Friday, December 11

The Elephant Made Me Do It



Whew… it has been some time since my last real post - my bad readers. Life has been interesting lately – to say the least. The so-called “interesting” aspects have led to my non-posting. Not trying to make excuses, I’m being totally honest. If I had posted some of my hot topics, they would’ve been not so “PC”. So, in order to keep peace among the nations my anti-PC posts have remained swirling around in my head.

After tossing out my latest ideas for blog posts I started thinking about a recent series at church called “The Fine Family”. In a nutshell, the series was preaching on the “elephants” in family life that causes everyone involved to walk on eggshells. The series was geared towards family, but was very helpful in all situations that life seems to pitch our way.

You know what I’m talking about - the overwhelming feeling of tension that is always there, but no one talks about… yep, the elephant is in the house! I totally understand the ripple effect that elephants in the family and or at the workplace can cause. Lately, Brandon and I have felt the “elephant’s” affects on us. The unbelievable tension causes silly arguments that should never happen.

Here are my conclusions:
- Everyone has their own elephants. Some people tend to deal with their elephants differently than others and some ignore their elephants all together. The only problem with these elephants is that the more you ignore your mini elephant, the larger he gets! By pretending he isn’t there, he starts to grow!
- Everyone pretends that other peoples’ elephants are not that big. What I’m saying is that it is easy to think that your family or friends issues they are dealing with are not as major as you would like to accept. In some cases this is true, but sometimes it isn’t. As you learn to deal with your elephants, learn to deal with other peoples’ elephants too.
- Other peoples’ elephants can absolutely crush you. It happens all the time. When the person pretends that they have no elephant… BOOM… you are crushed. Trust me, elephants are heavy… I know, I’m a Bama fan!

After all those conclusions I still have these questions:
- If your elephants cause others to tread lightly around you how do you know?
- What can you do to fix them?
- Are some “elephants” not worth fixing?
- What if you are not sure that it is actually an “elephant”, then what do you do? Draw attention to the situation or problem? Or let it go?
- When is it time to step in and say something? Is there ever a right time?
- Who should say something about the “elephant”?
- How can you tell someone that his or her “elephant” is affecting your life?

These elephants are not a welcome site in any home – Bama fans or not! By creating unnecessary tension in your lives, the lives of your family members and friends, you are hurting the people who care about you most.

Wednesday, December 9

550 Trackside: A Bride-2-Be Report

I just posted my newest article at TalkGwinnett.com about the event space we are using for our wedding.  It is a simple look into a beautiful space.

Take a second to check it out by clicking here!

Monday, November 30

293 Days to Go!

Wedding update:

Website - The Knot
So I couldn't decide if I wanted a wedding blog or if I wanted to create a simple "Knot" website... after going back and forth I figured that The Knot site would be better (time wise) and that I could blog wedding junk here! 


Venue - 550 Trackside
We've set the date (September 19, 2010) and selected the venue...  Located in downtown Lawrenceville (Georgia), 550 Trackside was our first stop.  After walking in the doors we immediately fell in love with the site.  It's rustic decor, stone walls, and iron works were the details that sealed the deal.  Below are some pictures from their website and some I took while on our visit.
















Registry - #1 Macys
Yesterday, Brandon and I ventured to Macys to begin "gunning" our items.  After speaking with the Bridal specialist and getting the checklist and scanner, we began roaming the store looking at all the items.  Talk about overwhelming!  It took us a little time before we actually picked our first item, but after a while we got the hang of it.  We are planning on registering at Bed, Bath & Beyond & Home Depot as well... but that will be later.  One step at a time here!  :) 

Friday, November 20

300 Days & Counting

Hello blogging buds! For those of you who don’t know, I’M GETTING MARRIED!! Brandon popped the question on Sunday (November 15, 2009) and I, of course said YES! Now the planning must begin.

My first day as a fiancée was a tiddy bit overwhelming – so much that I couldn’t even pick out a bridal book at Borders!  :(

A few days later, as I’m settling in to my “new title”, I’m getting pretty revved up for the next 10 months of planning and excitement we have in front of us. My first item for the checklist is the venue. As September is becoming extremely popular for weddings we must mark this completed ASAP… time to visit some hot spots!

In the coming months you will hear more about my wedding that you probably would ever care to, but enjoy as much as ya can!

Got advice for a bride-to-be? Please do share!!

Thursday, November 12

Thanksgiving: A Fingertip Feast

It has been a while y'all... SO sorry.  Life is busy these days, but you know that.  Here is a blurb from my newest article at TalkGwinnett.com.  DELISH ideas for your next party.  Some are my creations, some are adapted from others, and the pumpkin dip is from my Momma!  Please excuse the bad photography...


To start, I made Turkey Stuffing Rolls. These rolls are oh so simple, and a sure family favorite. Your ingredients needed are turkey slices (ask the deli to slice a little thicker than lunch meat) and stuffing mix. Prep stuffing as directed on the box. Once complete, spread a heaping spoonful onto a turkey slice. Roll the slice with stuffing inside. Cut into ½ bites. To make these rolls even more special, set out with dipping sauces of gravy and cranberry sauce.


