Sunday, February 28, 2010

Outfit of the Day: The Stripe Triumph

I'm feeling nautical. Not only that, but I'm breaking this size 14's number 1 style rule: NEVER wear horizontal stripes.

Pause for reaction. Until recently, I haven't touched stripes with a 10 ft pole, but I've always eyed them with jealousy of those who could safely sport them.

And then I thought... Maybe if I layer, and the stripes are covered in the most high-danger zones (stomach, hips), I could pull it off?

I've since found that this look works for me, and I am now embracing stripes in all colors and sizes. Style rules, be damned!

Striped boat neck tee: LOFT (current)
Modern skinny jeans, rinse wash: LOFT (current)
Sweater: LOFT
Silver ballet flats: Steve Madden (found at TJMaxx)
Purse: Vintage Louis Vuitton (found at Agora,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First-Day-of-Work Outfit

....Well, not really my first day of work, three years later. But, it was my first day of being a co-manager, and it required a fabulous outfit! Aka, the following:

I saved this shirt for the big day after I bought it because I loved it so much.

Modern skinny jeans: LOFT (current)
Ruffled woven shirt: LOFT (current)
Tab detail short sleeve open front cardigan: LOFT
Skinny belt: GAP (current)
Necklace (aka one of my favorite things I own): LOFT
Metallic gold ballet flats (not pictured): Steve Madden, found at TJMaxx

This day also happened to "require" a batch of double chocolate chunk muffins, which will not be displayed on this blog, as I may or may not have used a mix and am embarrassed to admit said fact. But everyone loved them, and no one has to know ;-)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Wonderland

When it snows in Georgia, it seems the whole world comes to a halt. Finding myself off of work two hours early due to the "blizzard," I thought I'd take the pups for a jaunt to see how they'd react to all the white fluff.

Paddington ran down the stairs as fast as he could, while Holly and I carefully tiptoed our way to the bottom.

Paddington had no qualms about being knee-deep in snow, but Holly was less than enthused.

"Can I still pee on this lamppost, Mom?"

"What about the plant I usually pee on here? Where is it?"

Snow on the stairs made for a long hike back up to the condo. Holly was not amused.

"Do I really have to walk back up those stairs through all that cold white stuff? My paws are too dainty."

This is a very bizarre snowman that a neighbor built... Please note the mohawk.

But... Look at these sweet pawprints! They were my favorite part of the snow day, I think.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Quick, Romantic Read

Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie was a Valentine's Day weekend pick-me-up for this single lady. Curled up on my couch with a glass of Cupcake Wine and this hilarious tale, I was able to forget my singleton woes for hours on end.

When 40-year-old Nina Askew divorces her uppity husband Guy, she moves into an apartment in an old Victorian building and decides it's time to get a dog. While playing with puppies at the pound, she can't ignore the older gentleman staring her down from across the room... Aka, Fred the basset hound. He's old, smelly and everything is drooping (a phenomenon to which Nina can relate). Nina takes pity on Fred and takes him home, where he promptly brings his new owner together with her hot (and younger) downstairs neighbor, Alex. And so begins a romance filled with wine, Oreos and Old Hollywood films.

Crusie uses Fred throughout the book to continually bring the two together as they try to deny their feelings for one another. Fortunately, he's a scrappy basset, and he isn't easily deterred.

The characters in this story are alive with wit and humor, from the obtuse best friend Charity to the stud-of-a-brother Max. But the best part about Crusie's books is that the end always brings reconciliation - You're inevitably left with a warm and fuzzy feeling and a smile on your face.

A quick and funny read, Crusie always has me hugging my sides with laughter. Take this book to the gym with you, and I promise, your workout will be finished before you even realize you've broken a sweat. Oh, and have some Oreos on hand for afterward.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A New Section and... Another New Section

I've been inspired. I've decided to add two more sections to this little blog of mine. In fact, I find it strange that I did not think to do it originally. And so, they will be:

1. Books I've Read, where I will review my recent reads and tell you if I think they're worth your time while also practicing my journalistic skills, and...

2. Shopping Finds, where I'll catalogue my purchases (well, some of them anyway, I wouldn't want you to know what a true shopaholic I am by showing you every tiny little thing) and tell you where to find the steals and deals.

I hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

World War III and the Aftermath that Followed

Christmas in my family is chaotic. Divorce doesn't really make for fun holidays. And traveling with two 50 lb. Chow Chows doesn't really make things any easier. And so, I usually make my trips minimal. I'd like to tell you about my latest holiday saga. Sit back and feel free to laugh at me.

December 24, 2009

I got off of work and threw my amply-loaded bags in my truck. (Yes, I drive a truck. You may not have known this about me yet.) I then began the extensive undertaking of also loading my pets in next to my luggage. Now, Holly's a great car rider. She sits up straight in the front seat like a little human, alert and ready to bark at any passer-by. Paddington, however, isn't quite as accustomed to the high life, being an ex-stray and all. He prefers to wander the car, hopping from seat to seat, attempting to gain control of the driver's seat every now and again. As this is the case, I was a bit concerned about our first two-hour drive home together. Fortunately, he was able to find a spot in which to settle, bizarre though it was:

And so, for the entirety of our drive home, Holly sat in the front seat, docilely keeping me company, and Paddington sat on my luggage.

