Friday, April 29, 2011

My Own "I Felt Like A Princess" Kind-Of-Royal Wedding

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
                                    -Robert Frost

What a “Monarchly” wonderful day! I've been watching the coverage of the spectacular wedding of the century all morning long. My DVR has been set since Monday to capture every second. Catherine looked simply stunning. Wow. To me, she's an incredible combination of Cinderella, Princess Grace and Princess Diana (my royal idols). Only with pretty chestnut tresses. Let's swoon over BOTH of her dresses:

image via Us Weekly

image via Us Weekly

She is the epitome of class and elegance. This morning, she appeared so calm. Almost peaceful. Very sophisticated. When Catherine met Prince William at the altar, you could read his lips as he said, "You look beautiful." I melted. Weddings make me tres emotional.

image via Us Weekly

I vividly remember being about 13 and thinking, "If I could just get to England and meet Prince William, I'm certain he would fall in love with me and make me a Princess." I daydreamed we would meet as I was touring the Castle (And I know Mom had the same grandiose notions about Paul McCartney. Like mother, like daughter.). Alas, I've never even been to England. No opportunity to sweep Wills off his feet. As was meant to be. I was destined to find someone even more amazing – my very own REAL Prince Charming – at another beautiful wedding in Midland, Texas, almost four years ago. But an official title doesn't stop me from feeling like a Princess each and every day. And y'all know I've got that Queenly parade wave down. Now I just need an "official" tiara!

Mom and I reminisced about my wedding last year as I drove to work this morning. I thought it might be fun to share a few details and pictures with y'all! Thank you for humoring me.

Hubby and I were married at "half past ten in the morning." Very Royal chic, right? LOL. It was a fabulous Spring day. A little windy, but the sun was sparkling.

image via Heather Essian Portrait Arts
these are Mom's hands carefully buttoning my dress with a crochet needle

Hubs and I chose to see each other before the ceremony. My Dad walked me to him – down the aisle – in the Chapel. It was a special and intimate moment we'll always cherish.

image via Heather Essian Portrait Arts

Our "Officiant" was the remarkable man that introduced Mom and Dad over 34 years ago. He's my Dad's best friend. It meant the world to me to have him pronounce us as "husband and wife."

image via Heather Essian Portrait Arts

image via Heather Essian Portrait Arts

After the ceremony, our guests were invited to the Courtyard for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while we took a few family pictures. Everyone then moved into the Ballroom for a lunch reception with a "vintage garden party theme." We served Kobe beef burgers and black pepper French fries. Yummy. There was laughter. There were tears. Dancing and toasting. It was like a dream come true.

image via Heather Essian Portrait Arts

Dad had arranged for a Rolls Royce to drive us away from our wedding that afternoon. I wouldn't have traded that fantastic surprise for all the horse-drawn carriages in the world. A magical ending to the happiest day of my life.

image via Heather Essian Portrait Arts

image via Heather Essian Portrait Arts
bon voyage!

Today, I offer the Royal Newlyweds an excerpt from an Irish Wedding Blessing one of my brothers read during our ceremony (we took some translation liberties!). The words still move me:

You are the star of each night.
You are the brightness of every morning.
You are the story of each guest.
You are the most important part of my heart.
You are the face of my sun.
You are the harp of my music.
You are the CROWN of my company.

To the Duke and Duchess! Cheers!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fake?

I was at my Spring/Summer part-time job last Friday morning (watering my pots and plants all around our house—believe me, during a Texas Summer, it could be a full-time job—especially long about July or August), when Hubby saw me ignoring a pot on our back patio. He walked up to me and said, “Hey, why didn’t you water that plant?” “Because,” I answered, with my always sweet patience, “it’s plastic.” “What?” he said, with a confused look on his cute face. “It’s not real?” “Nope,” I replied, trying desperately not to LOL.

We had new carpet put in our bedrooms in February. In TLC’s old room, now our guest room (unless she’s the “guest”—then it’s still HER room), I’d been using a basket with a fake grass-type plant to cover a bad spot in the carpet—under a nightstand. As we moved things out for the installers, I handed it to Hubby one day and said, “Put this out in that pot on the patio—for now.” Who knew he’d been watering it ever since? Bless his heart.

As he walked away, I smiled, remembering another time when it was me that made a big donkey fool of myself.

We have two tanks (some of y’all might call them “ponds”) on our place. One is only full about four months out of the year—if we’ve had some rain. (Most of Texas is currently in a horrid drought. I’m sure y’all have seen the devastation of the wildfires. They’ve been as close as twenty miles to our place. It’s scary.) The other tank is not wide, but is pretty deep (it does get really low, however—as it is currently) and is full of catfish. Many are now giants (ten pounders or more)—since they’ve been in there for ten years.

