Monday, May 30, 2011


In the words of Elle Woods, OMG you guys. It is been INSANE 'round these parts lately. Here's the best example I can think of to illustrate how non-stop I have been lately: I didn't have time to sit down and watch JT + Gaga on SNL until THURSDAY. Yes. FIVE whole nights later. It was fabulous, of course, but you already know that don't you?

The nights I haven't been working, I have been lucky enough to be with friends! We had May bunko last week, where everyone brought her.... and his... shades. Yes, we finally caved and let a man fill in at the last minute:
This past Saturday, one of my very first friends in Nashville got married and several other old friends were there to help celebrate. Here's pretty Leslie and me high atop Broadway, overlooking downtown Nashville:

And me, Leslie and the beautiful bride:

The cicadas are so bad that I can barely leave the house. Last night when I got home from work (at 1:30 am) they were COVERING my front door. I had to psyche myself up to bolt inside. Then I got in the shower ASAP to make sure one wasn't on me. At the nail salon on Friday, a girl had one on her back and in her hair. When we told her, she screamed and threw her jacket down where the thing started chirping really loudly. They're inside. They're outside. They're everywhere.

And speaking of infestations, music fest starts week after next! That's always some good people-watching.

I can't believe it's already June, can you?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Sorry to keep you hanging on these dang cupcakes. They are so delicious! Chef Evan found this recipe himself and did all the work! They turned out DELICIOUS.

Cookie Dough Cupcakes topped with Cookie Dough icing, via the Cupcake Project!

Use this eggless recipe for the cookie dough center. To make the cookie dough frosting, mix one cup of that raw cookie dough you just made with one half cup of heavy cream. It tastes just like cookie dough, but spreads perfectly for your cupcakes. Provided you don't eat them all before you get a chance to frost 'em.

The actual cupcake itself is a brown-butter cupcake, which may I just say is delicious AS IS. If you're not into cookie dough, make this and just be done with it - it'll still be the best thing you've ever eaten.

1/2 C plus 2 T unsalted butter
3/4 C self-rising cake flour (important to get this right, don't use all-purpose)
3 T sugar
5 T brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 t baking powder
2-3 T milk

1. First, you must burn the butter. There are some photos of these steps here. Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it turns a dark golden color (3-5 minutes). Take the pan off the heat and strain into a bowl (to separate from the sediment). Let the butter sit until it solidifies, but is still a little soft. (We let it sit at room temp before popping it in the fridge. Took about 20-30 minutes total; plenty of time to get any rude company out of your house if need be).
2. When the butter is solid yet soft, mix it with all the other cupcake ingredients except milk.
3. Add milk slowly and pulse till well-mixed.
4. Pour/spoon into twelve cupcake liners approx halfway.
5. Bake at 400 F for for 15-20 minutes.
6. When the cupcakes cool, use a paring knife to cut a hole in them and plop in a ball of cookie dough. Spread with icing. Try not to eat all 12 in one sitting.
Amazing cupcakes, amazing friends! And just so you don't think I was TOTALLY unprepared, I had picked up some boxed cake mix and icing in case I ate all the others something went wrong!

Monday, May 23, 2011


What a busy, busy weekend! What DIDN'T I get into? Oh! Pirates 4. I didn't make it to the theater for Pirates. But read what all I did and you'll see why!

Friday night, I made myself an amazing dinner at home - steak and veggies! - and watched the King's Speech, which I really liked. I had to be at work bright and early Saturday, so I was a good girl and went to sleep at a decent hour.

On Saturday, I worked some of the day and immediately afterward, changed into a swimsuit and headed over to a friend's house to celebrate Evan and Elliott's birthday! This was my first foray into suburbia since the Cicada invasion. Living and working downtown, I have come in contact with exactly ONE Cicada. On the drive to Andy's house, I almost wrecked because I was so distracted by what was going on. I could hear the loud chirping inside my car! I even took a video for posterity's sake. Unreal, those bugs.

But it was worth the risk! We had fun celebrating everyone's favorite twins, even when it started to rain! We just retreated to the porch where our host had whipped up yummy burgers and there was birthday cake of course. It was a good time and I was super glad I timed "cheat day" so perfectly.

After the party broke up, Evan, Elliott and I regrouped at my apartment where we had plans to bake cupcakes. Evan had picked out a recipe for Cookie Dough cupcakes and in true Evan fashion, knocked them out of the dang park. I'll post the recipe and pictures tomorrow.; they deserve their own post. They were delicious!

