc, my usual first 2 stops in the morning. But hey, it's not every day a baby is born to the authors of my current fave blog to stalk!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Happy Friday to everyone! Hubby and I are taking his grandmother out to dinner tonight. We're going to a little hole-in-the-wall joint up in West Volusia County that serves the best "old Florida style" seafood on the planet. I can't wait!

I thought I'd start periodically sharing some of my favorite things. I'm a very easy person to shop for (at least I'd like to think so!) because there are so many things I'm known for loving at all sorts of price points. For example, all of my family knows that I am obsessed with Fiestaware.

Fiesta dinnerware was created in 1936 and, with the exception of a period of time between 1973 and 1986, has been around ever since. It's made in Newell, West Virginia (gotta love a good "Made in the USA" product). I love the art deco style and the fact that it comes in every hue in the rainbow. I love bold and bright colors!

My aunt got me started with a set back in college. Actually 4 complete place settings in rose, seamist, periwinkle and yellow (all beautiful pastels, and sadly discontinued now). My mom always loved Fiestaware and always talked about how she wanted to replace her Correlle ware with it. I guess that stuck with me! I love it. I'm so not a traditional China person (blasphemy to some, I know). I didn't register for a pattern. The thought didn't even cross my mind---well, until someone suggested it to me and I looked at them like they had 2 heads. Hubby and I are not the type to do fancy dinners, so it would be a complete waste (I do, however, have a fave Waterford crystal pattern---I cling to my old Irish roots on that one!). Now, nothing makes me happier than adding a new piece to my collection. I love that it is meant to be used, not saved "for good". I love opening our cabinet and seeing the stacks of colorful plates. I love how our table looks set with a rainbow of colors.

(I don't have an actual photo of our dinette set, but I found a similar picture out on the internets. This is exactly like our table, except ours is teal. It was in my mother in law's home when she was a little girl in the 50's. I love it. My eventual decorating goal is to give our kitchen a retro vibe without making it seem like you're in a diner or soda shop. Easy on the kitsch!)

Eventually, I hope to amass a substantial collection with lots of variety. That way, I can set a table with colors that match the season or holiday's theme. (I am currently all set for Easter, it's adorable). Since most dinner pieces sell for $10-20, it's a wonderful "cheap thrill" for me.

Anyhow, I'll stop before I go on all day about my slight obsession appreciation for Fiesta (I almost have already!) but I'm glad to share my loves!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Cheap Cute Find

I know Banana Republic and J. Crew have the hearts of quite a few out there, and while I totally understand the love, they are generally far too expensive for the Sweet Southern Sunshine budget. Even Gap can be outrageous. I am, however, a huge fan of BR's little sister company, Old Navy (and I get my J. Crew fix on eBay). I will pay good money for classic pieces that I expect to wear very regularly and want to last. For trendy, seasonal or just plain "I want something cute and new NOW" shopping, ON is my honey. (*whisper* I don't think Banana's quality these days is worth what they charge anyhow...shh)

Here is my latest find:

Usually Pasty-Pale me avoids white dresses, but it was just too cute to pass up. It reminds me a bit of cherry blossoms. I can think of a million places to wear it, but my major excuse for buying it was to bring it along on our cruise. It'd be an adorable dinner dress for casual nights. And for <$30. Just sayin'. I also got some colorful cardigans on sale too (wisteria, kelly green, royal blue). I think I now own a cardigan in just about every color. Mr. Rogers would be totally jealous of my closet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Random Ramblings

I'm a bad blogger with zero inspiration. But you know what, some of my fave posts on other blogs are conglomerations of little thoughts, ideas and whatnot that may not all go together, but certainly are interesting.

At the risk of sounding like June Cleaver, I bought myself an apron and I'm totally excited about it. I saw a picture of it somewhere online last year, and finding it became my obsession. All I knew was that it came from Target and it was adorable. Lo and behold, after basically giving up, it jumped out an surprised me while I was buying dishtowels at Tar-jay last weekend! My sister, who was with me when I found my dear and darling apron, now knows for certain that I'm nuts. My excitement level was probably higher than was really warranted, but oh well.

See? Adorable. Totally worth the stares I'm sure I got for my outburst. I bake a lot, and I am pretty darn messy, so this will spare my clothing. I'm a messy eater too, so I may wear it at dinnertime as well.

On the same shopping trip, I picked up my (other) new favorite household gadget and must spread the word.

Wonder Hangers. My sister made me buy them, and I am glad. You get 8 hangers for $10, so you can hang 45 articles of clothing. Now, I will say this: they're not as fabulous and durable as the infomercials want you to believe (shocking, right?) I wouldn't trust them to hang winter coats or big purses as they show in the commercials. Heck, I don't think I'd put Hubby's XL Polo shirts on them, honestly. But for my size small shirts (especially the tanks and cami's) they are a godsend. Our master bedroom closet is big, but not as big as we'd like (I don't know how it's possible, but my husband owns more clothes than me. And lots of big clothes take up a lot of space) so this will help out big time.

