I fly tomorrow

I already had a post about fears, and honestly, I'm not actually afraid of flying, I'm really not. I've flown many times, not many in recent years but when I was a kid I did. After my ears stopped hurting when I flew it hasn't been too bad. Here's the deal, now that I am a journalist I read about horrific events all day long or I see them on the news that we always have on the multiple TVs in the newsroom. Some of these stories include plane crashes. Now, I am scared of flying.

I'm flying out of the tiny regional airport here which I've never done before and it didn't help that a co-worker told me today that some of planes are like "golf carts with wings." Yea, how is that comforting? Needless to say, I'm freaking out.

So, I've looked up good ways to calm down. These seem like relatively obvious ways to not lose it on an aircraft. I'm not saying I'd go crazy and open the emergency exit or something, but I also don't want to hyperventilate in turbulence. Here are some of their guidelines:
  • The plane is strong, stable, reliable, and well maintained. (But in bad weather that doesn't matter.)
  • Trust the well trained and experienced crew. (It isn't the crew I'm worried about)
  • Trust the airline industry. (I mean, isn't America Airlines in Chapter 11?)
  • Turbulence may feel uncomfortable, but it is normal. (How can I tell when the bumpy isn't normal anymore?)

I'm definitely going to be the girl holding up the security line, too. I just know it. And who knows who's going to be sitting next to me. It could be someone even more freaked out than I am. Or, if I attempt to make myself calm, with like...you know...drinks or Tylenol PM I might turn out like THIS. I don't want that. I don't need to get kicked off of a plane.

Wish me luck flying to the North. I'll need the luck. I have to change planes and I have this feeling that's going to be an epic experience.


Things To Brighten Your Week

"Happiness is a warm puppy." - Charles Schultz

It's Tuesday, nearly hump day, and for me, with my amazing schedule, today is actually my Thursday. That makes it, on average, Wednesday. Don't question it, it's science. I need a pick-me-up today, and who doesn't like things that make them happy?

Here are pictures of Betty White with animals.
I know that sounds stupid, but think about how cute! Betty White is an adorable old woman and then you add zoo animals. I don't see how this could get any better.

The Muppets are out!! Here's the review on Rotten Tomatoes if you are skeptical. It is such a good movie and so made for both children and adults. There are 80s jokes the new generation just won't get, but I was laughing my ass off, and so was my mom. So much so that it was actually embarrassing and uncomfortable for me and my dad. That's a different story. I'd go see it again, that's how much I loved it.

This is a corgi going up the stairs. You know Welsh corgis? The little dogs with stubby legs and pointed snouts? I love those, they're my favorite. Please watch, it will make you squeel with the adorableness it's emitting.

Blondies, the opposite of brownies and even more delicious. A co-worker brought them in today, which I am very thankful for because I didn't bring lunch. They are yummy and he put sprinkles in them so they are extra cute. Here's a recipe, they'll pick you up when you're feeling low.

Oh Oh, The New Girl is on tonight! So excited for some twee television. Twee = sickeningly adorable, I just learned that yesterday.

As a Mizzou fan, it warms my heart to know kU's (I did that on purpose, they don't deserve to have the "K" capitalized in proper fashion) coach was recently fired after we beat them in our last border war game for a while.

I hope this helps. Power through it, the 25 days of Christmas start this week.


Holiday Crafts

Because I have pretty much nothing to do except go to work and cook (which is taken care of for me right now because of all the leftovers) I have started crafting. Not just a little, I've been doing a lot of crafting. I have a cute little 4 ft. Christmas tree decorated with ornaments from the Dollar Store, a beautiful canvas with a print of a Saturday Evening Post cover by Norman Rockwell that is to the right and some tiny button trees. Those are the extent of my Christmas decorations but I plan on changing this with crafts.

So, the button trees ended up looking like this. I got the idea off of Pinterest, surprise. It comes from the blog Two Peas In a Bucket but I didn't really go with a color scheme like they did. I just went out and bought some pins, a mix of cheap and pearl head pins. The pearl head ones look really pretty sticking out. Make sure to get the pins with balls at the head of some sort, otherwise they'll slip through the holes and won't stick to the styrofoam. I had this problem because I was trying to be cheap. The styrofoam cones are near the fake flowers at craft stores, fyi. I love how vintag-y and eclectic they turned out, although they were a little tedious to actually make.

Next on the agenda is this ridiculously cute wreaths. I think it can be used all year around personally. Under the Table and Dreaming has the how-to on making a Faux Curled Rosewood Wreath made from recycled paper. I went to Good Will today to pick up some books to craft with ( I have so many ideas that have book pages in them) and I picked up some classics for 50 cents. Unfortunately, now I'm hesitating actually tearing them apart. It feels like sacrilege or something. But I didn't feel right buying a Harlequin romance-type novel to rip apart either, even though they are less than classics. Those wouldn't mean as much. So now I have 1984, War of the Worlds and Frankenstein just hanging out in my apartment waiting for me to decide what to do. I'll tweet a picture when I'm done with this one.

