Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rainy Wednesday

How to spend a rainy Wednesday night, version Katie: 

The giant mess I created in an attempt to "clean up" and cross things off my to do list. Does this happen to anyone else, or am I special? And, yes those are my clean clothes drying in the middle of our dining room, and my sewing machine on top of the dining room table. I work with the space I am given. I am the epitome of flexible, after all.

First up, camera strap cover with elephant fabric. In hindsight, this was really quite terrible fabric for this project, but I was a woman on a mission and I'll be damned if I was going to admit I was wrong change my mind. Remember, epitome of flexible.

You can't really see it, like, at all, but that's the finished product. And most of my bathroom. Welcome to my home, interwebz. Also please note the unpainted fingernails.

Oh, what's up Lincoln Park After Dark? My sister took too long eating her dinner so I painted my fingernails while she picked and poked and finished. Then I made a little pouchy thing. Again, poor choice of fabric and really poor planning when cutting. It's fine, I'm practicing. I can't be perfect allllllll the time.

Oh, filled it up with stuff! Medicines & cough drops & chapsticks. This sucker is never leaving my purse. I also have plans to show any/everyone who will look. Sorry coworkers old & new, you are obligated to compliment my barely-there sewing skills.

Oh hello senor elefante. I hope you enjoy life at the bottom of my purse, and if you don't, well you better get used to it. It's where you belong, crooked seams & all.

PS - I'd say I can officially claim sewing as a hobby, don't you? 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Confessions: Via Edition

I went out to lunch & dinner yesterday. I try really hard not to do this, but all I had at work for lunch was leftover taco makings but only enough for 1 taco, some red quinoa, and potstickers. I took a vote and it was unanimous - out to lunch I went.

 Then, halfway through the day my friend asked if I wanted to go grab dinner since she had a Groupon that was about to expire. Oh, okay, twist my arm. After I spent an exorbitant amount of money at Hancock Fabric and Michaels, I met her for dinner at VIA (on Pharr Road, across from ATL Fish Market).

We sat outside because it was too nice not to, and we had margaritas. They weren't the best but I mean... they were tequila. Whatever. We ordered 2 appetizers & a pizza and it was a great amount of food for the 2 of us! I really wanted to try figs, and Jackie is like... the least picky eater ever, so we got the fig & prosciutto pizza. YUM. The food was great, the service was ok, but the whole place just seemed really, for lack of a better word, very swanky.

I  hate the word swanky. I think it's stupid, overused, and lame. But really, there's no better word to describe this place. It wasn't chic, it wasn't just cool, unfortunately it was swanky. But I really liked it.

The best part? Well, there's 2. The first one is that the grand total was $6.48, and the second one is that I also have a coupon to use there, so obviously we have to go back. I can't wait!

Thanks for a fun dinner, Jackie :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seriously Lame Post.

I've written out a list of Top 10 Thursday things 4 times now, only to come up very, very short. I give up on the stupid list. Instead, I'm going to pour my heart out just a little bit. Feel free to close the window if you want, or keep reading. It's really up to you. As I'm writing this, I have no idea what I'm actually going to say. Probably just ramble a little bit. (edit: I don't think these ramblings turned out half bad, but I'm the author so does my opinion really count? Unclear.)

My sister came over for dinner last night, and we had a really enjoyable little evening together. My parents brought us some fish that my dad had caught the last time they were in Atlanta (sorry if that doesn't make sense, they brought the fish to Atlanta, they didn't catch it here) and it intimidated me and smelled bad, so basically my sister came over as a security blanket so I could cook the fish. Isn't that lame?

I have been reading for the last month about how delicious pumpkin and butternut squash and spaghetti squash and all things gourd related are, and when my mom & I went apple picking I also bought a butternut squash to eat. I'd never tried squash before but I figured if everyone else liked it then I probably would too! I didn't have any vegetables for said fish dinner, so I roasted the butternut squash. It was really gross, neither of us liked it, and we tossed most of it. Isn't that lame?

My sister still lives in the sorority house and she brought over carrot cake for dessert. It was so cute, she brought it over in a styrofoam cup because they were out of to-go boxes, and it even had a little fork stuffed in it. In hindsight, I should have taken a picture, but instead I took one big bite because I really like carrot cake only to realize that apparently the new chef at the sorority house is a big fan of walnuts. I am not, at least not in my carrot cake. Isn't that lame?

