Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Bob is back, y'all. Let's recall that in Vancouver, Bob struggled with outfit coordination and in London his makeup was approximately one inch thick. He seems to have worked those issues out in Sochi. Or we just haven't noticed because Bob Costas's pink eye is American biggest Olympic star this year. Yes, Sochi, that seeming disaster of a city, gave our beloved Bob an eye infection so severe he could no longer read the teleprompter. Last night the anchor desk featured Matt Lauer, ending Bob's 26 year streak as Olympic anchor. It is a tragedy of Olympic proportions.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

you're ringing the only wedding bell

Most of you already know this, but just in case you haven't heard - I'm engaged! To the aforementioned The Beard, of course. It is simultaneously wonderful and overwhelming. I have never been the focus of so much emotion. Screaming, crying, jumping up and down... these are all reactions people had when I told them. And the hugging. So. much. hugging.

So here is the roundabout proposal story: Longtime readers know that I am kinda obsessed with my maternal grandparents. One of things I admired most about them was the love and devotion they had for each other. They were just adorable. After my grandfather retired, he would get up and make breakfast (toast, coffee cake, juice, & tea) and bring it to my grandmother on a tray every morning. They would relax on the bed, read the paper, and eat a leisurely breakfast for 2 hours. When we visited as children, we would crowd onto the bed with them and steal all the danishes. Eating breakfast in bed with them is probably my most cherished memory of them.

The Beard had heard all these stories and brought me breakfast in bed one time on vacation. So on Friday night when he casually mentioned he wanted to have breakfast together on Saturday, I thought little of it. He showed up early with muffins and fruit and announced we were eating breakfast in bed. Once again, I just thought he was being his usual sweet self. He sat down next to me and said something about how he hoped we could be as happy & in love for as long as my grandparents were. Then he got down on one knee and pulled out the ring. I was totally shocked and romantically said, "Are you proposing to me right now?!!" After the sappy romantic parts were over I said, "You proposed to me while I was wearing my pajamas!"

Even with the pajamas, it was perfect. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

On BBQ Sauce

I have discovered a new barbecue sauce. As an (almost) life-long resident of The South I thought I was an expert on all things BBQ. My love for a South Carolina mustard-based sauce runs hard and deep. I once drove 10 people through the ghettos of Columbus, GA for 30 minutes to get mustard BBQ from Smokey Pig Barbecue. It is one of those BBQ places where the line is out the door 15 minutes before it opens (partly because the interior is smaller than my living room). I still think about that BBQ sometimes.

I enjoy a good Coke/ketchup based sauce, but in North Carolina you can get Cheerwine/ketchup based sauce which is even better. Tennessee's sauce has whiskey in it (of course) & I'm partial to it purely out of state loyalty. I can appreciate a vinegar-based sauce, but won't waste my time if there is something better. Kanas City style sauce is not fit for human consumption (so dull/sweet), but sadly is found all over the country. BUT, this past weekend I discovered the Birmingham white sauce. Even I was surprised to discover a white BBQ sauce. It is only found around the Birmingham area and is basically a mild, smokey mix of mayonnaise and vinegar. It is pretty much exclusively used for chicken and it was pretty good! I don't even really like mayonnaise and I still liked it. What I'm trying to say is, I probably need to go on a BBQ tour of the South. What if there are more delicious sauces I don't know about?!

PSA: If you invite people over for a "barbecue" and you serve them hamburgers made on a grill, you are a liar and made your friends very, very sad. I'm looking at you, Utah. (I fell for that line for 2 years before I learned to expect disappointment)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Screen Time

A few days ago RationalThought and I were discussing our poor sleep habits. For example, I start looking at Pinterest at 11:30pm and suddenly it is 1:30am and I'm not even sleepy. She had decided to implement a "no screens in the bedroom" rule for herself. It sounded like a good idea. I do feel like I have a technology addiction (as does almost every American). I had an early meeting the next day so that night I followed her advice and went to bed. The next morning I woke up and looked at the time on my phone. Then, while still lying in my bed, I checked my email on my phone because doesn't everyone do that? There was an email canceling my meeting! So I went back to sleep for 2 more hours, never having to leave my warm bed. Moral of the story: screens in the bedroom are a very good thing.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

on gift giving

My philosophy on gift giving is this: A good gift is something the person would want but would never purchase for themselves. Some people are super easy to find gifts for. (I have at least 10 ideas for Babe's birthday). Other are crazy hard. For example, Boy is so impossible that his birthday was 2 weeks ago and I still have not gotten him anything. Even his wife said, "He is so hard to shop for!" I think partly it is just easier for me to shop for other women. 

