Friday, October 29, 2010

This Day Changes Everything

Today is a pretty big day for me. You see, all my life I've had this hair. This curly, frizzy somewhat unmanagable mop on my head. Thanks to new products and hair technology, it's become more managable over the years but that takes a considerable amount of time and effort. I'm going to confess something here. When I say "considerable," I mean roughly an hour to an hour and a half of hair fixing every other day.

I have a pool in my backyard that I rarely allow myself to swim in unless I was already planning to do my hair that day. Do you know the prision I'm living in? I feel a little vain spending all of that time on my hair, but life has really left me no other options. See for yourself:

This first look can only be pulled off between the ages of 2-3. I was kind of working the look. Thank God it was the 80s.

Here I am a few years later, sporting the same do while opening my Barbie Pony, Dallas, on my birthday. I consider this my first of many awkward stages. It's a little Farrah Fawcett in the front, Chuck Norris in the back (he used to have a mullet, if you'll remember).  

Throughout my developmental years, we really tried everything. This was an early attempt at straightening, and it looks like some hot rollers may have also been involve. Not too bad. It helps that my cousin Casey is wearing that hat, which is most likely what I was thinking when this picture was taken.

And then, in a moment of revelation, we thought that cutting my hair short would solve all of our problems. That didn't work out very well either.

But today, I'm breaking the chains of oppression, one strand at a time. Today, I'm getting a Brazilian Blowout. This will allow me to get out of the shower, wave a blow dryer over my hair and leave the house with the sleek, straight hair I work so hard for right now. I repeat, actually get ready and leave the house in about 30 minutes.

Ty and I aren't sure yet just how drastically this is going to change our lives, but we're both very excited. After I made my appointment, Ty embraced me and said, "I'm really, really happy for you" with 100 percent sincerity.

LJ said, "What are you going to do with all your spare time? Sleep? Read? Cook? Learn to shoot a pistol? Hell you'll have time for it all."

Lauren said, "This will be like the leap from the big barrel curling irons to Helen of Troy."

Beachy waves, here I come!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Church Soulmate

A little over a year ago, I started to become good friends with this girl at church named Jenny. Jenny wasn't a complete stranger to me when they started coming to church. She and my sister-in-law Ashley had gone to high school together, and I'd met Jenny before at a few of Ashley's wedding events.

This is Jenny. Ty thinks we look like we could be sisters. Neither of us are really sure what compelled us to hold hands while we listened to Ty sing at the reception. I guess that's what you do with your "church soulmate," as we call each other. But this picture really does perfectly capture our friendship. Jenny is one of those friends that I know God divinely placed in my life, hence the soulmate thing.  

A few months after our friendship began to develop, Jenny suddenly and unexpectedly lost her mom. I never had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Norma, but she was Jenny's best friend, and from everything I hear, she was an incredible woman. I never really knew what to tell Jenny since I never had the mother-daughter relationship that she shared with her mother. And although my experience is the opposite of Jenny's, I could relate to the void she felt. 

I get glimpses of the person Mrs. Norma was every time I'm around Jenny. I see that she was an wonderful mom through watching Jenny with her own children. I tell Jenny all the time that she's my model for how Ty and I will raise our children! I see her in Jenny's smile and facial features -- Mrs. Norma looked just like Jenny when she was her age.

Jenny is strong and creative and caring. She's thoughtful and giving, and she never shies away despite how raw life can leave you sometimes. In all that Jenny has experienced over the past year, I'm glad she opened up and let new people, like me, into her life. I would have hated to miss out on such an amazing friendship ... not to mention, my church soulmate.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Nice Day for a White Wedding

WARNING: I'm about to inundate you with a series of wedding photos, so if you're not into that sort of thing you may want to check back in tomorrow. ... or the next day since this post will not include any reception photos and I'd like to share some of those, too.

We got our wedding photos in about two weeks ago. Our amazing, talented, pregnant and hard working photographer Melissa Breedlove sent them to us in a care package, which included a bible with Jordan Family stamped on the front, a blanket and a sweet note from Melissa. I then popped the DVD slideshow she created into our player and spent the next 20-something minutes wiping tears from my eyes so I could actually see the pictures as the slideshow played.

