Friday, February 26, 2010

The Strangest Dream...

I just had the strangest dream... I dreamed that I accidentally stumbled upon the fact that I was about an hour away from some special train that would take me to the Mall of America in about 30 minutes. However, the problem was that when I stumbled upon this magical find, I was wearing pajamas. I had to decide whether to go to the mall in my pj's or go back home and change. The fear being that if I went back home, I would forget how to get back to the train...

Odd because (1) it is way the heck longer than an hour and a half up to the Mall of America in Minnesota, (2) I've never been to MofA, (3) why the heck was I wondering around in my pajamas?

I think it has all been caused because I'm heading out today. I'm heading South and making a pit stop to visit "one of my kids" for a yelling (I thought one of the benefits of having no kids was not having to yell at teens for doing bad things!). Then I'm meeting my friends Abby & Brian for fun in Austin. Abby & I are hitting up the super big outlet mall down in San Marcos tomorrow (thus the dreams about a large shopping trip). We won't be able to shop for a super long time (maybe only like 5 hours) because we have a party tomorrow night which is the actual purpose of the trip. Lola will be having fun up in the country with her grandparents and little Milly. I'm sure I'll blog all about it next week.

Whatever your plans are, I hope you have fun this weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jeans/Genes

Here's a post devoted to Jeans/Genes.

First for the Jeans. I was asked about Jeans and good places to buy them. Let me begin by saying that I will spend money on shoes, purses and make-up. Jeans is just not an area where I like to spend loads of money. I have a real knack for falling and taking out the knee of jeans and well, if I spent a ton on a pair, I know it would be about 5 minutes before I bit it and took out that expensive fabric in the process.

I have friends that really like their expensive designer jeans. I like to find something cheap at Gap (Outlet preferably). I like the Gap Bootcut and I like their Curvy jeans. They come in three lengths of Ankle, Regular and Tall. Sadly I'm a little between Regular and Tall. I usually pay between $30-50 for a pair, but I picked up a pair on sale for like $16 a month ago. I know Gap Jeans don't fit everyone, so here are some others that I have put my friends into on shopping trips...

Ann Taylor-good fit and we have a local outlet so it is handy, but they tend to be too short for me

White House Black Market- my mom and a friend find these fit well. they can be kind of pricey, but it seems like you can catch them on sale

Lucky- these fall under the expensive category in my book ($125+), BUT Stein Mart carries several styles and washes for $49.99 (and last week they were an extra $10 off, but they always do coupons if you are in their free frequent buyer club)

Hope this helps!

Now for Genes... I'm still obsessed with the PBS series "Faces of America" and part 3 runs tonight. I did get a little irritated during part 2 because Professor Gates is tracking some lady's family who came over just two generations ago! Duh! I could do that! Why don't you take some family more tricky (like mine) that immigrated many, many generations ago? Yea, yea, I'm sure many will be tuned into American Idol, but try to catch this series sometime. If you love genealogy or history, it won't be a disappointment!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday's Tidbits

1. I feel puny. My stomach isn't right (though I don't think I have that horrible virus) and I have the energy of, well, what has less energy than a sloth? Luckily today has allowed me to be lazy. Today has. Lola hasn't. If I owned a BB gun, there would be temptation to shoot a squirrel and some neighborhood kids today. They've kept her pretty stirred.

2. Girl Scout Cookies will be the death of me, or rather any less calorie eating plans. Luckily I didn't like an experimental box (the Thank You Berry Much cookies) and already gave it to my too skinny law partner.

3. I got a book in the mail from an Amazon used seller. It was described as "Very Good" but came in and looked like it had been run over by a car.

4. I have fun plans for this weekend and it cannot get here soon enough!

5. I'm obsessed with Curling. It is the only sport I've really watched much of on the Olympics. I thought maybe I could become a Curler, but then I heard that it takes like 15+ years of training to go to the Olympics, and my dreams were destroyed.

