Monday, August 30, 2010

Celebrating Newbie Firsts!

When I first started really - REALLY, REALLY - delving into the world of everything bloggy, I was intimidated and intrigued all at once.  There are SO many beautiful, unique, interesting blogs out there, and I was very unsure if I would ever be able to find my way around (I still feel like the new kid on the block, but not nearly so intimidated thanks to all the sweet support I get)!

That being said, I wanted to celebrate a few small firsts:

My first "Bloggy Business Card" (in preparation for Bloggy Boot Camp, of course!):

My first blog "Grab Me" button:

And, last but not least....

My first Book Review:

I am having so much fun, and am staying up entirely too late every night working on posts, tweaking my page and figuring out how to create cool gadgets!  I hope you're having fun with your blogs, too, whether you are a newbie like me or a seasoned veteran blogger...because if it's not fun, why do it?!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What Big Eyes You Have!

I recently read an article about a new item on the market called Circle Lenses. They are large contact lenses, recently made popular by pop diva Lady Gaga, that give the appearance of having “doe eyes”.   I personally think they are a little freakish looking, and according to this article they pose quite a health risk.

An unknown source once said “Eyes are the window to the soul.”  (Somebody really should have told Little Red Riding Hood - her life could have been a little less traumatic!)

Eyes can express happiness, sadness, anger, pain, joy and a myriad of other emotions, all without anyone having to say a single word. What metaphors/meanings do you associate with the eyes?

And what are your experiences with eye contact? Eye contact plays a large part in communication. Looking someone directly in the eye can encourage trust between individuals, while avoidance of eye contact can make one suspicious of another. Experts are even able to tell if someone is telling the truth or not by watching the person’s eyes.

I also find it a bit intriguing what people – particularly women - will do to bring attention to their eyes. There is no doubt that there are many little tricks that can enhance the natural beauty we each already possess. But I wonder what is trying to be conveyed when certain extremes are displayed. It seems to me there is a definite line between enhancing what you have and trying to hide or completely change what you have in order to be noticed or accepted.


What have you done, or how far have you gone, to bring attention to "the windows of your soul?"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free Speech - At What Cost?

A friend of mine posted on Facebook today about a billboard she saw while driving in town. It said:


And a toll free number was provided.

Now, I have yet to hear back from my friend to see if she called the number to see exactly what it was all about, but I have to admit that at first glance it’s pretty offensive.

And that got me to thinking….again (see, I told you I do that a lot).

When does the right to free speech become TOO free?

Is there such a thing as TOO free? After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? There are things out there that are positive and good – but those are not the ones that are remembered well, are they?

I know that what is offensive to me might not be to someone else and vice versa. But really…isn’t there some kind of “mainstream” set of morals out there? Something that tells even the most callous person out there that there’s something not quite right? Apparently not.

It seems like there are all these things that have seeped into our culture that have become the norm. TV shows become increasingly more offensive. Clothing retailers have pushed to the very edge and nearly beyond the boundary between advertising and pornography. Commercials for feminine products and certain “couples” products are interwoven into prime-time television.

(If you are a mom interested in trying to help make a collective stand to put a stop to some of these things, click here.)

How much more will society allow in the name of free speech/freedom of expression? And if we censor one type of free speech, do we jeopardize it all? Where is the balance? Can there even BE a balance?

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In the Name of ... Jesus?

I heard a story on the radio today about a (famous) artist who creates “dot pictures” – millions of small dots placed on a canvas that ultimately make up a portrait. He has moved into the realm of what I call art with a purpose (see the entire story about him here). The particular project I heard about is “Dots for Jesus”. Each dot on the canvas represents an individual person - plain old Joes & Janes like me and you. You register for a dot (it’s free), and the only thing required of you is that you answer the question “Why Jesus?” I really want you to go read about it, so I’m not going to say any more…


Saturday, August 21, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Today I had a “me” day. It’s something I do every now & then where I do several of my favorite things. Just me – no family, no friends, just lil ole me.

My first stop was The Tea Embassy in Austin. This little tea shop is run by a young couple in an old house (see picture below).

I want to live here. It’s quaint and charming and has all these separate little rooms just full of everything tea!

Here’s what I got there today:

The tea I bought is a blend they call Walnut Green Tea. It has Chinese green tea with brittle pieces, pineapple bits, coconut flakes and walnut bits. It’s a slice of heaven.

The tea cup I bought is called a Serenity cup. Nice, huh? We all need a little serenity in our lives.

I also scored a couple of Tea Magazines at 50% off. Who would have guessed there were entire magazines devoted to tea?

Now, my next stop was a little odd for a “pamper the princess” kind of day, but it was on the way to the place I was ultimately headed to, so I just made a wee pit stop.  Half-Price Books…yep. Not glamorous, but I wanted to find a basic book on photography. This is what I got:

Haha – we’ll see.

