Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Speed Dating

     …sort of.  I’m linking up with This Little Momma for a little “getting to know you” party.  How fun!  There aren’t any concrete questions (although if you have some I would be happy to answer them), so I’ll just be telling all the little tidbits about me I think you ought to know.
     Here we go!

     I am just about as Baptist as they come.  I know I haven’t talked a ton about my faith on here, and I have really felt convicted about it lately.  I’ve been saved since I was in the third grade, but the past few years have been an incredible time of growth for me.  I am excited about what the Lord is doing in my life, and recently I have had such a peace about some things that a few months ago would have sent me into a tailspin. 

     I’m from Jackson, TN, and I absolutely love it!  That being said…if someone offered to move me to the beach and bankroll my life it would be “Good-bye Tennessee! Hello Fort Morgan!”

     I am engaged to Keith, and am so excited about where our life is going.  We’re getting married June 22, 2013, and I am thrillllllled.

     My favorite color is orange, but if you looked in my closet you would probably think it was black or gray.

     I love big hair (classy big hair).  I kind of want to look like a newscaster/beauty queen.  I achieve this look with lots of layers, volumizing shampoo, and blow-drying upside down…and velcro rollers and AquaNet.

     I am a book vacuum.  When I don’t have something on TV other things to do , I go through them in as little as a day.

     I hate Facebook…but I’m weak and can’t delete mine…

     I am not important enough for Twitter – y’all do not want/need to know what I am doing all day long.  You would be bored to tears.

     I am a stresser and an overthinker.  I will analyze a situation until I have myself convinced I know what is going to happen…I’m wrong a lot, but I’m getting okay with that.

     I am a grammar girl.  I love proof reading and editing and my red pen.

     I’m also a vocabulary girl.  I love words (probably because I love reading).

     I love tomatoes – favorite food by far.

     I don’t have a ton of friends, but I am really okay with it.  I spend most of my time with my mother and my sister, and I like it that way.  We’re pretty much the same person, so the conversation just flows.

     I get a serious headache if I don’t have a Coke every day.  I know that’s pitiful, but I don’t want to give it up.

     That’s me in a speedy nutshell.  I think posts like this are so fun, and I hope all of y’all will stop by This Little Momma and link up!

This Little Momma

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Refashion

     First…I know I said I would try to take pictures this weekend.  I didn’t.  Sorry about it.  To make up for it, I have an adorable sewing crafty to share with you.  If you’ve seen my 101 in 1001, you may remember that I’ve been wanting to remodel an article of clothing.  A few weeks ago, I did just that. 
     When my sister and I were little, we had an adorable bubble suit.

scan0025

          That little darling would be me.  (Note(s): I know I look crazed; just wait until you see the back; I’m not over heated…I was at a makeup party)
     We kept the bubble suit thinking that our kids could wear it, but when my sister pulled it out of it’s box, it had a really unfortunate rip!

 

     Because the rip was not anywhere near a seam and totally mangled, I knew it would have to come off.  Very carefully (because I love this outfit and didn’t want it to look awful), I cut the bottom edge off.  I rolled the hem under as daintily as I could and sewed so so carefully.

     
     As cute as the front is, just wait until you see the back!


     Now you see why I just couldn’t let it go!

downsized950525121734

     I think this is probably the perfect little summer shirt.  It is a great length for shorts and will be perfect with little capris too!  I am so glad that Della is the exact right size for it and that my refashion didn’t go horribly wrong…because that has totally happened to me before!







Funky Junk's Sat Nite SpecialPoofy Cheeks




Also linking up at Savvy Southern Style

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Plans

     I hope all of you are as ready for the long weekend as I am!  If I’m not around much for the next few days it’s because I’m “busy” laying in the sunshine and floating in the pool…and eating way too much food.  I will do my very best to remember to take some pictures this weekend to share Monday night Tuesday.


