Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Self-taken blackberry pic

Blind walking sticks = great party props

Christine you are Michelle Obama

Unsuccessful mouse face...but love these mice :-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Less Is More

            During my junior year of college I was lucky enough to spend a semester living in Barcelona.  I attempted to speak Spanish Catalan, learned that I loved olives, and soaked up all that was new and different about the five different countries I was able to visit.  One of the things that I learned during my travels, besides the fact that wine that costs 85 euro-cents will give you a massive hangover, was that the majority of the world lives on a heck of a lot less than we greedy Americans do.  I know, I know, this is old news.  But being on the budget of a grad school grandma has given me a new appreciation for the whole “less is more” approach taken by so many other countries.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m living in a cardboard box or anything but I have tempered my ebay addiction and am beginning to learn the value of buying the Publix brand (gasp!).  In what ways do you try to live the “less is more” approach?  Have any money saving tips for a 24 year old with a penchant for online shopping?

What I would give to have this view again!  Minus the screaming daycare children and the pet shop on the ground floor.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween at the Hotel

            Are you sick of me talking about my obsession with Fall yet?  Well too bad.  I’ve got one more post and then I promise I will talk about something other than leaves and acorns and temperatures in the 60’s.  Maybe.

            This weekend, Halloween came early to the ladies of the Hotel.  We figured in order to really get into the spirit of the season, some pumpkins had to be carved and some cider had to be downed.  To contribute to the pumpkin-themed spread, I strapped on my apron and attempted, once again, to get domestic.  And I have to admit, my rendition of Paula Deen’s apple cake was quite a hit.  Okay, so I had to fish egg shells out of the bowl not one but three times but we can just keep that between us.

Hey Mom!  Look what I made!

Keeley's Pumpkin Tarts

Grown-up cider was necessary after a very long week

            After stuffing ourselves silly with every pumpkin-flavored delicacy imaginable, we headed out to the front porch for some carving.  I now realize the pressure my Dad was under all for all of those years as we stood anxiously around the table, eyes glued to his masterpiece, waiting for him to carve the most perfect pumpkin.  Y’all, pumpkin carving is not easy as you can see from my bat pumpkin.  Kinda looks like a 4 year old made it but maybe an A+ for effort?

Riley pup wanted in on the action

Regardless of the end product, the pumpkin party was a huge success and a great way to spend an October evening!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


            That, my friends, means difficulty swallowing in the language of speech pathology.  And it is what my roommates and I will be up all night studying.  Swallowing.  It's just as interesting as it sounds.  Isn't Sunday supposed to be a day of rest?  And did I mention that it is thundering and lightening outside?  And I have clean, straight-from-the-dryer sheets on my bed?  Staying motivated and resisting the urge to snuggle under my covers and watch a movie is going to be quite the challenge.  Wish us luck!

Marie...loving life.

Keeley was not amused with my mid-study blogging...



            Oh, this Fall weather is good.  Like really good.  Like champagne-drunk, A+ on a paper, big hunk o’ chocolate cake kind of good.  I’m seriously having a love affair with October.  And I’ll admit that come December you can bet I will be having a love affair with Christmas but until then picture me as a leaf pile jumping, nubby sweater wearing, hot cider sipping, Fall-aholic.  And I’m loving every second of it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A New Approach to Dating

            When you get together with family, it can't be denied that everyone wants to know everybody else's dirt.  And this is never more evident then when the grandparents roll into town.  Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my grandparents and can be somewhat of a family-aholic....but when catching up wiht nosey relatives whom you haven't seen in almost a year, there is definitely no shortage of "who are you dating?" "tell me about your old boyfriends" and "can I fix you up with my friend's cute, single grandson?"  So in light of this past weekend and the fact that I am currently a single lady myself, (Beyonce...holler atcha girl), I thought I would share a little gem of hilarity with you all.  Date My Single Kid was started by the women of Fab Over 50...don't ask me what this is.  All I know is if I ever become a part of such a group in my real grandma age someone please have me committed.  By at least provides some entertainment!  And you can peruse the single gentlemen for free so come on ladies, I know you're dying to take a peek!

Hope y'all are having a stellar week!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Break in Numbers

            Fall Break is over.  Sigh.  Those glorious four days that were supposed to be relaxing and stress-free.  Sigh.  And though I am sad to be back to reality, my weekend was packed and I don’t think that I wasted even a second (so much for that whole relaxation thing, huh?).  I soaked up every ounce of a picture perfect Fall weekend with family and friends.  Here is a glimpse at my very busy break!

This past weekend I….

o Ate 1 pumpkin birthday cake (I die.)
o Wrote 2 summary tables (ugh…miserable)
o Visited 3 of the United States
o Used 4 modes of transportation
o Organized 5 kitchen cabinets in my sissy’s new apartment
o Spent 6 glorious minutes gazing at sunrise over the Langford Creek
o Drank 7 glasses of wine (not all at once…I’m a grandma, remember?)
o Hugged 8 relatives
o Watched 9 innings of Phillies baseball
o Collected 10 Fall leaves to bring back from the Northeast in case faux-Fall continues to tease us down South
o And made 24 wishes on 42 candles (My brother Scott and I celebrated our Fall birthdays together with his 18 candles + my 24 all on one cake…damn we’re old).