6. Neiman Marcus Beauty Week starts today if you are near a Neimans and need $100+ of makeup. I was in Dallas yesterday on business and stopped by because I needed some new foundation (For those of you "keeping score", I switched back to good old Giorgio Armani from Le Metier. I think I like it slightly better and GA's lightest color is slightly lighter than LM's lightest color, which I need). Anyway, my 10+ year makeup lady wasn't there, so the sales lady who rang me up wouldn't give me one of the beauty bag freebies even though they were sitting right there.

7. Snow was predicted for today. We weren't suppose to see much of it this far north, but so far, I haven't seen a flake.

8. I buy a Toyota because they are "great, dependable, etc." and then they go to crap. What's up with that? At least my 4Runner isn't on any of the recall lists!

9. Seriously, how many heart attacks can Dick Cheney have?

10. If you live in Texas, don't forget to vote. Early voting runs through Friday and then election day is Tuesday, March 2nd.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Catching Up...

Well, it has been a while since I posted an update on the life and times of Lola & Kara. We've been pretty busy not being busy, if that makes any sense!

Last Tuesday evening, Lola got to do pretty much as she pleased. You see Wednesday was her birthday and I have to teach on Wednesday nights, so she got to do whatever she wanted.

This included watching the Dog Show...

lola dogshow
Then she got to lay on my bed while we finished watching the dog show. She loves to lay on my bed at night while I watch T.V. or read.

In fact, I said, "Do you want to go watch tv on my bed?" She jumped off the couch, ran to my bedroom door, hit the door and then howled because I wasn't coming fast enough!
lola bed dogshow
Wednesday was her birthday. We celebrate with presents! (Since she is on the strictest of diets, no treats are allowed...just didn't want you to think I was a bad Mom!)
lola birthday gifts
The rest of the week was uneventful. By Saturday, I had decided that Lola had a skin irritation and a secondary infection. So I called our favorite vet and left him a message with that info and the number to our local Walgreens. The message taker at the vet acted like I was crazy, but a few minutes later I got a call that the script was being called in. Luckily (or unluckily) we've been down this road so much, that I know how to diagnose the problem and Joe, our doc, trusts my diagnosis.

Lo is on antibiotics and her horrible immunosuppresant. This medicine is horrible because (1) it makes her tummy unhappy, (2) it makes her totally Stoned and (3) makes her so clingy.

Basically, we spent the weekend on the couch watching Gilmore Girls with Lola in my pocket.

Here is a pic of poor droopy Lola for the 30 seconds she wasn't on top of me this weekend.
sick lola

I think I've timed it and though this medicine is hard to find the good time to give it (2 hours after food, 1 hour before food, 30 minutes after her anti-nausea medicine), I'm going to do it late at night so that she is droopy during the night. Fingers crossed that this will work better!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Travel Dreams

I think I'm in trouble here... You see, I constantly dream of traveling. When I was little, I was no different. When I was at my Mom's parent's house, I would sit and look at travel books my uncle had brought back from overseas trips. I also spent countless hours talking to my great-grandparents about their world travels. You name the place, my great-grandparents had been there. I loved talking with my Dad's Mom about her trips to Washington D.C., Gettysburg, Natchez, etc.

Today, the only thing tethering me here in McKinney is my job, lack of travel funds and my beloved Lola. All those things aside, my mind constantly wonders to all the places I want to visit. Here's the trouble. Two of the million magazines I subscribe to are travel magazines. Here are the current covers on both...


magazines


Well you can imagine what these would do to the girl who already has a travel daydreaming problem!

I've compiled a couple of lists. To make the list, I cannot have traveled there before.

Outside of North America
1. African Safari (most desired is Tanzania with a side trip to Zanzibar)
2. Italy (Florence, Sienna, Rome, Venice, Naples, Amalfi Coast)
3. St. Petersburg, Russia
4. Greece (Hit up Athens and then head to the Islands- most important Santorini)
5. India (see the Taj Mahal)
6. Prague
7. China (sights: Great Wall, Terra Cotta Army, Forbidden City, Panda Sanctuary)
8. A great island getaway: either Fiji, The Seychelles, or Tahiti
9. Egypt
10. Croatia and Montenegro

At this time, I want to note that I could have made a top 10 of Europe alone, but I had to edit my dreams for that top 10 list!