I also really enjoy wrapping gifts and making them look nice. I recently realized I only have super girly gift bags and wrapping paper. The Beard's birthday was last week and all my gift bags were pink or polka dotted. So I just used an old shopping bag and some left over tissue paper that happened to be on top my tissue paper pile. It ended up looking like this:

Yes, I gave him a gift wrapped in a Sephora bag with Victoria Secret tissue paper. I clearly do not know how to give gifts to men. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

St.Louis: Religious Architecture

The day after visiting the art museum we headed up to Nauvoo for the wedding. Nauvoo is a little historic town right on the Mississippi River . The focal point of the town is the LDS temple set on a hill above the river. It is an exact replica of a temple built in the 1840s and destroyed in 1865. They tried to match the interior to the style of the 1800s with old rugs and period furniture (once again feeding my love of 19th century furniture). The most famous interior fixture however is the spiral staircase going from the 5th floor to the underground basement. All of the interior is beautiful, but it was hard to find decent pictures online and you aren't allowed to take any inside.

The day after the wedding we visited the Cahokia mounds, which are ancient American Indian mounds built in around 1100 AD. The largest mound was the about same height as one of the Aztec temples in Mexico & are the largest mounds north of Mexio. They were used as religious sites and housing sites for the wealthier classes - it was significantly cooler on top of the mounds. At its peak, Cahokia had a population of up to 40,000 (comparable in population size to London at the same time). And then they all disappeared, as seems to happen in the Americas. 

It was taller than it looks (approximately 10 stories tall).

We went from Cahokia to The Arch. While not technically a religious building it is a monument to American expansion, which we saw as our divine right so it is close enough. The museum in the basement had a excellent exhibit on the Lewis & Clark expedition, but I would not recommend the movie on the Arch's construction (made in the 1960s. I fell asleep).

We finished our tourism at the Basilica of St. Louis. My Catholic/Mormon neighbor dragged us there and I had to admit, it was worth it. It was beautiful - as beautiful as any cathedral I've seen in Europe. We did not have enough time to stay long, but I'm glad we got to see it. 
He is so excited!

All 4 of these sites really are architectural marvels and I'm glad I got to see them all in one trip!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

St.Louis: Not just corn and soybean fields

Last week I flew to St. Louis for my former roommate's wedding. I had not been to St. Louis since I was about 15 and I have a tendency to be somewhat... dismissive... toward any state considered Midwestern. I mean, flat fields of corn and soybeans? Yawn. So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that St. Louis is a really fun city (and has hills!)

I assume this is the dude St. Louis was named after (King Louis IX)

They have an expansive park that houses the zoo and several museums (all for free). I decided to visit the Art Museum because it was hot outside and my grandparents conditioned me to visit art museums as often as possible. The museum itself and its surrounding area were beautiful and the permanent collection was impressive (Pollock, Matisse, etc.) 

They had an extensive "Decorative Arts and Design" collection (basically furniture and dishes), which I enjoyed due to my obsession with early American furniture. I mean, just look at that amazing couch. My favorite room was the Charleston room, which was a recreation of a room from a South Carolina plantation (even St.Louis knows Southern homes are where it's at). The best parts about the room were the tiny piano-like instrument and the fact that I set off the security alarm. No one came to investigate - in fact I didn't see a single guard in the entire collection, leading me to conclude that the St.Louis art museum would be an excellent place to steal art (or 18th century furniture). 

In addition to the permanent collection, there were a few visiting collections. The Atlanta art museum has a rather poor permanent collection and wonderful visiting exhibits. I'd say the St. Louis museum was pretty much the opposite. Also, it was rather confusing and difficult to find the visiting exhibits because of the addition of a wing that was only accessible through one door at the end of a long gallery. I finally found the visiting exhibition that was the most heavily advertised called "Yoko Ono: Wish Tree". A similar exhibition was done at MOMA a while ago I think. It is basically 3 Japanese maples and a bunch of blank tags for people to write their wishes on. Most of the wishes were about happiness for oneself or someone else. A surprising amount seemed to be from mothers wishing their child would get married or have a child (thus an implicit assumption these events will lead to happiness.)  I took a few pictures of my favorite ones:

The one about the monkey is my favorite. In my mind, Colten is the author's little brother

So there we have it. The Midwest contains beautiful buildings AND art. Who knew? 

Next time on my tales of St.Louis: Nauvoo, the Arch, and Catholicism