During our third year living out here in the country, Hubby decided he wanted to attract migrating ducks to the bigger tank. He bought three duck decoys and placed them around the tank one weekend. I watched him do it.

A few months later, as we were heading to town one afternoon, we were driving by the tank when I shrieked: “WOW! Look!!! We have ducks on the tank!!! STOP! LOOK!!!” I was beyond excited—jumping around like a kid who’s just been told she’s going to Disney World. Then I became perplexed. Because as I hooted and hollered, I realized Hubby was not sharing in my uber ecstacy.

“What is the matter with you? Have you already seen them? Did you forget to tell me they were here?” He was looking at me with those Sean Connery eyes. “Are you kidding me?” he asked. Kidding? About three ducks on our tank? Well, that made me downright mad. Why, oh why, would I kid about that? As I worked on trying not to hiss my sassy retort, he (quietly, yet somewhat condescendingly) said: “Those are the decoys. You must have forgotten they were there.”

Yes. Yes, I had forgotten. Apparently the wind had blown them to different areas of the tank and that changed the picture for me—confounded my brain. Sheesh.

We have lots of fake things in our own individual worlds, don’t we? Things that look amazingly real. I guess it’s good. It speaks volumes for those incredibly creative people who can make stuff—even stuff on and in us!—realistic to the point of amazement and unbelievableness. (Is that a word?) And, yes, occasionally, to the point of embarrassment.

Add to the mix those of us (way) over 50 whose eyes, ears and bodies are rebelling on an hourly basis, and you end up with people who water plastic plants and applaud plastic ducks.

Patience and humor are the keys, right, TLC? You’ll be there. Watch it.

Gotta scoot . . . gotta go water some real plants . . .

Dame Lovee Darling
(This is the fake name I gave myself three years ago. Yep, I did. If Beyonce can do it, so can I.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

This Glorious Sunday Evening

1. Hoppy Easter! Hubs and I spent a fun-filled and relaxing weekend in the country at my parents' casa. My oldest brother and his family came, too. We munched on "Crave" cupcakes (from Houston – WOW) and snow cones, went to see Hop at the local theater (it only cost $12 for me, ELC, Niece and Nephew – holy guacamole), watched a Texas thunderstorm roll in last night, and woke up to an Easter Egg Hunt Extraordinaire this morning. It was magical. Hubby and I left for home full – of food and forever fabulous family memories.

2. If you do just one more thing this April, let it be to purchase and read The Pioneer Woman's book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. I read it, in its entirety, this weekend. It captivated me. It was the loveliest love story. AND, Taylor just told me she heard there's talk about making it into a movie. With my favorite, Reese Witherspoon, playing Ree. I die. Swoon. Hurry up, Hollywood!

3. I have a confession:  I cheated on OPI. A couple of week's ago I got a pedicure. And – GASP – used Essie's Turquoise and Caicos. It's yummy. Don't rat me out to the OPI peeps.

4. And, BTW – I found a solution to my problem of constantly ruining freshly manicured nails:  Shellac/Lacquer/Gel (I think it has several, interchangeable names). It lasts at least two weeks. You "soak" it off in acetone (I believe). I had the salon I go to give me a pretty little French manicure. Totally l’amour-in’ it.

5. I survived the trauma of wearing a swimsuit in public. With minimal damage. Hubby and I had a marvelous time at the beach with family. Details soon.

6. Did you know you can buy things like Amoxicillin, Latisse, and Cialis (insert girly giggle) at an airport in Mexico? Without a prescription? I was shocked. And, no, I didn't purchase anything. I couldn't resist browsing, though. LOL.

7. I have the most wonderful Husband on Earth. He walked in our front door a couple of hours ago holding two glasses of ice cold lemonade. He had purchased them from our sweet neighbors' daughter. She had her little stand set-up in their front yard. My ovaries literally ached at the sight of his incredibly kind, yet simple, gesture. Sigh.

8. I'm rooting for John Rich or Marlee Matlin on Celebrity Apprentice. They ROCK.

9. I was devastated when Paul was voted off Idol. I think I'll root for Lauren or James now.

10. The new staple to my Spring wardrobe:  linen pants from Target. The Merona brand. They're comfy (yes, they DO have an elastic waistband – and I’m not ashamed to admit that) and wash beautifully. And now I can give my New York & Company yoga pants a MUCH needed rest for the summer.

May God bless our World on this Holy Day and may God bless each of you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Coochie Coo

There are “It’s Spring!” babies everywhere! I adore driving to town, Granbury, Weatherford, Fort Worth or Dallas—because this time of year there’s a guarantee I’m going to see at least one new baby animal—usually several/many.

Colts, calves, llamas, goats, lambs, turkeys, quail, dove, ducks. I don’t know of many things in our lives that are cuter and more hopeful and amazing than babies.

