Prior to my 2006 trip to China, I thought I was open-minded to different types of food. I had dined on alligator, turtle, and snails. That’s kinda crazy, right??? I thought so until the fall of '06.

I spent eight days at an orphanage in Jinjiang China in the Southern Province of Fijian. Who would have know 8 days, would change my life in more ways than one? :)

The people of Southern China were amazing, generous, and hospitable. I was exposed to many unique (and scary) foods. Let me start by saying, I’ve NEVER been a picky eater. My parents didn’t allow it. At the age of 11, I had my first bite of escargot (snail). I LOVED escargot; as did my younger sister and younger brother. My parents are both from Louisiana; some of my very first bites of “table food” were Cajun, seafood dishes.

Side Note… Picky eaters kinda drive me crazy. Okay, I don’t really love Chinese food but if I’m in China or with friends and everyone wants Chinese; I can find something on the menu I’ll eat. Don’t most menus have the basics~ chicken, salad, burgers, or soup? Put your big girl panties on and pick something from the menu you’ll eat. Sorry but seriously...

Our first night in Jinjiang we were served dishes like… lotus root from the lotus flower, fish belly soup, and sea worms. Did I want to eat it? Not really but the Chinese were so proud of their dishes and so excited to serve us. It would’ve been rude not to eat what had been prepared.

Lotus Root tastes exactly how you would think a plant or flower would taste... strange, bitter, and plant-ish. In high school, someone dared me to eat a rose petal. Unfortunately, I was stupid and did it. It was terrible. The lotus root reminded me of the rose petal. Anyone know what I’m talking about? I really hope not.

The Fish Belly Soup was slimy and salty. I LOVE me some salt... so the Fish Belly Soup was tolerable. A large pot was brought to the table. It looked similar to chicken broth. A large slimy blob was floating in the middle. Somehow they managed to break fish belly apart and we were each served. The broth had a good flavor. It was okay.

The Sea Worms were awful, possibly the worst thing I’ve ever put into my mouth. In Southern China, Sea Worms are a delicacy. The worms were PUT on my plate by a lady serving us! I remember cutting it in half with my knife. I bit into the worm, chewed it, swallowed, and chased it down with Coca-Cola Classic. The Chinese think Americans love Coca-Cola Classic and at times it was brought to our table, even though we did not order it. I do NOT like Coca-Cola Classic but I had no choice. I remember looking across the table at my friend, Carrie. She was gagging and had to run to the restroom. Sorry Carrie. After Carrie, I ran to the restroom with a terrible nose bleed. The evening was priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

When I returned home my brother asked me about the food in China. I told him about our first night in Jinjiang. He said it sounded like an episode of Fear Factor. Ha!

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten???


BFF's Bedroom

I got to see my BFF, Tiffany, this week in Dallas. Tiffany did such a great job decorating her house. The entire house is amazning but I just had to share photos of her bedroom with y'all. It is so girly! Tiffany had the headboard and the bedding custom made. I love...


I WON a giveaway

Has anyone noticed how many giveaways are in blogland these days? I was going to have a giveaway for my 200th post several months ago but there were so many, I decided to skip. I think I've entered about 100,000 giveaways and I've never won until last week. I won the Angela Moore giveaway hosted by Nautical by Nature. Thank you so much Kate and Angela Moore and Nautical by Nature.

I love my new bracelet. The bracelet was the perfect accessory for the Memorial Day weekend.

Sorry for the blurry photo


False Alarm

Last night while I was sound asleep in my hotel room the hotel fire alarm went off. I’ve had co-workers tell me stories about this happening but it’s never happened to me until last night. It all happened at 5:00 AM. For some people 5:00 AM is early morning; for me it’s the middle of the night. Have I mentioned I’m not a morning person?

As soon as I heard the alarm, I jumped out of the bed. I was completely disoriented. At first, I thought about going back to bed. Like I said, I was disoriented. I paced the room a few times thinking about what I should do... run, take my pajamas off and put on something appropriate, or grab a few personal items. I finally came to my senses and realized if there actually was a fire in the hotel, I needed to get out fast. I grabbed my purse and thought for a minute, “What else should I take?” I went for my medicated chapstick. Forget my laptop, GPS, or blackberry; I went for the chapstick.

