Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Watch out - 2 posts in one day!  Don't get used to it. 

For many years, I have loved Tina Fey.  She's sassy, she's real, she's brilliant, and she rocks a pair of glasses like no one else.  I feel like we are kindred spirits in some way.  She's in this month's issue of Vogue, and the article pretty much sums up my adoration for her. 

Here's a great passage that I've always aligned myself with, regarding politics; however Mrs. Tina wraps it up very nicely for me:

Fey's parents are Republicans, and she herself is an Independent. "The partisan nature of politics continues to appall me. I'm almost paralyzed by my inability to see things in black-and-white..."

Yes Tina! That is perfect!  Kindred spirits we will be, as I cannot make myself see things as only black-and-white.  I concluded a long time ago that my brain's wired a little bit differently, so maybe I only see the "gray" area in things?  Kudo's to you Tina! 

Boredom in the Kitchen Leads to Creativity, Right?

I'm bored, folks.  Bored in the kitchen, that is.  Mr. Smith and I both agreed this weekend that we needed to spice things up with our weekly menu, and that duty fell to yours truly (because it is my jurisdiction, right?).  I'll admit it, I get into a routine in the kitchen, making our favs without venturing out into the unknown.  And these favs are easy, so there's really no work or creativity involved.  But, I like to cook and enjoy learning about it, so last night I tried a brand new recipe from the First Presbyterian Cookbook: Dorito Chicken.  Now, I know you're probably thinking, um, what?!?  I did too when I saw it, but alas, it was a crowd pleaser.  Which means I get to share it with y'all! 

You know that Friends episode where Rachel accidentally mixes together the Trifle with the Shepherd's Pie?  But Joey still eats it, saying something along the lines of .... Beef?  Good.  Jam?  Good.  Well, that's how I felt when first reading this recipe... and it was good!

Dorito Chicken
  • 1 large can of canned chicken - 10-12 oz. (I used the Swanson white meat) Be sure to separate out the chunks and drain it.  Your pets will also flock to your heels during this like vultures, so watch out for any potential tripping.  I swear my kitchen is a circus.
  • 2 cans of Cream of Chicken
  • 1 can Rotel (I used Mild)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (we're not big onion people, so I think I used half the onion)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag of Dorito's (about half a bag, crushed into bite size pieces)
Mix all ingredients together, except the Dorito's.  Do the Dorito's last, and only mix just a enough to get the chips covered.  Pour ingredients into greased 9 X 13 baking dish.  I topped mine with some crushed Dorito bits to make it pretty.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (it will be bubbly!).  Instant "boy" favorite!

Exciting News!  Mr. Smith and I also booked our one year anniversary trip last night!  The only weekend we have open until August (we're professional wedding crashers) is the Fourth of July weekend, so we are making the most out of our 3-day weekend and heading to the beautiful Ellijay, GA mountains.  We're staying in a quaint little (dog-friendly) cabin called "Creekside."  The Pooper is also really pumped about this upcoming adventure as well. 

Enjoy the sunshine today!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Crispy.  Burned.  Lobster.  Tomato.  = Me.  :(

Saturday afternoon Cooper and I enjoyed the sun shine a little too much, as I finished up a book and he soaked in the rays.  Upon coming inside and getting ready for a Crawfish Boil later that evening, I happened to glance in the mirror and gasped in horror.  Mr. Smith, upon returning from a day of turkey hunting (yet still no meat... what gives?), also gasped in horror and then laughed hysterically. 

I'm sitting here two days later and still in pain.  I really should know better by now, but it just felt so good sitting outside!  It wasn't even that hot, so how was I suppose to know I was damaging my skin? 

My co-workers are getting a good chuckle out of this today, so thankfully I've provided some humor on this Monday. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reunited and It Feels So Good...

We're back from Solitary Confinement!  Know the song that goes something like, "Back to life, back to reality..."?  That's what I've been hearing upon touchdown at the Birmingham airport.  The days in DC were blissful, to say the least.  It was a historic time to be there, and I don't just mean my marketing conference.  :) 

The thing I always say about DC is that you've got to bring your A Game.  Even the cab drivers want to discuss the latest and greatest in politics.  You know how here you have to be ready to discuss Alabama football and the SEC Conference?   Yeah, I know people's eyes start to glaze over when I start rambling about the intricacies and excitement of certain political campaigns or big plays in policy.  Up there it's 24/7 policy topics. Absolutely blissful to a nerd like me. The best part is the collection of diverse opinions... and I don't just mean those Yankees.  It's nice to remind them that just because I talk slow, doesn't mean I think slow.  Amen, right? 