Here's hoping the memory of this past weekend's fabulousness can get me through the rest of this uber-busy school week!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So Domestic

In honor of this perfect (albeit rainy at the moment) Fall Break weekend in the Northeast and my need to indulge in all things pumpkin-flavored, I am going to attempt to get domestic.  This is a little scary considering that though I can microwave a lean cuisine with the best of them, I am no Martha.  I usually leave the cooking to my Mom and sister who can whip up even the most complicated recipes from the Food Network with ease.  I, on the other hand, am the sous-chef - I can chop veggies and stir a pot like nobody’s business.  But I just can’t resist these pumpkin cupcakes so I am going to give it my best shot.  I figure with that irresistible pumpkin scent and enough icing smothered on top, even I can’t screw this one up.  And just in case, I am home for the weekend and have Mama Ball standing by in case anything goes really awry.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing 
(Courtesy of Patent and the Pantry)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I doubled this because I love nutmeg.)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (I used a 14-ounce can and it was still lovely and pumpkin-y)

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the spices. In another bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in pumpkin puree.  Line the cupcake pan with liners and fill each about halfway with batter. Bake until tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the pans if needed. (I have one pan, so did not bother with that step.) Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and sugar.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homecoming Bliss

As promised, a homecoming post.  On Friday afternoon I headed east on I-40 to the dash for Wake Forest homecoming.  And I swear to you as I crossed that Tennessee/North Carolina state line I got butterflies.  It had been a whole year since I’d stepped foot on the campus and I could not wait to be back.  I was craving cheap keg beer and a walk on the Mag Quad.  And the weekend did not disappoint.  It was nothing short of fabulous and my friends and I took advantage of every second together.

We caught up on life.  Talking about our cities, our jobs, and following our passions.  And in the same breath we gossiped about who made out with who last night, swore like sailors, and talked about anything and everything inappropriate.  We danced in frat sludge, gorged on Putter’s cheese fries, and laughed to the point of stomachaches and mascara stained cheeks.  We drank too much beer at the tailgate and then, over just baked bread soaked in Elizabeth’s house dressing, talked about how lucky we were to have each other in our lives.  We hugged each other hard and pronounced how very much we had missed each other.  And I’m pretty sure I said the phrase “I am so happy right now” at least a hundred times.  And I was.  So happy.

Monday, October 11, 2010


          I was kicked out of the nest.  No, no, my parents did that a long time ago, insisting that I would be a more well-adjusted young woman if I did my own taxes and paid for my own car insurance.  But today my supervisor kicked me out of the nest right onto the floor of the Neuro ICU where I was expected to do two cognitive/language evaluations and one bedside swallow evaluation.  Gulp.  I tried to act as calm and collected as possible but inside a panic attack was in full swing and I was pretty sure that my patient was going to aspirate and get pneumonia and it would be all my fault.  Though I got lost going to a patient’s room, administered the wrong assessment, and accidentally paged my supervisor three times (instead of one), when I was with each patient I think that I was able to pull off the illusion that I actually knew exactly what I was doing.  And nobody died.  I guess you could say that is was an okay first fly!

Hope you had a happy Monday!  Homecoming post coming soon...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Get Out of Town

            Recently, I have had the urge to travel.  To just pick up and head somewhere fabulous.  Maybe it's because it is abroad season for the WFU crowd and my facebook stalking of their photos has resulted in some serious FOMO (to my grandparents: FOMO = fear of missing out).  Or maybe it's because my days at the Bill Will are becoming a little redundant and I am salivating for something new and different.  Regardless of the cause, my desire to jet-set is quite hard to ignore.  Hence the reason I sent my sister an urgent email last week asking for her thoughts on a Spring Break trip to Napa.  Neither of us has been and the thought of drinking excessive amounts of wine and frolicking through a vineyard with my sissy seems to be just what the doctor ordered.  Though it may be months away, planning for the trip will commence immediately and will hopefully tide me over through those gray months ahead!

And because I'm feeling the need to get away right this second and Spring Break seems so far away, I am packing up and heading for good old Winston-Salem this weekend!  Okay, so it's not nearly as glamorous as Napa but I have a feeling that the weekend will be just as fabulous.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

30 Do-Anything Minutes

            One of the curses of being in grad school, or maybe just being a grown-up in general, is that virtually every moment is scheduled.  When I am not in class, I am in clinic, and when I am not in clinic or class I am doing school work.  When I do spend a few minutes watching trashy reality tv or catching up on my USWeekly, I have that stomach-twisting feeling of guilt because I really should be working on my Language Disorders assignment or writing up my Acoustics lab.  Okay so it's really not that bad (just the inner drama queen chiming in for a second), but it would be nice to have just a few minutes each day when I couldn't think about work and school.  The list of all the things I would do with just 30 do-anything minutes each day is getting longer by the second...

  • Read my new Oprah magazine.  A girlfriend of mine swears that Oprah magazine and a big bowl of ice cream are her therapy.  I kind of agree.

  • Go for a run on this gorgeous, chilly Fall morning.
  • Catch up on my blog-stalking.
  • Call my sweet friend Karoline whom I have been meaning to catch up with for far too long.  Judy, I know I have been the worst at phone tag but will call you tonight.

  • Make some S'mo casserole (recipe coming soon) to celebrate the fact that it is about the time for warm, yummy casseroles that taste even better as leftovers.
What would you do with 30 do-anything minutes added to your day?