Happy start of the holidays! I am already listening to the all Christmas music station since it came on after Thanksgiving. So excited!


Thanksgiving and other nonsense

My parents came to visit me for the first time in 4 months and I got one huge early Christmas. To make a long story short my apartment finally looks like a real apartment. It kind of looks like someone lives here now. Still sleeping on an air mattress though.

Here are some interesting Thanksgiving traditions from all over the country. It's a story I wrote for the holidays and could help you come up with some good ideas to spice up your next Thanksgiving because I know you're dreaming about the pumpkin pie and turkey already.

In cooking news, I love Stove Top stuffing. Just a little fyi, that stuff is great. We were too lazy to actually cook a dinner so we just pre-bought sweet potatoes, rice casserole, green bean casserole, turkey, and gravy from Sam's Club. It was all fantastic albeit totally not traditional. Also, my kitchen is tiny, so that's part of my excuse.

I've even started decorating for Christmas, currently I'm working on making this craft right now to decorate. I'm not doing one whole color scheme I'm doing multi. It seems to work better with my vintag-y eclectic style that has been more and more becoming the theme of my apartment. I'll tweet and link the finished products.

Happy start to the holiday season!


Crispy Cheddar Chicken & Red Lobster-stlye Biscuits

First off, these both sounded delicious on paper. It's possible the chicken would have been more delicious if I hadn't tried to crust it. The recipe is from Jamie Cooks It Up! and is really easy. I just don't understand what went wrong though. I followed the instructions but the cheese and crumbs just wouldn't stick. I had to kind of hold it together and drop it in the pan then push more on when it was in the pan. I had to use two round cake pans again, too. I need to invest in better bakeware. It was still good but...whatever, here's the recipe.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t dried parsley

1 14 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butter

1. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks.
2. In a small food processor grind up the ritz crackers.
3. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine.
4. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk...then the cheese....and finally the cracker crumbs.
5. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan.
6. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken.
7. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.
8. Into a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken.

Why wouldn't the cheese and crumbs stick!? It turned out good and looks great, I just wish it would've looked like the pictures. Mine looked like this. So, not bad at all, but come on!

The biscuits on the other hand were absolutely perfect. They taste exactly like Red Lobster biscuits, and if you've never had those, you are so missing out. The recipe comes from The Girl Who Ate Everything and is super easy to do. They are so so good, I can't stress enough.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

2 1/2 cups Bisquick
4 Tbsp cold butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Butter Glaze:
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried parsley flakes

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or line one cookie sheet with parchment; set aside.

Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter (I just used 2 forks). Don't worry about mixing too thoroughly; there will be small chunks of butter in the mix about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and garlic powder. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix.

Drop 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto the lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes in preheated oven until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

While the biscuits are baking, melt butter is a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in garlic powder and dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread the garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Sprinkle a little kosher salt on the freshly coated biscuits. Makes one dozen.

Mine turned out looking like this, which is needless to say, perfection. Try these instead of the typical Pillsbury biscuits. They're a nice flavorful change.


Journalist Fails

I don't even care how old these YouTube videos are, they are hilarious. As a journalist myself I find these absolutely awesome. Nothing better than seeing your brethren out there making fools of themselves in front of thousands of people. Some of my friends are doing broadcast around the country right now, and don't get me wrong, I don't want that to be them. But it would be kind of hilarious and I probably still laugh as I let them cry it out.

Disclaimer: Some of these anchors and such seem to be really cold about certain stories. This comes from every journalist hearing about a bunch of terrible things everyday. I'm guilty of this as well. So, they might be terrible human beings, but there are reasons why they aren't reacting like the common person would.

This in field reporter says, on TV, he just had a beer before doing his stand-up. Reminds me of Ron Burgandy, "I love scotch, scotchy scotch, scotch."

This reporter laughs as she is reading a story about a guy who chopped up his wife. She actually is losing it.

This is an awesome compilation of just ridiculous things anchors do, from misspeaking (Osama and Obama are the same right?) to April Fool's Jokes on air. Watch, it is priceless. Especially the Dalai Lama part.

An oldy but a goody. The worst sports caster ever.

Here's the reporter that goes ghetto in a split second during one of the takes.

I mean, there's always the stupendous Bed Intruder story and the Leprechaun news story both out of Alabama. I'd be surprised if you haven't seen them already. This witness' interview is actually out of my hometown of Kansas City. These stories make me embarrassed for my profession.


How To Destroy a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I know, it seems almost impossible to mess up a grilled cheese sandwich. Let me tell you though, it is very, very easy when you start messing with the traditional construction of a grilled cheese sandwich. I did it this afternoon and am incredibly embarrassed about it.

Grilled cheese is delicious, unless you are allergic to dairy or such things. It is incredibly easy to make, too. Slap some butter on two slices of bread, put that delicious processed cheese in the middle and put in a pan. Flip until both sides are slightly brownish. You can even burn grilled cheese slightly and it's still fine.

