Friday, August 31, 2012

Favorite Stuff: August

We liked stuff this month!  
And hope to like stuff every month and share it with all of you!

I love to waste time online.  I just do.  Comics, silly Tumblrs, and cute baby animals photos takes up most of my extra browsing time, however a few weeks ago I found something new.  Draw a stickman!  Go play, it's really fun.

I lived in Australia from the beginning of February 2011 until the end of June 2011. It was pretty much the greatest time of my life and I would give anything to go back. Fast forward to the beginning of August 2012 and I stumble upon a random show, suggested by Netflix (owe ya one Netty). Long story short, that show was DANCE ACADEMY. Some might remember Val mentioning it already. She originally told me months ago that she'd started watching an Australian show and it made her think of me. I really do talk about it annoyingly often... Anyway, I was looking for a new show to start and after flipping through the descriptions, I decided to give this one a go.  Let me also add that I know NOTHING about dance. I've never watched one episode of any other dance shows so I was pretty nonchalant about trying this one. The hook for me was the Australia location, obviously. However, HOLY LIFE CHANGING!!!!!!! It's cheesy, ridiculous, and pretty much the greatest thing since Downton Abbey and Friday Night Lights, COMBINED. I cried through the first half of season 1 because it made me miss Oz so, so, so much; not sure if it was the accents, the set being right in mix of Darling Harbor (a place I was at nonstop throughout those 5 1/2 months) or if it was the fact that one of the main characters is my Aussie roommate/best friend's doppelganger... either way, it is so incredibly worth your watching. When clicking the play button, I assumed nothing but got everything.

**Warning:  Below video is mildly inappropriate, but also hilarious, so...

One of my favorite websites, Forever Young Adult, put up this Honest Trailer earlier this month, and I was so happy to learn after going to the YouTube Channel, that there are a whole BUNCH of Honest Trailers to watch!  Titanic, The Dark Knight, Twilight, Avatar!  On and on!  The concept is that they are movie previews that tell the truth about what you're actually going to see during that movie.  And basically, they all contain my exact thoughts about each movie verbalized through an amazing announcer's voice.  I'm not even exaggerating when I say these are some of the funniest videos I have ever seen in the history of the internet.  Go watch the rest!

I know Big Brother started in July and don't get me wrong, I was into it in July too, but the past couple of weeks in the BB house has been SO crazy. I'm sure Kendra will agree, this season is amazing. I've been watching for a couple of summers now and this is normal for me to get really into it when the number of house guest start to get smaller. For those that do not watch it is full of back stabbing, bromances, liars, cheaters, and cute fashion choices from my personal favorite Britney, 3 nights a week! I'm so close to submitting my application. I really think I have a strategy to win. With only a few weeks left, you could still get into it...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Bag.

Warning. This is another post about books. I've been writing a lot about reading... what's happening to me!?

I've never been the type of girl that can carry a tiny purse as her main purse. Okay, maybe in junior high when all I had to carry around was a tampon, but since I was able to date, drive, and have a cell phone big bags have been my staple. Of course I have many (my husband would say hundreds) of different sized bags in a range of colors. I love my small clutches and over the shoulder ones for a concert, or night on the town when I need to be hands free... for dancing of course. But the big satchels and hobos are my comfort. I love being able to be prepared for anything and everything. bandaids? multiple writing utensils? coverup? lens cloths? endless amounts of bobby pins that fall to the bottom? I've got it all. Besides all of the random junk I always have a cardigan and if not one, then two cameras in my Marry Poppins bag. It's a must.

Since I found my new love of reading I now always have a book in my bag. You never know when you are going to get stuck at the post office or traffic (as the passenger, come on now, I don't read and drive). The other day I was having issues with a certain postal company and I had to go search for a package. Once I got there I reached into my bag to pull out my book and it wasn't there. Noo! I took it out of my bag not 30 minutes before I needed it. And of course, I had to wait for a solid 45 minutes until they could find my box. I can only search around on Instagram, Twitter, and "with friends" games for so long. I wanted my book. I needed my book.