     As much as I enjoy all of that, I can’t forget what Memorial Day is about.  If you know me at all, you know that I have a huge soft spot for our service men and women.  I can’t even imagine doing what they do, and I feel so blessed to live in a country where men and women volunteer their lives for the rest of us.  The picture above was taken in my town (Jackson, TN).  This project, the Flags of Freedom, is sponsored by the Exchange Club, and is done every year.  The flags are displayed for most of May, and serve not only to honor our fallen, but also to raise awareness for child abuse and neglect (as this is the main focus of the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse).  It really is an incredible sight to see over 1,000 flags representing children who have lost their lives to abuse, fallen soldiers, and first responders every time I drive down the road.
     This weekend while we’re all eating and sunning and swimming, I hope you’ll join me in remembering the men and women who work to protect this lifestyle.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Know and I Don’t–No. 15

     My first week of work has gone just swimmingly!  I didn’t have all my kids (because schools are just starting to let out), but I was able to get into a great routine, and my kids have responded really well.  Working for genuinely nice people makes for such a pleasant workplace.  Want to know the best part?  I’m off every Wednesday!  That’s like having two two day weeks…I love it! 
     Now, onto to I Know and I Don’t – No. 15!

I know I was nervous to start a new job.
I don’t know why; it’s been great.

I know it’s summertime.
I don’t know why pool water is still so cold!

I know I shouldn’t taste food when it’s hot hot hot.
I don’t know why I still do (burnt tongue…ow).

I know it’s not healthy to eat ice cream everyday.
I don’t know why…

I know it’s not practical to get my nails done every week.
I don’t know why I really want to.

I know I should put a little more effort into my hair.
I don’t know why I’m incapable of fixing it cute!

I know there are more important things than television.
I don’t know what I’ll do until Army Wives comes back!

I know transitions are hard.
I don’t know why I don’t just get over it…they generally lead to something better.

I know my last few I Know and I Don'ts have mentioned my hair, my wedding, and my TV.
I don't know why I don't have anything else going on in my life.  (Note to self: work on it)

I know I have one sponsor spot left!
I don’t know who’s going to snap it up…but I’m excited to  meet you!

     Fifteen weeks (seventeen counting those two I missed) has gone by really fast.  I’m so excited about where my blog is going…I love my new sponsors and I can’t wait to introduce them to you next month.  On that note, can you believe June is one week away?  It’s my one-year-pre-anniversary month!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Orange Cream Cake

The picture that started it all…

DSCF2843
     
How could you not want to dive right in?  Let’s do that.
This cake is so simple (and delish)!

You will need:
1 box Duncan Hines Butter Golden Cake
3 eggs
1 stick butter
Orange juice (to replace the water called for on the box)
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1 can vanilla icing

DSCF2829

     Combine all ingredients according to the directions on the box, using orange juice instead of water and adding the ingredients not indicated.  (Note: when the box tells you to mix for four minutes…actually do this.  Usually I get tired and stop once it’s all incorporated, but continuing to mix puts a lot of air into the batter and makes it very fluffy.)

DSCF2834
That mixer is 25-years-old and still running like a dream.

     Pour into a well-greased bundt pan (we greased ours with Crisco) and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

DSCF2841

     When the cake comes out of the oven it will have puffed up quite a bit; don’t get excited, it’s going to fall.  When it has cooled, turn it out onto a plate.  Before serving, heat regular old frosting from a can in the microwave and drizzle it over the cake.
Done and done!  The cake is super moist.  Honestly, it doesn’t have all that much of an orangey flavor, but it’s enough to give it a little kick.  The next time I make it I might put a few mandarin oranges in the batter and/or use them as garnish.
Enjoy!

     I love bundt cakes.  They’re adorable and so much easier to cut than regular cake.  This one was for my sister’s birthday, but it would be perfect just to have any old time.  I hope you love it!

I Heart Nap Time

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

GiGi New York

     Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or possibly if you don’t read the same blogs I read) you’ve probably heard of GiGi New York.  I like to think of it as it’s parent company, Graphic Image’s, sassy little sister.  About a month ago, I entered a giveaway at Hello! Happiness for a GiGi New York clutch totally not expecting to win; honestly, I forgot all about it after I entered. 
     A few weeks later I got an email from Natasha at Hello! Happiness telling me that I won – total shock.  You can read more about my shock and awe here.  I know I haven’t told you all about how fabulous it is, and that is clearly why I’m here today.

DSCF2739
     
     Y’all, I have never even received such a fancy box!  Let’s be honest though – that was just the tip of the iceberg.