I'll end by passing on a recipe for the cake I made for a co-worker's birthday. He's a founding partner at the law firm I work at, 87 years young, and has a sweet tooth to rival any child. I knew a light, airy angel food cake with some berry puree over top would not do for him. So I pulled out the big guns. If you scoff at the use of cake mix, then x out and make fun all you want. I see no shame in using a mix. Anyhow, I present to you, Betty Crocker's Better Than Anything Cake:

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® German chocolate cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 jar (16 to 17 oz) caramel, butterscotch or fudge topping
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 bag (8 oz) toffee chips or bits

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Bake cake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan.
2. Poke top of warm cake every 1/2 inch with handle of wooden spoon. Drizzle milk evenly over top of cake; let stand until milk has been absorbed into cake. Drizzle with caramel topping. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours

A few of the reviews said it was still good when sugar free products were used, so I used a box of sugar free devils food cake mix I already had (accidental purchase, I'm usually not a big sugar-free fan). I also only used about half of the caramel sauce, as well as fat free cool whip. It was still a purely decadent sugar rush. A square the size of about half a playing card was enough for me. Co-Worker had seconds and went back for a third slice later in the afternoon. Good stuff!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


In 2 months, I will be cruising the Caribbean. Hubby and I will be celebrating our one year anniversary and finally taking our belated honeymoon cruise.

Problem is, my hips and thighs didn't shrink like I'd planned them to. Maybe, oh I don't know, because I've been a sedentary bum who drinks far too much Coke? Just a guess.

I've gained 10 pounds in the last year, thanks to stress and changes in my lifestyle. 10 isn't all that much, but when you're only 4'10", it is (yes, I am midget-esque). It's mainly, as I said, in my lower half (Why it couldn't go to the boobal region, I don't know). This will not be cute in a swimsuit.

So I've started really being aware of how many calories I'm taking in. Not obsessive. I'm not depriving myself or staying up at night freaking out about how many calories were in my carrot sticks. But I think twice before shoving down that cookie. I haven't given up soda completely (I cannot live that way) but my very occasional soda-of-choice is Diet Dr. Pepper. I'm aware there is no magic wand to wave to make the pounds disappear. "Eat less, move more" is the only way, so it's my mantra. I hate sweating, so this is a bit of a problem, but swimming, jump roping, hula hooping, weight training and inching my way toward the Couch to 5K program is better than nothing.

Hubby's on board (and quite honestly could benefit too). I don't think 2 months is an unreasonable time to shed a few pounds. 10 may not happen, but even 5 will help. Lean meats, whole grains, lots and lots of veggies. We grill just about every other night. I think the changes we're making will add up quickly. More importantly, they are changes we can handle and don't mind making. Sometimes you just have to shake yourself and get yourself on track, ya knows?

I'd like to start planning out our meals and shopping list for the week. Hubby's schedule is crazy (especially once basketball season starts!), so I'll have to be flexible. I'm thinking that has to be infinitely easier than my usual method of staring into the freezer 'til I settle on something to try to defrost quickly.

However, don't think for a minute I'm cutting out my glass o' wine while cooking dinner or cleaning. It will not get done otherwise, trust me. I may switch to vodka with diet tonic and lime (my fave cocktail). I'm all about sacrificing. (I need booze to clean...add that to the list of things I should not be admitting publicly. Oh well, too late. *Publish Post*)

Monday, July 6, 2009

My evil plan worked!

Ok, so I wasn't actually plotting anything (evil or otherwise), but I am pleasantly surprised by the results of my actions.

Hubby and I have different ideal timelines for starting a family. Hubby is of the "sooner rather than later" mindset. He claims he doesn't want to be an "old dad" (um, honey, you're 31, that's nowhere near old). Me, I'd like to wait a year or two. My reasoning is that we've only been married for 10 months and a couple for only 2 years, and I want some quality "husband and wife time", before we're full time mom and dad.

Recently, I've been trying to warm up to the idea of pushing the timetable up a bit. I've been reading pregnancy websites and blogs. I found some old baby books out in the garage and brought them in to read. I've been quizing Hubby on his opinions regarding circumcision, disposable diapers, and formula feeding.

So last night, as we're lying in bed and I'm rambling on for the 23rd time about which room should be the nursery and what I should do with all my arts/crafts stuff in there, he announces that he's perfectly content with waiting a bit longer to start having little ones and not to worry.

It may have been my questions about his blood type and genetic testing that put him over the edge. It may have been his way to avoid cleaning out all my junk in the future nursery. Whatever it is, I'm happy he's content with having a few more football seasons and summer vacations as "just us two". You know, so we can tell our kids about how cool we used to be.