I learned my lesson. Never take the book out of the bag. And I am not a patient person.

Have you ever been stuck somewhere and needed your book?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On Not Being Able to Keep My Mouth Shut

Okay, so here's the thing:  It's not like I'm spilling secrets left and right (I'm actually totally fine at secret-keeping!), but I have found myself opening my mouth and saying things I really wish I hadn't said in the past few weeks.

For instance, just yesterday:  I was talking with some female co-workers about lady stuff.  You know, like the kind of stuff you would discuss with your girlfriends, but obviously not your boss.  That is, until your boss comes around the corner just as you are bringing up something that's particularly and especially and sort of crossing-the-line female-related, and you are pretty dang sure he heard you.  Why, Valerie?!  Why?!  There are things in this world that are just better not discussed at work.

Another example:  When I try to recommend things to people like books or tv shows, I have a very hard time holding back all the juicy details.  I want to tell you everything that happens so you can understand fully the extent of the awesomeness of whatever the thing is, but I'm worried that lots of times I just ruin it instead.  There's a word for that...oh yeah, spoilers.

Or how about this one:  Last week, a co-worker of mine was saying that she went to play with the puppies at an animal shelter.  She said one of the dogs was really irritable, and her name was Bella.  My thought immediately went to Bella from Twilight, who I generally think of as the same person as Kristen Stewart, who of course is not making the best life choices at the moment, and do you know what came out of my mouth?  "She's probably mad her name is Bella."  That would be harmless enough except for the tiny little miniscule fact that my other co-worker who is sitting right next to me has a BABY NAMED BELLA.  Which crossed my mind about .000001 seconds after I had already said that out loud.

That's the main problem, actually.  My mouth acts a split second faster than my mouth does, and if only it could slow down a tiny bit and let my brain go first, I could probably prevent a lot of these things from happening!

I know this all seems rather pointless, but I guess what I'm wondering is if anyone else does crap like this?!  I'm the worst at it.  I could give many more examples.  One can only put one's foot in their mouth so many times.  I'm about at my limit of facepalms over here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fresh From the Garden

I followed this recipe to a "T" until it came down to the salsa, where I took my own spin on things. These little fried corn cakes were insanely delicious, and the salsa piled on top took things to a whole new level of deliciousness.  I just had to share...

(see those cute little tomatoes?  they came right out our garden! the basil and jalapenos too!)

  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Canola oil, for frying (I used olive oil)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a brown paper bag.
  2. Cut the corn from the cobs into a large bowl, and scrape the stripped cobs with the back of the knife (or a spoon) to release the juices into the bowl.
  3. Place 2 cups of the corn kernels into a food processor, and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky. Scrape into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels.
  4. Add flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper to the corn. Stir to mix.
  5. Add the eggs, buttermilk and butter, and stir just to combine. (Do not overmix.)
  6. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough canola oil to barely cover the bottom, and heat until sizzling hot.
  7. One heaping tablespoon at a time, scoop the batter into the skillet. Cooking in batches of 4 to 5 to avoid overcrowding, fry the cakes 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  8. Drain on the lined baking sheet, and place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining corn cakes. Serve warm topped with a heap of Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa.
 Mmmm, enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Confession Session: What Makes Us Feel Confident.

Two interlocking hearts; 
one with the American flag inside it, 
the other with the Australian flag inside it. 
Those two things are permanently engraved on my skin for the rest of my life... and I couldn't be happier about it. Those are the two tattoos I have on my body and every single time I see them I smile. I know everyone says, "what about when you're older?" I understand that mentality, however I just don't see those things being more important than the arthritis, the grey hair, the daytime television... you get the idea. These markings are constant reminders of some of the most rewarding, enjoyable and even trying times in my life. I am filled with joy every single time I am reminded of those periods in my life. Also, as a Christian, especially a Christian born and raised in the "bible belt," tattoos can be rather controversial. Instead of going there, I will just let Pastor Craig do the honors. He says it better than I ever could!

