Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas

Just to prove that alcoholic beverages aren't the only thing I make from Pinterest, here is a picture of the Christmas bark I made as gifts for my co-workers:

Jonathan and I have decided to fore go extraneous Christmas gifts this year. We're trying really hard to refocus on what the holiday is truly about. It's been very difficult to not buy him a present (and i did cheat and buy a few minor stocking stuffers- I'm a recovering consumer-holic. Oh well, it's good for the economy). In lieu of Christmas gifts, we are donating money to a cause near and dear to our hearts. Living Water is an organization that builds water wells in third world countries. Think the draught in Texas is bad? It's nothing compared to Ethiopia. You stop complaining about your dry skin and dead lawns when you realize that in East Africa, they are dying of dehydration. So aside from essential Christmas gifts (aka for my sweet little nephews), we committed to giving every dollar that would normally go to a Christmas gift to Living Water. Because I think that's what Jesus would do. And that's the whole point.

But still, it has been a hard adjustment and it was pretty "Grinch" of me to decline participating in Secret Santa at work this year. But I made up for it by gifting a scrumptious Christmas treat that I creatively call "Christmas Bark". Super creative, huh? It's a pretty simple to make, extremely delicious, and perfectly fattening. What you need is:

Cookie Sheet lined with wax paper

About 14 Christmas Oreos (and by the way, they make them in peppermint too. I'm just saying.)

About 1 1/2 cups of pretzel sticks

Any other red and green goodies. I used holiday m&ms and sprinkles, but you could really improvise here and use whatever you want.

1 1/2 pound of almond bark (or white chocolate. I did a batch with both and preferred the almond batch, but to each his own)

First step: crush pretzel sticks and oreos and spread evenly over wax papered cookie sheet; add candy of choice

Second step: Melt almond bark for about 1.5 minutes and then in 10 second intervals until it is completely smooth.

Third step: Pour melted goodness over cookie sheet. Immediately add some candies/sprinkles/decorative edibles to mixture while it's still melted.

Last step: Let it cool. Refrigeration speeds this process up substantially. Once it sets, you can break into pieces and set in airtight storage container.

As a side note: Notice how I use a lot of estimations in my directions? That's because baking is a science, but cooking (i.e. pouring melted chocolate over pretzels and cookies) is an art. My mom was seriously measuring out the pretzel sticks. She's a scientist. Judging by the creative genius that came up with the name "Christmas Bark", I am obviously an Artist. Take your own liberties. It's supposed to be messy and asymmetrical. Just trust me on this one: You cannot mess this up.

This treat is seriously easy and undeniably festive. Your coworkers with thank you. And then blame you for their diabetes.

Get Your TigerTators Here

Because you aren't a true fan unless you eat LSU Tiger themed snacks.
By the way, these were not bought in Baton Rouge, but instead found at the Houston Heights Kroger. I bet it drives the Bama fans crazy. Which is awesome. Especially since one of them went out of their way to harass me at Kroger for using my LSU Grocery bags. And not in a joking, friendly "tiger bait" way, but more in a, "if you beat us in the national championship game, we will poison all the oak trees on your campus" kind of way. Class Acts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Historical Fiction

It’s coming down to the wire again. Here we are on the last day of November (seriously, where did November go?) and I’ve got 60 pages left to finish The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. If this were one of those 31 day months, it’d be no problem, but as it is, I’ve got to find about an hours’ worth of time today to meet my reading deadline.

Well hello there, lunch break!

For December it’s on to my first Michener as I tackle Hawaii. I always like to read at least one historic novel before I visit a place, and since Maui is on the agenda for January I figured I’d attempt the guru of all historic novelists.

I’m a travel junkie, but a full time job and limited funds make my actual travel ability much more infrequent than I’d like. I’m adding places to my list at a much faster rate than I am checking them off. Reading is a great way to be a fly on the wall of a place I might be unable or too intimidated to travel to.

The Historian has added several spots to my travel wish list including the French Alps, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Kostova’s vivid descriptions allow me to at least travel there in reverie.
(French Alps...sigh....)
Some other books that I have read that either enhanced my travel experience or inspired me to dream of a new locale include:
-Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon- I originally started the saga as a way to learn some Scottish history before our 2009 trip. It’s a great resource for learning about the history, language and culture of Scotland. As the series goes on, you get a glimpse of the influence of the Scottish on early American history and culture, especially in the Appalachia region.