North America (these are really in no particular order)
1. Calgary& Banff
2. Seattle
3. Alaska
4. Hawaii (is this in North America?)
5. Grand Canyon
6. Key West
7. Boston (been there, but I don't think I was there long enough to count)
8. Nantucket
9. Vancouver
10. Maine (I've been to the Southern Tip, but again...doesn't count)

So now you've seen what I constantly day dream about, what are your dream travel locations?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Babies

I don't like babies. There. I said it. Well, let me revise this comment. I don't like babies until they are about 6 months old...then, hand 'em over to me, 'cause I think they are awfully cute at this point.

My close friends know my opinion about babies. Many of my friends' babies, I haven't held until they hit the 6 month mark, because they didn't force them on me. The thing that often keeps me away from visiting people at the hospital when they have babies is that they force the baby holding onto you. I'm never sure how to say, Look, I don't want to hold your breakable looking baby. Sorry, I just don't.

I also don't think fresh babies are very cute. My friend Lisa has a checklist she must perform before forwarding any baby photo e-mails to me. Is the baby cleaned up (no afterbirth nonsense)? Is the baby cute (if it ain't cute, don't forward)? These came about because, as you can guess, she sent me an unclean batch of photos, which caused me to lay down the law and then she sent me a photo of a very uncute baby, which led to the second step in the checklist.

All that being said, I think this is about the cutest thing I've ever seen... Seriously, it melts my heart! Maybe I need to rethink my out and out ban on babies.




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Lola Birthday!!!!

lola birthday

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Tuesday Full

Today has been quite a Tuesday. First and foremost, it is Fat Tuesday, so Happy Mardi Gras to you!!! Laissez les bon temps rouler!!!! I actually made a dozen fleur de lis cookies the other day when I made all the V-day cookies. I froze them and intended to thaw them out and decorate them for today. I forgot until about an hour ago. Oh well!

Another big thing going on today here in Texas is that early voting began for the March primaries, although the actual voting day is March 2nd. Normally this isn't very exciting, but in Collin County, we have tons of local races that are highly contested. Most of the races have both very good people running, but also some that aren't so qualified or well suited to the job, so it is really important. This is one reason that I've been going to parties and working for candidates that I believe in.

Because so many people are running, every intersection and vacant lot is literally littered with campaign signs...

signs
Sadly, this isn't a vacant lot, but it is my yard! (and this isn't even a sign for EVERYONE I'm supporting!)

If you live in Collin County or know someone who does, it is very important for EVERYONE to vote this year in the primaries. I would be happy to give you a list of people I think are worthy of your/their vote and the reason why I believe this. Just shoot me an e-mail and I will send you the info (e-mail is over to the right under the "About Me" section). I voted today!

Finally, today I had to do a bit more shopping. I know, I know, didn't I do enough yesterday. Today it wasn't about me, but was about buying some gifts for someone really special who is having a birthday tomorrow....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shopping and a Mystery Solved

Since today was President's Day and I am generally unmotivated to work on any given day, I did a little work and lots more shopping. I went around and hit up the sales... Macy's, Belk, Charming Charlie, DSW and the Outlet Mall.

I got several really good deals. You know the kind where you get a shirt for less than $6 and therefore, it almost becomes like disposable clothing? Wear it once and you get your money's worth.