Today, I thought I'd try to be a little fancy with my grilled cheese. I put some Ranch inside. Which I think sounds amazing, but somehow I must have put too much in. The results were this kind of creamy light yellow center of a sandwich. In other words, it was way too Ranch-y. So much so that it was a bad thing. I find this difficult to understand because I think Ranch is good in any facet. Somehow the overload made me not want Ranch for a long while though.

In honor of my terrible mistake I am including good recipes that are variations on the grilled cheese.

Also, try your grilled cheese with tomato soup or bisque. I prefer bisque. It has a lovely velvety consistency with a lot more flavor.


Cleaning Day

It's really only Cleaning Day for me because my parents are coming to see me for the first time in 4 months on Monday. Therefore, my apartment can't look like a disaster area. Honestly, it isn't too bad, but that probably comes from the fact that I have no furniture in my living room area and I sleep on an air mattress. Still, the mirrors need to be cleaned (Mom will notice) the bathroom definitely needs to be worked on a bit (Dad will notice) and the random mail I have had hanging around for 3 months should probably be tossed.

So, here are my few simple rules for cleaning.

  • Dust and do the mirrors first - This makes sense because then the dust is flying around and settling on the carpet and such.
  • Then vacuum/sweep/mop - Do what you gotta' do. I mean, I have all carpet basically. And in the kitchen I just use Clorox wipes to wipe the floor because the area is so small.
  • If you don't need a magazine or random newspapers throw them away - Are you really going to read it again or are you going to buy a newer one? If there's something there you want to save cut it out and throw the rest of it out.
  • Old food has to go - I mean old like a month passed its expiration or is growing its own colony
  • Wash the dishes - I know everyone hates it, but dishes attract flies and they get gross to look at
Do some laundry, too. I did mine last week, so I still have some time left. I let it get pretty bad this past time, like down to my last pair of underwear bad. It sucks, but think about that favorite shirt at the bottom of the basket, you could wear it again.

Oh, and if you have gnats like me, you might want to try to get rid of them. There's this little trick that I thought was really clever (has other cleaning tips, the fruit gnat thing is at the bottom of the page), but in reality, I don't want to know how many are in my apartment. For the record, it isn't my fault, it must be the climate and the area. I swear I don't leave food lying around.

Light some candles (be careful) to start making the place smell nice. You can always spray some Febreze for a quick fix.

Blast some music while your going, because I assume you are doing this in the middle of the day when your neighbors are gone, or else you are violating neighbor code by vacuuming way too early or way too late.

Cleaning Playlist


The Perfect Gift

Whether you're buying Christmas presents, Hanukkah presents, birthday or Valentine's gifting can be difficult. There's always that thought that maybe they already have it, it won't fit, or they just straight-up won't like it. Well, I have some advice on starting your holiday shopping excursions now. I mean, you can wait until Black Friday, but with all the stores opening at midnight (cough, Target) or even 10 p.m. (cough, Wal-Mart) you might be out of luck depending on what you're planning on Thanksgiving night.

Esquire has a decent guide of what to get basically everyone on your shopping list. The items they suggest are basically just easy go-tos. I mean, a watch is always a nice gift. Just make sure it's in a style he or she will like. I know, that's the tricky part. But that comes from knowing the person. Scarves and gloves are always nice and useful gestures that people will most likely actually wear. You don't have to go as high end as these, but they are good ideas to have in case you really can't think of anything more unique.

For something really interesting you could always look at products that are attached to a cause.At Filanthropist.com they have a ton of products that benefit a certain charity. If the person is a do-gooder, has strong feelings about a particular cause, or if you just want to feel warm and fuzzy about giving a gift and donating at the same time, try the website. Also, the recipient will probably be very impressed.

New York Magazine offers this great manifesto for gift-giving in 2011. Read this then go shopping. You won't regret it.

Personally, when I shop I like to go to places that other people aren't always going to. For example, everyone shops at Target, therefore, the recipient probably goes there too. I try to find items the person I'm buying for hasn't seen. It's kind of fun. Stores like World MarketorUrban Outfitters can be fun to look through for interesting ideas. Urban has great weird house ware type of objects or trinkets. World Market has house wares, interesting little trinkets, baskets for gifts, beautiful boxes to put presents in and an incredible assortment of interesting alcohol. In case thats what you're looking for. It could come in handy when hosting holiday festivities as well.

DIY gifts are always heartfelt and definitely appreciated, if not cheaper than store bought presents for the buyer. Here's one for any beer or root beer lovers from Life of a Modern Mom. Our Unexpected Journey, has the cutest wreath you can make for yourself or others. Here are some great gifts to give people in jars from Texas Cottage. You know, like dry cookie ingredients in a jar, and that sort of thing.

