Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Dress Madness

          A monumental event in wedding planning happened this weekend.  We ordered bridesmaid dresses from David's Bridal in Mobile!  They are super cute blue numbers that will fit perfect with the theme I am creating.  The voyage got me thinking of everything that still has to be done, and a lot of them are fun.  I began thinking of all the parties that will be coming up this summer for my wedding including bridal showers, a bachelorette party, and the rehearsal dinner.  Dresses have always been my favorite thing to wear and buy.  My mother said I would wear one everyday in elementary school.  When she asked me why I liked them so much, I answered that it was because I did not have to participate in P.E.  

          Now that twenty years has passed, I love dresses for different reasons.  They are fun, flirty, and feminine.  I feel like a little more unusual color or pattern is warranted for a cute dress.  Anyway tonight I brainstormed using my favorite shopping website Overstock.  

*This vintage inspired pink number would be perfect for a shower*

*This one matches my color pallet and may also be great for a shower*

*This wrap dress would be great for my rehearsal dinner which is being held outside*  

* This sexy dress by Jessica Simpson would be perfect for a bachelorette party* 

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Hometown Tourist

* Pub Quiz at The Grocery*

          My posts this past week have been infrequent because of a visit from some very special guests.  The friends I met at the University of Edinburgh flew down South to visit.  We all met through a set of random circumstances in Scotland, and have not seen each other since in over two years.  Throughout their week visit we did things I both normally do and do not do as well.  Crawfish, a boat ride, The Shed, and many more fun Gulf Coast activities were on the agenda.  We also went to New Orleans for a few nights where we got to take the "Haunted New Orleans" Tour as well as all the other fun tourist activities.  One thing we did that I had not done was visit some of the local cemeteries including St. Louis No. 1 and Lafayette No. 1 in the Garden District.  We even left an offering at the Marie Laveau tomb which was also a first for me.

          It was also special to actually discuss our book club selection and pick a new one in person.  We discussed The Moviegoer at Cafe Du Monde over beignets.  Spending a week with my friends that love history, reading, and SYTYCD as much as I do was such a fantastic way to spend my week off.  Now next year we will begin planning a new adventure.  In other news I have begun reading the third book in the eBook Challenge called Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr another popular YA selection.  

* How much we all liked Cafe Du Monde* 

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Bridesmaid Shoe Conundrum

           My bridesmaid Linda reminded me of a random decision I have not made yet.  What shoes are the bridesmaids going to wear?  I have thought on the route to take... dyed shoes, matching heels, cute flip flops?  Seriously, I feel as if I could go on forever with this.  Now I am leaning towards silver shoes of the individual bridesmaid's choosing.  They can have as high of a heel as they want or no heel at all.  Here are the options that I found with a quick search, and no these are not your middle school homecoming shoes!  

*Sexy shoes from the Journee Collection*

*City Flats Sold at Gap offer a great comfy shoe alternative for the reception!*

 * Precious Ruffles from Liliana* 

*These shoes are so sexy!  They are from*

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Some Fantastic Ideas I May or May Not Use

          These are the latest fruits of my brainstorming and internet searching.  May be more to come in the later weeks as I read my newest edition of Martha Stewart Weddings that came in this week!

 *Clever and small centerpiece from Everyday Celebrating*

* This is an adorable coffee bar presentation!  The pictures are also fantastic at this website*  The Redding House has a perfect little nook upstairs for a cute coffee bar!

*I like the idea of having a customized embosser to use for invitations instead of using address labels*  This one celebrates my French roots.  

*These cookies would be a unique and tasty treat for my guest*

     In other news, my friends from Edinburgh will be here in less than two days!  Blogging may be sparse as the shenanigan's ensues.  

Monday, 14 March 2011

Pink Champaign Cake


           This weekend, I baked a cake out of my new book Booze Cakes: Confections Spiked with Spirits, Wine, and Beer by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone.  I baked the "Pink Champaign Cake" for my bff Leah's birthday.  It was a lot of fun to crank up my candy apple green Kitchen Aid mixer, and bake a cake from scratch.  The book has other yummy looking recipes such as rum cake among others.  Here is a glimpse at my morning baking.

*Both the Batter and the Frosting Contained REAL Champaign*

*On this light batter I decided not to color it pink for a classy look*

*So Far So Good the Cake Turned out Perfect!*

*Unfortunately, my frosting did not manage to be the same way.*

*It covered fine after doctoring it up, but it wasn't quiet right*

          Obviously, something did not go quiet right due to my soupy frosting.  I believe that when I was beating in all the ingredients for the frosting I added the champaign too quickly.  Another possibility is I did not wait for my butter to fluff up enough.  So I highly suggest using caution when making the frosting.  The cake still tasted yummy and had a nice moist texture along with the pleasant smell of champaign.  

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Baking Book Wish List!

         In the spirit of my baking crazed weekend, I am including a list of awesome looking books.  Some of these I have had my hands on, and others look like a lot of fun on their Amazon previews.  Even though most of them are cupcake books, I am down for any fantastic baking guides.  

