6.30.2010

Conversation #12: Long overdue shout-outs!

I had some issues with blogging a while back, and I knew it would cause my number of followers/readers to suffer.  However, some of my great blogging friendships suffered to, and it was my fault.  I just want to give a few shout-outs to some bloggers that I have known for most of my blogging career, and I haven’t been able to comment on their blogs lately.  I usually have to do most of my commenting on my phone, and embedded comments don’t work.  I’m so sorry to those of you I have neglected!

First – Preppy 101.  You are one of my favorite bloggers ever.  I LOVED your daughter’s wedding.  So beautiful!  I love reading your blog because it somehow just comforts me.  I’m sorry I haven’t been able to comment lately.  I still read and love you!

Next – Jennifer at Diary of a Southern Belle.  So I totally fell off the fit wagon and keeping up with you on that.  I’m trying again though.  I’m so excited for the wedding plans, and I LOVE the sewing projects.  I actually made one of those McCall’s day dresses too (can’t remember the number right now).  Anyway, I really miss leaving you comments!

Last, but certainly not least – Cole at All the Small Stuff.  You have always been so supportive and comment even when I haven’t been around for weeks.  I have loved watching your house search, and thanks for being a great blog friend.  Sorry I have neglected you!

To any other bloggers I have neglected (which I know there are), I’m so sorry!  I love my blog friends, and I’m finally feeling a bit more regular with blogging again.  I’m trying to make a little time each night for fun things I enjoy instead of cleaning and household chores every evening.  Anyway, I hope you are all having wonderful weeks!

6.29.2010

Conversation #11: Granola crunchy people

I have been having a weird health thing lately, but the upside is that it has made me want to be healthier.  One thing I knew would help me was some greek yogurt – that stuff is healthy!

I don’t mind some kinds plain, but the kind I got in bulk needs a little sprucing up.  I decided to buy some granola at Whole Foods to spice it up, but that just wasn’t going to be an everyday thing because it was quickly going to get pricey.  I popped on the ol’ internet and found a recipe from one of my favorite people: Alton Brown.

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Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

It was super simple!  I actually left out the nuts and raisins and coconut because they’re not my favorite.  I thought about adding in craisins, but opted to keep it more simple so I could add fruit to the yogurt as well.  I had everything else on hand already so it made it a super cheap recipe too.  It is soooooooooo tasty, and it made a lot as well.  Now the hubby and I are fighting over who gets to eat it!

6.28.2010

Conversation #10: Please tell me a wig isn’t normal

So I have this weird hobby; I like to watch the home shopping channels, even though I have never bought anything and probably never will through that medium.  Although, they do tempt me.  One of my favorite hours to watch is the D*ooney & Bour*ke purse hour on QVC, because let’s face it, I have a purse addiction.

I don’t own any of said purses, but I just love oogling over them and seeing the new pretty colors and styles.  I really have no idea why this entertains me so, but cheap thrills I guess!

Anywho, one day while looking through the guide during my lunch break (I live close enough to go home – it is amazing and I recommend it), I saw in the little preview screen a girl I thought was modeling a wig.  Guess what?  I was right.  I had to check it out because I think wigs are a bit weird unless you have a good reason for wearing one.  Well, it was Ken Pa*ves with his Hair*do line with Jessica Simp*son, and they were advertising the long wig (picture is from Amazon):

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Honestly, the picture just can’t explain the ridiculousness of the segment, but here is the part that really got me.  The QVC salesperson during this hour was trying to sell to the American public that wearing a different wig everyday, in a different color and style is NORMAL!  What?!  Please blog friends, tell me this isn’t so.  When did it become normal to wear a wig unless you needed to?  I mean, I work with a lot of men who don’t notice a new haircut, but they would most definitely notice me (with short, blond hair) if I walked in with long, flowing red locks one day and jet black the next.  That is NOT normal my friends!  I’m not alone on this, right?

6.25.2010

Conversation #9: Summer Fun Song of the Week

I have decided that I want to share a poppy, upbeat song each week that just sounds like summer because I love all of the fun and cheeky summer tunes that come out each year.  They might be new or I might throw in some golden oldies!

This week: My First Kiss by 3Oh!3 featuring Ke$ha

What is your favorite song this week?

6.24.2010

Conversation #8: Thursday Thought

Social Programs (welfare, food stamps, social security, medicare, etc.) sound like a good idea in the ideal world, but do people ever think about where that money comes from?  Ever wonder why we have $13 trillion dollars in national debt?  Free programs are never free.

6.23.2010

Conversation #7: Book Clubs

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(Photo from: http://www.artsjournal.com/bookdaddy/Home_Photo_books.jpg)

One of my favorite bloggers, Domestic Goddess, was talking about her new book club, and I am super jealous!