When you have actually narrowed down your gift, presentation is important. Granted, the present is the star, and really the only thing that matters, but what it looks like before they see it, that can really make a person's day. Wrapping a gift and tying a ribbon around it really changes the whole mood when you give that person the present. I mean, compare:

To this:

I'm totally being unfair I know. And I realize bags are reusable. But if you are going to use them, please be classy about it. Some other good ideas for wrapping: Wrap in a natural brown color then just add a colored ribbon, instant classy. Ornaments or candy canes on the ribbon on boxes or bags is always cute, especially if it matches the color scheme you have going.

I just learned that sometimes even when you think you nailed a present, it might not always turn out like you planned. For example, my boyfriend's birthday was earlier this month. I sent him a shirt, this shirt, for multiple reasons. We both grew up in the Midwest, met there, went to college there, it's different, and I thought he'd look attractive in it. I guess he was confused about whether it was a guys shirt. Well, great. He does like it for the record, but my advice is think about what they really are into first.

Good luck.


Eggplant Fries

I found this little recipe on Pinterest as well. Let's just assume most of the interesting recipes I'm trying out are from Pinterest unless I say otherwise. The original recipe is from the blog Use Real Butter. They got the recipe from this blog called The Hungry Mouse (check that blog for tips.) I'm not sure why I try these random recipes, but I really enjoy eggplants, so I guess that's what drew me to this one.

First off, I don't own a drying rack, which is a necessity if you are frying things. If you don't own one of these then the fries basically just sit in the oil after you fry them and they are incredibly soggy. That's kind of what happened to me.

Also, I started a mini grease fire, which was terrifying. The stove top actually had a flame sitting on it so I freaked out and took the pot off of it and just stood there watching it. Thank God it just went out because I had no idea what to do, I'm not even sure I have a fire extinguisher in my apartment, and if I do (which I think I have one because I'm pretty sure would be illegal if I didn't) I don't really know how to use it or if that's the proper thing to do. A coworker told me you are supposed to pour salt on it to smother the flame. So, just a little tip, but if your house explodes then after trying that trick, don't sue me.

Eggplant Fries

3/4 cup flour
2 tsps garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, fresh ground
oil for frying
3 baby eggplants or 2 medium eggplants
salt for seasoning

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, dried oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper until thoroughly mixed. In a heavy-bottom medium saucepan, heat at least two inches of oil to about 350F. Peel the eggplants and slice into 3/4-inch thick fingers. Toss the eggplant slices a few at a time in the seasoned flour until well coated. When the oil is ready, drop a few sticks of eggplant into the oil – they should begin sizzling immediately. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan or have the oil temperature drop too much. When they begin to brown (about a minute) flip them over and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Remove the eggplant fries from the oil and let drain on a cooling rack. Serve hot with a shake of salt and a drizzle of honey. A great snacking appetizer for 4 people.

Mine ended up being good, but since I didn't drain them properly they were super oily. I used vegetable oil, but the original recipe says they used olive oil, which would probably healthier and more delicious. I know the honey thing sounds really weird, but it is so good. If you make them, try them with honey. It has this sweet with salty goodness like when you dip chicken McNuggets into honey. Other people do that right? It can't just be me. I also got tired of making wedges, and I cottage fries so some of mine I made as round slices, which I found to be scrumptious. I didn't use multiple tiny eggplants, although apparently those are sweeter than the enormous one I got from Wal-Mart, but the enormous one worked fine I thought, and I only needed one.

Here's a picture of my finished product.


Buffalo Chicken & Potato Casserole

I found my latest recipe on Pinterest, but originally it came from this blog, Holy Cannoli Recipes This was an incredibly easy recipe, and if you like buffalo chicken and ranch then you'll probably like this. Basically all it is, is chicken in buffalo sauce (you can use any kind, I just used Frank's because they recommended it) frozen hashbrowns, ranch, cheese and then bread crumbs sprinkled on top (I used Panko because I wanted to try it, honestly it's really good. It's crunchier than bread crumbs.) Also, I don't own a 13x9-inch pan, so I just made due with two round cake pans.

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1/3 c. Franks buffalo sauce
  • 6 c. potatoes, grated w/ box grater
  • 1 c. light ranch dressing
  • 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • (10 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 c. panko
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, stir together chicken strips and buffalo sauce. Spoon into baking dish in a single layer.
  3. In the same bowl, stir together potatoes, dressing, cheese and soup. Spread over chicken. Sprinkle panko evenly over the top.
  4. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes; uncover and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.
Try it out. I can only assume that this recipe would be good for a football type of get together or something like that. I have this weird thing about letting my meat cook in a recipe, I always think I'm going to get Salmonella so I usually cook mine before putting in the recipe, but that's just me. Just in case.

Here's a picture of the final product in one of the cake pans.


The Love Cynic

I've mentioned before that I can be a little bit of a cynic when it comes to happily ever after or true love. It isn't that I don't believe it exists. I do believe it exists, I've just seen a lot of examples where it doesn't work out. When I say I've seen a lot, I mean a lot.