And lastly, it's my 2nd to last day at work and I am so pleased that almost all the candy that I keep at my desk is gone, except the red & blue sour gummy worms. I bought the CVS brand sour gummy worms and upon first taste, decided they TOTALLY SUCKED and refused to eat anymore, hence them being out on my desk for everyone to eat. Well, I quickly changed my mind and consumed all the delicious tasting sour gummy worms, starting with the best ones until only the worst remained. And now I have 5 measly red & blue sour gummy worms sitting on my desk waiting to be eaten, but they're nasty. Isn't that lame?

Now I have to go do work I was supposed to do 3 weeks ago, because when I leave they are going to quickly figure out I haven't done it. That is especially lame.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sending love & thoughts to the sweet Summer B.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Night In

Last night, I had dinner plans with 2 of my best and favorite friends in the whole world. AC just moved back to Atlanta from Nashville, and Syd was in town from Ft. Worth. After discussing, we all agreed that a girls night in complete with wine, cheese, meat, and a lot of other food was just what we needed. And let me tell you, it was awesome. Between the sickness I'm fighting, my epic weekend, trying to finish up my last week at work, and having about a million friends to see this week, I was really feeling the whole vibe.

I am all about a dinner out on the town, going to fancy restaurants, trying to new places, and general exploration of the city I call home. However, I tend to overlook the thrill that is a fancy night in. We had honey infused goat cheese, peppercorn crusted salami, prosciutto rolls, grapes, raspberries & blackberries, a roasted artichoke, spiced pecans, and wine. LOTS of wine. Talk about delicious! It cost me a lot more than I intended because I was too lazy to go anywhere but the most expensive grocery store I could think of, but it was totally worth it to hang out with my girls in my post-yoga sweatiness and just be. And just eat. A lot. But seriously, next time you think about planning a night out, re-think and plan a night in. It can really be just as fun! And just throwing it out there, but fancy food != fancy clothes. I was basically the definition of that last night.

And if you're feeling really feisty, you could also maybe turn on an episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta, just as "background noise." Right. It was my first viewing of the show (yes, I live under a rock) and needless to say... I won't be recording it. Sorry NeNe & Kim, and the girl who had an over-the-top, antithesis-of-southern baby shower. I don't buy it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Confessions

I am a huge booknerd. I don't think it's a secret but it's my confession to you today. I love to read. I've always loved to read. I'm sure I've told the story about how my dog really did eat my summer reading list? My sister & I used to see who could check out more books at a time. We brought our own bags to the library WAY before bringing your own bags anywhere was cool. My sister & I definitely get our love of reading from my mom, who used to sneak into the bathroom to read even though she wasn't doing anything but reading, and who used to open her book at stoplights. Forget texting while driving, my mom needed a law about reading while driving. And you think I'm kidding.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I'm not really sure, I definitely share my mother's fondness of reading,even at inopportune times. Sometimes you just gotta know what happens next! Although in her books, it's almost always some steamy sex scene... she reads "romantic" books that required her to have book covers on all her books when we were kids.

I have a GoodReads account -- do you? And every so often I go through and add books that friends are reading to my "To Read" list. Then, every once and a while, I jump on the library website, reserve 20 books, and wait patiently for them to come in and for me to go pick them up. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was one of those. I knew I wanted to read it, but I was so engrossed in Pretty Little Liars that I couldn't interrupt the series for something as trivial as The Hunger Games. Well, sorry Aria Montgomery, but your stupid, crazy friend Alison turned Courtney turned Alison again just doesn't quite stand up to the Hunger Games, and I'm a fool for thinking she did. And sorry if I just ruined Pretty Little Liars for anyone, but the books got a little out of control. And by a little I mean a lot.

Back to the topic at hand, The Hunger Games. I started this book Wednesday night and got through 6 of the 31 chapters, and I knew if I didn't put it down then, I'd be up all night reading. It's that good. All through work yesterday I thought about what was happening to Prim and Katniss and Peeta and Gale. Then, babysitting last night I was able to convince 2 energetic little boys to hang out on the couch with me and all read quietly. WIN. And then I got home and I just couldn't stop. I read while I baked brownies, I read while I walked around packing my bag to go out of town this weekend... and I got into bed and read until 12:30am, WAY past my bedtime. And then the first book was over, but it was like it had just begun, because of course there are 2 more books, and of course I knew what was ultimately going to happen in the first one. I mean, duh.