I also got a really cute necklace at Charming Charlie. Here is a pic of it, but note, the pic looks really orange and it is actually a pertty coral with pinkish tones. I was really being drawn to coral today...

necklace

I got these shoes at DSW for $11.99. I'm not 100% sure that I needed them, but I'm about 50% sure AND they were $11.99 afterall!
shoes
The absolute Best Deal of the Day also involved a little heart break on my part. Do you remember way back last year when I got those adorable Cole Haan lepoard print heels at Neimans on sale. They had Nike Air technology and I normally love all CH's that have that. Well these made my feet hurt worse than any other pair of shoes I've ever had. I mean they HURT. So bad, that I have only worn them a time or two. So bad that I actually & seriously contemplated taking them off and walking to the car barefoot the last time I wore them to the courthouse.

Well, I took them into the CH store at the outlet mall today to see if there was anything that could be done to salvage them-pads, stretching, etc. The answer was basically no, but the saleslady offered to give me money back for them. I said, well, I don't have a receipt or even a box for that matter (and I was thinking and I didn't even buy them here!). She said, that's okay, they have a number inside that I can type in. She did and to my astonishment, she said she would give me $130 credit for them (folks, I think that is a little more than I paid).

There weren't really any other shoes there that I was lovin', so I said I'd pass. On the way out of the store, I spotted a cute work bag and well, just be glad you've been saved the drama, because I have been looking EVERYWHERE for a new work bag for about 8 months.

I went to other stores at the outlet and starting thinking about it. Primarily, I thought, (1) what good are these shoes that I cannot stand to wear, and (2) what if I change my mind and I go back and that nice sales lady is gone and they won't exchange them anymore.

So after consulting with Jennifer and calling for a fashion emergency consult with Lisa, I go back to the store and do the exchange. I'm really pleased with this choice, though I still long for those adorable shoes (only I long for the fact that I can actually stand to wear them).

Here is the bag...
bag

Here's the best part... See this price tag?
tag
Well it was half off, making it $230. Then I think the sales lady felt bad because she knew I was sad about giving up my beloved shoes, so she gave me an additional 10% off making it $207. Then I got my $130 credit for the shoes. Tax and everything it was a $460 bag for $85!!!!! $85!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now for the mystery solved bit...

This little girl
lola
has been awfully interested in the planter box of late. I have NOT been able to figure out why. I mean it isn't really the Ancient Mysteries or anything, but I've been baffled all the same...until today....when I saw this little jerk in action...
theif!
Now I know that he looks cute and like he is praying at the cross, but don't be fooled! This little thief is stealing the liner of my planter to make a nest!

Mystery Solved.

25 years

A couple of different things are celebrating their 25th year.

First, Dairy Queen is currently celebrating 25 years of the Blizzard. Part of the celebration is a great deal... a hamburger, fries, drink and a blizzard for just $5! Jennifer and I took advantage of the deal and celebrated the Blizzard's Birthday on Friday.

The other quarter century celebration is regarding We Are the World. It's been 25 years since the original was made. Just before the opening ceremonies at the Olympics, they played the new We Are The World video. I watched. I wasn't so impressed. I thought the original was way better. If you didn't catch it, check it out...




What did y'all think of it? Am I'm being an old curmudgeon? Do I have a chip on my shoulder that they let Little Wayne preform just days before going to prison? Maybe I dislike it because all of the solo singers couldn't do their solos in the big room like they did in '85 because every one is such a diva (or "shy" as Lionel Richie explained on Oprah).

Here have a look at the '85 model...




Aaaahhhh...Michael Jackson before we knew he was weird. Kenny Rogers before his thousand face-lifts. Billy Joel before all the drink and divorces caught up with him. Willie Nelson a lot of pot ago. Huey Lewis when he was "& the news" instead of just "old news".

Either way, Friday totally invoked memories of 1985... just sittin' around Nocona, eat'n Blizzards and singin' We Are The World!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Snow Day" and Weekend of Un-excitement

Here is a recap of our "Snow Day" and my weekend of un-excitment:

First, the snow continued to fall on Thursday night well after I went to bed. At the time I went to bed, ALL of the schools in Collin county had been cancelled for the day, but of course, the Courthouse wasn't even showing a delay. I set my alarm to get up early and check the County's website on my phone to see if there was a delay. Sure enough, at 6:15, I discovered there was a delayed open of 10 a.m. I went back to bed for more "snow day" sleep. Then at 8:15 I hear my phone start buzzing. It is Jennifer and she wants to know if I'm asleep because she is on her way to my house. She decided to forgo the snow day because Joshua's daycare was having an a.m. V-day party. It was also at this point that I learned the County had delayed opening until noon. UGH! That won't confuse my clients or anything!