I'm in a relationship right now and my boyfriend is actually in the Navy so it has been a few months since we've seen each other. The distance has been difficult but since he got out of basic and we can text and talk on the phone again things have been looking up. Despite our struggles, and we have had many, I believe we are finally at a good place in our lives together. I think we've reached this happy place finally from growing up. It's difficult to know what you want when you are confined by high school, college or are stuck in a holding pattern after graduation. What I'm saying is, I'm very happy right now.

I wrote this post, not to spew about my happiness, because honestly no one wants to read about that, but because every time I hear a song on the radio, yes we're talking about country again, that tells a love story I always kind of laugh about it. I used to snap every time I heard the ones that tell an adorable story about how two people met. They're like love at first sight kinds of tales where things just somehow fell into place for these people. I don't think this really ever happens to people so it used to make me mad, and almost jealous.

I've started to get over this. Some people are lucky enough to actually have good stories about how they met. Others just met on blind dates, online or through friends. Those aren't interesting stories though. But why was I so upset by hearing these stories? Because I think everyone should be happy like the people in the songs. I want lyrics to come true for every one and I know this is never going to be the case. You might be like me, absolutely hating the cutesy love stories because of jealousy or just because you are too much of a realist. In that case, I feel you. It's OK to be that person. But at the same time, take in the story and learn to see it as you would a Disney fairy tale. Unattainable, totally unrealistic, but nonetheless sweet and inspiring.

If you only listen to one, listen to Austin. It's sad at first, but always gives me chills because of how devoted the man is. And if you watch the video, forgive Blake's hair, he looks ridiculous. Don't let that distract you from the beauty of the story.

Three of the best love story songs

Austin - Blake Shelton
Good Directions - Billy Currington
She Said Yes - Brad Paisley

PS. Sorry I didn't include the appropriately named song Love Story by T Swift. It's Romeo and Juliet without the dying. I don't find this to be inspirational in any way. Not that you need to die for that story to mean something but, you know what I mean.



I don't know anyone who thinks they are fearless. In fact, if you asked most people they'd give you multiple things they are afraid of. Common fears are: death, spiders, ghosts, and failure. Personally, I am afraid of spiders, death and failure, also sharks. I'm terrified of them although I used to live in the Midwest and we have no oceans anywhere near us.

Here's a list of 2011's top 10 phobias. I know people that are afraid of these things, but fear of vomiting and fear of blushing? I don't know anyone with those problems. Although, I guess if you hate throwing up that could be considered a fear of it, possibly. I'm not judging, those just confuse me. Is the fear of blushing thing a fear of being embarrassed in reality? Someone explain that one to me.

Something fun to do is to look at a list of phobias. As totally wrong as it is to laugh at someone else's fears some of them do come off a little silly. I mean there's a fear of garlic and unless you're a vampire I don't get that one. There's a fear of gold, to me that just sounds inconvenient.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor. I'm not afraid of the doctor, but you know you are always expecting them to tell you you have some sort of incurable disease. That's why I'm afraid to go. I'd rather not know if I'm dying although once you find out you can delay it or start medication to possibly cure it. I'm fine, by the way, but it was a battle getting to take myself to the check-up.

I know people scared of the dentist. I guess they had a bad experience, or they too worry about having something wrong with them and they don't want to know. I forgot about clowns. Many people are scared of clowns but I could bet they didn't have a bad experience with them. It's their creepy little faces that you imagine would be smiling as they stab you. Ok, sorry, I think I just had a flashback to a scary clown episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark. You know, the one where they take the clown's nose and he goes after them? That possibly did cause me to fear clowns.

According to this Huff Post article fear is, "thinking vividly about what we don't want to happen in the future or dwelling on an unhappy past event." In fact, that's exactly what fear is when you get right down to it. There's usually something you saw when you were a kid, or even last week or that you experienced that makes you think that will happen to you or will happen again.

The article talks you through letting go of your fears. At least, how in Buddhism one would overcome their fears. I hope this will help some people get over some of their phobias. It's a little dense for me, but has good ideas nonetheless. I'm still going to be terrified of spiders no matter what anyone tells me though, but it did make me a little less afraid of clowns.


Things to brighten your week

In case you weren't aware there is going to be an all new Muppet movie coming out on Thanksgiving. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. Who doesn't love the Muppets? There's a character for everyone. Jason Segal and Amy Adams are going to be in it, and it just looks like a goofy, adorable-fest.

So, for those of you who have had a rough week already, here's the opening scene and first song titled "Life's A Happy Song."

If you haven't heard of Pinterest, it's the newest social media type of concotion. It's kind of like Tumblr and Twitter had a baby, but so much better. It's a bunch of photos you can click on and get more information, or you can comment on them, or you can just like them. I just started using it, but it has great recipes, DIY ideas, decorating ideas, photos, geeky memorabilia....I could go on. It's just fun to look around. Needless to say, I'm in love. If you need an invite let me know.

That the holidays are coming up fast and furious. I love it. It really is almost Thanksgiving so no complaining that it's too soon. Just think about the food, and the Black Friday sales, oh, and family. This also means we get to watch amazing holiday movies like White Christmas, Love Actually, and A Muppet Christmas Carol. Can you tell I love Muppets?