DSCF2740
     
     I opted for black – classic.  I can carry this year-round with pretty much everything.  When I placed my order, I had no idea that the clutch came with a strap (bonus!).  It’s even more versatile this way; it can be a cross body bag or just a clutch. 
    I have a feeling my bag is going to be with me for a long time; it’s timeless and will never go out of style.  The outside is the perfect balance of a little feisty and a lot classy.  The inside (sorry I don’t have a picture!) is so tidy and big enough for my giant wallet, phone, and my few little pretties – that’s what I need.  I love a big giant purse, but sometimes a lady doesn’t need all that clutter.  It’s nice to be able to reach in my purse and find my lipstick without getting tangled in fifteen thousand other things. 
     I’m still calling this my fancy purse, and now that I’ve dipped my toes in the fancy water, I am seriously obsessed with all their products.  I have the envelope clutch, but the wallets and all-in-one totes are equally as fabulous.  All that being said, GiGi New York has graciously offered my readers a 20% discount on orders from GiGi New York and Graphic Image when you use the coupon code CUPCAKES!
     There is so much to choose from at both of these sites, and 20% is incredible.  All of you deserve a Tuesday treat, so hop right over to GiGi New York or Graphic Image and get yourself a little happy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Recap

     I know I said I would be back with lots of pictures, but I have to be honest…I got a little caught up in the weekend, and didn’t take very many…at all.  I do have a few little things to share with you!

DSCF2844
     
     This cake was so good.   Seriously.  I’ll be back in a few days to share the recipe.  (A little preview?  It’s so easy!)
     Remember how I told you I was going yard-saleing?  Weeeellllllll, I found the absolute cutest little cabinet-end table-put wherever table-thing!

DSCF2846
     
     This little gem was $10 at a church yard sale.  I have no idea where it will end up, but I couldn’t pass it up.  For a size frame of reference, its in the back of a Nissan Rogue.  There is a little place on the top where the finish is messed up, but I am really thinking I’ll refinish or paint it anyway – love!
     Finally, be sure to come back tomorrow for my product review (finally) of my fancy new GiGi New York purse and a special deal for all of you!  If you are a shopper or GiGi New York or all things fancy lover, you better hurry yourself right back here tomorrow.

     P.S. I still have a few spots for June sponsors left (shoot me an email for more information)!

SouthernHospThriftyTreasures copy_thumb

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Know and I Don’t–No. 14

     I don’t have a cute little intro this week, so I’ll jump right into it!

I know there must be something I can do to my hair.
I don’t know how to do any of those somethings.

I know television is not real life.
I don’t know why I’m so attached to all my TV characters.

I know snacking all day long is not so healthy.
I don’t know why I’m always hungry – by that I of course mean “always want a snack.”

I know once I’ve seen every episode of a show I should probably take a break from it.
I don’t know how Friends manages to suck me back in every single time!

I know it is is still too early to start planning.
I don’t know how I’ve waited this long…or how I’ll still wait.

I know dreams don’t mean anything.
I don’t know why mine always feel so so so real.

I know vacation is still a while away.
I don’t know how I will wait!
     
     I know this was kind of brief, but this is pretty much all that’s running around in my head right now…pitiful.  I’ll be back in a few days with my delish recipe and possibly some pictures – my sister, brother-in-law, and niece are visiting!

Allyson

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Distracted



Mitts-issippi Fort Morgan HOUSE
Both via

     This is all I can think about today…and I still have to wait until August!  I can’t stand to wish my summer away, but I just want to hop in my car and drive have someone drive me until I see the beach.  I love where I live, and I think Tennessee is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, but the beach takes my breath away every single time I see it.
    
     They, too, observed the LORD's power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas.  Psalm 107:24 (New Living Translation)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

     …to be truthful, this is actually What I Wore Tuesday, but I don’t like to post twice in one day, so I’m sharing today.

