Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Sometimes I take pictures of objects so I can edit them and possibly print them and possibly hang them up in my house. Then months go by and sometimes I remember about those pictures I was going to possibly edit and possibly print. Case in point, I forgot about these, and I actually took a few minutes to turn them into something I like. I don't know what I'll do with them yet, but at least I have the option now.

Friday, December 2, 2011


About 5 1/2 months ago my sister birthed another beautiful boy, and I absolutely adore him!! He's all smiles and loves to cuddle, so clearly he took after his aunt - ha!

My mission is to make sure he gets just as many photos of himself as his big brother (the first child and grandchild) did. I'm the baby of my family, so I know how painful it is to see so many photos of your older sibling compared to the 20 that were taken of you. I'm surprised I've never gone to therapy for this. Actually, I'm not. Therapy is much too expensive! So far it's been a challenge since he didn't even get a Halloween costume, and to help my cause, I had my cousin make a little bear hat and matching diaper cover for him. Granted, the photo below is only him wearing the hat because it was much too cold the day I saw him to put him on a tile floor in nothing but a diaper and hat, but he is still so flipping cute! I may not have kids of my own, but I have common sense...most of the time. We have a make-up shoot scheduled soon, and I can't wait to see if he can look even cuter than he did that day.

Something about his smile makes me heart hurt, but in a good way of course!


Full-time Recruiter, Part-time Photographer, Seasonal Pie Maker

And I thoroughly enjoy it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

You gotta grow up sometime.

I turned 30 in February. I was and am completely fine with that, but I knew the days of not caring about certain parts of growing older were behind me (i.e., wrinkles). I read a Q&A section Family Circle magazine recently - yes, I do have a subscription to Family Circle courtesy of my Mamaw, and yes, I am the only grandchild she has that is both single and without children. My Mamaw told me it has good articles, and it really does. I can't do much right now with topics on raising pre-teens or keeping my kids safe online, but the recipes and the home decor ideas are pretty nice.

This particular Q&A I read was about skin care. A reader asked, "when should I begin an anti-aging skin regime?" The answer, "if you are asking the question, it probably means you should start now." Well, I've asked myself that question a few times here and there, but never done anything about it. Today, though, I've reached a new chapter in my life, and I will now be using these products on a daily (hopefully) basis. It really helps that they all smell so amazing! If I'm going to use a night creme, I'm all for it being good smelling and moisturizing as I drift off to sleep.

If this new habit I'm trying to form goes well, I fully expect that the way I look today is the way I'll look 30 years from now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Today I realized...

-I'm hooked on coffee, not caffeine, just the taste of hot coffee with sweetener and half&half.
-Bangs require lots of upkeep, but thankfully my hairdresser offers complimentary trims.
-When I don't practice my golf swing in over a week it's going to be pretty shaky.
-That feeling when you hit the golf ball in just the right spot is so rewarding.
-I am really, really behind on watching shows on the DVR.
-Those "Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off" deals on lipstick are very hard to resist.
-I have a 50/50 shot at getting a color of lipstick I actually like when I can't try it on first.
-Sometimes I just want to spend money on pointless things, especially on the day I get paid.
-Talking myself out of buying things I don't need is such an important ability.
-As helpful as it is to get advice from girls, sometimes the best advice comes from a guy.
-For the first time since I bought my house, I have a neighbor that I can walk across the street and talk to, but possibly more important, to ask "neighborly" favors of.
-Running is becoming much more therapeutic than it used to be for me.
-Having less fat on my body makes it much harder to stay warm in cold weather.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ticket Master

I've become a big concert-goer in the last couple of years, and I wish I had been that way long before then. I love seeing music performed live. Wait, let me be more specific...I love seeing music performed live when it sounds as good, if not better than the recording. I am blown away by artists that stand at the mic, barely open there mouths, and pure beauty flows out. It immediately reminds me how talented our God made us, and maybe it makes me a little jealous that He didn't give me that talent. Oh well! I also love the smaller venues where everyone stands in one room to make the show feel really intimate.