I, along with the business men, evacuated the building. I’m not joking I was the only girl standing outside on the sidewalk. The worst (or best) part is I was still in my pajamas. The business men had put on jeans and a shirt. These days I’ve been sleeping in mismatched items. Last night, I was wearing a short cotton, pink and navy striped night gown. I was also wearing orange and yellow floral PJ pants from Walgreens. That’s right, Walgreens. I bought them in an emergency for $4.99 and thought I’d wear them and get rid of them. I ended up loving the Walgreens PJ bottoms. They’re really soft and I like the way they feel on my legs. :) I stood on the curb in downtown Dallas with a bunch of business men and the fire department wearing that mess. It was not one of my finer moments!

It ended up being a false alarm.


Memorial Day

Hi Girly-Girls! I hope y'all had a great Memorial Day Weekend. Some might still be celebrating but not me. :( I had to travel this evening for an early morning appointment tomorrow. Oh well, I still managed to have a fun weekend.

I went to Lake Conroe with my friend, Lindsay, and her daughter. We spent Saturday and Sunday at her parent's lake house. SOOOO Fun!

Caroline Fishing from the Dock

Lindsay Pulling a Britn*y Spe*rs. She really didn't drive with Caroline on her lap, just a joke.

Dinner~ I need some lipstick and diet pills in a bad way

On the Boat~ I have the a fun video from the boat but blogger won't let me upload it.


Fabulous Friday and a Giveaway

The Fabulous Friday theme from Well That's Just Fabulous this week is Sunglasses. The Rules: Post a pic of your glasses (or of you in your glasses). You can say who they are if you want to, but if you don't, that's fine! If you have a story to go along with why or how you got them, go ahead and share that, too.

I’m such a fan of Jimmy Crystal sunglasses. They are embellished with Swarovski crystals. My favorite JC sunglasses have my name on the side. My fabulous friend, Tiffany, custom ordered them at the Dallas market.

Also, check out my new cute stationery from The Design Girl. The Design Girl is having a stationery giveaway. Don't forget to enter.


Great New Television Show

Did anyone see the "Southern Belles: Louisville" on Soap Net last night? If you like the Real Housewives series and The Hills, you'll like this show. Set your DVR's for Thursday night and check it out!

P.S. My friend, Dr. Mark, called me and asked me the name of my blog. I told him and he said, “No wonder I couldn’t find it on-line, I’ve been googling Peeptoe Shoes and Ribbons.” Ha!


Travel Etiquette~The Security Check Point

Many major airports have added the “self-select” traveler lanes at the security check point. These lanes have been added to increase efficiency and control traveler frustrations. The 3 available choices are...

1. Families and Special Assistance- This lane is for families traveling with small children and strollers, those carrying liquids over 3 ounces (usually baby bottles or medicine), anyone new to flying, and anyone needing special assistance. My grandfather would take this lane because he has a pace maker.

2. Casual Traveler-This lane is designed for anyone with multiple carry-ons and those familiar with TSA procedures. The term “familiar” means people who are not new to flying but fly less than twice a month. A good example of a Casual Traveler would be my parents. They probably fly 3-5 times per year.

3. Expert Traveler- This lane is designed for travelers who are always ready! Their laptops and plastic baggies of liquids and gels are out and ready to drop in the bin. These people are experts at TSA procedures. They fly more than twice a month and they’re light travelers.

There is a slight problem with this system, it’s “self-select.” Y'all, it’s just good etiquette and nice to pick the lane that works best for you and your travel partners. If you’re not sure, don’t overestimate your security check point abilities. It’s always better to underestimate your abilities. Nobody wants the person behind you to act frustrated, growl at you, or say nasty comments under their breath because you picked the wrong lane. I've seen it happen. No, I've never treated someone badly because they picked the wrong lane, been annoyed and didn't say anything... yes.

I meet the requirements for the Expert Traveler lane. I don’t have kids yet but when I do I will respect the “expert travelers” and go through the “families” lane. If it’s not fast enough for me, I’ll give myself more time to at the airport. That’s a promise and just basic good manners.

As I go through the security check point, I always think it would be fun to have a race (with a $1,000,000,000 cash prize) for the person who can get through the fastest. I would win!


Thank You and a Meme

Thanks for the fabulous awards, girls. Check out their cute blogs.

The Friendship Award from Let's Talk Thompsonisms

The Lemonade Award from Grace 303

The Pretty Woman and Classy Too from Chic and Pink

I got the idea for this Meme from Chic and Pink. List 6 unimportant things that make me happy. The key word is "unimportant."

