Hi Y’all! I feel like I’ve been a bad blogger the last few days. I’m traveling on the East Coast this week and I'm overly busy. Today I worked for 12.5 hours. The only break I had was a quick trip to Radio Shack for CAT 5 cables. Boooo! I promise to catch up on your blogs soon!

Funny story- As I was boarding my Continental connection flight in Houston, I recognized the flight attendant and she recognized me. She said, “Hello Ms. San Antonio.” Nice! I travel way too much. :)

While visiting the East Coast, I stopped at a local grocery store to pick up some bottled water and diet coke for my hotel room. Also, I was hoping to find a nice salad, similar to the pre-made salads at Whole Foods. Unfortunately, this grocery store did not have pre-made salads that you’d want to purchase and actually eat! As I was heading to the beverage section, I passed something pink. Anything pink catches my eye. Check out what they were selling… Pickled Pink Eggs! GROSS and WHY?

Thank you to my friend, Jules at Chic and Pink for the Fall Surprise! Who doesn't love a surprise? It was so sweet and so thoughtful!

Ghouls Night Out~ I LOVE this and hung it within seconds of opening it.

Jules also sent a bunch of fall treats~ a candle, candy, kitchen soap, and a notepad! Sorry for the blurry photo.

Thank You, Jules!!!


Omaha~ Part 2

On Saturday my sis took me to Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard in Nebraska City. We finally got to pick our own apples and we had to take a hay ride to get to the apple orchard. It was fun! I don’t think Jenn and I have taken a hay ride together since we were kids.

After we picked apples, we did a wine tasting and shared a Cider Doughnut. I've read about bloggers picking apples and having Cider Doughnuts. I had never had a Cider Doughnut until Saturday; it was delicious!

Our Pickings

We decided to make an Apple Tart with some of our apples. We (kinda) made up the recipe. It turned out great.

Our Masterpiece

Daisy and me (without lipstick)~ the only dog I love! I have dreams about her. :)


Fall = Love

When my sister and brother-in-law announced they were moving to Omaha, NE for a year most people cringed and said, “WHY?” I wondered too if Omaha would be a fun experience.

Omaha has turned out to be such a great place. Who knew??? They have everything... shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Omaha has 4 seasons and most importantly they have a real FALL, complete with pretty trees, crisp weather, caramel apples, hay rides, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards. Ahh… the fall I’ve always dreamed of…

They decided to rent a loft style apartment in an old building located in the downtown area. They love it! I think it's a great choice.

The view from their windows. Check out those trees!

On Friday Jenn took me to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. I was expecting a field of pumpkins and a cheesy gift shop. Oh noooo, this is Fall in the Midwest! It was beautiful! Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is the ultimate Fall Festival. Among many attractions they have a Haunted Farm House, a Pumpkin Creek Train Ride, and Candle Making. Vala’s even had a real Midwest Corn Maze!!! We had caramel apples and Kettle Corn! I felt like I was walking through scenic calendar pages of the Midwest.

I'm planning on writing another post about our 2nd day in the Midwest. It was also SO fun and quite the experience for a Texas girl. On Friday, we must have taken 150+ photos. I had to decipher...


It's Fall, Y'all... in Omaha, NE

I'm in Omaha, NE visiting my sister and brother-in-law. They have a real fall. I'm so excited. I've had no idea what I have been missing. More to come later. Happy Weekend!


I don’t usually blog about work...

Since I travel for work, on occasion I write about my travels but I don’t write about the actual job or what I do (often). I think talking about work is really boring. I have so much more to offer. Ha! How about the people that can’t stop complaining about work? Ugh! Anyway...

Today we went through another downsizing. I’ve known this day was coming since August. I survived. I’m the only person left in Texas. I’m beyond thankful but it was a bad day. I’m happy I still have a job but I'm so sad for my co-workers who no longer have a job.

At 11:30 AM a co-worker in my region called to tell me he had been “tapped” (tapped is what we call it). It was terrible. I knew the calls were starting, my hands were shaking; I couldn’t think straight. All of the sudden my knees starting shaking. I haven’t had shaky knees since the time I rode the Big Shot on the top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. For the record, the Big Shot is the scariest thing I’ve ever done and I’ll never do it again.

