Saturday, July 30, 2011

Greetings from Berlin, London, California and more

It's been awhile since I've shared some of my postcards. Some are from friends, some I've picked up along the way. I'm sorry if they bore you, but there's nothing I love more than getting a new one in the mail!

My friend Becky's daughter Hannah spent the semester in Berlin and she remembered to bring a postcard back for me. Who knew they had pandas!

There's no place I want to go more than London and my friend Daphne has been living there.

My friend Amanda, who lives in Japan, came back to the U.S. after the earthquakes and she sent me this postcard from her hometown in California.

California is one of the place I really want to visit so I'm very jealous that my mom recently went to Anaheim for her Moose lodge convention.

Mom also got to go to Disneyland!

Last year, Mom's convention was in Nashville where she got me these Elvis and Johnny Cash postcards.

Here's one I picked up after driving upstate to Albany for the New York AP awards last year.
I found this Beatles cards mixed in with my recent stash. My dad got me this one. I have a ton of Beatles postcards, like that's a surprise!

And here's one my mom found while cleaning out a closet. I sent this to my brother when I was out in Houston working as an intern. My brother and I talked a lot about cartoons when we were in college!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thursday nights are alright

One night – almost two years ago – I found something I didn’t know I had in me. I found the courage to get up and sing in front of a bunch people on a karaoke night at my favorite little pub. I’d done it before – mostly with other people though. But it was different on my own. At first I would wait until I had a drink or two and then stand their nervously. I’d think of songs to sing and spend a week learning them, googling lyrics, memorizing all the words, playing them over and over in my car. And people said I sounded pretty good, so I kept on singing.

Now, I keep a list of songs I want to sing on my phone. Maybe I’ll learn them ahead of time, maybe not. I don’t really get nervous. I’ll sing even without a drink in me and I’ll get up there as often as I can. I’ve had people come up to me and say, “You’re the girl who sings at the Rover.” I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but I think that’s a riot.

Karaoke night, at least at the Rover and most of the other place I go to, isn’t just about who sounds good. It’s about having the guts to get up there. I have heard people who sound like they should win a Grammy and people who sound like they belong in an insane asylum. My friends and I like to come up with themes (80s nights, guys singing chick songs, power ballads) and try to out do each other with our awesome song selections. We’ll try things out, team up for duets, steal each others’ songs. We cheer for the newbies, but also do our best Simon Cowell impressions. Mostly, we sing along and have a lot of fun.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite things to sing.My list of songs has gotten really long!…

Stay by Lisa Loeb: One of the first songs I sang solo. Don’t need the words on this one!

Madonna’s greatest hits: I love to sing Madonna. Borderline is probably my favorite, but I’ve also done Like a Prayer, Material Girl, Lucky Star, Into the Groove, Crazy For You, Live to Tell, Like a Virgin, Dress You Up, Open Your Heart. Can you tell I’m a child of the 80s? I’m dying to sing Burning Up if I can find a DJ who actually has it.

Pat Benatar’s collection: Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Invincible, Love is a Battlefield, We Belong

Songs that kill my voice, but I love anyway: Joan Jett’s Hate Myself for Loving You, Scandal’s Good Bye To You, Laura Branigan’s Gloria, Bonnie Tyler’s I Need A Hero, Melissa Ethridge’s Come to My Window

Classic Rock: Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams

I wanna be Chrissie Hynde: Don’t Get Me Wrong, Back on the Chain Gang, Brass in Pocket and I’ll Stand By You

Going Gaga: Bad Romance, Poker Face, Telephone

Sheryl Crow: My Favorite Mistake, The First Cut is the Deepest, Strong Enough

Girl Groups: Be My Baby, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

More 80s: We’ve Got the Beat, Let’s Hear it for the Boy, It Must Have Been Love, Voices Carry

Favorite Duets: Because the Night with Dean, Walk Like an Egyptian with Randi, Total Eclipse of the Heart and Poker Face with Heather, Love Shack and Bad Romance with Josh, anything by Madonna with Marianna, Self Control with Karran, Don’t You Want Me with Jaime, Fire and Need You Now with Tony, Time of My Life with John, Beatles with Amanda

I told you that was a long list! (There’s also a list of songs I should never try again.) And I have to say, I never would have gotten up there to sing if it wasn’t for my friend Amy, who got me to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with her playing the American Idol game hanging out at Holly’s party in St. Louis. You created a monster!

Have you ever sung karaoke? What do you like to sing? And let me know if you have any good song ideas for me!

Credits: Kim Jensen and Kate Hadfield's Audaciously Awesome from Scrapdish; Miss Mint's I Rock

Monday, July 18, 2011

Veggie Patch

This year I really wanted to start a veggie patch. I've never grown anything before, so I thought I'd be happy if I got one tomato. But my little plants are doing really great!

My veggie patch 6.2.2011
My veggie patch. 7.2.2011

I started out with some tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, along with some basil, rosemary and cilantro. Then I added some cucumbers, eggplant and peppers. I'm also growing sunflowers from a little starter kit, which was a gift for my birthday.

I'm using pots - I got them in my favorite color at Target! - because the grassy side of our yard is kind of gross. It's filled with weeds and berries from my neighbors tree. And I wanted to keep my plants out of Penny's reach. The dog house she's afraid of makes a great plant stand!

It has been really fun taking care of my plants and watching them grow. I've been doing a lot of research. I found out my cilantro started to "bolt" because it got too hot. Although it did make for some good salsa while it lasted. The tomatoes were the first to come in - I had forgotten how good tomatoes can be! And now I've got little cucumbers, peppers and an a little eggplant starting to grow.