Here are some highlights of my DC adventure:
  • I stayed at the Hilton Washington on Connecticut.  Sound familiar?  It's sometimes called the "Hinckley Hilton" because it's where John Hinckley attempted to assassinate President Reagan in an effort to impress Jodie Foster. 
  • Had brunch at an amazing "dessert-based" restaurant called CoCo Sala.  Can we please get one of these here in Bama?  Just look at their menu: Co Co Sala Restaurant.  Amazing. 
  • Got to experience the Georgetown Cupcakes phenomenon, which means waiting in line for at least half an hour to even get in the door!  I will say that their Red Velvet Cupcake knocked my socks off.  Their tag line is "Pure Bliss Baked Daily" and I have to agree.  Take a look: Georgetown Cupcake.  And guess what?  I can get a dozen of their cupcakes shipped here for only $55 if I get a big craving for one.  :) 
  • Visited former coworkers and ate one of my favorite dishes at The Carlyle with some old friends. 
  • Got to visit my Congressman's office for about 3 hours on Tuesday afternoon where I had interned almost six years ago.  Yes, I realize that makes me incredibly old.  I mean, I can see the "Big 30" just around the bend, you know. 
  • And oh yeah, the conference and its classes were great as well...
P.S.  I think Mr. Smith had a blast in Chicago as well, and was filled to the brim with healthcare policy tidbits that we common folk are not privy to.  I may even let him do his own blog post to tell y'all all about it.  Maybe.  He's eager to set off on a turkey hunting adventure this weekend, so it may be a little belated. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

I think we're alone now...

I wanted to do one last post on my lovely Solitary Confinement before I jet off to DC tomorrow.  Last night I had a wonderful dinner with my parents at Styx, and we were joyously entertained like small children by the hibachi chef's mad skills.  I really do feel like a little kid at those things... so easily entertained!  Mom and Dad were even brave enough to try a bite of my sushi (Bagel Roll... delicious in my belly) after I convinced them it was not raw fish.  Mom's face was pricelss, and I regret not having a picture.  She even cracked a funny, when I told her I had ginger on my plate.  "Well, if you feel bad, then you'll have a ginger ale."  Oh Deena, you're such a clown.

I finished a wonderful book by a University of Alabama author, Kathryn Stockett, called "The Help."  Wow.  I cannot say enough about this book, and I encourage everyone to read it.  Borrow mine if you need to.  Being born and raised in the South lends itself to a more insightful ear for the book, and it's words resonate with feelings and accents we've heard all our lives.  It's almost like curling up with an old friend as those words tinged with such rich, Southern dialect leap off the page and embrace you. 

I also wanted to share this article in the New York Times that I happened upon online today: "Race in the South in the Age of Obama" spotlighting my hometown of Cullman, Alabama.  Reading it literally made my cringe and sink down in my office chair.  It's an 11-page article, so it's no short read, but I do encourage you to read it.  It was probably worse for me to read, because I knew the majority of people mentioned in the article and can recall some of the themes and events written.  Read it if you have the time and catch a small window into my hometown. 

I love Cullman and its people, but there is no escaping its reputation in our state.  I once had a high school English teacher who told us to be the best representative of Cullman that we could be.  That people would always have assumptions about us being from Cullman, but to change it by being an articulate, well-spoken and well-meaning representative who has not stuck in its past.  (Thank you, Mrs. Hopper... those words have always stuck with me!) 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Solitary Confinement

Solitary Confinement.  Yep, that's right.  Mr. Smith and I are about to be separated for over a week.  We haven't taken this much time apart in a really, really long time.  Like a couple of years, I think.  However, we're both gearing up for work conferences.  Mine is in DC (my absolute favorite city!) and his in Chicago.  I'll be leaving Saturday through Wednesday, and he's flying out Sunday morning through Thursday.  The kicker is that Mr. Smith is actually leaving tomorrow morning to visit his family's farm in Mississippi.  And he's taking The Pooper with him to roam and run all those acres.  We end up missing each other with my morning flight on Saturday and his return home Saturday night. 

So... you're telling me I have 3 whole days to myself at home?  No Pooper tracking in mud and other miscellaneous "outside" debris?  No one to cook dinner for or clean up for but myself?  (And the Princess Abby Cat, of course)  I'm devastated.  No, really, I am. Are you catching my sarcasm?  I've got a mile long list of "Things To Do" which will actually get accomplished without Pooper interrupting my every move.  I'm going to mop.  I mean, really mop.  No Swiffer Wet Jetting it.  And put away my china, which is sitting in a couple of boxes from my latest pick-up in T-Town.  (Don't judge me.)  Maybe I'll even change out my winter clothes with my summer ones.  And I'm having dinner with my parents!  All by myself!  And I'm going to read every night without someone telling me to turn off the light.  Oh the joy!  The joy of solitary confinement! 