I drag my butt out of bed and let Lola out to see this out back...
backyard
and this is what the front looked like...
street
street 2
Lola enjoyed a little more snow play, although in the really deep areas, she had to hop like a bunny and it was the cutest thing ever...
lola
Once I got to the courthouse for the noon opening, I found what I expected...that nobody who needed to be there to get anything done was there and it was just a big freakin' waste of time. WONDERFUL! So glad that I rescheduled my 1:00 hair appointment to 3:00 so that I could get nothing done.

Then before I could go to my hair appointment, I got a call regarding "one of my kids" down in Waco at a children's home who has started theaving again. Just freakin' great. I think to myself, can anything else crappy happen today. I decide to leave for my hair appointment a little early and drive over on the east side of McKinney to take some snow pics. I'm glad I did. Here is what I captured...

Snowmen
snowman 2
I like the pink touches to this one, but check out those snow arms he is sculpting!


A political snowman...
political snowman
I agree, Frosty! Greg Willis for DA!


And, it's Texas, so you've got to have a Redneck Snowman...
redneck 1
This Bud's for you!
redneck 2

McKinney's Beautiful Historic District
house 1
house 2
barn
house 3
Kids playing in our unusual Winter Wonderland in a parkkids playing
Then I get to my hair appointment to discover that my hair girl is moving...to Houston...next week! Oh, the trauma! Yes, the day could get crappier!
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On Saturday, the snow began to melt. Lola had cabin fever and wanted outside.
Here she is at the door. Translation: Mom, I'm cold and tired, I want inside.

Okay, Lola. Mommy's coming.

Wait a minute... What the heck?
lola at door
Snow + Melting= Muddy Lola
lola tub
After the bath, I checked the mail and found that my friend Jenn sent me this adorable bookmark for V-day. How cute! So sweet of her to think of me!
bookmark
Then I got all riled up about something else. But you know what, after about 30 minutes of having a complete panic attack/fit, I looked at the bookmark and thought, yes, that is the answer.

I made myself half a recipe of Magnolia cupcakes and all was right in the world.
cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day a little early. I was going to post more photos about our "snow day" today, but despite my love for snow, today has left me in an all around foul mood. So I think I am going to take a little more time to reflect on the day, count to 10,000, however you want to term the distance I want to put between me and today before I write about it! All that being said, I do think I have some great snow pics to share (not all of Lola!).

I've been a bit of a Valentine's Day scrooge this year. I didn't get my V-day tree up. I really was more lazy than scrooge like. By the time I got around to thinking about putting it up, it was last weekend and I decided to just skip it. I did get some decorations up though. Here is a tour...

Beginning at the front door
door

The mantlemantle
Kitchen towels towels


towels 2
In my bathroom...wait a minute...what the heck?
christmas towels
When I put up Christmas stuff, it seems I forgot something! I really did just discover this!


I'm trying to not be a total scrooge. I did send out V-day cards and got my cousins a gift. I think the outside of their gift turned out really cute. gift 1
It contains pink pancake mix with chocolate chips & 2 heart pancake molds
gift 2
Plastic hearts filled with M&M's and Reese's Pieces
gift 4
and boxes of sparkly conversation hearts
gift 3

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

Last night I went to bed after hearing the forecast that called for snow today. Snow that was suppose to begin around noon and then continue throughout the day. I woke up this morning, hit snooze as usual, and then turned on the tv. I could hear some commotion on the news, so I fought to open my eyes and put on my glasses and was immediately blinded by the brightness of my room.