Lately I've been going to the larger venues to see bands I really like that are growing a huge audience. I'm used to buying tickets for a show, walking through the door, and standing in a good spot about halfway between the stage and the back of the room, but these larger venues actually have you choose a seating area. Crazy, I know! I tend to just hit "Best Available" and see what happens. Each time I've been pretty surprised at what "Best Available" means. This past April, we went to see a band at one of the larger venues with our best available tickets and naturally headed towards the lower level thinking we would be somewhere in those seats. I was pretty impressed when the usher looked at our tickets and walked us all the way down to the front row, but didn't stop us there. He told us to walk down the steps because we were actually in the pit. Pretty awesome! The place held a few thousand guests, but we were standing close to the stage with about 200 people so once again I got that intimate concert experience I love.

Now last night, I went to see the amazingly talented Feist. I knew I had awesome tickets because it said Row A when I got them in the mail. I couldn't wait to be front row to see her, but when we got there and headed towards the usher who I assumed would point us down to the front row, they told us to go back out and upstairs. Huh? We got upstairs, and I was so confused as to how this could be the front row. Another usher looked at our tickets and walked us down the side of the 1st balcony through a little door, and said "Your seats are the first two." Apparently Row A I purchased tickets for wasn't the first row in the theater, it was the first row in the little box to the side of the stage. We sat down in our seats and were practically on top of the stage. It was glorious! And just in case you need a visual aid for what I'm talking about this was my view all night...

I think I'm going to keep rolling the dice when I order tickets cause I'm really liking the results so far!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Those Hollywood Nights

A friend of mine likes to go all out Halloween weekend. She's all about having reasons to throw a party and dress up, but when a holiday coincides with her birthday, there's even more incentive. This year her annual Halloween party attracted celebrities from classic movies to reality stars to even major league-ers, and to make sure she didn't miss a moment, she asked me to be the paparazzi. I had my first red carpet experience, and I even got to sit in on an awards ceremony. It was tons of fun!

And since I couldn't be without proper attire, I decided to find my inner "Girl Friday" for the night.

Thanks to Pinterest (yet again!), I found great hair and makeup tutorials to get a pretty authentic look, but I gotta tell you...I would not have been cut out to do hair in the 40s! I don't have the skills to make victory rolls and pin curls. As much as I love the look, I'm glad to be living in the 2000s.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My protein shake brings all the boys to the yard

I get on kicks where I want something pretty much every day for a month, and then I move on. This month it's been all about the protein shakes. I have a Ninja blender that just knows how to get the job done in no time at all. On Pinterest I saw a recipe for a pumpkin shake that looked awesome, but since I'd already had a heavenly one at Sonic the week before that was made with ice cream and whipped cream I knew I would need to find a less sugary option if I wanted to enjoy it on almost a daily basis. Once again I went on the hunt for recipes and came up with this...

Try not to be turned off by the orange color. It's quite delicious, and here's how I make it (just a reminder, I don't measure all things out so I'm sorry if you're one of those people that needs precise amounts):

Pumpkin Protein Shake (for 1)
1/3 can Pumpkin Puree
3 (large) spoonfuls Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt
1/4 Cup low-fat or fat-free Cream Cheese
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 packet Splenda
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger to taste (or use a Pumpkin Spice blend)
1 Cup Ice

Blend together until smooth and all ice has been chopped up. Because of the cream cheese, the shake is unbelievably thick - we're talking triple milk shake thick, and I LOVE IT!! You can use cottage cheese in place of the cream cheese if you prefer a thinner shake. This has become one of my go-to's if I know I'll be working through lunch or need something sweeter at the end of the day I also make cherry, peach, and coffee shakes to mix things up so I'll post those ingredients on here sometime.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Do the Hustle

I started running again. Running definitely comes in seasons for me. I prefer to really get going when the weather cools off because treadmills bore me to no end, and then I stop when going out for a 3 mile run starts to feel like a chore.