Next I made Green Bean Casserole Pastries. Just like Ma’s recipe, these bites are home cooking at it’s best. Your ingredients needed are two cans of green beans, one can of cream of celery soup, one small can of fried onions, two cans of croissant rolls, black pepper, Wooster & lemon juice to taste. Mix all ingredients, minus the croissant rolls of course, in large bowl. For best results, let mixture sit for hour or so while flavors mix. Open and cut croissant rolls into 2 triangles per roll. Scope spoonful of green bean mixture onto dough and pull corners of dough together. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 13 minutes. For best results, serve these warm.


Following the Green Bean Pastries I made Macaroni and Cheese Bites. The cheesy goodness of macaroni and cheese in one little bite makes for the perfect addition. Your ingredients needed are three tablespoons of butter, four tablespoons of flour, one and a half cups of milk, three cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, one half cup of grated parmesan cheese, two large egg yolks, one half teaspoon of salt, one pound of elbow macaroni, cooked and drained. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes until thickened. Add cheeses and stir to melt. Remove from heat and still in egg yolks and salt. Stir in macaroni. In greased mini muffin pans, spoon rounded tablespoons of macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle tops with extra parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm for best results.


To finish the Fingertip Feast, I made my mom’s Pumpkin Pie Dip. No need for a real pie this season, this dip is a sweet lovers dream! Your ingredients needed are one 15 oz can pure pumpkin, two 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, two cups sifted powdered sugar, one tsp ground cinnamon, and one tsp ground ginger. Beat cream cheese and pumpkin in bowl until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon, and ginger and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. Serve chilled with gingersnap cookies for dipping.


Do you have any special Thanksgiving or fall recipes that are hits at your family gatherings and parties? Please share y’all!

Monday, October 26

Earring Holder

For a few months now I've been looking for something to hold my earrings instead of having mounds of them in the bottom of my jewlery box.  While working with my mom at Vintage Village yesterday, I came across this cute, white iron frame.  PERFECT!

First I painted the frame with black paint using a sponge brush.  I then dabbed the black paint off so that the original white would show through.




Then, I cut chicken wire (used pieces from my mom's old fence) and hot glued it to the back of the frame, securing it with decorative ribbon.




SUPER SIMPLE AND SUPER CUTE!!  What do you think?

Thursday, October 22

The Craftin' Southern Belle

ATTENTION ETSY LOVAHS... I NOW AM ON AND OPEN FOR BUSINESS!! 

Before I continue with my shameless self-plug, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has sent kind words, thoughts, and prayers my way as I started the crafting thing.  I appreciate everyones love!

Ok, back to the plug... I've updated with a couple of Christmas items that I've started working on - three ornaments and two lanterns to be exact.  These are the "demos", if you will, for the items that I will be making and featuring in my mom's booth at Vintage Village (great place to find all kinds of neat things... like my Halloween lanterns!  Check them out!)

Please visit my Etsy store and view the items.  Let me know your thoughts, suggestions, requests! 

Monday, October 19

Christmas in October

Although Halloween is still two weeks away stores are decked out in Christmas garb.  Trees, lights, decorations, gifts... you name it, Christmas has hit the retail business.

In the spirit of the season, I decided to start demo crafts for the Christmas rush.  Today, I made 4 items: two lanterns and two ornaments.

Lanterns
Using the same technique as I did with my Halloween lanterns, I created these CUTE winter inspired crafts.  The snowman and "let it snow" lanterns are perfect for Christmas AND the rest of winter! 



The Snowman Lantern



"Let it Snow" Lantern

You will have to excuse my painting skills on the "Let it Snow" lantern.  They need some work.

Ornaments
The ornaments are VERY simple to make.  I purchased plain, glass ornaments at Michaels, ribon of different styles and sizes, some jewels, and started using my hot glue gun!


Funky Ribbon Ornament



Christmas Ribbons Ornament

Wednesday, October 7

The "Write" Time

I am super excited folks! On Monday I learned that I would be the new contributing writer for TalkGwinnett.com! The funny thing is, I didn’t start out in life as a writer, but maybe… just maybe, it is in my blood.

The opportunity made me start thinking about my past and about how writing has influenced and affected my life thus far.

School
Growing up, I was always an A/B student – nothing exceedingly great, but nothing horrible either. My grades were all right, but I always seemed to struggle with grammar – the dreaded time in class when I ALWAYS made a fool of myself. I crutched my way through and by the time high school rolled around I was slung into the Honors English class (what?! Who me!?).

Upon beginning my senior year I was graced (using this term sarcastically here) with having Dr. Wilson as my Honors English teacher. After turning in paper after paper and having paper after paper returned to me with failing grades and blots of purple ink with corrections my mom intervened. She felt that Dr. Wilson was unusually unreasonable on her grading and set up a meeting to discuss. It was in that parent/teacher conference that Dr. Wilson lovingly (again, sarcasm) told my mom “she’ll never make it through college English… she is a horrible writer… I don’t know how she has made it this far…”

Hey, Dr. Wilson… why don’t you take a moment to check me out now? No purple pen around here!!