1. Fancy Food~

2. Cool Weather~ I was born in the wrong city.

3. New Dresses~

4. Continental Airlines~ The BEST in the industry

5. Surprises~

6. Pinot Grigio~


Weekend Update

Friday night I tried a new restaurant with my friend Dr. Mark. It was amazing~ possibly the fanciest meal I’ve ever had. The restaurant is called Textile and it’s located in an old Textile Mill. The Textile Mill is Houston’s 9th oldest building... very cool. On Friday and Saturday evenings they only offer a 5 or 7 course chef’s “tasting menu.” We had the 7 course menu and I didn’t leave stuffed, which is good, who wants to be sick? The portions were small and amazing, think Top Chef. We had things like scallops (the best I’ve ever had), rabbit pate, and something in bacon reduction. We also had the wine accompaniments with each course. It was really fun! If you live in Houston and you’d like to try Textile, keep in mind you have to have reservations. Also, you might want to email me to find out the price range. (I'm not joking)

I finally saw Slumdog Millionaire this weekend. It’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I loved every minute of the movie. I’m so fascinated with how people live in other countries. The extreme poverty in India is heartbreaking.

This evening on Dateline NBC, they did a segment on two of the child stars in Slumdog. The kids that played Salim and Latika were actually from the real slums of India. Since the movie and the Oscars, they’re back in the slums living with their families. The child that played Salim just had his home bulldozed by the government. He was crying as he watched. It was hard to watch Dateline tonight knowing that is his real life; he's not acting. Can you believe that? It's devastating that any child should have to live that way. Think about how child stars are treated in America...


Fabulous Pets

The Fabulous Friday theme for this week from Well That’s Just Fabulous is “Fabulous Pets.”

Are you sitting down? Brace yourself, please… I don’t like pets at all. I have no time. I think they're a little dirty, high maintenance, and expensive. Sorry!

Remember that travel etiquette book I wanted to write??? I’ve got a few things to say about pets too but I won’t go there (today).

However, there is one dog in the world I love, Daisy. Daisy is my sister’s dog and my niece. She is groomed often so she’s pretty clean. Daisy likes to cuddle and dress-up. She has a great wardrobe, including a snazzy bikini. Daisy wears the bikini when they go to the lake house. Too funny! Some people have told me it’s mean to dress a dog in clothes, costumes, and swimwear. Jenn keeps Daisy’s clothes in a plastic bin in the hall closet. When she pulls it out, Daisy goes wild. She jumps around the bin. When Jenn opens the bin she jumps up and grabs her favorite outfits with her teeth. She loves it. If Daisy didn't like it she would run. I know this because growing up we had a Lhasa Apso. My mom would spray him with designer perfume. He hated it; he ran, she chased him with the perfume bottle. It was really funny and he smelled really good.

At one rare time I thought about getting a Maltese because I love Daisy but not for now. Maybe someday when I have time to train a dog properly, clean dog hair, and clean pee and poop. Until then, I'll love Daisy.

~Daisy's Halloween Photo Shoot~


I'm Not A Photographer

I work for K*dak. We were featured Sunday night on the Celebrity Apprentice. Yay, Joan! I don’t take pictures for a living. I wish… wouldn’t that be fun? I’m a “Regional Trainer,” which can mean many different things on different days.

I love photographers! I love their work! I’m just not one of them and most people who know me would agree.

Funny story…

One night I was out with my friend, Dr. Mark. We were with a group of people, having a great time. Someone yelled, “Does anyone have a camera?” Of course, I did! I pulled my basic point-n-shoot out of my purse and snapped away. Dr. Mark pointed to me and yelled, “She’s a photographer.” Ha Ha. I’m really not.

A few months later I was at dinner with the same group of people. The majority of people at our dinner table were in medicine or law. I was talking with my friend, Carl. We both noticed everyone was talking “shop.” I didn’t say a word; Carl was silent. After a while Carl said to me, “Jill, I’m so glad you’re friends with us. We needed some fresh faces in this group. Everyone is a doctor, a nurse, or a lawyer. I’m in banking and you’re a photographer.”

Y’all, he really thinks that’s what I do for a living. I had corrected him before but not this time. I think it’s so funny.

This morning I got an email from my friend, Carrie. When I was in China last fall I took a really cool picture of Miss Gracie. Check out my sidebar for the only cool photo I've ever taken. Ha Ha. I didn’t plan for it to be a cool photo but it turned out really well. It was a complete accident. A magazine in China just used my photo in an ad for New Day Foster Home. So funny… I should send the ad to Carl and tell him I’ve been published. ;)

Speaking of New Day Foster Home, The Design Girl is hosting a raffle for a blog makeover. All the proceeds will go to NDFH's Formula Project. The Formula Project provides much needed formula to babies living in foster care or orphanages in rural China. Without these special deliveries from NDFH, the babies would be given substitutes like sugar water or rice powder to ease their hunger pains. Please stop by The Design Girl and help if you can.