We’ve had calves and we always have lots o’ baby birds, bunnies and fawns. We’ve seen plenty of baby raccoons and possums at our place. Last year my Hubby even saw twin baby bobcats. They were standing on a wall by his truck. He was surprised and thrilled! By the time he tried to quietly reach our back door—so he could get my attention and I could also marvel at them—they sauntered off and up onto the hill behind our home. I did see a small bobcat slinkin’ around our back patio a few months later. Could have been one of the twins. It was awesome.

Sorry to have to admit this (although I have a feeling I shan’t be alone): I’m not big on mouse, rat, armadillo or rattlesnake babies. Yuck. Double Yuck. Triple Yuck. And Yikes. I’d add skunks to that list, but have you ever seen little baby skunks scurrying after their Mama? Lined up in a row? Precious. Darnnit. Just seeing babies can bring tears to my eyes. I have a picture to show you now that probably won’t choke you up. It could, however, make you say: “Awww.” Or, perhaps “Is she kiddin’? Does she have both of her oars in the water?” Oh, well, here we go. Drum roll, please:

image of cactus babies via ELC
taken on Monday of this week

image via ELC
taken today of the growin' bambinos
my!  look how big they're gettin'!

Are they the cutest things ever? TLC thinks they’re creepy. Who asked her?

If you’d told me twelve years ago I would live in the country and adore cactus/i/uses, I would have laughed and said: “What are you smokin’?”  I simply had no interest. Unfortunately, there’re only about ten plants/flowers I can grow with success (even though My TLC believes I’m a great gardener—ssshhhhhh—don’t tell her I’m really not). When Hubby and I moved to the sticks, I began to understand how important it was going to be to landscape with native plants, shrubs and grasses—heat-tolerant plants which, of course, include cactus. I began to look at cactus in a whole new way. They started looking really good. I’ve definitely learned to appreciate the value of virtually maintenance-free vegetation.

Once I discovered the option of making cacti part of my landscape plan, I asked Hubby to dig several up from out in our pastures and transplant them in our front garden. Little, big, prickly, non-prickly, flowering, non-flowering—I love and covet ‘em all. I even buy small, colorful cacti from Wally World or Home Depot and plant them in pots on my front porch.

Try to imagine my sheer amazement the first time I saw “babies” on my cactus! I actually don’t know what happens to them, because they don’t always live and become a leaf. (Is “leaf” the right word? Guess I need TLC-pedia to clarify—if she’s not too traumatized.) Anyway, about a third make it to become bee—you—tee—ful!

And, like any proud parent, I take lots o’ pictures! I drag Hubby outside when one has an extra large number of sprouts. He just nods, smiles and congratulates me. Then wanders off—mumbling to himself. I can guess what that’s about. It’s okay—I ignore it. I don’t let anyone dampen my utter joy.

We’ve been thrilled over the years to welcome seven grandchildren to our family. Believe me when I unashamedly tell you they’re all cutie-patooties! Two of our grands will be here this Easter weekend. I’ll try to let them get a bit settled in before I drag them around to see all of the new babies. They won’t think they’re creepy, Aunt TLC. Sheesh.

Hoppy Easter to All Y’all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crack Brownies

Background:  About three years ago, Hubs and I were invited to a Crawfish Boil (Or was it a Super Bowl Party?  I don’t remember.  We are clearly party animals.  I can’t keep track of them all.  LOL.  NOT!  Actually, I'm worried I have short-term memory loss.).  My sweet Southern Mother taught me, at an early age, that it isn’t polite to show up at someone’s home without some kind of “sussie” (aka:  pressie – aka:  present).  Be it a candle, some wine, or something fun like cocktail napkins (the woman is OBSESSED with cocktail napkins).  For this particular soiree (whether it was for crawfish eatin’ or football watchin’), I decided it might be nice to bring a dessert along for everyone to share.  And I knew the woman who could hook me up with the perfect recipe:  Miss Paula “Butterlicious” Deen.  I began searching Food Network’s website the morning of the gathering.  I wanted something simple, but oh-so-sweet AND memorable.  BAM.  I knew the minute I laid my eyes on these pretty little brownies they would become my go-to dessert for family functions, 4th of July extravaganzas, even EASTER.  Yes.  Easter.  And since Easter is this weekend, I wanted to share my (totally inspired by Paula’s) recipe with you lovely readers.  I’ve taken a few liberties and added my own TLC (Get it? I crack myself up.).

Editor’s note:  Despite the name of the brownies, no actual crack is used in the recipe.  I know.  You’re shocked.  Hopefully not bummed.  The brownies got this nickname from a fellow-party goer after she sampled my little delights.  She said, “Holy guacamole.  These are addicting.  You should call them ‘Crack Brownies.’”  From that point on, that became their moniker.  I was extremely and beyond flattered.  I’d never received such a compliment. I’m proud to say, these brownies get lots o’ requests.  Thank you, Miss Paula “Cream Cheese” Deen.  YOU ROCK.