-Angela’s Ashes
by Frank McCourt and A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle: Ireland.
-Molokai by Alan Brennert: Molokai, Hawaii
And this sounds really cheesy, but the Twilight series really made me want to visit Washington State and the Pacific Northwest.
There are loads more, but I’ve got some reading to get to. What about you? I’d love some pointers on new books.

ps. I tried to publish this on November 30, but the internet was down. Since I'm new to this whole blogging thing, i can't figure out how to back date it.

So Long Albert

"St. Louis Cardinals fans must feel like that dude in the second "Indiana Jones" movie who gets his heart ripped out of his chest."- David Schoenfield
You nailed it, David. That is exactly how I feel.

So long Albert Pujols. It's been nice knowing you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

San Francisco

What did you do this weekend? I walked over the Golden Gate Bridge. Without a Xanax. It was terrifying, but the views were magnificent. When Jonathan gets back from San Francisco, I’ll share more pictures of our latest honeymoon adventure.

I call all of our vacations honeymoons. I’m hoping to recreate whatever lovey-dovey look we had which encouraged people to treat us specially when we were on our original honeymoon in Peru. It doesn’t work. On our flight to Peru we were given a free cocktail. The hotel we stayed in baked us a “Honeymoom” cake.
Since then we have been to Jamaica, Scotland, Mexico, San Antonio, Ireland, and now San Francisco and not one single person has asked us if we’re on our honeymoon. And we milk it too. We make sure to hold hands in the airport, I rest my head on his shoulder when it's cocktail time on the plane, Jonathan always puts his arm around me when we’re checking into hotels, but it’s fruitless.

I guess we've lost that loving feeling. Or we aren't 23 years old anymore. Whichever.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy St. Andrew's Day!

Today is St. Andrew's Day, the national day of Scotland. St. Andrew became the patron Saint of Scotland around the 10th century. The town of St. Andrew's houses a world famous golf course and the University which Prince William and Kate attended.

It's not quite as festive as St. Patrick's Day, but Jonathan and I will definitely be toasting to a free Scotland tonight. In honor of the most beautiful country in the world, here are some pictures to inspire you. WARNING: they are contagious and travel bug may result.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Best Day Ever Hall of Fame

I mentioned earlier that Saturday was among one of my best days ever. Good enough to deserve it's own blog post. Well here it is. I woke up early to snag a 7 mile run before my morning facial. Then, it was off to the Houston Zoo. I’ve been waiting to go to the Zoo since we moved here a year ago, but our schedules or the weather just hadn’t cooperated until this weekend. It was such a great date. Seriously, is there anything more romantic than Elephant babies, Red Pandas, and Orangutans? I think not. When we first entered the Zoo we were faced with the impossible decision of what to see first. There were tons of signs with tempting little tidbits like ‘Big Cats’, ‘African Safari’, ‘Reptiles’, ‘Primates’ and of course ‘Hoofed Animals’(Because really, what is a Zoo without a ‘Hoofed Animals’ exhibit?). Jonathan instantly declared that he didn’t even really like Hoofed Animals so we skipped them and headed straight for the big cats. And that’s where we found Jonathan’s animal kingdom soul mate, conveniently also named Jonathan.

Jonathan the lion is described as “vocal, attention seeking, expert nap-taker”. Hmmm…

Actually, the resemblance is quite striking.

While the Big Cats slept, we made our way to the Primates. I am always astonished by the Chimpanzees and how human-like they are. Two of them were entertaining the kids by clapping their feet, beating on the glass, jumping up and down and LAUGHING. Their distinct personalities and individualism were amazing to watch. For instance, not all Chimpanzees are extroverts craving attention. In fact, Jonathan wasn’t the only one with a doppelganger at the Houston Zoo.

Nope, we spotted my twin as well, off in a corner, snuggled in a blanket, just trying to get some peace and quiet. I was seriously waiting for her to plop in a Gilmore Girls DVD and settle in for an afternoon nap.

But of course, the crowning moment of our Zoo experience was feeding the giraffes. Here I am, living the dream, feeding lettuce to Miles.
And if the day had ended there it would have been complete, but there was much more perfection to come. After feeding Miles, we also felt hungry and so went for lunch at Brown Bag Deli in Rice Village. I just love their tuna salad sandwiches, mostly for their buttery honey-wheat rolls. Yum! And since we were already in Rice Village, we might as well do some shopping right? After loading up on MAC cosmetics, we headed home for a power nap. Then it was off to Thairapy where I enjoyed a scalp massage and haircut. Pure bliss.

