Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beauty is a good meal

So I was flipping through the channels yesterday and ended up stopping on Food Network. The Barefoot Contessa was on, and she was cooking a special meal for her husband who was due home soon from a long day of work... Talk about a guilt trip!! I love to cook, but I hardly ever do. Between my tiny kitchen and busy schedule, fast food or a quick sandwich is our normal dinner. Hopefully soon our house will sell and we'll get to move to a bigger house with a luxurious kitchen, but until then I'll just have to make do with what I have.

Well anyway, I decided this morning that I was going to make a yummy, gourmet meal for my wonderful hubbie for dinner tonight. I wanted to try something new but fairly easy, so I checked out and came across a recipe for Oven-Barbecued Pork Chops.

It called for an ovenproof skillet, which I didn't have, so after work I stopped by Bed, Bath & Beyond and picked up one. Emeril Lagasse no less... :) 

 I also picked up my first fancy knife. This one was Rachel Ray. I chopped an onion with it and felt like a professional chef! :D Another first was my first minced garlic clove (even though I had to look up how much of the garlic bulb equaled a "clove"). Don't judge me...

But anyway, here's a picture of the finished product. I thought it tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself. I thought it could have used a little bit more flavor... maybe some more seasonings or a different barbecue sauce. I used just a basic Kraft.

I paired my porkchops with some cream corn, sweet peas, and cornbread.

Yummy, yummy! Matt seemed to enjoy it. He even ate the onion-filled sauce, which surprised me. He's not usually a big onion fan. All in all, I'd say my first "gourmet" meal was a success. I hope to continue adding to my fancy cookware collection, so maybe more food posts are to come.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beauty is Lauren

I believe it was July of 2008 when I went with our church's youth group as a chaperone to Six Flags and a Braves game. Most of the youth wanted to branch off in groups and do their own thing, and I got the impression that my husband wanted to hang out with the guys. So that left me to wander around alone... Luckily, a lovely young lady by the name of Lauren decided to hang out with me for some unknown reason. Maybe she felt sorry for me... maybe her younger peers weren't as intellectually stimulating as me(ha, ha... yeah right). But regardless of the reason, I'm extremely happy that we formed a bond that day.

Right off the bat, I could tell Lauren and I shared a lot of the same interests. She was really big into books, movies, and photography. I think we talked about "Across the Universe" most of the trip up to Atlanta. :) I could tell then that she was much more mature than most girls her age, and it was very refreshing to have someone to talk to while walking laps around Six Flags.

After that day, Lauren and I hung out a couple of times... But then she broke the news to me. She was moving with her family to Florida. What a bummer... I was really looking forward to having a cinema buddie and someone to go get coffee with on rainy days. But we vowed to write to each other, so it wasn't the end of the world.

To be honest, it felt a little weird to be getting so close to one of the youth... I mean, I am 10 years older than her! But Lauren has been such a Blessing to me and has taught me so much.

She is one of the most awesome and unique girls I know, not to mention the greatest pen pal I've ever had! She is so creative it's ridiculous... Actually, she is the main reason I started this blog. I saw hers for the first time a few weeks ago and was totally blown away! You should definitely check it out:

I've always considered myself a really artsy-crafty, creative person. I love to draw and paint... I love to write, sing, and dance. But as I got older, I found I didn't have time for that sort of thing anymore. I was an "adult." I had to spend my time working and cleaning the house (although I admit I suck at the latter). I was always so "busy" that I never sat down to just paint anymore.

In the past few weeks though, I've joined Postcrossing, where you send postcards to perfect strangers all over the world (see link at top right of page). I've sent 5 postcards so far, including two that I actually painted myself! I also joined a swapping site and a pen pal group... not to mention starting a blog. I haven't felt this artistically liberated in I can't tell you how long! And I owe it all to Lauren! :)

Beauty according to Lauren:
'freckles. smiles. scrunched noses. eyes filled with hapiness. whenever you're most comfortable in your skin.'

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beauty is Fate

I thought this was neat, so I figured I'd share... The day I start my "beauty" blog, I get the following as my daily devotional:

Not long ago, at the home of some friends who live in the tropics, I saw a most extraordinary flowering plant on a table. It was circular in shape, as large as a basketball, and thickly covered with the most beautiful hibiscus blossoms in every imaginable shade of yellow and red and lavender. The effect was stunning. I couldn’t imagine how a single plant could produce so many radiant hues, and I said so.

Our hostess, Julia, smiled and lifted one of the blooms. When she did, I saw that the stem of the flower had been neatly impaled on the needle-pointed spike of a Spanish bayonet, that ominous-looking member of the cactus family whose bristling spears, like a porcupine’s quills, can inflict painful wounds on the unwary.

“Hibiscus blossoms last only a day,” Julia said, “so every morning I pick a basketful and ‘plant’ them on the spines of the Spanish bayonet. Makes a colorful display, doesn’t it?”
“Amazing,” I said. “Whose idea was it?”

“Oh, mine, I guess,” said Julia casually. “It’s fun to change ugliness into beauty, don’t you think?”

Yes, it is. And it doesn’t have to be limited to plants or flowers, either. You can overlay sharp words with kind ones. You can replace a frown with a smile. You can decorate a damaged relationship with an apology. You can brighten indifference with caring.

Lord, show us the way to fill the world with Your beauty.

—Arthur Gordon

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beauty is Audrey

For my introductory post, I decided to use one of the first people that come to my mind when I think of beauty... Audrey Hepburn. Audrey has been on the top of my favorite actresses list ever since I saw "My Fair Lady" as a young girl. To me, she represents a beauty, grace, and elegance that transcends time.

"For attractive lips,
Speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes,
Seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure,
Share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair,
Let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise,
Walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone."

- Audrey Hepburn

No matter what role Audrey took on, she always seemed to have this quality that made me want to sit up straighter and fix a smile on my face. She was just such a lady. I read once that everyone Audrey met and worked with totally fell in love with her. What an awesome trait to have!

Audrey wasn't only beautiful on the outside though... she was even more "loverly" on the inside, being one of the first celebrities to use her status to help those around the world who were less fortunate than her. I picked up the following book several months ago and recommend it if you'd like to strive for Audrey's style and manner:

I dressed up as Audrey a few Halloween's ago... don't think I quite measured up to her elegance:

I do have to brag though... I was excited to come across Audrey's hand prints in front of The Great Movie Ride in Disney World. And much to my surprise, our hands were the same size! : )

I'll finish off with a quote from the book above, "What Would Audrey Do" by Pamela Keogh:

"The way you look on the outside has little to do with true beauty. Don't focus on the externals to the exclusion of who you are on the inside. As Audrey said herself, 'Whenever I hear or read I'm beautiful, I simply don't understand it. I didn't make my career on beauty.' Some of the most compelling men and women of our time (Mother Teresa, Georgia O'Keeffe, Abraham Lincoln, Picasso) never set foot in a beauty parlor, or a gym, their entire lives. And yet they were extraordinary-looking. So again, in the same way that size, or money, has little to do with style, your purely physical exterior has little to do with beauty."