I'd much rather run through my neighborhood and see the house and trees rather than watching whatever is on the TV in front of me at the gym. Since it just wouldn't cool off here until a couple of weeks ago, I finally started a new training plan. I hadn't run in a couple of months so I was nervous, but I couldn't believe how easily my first attempt at running 30 minutes went. I was back! So I got a little too anxious and started finding races to run in the next few months. First up - The Halloween Hustle 5K & 10K that took place yesterday morning. I had no idea what to expect since I hadn't been on a running plan long at all, and I would be partying it up the night before, but I decided to go for and do something different...dress up (sort of)!

I went with as the beloved Candy Corn! Speaking of which, I haven't even had a piece of candy corn this Halloween season. I probably need to correct that, but I imagine my body appreciates the lack of a sugar high. Anyway...I knew I couldn't get too crazy with an outfit since I have issues with things distracting me when I run, like head phones flopping. It's strange, but it's me, and so I added one random piece to my outfit just to make me feel a little more festive...

Now the best part of the run was when I walked over to the trailer with the results posted to find...

Female 30 to 34
Place - Name - Bib No - Age - Overall - Total Time - Pace
1 - KRISTEN --- 1717 ----- 33 ----- 13 ----- 28:10.8 ----- 9:05/M
2 - SHARA ----- 1751 ----- 30 ----- 17 ----- 30:12.9 ----- 9:45/M

It was too difficult to paste our enter age group, but you get the idea. Second in my age group! 17th overall!! I was so impressed! Now I can't wait for my next race Thanksgiving weekend. It's Christmas themed so I've already got ideas stirring around in my head for my outfit. Fun, Fun!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A New Favorite (Baked Apples)

I prefer to eat small meals throughout the day, but sometimes snacking on a plain old apple isn't as appealing as something warm. After searching online for a way to may baked apples as healthy as I could, I basically combined what I liked from several others' recipes and came up with my own.

(Apple, Apple Slicer, Yogurt (I prefer Vanilla), Raisins, Cinnamon, and Sugar)

I slice the apple and usually just leave it in big chunks, but sometimes when I'm not being quite as lazy, I cut them into bite sized pieces. Today was more of a "I just want to eat cause I'm hungry" situation so I didn't cut them up.

In a bowl add apples, raisins, cinnamon, and sugar. Also be sure to add a little water to the bottom of the bowl to keep everything (especially the raisins) from drying out. I always place a paper towel over the bowl, and then microwave for 5 minutes. The bowl and the apples are pretty hot after 5 minutes, so I let everything sit for a minute or two in the microwave.

Once you take the apples out, if there's a good amount of water at the bottom, feel free to drain it. Then add a couple of spoons of yogurt to the top. I kind of love how the yogurt melts on the apples, and after you give it all a stir, it's like apple cobbler (minus the breading) with melted ice cream. Yum...

Baked Apples
1 Apple
Raisins (as desired, but I use about 1/8 a cup)
Cinnamon (as desired, but I love it so I get a little crazy)
Sugar (1 tsp or a packet of sweetner)
Water (just enough to add moisture)
Yogurt (about 3 dollops with your spoon)
Nuts or Cereal (optional)

Slice apple and place in bowl with raisins. Add a little bit of water. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. Cover with a paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes and let stand 1-2 minutes. Drain any excess water. Spoon yogurt on top of apples and mix together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Very Pinteresting

Okay, it took me a week of thinking "what in the world is going on?" after I signed up on Pinterest to get in the swing of things. Now that I figured it all out, like 99.999999999% of Pinterest users, I adore it! I'm learning so much, like how to make my eyes have that smokey look, and how to not have the same hair-do everyday. Let me clarify, I am by no means a professional artist in the hair or makeup world. I get by just fine, thank you, but that's where it stops, and these tutorials are changing my day-to-day hair and makeup routine.