1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cakes, and Cookies by Sandra Salamony

Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Vegan Cupcakes Takeover the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Track and Alan Richarson

The Happy Baker: A Girl’s Guide to Emotional Baking by Erin Bolger

How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson

Cupcakes from Primrose Bakery by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas

Mini Cupcakes by Leslie Fiet

All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray 

Friday, 11 March 2011

A Year in Baking

        Earlier today I realized that my HTC Hero had a digital scrapbook of my baking throughout this year.  Here, I am sharing it with you...

*Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting for Tabitha's Birthday*

*Strawberry Duck Cupcakes for Linda's Birthday*

*Chocolate Chip and Espresso Muffins*

*Southern Soda Bread*

*Dia de Los Muertos Bread for our Day of the Dead Party*

*White Chocolate Cupcakes with toasted coconut on top to bring in the New Year*

       Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Alternative Wedding Songs

* Engagement shot by my friend JJC*

             If I know one thing about my fiance, it is that he has to be unique from the rest.  I think his idea of hell would be sitting in a room with people dressed just like him.  When everyone else has it, he is not going to want it.  It is truly something I admire in him.  This non-conformity has really led us to some adventures, and more are sure to come.  This post is in the spirit of Ed's individuality.  Some wedding traditions I love such as the cutting of the cake, parents giving away the bride, and the something blue.  However, some wedding traditions are lame like the garter toss.  I find "Here Comes the Bride" as one of those such traditions.  So I here are some of the songs that are in the running as my ceremony music:

  1. "Help, I'm Alive" by Metric is such a awesome song!  I would use the instrumental version, but the song makes me think of something exciting in life.  My wedding day cannot be more exciting. 
  2. "Clocks" by Coldplay is a classic from the days nearly ten years ago when Edward and I began dating.  Their song "Yellow" is such a beautiful love song, but "Clocks" is moving.  
  3. "Hurricane" by Something Corporate is another unique choice.  However, the opening line "I think I'm on the edge, of something new with you" really fits the wedding spirit.  It would also be a good testimony to irony since the song title still means something to our hometown.  
         Those are just a few ideas, but there are others.  Florence and the Machine, Arcade Fire, and of course my old stand by Better Than Ezra have excellent options.  Only about six and a half more months to go!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Book Review: Haunted New Orleans by Troy Taylor

            Haunted New Orleans: History & Hauntings of the Crescent City by Troy Taylor is surprisingly the first ghost story book I have read about New Orleans.  Since, the time of my childhood I have had an unusual interest in the supernatural, and Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I read supernatural teen reads before it was cool in high school.  Although I have mostly lived next door to New Orleans, Louisiana most of my life my interest has only sparked six months ago when I began my job at Local History.  The peoples of the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Mobile are so closely related in history, and culture that we could be a state of our own.  (That is a line I have stolen from my friend, and New Orleans enthusiast Jerry.)  

        Taylor begins with a very brief history of the city, and I do not know if he really focused on the right points in the city's history.  He sort of just followed the stereotypes of the city such as Mardi Gras, and Voodoo.  I am not saying that those things should be ignored, but there is such a unique atmosphere in the city for many more reasons.  He was not able to communicate the merging cultures of the French, Spanish, African American, and Southern American culture that has developed since the 1700s.   In his biography in the back of the book it only mentions that he has written over seventy titles in the supernatural/true crime, and lives in Chicago.  I have to wonder if he actually left his home in Chicago to write this small volume.

"The history of Old New Orleans ends with the last shots of the Civil War." ~Troy Taylor 

       I cannot disagree with this statement on page twenty anymore.  Sure, the city has changed with modern times, but the retention of the things "Old New Orleans" makes city so special.  Taylor also skims the next hundred and twenty years of city history from the Civil War to Hurricane Katrina.  F.D. Roosevelt's New Deal, World War II, and desegregation had such an impact on our lives in the south as well as New Orleans.  

         The actual stories listed in the book were entertaining, and all the famous stories were included.  Marie Laveau, St. Louis Cemetery, and the famous LaLaurie Mansion that were touched on when I went on a ghost tour about three years ago.  It was a good introduction for someone that had a passing interest or wanted to do some reading related to a New Orleans vacation.  One ghost story that I enjoy that was not listed is the ghost at Muriel's Restaurant at Jackson Square.  You can read the full account at the link.  It is a fantastic place for a meal as well, and Edward recommends the shrimp and ghost cheese crepes!  

        In closing, I wish Taylor would have done more than secondary source research in order to write about the ghost stories.  The "history" of the hauntings was lacking when such wonderful sources are still available in the city with the New Orleans Public Library and Historic New Orleans Collection.  However, if you would like a quick ghostly read about New Orleans it is a good choice.  

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Another Awesome Reading Challenge! E-Readers

           Since it is still early in the year, I wanted to catch at least one or two more reading challenges.  I have seen this one on a few blogs, and it also appealed to me.  It is hosted by The Ladybug Reads, and has several levels of accomplishment within it.  The levels go as follows:

-- Curious – Read 3 e-books.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 

-- Addicted – Read 12 

-- Obsessed – Read 
20 e-books.