Our goal was a Southern chic wedding, and I think with a little vision and much, much work we pulled it off. I couldn't do the big church doors swinging open and the trumpet blasting "Trumpet Voluntary" while everyone rose to their feet. I'm jealous of girls who make this look easy. I could name a few dozen. So, Ty and I decided we would have a more laid back outdoor wedding with all the same elements of a big church wedding. And we decided to have a moment together before the wedding to calm our nerves. And by our nerves, I mean mine.

I walked out first and waited for Ty. Even though I was completely alone, with no one watching, this was the most nervous I felt all day. I was glad we knocked this first sighting out because I would have passed out or puked if I had to do this in front of 300 people.

Then Ty came out.

And then we got to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy each other for a few minutes. "So, how was your day?" is one of the first things I said to him. Old habit.

Then we took roughly a thousand pictures before guests started to arrive. And roughly 950 of them turned out to be absolute perfection. I attribute the 50 not so great ones to "my bad side."

I love this picture. My brother Chris is really cracking up about something. These guys are so handsome.

I don't think the guys liked picture time very much, but they're very good at it when they're not even trying.

Look at me and LJ rocking the skinny arm. It's all about creating optical illusions.   

It looks like Sarah and I are just now seeing each other for the first time when in actuality we'd been hanging out all day. Don't you love friends like that?

After the ceremony, we all gathered in the back hallway of the Country Store (where the ceremony was held) and did lots of hugging, laughing and high-fiving. These are some of my favorite moments from from the day. We have the most incredible group of friends.

And I love, love, love this picture. This is Ty's sister and mom, Mandy and Margaret, and I think they're identical. They even laugh alike.

Reception to come soon. Brace yourself.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Ways To Define "Amazing"

The First Definition of the Word "Amazing"

When I look at this picture, I find a few things to be amazing. First, that Ty can so easily transition into costume when asked to be the live entertainment at a "White Trash Bash." Second, that all of the components of this outfit already existed in his wardrobe (the eagle necklace was purchased on the beach in Cabo after three days of price negotiations). Third, that I think he looks pretty cute ... all things considered.

The Second Definition of the Word "Amazing"

I can sum this definition up pretty quickly -- my Aunt Robbie.

I took off work early Friday to go to Elm Grove Middle School for my Aunt Robbie's retirement party. Robbie has been at Elm Grove since she started teaching and recently retired from her position as assistant principal. She's been a treasure to the Bossier school system. She has the heart of a servant, which has been evident in my life many, many times.

On my wedding day, I remember telling her that I didn't know how she managed to just make everything happen so seamlessly. I don't worry about things when Robbie's around, and she's always taken the best care of me. 

I couldn't have a better aunt, and I hope she enjoys retired life. I see lots of trips to Northwest Arkansas and many rounds of golf on the horizon!

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Official Stand Against Ragweed -- And a Recipe

When Ty and I originally started to consider wedding dates, I thought October would be perfect. The weather would be cooler, leaves would be falling, it would be magical because fall is my favorite. But I must have been experiencing a major brain hemorrhage to ever consider October.

For some reason, as fall rolls around and I pull out my sweatpants and start researching pumpkin recipes, this deep nostalgia emerges within me, and I completely repress the memory that October's step-cousin Ragweed kicks my butt each year.

Yesterday, my butt was kicked.

I went to the doctor, had some stuff sprayed up my nose to open my sinuses, got a shot of celestone to boost my body into recovery mode, filled two prescriptions of Nasonex and Augmentin and passed out on the couch for the rest of the day.

Then, I felt I should do something productive for my husband, so I made roast spaghetti out of our leftovers. I don't really consider this cooking since the roast was made earlier this week, but it's a great way to create something new from your leftovers or even a great dish to make from scratch. And perfect for a sick day considering I only had to muster the strength to break apart the roast and stir it with some spaghetti sauce. The roast gives the sauce a nice, rich flavor that you typically don't get from ground beef. This would even be good piled onto a piece of buttery Texas toast.