So, there's this mini skirt.   

It's black and white striped, sits just above the knees, and fits snug as a bug.  It's quite unlike my style, and I just bought it on a whim last year.  But I realized when I  wear it, I seem to stand a little straighter, walk with a bit of sass, and smile just a little bigger.  Honestly, I don't know what it is about that skirt, but it always guarantees a fun night with my girlfriends!  If only that skirt could talk... I bet it feels pretty confident too. 


I'm going to be that crazy girl that says that my boobs make me feel confident. But before you all give me that 'what a skank' look, let me explain. I have the chest of an 8 year old boy. Race cars could drive down it, it makes Kansas look like Colorado. You with me? I have zero boobs. And it's cool. I'm cool with it, always have been. I was always the one to flash my girlfriends in the sorority house (yes that does happen), never embarrassed to be seen without a bra on. Shoot, I don't even have to wear a bra half the time! I'm confident with them. They make me feel unique and special, they add to my youthfulness. But as much as I love them I always thought that no guy would ever love my little baby tities. Guys love boobs, and mine are the smallest size bra you can buy at Victoria Secret. I didn't think someone would want to be married to a tiny chested woman. But I was wrong. The one God made for me loves me exactly how I am. My husband loves them. Him loving them makes me even more confident to rock my baby boobs. 

My senior year of high school, I got some fake glasses.  This was waaaaay back in 2003, before wearing fake glasses was the hipster thing to do.  I got them because I had always always always wanted glasses (ever since my older sister got some when I was 6, and I tried on this pair of pink glasses that had butterflies attached to them at the optometrist and was beyond devastated that I couldn't have them).  Turned out, when I wore my fakies, I instantly (felt like I) looked intelligent.  I wore fake glasses to every single exam and final I took in college.  Every one.  And I passed them all.  Then I got older and realized that I actually couldn't see.  Joy of joys, I needed REAL GLASSES!  So now, I have real glasses with prescriptions, and they make me feel more confident, too.  I feel more confident in the practical matters, like now being able to recognize people's faces from more than 10 feet away and read street signs while driving, but also glasses make me feel smart and powerful, and even kinda sassy, in a sort of naughty librarian way, which is a great way to go through my day!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Home is Whenever I'm with You

I just moved to a brand new (to me) home last weekend!  Let the unpacking and arranging begin!

Each time I move, I feel the need to redecorate my new space.  Things that worked just right in one corner of the house, don't in the next.  And most times, since Pinterest has been alive anyway, I've turned there for inspiration. 

Here are a few things that caught my eye...

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


For those that don't know by now, I have a four legged best friend named Jackson and he is kind of my world. He's literally perfect. See.

Told you, perfect.

So, last night as my roommate and I were taking our dogs out, like we do every night before bed and my roommate turns to me and says, "I always try to be really discrete and quiet when we come out because I swear the crazy lady below us sits and LISTENS for when we go out so she can take her dog out at the same time..."

//Just a quick recap. This women really is crazy and very strange and yells a lot and talks about weird stuff and sometimes talks your ear off about that weird stuff. It can be rather awkward and frustrating at times. Especailly when you're in a hurry//
With that said, I didn't blame my roommate at all for how she felt. I felt instantly felt the same way. No, I don't want to sit and talk to a rando about life that doesn't matter to me in the least. I don't care about her old farm and old dogs and cows she used to have to carry. I am busy. I have my own crazy crap going on. I don't even have time or energy to blog reguarly. It's late. I'm tired. I had class. I had work. I had financial aid meetings. I have a 7:30 class tomorrow. I didn't even have time for a workout today. I still need to shower. I, me, my...

You see where I'm going with this don't you. 

As all this is rushing through my brain and my frustration with the older lady below begins to rage on, I turn to my roommate and go to say something but was INSTANTLY stopped by that Still Small Voice in my heart telling me not to speak it and withdrew my thought, so thankful I didn't actually say it. Wanna know what that thought was? I thought to myself, "Yeah, it's not our responsihilty to listen to her."