Layoff day is always tough. Tonight I feel beyond blessed. My prayers tonight will be prayers of thanksgiving.

The Gift~
In September I purchased my official 2009 “Layoff Present.” Each time we have a layoff, right before it actually happens, I buy myself a Layoff Present. I know it’s probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done and I should be saving every penny during a layoff season. I’m 99.5% sure my Father does NOT read my blog or I would NEVER write about the “Layoff Present.” He would be mortified and I would be lectured. ;)

The Layoff Present has always brought me luck. If I actually lose my job I know it will be a while before I get to buy myself a treat, so I might as well have one last treat. Right? If I don’t lose my job the Layoff Present is a gift for my pain and suffering (and shaky knees).

The Layoff Present this year was a black leather Kate Spade bag. I love it! I would take a photo and post it but I’m exhausted. It’s really cute though. I also buy myself a birthday present each year and some years I buy myself a Christmas present. I used to buy myself a Valentine’s Day present but the Valentine’s Day present was replaced with the (oh so important) Layoff Present.

So girls, I encourage you to treat yourselves to "special gifts" every now and then, especially all the single girls. The best part is you know you’ll get exactly what you wanted.

Since I don't like to post without a photo (not sure if the Big Shot photo counts), here's a pic of me and two friends I met at my job. The best part about work is meeting friends I never would have met outside of this job. What if our paths had never crossed? It's so weird to think about that...


Thank You & Birthday Update

First I want to thank everyone for the birthday love! Y’all are so sweet. Danielle was right; I wasn’t going to post about my birthday until it was over. I usually plan an out of town trip during my birthday (not work, fun). It’s easier that way and I have something to distract me from the fact that I’m turning a year older not where I thought I would be.

Carrie reminded me of my birthday last year. I was volunteering at New Day Foster Home. The amazing staff at NDFH ordered a cake and the cutest kids in the world sang Happy Birthday to me. Can you imagine, a group of third world country orphans singing Happy Birthday to you? It was such a special day and I was completely humbled (even though I know they were just really excited about eating cake). :) That night at Carrie and Jacob’s apartment, Jacob made Greek food, one of my favorites for dinner and we shared a bottle of wine. It was perfect! Ahh… now I miss Carrie and the kids and China.

This year I didn’t plan a trip on my actual birthday. Now that I live close to my family, I wanted to stay in town and attend a Christmas Open House at my friend’s store. The weekend started with dinner on Friday night at a delicious Cajun restaurant with the family. Saturday evening my mom and I attended the Christmas Open House at Bless Your Heart Giftique. If you live in SAT or if you’re visiting, you have to stop by BYH. When I’m there, I’m 110% happy.

The fabulous owners of Bless Your Heart Giftique, Katy and Rachel, are SOOOO creative and SOOOO girly. I love them!

They created this PINK pumpkin patch for Halloween on the front lawn of Bless Your Heart. It makes me smile. I love the blonde scarecrow. Notice our scarecrow friend is wearing pink and pearls. I would have never thought of this! They're SO creative.

The invitation for the Christmas Open House said, "Christmas has gone Girly! Yay!" That's all you had to say... I was there!

The "Royal Affair" included an appearance by the Queen of Christmas.

Here she is... The Queen of Christmas posing with my mom and me. She's fun!

I picked up a few pink Christmas ornaments. I love this Pink Santa.

Sunglasses Ornament and a Pink Crown Ornament

I had to buy Pearls!

After the BYH Christmas party, my mom and I made Halloween cut-out cookies and decorated the cookies. I made these cookies at Christmas and posted the recipe here. They’re so yummy.

I had a couple surprises at my doorstep this weekend. Thank you Amy C. (my HOU friend) for the surprise. She gave me a fall candle, picture frame, and girly napkins. I love it! Notice the fall candle is already burning... yum.

Thank you Kate! Kate sent me the Lilly P. Guide to Entertaining. It's such a pretty book. I've already started reading through it! Love it!

