drivetime discussions: Miss Girl meets Queen Bey

mkay. so that thing i was writing about Melania last night? yeah, i’m completely done talking about that for right now. let’s talk about Beyoncé!

see the uncanny resemblance in the photos above? yeah, me neither. so you can imagine my utter surprise and amusement driving home from camp last night when this happened.

MG: (singing some mash-up of Run the World (Girls) and Formation)

me: what’s that?

MG: our song for our Friday performance.

me: Formation? you’re singing Formation? (obvs, a little mortified, my mind raced to whether i was gonna need to have a stern discussion with the Y.) you got hot sauce in your bag, girl?

MG: huh?

me: nevermind. so you know Beyoncé sings that.

MG: Beyoncé? who’s that?

me: (did we not just go through this during BET Awards?) really? i know you know who she is! look. (over the course of a few stoplights managed to pull up a Google image search on my phone and throw my arm in the backseat so she could see what turned up on my screen.)

MG: oh yeah. you know, that’s probably what i’m going to look like when i grow up. except with different eyes.

me: (eyes?? or EVERYTHING?? let’s see what she really meant . . .) different eyes? like how?

MG: well, you know. she has brown eyes and i have blue eyes. so that’s the only difference.

and with all the focus on tension caused by skin color lately, and all the divisiveness and highlighting of differences between people, i was once again completely amazed at, amused by and proud of my little girl who just honestly doesn’t see any difference between her and anyone else, no matter what color skin they have. so she identifies more with Beyoncé than blonde-haired, blue-eyed Dakota Fanning, whom she’s been told she favors? whatevs. i can tell you this for sure though, her white-girl dance moves got a long way to go.

how long does it take you to write a post?

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just curious! i have been working on something about the Melania Speechgate for what seems like all day, but truthfully has been just a couple hours now (post Miss Girl bedtime) of actually writing and researching links and such to back up what i’m writing. was hoping to post tonight, but at 1:00, it is hours past bedtime! look for it tomorrow . . .

in the meantime, one of the reasons i’ve been gone so long is that i’ve wanted to up my writing game a bit, which means a change in the mostly off-the-cuff, put-it-together-in-an-hour type of writing/image creation i typically do here and actually work on some more thoughtful/longer pieces. just not accustomed to how long retraining my creative muscles that way actually seems to take. but it’s all good.

so . . . there will still be some of both kinds of posts moving forward! that’s the plan, at least, but interested in hearing from anyone who’s still around about their typical process/time to write a post.

love to hear from you!! happy Hump Day tomorrow! (today?) ugh . . . goodnight!

Friday favorites: back in the saddle edition

cowgirl_on_white_horsei know it’s been a long time since i’ve shown my face around here. (thanks to everyone who’s hung around!) still a bit sorting through reasons why (maybe a post for later), but long story short, not writing these little posts is not helping me answer any of the questions i have been having about what i’m doing and why — here and in a couple other aspects of life. so i’m jumping back in. that’s the plan at least! and since i’m in, you know i gotta post my favorites from the week! this weekend, i’m looking forward to Spy returning home from a week in Germany. with everything going on in Europe right now, i just want him to get home safely! also, pool time, Secret Life of Pets (mandatory viewing!) and a wine tasting on Sunday afternoon. hope y’all have some fun/relaxing stuff planned, too! let’s go . . . Continue reading

if it clucks like a chicken . . .

Fried Chciken

no joke, this just happened: a colleague i’ve never met was organizing a meeting at a client’s office and was asked by someone on our side what we were doing for lunch, since the meeting would run from 11:00-3:00. his response: “They are in the middle of the inner city, it looks like Popeyes Chicken:-)” oh yes, he did. obviously, i was appalled.

like so many others, i have been struggling so hard over the past week or so with the violence, racism and ignorance at the forefront of seemingly every news cycle. last week i was supposed to be enjoying our annual family vacation and celebrating the epic greatness of America. i spent much of that time glued to my phone following Facebook and Washington Post to see what people were saying about the shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas, and wondering what the fuck is happening to our country? Continue reading

Friday favorites: Hawaiian happiness

hawaii_5moments.001

just wow. what an amazing week it’s been! i can’t believe today is our last full day here. there is so much to tell. and i completely intended to do some in-depth posts while i was here, but guess what: i have been too busy actually enjoying my vacation to write about it! i still hope to do some longer posts (like the ones from France) when i get home, but wanted to post a few quick hits here and share some of my favorite moments from the week so far. enjoy and happy Friday, everyone!