Gah. It's still not any better typing. It's still so ugly. So selfish. So cold. So not like at the person I want to be.

As I stood there in awe of my own self-centeredness, wouldn't you know that old lady came around the corner with her crazy dog and loud voice, making sure she knew she was coming to join us.

I was hit with the realization that I've always known but somehow momentarily let slip; as a lover of Christ, that makes me a lover of his creations. So, YES. It is in fact my responsibilty to listen to this woman. I should care about her and her desires and passions. I should take the time to be kind to her. Instead of thinking about my own selfish issues, I should be thinking about her dying husband that has suffered 4 strokes and doesn't have long to live who also is downstairs. Or, the fact that they probably don't have company very often and get lonely daily, or the fact that I see her ride the bus a lot so she probably doesn't have a car or consistent way of transportation, and maybe the reason she listens for us to come out is because that could be the only other interaction she has with someone else all day long.

All these thoughts rushing threw my head, I made a conscious effort to stand outside with the crazy lady downstairs and really listened to her stories and let her talk as much as she wanted. Even if her stories are all far fetched lies and complete bolognese, I listened. 
Then, this morning as I woke up and began my quiet time, God decided to show off His sense of humor and send me a little reminder in a not so subtle way.

Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4
Yep, that was my verse this morning.
Touché, Lord. Touché.

From now on, I'm really going to try and be more observant with my actions and thoughts toward others; not be so selfish and really put forth the compassion my heavenly Father shows me 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Heidi's Summer Reading List.

My summer in Colorado was pretty great. Besides hiking beautiful mountains and enjoying the dry air other factors also made it great. I had an awesome library a few miles away, pool in walking distance and no job. One of the first things I did when we moved there was get a library card and start my summer reading.

I noticed I have a trend when I pick my books. Below are the books I read this summer.

I love Asian books and celebrity books. Which makes sense. I love all things Asian and celebrities.
There are more celeb books than anything else because they are so easy to read. Which is why I love them. That and you feel like you are reading secrets shared only with you.

I'm praying that the library near us here in the burbs is just as awesome. I need a book to read ASAP.

Any Asian/celebrity books on your list that I need to read?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Which Ballet Show Should You Be Watching?

This summer, we were given the great and precious gift of no less than three shows based on ballet dancing.  How can you decide which one to watch, and then pledge your undying allegiance to?  I'll break it down for you.  My winner is pretty clear (DANCE ACADEMY).  

Breaking Pointe
Rundown:  Reality show chronicling six weeks in the lives of a ballet dancers at a real company, Ballet West
People:  Four practically identical ballerinas, two ballet brothers, one Cooper Nielson look-alike and act-alike
Dancing:  Tons of footage from their real rehearsals, which I found immensely interesting.  When it gets to performance time, we don't get to see the pieces in their entirety, but we definitely get to see enough to tell that these dancers really are super talented.
Bonus:  a really intense intro that makes the dancers look super bad-@$$, both unrequited and requited love (and it's real life, so it's even more heartbreaking), real talk behind the scenes of the business side of ballet
Where you can watch:  Hulu, CW website
Should you watch:  Yes - it's only six episodes, and worth it!

Rundown:   A Las Vegas showgirl marries a rich man who lives with his mother, and goes home to live with them.  He basically immediately dies in a car wreck, leaving Showgirl to deal with Mother-in-Law, who also runs a dance studio.
People:  annoying teenage dancers (one of whom is named Boo. As in, the writers were naming all the characters and thought that Boo would make a great name), Gilmore Girls Grandma, Tyra's stripper sister from Friday Night Lights, lots of "quirky townspeople"
Dancing:  minimal.  I've watched the first three episodes so far, and only seen two real dance scenes.  At this point in the series, I'm not even sure why it's called "Bunheads."  The story seems to revolve much more heavily around Showgirl, and the side plot with the ballet girls seems forced and out of place.
Bonus:  Showgirl is played by Broadway vet Sutton Foster who I find to be quite charming and her delivery is hilarious.
Where you can watch:  Hulu, ABC Family
Should you watch:  Probably?  Maybe?  I'll let you decide