The snooze button was no longer necessary and I ran through my normal morning rituals and made my way into the living room. At this point, I still hadn't looked outside. I turned off the alarm, let Lola out of her kennel and made my way to the back door to let out my pup. Yep, it was definitely snowing!

paw prints in snow
It was the type of snow that sticks to the trees and is really pretty.trees


winter tree

It kept coming down and coming down and was really a pretty sight.
Lola enjoyed watching it fall...
lola looking
I had to go to a hearing this afternoon, but Lola enjoyed running around the yard before I left.
lola running
The snow didn't slow her down too much.
lola running 2
I'm using the snow pics as an excuse to play with setting and turning photos to B&W
Lola snow

lola snow 2

I finally heard from the college this afternoon that they had cancelled my evening class. So I'm having a snow night.

Most schools in the area have cancelled for tomorrow and TXDOT is warning everyone to stay off of the roads in the morning. Of course, Collin County hasn't cancelled or even delayed courthouse operations in the morning. I have an 8:30 hearing that the other attorneys tried to reschedule, but ended up getting a big NO from the judge and a 25 minute lecture! What is with these people? I know why the courthouse won't close. It's because the County Judge is about to get his a$$ beat in the upcoming election and he is taking it out on everyone by refusing to give us a break! He can be sure of a defeat now...anyone who was still going to vote for him before isn't going to now.


They are saying that we have another inch or two that is going to fall tonight (on top of our 7 inches here in McKinney). Stay warm if you are in this winter wonderland!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nerd Alert!

Because I am such a nerd, I'm totally jazzed about this multi-part series premier tonight on PBS.


Of course, I have class tonight, but my DVR is set to record! I love watching Professor Henry Louis Gates' shows on PBS. Up until now, they have traced famous and non-famous African Americans' Family Roots. Now, he has traced Americans' of other ethnicity roots. I love it. How I wish that he could do my family's!

In other news, Texas Bloggers, you've got to check this out!

Texas Blogging Gals


This Blog has a list of 100+ Texas Blogging Gals. Check it out and add your blog to the list. You can also discover some new blogs to read (if you dare!)

More on the Cookies

As you will recall, I made these cookies a couple of weekends ago...
cookies 1
and then proceeded to eat my weight in them.

I had the same struggle that I always have with cookies when they are around...Is it better to eat them all at once and just get rid of them, or is it better to drag it out and eat them for a long time? Probably neither is the correct answer, but I usually opt for option A!

The recipe has been requested and I will comply with that request in a moment. Let me first tell you that these are known near and far as "Kara's cookies". I used to make and sell them in my hometown around the holidays. I think one Christmas I made something insane like 75 dozen. All that being said, I do not mind sharing the recipe. I gladly share the recipe with people in the hopes that they will make the darn things themselves and STOP asking me to make them on each and every holiday. They are very time intensive to make, so I hadn't made them in a very long time until I made this most recent batch.

My Mom does make them often...because she hasn't learned to say NO when people request them. My grandma makes them too. All of ours our different. It's a little bit of a Goldie Locks situation...My grandma's are very thick, my Mom's are medium thickness, and mine are kinda thin. This recipe that I use is really a tea cake recipe meaning two things: (1) they come out nice and soft, not crispy and crunchy, and (2) they aren't very user friendly for actually making them into cut-out cookies.

Here's the Recipe...

2 cups sugar
1 cup Crisco (I use Crisco sticks 1 c. = one stick & it's so much easier than measuring)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla (I usually use a little bit more)
6 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder

In your mixer (this really needs to be a big KitchenAid type of mixer here), mix sugar and crisco. Then add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.

In separate bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients and then gradually add to your sugar mixture.

The recipe originally calls for rolling the dough into balls, dipping the bottom of a glass in sugar and then pressing the balls down.

At this point, I of course, skip that step and refrigerate my dough. Once it is cold, I cut out the cookies.

Either way, bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

I then decorate with royal icing and then normally sugar sprinkles.

Good Luck and Happy Baking!

 

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