This afternoon I broke down and bought a Garmin. I’ve been traveling the United States for over 10 years. I’ve used Map Quest and Google Maps; they don’t always work. Last week I had a breaking point in Louisiana…DONE! I bought a GPS. I’m planning on trying it this week. I hope it’s easy because I have no time for complication!

Question~ Why are most (not all) girls SO bad with directions? If one more girl tells me to turn right at the McDonalds and left at the Shell Station, I might freak out. Street names, please! I can't tell you how many girls have told me they've called their boyfriends, husbands, and dads because they were lost. No wonder! Sorry, just being honest.


Weekend Update

Oh my… last week was so busy. I’m exhausted and about to hit the bed. Last Sunday I flew to Columbus, OH (and had a problem on the moving walkway at Midway Airport in Chicago). Although I was only in Columbus for 2.5 days, I loved Columbus! Thank you Jill, for the Columbus shopping and dining suggestions. I arrived home after midnight on Tuesday night. Thursday I drove to Louisiana and arrived home late on Friday night.

Saturday I cleaned my apartment and prepared to have my co-worker, Jim, and his wife over for dinner. Jim and I have worked together for 10.5 years. He’s like a second dad to me. We started with appetizers and wine. For dinner I made my mom’s recipe for Shrimp Etoufee. My mom and dad are both from Louisiana, so we have some great family recipes. :)

Since I couldn’t make it to San Antonio for Mother’s Day, Lindsay invited me to brunch with her family. I LOVE Lindsay's parents. They live in a beautiful house on Lake Conroe. After brunch we had mimosas on the deck and visited. With the exception of the appetizer tray on Saturday night, I didn’t take any photos…so unlike me. I’m just too tired.

Yay, Joan Rivers won the Celebrity Apprentice. I know there are many people who aren’t fans of Joan Rivers. I don’t understand why? I love her! For years and years my friend, Tiffany, and I have loyally watched Joan on the Red Carpet, no matter what channel she's on. Joan is funny, honest, and real. She completely deserved to win the Celebrity Apprentice. Not only is Joan passionate about her charity, she is very involved. Yay for Joan…


Travel Etiquette~ The Moving Walkway

I travel for work. For the most part, I love it. I love being in airports and rushing through crowds; it’s invigorating! Sure, there are times I don’t love it. There are times when traveling is a far cry from being glamorous but it’s a huge part of my job and it’s what I know to be normal.

Since I’ve been touring America for the last 10.5 years, I’ve learned a lot about travel etiquette. It shocks me that people (not all people), don’t have common sense and basic manners when traveling. I often dream about writing a travel etiquette book. Evidently, the general population needs some help. I’m fully aware that the people that need to read a travel etiquette book would never think they have problem or care to read my book. So, I’ve decided to occasionally write about travel etiquette on my blog. I know most of my fabulous readers don’t need advice on basic travel manners but I thought my blog would be a nice outlet. Feel free to leave comments on your own personal beliefs and frustrations or questions on various travel topics.

I’m going to start my Travel Etiquette posts with the Moving Walkway. Moving Walkways are located in most airports. I’ve always thought moving walkways were designed for people in a hurry… people trying to get to their gate without missing their flights. Have you ever had to spend a Friday night in the airport? Have you ever had an airline give you a complimentary hotel room/roach motel? SCARY! Nobody wants to miss their flight so, PLEASE help us out on the moving walkway.

I looked up the definition of “moving walkway” on Wikipedia. Wikipedia defines a moving walkway as “a slow conveyor belt that transports people horizontally or on an incline in a similar manner to an escalator. In both cases, passengers can walk or stand. The walkways are often installed in pairs, one for each direction.”

Really, you’re allowed to STAND? Unfortunately, I didn’t make the rules. Unless you’re disabled, a senior citizen, or a small child, standing on the moving walkway is pure laziness! Sorry, I’m just being honest. Since Wikipedia says you’re allowed to stand (and be lazy), PLEASE don’t stand in the middle of the moving walkway. Please allow others who are in a hurry and/or about to miss a connecting flight to walk by you. If the moving walkway is narrow, position yourself sideways to let others by. If you decide to stroll on the moving walkway, please stroll on the “standing” side and let the fast walkers by. If you’re traveling with a friend, spouse, or significant other please stand single file. If you’re traveling with a child, have the child stand in front of you. For the record, nobody thinks it’s cute or funny that your child thinks the moving walkway is a toy or amusement park ride.