Dance Academy
Rundown:  Tara Webster, backwoods Austrailian girl who lives on a farm with BABY KANGAROOS, is chosen to attend the National Academy of Dance in Sydney and train to be a ballet dancer.  Shenanigans, dream-making, dream-crushing, best-friend-making, stupid-decisions-involving-boys ensue.
People:  Australian teenagers.  In Australia.  And they are awesome.  It's one of those shows where I can't decide which character is my favorite because THEY ARE ALL MY FAVORITE.  (But really, Abigail is my favorite.  Or maybe Kat.  Probably Sammy.)
Dancing:  All the time, all kinds.  These kids love to dance, and they love to dance in picturesque places, like in pastures, and in gazebos, and on docks in front of bridges, and in the forest.  Plus, besides ballet, you're going to see hip-hop, modern, jazz, and even a little bit of tapping!
Bonus:  Australian accents, Tara doing things that are so embarrassing you literally have to turn away from the screen, hip-hop/ballet combos, Australia, they're in Australia, Season 2 will destroy your life, the kids are Australian
Where you can watch:  Netflix, and apparently they also play it on TeenNick?  Plus they are currently filming season 3, so this is the gift that keeps on giving!
Should you watch:  Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Music Stuff: Road Trip Songs

This week we take you on a journey of our favorite road trip songs.  Heidi's making an epic journey across the Eastern half of the U.S. as we speak, so it only seemed appropriate!  What are your favorite songs to listen to in the car?

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers
I cannot recall the first time I heard this song. I cannot recall were I was or who I was with, or frankly if I was even with anyone. All I know is, every.single.time I hear it, I get extremely excited and happy and feel like everything is right in the world. I can listen to this thing literally over and over and over.
As proof that I'm not the only one who feels this way, some of my besties in Australia documented their love for the song whilst roadtripping for over 11 straight hours...!

"Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by 'NSYNC
I currently am on a road trip moving across the country, so how fitting this topic is for me! My favorite road trip song is...well, strange and random. I love it any time of the year, all of the time. It always makes its way onto the playlist.  How can you not turn the volume way up, roll the windows down (in the summer of course) and spread Christmas cheer singing loud for all to hear.

"Everything's Right" by Matt Wertz
My friend Rachel introduced me to Matt Wertz music, if my memory serves correctly, in the basement of our sorority house.  Ever since, I've loved his happy style of song writing and the way he sometimes kinda sorta has a lisp.  This song starts out perfectly for a road trip:  "Windows down, the tires spin..."  The rest of the song is just about having that perfect night of hanging out with people you love and who know you the best.  It's physically impossible not to tap your fingers on the steering wheel during this one.  Promise.

"Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson
Val and I took quite a few road trips together in college, and on each of those trips we inevitably rocked out to Kelly Clarkson. The two of us, with the stereo as loud as possible, yell-singing some girl power breakup songs.  It doesn't get much better!  So, I've carried on the tradition ever since (my husband Ryan loves it, let me tell you).  No road trip is complete without Kelly, ever.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chasing Sunsets

I was on my way home from an outing with friends, completely exhausted and stuffed (it was a restaurant crawl, talk about glutenous!), when I heard one of my favorite songs.  I was in such a rush to get home that I didn't even look around to see one of the most beautiful sunsets.  And the mountains ahead of me. 

This song always makes me feel washed over by God's love.  The words are overwhelming in the best kind of way.

So the moment I got home, instead of falling in my bed like I first wanted to do, I grabbed a blanket and ran up the hill to watch the sun set over the mountains.  I tearfully thanked God for the beautiful gift he gave me, gave all of us, that night.

I cherish these moments.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Read it: Bossypants

I was slow to hop on the Tina Fey, Bossypants train, but I wanted to. I was just too cheap to buy it and I had to wait for it from the library. But I am happy to say that I have finally read it and loved it!