Toffee (aka:  Crack) Brownies

image via Food Network

Cook time:  about 25 minutes
Yields:  about 24 “good-sized” brownies

Ingredients:
  • 1 (17.6-ounce) package brownie mix with walnuts (I actually prefer to use Betty Crocker’s Fudge Brownies – no walnuts.  Then I buy the nice little individual ½ cup packages of walnuts that hang on one of the shelves in the baking aisle.  I realize this is a little “nutty.”  Pardon the pun.  But it works for moi.  I think the walnuts in the mixes aren’t “chunky” enough for my purposes.  But, potato / pa -tah-toe.)
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 3 (6-ounce) candy bars with almonds and toffee chips (MUST purchase the Symphony brand.  Oh dear gracious.  Ah-mazing.)
  • ½ cup Heath Toffee Bits (This is my personal addition.  These are also located in the baking aisle right next to the chocolate chips.)
Directions:

Prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions.  If your heart so desires – mix in the nuts and Heath Bits.

Line a 13 by 9-inch cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray.  Spoon in half of the brownie batter then smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon.  Place the candy bars side by side on top of the batter.  Cover with the remaining batter.

Bake according to package directions.  Let cool completely—then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil.  This makes it super easy to cut the brownies into squares.

Voila!  These are pure decadence.  You won’t be disappointed.  Bon appétit!

As an aside:  Hubby and I just returned from a wonderful beach vacay / brother-in-law’s wedding in Playa Mujeres, Mexico.  At the airport on Sunday, Hubs thought he had to have something sweet while we waited for our plane to arrive.  We decided to browse one of the little “shops.”  He was immediately drawn to the most ginormous Symphony Bar (with the toffee and almonds) I have ever seen.  It was a sight to behold and practically the size of Tejas.  It was 95 pesos. Converted to American dollars, that’s about $8.05.  In my humble opinion, that’s a helluva lot of moo-lah for a candy bar.  But, being that I’m such a Sweet Sugar Mama, I kindly purchased the delectable chocolate gold for him.  The entire bar had 950 calories.  Ba-na-nas.  I asked him if he was going to eat all of it by his little lonesome.  He smiled real big and said, “YEP.”  Unfortunately, he never got the chance.  He made it halfway through the bar when he had to use the bano (I can’t figure out how to get that little tilde-thingy to show up when I type the “n,” but you can picture it, okay?).  He set the bar (wrapped up nice and secure) in his seat, only to return and discover one of the cleaning ladies had come by, picked it up and thrown it away.  Oh, the unmitigated HORROR.  Someone owes me $4.03 USD.  Or 48 pesos. Rapidamente, por favor.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Yeehaw for Y'all!

To give you some background for this Yeehaw: I’ve listened to 96.3 KSCS FM Country Radio in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for about 30 years. Twenty-three years ago, I became addicted to their morning show: Dorsey and the Gang. Terry Dorsey and Mark “Hawkeye” Louis absolutely, positively tickle me to the extreme. I laugh just hearing both of them laugh—especially Terry.

Rebecca was an integral part of the show for almost ten years. She shared her feminine touch with class and style. She has a fantastic radio voice (not to mention a beautiful singing voice). Her talent, charm, humor, and spunk all helped her hold her own with all the guys (including Brother Van and Michael-Scott-in-the-Traffic-Helicopter). She recently decided to stay at home with her children. I don’t blame her one bit—but thousands of us miss her terribly.

Sooo. . .my first exposure to Four Day Weekend (FDW), an improvisational comedy troupe, came several years ago when Dorsey and the Gang had two or three members of the cast as guests one morning. Hawkeye was going to be in their show that weekend. But I had not a clue who they were. They were beyond hysterical. I literally watched my radio for about three hours.

It took me another year before I finally got to one of their incredible shows. They take place in a small, quaint theatre in Sundance Square—downtown Fort Worth. They do two performances on Friday and Saturday nights and . Can you guess what time I go? Yep. You can. I get it—sad. The shows last about an hour and half. Tickets, as of today, are $20 each. There are no “Reserved” seats, so take it from someone who now has attended four times (TLC has gone three times herself!)—get there 30 minutes early for the middle section—although I promise you there is not one bad seat in the entire theatre.

The six uber talented guys who make up FDW are David Ahearn, David Wilk, Ray Sharp, Oliver Tull, Frank Ford and Joshua Roberts. Sometimes they have a “guest” comedian/performer filling in for one of them (like Hawkeye)—and this person never disappoints (I do find myself missing whoever is not there that night!). The interaction with the audience is something you must experience—it simply cannot be adequately described.