So I urge you, command you, encourage you, whatever it takes to get you to the library or bookstore to check out this book. It was awesome and fantastic and everything I love in a book. There was even a love story involved with all the drama and suspense.

Hunger Games, I'm addicted. Fulton County Library, please get your ish together so I can have Book 2 promptly on my return from South Carolina.

PS - Heading to the land of orange & purple & cows this weekend to see some of my best friends (although one infamous Roxxy will be missing) Go Jackets!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Top Ten Thursday -- Halloween Edition

I love my clothes, I really do. But if you are looking for a girl who wears sexy, short, revealing articles of clothing, look elsewhere. I'm pretty sure I lost a boyfriend because of my lacking cleavage, and I know for sure in college I had numerous friends make fun of me for wearing a Polo sweater out to the bar on a Thursday night. Whatever, I'm comfortable in what I'm comfortable in and that is that. But now that Halloween is right around the corner, I get all preoccupied thinking of ways that I can finagle my way out of wearing a sexy elf costume. It's just not for me. And it's for everyone's benefit, I swear.

1. An M&M -- oversized tshirt in your preferred color with an M painted on the front, leggings & shoes

You get the point...
2. A referee -- referee shirt, spandex or gym shorts, tights, and tennis shoes. Don't forget your whistle!
3. A bumblebee -- black leggings, oversized yellow top, black electrical tape, a black headband & some pipecleaners. Could also be ladybug, subbing oversized red top for yellow one.
4. A shacker -- boxers, an oversize tshirt, high heels in hand, and smeared makeup.
5. An aerobics instructor -- bathing suit or leotard, sweatbands, leggings, scrunchy socks, and sneakers.
6. A cowgirl -- boots, overalls & a wifebeater. Maybe a cowboy hat? Maybe not.
7. Barbie -- all pink everything, poofed up hair, perhaps a Ken accessory?
8. Catholic school girl -- plaid skirt, tights, white button up, heels, tall white socks. You could turn it into a couple costume by adding a priest!
9. A nurse -- hello SCRUBS!!! AND SNEAKERS!!! And you could snag yourself a McSteamy to dress up with you!
10. My top-secret Halloween 2010 costume. You'll have to wait & find out!

Anyone have any other great costume ideas that don't require a) lots of effort and b) lots of skin? Do share!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eating Organic

A friend recently posted a link to this article, discussing which fruits and vegetables are the most important to buy organically (because the most pesticides and chemials are used) and which are the least important to buy organically.

I am not an organic shopper. I consider it a successful day if I have consumed something green, not because I don't like green things, but because eating healthy is hard, and it takes up valuable time. I am also not an organic shopper because I find that, more often than not, buying organic is more expensive, and in my experience, the produce goes bad faster. But, because I'm open to other's opinions and suggestions, I thought I'd post the contents of this article in list form for the whole world to see. And who knows, maybe I'll convince myself by the end of the article to buy organic something.

What you should buy organic:
Domestic blueberries (not foreign... domestic only please.)
Sweet bell peppers
Spinach, kale and collard greens
Imported grapes (the fine grapes grown in the US are a-okay!)

What you could get away with not buying organic:
Sweet corn
Sweet peas
Asparagus (really? PHEW!)
Kiwi fruit
Sweet potatoes
Sweet onions

So there you have it folks. If I were to be an organic shopper, I think I would buy organic eggs, strawberries, blueberries, rasperries, celery, and meats. But alas, I am not. As I commented to my friend, it's just not in my priorities right now. I think it's great for other people, and I will happily eat organically at my friends houses ifi that is how they choose to cook, but they will be eating chicken & pesticided veggies at my casa. Anybody want to come over for dinner tomorrow night?

PS - I'm feeling incredibly guilty for not buying organically. Just thought you should know I guilt-tripped myself.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To Do Lists

To say I'm busy would be an understatement. Between being out of town last weekend and preparing for that, changing jobs, football season, and just life in general, I feel like I don't have time to get anything done.