Recently, my mom and I have been brainstorming on ways to meet people for me (that sounds weird, but let me sort of explain).  I had a fairly unconventional college experience (my fault for transferring colleges) which basically means that I didn’t make a ton of lifelong friends in college.  I have five friends that I consider pretty close, but they all have very busy lives and it makes it pretty hard to get together.  Plus, three of the five are pregnant, and I know that it will change our relationship (post for another day) as it should – they need to tend to their new babies.  One of them is also moving away soon, which leaves me two non-pregnant friends.  One of those friends is in PA school and super busy, and the other is just finishing grad school and jumping back into her more demanding job.

I’m glad all of my friends are living full lives – I think that is great, and I know I’ll still see my friends with babies because I love babies, but I just feel like I lack girlfriends I can call anytime.  Most of my current friends have more important things going on in life.  I’m hoping to meet people at church too, but that is always hard for me as well.  It is crazy, because once you get me started, I talk forever, but I don’t open up easily at first.  I’m kind of shy – shocker, I know!

Anyway, my mom thought joining a book club might be fun, but I don’t know how to find one.  I looked at my local library, but I think those people will be older and the books and discussion are much more critically literary than what I’m looking for.  I just want to have fun meeting with a bunch of girls talking about a fun book and what we did or didn’t like.  How do you find one?!  Are there any DFW girls out there that want to join a book club or are already in one that would accept a new member?  PLEASE LET ME KNOW  :)

6.19.2010

Conversation #6: The Dessert

Have y’all read The Blind Side?  I’m sure most of have you seen the movie, but I don’t recall this particular point I’m going to talk about being a major point in the movie.

The book talked about the Offensive Left Tackle – the one who protects the blind side – about being one of those players that no one remembers or watches when he does his job right. But if he does his job wrong and let’s the quarterback get tackled, well everyone will remember that!

While watching The Next Food Network Star the other evening with my husband, he told me the same sort of the thing about the dessert course.  The competitors on the show had to each make a course of a meal, and those that got dessert seemed really discouraged.  I asked him why because I love to bake so dessert would be my favorite, but he said something similar about dessert as the book said about the left offensive tackle.  He said people don’t remember the dessert as much as another course if it is great, but if you don’t do it right, everyone remembers your mistake because dessert is easy and shouldn’t be messed up.

For some reason, this theme has stuck with me the last few weeks, and I began to think that a lot of things in life seem to fall into this category.  I mean, let’s face it, we aren’t all the quarterback or main course in life are we?  Take my job for example: I’m a traffic engineer (still an E.I.T.).  People don’t generally call us up and say, “Wow, those traffic signals were synchronized today on my way to work – thanks!”  or “I really appreciate the signage you installed to help with the traffic flow around the school.”  It just doesn’t happen.  However, you sit a light longer than you think you should or too many people park on the street, yeah, those people call ALL the time.

This is no slam against my husband.  I know his head is in a crazy place as he studies for the bar exam, but this last week I have kind of felt like the dessert at home.  My husband hasn’t noticed all that I have done around the house to keep things going, but instead picks out the things I haven’t done to ask me about.  In fact, sometimes (maybe today) I have a bad day where I can’t keep my emotions in check and all of the weeks frustrations come out in a poo storm at him.  Not cool.  I know.  However, he proceeds to tell me that if he passes the bar, it is despite me not because of help from me.

That really hurt me, and I think he was saying it out of frustration with my outburst.  It just upset me because most of the things I do around the house, I’m thinking of my husband and what would help him feel relaxed at home after a crazy day or week.  I’m busy too, but I have the time to cook and clean and he doesn’t, so that is okay when we are in this law school world.  I just wish he would realize that I have done a lot and tried to be supportive through all of law school and the bar, and I just wish that one day of my not being able to take it wouldn’t make all of the good forgotten.  I guess today I let the quarterback get sacked. 

If I did it everyday, well that would be different and wrong, but we all have bad days.  Wouldn’t it just be nice if we remembered the good a little more often?  I know I need to be better about that also, so I hope I take time to watch that left offensive tackle protect the quarterback more often while savoring the yummy dessert and the person who made it.  I hope you do too!

6.18.2010

Conversation #5: Summer Music Fun

One of my favorite things about summer is all of the cheeky pop music and peppy music out there.  If it were cooler, my even more favorite thing would be to roll down the windows while singing these fun songs at the top of my lungs.

My two faves are right now are:

California Gurls by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg (who is a total guilty pleasure)

The video is really weird in my opinion, but the song is catchy.

I’m also really enjoying B.O.B. these days, and his latest MAGIC with Rivers Cuomo (lead singer of Weezer, whom I love) is super summer fun:

Let me just say, I do not condone any foul language, so if this online version has it please mute your volume for a second!  I just hear them on the radio where it is somewhat censored. 

Anyway, what summer music are you loving right now?