1. Pearl Harbor
SONY DSC this spot was on the list of places i knew i wanted to see, but i really had no idea how moving it would be and how patriotic it would make me feel. the exhibits do a fantastic job setting up what was going on in the world leading up to the attack — a lot of which i seem to have tuned out in my high school history classes. well worth the few hours we spent soaking it all in.[/caption]

2. North Shore
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after our Pearl Harbor visit, we took advantage of a napping girl and headed north to Oahu’s famed North Shore. we parked and got out at Lanaikea Beach. Miss Girl’s pants immediately came off and she went crazy running along the rocks and in the surf. she seemed so completely at home, i couldn’t help but have some major flash forward moments to her as the quintessential badass surfer girl . . . and start wondering what if she went to school out here.

3. getting lei’d
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it took 3 full days in Hawaii, but i finally got lei’d! Miss Girl was not happy about any of it. in her defense, it did kind of itch. they were so beautiful, though!

4. rainbows
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yes! double rainbow! what does it mean??? no idea, but we have seen multiple rainbows every single day since we’ve been in Maui — a complete relief, considering that it was basically pouring down rain at the airport when we arrived on Wednesday. we were afraid we wouldn’t even see the sun, much less beautiful sights like this. luckily the weather in Ka’anapali doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what’s going on 45 minutes away in Kahului. once again . . . #westsideisthebestside

5. ahi poke
hawaii_ahi_poke
omg, y’all. i’m pretty sure i’ve had some version of this before, but this fish salad (pronounced po-kay) is like all i want to eat here. the ahi is amazing and every version is a little different. kind of like how in the south, everyone’s got a chicken salad recipe and no two are the same. the one pictured above is from Koa’s Seaside Grill in Lahaina on Maui. we stopped in to grab a bite (and a fruity cocktail) at an odd hour and were pleasantly surprised by a killer happy hour menu. i won’t even begin to guess what was in this, except some kind of seaweed and some chili peppers, but it was amazing. perfect with the homemade tortilla chips and rice crisps. definitely need to experiment with some recipes when i get home!

Friday favorites: Hawaii Five-OMG!

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thanks to the magic of scheduled posting, when this little slice of life hits the interwebs, i will be on a plane to Hawaii! it’s not a secret i’ve been keeping from you guys intentionally, it has just been an insane couple of months, during which i’ve quit one job, started another, lost a beloved doggie, launched my Wine Shop At Home business, bachelorette-fêted and married off a dear friend, met Biz Markie and started running again. whew!

not only is this a much needed vacation over Miss Girl’s spring break, it’s a really big deal: Spy is turning 50! back last autumn when we started talking about how to celebrate his half-century, my idea was to throw him a big Hawaii Five-0 themed luau. not one to enjoy being the center of attention, he countered “Let’s just go to Hawaii, instead.” i think my response was something like “Okay, Moneybags.” but the next thing i knew, it was booked. and he is beyond excited. and so am i. (that glass above was part of a pre-trip Christmas gift i gave us to keep the excitement going.) Continue reading

bye-bye, you big bear.

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wanted to thank everyone who was so sweet and thoughtful about Clara when i posted that she was ill a few weeks ago, and give you the update that she didn’t make it. the antibiotics did nothing for the mass in her leg, so it has been painkillers and waiting the last couple of weeks. i’m unbelievable grateful that we had that extra time with her. unfortunately on Monday, while i was in Austin for SXSW, she became immobile and Spy had to take her in. i was glad that i’d made sure to give her a great big hug before i left on Friday, but so sad for that to have been the very last one.