Enter to-do lists. Does anyone else have a to-do list that is 8 miles long? When I make my to do list, it's basically a brain dump onto paper in list form. I start out with an attempt at organizing the list, but really by the time I hit #33 on the list, I'm just writing stuff that needs to get done. How do you to-do list? Do you keep your lists separate? All 1 list? A mental list? Do you cross off as you go? There is nothing as satisfying to me as crossing things off a to-do list. When I was working as a personal assistant, my boss used to tease me because I wrote every little thing down only for the gratification of crossing it off. Whatever, if it keeps me motivated then I keep doing it!

Here's a little snippet of today's to-do list for you:

If you need a translation, that says:
- read camera manual
- deodorant
- Halloween costume
- dust (in preparation for leaving AGAIN for the weekend)
- sew camera strap cover
- sew wine koozies
- sew case from Corie
- bday card for Dad
- clean freezer
- filing
- pick up books at library
- bake for Clemson
- wipers to Lauren

It's going against every single grain in my body to not explain each of those in further detail but I'm going to leave it at that.

Except 1. I do not need new deodorant. I am wearing deodorant. I do not stink. I'm going to go cross more things off my list now.

PS - Yep, making lists is a hobby of mine. What of it?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Weekend

 I spent the weekend in North Georgia with some amazing people and lucky for me, I wouldn't exactly call this group camera shy! And double the luck for me, they also happen to be some of my favorite friends.

Saturday morning, we woke up to fog over the lake. Great start to an even better weekend.  

After breakfast, shenanigans ensued. (Yep, that's an adult trying to fit into a car designed for 2 years olds. Yep, she actually fit. Kind of.)

Some of the team went for a mountain bike ride. Clearly, I hung back and took pictures. We know how I feel about exercise.

Bored, waiting for my friends to come back from their mountain bike adventure. Practicing using my new camera with what I had -- grass, and my awesome fingernails.

Team building activities in the afternoon turned into practicing karate kid ninja moves. He was standing on a floating rock in the middle of hot lava, lucky for us his ninja skills are decent.

Crash boom bang. We had to partner up and walk across a tight rope that spread further in different directions, leaning on each other for support. Good thing those spotters were there to catch us. Nothing says team building like 2 girls falling on your back. Lucky boys.

Instructor: Zip up.
Catchers: ZIPPED!
Faller: I trust you.
Catchers: TRUST US! FALL ON!
Faller: Falling.

Spent some time hanging out at the waterfall in comfortable silence with each other.

Loving the effects my camera can capture, and taking full advantage. I swear I'm not really that wide, I just really like that jacket. And the 7 laters underneath.

A weekend that didn't start or end as planned, but that was awesome nonetheles. A much needed retreat away from life, away from stress, away from everything, and it was awesome. Amen.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Confessions

I've told you all about my relationship with running. We've been getting along okay lately, but I'm just bored with it. I'm all about classes at the gym, but gyms are expensive. Enter, Groupon. Cue angels singing. I nabbed the Atlanta Hot Yoga Groupon for $39 -- unlimited yoga for a month.

I've never set foot in a yoga studio before. I did Yoga for Runners one time on my bedroom floor and I liked it but I wasn't really sure about it. So Wednesday I went and cashed in my Groupon... AND I'M NEVER GOING BACK TO RUNNING. Ok, exaggeration, but seriously, yoga was the bomb dot com. I liked every single thing about it. I liked the people that were in my class, I liked the studio, I liked the way it made me feel, I liked the instructor, I just really liked it! Probably TMI, but I've never really sweat to the point that you could see it through my shirt, even in my 2-a-day, 3-hour-practice-in-the-heat-of-the-summer volleyball days. After this measly one hour yoga class though, my shirt was absolutely soaked through. Gross, but so satisfying.

Go, little yogis, and get your yoga on. You'll never look back either. Unless sweat and hearing people breath really strangely grosses you out, in which case, run as far as you can in the other direction. I'm still not digging the whole breathing thing, but I mean we can't all be perfect, even Mr. Yoga.