Moving on...I found this sock bun tutorial that I thought was really neat. Now that I have bangs, I'm channeling my inner Audrey Hepburn/Zooey Deschanel/Feist these days, and I'm all about finding new dos. As hard as I fought it, I might have a little "hipster" side coming out of me. I've purchased a few striped sweaters as of late, and I even own some skinny jeans now that I love (they're curvy so they actually look good on a curvy girl). I don't even know who I am anymore, but it's all good because I'm having fun.

Wow, another derailment! Remind me not to blog when I've had a cup of coffee, please. Here's the tutorial:

And now...here's what I was able to do with it:

Oh, I love it!! I actually wore my hair just like this when I road the rail down to the great State Fair of Texas to meet some friends. There I sat in my (curvy) skinny jeans, a boyfriend cut v-neck, and my hair all done up while listening to Feist on my iPod feeling like I owned the city.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Shara, and I'm an Avoider

Once Spring and Summer are in full swing, I rarely wear slacks for work. It's skirts and dresses all the way! But when my busy time of the year starts in late August, I know slacks are going to be part of the wardrobe again. The only problem is, something happens over the course of the summer when I'm in free flowing outfits...my waistline starts to expand. I knew this was definitely the case this spring and first half of the summer since I put working out on the back burner, and when I saw my slacks hanging in my closet (size "smallest I'd ever bought"), I couldn't bear to try them on. I didn't want to know the truth, and I completely avoided them.

Instead, I went to Kohl's and bought one pair of slacks that fit just fine.. Those were all I would allow myself to buy and wear until I could fit back in last year's slacks. I also made sure to pay attention to what I was eating and how often I was eating along with starting a new training program for running so I could get last year's slacks back in the rotation.

A month went by, and my waistline was getting back to where it should be. The new slacks were getting pretty loose, but I still couldn't bring myself to try on the others...until this morning which marks close to 2 months since I started paying attention to things again. I reached in the closet, unclipped a pair of the slacks, and I was surprised at how loose they felt in the thighs as I was pulling them up. But then came the tell-all sign. How would they fit when I buttoned them? How much of me would be pushed up above the pants to make them fit??

Imagine the surprise (me, the avoider) I felt when they buttoned just fine. Success!!

I love happy endings :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chicken and Greek Salad Lettuce Wrap

Yesterday evening, I was headed home from the driving range (we can talk about this new obsession of mine another time), and since I'd already went out for my daily run (also something to discuss another time), I was starving! I had about a 30 minute drive home which gave me lots of time to think of what I wanted to eat. I knew what was in my refrigerator, and I knew I had chicken I needed to put to use so I decided I would go with a new favorite of mine - greek salad, and build from there. Unfortunately when I decided to add the greek salad with chicken and make lettuce wraps I did have to run into the grocery store to actually buy lettuce, but once I was home, I had my dinner ready in 20 minutes (the time it took to poach and shred the chicken).

Here are the ingredients:

(chicken tenders, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, olive oil, red wine vinegar, pepper, salt, and a packet of Splenda)

If you don't know how to poach chicken, you should learn! It's one of the easiest ways to prepare it. I love seasoning on chicken, so I loaded mine with garlic and pepper before putting in the pan to cook. Once that got going I started on the vegetables:

Peel the cucumber, chop it up, then chop up your tomato and purple onion (forgot to put that ingredient in the first photo - oops!!)

I probably should go ahead and tell you unless I'm baking something that needs precise measurements, I don't like to take the time to get out measuring spoons. I'm lazy like that, so I just wing it. For the greek salad dressing I went with Pioneer Woman's ingredients - olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sugar (I used Splenda) to cut the bitterness. If I had to guess, I used a TBSP of each and half the packet of Splenda, but I was only making this for myself. You'll definitely need more if you're cooking for more than one. I also added black pepper to the dressing since I really can't get enough pepper.

Once the chicken was cooked through, I took two forks and shredded into big chunks. If I was making shredded meat for tacos, I would've gotten much crazier with it, but I thought big chunks would work for this. Then I took a couple pieces of iceberg and built my wrap by adding chicken, the veggies mixed together, and some crumbled feta. I poured the dressing on top, but, if you want, you could easily put the dressing in a small bowl and dip your wrap into.