One of the things I adore about the FDW guys is they aren't rude, crude or inappropriate. I’ve never heard them even utter a 4-letter word. They are silly, sharp, unique—full of feistiness, edgy-ness and honesty. There is an age restriction: you have to be 18 or older to attend. I just barely pass, thank goodness.

Visit their website: http://www.fourdayweekend.com/.  It is,  in and of itself, magically marvelous! You can order your tickets on-line (which I advise) or get them at the box office the night you want to go (if they haven’t sold out—which is always a possibility). Seriously, if you live anywhere near Fort Worth, or you’re going to be in Fort Worth, you MUST allow yourself to experience their silly shenanigans. Heck, you need to go to Fort Worth from wherever you are to see this show. BTW: Sundance Square is full of great shopping, hotels and restaurants.

I’d like to thank Dorsey and the Gang for sharing Four Day Weekend with the World. All of you ROCK.

Yeehaw and smooches!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Red House

When I go to town, I like to shake things up a bit and travel around, as I do my errands and business, by different and varied paths. I read years ago we mature peeps should add variety to our life—including driving different ways to the same old places. Apparently, it’s good for our brain cells. Hmmm. . . okay. I'm game. But I also love to see how people have fixed up their homes! Many houses in our area have been improved and/or updated to look quite fantastic. With new paint or new landscaping or even just a new front door, the sometimes simple changes are effective and make a positive impact on the neighborhoods. HGTV and DIY can be thanked for some of this enthusiasm, don’t you agree?

So one day last week, I’d finished my errands and was headed to the casa when I came up to an intersection I’ve visited thousands of times in 38 years. My eyes were immediately drawn to a RED house across the street. WHAT? It had been a pink (or beige?) brick house for most or all of those years. It was now, without a shadow of a doubt, bright apple/barn RED.

I’ve paused—in mid-typing air. I’m going back, in my mind, to re-create that moment when I saw Red. Slightly stunned is probably a good way to describe my immediate reaction. But then I must admit—I smiled. It’s big, brave and bold. I rather admire the chutzpah it took someone to “go for it” in such a striking and memorable way.

The home TLC grew up in and we owned for 22 years was a “ranch” style with beige brick and beige-y rock. About 16 years in, Hubby bought shutters one pretty Spring day, at my insistence. He painted them French blue. Yep—my idea. Every single time I drove into our driveway after that, even if it was four times in one day, I was surprised. It wasn’t my house. How could I not adore the blue? I gave it about three months and then re-painted the shutters one weekend—all by my little lonesome. Hubby refused to help me. Although he doesn’t refuse me much—he did opt to pass up this opportunity. He kindly stated he’d done what I asked and he thought it was all “fine.” Since I couldn’t take the shutters down, I tried a dark gray (or grey, TLC) paint and it seemed better. Kinda/sorta. Not really.

So as I think today about The RED House, I’m wondering if the owners/renters are having as hard of a time as I had trying to adjust to their new color. Whoever made the decision to go RED must have truly needed a major change. Have they had regrets? Do they wish they had gone with a pale yellow or light gray (oops--grey)? I’ll probably never know. I do plan to smile each time I see The RED House. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Go BIG or go home. All in or all out. What the heck?

p.s.—Several years ago, TLC, Summer, Nelly and I were at Razzoo’s in downtown Fort Worth one Friday night before attending a performance of Four Day Weekend—a hugely funny improv comedy show (see my upcoming Yeehaw). We decided to order a pre-dinner beverage. TLC and Nelly got a couple of pretty/girly/rummy/slushy/vodka-y drinks. Summer and I decided we’d like wine. I asked the very cute young waitperson if they had a Pinot Grigio. She thought for a few seconds and then sweetly (no sarcasm here at all—I swear) said: “I’m not sure. We have pink, white and red. I think pink is the best.” For some odd, random reason, The RED House has made me remember this story. I have no idea why. Maybe because when we all got tickled, she wasn’t embarassed. She laughed with us! We admired her refreshing honesty, infectious energy and fun spirit. She had supreme chutzpah.

Hey, let’s all go paint something! Or have a glass of pink wine.

Cheers and ttfn!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Déjà vu

In our original “Howdy” post, ELC said Hubby had told her, when she sang her rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner for him a few months back, that she was “getting better.” Apparently he wasn’t exactly telling the truth. She recently received a Hallmark Shoebox card from him that had, on the front, a 60s-looking girl with uber big hair, in a mini dress, dancing. It said: “There’s an amount of wine that will make you say, ‘Damn, I’m a great dancer!’” BUT—with a black pen, Hubby crossed out dancer and wrote “singer.” Inside it said: “Please dance responsibly.” Again, he crossed out dance and wrote “sing.” ELC knows he was only kidding. He would never intentionally hurt her feelings. He’s a Good Man. She has, however, decided to put her dream of singing our National Anthem at a Texas Rangers’ or Dallas Cowboys’ ballgame on hold. It’s okay. She’s now looking for square dance lessons.