It was a great birthday, even though I'm a year older and not where I thought I would be. HA! Again, thank you for all the sweet comments! Y'all are the best.

BTW... I just checked Sweet Simplicity's Blog. She wrote about a FREE Stationery Giveway hosted on Facebook...

"FB exclusive: FREE PERSONALIZED NOTECARD! Send us an email to VIP@traylorpapers.com with your name & address and we'll send you a free customized card with your name. Tell us your favorite colors and/or style (i.e., whimsical, classic, girly, etc.) and we'll try to make you a match ;) BONUS: post this offer on your blog or wall, send us a link and we'll send you a few extra! Good thru 10/28/09!"

Check it out!


Happy Birthday Jill!

Hi everyone! It's Jill's friend Danielle here. I really hope I don't get in trouble for this! I have been pining over whether or not to do this for a good week now. and even emailed Angela for advice.

Anyway, I am taking over today because I found out that a certain blogger that we all know and love has no plans to write a birthday post. And I know you all want to wish Jill a very happy birthday on her actual birthday!

So please take a moment to leave Jill a little birthday wish!

a photo from Jill's last visit to LA

If you read Jill's blog, you know that she is sweet, beautiful, and kind, and that she has a heart of gold. In person, she is just as sweet as you'd imagine her to be. Jill is without question one of the most wonderful friends anyone could ask for, and I could not imagine my life without her. I feel truly blessed to know her.


If the only great thing that came out of blogging was gaining you as a friend, this entire journey would be worthwhile. We have known each other two years now, and you have become one of my closest friends. I have been so blessed to know you! And of course, I can't wait for our trip to Nashville next month, and my trip to visit you in SA the following month! I can always use a little more Jill in my life!

Happy birthday, my sweet, beautiful, amazing friend!



ps. please don't hate me for doing this.


Shrimp Etouffee & HELP

Texas weather in the fall is so unpredictable. Last weekend it was wonderful, cold and rainy. We enjoyed it for a few days and then it was hot again. When it’s cold outside I love to make homemade soup, gumbo, and etouffee.

Last weekend I made my mom’s etouffee. My mom, the home economics major, created this recipe from combining several recipes and tweaking it over the years. Many traditional etouffee recipes have a roux base but our does not. Instead we cook the holy trinity in butter as our base. The holy trinity is a combination of celery, onion, and bell pepper. It’s used in many Cajun dishes.

Y'all should try this recipe. It's SO good and one of my favorites.

Shrimp Etouffe

1/2 stick of margarine

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

3/4 cup chopped celery

2 cloves garlic minced

2 cups water

2 chicken boullion cubes

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained

1-2 pounds peeled, deveined shrimp

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 bay leaf

black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 tablespoons green onion tops chopped for garnish

Melt margarine in large saucepan. Saute onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic in butter. Add water and 2 chicken boullion cubes. Stir over medium heat until dissolved. Add drained Rotel tomatoes, shrimp, basil, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, pepper, and parsley. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cream of mushroom soup. Stir over low heat until dissolved. Add green onions to etouffee just before serving. Serve hot over rice.

Paula Deen said to never throw away the leaves of celery. Chop the leaves and use them; they have a ton of flavor.

I love to make this recipe for company. Sometimes I chop the veggies in the morning or the night before to save time when I'm cooking. I love the prep bowls from Pampered Chef. Each bowl comes with a lid, which makes me happy. Oh the little things...

Yumm... the holy trinity sautéing on the stove. I love this smell.


I need HELP! As I was making the etouffee, I realized my spice cabinet is completely disorganized. It's hard to find the spice I need in this mess! In Houston, my kitchen had an old ironing board cabinet. The owner of the building added shelves and I used it for spices. I organized them in alphabetical order. It was perfect and so easy to find what I needed.

I don't know what to do with my current spice cabinet. How do y'all keep your spices organized? Any suggestions?