Monday marked the end of an era, as Clara was the last family member we brought with us from Richmond to Atlanta. whisked away from the mean streets of Church Hill (where Spy found her under a bush in the park near our home) to an idyllic long weekend at our river house that quickly turned into a new life with her forever family, we often said Clara was the luckiest dog in the world. the truth is, we were the lucky ones to have had her in our lives for the past 15 years. we’ll miss our big bear terribly, but are glad she is reunited with her buddies Maury and Parker in that big doggy (and kitty) park in the great beyond.

snapshot

ironically, there isn’t a photo that could possibly capture the beautiful, the mundane, the tragic of this evening. but i wanted to somehow capture the sort of like 16,000 conflicting emotions and experiences that happen around here on any given evening, but particularly tonight. thanks for indulging me in a pretty non-typical-for me post.

i’m in the midst of coming down from a lot of angst and uncertainty about leaving an old job to working my first 2 days (at home!) at a new job, where there also is uncertainty simply because it is a new and different situation from where i thought i would be 6 months ago — but also a lot of excitement about what i can help build.

at about 4:00 today, i realized i was still in my pajamas. i had promised myself i was not under any circumstances going to be that person. i did not go for a run (not my fault. did you see the storm map for the Southeast today??). and my dishwasher was still full of clean dishes washed overnight. i felt a minor pang of incompetence for not having this work at home shit completely nailed after 2 days. then i eye-rolled myself.

as i rallied to step away from the computer and my work to get dressed, i let the dogs out and realized our 14-year-old Clara was limping and can’t put any weight on one of her hind legs. i’ve spent the rest of the evening — in between getting pain meds from our dog sitter, checking what time the vet opens tomorrow and helping Spy carry her up and down the stairs —  worrying that when she does see the vet tomorrow, it will be the last time we see her. that’s how Maury went a few years ago at 16. she quite suddenly lost use of her back legs and the vet suggested it would be a hard road ahead. so far, the painkiller has helped some. we have spent lots of time holding hands (always her favorite) and looking longingly at each other. i’ll call at 8:00 tomorrow morning to see when i can bring her in, and until that time, hope for the best.

in the meantime, i’m also literally trying to cook a proper dinner for me and Spy, who have fallen into a bad pattern of eating at different times and places in the house. the ravenous Miss Girl demanded a hot dog the minute she walked into the house, so her dinner was long since done. in between pulsing cauliflower rice, i’m having a conversation that goes something like this:

“PUT YOUR PANTS ON!”

“but Mommy, my booty’s too hot. and besides, Lily has my pants.”

“WHY DOES LILY HAVE YOUR PANTS? GET YOUR PANTS FROM HER!”

“we’re playing tug-o-war with them!”

Lily runs a couple laps around the house with pants in her mouth.

“DO NOT PLAY TUG-O-WAR WITH YOUR PANTS! go get those pants from that dog!”

ridiculous laughter.

“i’m serious! get some pants — any pants! — on that hot booty and get those pants from that dog!”

ridiculous laughter.

“ONE . . . TWO . . .”

“okay, okay, Mommy. i got the pants. but now i need to take off my shirt.”

facepalm.

ridiculous, ear-to-ear grin.

also, at some point during all of this, i got a call from the Bernie Sanders campaign asking if i plan to vote in the upcoming primary and for whom. the girl was floored when i said i plan to vote and they had my support. like i was literally the first person on her (i assume Atlanta Metro) list who had given her a positive reaction. she didn’t know how to respond to me. was really glad i could make that girl’s day, because making those calls has to be a thankless job!

at bath/bedtime, when Spy took Clara up the stairs for the evening, i remembered that somehow, although i was home all day today, Lily peed on the bed. ON THE BED, y’all. duvet was in the laundry, but taking 1,000 years to dry. so while Miss Girl’s bath was running, i was psyched to find a clean set of sheets. not psyched to make our bed. let’s just say that since the Brazilians started, the pain in the ass that is re-sheeting a California king has not often been in my repertoire. sigh.

at the end of the night, with my sweet family all upstairs — one in what feels like a makeshift bed with a spare Queen comforter on top (we’ll be fighting over that in a couple hours); one maybe sleeping in her well-worn spot on my side of the bed for the last time; one dreaming pantsless dreams of world domination; and one completely oblivious to all of it as long as she can snuggle with someone — i just had to try to explain the beautiful, amazing, circle of life chaos of it all. because it constantly amazes me how all these things can co-exist in my life and in my brain in these amazing moments in time and (usually) nothing actually explodes, except sometimes (almost) my heart.

tomorrow’s Hump Day, y’all. notice that amazing moment that’ll get you through the rest of the week!