ELC has also bought a new diet book. See “The Next-To-The-Last-Diet-Book” post in January. The new one is: Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding. She loved that it said “No-Diet.” Awesome. She has purchased several of these books (you can get them for a great price at Costco!)—actually, this is her 5th. She truly does use them for finding healthier choices at not only the grocery store, but also restaurants—fast-food and chain. She has, however, lost no weight. Sigh. Her next diet book will probably be Mark MacDonald’s Body Confidence.

Check out the “Hand-Me-Downs” post in January. TLC has put in a picture of “Morty.” He found out Cobbler had a feature in the “I Love a Parade” post and had his feelings deeply hurt. Bless his little kitty heart.

The time is here: the time when TLC needed that new bathing suit(s). See “An Ode To Bathing Suits” in January. She and ELC went on a shopping trip a couple of weeks ago. Well, TLC called it “shopping.” ELC called it TORTURE. While TLC moaned, groaned and complained as she wiggled and jiggled into the prospective suits, ELC did her motherly duty of assuring her she did not look that “fluffy.” The Good News: TWO fabulous suits were purchased. She will look awesome in both with her eyelash extensions, fake tan and less jiggle-y body—thanks to Boot Camp.

We want to add three new fav colors to TLC’s “J’Adore OPI” post in January. They are from OPIs “Texas Collection” and are Austin-tatious Turquoise, I Vant to Be A-Lone Star (a pretty sky blue) and Do You Think I’m Tex-y?, a berry-pretty-corraly-orangey-reddish color. Try at least one, Y’all!

And we have now passed our Three-Month Anniversary! Woo Hoo!!! (See “It’s Our Anniversary!” in February.)

The President George Bush Tollway in Dallas is worse than ever. ELC can verify this, having traveled it many times during the “Weekend Shopping Torture Tour.” Construction everywhere. The very idea that we must pay to go turtle slow—even on weekends—is utterly ridiculous. See TLC’s “Hail to the Chief” post in February.

Regarding “In Like A Lion” on February 28th, it’s so windy here in Central Texas we have no hope of even April going “out like a lamb.” (We do, however, have a lot of new baby lambs and goats jumpin’ around the fields—adorable!) In fact, our TV weather peeps are saying these gale-force winds are here until June. SHEESH. It’s tres hard on our BIG HAIR.

ttfn, again!

(Get it? Déjà vu? Again? Never mind.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Yummy For Y'all

This week's yummy might seem a wee bit random. ELC and I were gallavantin' around a Fort Worth Garden Ridge yesterday afternoon when she decided she needed new lampshades for the bedside tables in her master bedroom. We found the cutest chocolate brown, burlap-y-esque shades. They were quite adorable! I purchased two for my bedside tables, as well. Although may-JOR cheap/reasonable, they looked oh-so-tres-chic.

The moment I got home, I immediately headed for our bedroom to begin the "switch." Holy guacamole. It was completely transformational. (I wish I had a "before." Alas, I didn't think of that, and I've already donated the old shades to a local charity. No one can say I'm not fast.) My lamp bases are a rubbed-black. I'm a sucker for a black/brown combo – I think it looks sleek.

This morning I had to run to Target (I prefer to say it like our French neighbors across the pond. It sounds much classier, mais aucune?) for sunscreen. Somehow I ended up in their lampshade aisle. How in the world did that happen, pray tell? Have y'all ever browsed their selection? One word:  PRECIOUS! I bought two. (Don't judge.) One cream burlap-y (yes, I heart burlap) shade for my living room. And one caramel burlap-y shade for my guest boudoir.

the AFTER image via TLC's iPhone
As you can see, I'm already behind on my reading list for the year.
I even procratinate my hobbies.

I think I might have a new obsession. So, in addition to reality TV, cupcakes, nail polish, and more cupcakes, I can now add lampshades to my ever-growing list. I've made the decision my shades shall become "seasonal." I'll leave the burlap ones out through September-ish. Won't that be fun?!?!?

The bonus is:  Hubby hasn't even noticed. Which is good. Because I haven't received his monthly "lecture" on "over-accessorizing" our home.

Seriously, if a room in your home just needs "something", some kind o' jzhoujzhin', but you don't want to spend a pretty penny, try a new lampshade. Head to Target – better hurry!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Onions?