Since I got my hair did, I wanted to go out on the town. I threw on my new favorite purple dress and we headed to our favorite Belgian Restaurant, The Broken Spoke. And yes, I realize the fact that we have a favorite Belgian restaurant makes us total hipsters.
But really, is there anything better than Belgian cuisine? Don’t answer that. It’s a rhetorical question. There is NOTHING better than Belgian cuisine, trust me on this one. World’s best beer? Check. World’s best chocolate? Check. World’s Best Fries? Check, check, check. Broken Spoke gives the people what they want.

They have something like 20 Belgian beers on tap. One of them, Delirium, actually holds the title for World’s Best Beer. And it’s on tap! They have a chalkboard listing all their featured draft beers, and they even include a few American beers at the bottom for non-hipster folk. We overheard a patron ask the waitress what was good on tap and she replied “Well, they are all good. Except for those at the bottom.” Amen, sister. We took Jonathan’s family there once and his brother ordered a Budweiser. Had I known that ahead of time, I may have chosen not to marry into that family. Just kidding…sorta.
Here I am in my new purple dress with my new haircut, double fisting Belgian fries and the World’s Best Beer.

That, my friends, is what I call a good day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Running Wild

We’ve learned from out short time in Houston, that you can’t let good weather go to waste. So we took the perfect forecast and put it to good use this weekend and partook in some classic Houston activities.

Since Jonathan had Friday off and I got off work at 2, we took Bailey and headed over to Memorial Park. We ran one loop around the main park (about 3 miles) and then took Bailey off leash in the Arboretum. The Arboretum has been a life changing resource for having an active dog in the city. Our friends Brian and Jill introduced us to the wooded hiking trails and we try to go as often as possible and let Bailey run herself ragged.

We so often get frustrated with the attention she requires. Seriously, before you fall for the adorable Brittany breed- read the label. These dogs are non-stop energy, even for the most active dog owners. They really do need a decent sized yard. Did I mention we live in the city? A decent sized yard is about 200,000 over our budget. I run her upwards of 25 miles a week and it doesn’t even put a dent in her hyperactivity.

However, it is a thing of beauty to watch her run wild (see above picture- she’s the adorable white blur in the back). We just let her loose in the Arboretum and she zigzags at a full sprint until before we know it, she’s run 20 miles in the time it took us to hike 3. Glorious! By the time we headed home Friday, she was happy and more importantly, tired, which we’ve learned is a serious accomplishment.

Friday night we grilled porkchops and went for frozen yogurt at Menchie's in the Heights. We discovered Menchie’s last week and I am full on obsessed. It is self-serve and they have about 15 fun rotating flavors to choose from. By fun flavors, I’m not talking about your average variety vanilla-chocolate-strawberry, but gingerbread, cake-batter, red velvet, peanut butter, pumpkin, etc. And the toppings are equally exciting. Once I saw they had frosted animal crackers as a topping, I knew I’d be a lifelong customer. And plus, how fun is it to say "Menchie's"? That alone is worth a weekly visit.
We capped off the night by watching Never Let Me Go (Meh- read the book instead). Sound like a good day? Well it was nothing compared to the bliss that was Saturday...Saturday was such a good day that it deserves a spot in the Good Days Hall of Fame. Or at least good enough to deserve it’s own blog post.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games

Move over Animal Farm. Just a minute there Poisonwood Bible. Not so fast Count of Monte Cristo. Maybe next time Harry Potter. That’s right; there’s a new favorite book of all time in the house and it is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Trust me, I absolutely hate jumping on bandwagons and usually resist doing so at all costs, but this is seriously worth the hype.

I started reading The Hunger Games last week and was unable to put it down. It took all the self-control I have to stop reading at night and just go to sleep, knowing that I had to wake up at 5 AM. I wish I was the kind of person who didn’t feel completely unethical about playing hooky from work, because this is a book I could have happily finished in one sitting.

I finished reading the book Friday night and by Saturday, Jonathan was hooked. As we read in bed Saturday night, I found myself feeling jealous that he was reading The Hunger Games and I was not. I woke several times Saturday night and into the wee hours of Sunday morning to find Jonathan still reading, and it turns out he finished it around 2:30 in the morning. In one delicious sitting.