The new series Once Upon A Time. I've never been able to see it when it actually airs, but I am really loving this show so far. It's modern, and has elements of the stories you loved as a kid with an adult twist. It's just interesting. Snow White is real, Red Riding Hood is real, what's better than that?

So, this looks hilarious. A new show on ABC called GCB, which apparently is based on a book called Good Christian Bitches, but on TV stands for Good Christian Belles. The always talented Kirsten Chenoweth is going to be in it.

Ramen noodles. I have friends who think they're for poors, but they are the cheapest and quickest made comfort food. Also, there are infinite ways to make them. A girl at work actually puts vegetables in her's. She makes a couple bricks, and puts frozen okra, and carrots in it with some chili flakes.

Currently, as in right this minute, the CMAs are making me super happy. If you don't like country you won't know this, but the CMAs are funnier than all the other award shows combined. I've never understood this, at the Oscars the actors all end up looking like awkward untalented middle school children attempting to say their lines without tipping over in their character shoes. I don't get that. You can act like your child just burned up in a fire and you have no insurance and cancer but you can't read a teleprompter? Whatever. The CMAs are more fun, the musicians are relaxed, have a good time, and it's enjoyable to watch.

Smile, hump day is over and you're still standing.

This Week's Most Offensive Stories

Mississippi Personhood Vote

If you haven't heard of the personhood vote, be prepared. It was a vote to ban abortion and to state clearly that life begins at conception. It wasn't only to ban abortion though, it was also a vote that would make certain birth control (such as the morning after pill) illegal, in vitro fertilization would be dangerous (if an embryo didn't survive the doctor could be charged with murder), and those raped or in cases where the pregnancy endangered mother's life they would be forced to carry on with the pregnancy.

The vote failed yesterday,
thank goodness. To me, even if you are pro-life, which is your choice, this legislation was all about imposing your religious beliefs on others. This wasn't even just straight up anti-abortion, it was complicating so many other aspects of a person's choice and life.

Decide for yourself. As a woman I have a different view of this. But just think about all of the under the table abortions that would occur. It would be so much more dangerous to women's health and would really just benefit those with enough money to go somewhere else to have an abortion.

Sandusky Sex Scandal

Jerry Sandusky, 67, allegedly sexually abused eight boys from 1994 to 2009 while he was working as Penn State's defensive coordinator. He started a non-profit to help troubled young boys, called The Second Mile. This is how he apparently met the boys he abused.

Others knew about the abuse. A graduate assistant, head coach Joe Paterno (who did report it to higher officials - but not police), the athletic director, and the list goes on. Paterno, the beloved Penn State coach, will step down at the end of this season.

The story is sickening. A non-profit where he prayed on little boys? Multiple people knew but nothing was done. Sandusky took boys on road trips with the team, he was seen abusing a boy in the football showers by that graduate assistant. The whole thing is disgusting and inexcusable and Paterno's reputation will never be as grand as it could have been had he just gone to police. If some had just gone to the police this could have been stopped instead of letting it go on for 15 years.

Michigan Bullying Legislation

Michigan's new bullying law has to be the most backwards bullying law in the country. It has the ability to protect the one doing the bullying. For example, if someone is devoutly Christian and happens to feel that homosexuality is a sin they could legally bully that person because it is their religious beliefs. Basically it is their religious right to harass someone because they don't agree.

Funny story though, what if a Muslim bullied a Christian because they don't agree? I think that loophole would be changed real quick.

The saddest thing is that I'm Catholic and I can see that these things just don't make sense when you look at them from a different perspective. This hasn't actually passed yet, we'll see if Michigan can realize what they are doing. Where did that old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" go?


A comment on having an open mind: Musicals

A long time friend of mine from high school just told me to listen to a song. He has always been good about telling me to listen to songs he finds that he thinks are especially beautiful. This one happens to be from Bonnie & Clyde the new musical that started previews on Nov. 4. Personally, I've never heard of this musical.

First, I just want to let you know I used to live for live theater. I acted in plays and musicals, I loved going to see them. In college I directed skits for my sorority to fill the void.

But, I have plenty of friends that hate musicals and theater in general. They find them irritating (some can be), implausible (I mean, yea, people break out in song and dance spontaneously), or just boring (again, some are. I'm not going to name, names...Gypsy.) I don't begrudge these people at all. It's their opinion.

Really, I used to be the same way but with country music. I couldn't stand it. Three of my college roommates loved country, but we had an unspoken rule that I wouldn't play my emo music when they were in the room and they wouldn't play twangy country.

I absolutely love country now. It would be difficult for me to live in Alabama if it weren't for that. There are more country stations than anything else, but the point is, I only started liking it because my boyfriend would play it. It still took me a while to catch on. I was pretty opposed to it for a few months, but the more I had to listen to it, the more songs I remembered and the more I came to understand it wasn't just about losing your house, and your dog and your wife. I regret all that time before when my roommates and I could've been jamming to Dirks Bentley or Brad Paisley.