Turn Off Technology

The other night I got home from yoga, made my dinner while simultaneously checking Twitter and my text messages, sat down to eat, and was seriously perplexed at how I was going to use a fork and knife AND read my emails at the same time. Then I realized I needed an intervention. Step away from the iPhone. So many times I find myself absent-mindedly pushing the screen on my cell phone instead of just enjoying a quiet moment. So that's what I did. I threw my phone as far away from me as I could bear and I sat there and I enjoyed my dinner all by myself in peace and quiet. And it was miserable... but I did it. Which led me to wonder... when else have I become entirely dependent on my little mobile device to entertain me rather than to just appreciate that moment in time? I know I know, bear with me, I'm getting all zen & spiritual & weird but really, when was the last time you just sat quietly? I decided to make a list of the times when I am not going to instantly reach for my cell phone, but instead sit quietly or reach for the book that I always carry with me. It seems more wholesome, although if I'm reading about secret societies at Ivy league schools, is that really wholesome? Unclear.
image credit

1. When I wake up in the AM. I roll over, shut off the alarm, and simultaneously push that little mail button, waiting until I hear the "ding" to wake me up again and then I read my emails. Lame!
2. While walking from the parking garage into work. Seriously -- I am going to be in the office in 4 minutes, my Tweets and emails can wait.
3. While eating dinner by myself at home. Maybe I'll try to focus on savoring my food instead of shoving it in my mouth as fast as humanly possible because I waited too long to eat because I was lazy. Is that just me? Surely it's not.
4. When I get bored in a meeting... HAHAHAHAHA sike. That's basically what smartphones were made for, anyway.
5. While I'm on the treadmill. It is a distraction, but there is also a TV, a magazine, and a gajillion other people milling around to distract me. (I've actually started getting into the habit of just leaving my phone at home. I know, how could I? But seriously, I have lived to tell the tale, so it's possible!)
6. When there are other people around. I'm a people watcher by nature, and I should use that opportunity to really utilize my creativity. I know for a fact I'm not the only one who makes up stories about what is going on in random stranger's lives. And, I keep toying with this idea of writing a book... I'm never going to get anywhere if I don't start paying attention to my surroundings and creating overdramatic, entirely untrue plotlines.
7. Sitting in traffic. Mainly because it's against the law, and I have an aversion to breaking rules.

I can't think of any more times that I tool around on my cell phone instead of appreciating my surroundings because I'm really busy checking Twitter, so I'm leaving you with a Top 7 Thursday list, and it's on Friday. I'm all over the place, can you handle it?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Best of Intentions

I had big plans for last night. I was going to get home, work out, cook dinner, and sew to my little heart's content. My computer charger broke, so I knew the interwebz wouldn't distract me. I can't stand watching baseball on TV (it's boring enough in the stadium, watching it on TV is like instant naptime!) and even worse, the Twitter app on my phone was blowing up with Braves games updates. Gag me. Plus, who wants to watch Gossip Girl on live TV when it's so much better the next night with the DVR remote in hand? I just KNEW sewing was in my future.

I finished the final book in the Pretty Little Liars series, freaking finally (will blog about this later, promise). I stood up, I stared at my sewing machine, and then I sat back down and made a to-do list. I taste-tested my roommate's first try at her Thanksgiving appetizer. A total side  note, but in the 15 months I've lived with Plampers, I think I've seen her use the kitchen for 4 recipes that weren't first frozen: Cheese Enchiladas, Spinach Dip, Buffalo Chicken Dip and now... Crab, Spinach & Artichoke dip. It was seriously delicious, and as we were discussing what other ingredients she could maybe incorporate into the dish to make it better, she starts rattling off stuff about shaved shallots, maybe some hot sauce, or heavy cream, or some cumin. Jigga what? This roommate of mine that cooks as often as basically never was talking about shallots, cream and cumin? I was impressed and jealous that her boyfriend was going to be receiving the rest of the dip and I couldn't eat "just one more bite" until all the sudden it was gone.

Obviously this is where my thoughts went, and then all the sudden it was 9:15pm and I was watching 4 episodes of Sister Wives and then I was asleep, dreaming about marrying a man who then took on more wives. Something about me being too sane for him? Yes, I'm sure that's what it was. Anyway, all of this happened and the brand new, shiny camera strap cover did not.

I claim it's because my computer was dead so I couldn't stare at the tutorial, but really I was just lazy and didn't want to move the dishes that are on the table, put my sewing machine out, risk ruining my beautiful elephant fabric, and ultimately end up frustrated and still camera-strap-cover-less. So I just eliminated all the middle steps and ended up strapless anyway.