My nieces came over this weekend and helped me do a little gardening. They helped with watering. Taylor was excited to pick tomatoes. Kylie didn't want to because she doesn't like tomatoes - but she did have her eye on a cucumber.

My family has been asking my secret. I water the plants everyday. Pick off some dead leaves. Give them plant food - that stuff is like crack. And I talk to them. Yeah, that sounds crazy, but I hear that's what great gardeners do. I like to thank them for growing.

My first tomatoes in a salad!

And I really can't wait until they grow some more so I have even more veggies to eat, cook and share with my family. Next year, I plan on expanding.

Here are some more pics...

Cucumber flower

Who knew eggplant flowers were so pretty!
The little eggplant starting to grow

Here's what it looks like now
My sunflowers
A little pepper. It'll be red some day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Going green

I can always tell when I need a new pair of glasses because the headaches just don’t go away. I made an appointment at the eye doctor, who told me my prescription hadn’t changed that much and that other problems could be causing the headaches. This of course led me to believe that I could drop dead any minute from an aneurysm because I am a hypochondriac and always think the worst.

I also thought it was time to go for a different look. I’d been wearing wire frame glasses since I was 12, but I decided to jump on the nerdy/hipster bandwagon and go for plastic frames. I had read an interesting article about an online company called Warby Parker in the NY Times. They’ll send you up to five pairs to try on at home and you just send them your prescription info. The glasses all cost $99 bucks. Mine cost a little more because my vision is so bad, but even with special lenses, the glasses were cheaper than my last few pairs.

I instantly fell in love with these green frames and it took me awhile to work up the nerve to order them because they were so different. I also got them in brown, in case I started to feel like Yoda. I love having two pairs because I always seem to misplace my glasses at night and then have to search my room blind as a bat. I think I look cute in them.

I was happy with Warby Parker’s service, even if it was a little slow. They’d recently been inundated with orders after the Times article, but they sent me frequent updates and were very friendly. They’re also now offering sunglasses.

And, the new glasses solved the headache problem. So I can stop worrying about aneurysms.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Check it out (especially if you're using a blog reader!) ... After 10 million years I finally put together a new blog banner! I think it says a lot more about who I am now. And it feels good to do something creative.

Elements I used were by Lauren Grier, Shawna Clingerman, Tracey Monette, Rachel Young, Christina Renee, Baers Garten and Jacque Larsen.

Speaking of creativity... here's my latest page. I used a lot of goodies by my friend Kim Jensen, including her Daisies and Dandelions elements. She really is one of the most original designers out there.

I never get tired of taking photos of flowers with my DSLR!

Credits:Kim Jensen's Daisies and Dandelions, Pop Top Poppers and Date It beads from Scrapdish. Backgrounds from Kim Jensen's Audaciously Awesome and Seriously Stoked from Scrapdish

So... I was going to write a post about some of my summer adventures, but got distracted with the blog design so I'll have to come back later with some more. But if you don't hear from me for the next few days on here or FB or where ever people are hanging out these days (I don't get Google+ yet!) it will be because Dances with Dragons, the fifth Ice & Fire book, is coming out tomorrow. I will be at Barnes and Noble with my birthday gift card as soon as I get up!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Geek TV

Ok, so recently my sister called and asked what I was up to and I lied and said I was reading or cleaning or something because I was really catching up on some of my nerd shows and didn't want her to know. Here's what I've been watching.


Firefly didn’t run very long, but now it’s on Science channel. The residents of Earth have packed up and pioneered their way into the universe. And it’s pretty much like the Wild West out there. I’m such a big fan of Nathan Fillion. I love him in Doctor Horrible and Castle, so it’s fun to watch him on Firefly. Love the quippy, old-timey dialogue. And Adam Baldwin, who I love on Chuck, is awesome as another tough guy, Jane.

Battlestar Galactica

BBC America started showing BSG, but I just couldn’t wait for more episodes. All of them are available for streaming on Netflix. My mom’s away for the week so I have watched nothing but BSG for days. I’ll probably have the whole thing done by the end of the week. Like Doctor Who, I just can’t believe I didn’t watch this show sooner. (I think it might have started when I didn’t have cable) I am so obsessed with this show that I started googling all kinds of things about it and spoiled a lot of the surprises, but I don't care. I think my favorite characters are Starbuck, because she kicks ass, and Gaius Baltar, because he's insane. Also, I am scared of cylons.


Ok, maybe this isn’t so geeky, but it’s my little guilty pleasure. Jem has been showing on Hub and I love watching because it’s so awful. I love the crazy 80s fashion and the horrible songs. I remember listening to a tape of them as a kid. I could write those songs. Here’s the formula: Title of song. Add some clichés about that title. Repeat title of song, ending on a high note. Outrageous!!! For example, here is a song I will now sing to my pug: Penny is my dog… They say dogs are man’s best friends… But girls can love them too... And we’ll always be together forever…. Penny is my doooooog! Yeah!

Seriously, those Misfits and their cohorts would be considered terrorists nowadays! My favorite character was always Stormer, the nice Misfit. Also, did you know that you dress Ken dolls up in Jem’s clothes since she was a bigger doll.

The only bad part it having this stuck in my head all day: “Jem is truly outrageous, truly, truly, truly outrageous. Oooooooooooh, Jeeeeeem the music’s contagious, outrageous...” I will have to go watch some more BSG to make me think of something else!