What I'm saying is, it pays to open up to new things. I've already said I think that country music has the most romantic and heartfelt lyrics. But musicals can have the most powerful lyrics if you listen to them. They have the ability to actually move you. If not the lyrics then the melody. It's even better live. And for those of you that love musicals, or even those who hate them but might want to try a little sampling here are a few songs from musicals that are absolutely gorgeous.

Ok, I picked kind of obscure songs. Fair warning.

A musical sampler

Everything You Ever - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (SPOILER ALERT: Don't watch this if you want to watch the movie and you haven't. It's the last song and will totally ruin the ending for you. )

"Dyin' ain't so bad, not if you both go together. Only when one's left behind does it get sad. But a short and lovin' life, that ain't so bad. I only hope to God that I go first, I couldn't live on memories I'm sorry, but I'm not that strong, there are some things in life you can't replace and love like our's don't happen twice. When all his days are through mine will be too. Cause' dyin' ain't so bad. not if you both go together only when you're left alone does it get sad, but a short and lovin' life that ain't so bad..."
- Bonnie & Clyde


M-I-Z! S-E-C!

So speaking of me wanting to be a Southern belle, I am unbelievably excited for Mizzou to be in the SEC. If you are unaware, my wonderful Alma Mater is the University of Missouri, and up until today we were in the Big 12 conference.

Because I attended Mizzou when were in the Big 12, I have a small loyalty to them. But anyone who knows anything about college football knows the SEC is where you want to be. Alabama, LSU, Auburn, they're schools that are consistently dominant for the most part. And since I moved to Alabama I have seen first-hand what the football culture is like here. It's amazing.

I even have examples of my own experiences with SEC football lovers.
Once I was complaining about how disappointed I was that a sorority event I was helping with was going to last an hour longer than I thought and would cut into Mizzou's football game I was going to watch on TV with friends. The other advisers told me just to leave, explaining that I was in football country, and if I hadn't wanted to go watch it, that would be a problem.

When my boyfriend came to visit me he spotted a man and his two little sons practicing football in a field outside my apartment complex. They were little, little kids, and I never would've expected a dad back in Kansas to teach sons that tiny to play a specific position. But that is the norm here. It's a way of life. One of the other sorority advisers told me that people actually plan weddings around football games.

It isn't all about sundresses and bow ties, although I'm still confused about why people think those are bad things. It's just a cultural thing. Some people (granted it's a small amount of people) do wear those things at Mizzou. But even if no one did, that doesn't make our cultures incompatible. This blog refutes any claims that we "don't fit in." The SEC is diverse itself. It's all Southern, but each school is unique.

Granted there are the nay-sayers that think our football program will never improve enough to beat the football giants of the South, that we only did this for money, and that this was the stupidest thing we could have done. Yea, we probably did it for money, most schools would. Yea, we might get our ass kicked a little at first, but I have no doubt we'll improve. Hell, we beat Bear Bryant once.

Another great thing is that kU is so jealous. The school, and its fans, have made themselves look terrible by not letting us just leave gracefully. I am going to miss the Border War, I went to see the football games over Thanksgiving Weekend at neutral Arrowhead Stadium. I have so many friends that went to kU the rivalry has been a blast, I mean, Kansas and Missouri have been at odds since the Civil War. I even have respect for the school. But honestly, if they are going to act like this I'm not going to miss them.

So, welcome to the South, Mizzou. Now, I can actually attend games considering I live down here.

Memorize the words to the fight song, Tigers fans. Belt that Alma Mater. You'll need to know them to drown out the Crimson Tide, the other two Tiger mascot schools, Bourbon drinking Southern boys and Kentucky Derby-hat wearing girls in the South.


Guy Fawkes Day

Remember, remember the fifth of November the gunpowder, treason and plot...

In America, Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night isn't even celebrated. Most people only know this rhyme from the 2006 movie V for Vendetta. But in England it is a very real holiday, that, according to James Sharpe, a professor at the University of York, England, is getting ousted by Halloween. It's still a family event, where people get together with friends and there are fireworks, but it isn't as popular as it once was. I interviewed Sharpe for my most recent article about Guy Fawkes and the implications of the Guy Fawkes mask being worn by Occupy protesters and the hacker group Anonymous.