I think the chances of it getting done eventually are really high, so keep checking back and one day in 2020 you might just see a camera strap cover how to. Don't worry if the camera is no longer functional because it's been replaced by robots who take photos for us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Domino Effect

On Friday, I bought this: 
canon rebel xs

On Saturday, I took a bajillion pictures (thank you to all of my extremely patient friends for tolerating my annoying stalkerazzi ways). 

Today, I am going to make this:
camera strap cover via
Using this fabric:

And if my computer is working, tomorrow I will have one of these.

Happy photographing & sewing to me. 
PS - Do you get why the title of this post is Domino Effect?
PSS - Can anyone recommend good photography or sewing blogs?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Confessions

Can You Tapas This?
I have never been much of a nail polish girl. I mean, I always had it in my house, but rarely on my fingers. Then in college I had acrylic nails. My boyfriend swore he would disown me if I ever got rid of them (so of course when on the verge of a break up, what do I do? Bye bye, beautiful acrylics!) But now, for some unknown reason, I have become a nail polish hoarder.

It started with the OPI Espana Collection. I love all things Espana, and these colors were to die for. My first true love was Can You Tapas This?

Lincoln Park After Dark

I think I wore that color on my toes & fingernails for a solid 3 months before moving on to bigger and better things, like Lincoln Park After Dark. It's what I'm wearing today. It's almost black, but it has a beautiful shine to it that makes me not feel like I'm channeling my inner 14 year old goth chick at Town Center Mall. Anyone else know what I'm talking about? I swear I'm not wearing a belly shirt with chains and low rise baggy cargo pants. And I also swear there isn't any pink or blue in my beautiful blonde locks. But, I really love Lincoln Park After Dark. It does make me feel like I've stepped out of my comfort zone. I love that feeling, of being out of the box when you really aren't.

And then, earlier this week, I was feeling really gutsy. My mom & I stopped at ULTA because they have nail polishes Buy 2, Get 1 Free and of course the nail polish junkie in me just had to take advantage, especially because I had a $5 off coupon. That made the polishes a mere $4 each. Half price! The more the merrier! And I bought an awesome white -- Alpine Snow. I loved the white, but it didn't make me feel nearly as badass as Lincoln Park After Dark makes me feel. I felt pure and innocent, 2 things I am. (Not). 

In conclusion, is anyone else obsessing over nail polishes? The OPI Swiss Collection is really kickin it up a notch, too. I got this Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous sparkly color all over my toes and it's just... exciting!

Now, I just need to figure out how to do my own nails without smudging it or having the color up to my first knuckle and we're in business. 

Happy painting (and sorry if I offended the goth kids at Town Center). 

PS - I tagged this as a hobby. Can painting one's own nails really be considered a hobby? It is now! Hobby away!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top 10 Thursday -- Job Edition

I follow a few message boards/blogs and a lot of the topics lately have been centered around job interviews and how to prepare. Although I don't think I am a particularly great interviewer, I do think I am fantastic at interview prep. I thought I'd share a few of my tips for interested parties, or for people who are just looking for someone else to tell them what to do. Sometimes that's all we need, is a litle push in the right direction!
1. Dress up! I don't care if you are interviewing at the local junkyard, if it's your first interview, wear a suit. If the interviewer is in jeans and a tshirt, you could probably tone it down for the second and final interviews, but otherwise, stick with a suit. You'll wow them with your professionalism!

2. Bring a portfolio, folder, or notebook to take notes in. Address what your intentions are in the beginning by telling the intervierwer you don't want to forget anything, and does he/she mind if you take notes as you talk. Don't let your note taking distract you, but truly write down things that you want to remember (such as important names, positions, etc).

3. Prepare questions to ask your interviewer in advance. I take a cheat sheet (I made my own, but a quick google search & this one popped up) with questions, the name of the company, some information about the company, and the interviewer's name on it into the interview with me, and when I take notes, I take them on my cheat sheet. Most times, the interviewer can see that I have questions prepared (scroll to the bottom) and that I am filling in the blanks as they get answered. When the interviewer asks me if I have any questions for them, I've usually already narrowed my list down to 2-3 questions that haven't already been answered, and I can scan my list and confirm that.