Please note that I love Mr. Smith and The Pooper dearly.  However, it was hard to contain my smile when Mr. Smith expressed his worry that I would be okay all by myself both at home and traveling up to DC.  I know I'm being selfish, but everyone loves a little "me" time right?  I like being by myself sometimes, and lately I don't think I can go anywhere in our little home without someone - Mr. Smith, The Pooper, or The Princess - barging in and needing something.  And we don't even have munchkins yet. 

I'm super excited about my upcoming journey to The District.  I've always loved that city, and I just knew when I was a little girl I was going to move up there and take over the world help make the world a better place.  Alas, love conquers all, right?  So anytime I get the chance to spend a few days up there, I jump on it.  My friends have eagerly planned some exciting events over the course of my stay there, and I'm sure I will have some great stories to tell y'all when I get back. 

In other news... the Pooper's new nickname around our house is Houdini.  I don't know how he manages to get some of the things he does; he must be able to fly or have magic mind powers or something.  He's also a pick pocket, because I've caught him several times in the morning with Mr. Smith's wallet in his mouth, parading through the house, leaving a trail of various cards and bills along the way.  He's also developed a fondness for, how should I say, our undergarments.  At first it was just Mr. Smith's boxers, but now he's keen on snatching my own delicates from the laundry hamper and sashaying about like he wants to wear them himself. 

Have a wonderful week!  Try to enjoy some solitary confinement of your own!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gather Round, Ye Olden Ladies

About once a month my sorority pledge sisters and I get together for a little Ladies' Night. These nights used to be filled with going out to eat at a local hot spot, sipping some fruity martini's/delicious wine, and gossiping on boys, work, boys, friends, boys... well, you get the idea. 

Last night we had our March Ladies' Night and know what we did?


We know we're so wild now.  Watch out B'ham! 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Black Bean Soup!

Tonight Mr. Smith and I had one of our favorite dinners - Black Bean Soup.  I'm sure you could call it "Taco Soup" or "Fiesta Soup" but Black Bean Soup pretty much sums it up.  It is delicious and the recipe makes a ton, so I wanted to share.  An added plus is it's frugal, which you all know by now I love. 

My grandmother used to make this recipe, and it is scrumptious.

All you need are three basic ingredients:

You need about a pound of ground beef (or deer meat... whatever's in your freezer.  We've got a TON of deer meat right now, and it tastes just as good!).  A big thing of salsa... we get Pace Chunky Salsa in Medium, but Mild is good too.  And a can of black beans. 

First, brown and drain your meat. 

Put all three ingredients into a big cooking pot.  Then, fill up the black bean can with water and dump that in there as well.  If you want it more "soupy" you can two cans of water.  I would have put a picture here, but to be honest it doesn't look that appetizing until it's all stirred together.  :) 

Let it sit on Medium heat until hot.  It does take a little bit for everything to get warmed up. 

The Grande Finale:

Looks good, right?  Of course, to be really healthy delicious, I added some shredded cheddar cheese, a dallop of sour cream and some Tostitos, which Mr. Smith like to crumble up and put in his soup. 

Enjoy on these cold nights! 

Monday, March 1, 2010

I don't do birthday parties...

This weekend I had the chance for some much-needed girl time, with two of my besties.  Momma, on the left side, let us join her and her precious Madilyn for a Friday night.  Sarah, on the right side, was my partner, rather my Captain, on I-65. 

So what do three twenty-something ladies do on a Friday night these days?
Have a photo shoot with the first baby of the group.  We all three whipped out our matching Canon EOS Rebels and the madness started.  Here are my favs of our little subject:

OMG.  My heart melts.

The sprinkler?

Enough!  No more photo shoot, ladies.

So what did I do on Saturday?  The 2010 KidsFest, guys.  My work had a booth there, to showcase our awesome Kirby Kangaroo Kids Club accounts.  Know what happens to a Marketing Manager when no one else volunteers to wear the kangaroo costume? 

Yep, that's me.  For about 5 hours on Saturday.  I was tackled by small children and sweated off about 18 pounds.  I'm thinking of coming out with a new workout video.... "Sweating It Off With Kirby."  Catchy, right?  I danced.  I hugged.  I even did the sprinkler.  I. Was. Pooped.  I don't know how mascots do it, and I have a whole new respect for Big Al now. 

And then... when all I wanted to do was come home and take a nap on the couch, this is what I found.

Gah.  Can't a girl catch a break?  But, they're cute, so I'll let it slide this time.  :) 

And no.... I don't do birthday parties.