And here's the finished product:

It was light, flavorful, and definitely hit the spot! For those of you that like greek salad you probably noticed I left out the olives. If I have a can, I use them, but I didn't this time so it worked fine without it. For those of you that don't like greek salad. Sorry! I'll hopefully make something you're willing to eat next time.

Chicken and Greek Salad Lettuce Wrap

Chicken Breast or Tenders (seasoned with garlic and pepper)
1 Cucumber
1 Tomato
1/2 Purple Onion
Iceberg Lettuce
Feta Cheese (to taste)
Olives (optional)

Greek Salad Dressing (makes 1 serving)
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
Packet of Splenda (sweeten to taste)
Black Pepper (to taste)

Poach Chicken until cooked
Peel, slice, and chop cucumber
Slice tomato and 1/2 of purple onion then combine all 3 vegetables
Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan, and shred with two forks
Tear off lettuce leaves and lay flat to add chicken, veggies, and feta cheese
Pour on or dip wrap into dressing

On a final note, I'll be sure to try and make my meals when it's still daylight out. These pictures under a fluorescent kitchen light don't necessarily make me want to eat what's on the plate.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm Baaack!

I don't know why I pretend like I can blog. I want to. I really want to! But I get distracted with life, and probably more so, I don't know why any one would care to read what's going on in my life. This summer came with lots of changes. Lots! I had more changes (exciting, scary, bittersweet, and flat out sad) in one month than I've had in a few years, but I've gotten in a pretty good routine, and I'm ready to try this "blogging" thing again.

This time I want to try something different. I don't think how I spend my day is that important. What I do want to do is show you recipes I make that (I think) are yum-o, easy, and made with hardly any of the not-so-good-for-you stuff. I just tried out my first recipe tonight, and I even took pictures. Look at that! Mixing two things I thoroughly enjoy - photography and cooking! Maybe this was meant to be. Now don't get your hopes up (the one of you out there that might have hopes at this point). Who knows how long this will last, but I'm still going to try it out. I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow, so stay tuned...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Color me spoiled

I'm not much of a "label" girl. I prefer to shop the clearance rack at Target, so I didn't expect to be quite so excited when I saw this box and the necklace that came inside it:

Happy Birthday to me!

What I've found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany's. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits...
~Breakfast at Tiffany's

Dirty 30? Mmmm..not so much.

Turning 30 last month wasn't nearly as shocking as it could've been. I definitely feel old, but I'm also excited about this new decade of life. I can only hope I'll have it figured out a bit more than I did in my 20s.

I'm not sure why JW went with the whole "I'm almost 7 so I need to be cool" pose while I went with the "Let's pretend I'm still in high school" pose, but he sure is handsome, and that cake...oh that strawberry cake!

Happy Anna Shaw Howard Day to you!

Excuse me while I recap February for you during March...

We'll start with Anna Shaw Howard Day, aka, Valentine's Day. Hopefully any fans of "30 Rock" out there will know the importance of Anna Shaw Howard for Liz.

A is a big fan of cookies, but when he's in workout mode all those cookies I bake for him are the first to go. Since it had been three months since his last taste of an "oatmeal raisie" (his favorite that I managed to perfect after so many batches), I decided to make a small batch of dough that would make just enough for him to enjoy, but not throw off his ability to continue to drop 30 pounds in a mere 3 months (men!!!). After they finished baking, it dawned on me that I had heart shaped cookie cutters I bought on clearance last V-Day. I dug through all the kitchen utensils I rarely use, and I found them still in the unopened box a year later. Oatmeal Raisin cookies aren't really meant to be shaped by cookie cutters so I struggled a bit, but here they are complete with a (precious) little "A & S" in festive sparkly red gel I had in the cabinet - Anna Shaw Howard Day only comes around once a year after all so why not go all out?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My own Wonderland

I'm watching it snow once again this year, but unlike a month ago there's ice under that snow. While these have already been posted on FB, I'm not really up for possibly injuring myself for some new photos. Without further ado, here are a handful of reasons why I L-O-V-E my neighborhood.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

J Cat, how could you??