So I stayed with TLC last weekend while her Hubby was out of town. We did a little shoppin’. Just a teeny bit. When I headed back home Sunday afternoon, I was going to have to make a stop at a grocery store to pick up a few things for my Bridge Club I was hosting at my house Monday evening. There’s a Walmart (aka Wally World—although Autumn has a much funnier name for it!) that is super convenient for me—easy access off and on the Interstate and close enough to my house I don’t usually have to put the cold stuff in that cold stuff sack we all have in our trunks.

Once I’d decided that was where I would stop, I got to thinkin’—during commercials on my satellite radio (Remember when there were practically no commercials? They lured us in and then made it the same as FM. So wrong.)—about the fact that I often dread trips to Walmart. Or any grocery store, for that matter, and for so many reasons. Starting with the parking lot.

I don’t know about the peeps where you live, but where I live people drive extremely cRaZy in the Wally World/grocery store/Mall/Target/Home Depot/etc. etc. etc. parking lots. I’m not going to try to put myself out there as a perfect driver. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes in the 43 years I’ve had a driver’s license. (Let’s don’t even get my Hubby in on this discussion. He’d have to take extra blood pressure meds. Once, soon after we got married, I backed my car into his car. Oops.) We all could do a better job of being more careful, aware, and patient as we’re driving in parking lots, right? Heck, as we’re driving anywhere. Okay—done.

Back to the story: As I picked up my cart outside the Walmart “Market” door, I noticed someone had left a list in it. I LOVE finding people’s lists! It fascinates me. And, at the same time, makes me wonder what someone would think if they found my list (believe me, I’ve lost many—one minute I have it, the next—gone—apparently to the same Universe our socks go). This list was on yellow-lined paper—like one of those little mini-legal pads. The hand-writing looked like an older person’s—someone my age—NLOL (not laughing out loud). And I don’t know why, exactly, but I’m fairly certain it was a woman’s handwriting. I picked it up, of course. Had to. And had to giggle. Because it could have been one of my lists. Here’s what it said (I’m going to type this exactly as I’m looking at it—punctuation, capitalization, spelling—everything):


Green pepper
Potatoes
Onion?
1 lb Turkey Sausage
1 can Stewed tomatoes w/Green peppers & onion
Turkey Kibalsa
Whipped Cream Cheese
Italian dressing
Strawberries
Salad?
Dinners
Hershey Bars
Bagels
Oat Snacks


What tickles me are the question marks. I promise you—I rarely make a list that doesn’t have a question mark beside at least one item. I think she may have put these question marks because she intended to see how fresh the "onions" and "salad" were. We’ve all been in the produce section, looking at the fruits and veggies, and thought, “Geez—these look horrible!” The onion and salad were clearly optional for her purposes. I can see her re-thinking her menu as she stood there—looking at the yucky produce—disappointed. My list would have had a question mark after strawberries, though. I’ve thrown probably thousands in the trash in the past several years because of the nasty ones hidden (on purpose to trick us?) under the pretty ones.

I would guess “Dinners” meant Lean Cuisines and/or Smart Ones--what us Boomers grew up calling TV dinners. They’ve come a long way—thank goodness. Hubby and I now spend many a night heatin’ up a TV dinner. Some are quite delish. And I’m not one ounce ashamed that they’re what My Man has to eat. Nope. Not one bit. He handles it with dignity.

I like that she was buying several “semi-healthy” items. Turkey sausage. Not pork (the yummiest). I think she meant turkey kielbasa—and I’m not positive that’s very good for us. It’s never been on one of my lists. But then we get to the Hershey Bars and Bagels. Which is so moi—only my list would have had Peanut M&Ms and Sara Lee Cinnamon Raisin Bagels (for Hubby). Honestly, what is life without chocolate (and I don't mean that bitter dark stuff), white flour and sugar? Okay, healthy. She does end with “oat snacks.” There’s her attempt at a “save,” I suppose.

Because I’ve lost so many lists in the past, I find myself being careful as to what I put on them—just in case someone picks mine up and decides to read it. (Then that someone judges me or posts my list on a blog.) I have a grocery list “code” a 3-year-old could crack—so I’m not sure why I bother.

Next time you find a list in a cart, read it! It could be mine. It could also make you realize how much alike we truly are in the big scheme of things.

Happy Wally World Shopping!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Water For Rob Pattinson

I'm not going to lie:  I wasn't planning on reading Water For Elephants until I discovered Robert Pattinson (or RPattz as I affectionately call him – along with all the other 14-year-old girls) was starring in the upcoming movie adaptation. In case you didn't know, I'm a ginormous Twilight fan. Yes, I heart sparkly vampires. And I'm 100% Team Edward. All you Team Jacob-ers out there are clearly in denial. I read all four Twilight books in two weeks (and Breaking Dawn is a gazillion pages long). I devoured them. When I wasn't eating, sleeping, or working, I was reading those books. They captivated me.