So I’m sure by now, you’ve already had a bazillion people tell you how good The Hunger Games is and you probably already know the premise of the story, but just in case: The Hunger Games is a sci-fi young adult novel set in post-apocalyptic America, in a nation known as Panem. Each year, the Twelve Districts that comprise Panem each send two children to fight to the death for fame and fortune. The story follows Katniss Everdeen in her ambivalent quest for survival.

Suzanne Collins deserves a Standing Ovation. Her writing style is simple and effective and her plot and character development are truly magnificent. As a writer, I could definitely learn a lot from her about the pacing of a novel. Reading The Hunger Games, I never felt rushed. In fact, I wanted to savor every chapter in order to hold on for a little bit longer and truly experience the story. I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

In fact, I’m thinking they would perfect books to read in one sitting. On a beach. In Hawaii. In January. Holla!

And it turns out, though the book that I am reading may not be at the best-book-ever level, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is pretty amazing, especially if you like that whole spooky, paranormal, vampire, historically accurate mystery novel type of thing. And really, what’s not to like about that?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Honey Badger Don't Care

I, like so many, have been profoundly inspired by Pinterest. I have pinned more crafts and recipes than I could ever make in a lifetime, even if I didn’t have a full time job. I never would have thought that the first thing I actually made from Pinterest would be a fancy champagne cocktail called “The Honey Badger”. However, special times call for fancy drinks and this past Saturday, my LSU tigers battled the BAMA Crimson Tide for the number 1 ranking in College Football. Now, normally, college football gatherings call for kegs of Natty Light, and not sophisticated cocktails consisting of French Liquor and homemade honey syrup. But it just so happens that one of our star players has earned the nickname “Honey Badger” for his ferociousness on the field. And it just so happens that I am kind of obsessed with him. So it just so happens that I am also obsessed with any and all Honey Badger paraphernalia. When I saw the recipe for this cocktail on Pinterest (because I may or may not have been specifically searching the term 'Honey Badger'), I knew I’d be making it for the game. And now, I have a new favorite drink.
Ingredients: Orange slices, honey syrup, St. Germain Liquor, Champagne To make the syrup is super easy, and it is also super impressive to say “Yes, I made the honey syrup from scratch”. You just mix one cup of honey with one cup of water and stir over heat until it simmers. Then you let it cool before putting it in whatever fancy container you want. Since I was attending a football game and not a bridal shower, I put it in a disposable ketchup bottle. You know, all fancy like.

St. Germain is a French liquor made from Elderberry. Some describe it as slightly sweet with floral undertones and a hint of peach and citrus. Uh, whatever. It’s awesome. Trust me.

To make the cocktail, just squeeze an orange slice into a glass and toss the remaining orange in, squirt a bit of honey syrup in (you can only ‘squirt’ if you have stored your fancy syrup in a disposable ketchup bottle, otherwise, spoon it in), pour in a shot of St. Germain followed by a glass of Champagne and voila- Honey Badger.
Everyone really enjoyed the special drink, especially in celebration of our overtime victory. It was seriously adorable to see a bunch of guys toasting the best team in the land with a champagne cocktail. Us LSU fans, we keep it classy.

You got that right, Honey Badger: We're number 1. Geaux Tigers!

Monday, November 7, 2011


I finally finished A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and just to show you what a big accomplishment that was, here is a picture of my 3 November books stacked up against it.
Impressed yet?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It's no surprise that I did not finish Diana Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes by the end of October. Currently, I have about 100 pages remaining. Not finishing was a conscious decision based on the fact that my Amazon package carrying my November set of books was not scheduled to arrive until November 3rd. Since I didn't want to be in book limbo for those 3 days, I decided to extend my deadline rather than stay up all night in order to finish reading. However, I just received notice that my Amazon package has been delivered. As of today. November 1st. And I still have 100 pages standing between me and The Hunger Games. If that's not a motivator, I don't know what is.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with Turkey Legs

Successes this weekend: Cardinals won the World Series, I read 165 pages of my book, and I enjoyed the Texas Ren Fest Tradition of eating a turkey leg on a gorgeous Fall day.