In junior high I dreamed of being on SNL. I realize you have to be funny, good at improv, and have some acting skill, but that didn't matter. I still thought it would be the best job ever, and I think I honestly thought I could do it. And after reading this book, I KNOW it would be a pretty great gig. 

It had all of the things I love most about books.
1. I didn't have to think about anything while reading it (I'm still getting used to the idea that I enjoy reading, so I can't get too deep with my books). 
2. I laughed my entire way through. If I'm laughing I'm sold.
3. I felt like an insider getting secret celebrity scoop. 

Plus, I really think Tina and I would be BFF in real life.

My husband needed a book to read and within a minute he was laughing and laughing, and didn't stop. It's a hit for everyone. Except maybe not everyone, she does drop a lot F bombs throughout the book, so maybe not your conservative grandma....

If you are like me and a little behind on the top sellers list, go check this one out at your local library. You will not be disappointed. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Girl Power

The ladies had a very good Olympics.
  1. 29 of the 46 U.S. gold medals were won by women.  The U.S. team also consisted of more women than men.
  2. (By my count) 8 of those golds won by women were in team sports.
  3. For the first time in history, every single country represented at the Olympics had at least one woman competing, with Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar sending women for the very first time.
  4. 20 of the 38 new world records made at the London Games were broken by women.
  5. One of the most watched sports this year was women's beach volleyball.
  6. Young women won:  from the U.S., gold medals went to 15- and 17-year-old swimmers, five teenaged gymnasts, and a 17-year-old boxer, to name just a few.

While I'm not trying to shout "Boys drool, girls rule!" from the rooftops here (I am a pretty fierce believer that neither sex is better than the other, we simply have different God-given roles to fill), I do, however, have a few thoughts about what these statistics mean and why I find them so encouraging.

1.  Women are excelling.  Women are expanding into fields they haven't yet conquered.
2.  Women are building up other women.  They are coming together and encouraging each other and making each other stronger.
3.  Women are changing the rules.  It isn't just a Western way of thinking any more that women can and should achieve; this thought can become global.
4.  Women are pushing their limits, and finding out that they can be harder, better, faster, and stronger.
5.  Women are beautiful.  All kinds of women.  A big draw for audiences in person and on television for women's beach volleyball was the bikini uniforms.  But it wasn't Kate Upton in a bikini that people were tuning in to see; it was Kerri Walsh, who is a mother of two.  She's taller than most men, she's a mom, she's in her 30s, she's athletically successful, she's muscular and strong and doesn't wear make-up, and millions of people tuned in to see her win her third Olympic medal wearing that bikini.  I think that's saying something.
6.  Women are inspiring the next generation in a way that gives me hope.  For every Jersey Shore guidette, there is also a Missy Franklin.  For every Teen Mom, there is also a Gabby Douglas.  These girls are visible and positive and worthy of being in the spotlight on their talents and work ethic.  These are the kind of women I want our future daughters to be able to see.

On top of all that, the most visible spectator of the entire games?  Kate Middleton.  Showing enthusiasm, pride, sportsmanship, and passion for sport.

Oh, and also, the Spice Girls crushed it at the Closing Ceremonies.  ("Zig-a-zig-ah" and "Hi C Ya" both loosely translate to "Girl Power," if I remember right).

You go, girls, and you go, world!

images from:  sports illustrated, people, facebook, zap2it, fitsugar, nytimes, nbcnews, the daily mail

Monday, August 13, 2012

She's just being Miley...

I actually had a whole different hair post planned. But, this just cannot go without discussion.

I'm sure by now you've all heard or seen something about Miley Cyrus's hair transformation last night. "mileyshair" is trending on twitter and fans are going bananas. For the time being, I'm keeping my opinions to myself.

BUT, I'm dying to hear your guys' thoughts. I've heard a whole different realm of reactions and it's do fascinating to me :) So... What do you guys think?!

PS... Anyone else notice she's not wearing her engagement ring in some of the pics?! I can't find anything about Liam's reaction! If ya find something, holla atcha girl.