Spice Cabinet in Houston


Thank You & Celebs

Last weekend I received the funniest card from my friend, Gigi, at Midnight Macaroons. I could not stop laughing when I read the card. It is now displayed on the front of my refrigerator. I had to share it with y'all. Gigi also sent me some cute Hello Kitty stickers. Thank you, Gigi. The card really made my day.

"Carol? It's Marge. I just ate an entire batch of cookie dough and blew all my Weight Watchers points for the week. Can I borrow some of yours and pay you back on Monday?"

Two weeks ago I had 4 flights in 7 days. If you count the connections, I actually had 6 flights in 7 days. Yuck! For both trips, I forgot to grab a stack of magazines before I left home... too much going on right now. Since I was going to be stuck on an airplane with nothing to do (it kills me~ so unproductive), I bought 2 celeb gossip magazines at the airport.

Have mentioned how much I do not like celebs, especially celebs who feel the need to run their mouths about politics?

Anyway, I learned a couple things by reading trashy magazines. First, Katherine Heigl and her husband just adopted a special needs baby from Korea. I didn't care for KH before but now I like her. Adopt a special needs baby internationally and you're in! :) That's so sweet and how cute is her baby?

Second, I reconfirmed that Jon Gosselin is a douche bag. I read an article about a recent trip JG took to Las Vegas. In the photo there were about 2 dozen girls in bikinis sitting around JG. Why? He's NOT cute! He smokes, he has diamond earrings, and a beer belly. He's NOT a catch! Girls (in the mag photo), did y'all know he has eight kids????

Here's my opinion... In their marriage they both made mistakes, as all couples do and I will do too. When the marriage started having problems, they should have stopped taping the show but they didn't. It's over; it's done!

Moving forward and not looking back (we don't want the President to look back so we cannot either), Jon is acting like a complete idiot. His behavior is bad, especially with a possible custody battle ahead. DUMB! I have no time!

Tiffany, you know I got the "I have no time" quote from you and Mrs. G?

You're GROSS!


New Blog Design & Fall Vacations

New Blog Design- I'm so excited about my fall blog design. I've wanted a fall blog makeover for the longest time but I wasn't sure if it was possible to have a girly fall design. My friend Danielle at, The Design Girl, gave me an early birthday gift and re-designed my blog for fall. I LOVE it. I love the colors and my favorite part is the vintage brooches. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Danielle! Danielle is now designing digital scrapbook kits, which can be used for your blog design. Check out her store here.

Fall Vacations- My favorite time of year to travel for pleasure is the fall! Here are a few reasons why...

1. I love to visit cities that have a real fall with great weather & pretty scenery. Even though Texas has nice days in the fall (last night it was 58 degrees in SAT... amazing), we also have really nasty days.

2. Kids are in school. I won't say anything else about this one. ;)

3. My birthday is in the fall.

4. By saving most of my vacation time for the fall, I have something to look forward to and plan for all year.

In years past I've taken one big trip. For example, last year I went to China to volunteer at New Day Foster Home. Other years, I've taken a few mini trips. This year I've decided to do a few mini trips and I'm so excited.

At the end of October I'm visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and niece (Daisy the Maltese) in Omaha, NE. Jenn has planned for us to visit an apple orchard, pumpkin patch, and a winery. I can't wait!

Omaha, NE~ Saturday it snowed in Omaha. Check out my niece in her sweater, experiencing snow for the first time.

In November I'm going to Nashville, TN to visit my blog friend, Amy. Surprise Amy, I'm coming!

In December I’m heading to NYC with my sister and two of our best friends for our annual Girl’s Trip. Well, we don’t take the trip every year, but we try. I guess December is winter, not fall.

Our 2006 NYC Trip

In December Danielle is visiting me in San Antonio for a long weekend. I can't wait for her to see Texas. I've made a detailed itinerary for her visit~ just ask her about it. I've even scheduled time for Hobby Lobby. Danielle told me CA doesn't have a Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-a, or a Sonic. Can you imagine? However, CA does have Trader Joe's, Pinkberry, and In-N-Out Burger. Danielle wants to try a Route 44 diet coke b/c every time she's talking to me, I'm ordering one... gotta love happy hour at Sonic!