However, I have always been one to grasp the virtue of humility and I know that with every success, there is also a failure to humble me.
Failures this weekend: Watching Albert Pujols’ potential last at bat as a St. Louis Cardinal, having 169 pages left of my book to finish by my November 1st goal(Aka impossible), and leaking Turkey Leg oil all over my brand new $70 dollar Banana Republic skirt.
I spent the rest of the weekend questioning my inept decision making skills that led me to wear said skirt to the Renaissance Festival. Jonathan and I came up with the theory that I am a girl torn between two worlds. In my head, I’m graceful and stylish, with impeccable manners, when in reality, I’m a clumsy tomboy who ruins every article of clothing above 30 dollars the first time I wear it.

Seriously, my Target wardrobe lasts forever, but my fancy-girl clothes are lucky to last 5 minutes. For example, in addition to my Banana skirt, I was wearing at $10 tank top from Old Navy and a $20 cardigan from Target; both items went unharmed during the eating of the Turkey Leg. Banana skirt: ruined.
Overall, it was a balanced weekend, with the biggest failure being that I forgot my camera.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have about 5 hours of reading to do.

Friday, October 28, 2011


My goal is to finish Diana Galbaldon's neverending A Breath of Snow and Ashes by October 31. Currently I am on page 824 of 1158, giving me 4 days to read 334 pages. That's roughly 84 pages each day. I'm optimistic, especially since I've been reading while watching the World Series. With the games averaging about 4 hours each, I should be able to get my quota in during Game 7 tonight. However, I did technically read 3 books during September, so I'll cut myself some slack if this monstrosity takes me a few extra days/months to finish. Other than reading and watching the Cardinals win the World Series, this weekend will be spent at the Texas Renaissance Festival in Magnolia. Saturday is supposed to be 72 degrees and sunny, and I will be enjoying the blissful day with a Turkey Leg in hand.
October has snuck by me. I am pretty late in ordering my monthly shipment of books and their estimated date of arrival is not until November 3. I decided to reward myself after sprinting through a 1158 page historical novel by finally reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I've heard it's a great novel for escapism and I can't wait to dive in.

Also on the list for November is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova as well as A Modern Girl's Bible Study by Jennifer Hatmaker. Since I've been spending so much time reading A Breath Of Snow and Ashes, I've been really slacking on my Bible studying. And feeling really convicted about it. I could have definitely read the New Testament by now.
I have been crazy busy this month, traveling both to St. Louis and Lake Conroe twice. Hopefully November will be a bit more relaxing, with the first 3 weekends spent at home in Houston. Then its off to Louisiana for Thanksgiving and, more importantly, the LSU vs. Arkansas game. Can I get a "Geaux Tigers"?
It'll be my first game back in Death Valley since graduating 3 years ago and I cannot wait! Then the next weekend it is off to San Francisco for a mini-vacay with the hubs!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Everest

Back in August I mentioned that I had made two "new years resolutions", one of which was to read two books a month. I've actually been doing surprisingly well with this; a whole lot better than my 'one new recipe a week' goal. After I finished my first book of October on October 3rd, I decided it was time for a challenge.

I had long ago abandoned Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series after it took me 6 months to finish The Fiery Cross, Book 5 of the historic series. So on October 4th I continued the saga with Book 6, A Breathe of Snow and Ashes; a 1158 page novel set in the years directly preceding the American Revolution.

1158 pages. Of teeny tiny itsby bitsy print. And I don't get a break at the start of a new chapter either. Nope, new chapters start a few lines down on the same page as the last chapter. So when I say 1158 pages, I mean it- Bible style.

I figured out that to finish this book by Halloween, I will have to read 45 pages a day. Due to the small print, this roughly averages out to an hour a day of reading. Currently I am only about 60 pages behind, but being as though we're coming off of a rainy reading filled weekend, that's not a good sign. But I am determined to finish by October 31st (says the girl who gave up on The Pillars of the Earth on about page 1137). It will be a long, difficult, and time consuming journey, but I believe that am up to the task (unless there is something better on TV). As Joey Tribiani would say, this is my Everest.
Reading Log:
August: Molokai by Alan Brennert and The Secret Daughter by Shilpu Somaya Gowda

September: Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay, Room by Emma Donoghue* and Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

October: Never Let Me Go* by Kazuo Ishiguro and A Breath of Snow And Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

* indicates books that you should read immediately.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Celebrity Look Alike

The other day my husband bestowed upon me the highest compliment in the land. While watching The Other Woman starring Natalie Portman, he turned to me and said "She kind of looks like you". Now while my delusional ego will admit that there is a slight resemblance in our eyes, I'm pretty sure my husband's association came more from the fact that her hair in that particular scene looked like this:

While Natalie can easily pull off what I refer to as 'rat's nest', it's not always the most flattering look on me. Let's be honest, this girl can pull of any hair (or lack there of) style.