While Evan was baking and I was helping, Elliott had invited a friend from work over. Fine by me; I like a cute, single man as much as the next girl. And this guy in particular makes his television debut tonight on a well-known show on ABC involving roses. It sounded really promising. Until I met him. WHAT A JACKASS. I have never been more grossed out and turned off in such a short amount of time. Either some of the "eligible bachelors" they cast on that show are actually not that eligible, or he slipped through the cracks. Here's how bad it was: he was irritating me/us so bad that E and E had to pretend to leave and go home, just so this guy would take the hint and follow them out the door. Then they circled the block and came back inside. Spoiler alert: he goes home the first night. Shocking. And in a related story, after that I'm never going on reality TV to look for a husband.

Still cackling about what had just happened, and full from yummy and delicious cupcakes, we headed out to continue the birthday celebration with more friends. We danced and had a great time!

I worked all day yesterday before falling into bed after midnight. I haven't even had time to watch Justin and Gaga on SNL yet! Told you it was a busy weekend.

Hope you had a good, busy weekend too!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Are you getting tired of all the food talk around here? Someone's going to think this blog actually has a point if I don't change the subject. Oh well.

I am REALLY trying to start a movement here. As in, move some of this weight off my frame. Right now, I'm concentrating on what I eat.

Here's two things I picked up recently at the grocery store to try to help the cause.

This salad dressing spritzer is great for raw veggies with lunch. I love broccoli and carrots but need some little something added to it. With 2 calories per spray, this really can't be topped.

Also, at Erin's recommendation, I picked up these almonds. That 3 pm craving when you want something chocolate or sweet, but don't want to be the Mayor of your coworker's candy dish? These are perfect. By savoring a few of these, I get the chocolate taste I am wanting but in a healthier fashion.
What else? I feel that right now, I can either eat cheaply or eat healthily. Doesn't seem to be too much of a middle ground at this point in time. You should know that cheap for me is peanut butter and crackers. That's a great dinner for one. Healthy is following the food pyramid, fresh veggies, lots of protien, yada yada yada. I'm just trying to lock down the healthy part and make that a habit, and then I can find ways to do it cheaper. I have also learned that if I want the best of the produce and meat, I can't go hang out with John on Sunday afternoons. Or avoid the rush and go Monday when it looks like the locusts have hit. I went to Publix last night and everything was stocked and fresh and beautiful. I bought some gorgeous Greenwise sirloin fillets and my first-ever yellow squash (both on sale, BTW) but can't bring myself to buy peppers... sigh. The seeds still scare the @!#$ out of me. I have looked for pre-cut slices but no luck yet.

Okay. In NON-FOOD news, tomorrow makes it officially one month away until my birthday (!!!) and I can't wait to celebrate at the beach with my family (provided the world doesn't end before then). Yes, for the first time in a LONG time, we are going on a family vacation. I really think the last place we went together, where someone wasn't residing at the time, was ten years ago, when we went to Cancun after my senior year of high school. The only difference being that we've swapped the male figure out. Enter Jamie! I am REALLY looking forward to another vacation. I'm sure that sounds pretty bratty considering I just came back from Vegas, but please e-mail me if you'd like to hear my work schedule in between coming home from Vegas and taking off for Gulf Shores next month. It's a nice way to book-end a very, very busy time of year.

When I'm not grocery shopping, I have been seeing all these great movies that have come out! There is literally a new movie coming out every week until halfway into July that I am dying to see. I was so overwhelmed when I read my Entertainment Weekly Summer Movie Guide that I started sweating. If I don't stay on top of them, I'll get really behind and then never see half of them, since I apparently am too busy to watch the Netflix DVD of the King's Speech that I've had at my house since March/April. I haven't even seen Justin Bieber's new movie yet! I guess I need to examine my priorities and until I do, I cannot add anything else to the DVD queue. So, time to hit the matinees! I already saw Something Borrowed and Bridesmaids, both of which I liked! This weekend it's Pirates 4, next weekend the Hangover 2...

So. In conclusion, if you need me anytime soon, check the cinema, Publix, the gym or my office.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Yesterday, I was watching American Idol, trying to decide what variation of chicken and vegetables I was going to make for dinner when my favorite twins dropped by on their way home from the gym.

Y'all know Evan is a pretty good chef, right? I told him I was about to make dinner. He peeked in my fridge and pantry, and one quick Google search later, he's whipping up supper for me. He had a recipe to sort-of follow but he improvised a lot.

Chicken Couscous with Sauteed Vegetables

Low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup quick-cooking couscous
olive oil
skinless, boneless chicken breast - cut into cubes
1 pinch ground black pepper (he used lemon pepper seasoning)
1 zucchini, diced
6 small/medium stalks of asparagus, chopped
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 pinch of basil
pinch of red pepper flakes

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of the chicken broth to a boil. Stir in couscous and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Turn off heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the couscous.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the chicken, season with pepper, and cook until no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove chicken from the skillet, and set aside.
3. Heat more olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Mix in the zucchini, green onions, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes and 1/4 cup chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes.