I had heard WFE was a brilliant book, but it initially scared me. I love animals, and I knew it was about a depression-era circus. I felt certain there might be graphic accounts of animal abuse detailed within the book. You see, ELC had to trick me into watching Seabiscuit. I'm still not over it, despite its happy ending. I can't watch Bambi or The Lion King. They break my heart. And every last time those horrible SPCA commercials come on, I shut my eyes, plug my ears with my fingers and start singing loudly. The moment I hear Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" (the song they play during those commercials) I start fighting back the tears.

When I started hearing all the hype about the movie at the first of this year, I decided to do a little more research on the book. I became torn. I hated the thought of missing anything involving "Edward" and "Melanie Smooter" (Name that movie that stars my favorite actress, Reese Witherspoon!). I finally decided I would jump in and attempt to read the book (I'm a firm believer in reading the book before you see the movie whenever possible.). I knew that if it got too tough, I'd stop. Here's what happened:  when I started reading, I COULDN'T stop. I read it in three days. Sara Gruen (the amazingly gifted author) is, in my opinion, a genius. Her descriptions created such vivid images in my mind. And, when I pictured the characters, I could picture Rob and Reese! Gotta love that. It was fabulous/incredible/magnificent. You. Must. Purchase. This. Book. Like. Yesterday. There are a few risqué parts. I was a bit worried about recommending it to Mom. Her words:  "I'm a mother. I've battled cancer. I'm 57. I think I can handle it." Once she finished it, she described it as "a bit bawdy – but beyond worth the rough stuff!" I don't think it's too offensive. It seems very realistic. And though the animals were sometimes mistreated, I got through those parts with minimal grief.

It's truly a wonderful love story and murder mystery all wrapped up in one expertly-wrapped package. I don't want to give too much away. Trust me! You won't want to miss this. The movie comes out on Friday, April 22nd. You still have time to purchase and read this book.

Amazon, here you come!

p.s. ELC and I both somehow don't quite get the title. Which, once you read it (Or have you already?), may make you feel sorry for us. Even worry about us – a tad. Ms. Gruen explains it, but we’re missing something. HELP!!! Make us understand. Email us at lolwiththeleightons {at} gmail {dot} com.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Yeehaw for Y’all!

I know stuff, too, like Little Miss Priss TLC. My “sharings” shall be called “Yeehaws.”

I didn’t have to think too hard to know what my first one was going to be!

Background: TLC went to the same state university where my husband got his business degree and where I graduated with my undergrad degree—10 years after him. Her four older brothers all went to bigger Texas universities. We couldn’t dynamite her out of our house. She pledged a sorority her first semester and even became President her junior year. Mom was proud.

Taylor is one of TLC’s dearest friends. She also grew up in our hometown—was two years ahead of TLC in school. She became TLC’s Big Sis when TLC pledged their sorority. Taylor’s not only very special to our family, but is also a beautiful young woman who is smart, fun and extremely creative. She’s a Marvelous Mom—her 16-month old son is so darn cute, I want to be his Agent!

Digressing. Here’s my Yeehaw:

What to do with tons o’ sorority and college t-shirts and sweatshirts? I say: “Make them into a fabulous quilt!”

That had been my intention for TLC as soon as she graduated—just never got around to it. Almost six years later, I noticed, at the back of a Real Simple (one of my all-time favorite magazines) an ad by Campus Quilt Company. Then I flat kept forgetting to look for the sack I knew was full of those tees. When I finally located it, I hollered “Yeehaw!” (Okay, no, not really—I rarely actually say that) and contacted Campus Quilts by email to start the process.

You put down a deposit and they send you a “kit” that explains how to go about “designing” your quilt. It was super easy. Well, actually, it was a tidbit challenging for me, only because I’m not creative. You’ve got to figure out how to lay it out the way it makes sense—in terms of colors, balance, etc. TLC and I accomplished this by me sending pictures via cell phone each time I moved a square. Campus Quilts can also help you do this. From the time I located the t-shirts until the day the quilt was delivered to me by UPS? A month.

And here it is:

image via ELC
p.s. those are Hubby's hands so graciously modeling the quilt (LOL)
p.p.s. that one blank looking square is super pale pink and doesn't photograph well

You pick a color for the back (TLC’s is khaki) and a “sashing” color (optional) for the front. We decided to do the “stadium” sized quilt—which was 16 squares, but you can get them smaller or up to king-sized.

If you have fun t-shirts or sweatshirts you (or someone you love) no longer wear, go visit their website (click on the link!).  I can’t imagine a more unique and special baby, graduation (high school or college), wedding, birthday, or anniversary gift. The possibilities for your “theme” are truly endless, right? When I see this cute quilt at TLC’s hacienda, I’ll think of her and Taylor and their special college memories. (Or it might remind me of my procrastination issues. Sigh.)

Happy quilting!