I am not so fortunate.

(Me, doing my best Natalie impersonation.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I have a new favorite band. I'm not sure how I went so long without discovering NEEDTOBREATHE, but I am mourning for the time I've spent without them in my life. I'm making up for lost time by listening to them over and over in my usual compulsive way. However, I am showing some restraint by only buying one album at a time in order to prevent myself from becoming so sick of them by November that I have to remove them from my i-pod enitrely (RIP Grand Magnolias).

If you are out of the music loop like I am, NEEDTOBREATHE reminds me of a cross between Kings of Leon and Ray Lamontagne, with a little Tom Petty/Maroon 5/Gavin DeGraw swagger thrown in. They have that distinctly southern rock vibe that sounds great live in college town venues. Or riding in your car on a crisp fall day with the windows rolled down. Or through your headphones, during an energizing sunrise run.

Take a leap of faith and download their music. Trust me on this one.

"Days, they force you down under those covers,
Lazy mornings, they multiply
Glory's waiting right outside your window
wake up from your slumber, Baby open up your eyes" -NEEDTOBREATHE, "Slumber"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to save a drowning iphone

It was the perfect Saturday. Cooler morning temperatures led to a perfect run followed by perfect laying out weather. I enjoyed a good hour of reading on the dock of Lake Conroe before scoring big on a new fall wardrobe at Old Navy during an unbelievable sale. On Saturday night, LSU scored 47 points in their win against West Virginia, solidifying their argument that they should be ranked #1 in the nation. What more could I ask for from a day other than an invigorating run, reading a cheesy book under the shade of a floppy hat, a good sale, and a Tiger stomping?

Of course, I’ve lived with my luck long enough to know that such a wonderful trend could not last. My run Sunday was hot and muggy and there was no time for laying out in the morning, since we had to be on our way back to Houston at 9:30 AM. In my rush to get ready/pack up the car, the most tragic thing happened. While blow-drying my hair, I heard something plop into the toilet. Figuring my mascara had rolled off the counter; I casually glanced over and to my horror, saw my i-phone sitting in the bottom of a watery grave.

After quickly retrieving it from the toilet I promptly yelled for my husband’s assistance. His two instructions to me were 1) do not turn it off, and 2) store it in a cool dry place for a few hours. I operated under this assumption for the next 3 hours until my i-phone finally shut itself off.

After it flatlined, I consulted the internet about what the best course of action is when your i-phone is on suicide watch for trying to off itself in the toilet. Basically, Google instructed me to do exactly the opposite of what my husband had said.

So, if your i-phone ever leaps 2 feet from the bathroom counter into the toilet, DO NOT keep it on and DO NOT store it in a cool, dry place. Instead you need to, 1) Turn it off 2) put it in a bag of rice, and 3) keep it in a very hot place in order to evaporate the water quickly. I took these steps about 5 hours after the drowning incident, and apparently I was about 5 hours too late. My i-phone has now been cooking in the hot Texas sun for 2 days now, but still shows no signs of life. Perhaps if I had only acted sooner to save my dear friend, he’d still be checking my email today.

And though I am completely devastated at the loss of my beloved phone, I’m really glad I found a way to blame this whole thing on Jonathan.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Good evening, Evangeline Rose...

I’m suffering from a bout of baby fever. I’m sure it will pass quickly, but for now all I can do is obsessively fantasize about a little sweet bebe in my arms. Please bear with me as I name my hypothetical future children, which I am known to do from time to time.

Today I want to talk about Evangeline. This is Jonathan’s favorite girl name on the planet (good taste, right?). I love the name Evangeline for all of the things my own name is not: she’s feminine, beautiful, literary, southern, musical, and more than anything, she's just darn fancy. Unlike my name which is all tom-boy, no fuss, down-to-earth, beer drinking, plain ole Laine (which fits me to a T). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a tragic epic love poem (and I love me some poetry) “Evangeline”, about lover’s separated when the Acadians in Canada moved down to South Louisiana. Many names in the area reference this character, which warms my heart since this is where I was born and raised. I grew up visiting Evangeline Parish, and going to concerts at Evangeline Downs.

My fellow home-town boy, Marc Broussard, wrote the most beautiful song called ‘Evangeline Rose” about his own daughter. I cry every time I hear it, thinking of Jonathan dancing with our future daughter on her wedding day.