-- Possessed – Read 
50 e-books.

-- Fanatical – Read 
75 e-books.

-- Monomaniacal – Read 
100 e-books.

I promise I am not going to try "monomaniacal," but I am going to try for "obsessed" since I do not want my e-reader to be obsolete before I get to reading on it.  I can already count The Dragon of Croatia and I Am Number Four so eighteen more to go!  

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Tribute

      I love these ladies so much!  It makes me so happy they will be with me on my special day.

*Leah and I at the Mockingbird Cafe*

         Leah is my Maid of Honor, and I would entrust the running of a country to her.  We met when we were both in High School as Sea Camp counselor aids.  After graduation, we both attended Southern Miss.  Before one fall semester we both loaded up in my Jeep for a day trip to H’Burg in order to get a head start on campus errands.  We ended up bonding over the Starbucks in the library and have been best friends ever since.  So much has happened since those Caramel Macchiatos!  Leah is now a grad student studying Marine Biology on the coast.  Books that remind me of Leah are fun and flirty chick lit novels with lovable protagonists such as The Queen of Babble. 

*Linda and I at Tsunami's Sushi Restaurant*

        Linda lived next door to me in my freshman dorm Bolton Hall at Southern Miss.  We also sat next to each other in a college algebra class for a month before realizing that the person living next door was the same person sitting next to them in class.  We kept each other company during many procrastination marathons in school, and lived together off campus for a summer.  Linda is a friend that I can always depend on to go along with any hair-brained scheme I imagine.  Although one of her favorite series is Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, I would say if she were a book it would be a book more like The Devil Wear’s Prada where a good hearted girl triumphs over some force of evil. 

*Tabitha and I in Venice, Italy*

       We also affectionately call her Taba-thug.  I met Tabitha when she was appointed my mentor in the Luckyday Program.  In order for us to contact one another, we played the longest game of phone tag that I think will result in a longer friendship.  Traveling, reading, and school are our shared loves.  We have been to Colorado, New York City, and even Italy together!  She now is working on her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of South Carolina and I miss her like crazy.  Tabitha’s book would be a woman’s travel adventure through several continents like Eat, Pray, Love.

*Ashlei, Holly, and I at Ashlei's Eighties Birthday Party*

      Holly is my twenty-two year old little sister.  (Although I cannot believe she is that old!)  She plays softball at McNeese State in Louisiana, but we text often.  When she calls and asks me advice for a good book I am the proudest!  Unlike, me she is tougher and is a great athlete.  Holly would be an action adventure novel with a badass female spy as the lead character. 

      Ashlei is my cousin and my oldest friend.  We grew up a short walk through the woods from one another.  We both read a lot and have the same stories growing up.  Since I moved home we have reconnected, and I can count on her too keep me straight when the world gets crazy.   Ashlei would be an epic historical romance novel, but definitely not the cheesy kind.  

In other news three of my favorite ex-patriot buddies will be in Mississippi in fifteen days!  I feel like a little bit of Edinburgh is coming to my hometown.  Can't wait for them to get here.  

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Among Our Own Kind... Avid Readers Meeting Other Readers

*Engagement Picture at the West Biloxi Library by JJC* 

        Last night after Ed and I did our weekly grocery run, we had to stop by the neighborhood K-Mart in order for Ed to pick up fishing tackle.  As one can imagined, I was not too excited about fishing accessories so I made my way to the magazine/book display on the other end of the store.  While I took in the small section another reader walked by me.  She circled the shelves several times.  Normally, I keep my mouth shut and do not bother others in their reading choices.  Instead I began a conversation with a fellow reader.  I started by suggesting The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and proceeded to tell her about my favorite used bookstore just up the road.   The conversation was short and pleasant.  After she left me alone to read the back of the Rick Riordan novel The Red Pyramid I began thinking of all the fellow readers I have come in contact with over the years.  

        I was a bit of an anomaly in my family due to the fact that instead of playing sports, I joined clubs and read.  Okay so I read a lot.  My dad used to catch me late at night with a book light.  Anyways, I kept my reading under wraps until I moved schools in sixth grade.  There I found a reading teacher that had a whole library in the back of her tiny classroom.  Then I would check books out of her little library and read during our breaks.  From then on out I met other readers along the way throughout high school and my undergrad.  As a matter of fact, they are some of my best friends.  Then when I moved to Edinburgh I met several special people that read just as much and more than me.  We would spend weekends looking through used bookstores and charity shops.  

      Now my entire twenty-somethings have been promoting reading.  First as a coffee girl and sales associate at Books A Million, and then at circulation at the library.  There, I was looked at as an expert!   I had so many afternoons where people would come in after picking up a book series for the first time loving it, and now seeking an outlet for their newly acquired appetite for books.  (More often than not it was the Twilight series.)  In the past six months, I have shifted my gears from all books all the time to history and genealogy.  So my newest escapades into blogging have been fulfilling for me.  I hope that I am ultimately helping people the same way I did at the circulation desk.  

     So, who was the most special reader you have ever met?