Empty the couscous into a large bowl. Stir in the chicken. Add the sauteed vegetables. Fluff/toss with a fork. Serve with chardonnay and laughter.
It was DELICIOUS. So yummy. I would also like to add that he then cleaned my kitchen and washed the dishes. Tomorrow we're starting on his application for sainthood!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Well I intended to give you some fun flashbacks from my first years up here, but (clearly) that hasn't happened. Just been too busy to sit and take a trip down memory lane. Y'all were here. You remember.

Watch this instead!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


On Sunday, May 14, 2006, a scared but excited 22-year-old packed up her Ford Explorer Sport, kissed her mother and sister and future brother-in-law goodbye and "moved" to Nashville. It was a Mother's Day, so you can imagine how well all of this went over with the aforementioned mother, whose baby girl was really and truly leaving her for Tennessee.... until five days later, at least, when the baby was coming back home for the weekend (a pattern to be repeated at least every other weekend for the rest of the year).

I was that scared 22-year-old. I had no idea how long I'd be in this town or what mischief I would get into, I just knew I had to start on my own somewhere. It has been a pretty fun ride, sometimes a hard one, but five years later, I'm still here!

Today is my Nashversary! I'll be celebrating all week by recounting some of the highlights of my five years in Tennessee.

Mother's Day 2006... those pants finally fit again, by the way.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Guess whose birthday is today?
Happy birthday, Cam!

Since we've only met for approximately 60 seconds, I decided to do some research to see how compatible Cam and I really are. Lucky for me, based on our signs, we're good to go!

"Taurus man and Cancer woman are one those few people who were meant to be together. Her imagination will always interest him and he, in turn, will find newer ways of romancing her. Both the individuals are very emotional and will fulfill each other's needs in this aspect. He wants a warm, cuddly home and she will always be willing to provide him that. On the other hand, his protective attitude will always give her the security she most desperately needs. The Bull is as devoted as the Crab and except for a few hiccups, the sailing will be smooth."

Well that sounds good to me! The part about my "imagination" is really hard for me to believe, though...

I hope "God be blessin'" you lots on your twenty-second birthday, dear!

Monday, May 09, 2011


One of the things that I love about life these days is my expanding palette. The past few times I have dined with my sister, she has commented on all the things I eat now that I didn't used to, either by intention or omission. As you could guess, it's mostly vegetables (as if I have ever met a carb I didn't like).

Avacados! Yum! Peppers! Yum! Squash! Yum! Zucchini! Yum! Tomatoes! Yum! Edamame? YUM. And that's just a partial list. You already know how I feel about asparagus. I'll even eat onions now, kids. Unfortunately, so far there appears to be no hope for mushrooms or seafood.

I don't know why I hated all these things when I was little. I probably saw my sister turn her nose up to each and followed suit. You know how kids are. Except I continued this way past childhood. And both of my grandfathers had gardens! What a shame. And truthfully, a lot of the reasons I like them now is because of work, where I have had the opportunity to taste things that I have never tasted before (at no cost to me).

Typing it all out, I am starting to realize how pathetic this really sounds.

Regardless! Fueled by my desire to eat healthier, I went to Publix yesterday and made two friends*. John works the produce section every Sunday and he's going to help me learn my way around these vegetables and more. When I asked him what I look for when shopping for zucchini, he gave me a 5-minute lesson and also cooking suggestions. What customer service!

And now my fridge is stocked with yummy fresh green things: broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini and there are even two big fat heirloom tomatoes on my counter (never refrigerate tomatoes!) There were things I wanted to get but knew I can only eat so much in one week, so I already have things I want to try next week. I wish I had a grill, but don't think I am above some intense roasting.

If only I was as good a cook as Evan or my sister!

Saturday, May 07, 2011


Well, I survived. Las Vegas was amazing and so much fun. We really had a blast!

After leaving a rainy, dreary Nashville (haha!) and a day full of some the most turbulent flying I've ever been witness to, we got there Sunday afternoon and our first task was to get THIS to the hotel:
Yes, there is something in that box that Evan uses for work. In fact, the contents of that box are the sole reason why we were there. If you are having trouble understanding how large this box was, visualize a small apartment on wheels. You should have seen it coming around the luggage carousel. Later in the trip, I got the bright idea to get inside it and almost had Evan push me around the lobby so I could jump out and scare people. HOW hilarious would that have been? I didn't want to get kicked out of the hotel so we kept the tomfoolery just to our room.