The name is even referenced in the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog, which is also set in Cajun country. Ray, a firefly, is in love with Evangeline, who he believes to be another firefly, but is actually a star. Evangeline is also the name of a dormitory on the LSU campus, where my husband and I met.

And then there is Evangeline Lily, the epitome of natural beauty.

I’ll admit it, I’m a LOST fan (or was until the finale ruined it). One of my favorite memories of Jonathan and I's early dating days was watching Season 1 of LOST on the pull out bed in his living room. Evangeline Lily totally boosted my confidence in my own dark curly hair, green eyes, and freckles.
Evangeline has so much going for her, but there are some drawbacks. The most important is that I have this sinking feeling we aren’t the only one’s digging Evangeline and she’s about to explode up the popularity charts. One thing I love about my name is how it is familiar but rare. Even though my married name is extremely popular, I’m still probably one of a kind. With a common last name, we definitely have to be careful that our kids don’t share the exact name, first and last, with anyone in their circle. Jonathan seriously runs into this problem a lot. Right now, Evangeline sits at #239 on the US popularity charts, which is still comfortably obscure. However, it’s on the upward trend, jumping 96 places in just one year. The chart below shows the steep rise in popularity.
Another hesitation is pronunciation. I’ve heard the last syllable pronounced three different ways which are all completely legitimate. In south Louisiana we pronounce the ending as ‘lynn’; whereas I’ve also heard ‘lean’ (as in Evangeline Lily and Ray’s love interest in the Princess and the Frog) and ‘line’. Whereas in South Louisiana, the - lynn ending is intuitive, chances are that it won’t be where our children grow up. Name mispronunciation is something that has plagued me my whole life, and I don’t want to pass that along to a child.

And then there are the nicknames. While Jonathan and I agree on the full name Evangeline, nicknames are a different story. It seems natural that a lengthy name like Evangeline would be shortened to Eve, Evie, or Eva. I think those are gorgeous names, but I don’t prefer them to Evangeline in full. In fact, if I were to shorten Evangeline at all, I’d probably call her Annie, Vanna, or maybe Jelly. Jonathan would rather call her Evan. As a girl with a name more commonly used for boys, I tend to balk at this trend. Unfortunately, I think nicknames develop more organically, and as parents we don’t really have a choice in the matter. Surely, she would have a nickname, but I can’t fool myself into thinking I’d have any control over that. After all, I grew up with a kid we called exclusively called Miguel, despite his mother’s insistence that his name was Shawn. I know how these things work.

To summarize, Evangeline is a beautiful, ultra- feminine name with great literal and sentimental meaning to us. We are a little wary of her potential popularity boost and the fact that she may not wear well internationally.

Sorry this was so long winded. Told ya, I’ve got the baby fever something serious right now. I think it might be contagious. I’m getting the feeling that Jonathan is coming down with it too. We’ve never had baby fever at the same time before. This could get dangerous.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Everyone has their quirks. Two of mine are that I am compulsive and that I’m a hypochondriac. What I mean by compulsive is that any time I develop a new interest; I obsessively oversaturate myself with this subject until I’m satisfied. For instance, I can’t just watch a regular season of TV. I have to wait until the season is available on DVD so that I can watch it all at once, and sometimes over and over again. What I mean by hypochondriac is that I immediately begin to display symptoms of whatever illness is being described to me. This is extremely unfortunate due to my recent compulsion involving historical novels.

We have a trip to Maui planned for January 2012 so I am compulsively learning everything I can about Hawaii. Recently, my neuroses combined to form the perfect storm while reading Moloka’i by Alan Brennert, a historical novel about a 20th century leper colony housed on the Hawaiian Island. Due to other recent historical reads, I’ve experienced/imagined symptoms of scurvy, stomach ulcers and lice but leprosy was a whole new experience for me. In fact, just reflecting on it, my whole body is starting to itch (even though the book taught me that the sores don’t actually itch due to severe nerve damage).

Despite my side effects, it was a good read, one that has given me some lesser known insight into Hawaii. I’m sure that Jonathan is glad that I’ve resolved to read 2 novels a month, meaning my leprosy complaints only lasted for two weeks this time.

Bad news for him- my current read involves a woman going through early menopause.

Admitting your faults is the first step on the road to recovery. More bad news for Jonathan: I’ve added this novel to my que.