DSCF2824
     
     Simple. Simple.  Simple.  If I could wear one of these every single day of the summer, I would.  This one came from Wal-Mart (I know!), and it is so breezy and soft and comfy.  I will definitely be taking it to the beach for one of the nights we go eat.
     You can barely see my shoes (and I did not take a picture of them because my toes aren’t painted right now – shameful I know), but they are Chaps braided black flip flops from Kohl’s (last year).
     I have to admit, I used to hate maxi dresses; I thought they looked silly.  I now have no problem admitting that I was wrong, wrong, wrong.  I am so on the bandwagon now.  I have two, and I have worn them to dinner, out running errands, and even to church with a cute denim jacket over the top.  I have even seen teachers layer them with a tank top underneath and a cardigan or jacket for work.  I probably wouldn’t do that with this one, but if/when I buy a more subdued one, I will definitely try it out.  There’s a Calvin Klein one at TJ Maxx that I have been eyeing – like this one only black.
     I’m beginning to notice that pretty much all of my posts lately are very summer themed, but I am still so excited about the break.  I start work next week, but I’m not really worried about it, and I don’t think it will make my summer any less enjoyable.  I feel like I’m really in a transitional place right now, and while that can be really good or really bad, this one is so good!  I keep reminding myself that even if things are really tough, nothing that I’m doing for the next year is permanent – summer job (a few months), student teaching (one semester), graduation/one semester away from Keith (one semester) – after that it’s onto the real rest of my life.  I’m not wishing my life away by any means; I am really excited about these next steps, BUT no matter what, I’ve really got something to fix my eyes on.  I like a long-term goal to keep me focused.
     In other totally unrelated news, I think I’m going yard saleing this weekend.  Send lots of good shopping zhu-zhu my way so I can find something incredible!  My mini-long-term goal is to slowly find things for my future home.  I don’t want to find a place to live and immediately spend tons of money of furniture OR live on camping chairs and cardboard boxes.  I feel like starting now will give me time to look a lot and find things I really like for not so much money.  I’ll of course be keeping you posted on my yard sale adventures. 
     For my last totally unrelated bit of news.  We’re going to cook a little something delicious this weekend, and I can’t wait to share it with you!  Aaaaaaand, I Know and I Don't - No. 14 will be up on Friday.

 Allyson

Monday, May 14, 2012

More May Sponsors

     I’m back with the second round of my sponsors for May.  I hope you enjoyed the first sponsor feature, and that this one gives you a couple more blogs to follow.  

     Kerrie at The Williams’s Post

pos041
     
     Hi! My name is Kerrie and I blog over at The Williams's Post: Life on a Mission. I married the hottest guy in the universe in May 2009, which just so happens to be when I started my little blog. It's a place where you will find bits and pieces of our journey: focusing on God, married life, and missions with the occasional hobby mixed in for good measure. I hope you'll stop by and see why we strive to live "life on a mission" to serve God and show His love to people around the world!


Melissa at Grin and Barrett

30902_582983380182_71103965_33519497_1388912_n

     My name is Melissa and I am the writer of this little ole blog called Grin and Barrett. I have been a blogger since 2007 under the title, "Ambiguous Serenity". Originally, blogging started as a place to document my early college years, relationships, and spiritual growth. After getting married and taking my blog a new avenue, I changed my name and began taking my blog more seriously. I love blogging because of my love for writing and for getting to know people. I had no idea that it would even be something that I enjoyed so much, but I have really gotten into it. It's become a place to write, reflect, share my personality, and learn about all of my little quirks {which is always interesting}. I currently work in financial aid at a Christian university and love my job. I hope to someday teach college courses and rock some students' worlds with my amazing knowledge {only kidding}. I am also married to the love of my life! We have been married almost two years and I love all that marriage brings! You can read more about our chance meeting and run to the alter here. I am interested in non-profit, helping others, and counseling. I also have interests in writing, editing, and various areas of the arts.In my free time I like to read, watch movies, hang out with my hubs, spend time with family, and of course, blog! I love using exclamation marks and always seem to misplace my commas. I have a unique sense of humor, and dream to be a cast member on SNL someday! I love people and people watching. I think relationship with others is the most powerful thing we have. My hubs and my dream is to someday go into full-time ministry; loving and helping people see the love of Christ.Most importantly, I am a Christian and hope to use this blog to help others see Christ's love. I have learned to trust in the Lord now more than ever and I am learning little by little His plan for me. I hope you enjoy reading Grin and Barrett, and if so, I'd love for you to be a follower. Here's how: on the main page just click 'join this site' under the followers section and you're in!