Friday Favorites: slacksplaining my absence

hate blog posts that begin with an apology for having been gone for so long, for not writing, for ignoring readers in favor of real life pursuits. so i’m not going to be that blogger. suffice to say there has been a lot going on in my world recently and now that the dust has settled a bit, i thought it would be fun to catch y’all up on 5 of my favorite things that have kept me so incredibly busy the past month or so. settle in. this one might be long. thanks for sticking around and happy Friday, everyone!

1. shopping
katespade_grand_street_colorblock_gabriel
y’all can have your shoes and jewelry. i’m a sucker for a handbag. and after i missed out on an amazing 75% off black Kate Spade tote at their holiday surprise sale because i was trying to be responsible and not splurge on myself (what was i thinking?), i vowed never to let an obsession of the moment get away again. i am utterly in love with this delicious creation. the Grand Street Colorblock Gabriel is the perfect size for normal pocketbook stuff like a wallet and make-up, plus roomy enough to tote around a small laptop and my notebook — making it the perfect size to stash everything needed for, say, a plane ride. originally $478, i snagged it for about $160 including tax after having the internal debate again for only about 3 hours this time. amazing bag. amazing deal. and no, you may not have one because, just like the bag i went gaga over at Christmas, this one is sold out!

2. sipping wine


so, that i have been sipping wine is clearly nothing new. but what’s different this time is that i got to do it a couple weekends ago with some of my best girlfriends during a fun-filled day of winery touring in Virginia to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of them. we hit Pippin Hill for lunch and bubbles, then a white and a red at Dave Matthews’ Blenheim. we followed up dinner in Charlottesville, accompanied by (probably too much) bourbon, with a good old-fashioned gab and grub session (over more cocktails, obvs) in our jammies in the living room of the adorable 1750s farmhouse (complete with cows, chickens, goats and maple syrup taps on the trees) that we had rented for the weekend. i cannot think of a more perfect address for a bachelorette weekend than Dick Woods Road. (i’ll just leave that right there.) so many laughs and so much love, beautiful views and delicious tastes . . . it was a fantastic weekend full of all my favorite stuff. can’t wait to go back up for the wedding next weekend!

3. sneaking around playing Tooth Fairy


OMG IT FINALLY HAPPENED!! after moping around for months because all her school friends were losing their teeth, Miss Girl finally had a little wiggle. then a big wiggle. then at 7:00 last Saturday morning (because you know it couldn’t happen at the crack of dawn on a school day when we’re up anyway), she raced into our room, jumped on the bed and announced that her tooth had finally come out. and she carried the evidence in her hand. well. i’d been thinking about it since that first wiggle and casually browsing Pinterest for cute ideas on how the Tooth Fairy would deliver her goods, but of course never actually downloaded any of the gazillion printables i’d looked at. bedtime Saturday night was go time for me and of course, at that point, i couldn’t find anything i thought was exactly right. so i whipped something up on Canva. and i think it turned out pretty cute, if i do say so myself! after my covert operation was done, Spy deftly slipped my handiwork under her pillow. the next morning, we were met with another exuberant early wake up. though, i think she was a little disappointed that her haul was only $1. but, as we like to say around our house: you git whatchya git and you don’t pitch a fit. 

4. snuggling by the fire
snuggling by the fire
this one’s a lame. i know. but y’all. do you know how many hours can be consumed just trying to get and stay warm? i am a summer girl, 1000%. and all this cold, dark weather lately has had me ready to curl up in pajamas and a blanket, binge eat and binge watch until things thaw out. so i’ve traded in my flip flops for fuzzy socks and have kind of done just that on a lot of recent nights and weekends, which is honestly just so unlike the usual me who is always busy doing something. my state of mind and my waistline can’t take much more of it. coooooome on, spring!