I also picked up this cute little journal that I can carry around in my purse.  My other daily journal is just too big and heavy to lug around with all the other c-r-a-p I carry around in there!

With that little bit of business out of the way, I headed to my final destination for the day – Salado, Texas. Salado is what I call an “artist colony”. There are little shops, antique stores, a couple of inns, a few galleries, and a little winery. It’s one of those places where girls love to go and look at every little nook and cranny in every store – and the men that are with them sit outside on the benches!

I was famished when I got there, so the first thing I did was head to Browning’s Courtyard CafĂ©. It’s a sweet little place with hardwood floors and green table cloths. Before you even walk in the door, you can smell the fresh-baked bread! I had a chicken salad sandwich with a cup of minestrone soup. Yummy…

After lunch, I went across the street to this cool little bridge to take some pictures.

This is the troll that guards the bridge – haha.

 At one end of the bridge, there is a “bicycle fence”. For some reason it reminds me of the scene in The Sound of Music where they are all riding their bicycles.

Here’s my pretty new bracelet that I found in the first shop I went into: 

And then I found this cute hand-painted tea bag holder in another store. I couldn’t resist…it has bluebonnets, and unless you missed the really big picture at the top of my blog, you should be able to tell that I LOVE bluebonnets!

I made a quick stop at the local stamp store (Stamp Salado), and picked up a few small things to make some Christmas cards – yep, you heard me…I said CHRISTMAS!!!! Now we’ll see if they actually get made.

My favorite stop of the day was a place called Horsefeathers. It’s another one of those businesses in an old house with lots of little rooms….I love that, can you tell? It smells so good from burning candles all throughout and it’s a home dec dream come true (a bit trendy, but not too much).

I got a pretty charger plate and these beady things called “candle jewelry”. They go around the base of the candle(s) and really look nice. As you can tell, I neglected to buy a candle. Oops…

Being sufficiently worn out and hungry again, I decided it was time to head home. I stopped at my local Sprouts market and picked up tonight’s dinner:

Garlic naan, feta-stuffed olives, grape tomatoes, blueberries and nectarines.

I also picked up these weird little vegetable chips. The jury is still out, but they are kind of addictive.

Now I’m looking forward to slipping into my jammies, making a nice cup of hot tea and leisurely perusing my new magazines. All in all, a wonderful day!

What are some of YOUR favorite things?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What Goes Around Comes Around


Whatever you want to call it – it sure can (and often does) ring true.

 That old “Golden Rule” whispers in your ear:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12).

I was talking to my dad on the phone recently, lamenting how I feel like I never really see my kids – like the time with them is always so short. He chuckled a little…I wasn’t sure why at the time. But then, I got to thinking about things like I always do…

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Gift

It is said that everyone possesses gifts – talents or abilities unique to them. For the longest time, I have searched for what my particular gift(s) might be, and where I might best be suited to lend my talents, whether it is in a career or in volunteer work. Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a “gifting/personality” assessment (the DISC profile). I had high hopes of achieving something lofty - perhaps even somewhat glamorous. You know…I had hopes that I was LEADER material.

I very carefully read each question, trying to remember to follow the instructor’s guideline of “follow your first instinct” when answering. I sometimes have trouble with over-analyzing and double-guessing things, so this really was a bit stressful for me. After all, this was going to be THE answer to what my purpose in life is, right? When the class as a whole had finished the questionnaire, we were instructed how to find our particular gifts based on our personality traits (or behavioral traits). I added up my scores very carefully, going back over the assessment again to make sure I had the math right. Then I turned the page to see my destiny.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Green-Eyed Monster

I have a confession…

I am envious. I have - *GASP* - Blogger’s Envy!

It sneaked up on me really. Being a new blogger, I never expected it – there was no warning ahead of time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Only One

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

--Helen Keller


It was an ordinary Thursday for me. It was payday and I was on my lunch break heading out to the bank to deposit my check. My mind certainly wasn’t prepared for what would happen in the next 15 minutes. I turned at the traffic light onto the frontage road of the highway and began making my way up over the slight incline just before I would merge into traffic and get to the bank before they got too busy. If I arrived after noon, I would never make it back to work on time.

That’s when I saw the door of the large SUV fling open. The woman driving yanked open the door behind her and began to flail and beat at something (or someone) in the seat. My heart was pounding so hard, and I clearly was told, “Stop and go back.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


A few months ago, my boys and I went on an adventure. We packed backpacks with water, food, and sunscreen, and hopped in the car. We drove about 1 hour and 45 minutes away from home to a place called Enchanted Rock, which is a mammoth dome of pink granite where people can hike, climb and camp. You can learn more about it here:

As we pulled into the driveway and made our way down to the entrance gate, we looked in awe at the giant looming before us. We pulled up to the gate, paid our fee and were given a map of the park and were told that the hike was approximately 1-1/2 hours round trip. That sounded very do-able to me!
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