6.14.2010

Conversation #4

I have been trying to keep the blog lighter lately because I’m never sure if y’all get bored of the political droning.  I just read this in an email my husband sent me from the Patriot Post, and I wanted to share it.  This oil spill is awful.  I’m sad for the families that lost loved one, and it makes me sad to see wildlife destroyed.  But there is always another side to every situation.  Here is the short piece I wanted to share:

"Who is in charge of stopping the oil leak and the cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico -- BP or the Obama administration? If you have a hard time answering the question, it probably is because the president has told us the 'buck stops' with him and officials of his administration say they are 'in charge.' Yet the administration also tells us that BP has the responsibility for stopping the leak and for the cleanup -- but the company's every action has to be approved by the government. If you have noticed a lot of ambiguity in the statements of the government officials, that is because they want to be able to position themselves to take credit for whatever success occurs (no matter who is responsible for the success) yet be able to blame others for failure (if even their own). ... One, among several, major reasons government agencies tend not to perform as well as private ones is because often there is little or no accountability. Those in favor of bigger government are using BP as an example of why the private sector cannot be trusted and why we must have more government. However, they conveniently overlook the fact that everything BP did was overseen and approved by the U.S. government and that the reason BP and the other big oil companies are off drilling in mile-deep water is because this same government will not allow them to drill in closer-in, shallower water or on much of the land where large quantities of oil are known to exist (e.g., the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and where accidents could be handled quickly and with little damage. BP stockholders are being severely punished because of the failure of BP's management to prevent this crisis -- and you can bet many heads will roll at BP. Yet how many heads will roll in the U.S. government, which had the responsibility to make sure BP operated safely and that the beaches and marshes were protected?" --Cato Institute senior fellow Richard W. Rahn

This was sent from The Patriot Post in the June 14, 2010 Brief.

I promise to try and be more upbeat and sunny tomorrow!

6.12.2010

Conversation #3

How about a little spring/summer face lift?

That is exactly what our sun porch needed.  I wanted to really make it feel like a room, another living space, an expansion to our house.  Honestly, the oppressive humidity and extreme heat the last couple of weeks has rendered it useless unless you rise in the wee hours of the morning.

Oh well.  It still needed an update, and I love being able to entertain out there.  It gives are tiny living room and moderate kitchen a much needed break.

Let’s first take a walk down memory lane of what it looked like in the beginning.

Here is a shot of the sun porch on the first day we looked at our house.  Don’t you just love the indoor/outdoor carpet?  Oh, and we are pretty sure we found an old rat’s nest when we took down the barely working ceiling fan.

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This was what the outside of the house looked like with the sun porch.  I had forgotten what all we had done back there.  Sadly, we had to remove those trees right by the house on the left because they were threatening the foundation.

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Here is the inside of the porch once we started “demo”:

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We decided to rip up the carpet, replace the door, replace the outside siding, repaint inside and out, built a little patio outside and put in some new landscaping.  We also did some built-in bench seating.  We also replaced the lighting fixtures, too. Here are the first after shots:

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This is the state the porch was in for quite a while.  We put in a “deck” floor and I did have placemats on the table and a three pillows on the bench, but that was all.  Then we decided to look for some plantation rockers because I have ALWAYS wanted some.  Craigslist to the rescue!

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Here are some shots of the outside work:

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The landscaping along the porch has really grown up.  We planted some beautiful rose bushes, and they are just gorgeous now!  Some roses, you say?

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Finally, the most recent spruce-up:

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I went to my favorite fabric outlet to pick up outdoor fabric to make little curtain valances and lots of pillows.  Then I found some decor type things at garage sales, and finished off the table by making a runner out of burlap and ribbon.

The last shot is of the new outdoor ceiling fan, but we actually replaced that when we first moved in.  I love being able to have a warmer and more inviting space to relax in after a long day or early on a cool morning.  This space was a challenge because originally we thought we would tear it down and start over.  However, we soon realized the structure was attached to the roof, and that job seemed much bigger than our humble DIY skills could handle.  So we decided since we don’t plan to live in this house forever, let’s just make it enjoyable.

I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane!

6.10.2010

Conversation #2

If you live in the DFW area (in the great state of Texas), then you definitely need to check out this consignment sale this weekend.  I went in November to the fall sale and found some really cute items. 
Go here to learn more about it.  Oh and did I mention admission is FREE!!!!
mscsale-header

6.09.2010

Conversation #1

If you have followed or read my blog back when it was “Not Your Typical Engineer” then “A Pretty Peony” then “A Sassy Engineer” and now “Conversations with a Conservative,” you may have realized I am apparently quite indecisive.  Well, not entirely, for some reason I had no problem making decisions about our wedding or what I house I liked best – I just flounder with the small inconsequential stuff.

Perhaps I am a bit backwards.