We made it to my aunt's, where we would be staying in the Wild Wild West, recreated (aka my 4-year-old cousin's bedroom):

Holly didn't seem to mind the decor.

December 25, 2009

Christmas morning. After the festivities (which we will skip here, as they consist mostly of the hysterics of my dysfunctional family) the whole herd of us got ready to make the trek out to good ol' Tallapoosa, Ga., where the head honchos reside. The pups were going with, so we headed out to my aunt's big backyard, where I enjoyed being able to let them run freely without having to walk them on a leash. Previously, the cat of the house had been contained in the laundry room, so I didn't stop to consider her whereabouts. Unfortunately, it was then that I named my downfall.

Meet Peanut.

You see, while Paddington's fault may be car riding, Holly's is cats. She like to chase them, threaten them and dominate them, in no particular order. As I stood on the porch rambling on to my aunt about the perks of having a fenced in yard, I neglected to keep a close eye on my dog, and it took me a moment to realize that World War III was breaking out down below.

Holly spied her prey and dashed across the yard towards Peanut. Peanut tried to climb a tree, but much to her dismay, she has no claws with which to climb, and fell backwards, with hind legs still attached, to the ground. When I finally became aware of the scene taking place, I clambered down the stairs in my cowboy boots to break up the fight. The thing is, with a cat shaped so much like a basketball, it's hard to get a good grip, and she kept slipping through my fingers. When I finally picked her up and out of harm's way (read: Holly's fangs), she turned her head, presumably to thank me, and instead bit into my thumb as though it were a steak. (Or a fish? I suppose a cat would prefer a fish.) Not being a cat person, I immediately dropped Peanut, gave Holly the first death stare she's ever received for me, and dashed for my aunt, the doctor. (Well, physical therapist, but still. She knows stuff.) In sum, it was on Christmas Day that Holly and I had our first fight.

Peanut went into hiding for the next 36 hours.

December 26, 2009

At the insistence of multiple family members, I went on to spend 2 hours and 45 minutes in an emergency care clinic, where I was so unimpressed with the nurses that I later wrote a very nasty online review summarizing my treatment. :-) Don't scoff at my pain, you rude nurse, you!

The pups, however, must have sensed my pain, because on the ride home, they melted my heart. The two of them spooned in the front seat all the way back to Athens:

Needless to say, my fight with Holly didn't last long. How could I stay angry at that sweet face?

Peanut probably felt differently.

And thus, Christmas in the life of Caroline. It's a good thing I love Jesus, or I might swear off the holidays altogether.

P.S. I ate three clementines today. Is that unacceptable? I figured it was better than eating three pints of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, which is what I felt like doing on this Valentine's Day weekend.

Monday, February 8, 2010

ChocolateChipBananaNut Muffins (They'll make you cry for joy)

First off, I would like to apologize for my nearly week-long absence. Completely inexcusable!

To make it up to you, I'm going to share with you the recipe for the most magical muffins of all. I'm renowned among friends for these things, and if you taste them and feel that they are anything but wonderful, I'd like to hear it, you Muffin Master, you!

Here's a picture of the goal:

And the recipe to go with it...

4-5 overripe bananas*
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose baking flour
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp baking SODA
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Equal parts chocolate chips and walnuts, perhaps 1/2 bag of each*

*I once used 6 bananas and wound up with 3 full pans of muffins. Remember you can always freeze the leftover banana for your next batch if you've let too many go bad. On that note, if you simply want the muffins and your bananas are still in good shape, sticking them in the freezer for a day gets them ready for this purpose.

*You can of course use whatever kind of nut you prefer. Chopped pecans are unexpected and also tasty.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together in a big bowl, adding the chocolate chips and nuts last. Using a 1/4 cup measuring utensil, scoop the batter into the muffin pan. (You could also make loaves if you prefer.) Set kitchen timer for 15 minutes, and begin checking them at this point. They will probably need at least 5-6 more minutes, but this depends on the strength of the oven. (For instance, two pans usually take about 23 minutes to bake in my oven). They're done when they have risen fully and are golden brown on top.

Please taste one immediately upon taking them out of the oven. I welcome you to warm, gooey heaven.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


On any given day, Holly can often be found curled up in her favorite sleeping spot - her cave underneath my old brass bed. My favorite thing to see when I get out of bed in the morning, or when I get into bed at night, is the sight of these paws sticking out from underneath the bed:

Because of this anti-social, cave-loving behavior, a friend of mine once nicknamed her Loch Ness, which unfortunately has since been added to the lengthy list of endearing names I have for her. (Truly, it's surprising the dog does not have an identity crisis.)

Here's a close-up of the cutest paws in the world. Sometimes I like to think of them as "Grinch paws" due to all the sprouts of hair, like Mr. Grinch's fingers. We have to keep them trimmed or else she slides around the hardwood floors.

On another day, I'll tell you all the other lovely perks of having such a hairy dog. Get excited.