Every Business Traveler in The United States of America


Mother's Day Gift Ideas

This Sunday is Mother's Day. Have you bought your mom a card or gift yet? If you're still looking for ideas, here's a few ideas your mom might enjoy...

~A Pedicure~

Wouldn't it be fun to have a Mother-Daughter Pedicure? After the pedi you could treat your mom to lunch. Sandal season has started and who wouldn't love a fresh pedi?

~Personalized Charm Bracelet~

I love these custom-made, personalized bracelets from this Etsy Store, Joyfully Crafted. Wouldn't it be cute to order one for mom with a name charm for each of her children and grandchildren? You can also order gift cards from Joyfully Crafted, so mom can pick her own bracelet.

~Homemade Gifts~

If funds are limited this year, you can always make your mom a homemade card or a paper flower arrangement. I made this paper flower arrangement last year using the free paper flower pattern from Amy Butler.

~Make a Charitable Donation in Your Mom's Name~

Last year I made a donation in my mom's name to an organization that helps orphans in China. I wrote my mom a card telling her about the donation and why I donated in her name. She loved it; she cried. After years of buying gift cards, flowers, candy, and presents, I think this gift meant the most to my mom. For Mother's Day this year, I have sponsored a child at New Day Foster Home in Beijing in my mom's name. She will receive monthly updates on a sweet little girl, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was abandoned at 8 years old. She just had a heart surgery and she's currently in recovery. You can also make a one-time donation in your mom's name to the various projects New Day supports.

Look who's picture is in the "N." She's so cute!


Weekend Update

Friday night I had a Girl's Night with friends, Amy and Maria. This is something we try to do once a month. We went to Amy's house and ordered Mexican Food from one of my favorite places. I made homemade guacamole and margaritas and Maria brought a Key Lime Pie... Good Times. If you love guac and margaritas, you have to try these recipes...

I don't have an exact recipe for guacamole; it's "to taste." You'll need avocados, lime, fresh cilantro (a must), tomato, onion, salt and pepper. For this batch, I used 7 small avocados.

Scoop the avocado into a mixing bowl, don't mash. Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado. I used about 6 small limes. Add fresh cilantro. Cilantro really makes the guacamole; I don't think you can have too much. Add 1-3 chopped roma tomatoes. Add about 1/4 cup white or red onion, chopped. I prefer red onion in this dish. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. As you mix mash the larger pieces of avocado with a fork. I like it a little chunky.

The trick is you have to taste the guac and determine what adjustments need to be made. After I made this batch, I added more cilantro, salt, and pepper. I don't add any fillers... mayo, sour cream, or shredded lettuce... very cruel. :)

For a great margarita (sometimes better than restaurants), I use a large can of frozen limeade. Pour the limeade into the blender, it doesn't have to be thawed. Use the empty limeade can as your measuring cup. Fill the limeade can 1/2 full with Tequila, pour into the blender. Fill the limeade can 1/4 full with Triple Sec, pour into the blender. Add ice and blend. These margaritas can be made ahead of time. After you've made a batch, put the blender pitcher into the freezer. When you're ready to serve, blend one more time. So good...

Saturday night I met my friend, Lindsay, at the mall for dinner and shopping. I got this cute dress for 50% off at the Gap. Yay! Today, Sunday, as I write this blog post I'm at the airport in Chicago waiting for a connecting flight to Columbus, OH. I'm working in Columbus for a couple days and soooo excited. I've never been to Columbus and I love visiting new places. Hope y'all had a great weekend.

P.S. I'm wearing my new Gap dress today with a red cardigan and red ballet flats. I think it was a good buy!


Fabulous Friday (but on Saturday)

My friend, Danielle, has started "Fabulous Fridays" on her blog. Every Friday Danielle will have a new fabulous theme. If you want to participate, head to her blog. In each "Fabulous Friday" post, there will be a place on her blog to add your name and blog address. That way, anyone that plays along or visits Danielle's blog can see that you've participated and click to see your Fabulous Friday post. Fun idea!

This week's theme is "Fabulous Candy." I'm not a huge chocolate fan. I like chocolate but I don't love it or crave it. However, I do LOVE sugary candy that's very bad for you... gummies, sour patch kids, cherry sours, jelly beans, etc... My favorite candy (right now) is the Gummy Raspberries and Blackberries. Yum...

So, what's your favorite candy?