Anyway, no major changes here other than the titles of my blog.  I still want this to just be a place to converse, and I really hope y’all start conversing more (hint hint).  I knew I was running a risk in losing a lot of followers when I jumped ship from the old address, but I really needed a change.  In fact, it is hard for me to believe it will be two years this September since I first started blogging.  Anyway, I’m liking this blog for now.  I like the title – it is sooooooooo me.  I LOVE to talk (too much I’m told) and I still hold pretty true to my conservative roots (as my “about me” says, this isn’t just politically).  I also like the header I created and the new colors.  I have had so much pink and green in my life (from my wedding to now multiple cute baby showers) that I just need to shed that too.

Anywho, I really do hope you readers will invite others into the conversation, and I’m hoping to be much more consistent from now on in starting the conversation.  I can’t wait to hear from you all!

6.04.2010

A conversation about my boyfriend…

jeans that is!  I decided we needed a little lighter post today.  It is Friday after all!  So I wasn’t so sure about the boyfriend jean trend at first, but it was actually the extremely fashionable GingerSnap that inspired me to try it.  She always pulls it off so flawlessly.  I don’t think I pull it off anywhere close to her, but here is my version of it:

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I know this picture isn’t awesome (I think my dresser has a more starring role than me) but you get the idea.  I think it would be fun to try and dress up the boyfriend jean with heels and a flirty top, but y’all know I like to play it safe, at least at first.

I didn’t actually buy “boyfriend jeans” by name, but instead I bought some straight leg jeans a size big.  They have worked perfectly and they only cost me $7 at the Gap on sale!  I just couldn’t quite stomach spending more on a fad I wasn’t sure I would love.  Sometimes I wish I could wear them everyday because it is just so comfy!

Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend!

6.03.2010

This is me

I was reading the blog Bower Power earlier today, and Katie was talking about in one of her recent posts about ways to build your blog and keep it authenticate.  One of those things was to be yourself, and blog about your passions.  This post may make some people crazy, but this is me.

I have been MIA because I have been distraught or worried.  I am going to assume that unless you live under a rock in a cave in Antarctica, then you have surely watched the news about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  You maybe closely following it or you may just get a snippet every now and then, but perhaps I can provide you a different perspective.

You see, my grandfather worked for Standard Oil Company back in the day, which has gone through a few changes and now is known as BP.  Therefore, you might realize that in some ways this oil spill hit a little closer to my life than maybe some others.  My grandfather has passed away, but my family does still have ties to the oil company, and this spill lingers in my subconscious all the time.

Do I think BP made a mistake?  Yes.  Do I think they should be responsible for cleaning it up?  Yes.  Does it break my heart that so many are being negatively affected in the gulf states?  Yes.  Do I think BP is a big evil oil company?  No.  Do I think the company should be destroyed over this? No.  Some might disagree with me.

Accidents happen – sometimes really big ones.  Do I thing the government should be able to take their assets from other profitable wells to punish them until they fix this problem?  No.  This is a horrible accident, and it has never had to be fixed before.  At first, I was thinking, “Gosh, just plug the hole already,” but then I had to realize that they are over 5000 feet underwater, in the dark, in the cold.  This wasn’t ever going to be easy.

It is easy for people without to attack those with.  Did you follow that?  Often times in our society, we want to “stick it to the man.”  We don’t like to success unless we have it.  We don’t care if somebody has worked hard to achieve a lot of wealth or success unless we do too.  All you have to do is look at current tax brackets and proposed changes by the current administration to realize we really punish those that have obtained wealth.

Many people want BP destroyed over this, but have you thought about the fact that they employ 30,000 Americans?  If you have read Mark Levine’s book Liberty in Tyranny, then you may be thinking about when he talks about how liberals love a disaster.  They can use the chaos and fear to coerce us into giving up more of our freedom.  I fear that if conservatives don’t also quit attacking BP that the current administration will just have more fire power to try and get all drilling in the US stopped.  What do you think that does to gas prices?  Then the big federal government will have to swoop in and entirely take over the entire oil industry so they can regulate it further.

I may be going a little far in my mind, but I won’t say it couldn’t happen.  Honestly, all of this makes me think about Toyota and how it seemed that our government was intent on taking them down. 

I don’t know.  I just feel sad and overwhelmed and sad for all involved: fisherman that can’t fish, the workers who were lost and their families, and yes, for BP and their employees.  Trust me, BP was the last person on Earth who ever wanted this to happen, and no one wants it to stop more than them.  I pray that it does stop soon.  I pray that God protect his creation by keeping the oil from further impacting the gulf ecosystem.  I pray that God comfort the families that lost loved ones.  I pray that God help the engineers find a solution quickly.  I just pray. 

This is me just trying to say that yes, this is a tragedy.  It is awful that life has been lost.  But just remember, that big evil oil company is still comprised of people, just like me and you.