J Cat is an indoor cat. She doesn't have front claws. I got her that way, but truly appreciate that about her. Out of fear, I never let her outside without me being there to keep an eye on her or any stray cats that wander through the neighborhood. One day, while discussing this for some unknown reason, a friend informed that cats fight with their back claws, so that changed everything in my mind. No longer would I have to chaperon her outings on the front porch or back yard. She could roam free...as long as it wasn't beyond those two areas. I thought we were good to go until one sunny, warm afternoon I went out to the back yard to check on her, and there she was laying down next to a neighborhood cat. They looked pretty cozy and all, but I'm just not ready for J Cat to date. She's only 6...or 7? I really don't know how old she was when I got her. Either way, I'm not ready for this. Let alone the fact that she's black and the neighborhood cat is solid white. I can't imagine the uproar this could create. Good thing she's neutered!

Monday, January 10, 2011

An "If" for girls

A friend grew up with this poem on her wall. It's something I would like to strive towards, and hopefully teach any future daughters of mine how to do.

An “If” for Girls

by Elizabeth Lincoln Otis

(With apologies to Mr. Rudyard Kipling)
If you can dress to make yourself attractive,
Yet not make puffs and curls your chief delight;
If you can swim and row, be strong and active,
But of the gentler graces lose not sight;
If you can dance without a craze for dancing,
Play without giving play too strong a hold,
Enjoy the love of friends without romancing,
Care for the weak, the friendless and the old;

If you can master French and Greek and Latin,
And not acquire, as well, a priggish mien,
If you can feel the touch of silk and satin
Without despising calico and jean;
If you can ply a saw and use a hammer,
Can do a man’s work when the need occurs,
Can sing when asked, without excuse or stammer,
Can rise above unfriendly snubs and slurs;
If you can make good bread as well as fudges,
Can sew with skill and have an eye for dust,
If you can be a friend and hold no grudges,
A girl whom all will love because they must;

If sometime you should meet and love another
And make a home with faith and peace enshrined,
And you its soul—a loyal wife and mother—
You’ll work out pretty nearly to my mind
The plan that’s been developed through the ages,
And win the best that life can have in store,
You’ll be, my girl, the model for the sages—
A woman whom the world will bow before.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can't stop!

Through the course of trying to lose my extra weight and keep it off for good, I learned something pretty important. Losing weight for me was always a race with a finish line. I knew how much I wanted to lose, and I had a time frame to do it in. Since I had an end in sight, it was alot easier to deny myself everything I thought had put me at the weight I was, and then I just needed to bust it in the gym to burn it off faster. Every time I made it to the finish line. I ran through the ribbon and enjoyed all that I accomplished, but then I went to the sidelines until the weight caught up with me again and left me with no choice but to enter a new race.

The past 10 months has been much different, and I've been much happier. I stopped signing myself up for weight loss races, and I decided to make this a never ending marathon. Of course, I took a pit stop here and there. Most of December ended up that way. I kept a good grasp on what I put in my mouth, but didn't feel the urge to exercise, and by the end of December I didn't like the way my body felt or how my clothes were fitting. What had finally started to firm up wasn't feeling too firm, and what was starting to lean out, wasn't as lean.

As much as I want to run the race for a month or two or even three, I can't run short distances. Short distances keep me on the yo-yo diet cycle, and I'm tired of that. I have to run a marathon. I have to keep pressing on and changing things up year round. It stinks! It really does. I wish I was the kind of girl that could do the bare minimum, but I wasn't good to my body for most of my life, and now I have to make up for that. After only a week past that month long pit stop, I already feel the not-so-firm, firming back up, and I can see the less-than-lean, leaning back out. I love it! I love the way I look already. I love the way I feel, and I'm so glad I finally learned my lesson. Let's just hope I can keep my pit stops to a week from now on.