So after a cab ride to the Venetian a.k.a our SWANKY hotel, we checked in and guess who surprised me with a strip-view room? Cue the dance party. Our room suite was so nice. The bathroom, the bed, the sunken living room, the view: it was all so elegant and gorgeous. I'll tell you this: when I own a house, there WILL be a TV in the bathroom, and I kind of question my life's direction thus far since I don't have one yet. Best thing ever! Second-best thing ever? This view:

So we freshened up and set off for dinner. We just decided to wander until we found something, so our strolling led us to Wolfgang Puck's Postrio, located in the St. Mark's Square replica in our hotel. We were enjoying dinner when Evan got a little ping on his phone that Obama was about to make an unscheduled announcement. You know where that went. At some point between the news breaking via social media and the President's speech, applause and cheers erupted from the restaurant across the way and quickly caught on until all the Americans (there were a LOT of foreign tourists in the Square) were cheering and clapping. I bet anyone who didn't have their cell phone in front of them was REALLY confused but it I'm pretty sure I'll never forget that moment.
From there, we strolled further south so Evan could see the Strip; specifically, the Bellagio fountains. As if the night wasn't already perfect, the fountains' first number was God Bless the USA. Well played, Bellagio! Chill bumps! We stayed long enough to see two more performances before deciding it was time to hit the hay.

Monday morning, we found some breakfast, got Evan registered for his work (oh yeah, that) and we then hit the amazing pool. We split some yummy sangria and enjoyed wading around in the shallow pool. One of my favorite things about the Venetian is the staff that bring you treats while you are laying out! Orange wedges. Cucumber slices. Frozen towels. Any minute I expected someone to start popping grapes in my mouth. Eventually we dragged ourselves away from our lounge chairs t commence with the evening's plans. Since Evan had to be on the clock that evening, I was left to strike out on my own. I decided to use my student discount get a ticket to see LOVE, the Cirque show set to Beatles music. It was AMAZING. I was so impressed with the many ways they interpreted the songs. If you like the Beatles, you will probably love LOVE! We met back up afterward and just strolled around until we decided to call it a day.

Tuesday morning, Evan brought me breakfast in bed! Talk about a way to start the day! He had to work most of the afternoon, so I set off for a little window-shopping and sight-seeing followed by some pool time of course before getting dressed up for a big night on the town at the hotel next to ours: the Wynn.
After picking up our show tickets, Evan picked Okada, a Japanese restaurant, for our dinner destination. We asked our poor waitress so many questions, I thought she was going to stab one of us in the eye with a chopstick. She steered us toward some great choices and it was a delicious meal. Afterward, we played some penny slots and stirred up mischief until it was time to see La Reve. What an amazing show! It takes place in a water theater but there are quite a bit of aerial elements to the show as well. We attempted to go to a club after dinner but got too sleepy to wait in the long, long lines.

Wednesday started off with more breakfast in bed (I know, right?) followed by some playing in the box followed by more pool time for both of us. Evan had to took a quick break to wrap up the work portion of the trip but then rejoined me. The sun zapped us both pretty hard, so after a quick nap, we wandered off again to see what our last evening in Vegas would hold.
We wanted to see the new hotels so we walked down to the Cosmopolitan and Aria. Let me just say the Cosmopolitan is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen. Not just hotels I've ever seen - things. It was stunning! One day, when I've graduated from part-time moocher to full-fledged Golddigger, I plan to stay there! We chose to eat at Holstein's, a funky burgers and shakes place in the Cosmopolitan and then walked over next door to Aria, which was also beautiful. We saw the Elvis theater*, where a new Cirque production to Elvis music takes place, and strolled around a little bit more before taking a cab back to the Venetian. I told you the sun zapped us! What a pair.
Evan and his big red box left for the airport early the next morning while I had the ENTIRE day to kill. Originally, I was planning to leave Vegas on Wednesday, so I was going to book the last flight out of town so I'd have some time to kill at the pool or something. It wasn't until Evan pointed out that I actually booked the last flight out of town on Thursday that I realized I had made a boo-boo. So I slept in, sat by the pool for a few hours and then caught a shuttle to the airport. And since he'd already been home a good seven hours, take a wild guess at who picked me up from the airport? Yes, Evan. What a winner.

I was hoping for a very relaxing and very fun trip with my BFF and I got it in spades. It was a great getaway! I am so thankful to Evan for his graciousness. We really did have so much fun.

PS - remember the Elvis theater? While sitting in the airport, I found out Lisa Kudrow had been to see the show the same night Evan and I were stalking around that theater! I was YARDS away from Phoebe and had no idea!

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