4. Rehearse the answers, out loud, to each of these questions that an interviewer could ask you. It might sound silly, but it will allow you to focus on the points you want to emphasize, and you will be able to rephrase things that you don't want to say. I think this list is a fair summary of important questions and topics to rehearse, but there are so many tools out there.

5. Be yourself. If you aren't, even if the interviewer doesn't notice the fakeness, you won't be able to keep up the facade if you are to get the position and you will be miserable or you will quickly find yourself without a job again. You are fantastic, talented, capable, (hopefully) intelligent, among other things. Let your best qualities shine through. If you are enthusiastic about life and work, don't suppress it! Don't go over the top, but being genuine will speak volumes to the interviewer about who you are as a person.

6. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview, but if you are more than 10 minutes early, wait in your car or outside or somewhere other than in the reception office. Many people consider it inconsiderate to arrive to an interview any more than 10 minutes early, and if I am early at all, I always acknowledge it when I check in for my appointment.

7. Schedule interviews for when you are at your best! I am very lethargic and sleepy in the afternoon, so I try to avoid afternoon meetings & interviews as much as possible. I am far more productive and energetic in the morning, and I feel that I am at my best then. When given the option, I always choose a morning interview! That being said, don't demand it; let the interviewer set the time and let them know your preference if they ask.

8. Research the company and the person interviewing you. Even if you just jot down a few notes on your cheat sheet, it demonstrates your interest. Especially if you can find a way to reference anything. I once mentioned (accidentally) that I had found a potential employer on a social networking site, and they were very impressed that I had taken the time to go somewhere other than the company's website for information. Also, utitlize the resources you have. With all the networking sites out there, you will surely be able to find someone who works at the company or in a position similar to one you are interviewing for. By mentioning that you have done some asking around, you are proving that you are resourceful, capable, and able to find answers, all of which are great qualities to have.

9. Send thank you cards!! People think this is overrated, but you would be shocked at how meaningful this really is. My father, who has hired 100's of people over the course of his career, even recommends sitting in the lobby after your interview and writing the cards right there and asking a receptionist to make sure they are delivered. When a candidate wrote her thank you note in the lobby of his office, my father noted that she was an enthusiastic candidate who wanted to be very clear about her interest in the job. Whether you write them immediately or you wait until you get home, make sure to do it. A little note goes a long way!

10. Bring extra copies of your resume, and ask the interviewer for a business card. Print the job description and any additional information that you have found. Print your questions. Bring a pen. Make sure your phone is on silent or off. And call someone just before you go in and have them give you a 30 second pep talk -- sometimes it makes all the difference in the world!

Anyone else have any other tried & true interview tips they want to share? I'm sure we can all use the help! Good luck to everyone looking for jobs, hopefully these tips were helpful :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I came, I saw, I ate.

A few nights ago I conquered all things apple, and last night I attempted all things Asian. Or, all things Asian that I crave on a regular basis.

My mom has a ridiculously easy and delicious Beef with Broccoli recipe that we have been eating for years. It was that special birthday meal, the meal that we had when my dad came home from being out of town, the one that she couldn't keep us out of the kitchen while she was cooking. Yeah, you can tell she really liked cooking that meal... and after I made it once a week for 6 months, I'd had enough of it too.

Because I was feeling sickly, and because my mom was here so I knew I couldn't screw the recipe up too badly, I decided to make my first attempt at Hot & Sour soup. I was worried because I didn't want to be missing any crucial ingredients that the restaurants include. You know, like lard and copious amounts of MSG. Priorities, people. I didn't want to completely ruin something I love so much.

Well, let me just tell you... I conquered that bad boy. It was SO GOOD. I didn't take any pictures of the process because that really ain't my thang, but I'll just tell you what... YUM. I inhaled. My mom inhaled. My dad said, "Ew gross. You can really cook?" He doesn't like hot & sour soup, and he thinks we should be the exact same in every aspect, apparently including his inability to cook. Sorry pops, apparently my genes aren't entirely Hamilton and there's a little bit of mom in there. Who knew?

I used this recipe -- BAM! -- but I basically halved it. And then I eyeballed most of the ingredients because I'm lazy & my dishwasher was full.