Roast Spaghetti
from the kitchen of Lauren Smith
  • Cook your roast however you prefer. Lauren and I each slow cook ours in the crock pot with a little bit of water and two packets of onion soup mix, which makes it super tender and easy to tear apart.
  • Once the roast is cooked, combine with a large jar of spaghetti sauce (pick out whatever sauce you prefer).
  • Pour in a cup to a cup and a half of the broth from the crock pot to give the sauce a rich flavor.
  • Let it simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes and serve over pasta. Penne is preferred, but whatever's in your pantry will suffice.
This recipe freezes really well, and is easy to prepare when you're sick but still want to feel useful!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Soup's On

A special thanks to the blog readers who've waited so patiently for this broccoli cheese soup recipe. I first had this soup about two years ago at 2439 Fairfield "A Bed and Breakfast" (pictured above). This is a great place to host a small baby shower or luncheon, and their cookbook is filled with wonderful local recipes. If you want one of your own, they're $18 and can be purchased by e-mailing

And if you just want this magical soup recipe, here you go:

Broccoli Cheese Soup
by Jimmy Harris

1 stick butter
1 large onion, chopped
6 cups water or chicken broth
6 chicken bouillon cubes
8 oz medium egg noodles, crushed fine
28 oz frozen broccoli florets
1/8 tsp garlic powder
6 cups half and half
2 lbs Velveeta cheese, cubed
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp white pepper

  • Saute onion and butter in large pot.  
  • Add water and chicken bouillon and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, cook broccoli in microwave, drain and pulse in food processor.
  • Add egg noodles to liquid.
  • Let cook uncovered 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in broccoli and garlic powder, add pepper, let cook 3 minutes
  • Add half and half and heat to almost boiling (don't let it boil) then add Velveeta and cheddar cheese.
  • Stir constantly to melt cheese and keep it from scorching
  • Add salt if needed.
This freezes really well, so make a pot and put away for winter! I imagine Ty and us enjoying this with the fireplace roaring, sweatpants on and cozied up on the couch.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Home Alone

Let me go ahead and apologize to everyone who wants the broccoli and cheese soup recipe. I was halfway to work this morning when I realized I'd forgotten the cookbook at home. I thought about turning around, but there was no time. So I swear to post it on Monday, and in the meantime, I beg your forgiveness.

So, as I mentioned yesterday, Ty got home last night from a six-night stay in North Dakota. I didn't actually realize anyone vacationed in the Dakotas, but who was I to argue. He and four other guys went up there to hunt various forms of wildlife.

Ty being out of town conjures up the following emotion in me:

A constant state of panic that someone is going to break into my house while I'm there. I'm no Macaulay Culkin. I don't have cardboard cutouts to dance in the windows, marbles to put at the base of the stairs or a paint can to swing off the upstairs banister. By those standards, I'm defenseless.

I hate being home alone, which is a strange new twist in my life considering I lived alone for many years and loved it. But we're in a new house now ... with lots of doors that I lie in bed and wonder if I've actually locked. I did things this week that I never do.

I stayed up past 10:30.

I let the dogs sleep in the bed.

With all this being said, I was thrilled to see Ty walk in the door last night. I was thrilled to have him sleeping next to me. And I was thrilled to get the best night's sleep I've had in about a week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Funniest Thing I Have Ever Read

After reading "New Moon" on our honeymoon, I needed a break from the "Twilight" drama. Is it just me or is Bella the most obnoxious literary character of all time? Can we say co-dependant much? I know a lot of people love these books, but I really don't know how I'll make it through the next two books in the series.

I needed a break from it all, and so I thought a nice diversion would be Chelsea Handler's first book, "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea." I've had the book for a while, but I've been unable to read it in light of the breaking news that she and 50 Cent are dating. He's gross, right?

But, I really like Chelsea and thought she could offer up a few laughs. Let me summarize and tell you everything you need to know about this book in one short sentence -- It's the funniest thing I've ever read.


And considering I won a reading contest in 1st grade for reading 200-plus books in a matter of weeks, you should trust my opinion on this. I've read a lot.