5. snagging a new job
I feel the start of something new!

(image: quotesgram.com)

today is my last day in my current job. for a variety of reasons it’s probably not appropriate to go into here, i just wasn’t that into it anymore. seriously nothing terrible, but it’s like when you’ve been dating someone for a year or so and it just doesn’t really seem like it’s going anywhere. there’s still things you love about them, but you find yourself fantasizing about being in a different situation. then some hot young thing winks at you from across the room and you know it’s over. that hot young thing approached me and we flirted for several weeks before deciding to make things official. i start my new gig on Monday and i’ve got all kinds of mixed emotions about making the move. but overall, i feel like the change will be a good one that will have a positive effect on some other areas of life. more on this later, probably, but for now i’m looking forward to a new week and a new chapter!

 

Atlanta Blizzard Cake

this cake looks pathetic, amiright? yeah, well it is a perfect metaphor for my #blizzard2016 experience.

i wasn’t even thinking of making a post when i baked it. i was literally just baking a cake because my family is crazy and i didn’t feel like going to the store today and i knew in a couple hours Spy would be asking me for baked Alaska (seriously). and so, as usual, i scraped together this hot mess out of what’s in my pantry so i would have some kind of answer when everyone inevitably hounded me about what sweets we had in the house.

don’t get me wrong. Atlanta Blizzard Cake is completely delicious. it just looks really sad. just like when i woke up this morning and we had literally 1/16 of an inch of snow on the ground. not even enough to half-cover the grass, y’all. and at like 7:30, Miss Girl was all MOMMY! THERE IS SO MUCH SNOW! LET’S GO OUTSIDE! and i’m kind of all oh, fuck. this. i need some coffee. AND WEAR YOUR COAT!!

and the next thing i know, she is outside with her friends (not wearing her coat) trying to do snow angels in 1/16 of an inch of snow. it all looked pretty sad, but to her, it was absolutely delicious.

in much the same way, when you pull a cake out of your ass on a “snow day” because you can’t actually be bothered to go to the grocery store (though, you certainly made your long-scheduled massage appointment), the optics on the results can be lacking, to say the least.

i knew i didn’t have what it would take to make chocolate frosting on yellow cake, which is preferred around here. but i did find a tub of Betty Crocker white (vanilla?) frosting in my pantry. no idea how long it’s been there or why it was there (i mean, like literally cannot remember why i possibly could have bought it . . . except that maybe it had something to do with the Satancakes . . . hmmm . . .), but obviously that screamed for a chocolate cake base.

i had just 2 eggs left after an amazing breakfast scramble. and just barely 2 cups of sugar. because. well, i rarely bake. and as i was putting together the idea of baking a cake, Spy decided to eat the last half gallon of milk with some Lucky Charms. sigh. so i got gas station milk and pulled together enough other ingredients to make a version of this One Bowl Chocolate Cake.

because i was also in fridge clean-out mode (lord, when am i not?), it was critical to choose a recipe where i felt i could add in the 2 chocolate swirl pudding cups with expiration dates of exactly today on them so they wouldn’t go to waste. whatever. you know you’ve been there.

so. long story long, the cake recipe is below. it is amazing. i nixed the whole boiled water thing. because what?? and also pudding. no boiled water, 2 Jell-O pudding cups and about 1/4 cup extra milk. bake 35 minutes and you have 2 perfectly fluffy, moist, sweet cakes to frost.

just make sure you have ample frosting. ONE TUB OF FROSTING IS NOT ENOUGH FOR AN ENTIRE LAYER CAKE. it’s about half of what you need. and it’s been so long that i forgot that. but it ended up being enough to put about a 1/16 inch layer of white in between cakes and on top . . . just like we had about 1/16 inch of white snow this morning, scantly covering our grass. sad looking, but still a delicious experience.

see how i brought that around, y’all? i know. i need to get out of the house, stop eating 10,000 calories of carbs, exercise a minute and pretty much get a life tomorrow. snow days are so hard! i hope all that happens and i’m out of the house when my family realizes the entire back half of the cake isn’t even frosted at all. doh! hope y’all with real snow day problems are doing way better!

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

onebowlchocolatecake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.