Image from Food Network

2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms  (I hate mushrooms & my grocery store had no shiitakes, so we bought regular ones and I did the same thing and then gave all the mushroom bits to my mom. Worked fine.)
10 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger (TOO MUCH GINGER.)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (To taste... depends on how spicy you really want to go!)
1/2 pound chicken or tofu, cut into small bite-size strips or chunks  (I had every intention of adding chicken but then I just didn't... and I probably wouldn't.)
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons mushroom flavored soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Hot chile oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (Unnecessary condiments that I likely won't use again. And scallions just suck.)
Bean sprouts (I added these because I love them.)

Combine shiitake mushrooms and 3 cups of the chicken stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let stand until mushrooms are tender and broth is flavorful, about 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms and discard stems. Thinly slice caps and reserve. Strain broth through a fine mesh sieve, combine with the remaining chicken stock and set aside. (If you buy regular mushrooms already cut up, you can eliminate most of these steps. At least the annoying ones like straining and chopping gross mushrooms!)

In a medium saucepan heat the vegetable oil and, when hot, add the ginger, garlic (BUT DON'T LET IT BURN!) and crushed red pepper; cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the chicken stock and reserved shiitakes and bring to a simmer. Add bean sprouts. Cook for 30 minutes. Add the chicken or tofu and stir to combine. In a small bowl or cup, combine the lime juice and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the hot soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and serve the soup, drizzled with hot chile oil to taste, and garnished with some of the sliced scallions.

In conclusion, thank you Emeril for allowing me to feel the exhiliration of culinary success. And thank you, also, for allowing me to surpass my parents expectations of me. After my mom devoured her bowl of soup she turned to me and said, "Wow, you really can cook. What do you know!"

Thanks for the vote of confidence, madre.

Maybe now I'll go bake an apple pie, I have a few apples to spare. Do you think I should add mushrooms to that?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Keep Calm, Carry On.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

I'm not generally a quote poster, but for some reason this one has stuck with me all day, and I've been able to reference it more than once. For someone who's not a quote person, I think I'll keep this one in my back pocket. 

I hope you are all having a fantastic day -- mine started with a walk around my neighborhood with my mom & the puppy dogs, and it will end with what is sure to be a laughter-filled planning meeting. I'm still really happy and really loving my life. Especially the people in it :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Apple Massacre & Weekend Recap

On my Top 10 Thursday post last week, I mentioned a few things worth re-mentioning because I actually did them!  
Cypress Street Sublime Burger

1. Battle of the Burgers -- SO MUCH FUN! Thank you so much to @YelpAtlanta for hooking me up, but seriously, this was worth every single penny I would have spent. The event was held at John Howell Park on Virginia Ave, and the venue was, I thought, perfect. Small, intimate, felt like there were a lot of people... fabulous. I think my personal favorite was the shrimp 'n grits stuffed burger from The Nook, but apparently the People's Choice Winner was Kaleidescope. The Judge's Choice Winner was also the burger from The Nook... it was seriously that good. I also got the opportunity to eat a Sublime donut burger. Never again, kids. It was dangerous. Like, as in I would have to roll home if I ate a whole one dangerous.

2. Apple picking! My mom & I went to Reece's Orchards today in Ellijay. We took our puppy dogs, picked apples to our hearts content, I bought a pumpkin and a couple of gourds, and we were on our merry way back to civilization! I love PYO (Pick Your Own) vineyards/orchards/gardens and my family has been doing it for what feels like forever! We also might have stopped at the outlets on our way home... I mean we were already there! Lucky me, I only came home with 20 pounds of apples (and my fall decor). In the 5 hours I've been home, I've cooked up an apple turnover, applesauce, and I'm going to hopefully have apple butter when I wake up in the morning. Anybody want anything apple-related? I foresee a lot of frozen applesauce in my near future... apparently it's one of the many things you can freeze!

BRB, I think my apple butter is burning.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I know I've been on blog posting overload the last few days. I just have a lot on my brain & I have to get it out there for all the world to see.

But today, my confession is this: I am happy. I am so happy, I am grateful, I am so delighted with life and where I am going and what I am doing. It just doesn't get much better than where I am right now. I have great friends, a fun job, fantastic co-workers, I'm healthy, my family is proud of me, and I'm really finding my place in the world. DEAR UNIVERSE, I AM HAPPY!!!! WOOHOOO!!!

Anybody else just feeling great?

Happy Friday!