So, every night this week, I've gotten in bed and literally laughed out loud at Chelsea's stories.  Here's a great excerpt to wet your appetite:
I turned around and spotted Jason Safirstein. Jason was an adorable fifth grade with an amazing lower body who lived down the street from me. I had never walked to school, had a conversation with, or even so much as made eye contact with Jason before. After lifting up one of my earmuffs to make sure I had heard him correctly, I nervously attempted to release my wedgie while waiting for him to catch up. (A futile effort, as it turned out, when wearing two mittens the size of car batteries.)
"I heard you were going to be in a movie with Goldie Hawn," he said to me, out of breath.
Shit. I had worried something like this was going to happen. The day before, I had forgotten my language arts homework, and when the teacher singled me out in front of the entire class to find out where it was, I told her that I had been in three straight nights of meeting with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, negotiating my contract to play Goldie Hawn's daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin.
Ty's been out of town for nearly a full week (he gets back from North Dakota today!), but in the meantime, Chelsea has been great company.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Handy as a Pocket on a Shirt

Our husbands had been out of town three days when Lauren text me, "How much have you baked this weekend?"

She knows me too well. When Ty goes hunting, I bake and then deliver the goodies to all my friends. It's my latest diet plan. If you fatten up everyone around you, you'll inevitably look skinner. And it's much easier than really dieting. 

I was proud to tell Lauren that I hadn't resulted to baking just yet, but I had done several other domestic projects over the course of the weekend:

Friday night: Homemade Broccoli and Cheese Soup

A few years ago, my sister-in-law had her bridesmaid's luncheon at the same bed and breakfast where mine was held. At her luncheon, they served this amazing broccoli and cheese soup, and ever since I've had those cheesy broccoli florets dancing in my head. At my luncheon, I was given the bed and breakfast's cookbook with the broccoli cheese soup recipe in it. 

So, Friday night I ran to the grocery store to get my ingredients, along with a bottle of Pinot Grigio, and I got to cooking. The soup is delicious, but you can't eat very much because it's so rich and creamy, probably due to the six cups of half and half the recipe calls for. I ate half a bowl and put the rest in the freezer for the winter. 

Saturday Morning: Furniture Refinishing Class 

Saturday morning, I went to my good friend Jenny's house for a furniture refinishing class. Stacey Hess, a longtime friend of Jenny and my sister-in-law, taught herself how to make frames and refinish furniture and now she's passing on her gift to others. I found the ugliest piece of Ty's old furniture, which had been exiled to the garage since our move and took it to the class to see what could be made of it. 

I think it turned out to be pretty cute, and I'm now using it as my nightstand.

 One piece of ugly furniture down, tons more to go.

Sunday Afternoon: Living Room Decorating

Now that I'm done with wedding planning, I can shift my focus to our home, and I'm starting with the living room. In a few days, I'll upload an overview shot of our living room. It's the best room in the house because of the tall pitched roof and exposed wood beams. But this weekend, I focused on shelving. There's still miles to go, but I thought this was a good start.

I like to keep things pretty neutral with small pops of color. The initial plate was given to us as a wedding gifts and is one of my favorite pieces. It's from Kelly Wilson Antiques in Dallas. Kelly takes antique pieces of china and adds your initial through decoupage. It's so unique. I think her plates would make amazing Christmas gifts.

More house updates to come since apparently that's all I do these days!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Game We Played on Vacation

A place like Cabo attracts people of all nationalities, and through all of my vacation observations, I learned one thing: Speedos are widely accepted, and possibly the norm, in other parts of the world.

In recent years, I've been forced to come to terms with the Speedo. I'm pretty sure about 50 percent of my husband's adolescent life was spent wearing one. And sometimes when he's feeling particularly nostalgic, he'll clean the pool wearing one.

You have to pick your battles.

So, while we were away, Speedo spotting became a game of ours. There are so many lovely sights in Cabo, however these are not some of them.

I snapped this picture while washing the sand off my feet. I feel bad because the lady was scratching her armpit ... AND her "dad" was wearing a Speedo. Tough break.

This picture was a challenge to take, but it seems I managed to fly under everyone's radar. Notice the speedo to the right. I could have gotten a better picture while he was in line for carne asada with a massive swimsuit wedgie, but my camera was a little slow and we were about to eat.

OK. I think these people may have caught me. But, baby blue? How daring!

I get the feeling that his Speedo/life jacket combination is going to result in a very awkward tan line.

I hope this has been as culturally enlightening for you as it was for us.