     Aren’t they fabulous?  Please pop on over to their blogs and leave them some love.  I still have two more sponsors to introduce this month, and I hope you’re enjoying “meeting” these ladies as much as I’m enjoying working with them!

 Allyson

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers’ Day

     I’m a little late in getting this post up, but I don’t think that matters too much.  I don’t need a special day to honor my mother, but she definitely deserves one.

Mama,
     Thank you so much.  There is no way that I could put into words everything you deserve to be thanked for.  You have been an incredible mother for the past (almost) 25 years – 21 for me – and I feel so blessed to have moved into a season of friendship with you. 
     
     Thank you for putting every bit of your heart into Natalie and me; for loving us when we were like this:
scan0023
     
     and like this:
scan0022
     
     Thank you for teaching us how to behave like ladies…
scan0027
     
     and understanding when we needed to cut loose -
scan0020-1
(Please don’t be jealous of my all  denim ensemble.)

scan0026
(My sister – she still tilts her head like this when she’s talking.)
     
     You taught me all of life’s important lessons – including how to fend for myself,
scan0020-2
     
     a love of giant sunglasses,
scan0021-1
     
     and when to step back and give it a rest
scan0021
     
     I like to think my childhood was a lot like this…
scan0020-3
     
     but even if I’m stretching the truth…I’m glad we can always go back to this
scan0020
     
     We always joke about how the three of us are the same person, and I’m glad it’s not so much a joke as it is just laughing about the truth.  If I was going to turn into anyone, I’m so glad that it was you.  Thank you for everything you have done and still do and for everything still coming.  I love you a million!

     I hope all of you (mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters, and everybody else)  have had a wonderful Mothers’ Day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Strawberry Season

     I don’t know all that much about crops and seasons, but I do know that it’s strawberry season.  I love strawberries (or as Della calls them “strawbabies”), and they are just delish right now!  

DSCF2787
Aren’t they pretty?
     
     For our inaugural summer dessert, we (and by “we” I mean my daddy) made shortcake, and we topped it with strawberries and Cool Whip.  I’ll let you in on the deliciousness…

You will need
2 c. plain flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
(This can all be substituted for self-rising flower)
1/2 c. shortening
1 egg
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. milk
     Combine all ingredients.  Note: the dough will be very sticky (sometimes we’ll add a tablespoon of water at a time to thin it).  We form ours into balls so that it cooks more thoroughly.

DSCF2785
Before.
     
     Bake in a preheated oven at 450 for 12 – 15 minutes.  Optional: Lift top after baking and add butter.

DSCF2789
After.
     
     Top with strawberries (ours had been cut and covered in sugar and refrigerated so they were syrupy) and Cool Whip.

DSCF2791
Yum.
     
     So good.  I’m thinking maybe someday when I’m good at planting and growing things…I might try my hand at strawberries.  Enjoy!  I’ll be back in a few days with what we had for dinner a few days ago.  Yum!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ya-Ya Dress

     I’m also calling this post WIWS (What I Wore Sunday).  I know I don’t usually do outfit posts, but I love this dress, and I was so excited to wear it…so I’m sharing it with you!
     If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me mention the Ya-Yas or The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  It’s one of my very favorite books (for a multitude of reasons – which will probably get their own post after I reread in a few weeks), and this dress so reminded me of the book.  Something about the summery feel and the ‘60s sort-of style…and it’s hot pink!

Pink Dress

     FYI, this picture does not do it justice.  It is pinky pink and so soft.  I wore it with white patent leather slingback kitten heels (they have a little round toe with a white buckle) – love.  I would have shown you my face, but it looked something like this…

DSCF2779 

     The velcro rollers are a new “investment” (by investment I mean 10 whole dollars…with a gift card), and I am loving what they do for my hair (I’ll post about that too).  I seriously would have worn this dress all day long, but it didn’t make much sense.  Also, I have a hot pink purse (with a giant bow on it), so I looked a little gauche with all of that – in the best way of course.
     Don’t you love it?  I’ll post again sometime with my “tutorial” about my velcro rollers.  Until then, I hope your summer is still going wonderfully (and that you all find a sassy hot pink dress to wear).  Oh, and if you’re wondering, the dress came from Cato – not where I usually shop, but when it works, it works!

Allyson