A few things that didn't make it into my article:
  • Guy Fawkes Day was almost an American holiday. It was celebrated in the colonies, and very popular in Boston, but they called it Pope Day. You see, Guy Fawkes was a Catholic, the plot was to blow up Parliament because the Catholics were being severely oppressed in England. Blowing up Parliament was supposed to send them a message, but they were caught. During different points after this England was even more against Catholics than normal and would burn an effigy of the Pope on Bonfire Night instead of one of Fawkes. In America, they burned the Pope, hence Pope Day. George Washington was the one to stop this because he really needed the Catholics to help his cause.
  • The Protestants thought the discovery of the plot was divine intervention and started having a special service every Nov. 5, that's what really cemented Guy Fawkes Day as a national holiday.
  • Fawkes was tortured intensely after he was captured with the stock pile of gunpowder. He finally cracked and gave up the names of his co-conspiritores.
  • Fawkes wasn't the central character, a man by the last name of Catesby led the activist group Fawkes became a part of. He, and a few others, were killed attempting to lead a revolt and the others involved were captured.
  • The ones captured were sentenced to be hanged but not until they died. Then they were to be cut up (quartered) and displayed in prominent places as warnings to others. This was the penalty for treason.
I enjoy knowing the true story of Fawkes. But I do happen to enjoy the movie. There are such wonderful, empowering quotes. And although Fawkes and V are for violence in order to promote their agendas, the idea is that they thought they had no other choice. Violence in this way was better than no change at all.

Today those that wear the mask sometimes don't understand this fully. The story is about change which the modern movements want, but they are also trying to be peaceful. In this way the two don't fit. I hope that those that adopted the mask will do their research and understand the man they are representing. As the English say he was, "the only man to enter Parliament with honest intentions."

My favorite quotes from V for Vendetta:

"An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must NEVER let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the worlds turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you."

"I, like God, do not play with dice and do not believe in coincidence. "

" My father was a writer. You would've liked him. He used to say that artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up."

"You wear a mask for so long you forget who you are beneath it."

...I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.


A Note To All Men

This is a note to all the men out there. I can't tell you how many friends I have that are wonderful, intelligent women that just feel like they'll never find a good man. I keep telling them, if terrible people can find mates I have no doubt they can find a mate, but that doesn't seem to make them feel any better.

Here's the thing, I know they'll find someone. But just to help it along a little, here's some advice for the men, and for being a better person all around.

Thought Catalog is a great site, and I highly recommend you check it out, for the most part, it's hilarious. They recently had the article, A Guide To Being A Southern Gentleman. This is everything you need to know to be a stand up guy that is worthy of the multitude of amazing, single women out there. Seriously, these are things you should be doing. This doesn't involve wearing a bow tie and sipping on mint juleps either. But if that's your thing, go for it.
Here's the run down of their advice with my opinions thrown in:
  • Have a job - or be working to get one, at least. Or an internship, just be a little driven
  • Have manners - please, thank you, hold doors open etc.
  • Be the escort - help people out when they need help, don't blow them off.
  • Use violence only when necessary - don't start drama, but stand up for yourself and others
  • Be willing (and able) to cook - this is such a turn-on, just fyi
  • Know your Bible - or be tolerant at least. Be open to other's opinions and know your own
  • Be well-rounded - try new things, experience things
  • Be good with kids - eventually women want them, don't be an ass around them
  • Don't kiss and tell - don't gossip, that makes women run away and you look like a douche
  • Be a man of your word - this is self-explanatory
  • Be able to dress yourself - again, a turn-on, groom yourself or who will ever consider talking to you?
  • Just dance - no one likes the guy who is too cool to dance. It doesn't matter how stupid you look, you'll appear to be a fun-loving guy, and everyone likes that.
These things really aren't too difficult. It may take time but if I were a man, I'd try to do them.

The "What Women Want" playlist

What women want in a man - Any Man of Mine - Shania Twain
What women want to hear from their man (especially if he's Southern) - Love Your Love the Most - Eric Church
If you're long distance - All My Loving - The Beatles
If you need to thank her for all she has done for you - God Gave Me You - Blake Shelton

I swear I listen to more than just country. But I firmly believe country songs have the best love lyrics.

So, take this advice to heart. It'll help in every aspect of life from friendships, to relationships, to dealings with your family.

Did I mention my boyfriend is originally from Georgia? Maybe I'm a little bias.



Penne a la Betsy

So, tonight I decided to make a large dinner. Typically, because I live alone, I make a huge meal on Thursday or Friday and then eat on it until I'm off again (which is the next Thursday.) I decided to try something new this week. I can really only make curry, fried rice, and grilled cheese sandwiches (I'll put those recipes up later), but I'm trying to expand my cooking horizons now. I'm super great at baking, I'm lacking at cooking. Anyway, this is what I cooked tonight:

Penne a la Betsy


  • 3/4 pounds Penne Pasta
  • 1 pound Shrimp
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion (small)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup White Wine, Or To Taste
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Parsley, to taste
  • Fresh Basil - To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.

Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.

Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use wine, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).

Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.

Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.

I highly recommend the Pioneer Woman blog. She actually takes you step by step through the recipes, which people like me that are cooking challenged need. When I made it I made it with whole grain penne, and I accidentally got a can of whole tomatoes instead of the tomato sauce. Yea, that's how bad I am at cooking. But I crushed up the whole tomatoes and it worked fine for the most part.

Look at me! I can make like four meal that are delicious. I'm nearly domesticated. Almost. Try this recipe, if I can do it, you can do it, trust me.