Cynthia
My newfound writing opportunity lead me to remember something that I had long forgotten about – “Ms. Cynthia Porter”. Oh how proud she would be…

Cynthia Porter was the nom de plume my granmommy would use when speaking about her dreamed writing career. She would talk about the books she wanted to write, but how life was busy and time got away from her.

Last night my grandma’s talks of “Cynthia” popped into my head after being a lost memory for years. I began smiling, which made Brandon curious. I told him the stories about my grandma and her writing chats. In turn he replied, “maybe that is her way of saying how proud she is of you.” Just thinking about that brings tears to my eyes… look grandmommy, I’m doing it!

Future
My first post on TalkGwinnett.com mentioned my goals for my writings. I hope that I am able to accomplish these while creating new ones as I go. Thanks to all of you who read my ramblings here. I’ll keep posting here as often as possible. After all, this is my starting point… now off to the big leagues folks!

Saturday, October 3

A Classic Treat Turned Gameday

Yesterday I was inspired by a friend who told me about the Rice Krispies Treats her class had made. Needing something to take to the family College Gameday cookout, I quickly decided that Rice Krispies Treats were just the ticket.

In order to spice things up, Adrian’s class had thrown M&Ms in the treats - my spice, ONLY red and brown M&Ms. After all, these are for the Georgia game afternoon.

Here are my Georgia Bulldawg treats:



For your sweet tooth pleasure, here is the recipe:
Ingredients –
     3 tbsp. butter or margarine
     1 pkg (10 oz.) regular marshmallows, OR 4 cups of mini marshmallows
     6 cups Rice Krispies

Directions
     In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

     Add Rice Krispies cereal and stir well.

     Using butter spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into squares.

Revisit: Haunting Halloween Craft

After making my precious Halloween decorations last night I decided to make some monsters to add to my collection (once again inspired by Not So Idle Hands). Here they are!



Friday, October 2

Haunting Halloween Craft

Just the other day I was lucky enough to stumble upon a wonderfully crafty blog, Not So Idle Hands. In early September she had a post featuring these cute Halloween decorations that I HAD to make.

The process is simple and quick. This would make a great craft for kids too!



All you need is:
A couple of jars. Not So Idle Hands recommends using varying sizes for a more interesting effect. Since I didn’t have those, I just made mine the same and displayed them in a grouping of 3.

Tissue Paper. Not a whole bunch – just a sheet or 2. I used orange for the pumpkin and white for the ghost.

Mod Podge. It’s cheap and you can find it at the craft store. I think I paid $5 or so at Joann’s.

Black Paper. I used some construction paper I had.

Paint. Use green for the tops of the pumpkins and black for the top of the ghost.

For a great step by step guide (with pictures) visit the Not So Idle Hands blog by clicking here.

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, September 29

It’s All in the Sauce

Ragu vs. Publix

One of my and Brandon’s favorite meals is spaghetti. Not the “stay in the kitchen all day, homemade Italian” kind of spaghetti, but the “hurry home and want a delish meal” kind of spaghetti.

Those of you who know me know that I doctor up EVERYTHING in my kitchen. Nothing comes out “store-bought”. I take a quick “semi-homemade” approach (thanks for the show Sandra) and make it my own. My huge kudos moment goes to the meat I use in my spaghetti – hot Italian turkey sausage. It makes the dish. In addition to the sausage, I do tend to spruce up whatever kind of sauce I buy, but not too much… well, that is if I buy the BEST sauce.

Today, more than ever, it is important to save a few bucks when grocery shopping. Although coupon clipping is a must, most of the time I buy Publix brand items to add to my savings! Last week when sifting through my “coups” I found one for Ragu spaghetti sauce. Thinking that there might be an advantage to this, (buy the name brand and get a better tasting sauce) I decided to go for it and purchased two jars of Ragu.

The ultimate test came last night when spaghetti night rolled around. Using all the same ingredients – minus the sauce of course – I whipped up our bi-weekly spaghetti fix. My sauce review was a must after the meal…



Ragu vs. Publix – The Review: Hands down the winner is Publix brand. With a simple outside, the jar of sauce flowers with flavor. The rich tomato and spices excite the taste buds with Italian flair. Using two different flavors, which is a trick of mine, only adds to the grandeur of aroma that erupts from the spaghetti. The thick sauce envelops each noodle and perfectly coats the sausage to complete the full perfected spaghetti experience.

The Ragu sauce is far behind even others – Publix, Classico, Barilla, etc – in taste, smell, and texture. The sauce has a sinfully sugary taste causing one to think of desert rather than the main course. The smell emits no aromatic stateliness as it is covered by the smell of a burning candle and the cooking sausage. The texture is a watery mess that runs along the noodles instead of draping it with excellence.

Sunday, September 27

A Splash of Color

In desperate need of some color in my life, and mainly my home, I decided that paint was in order. Living in an apartment, surrounded by plain cream walls, gets real old after several years. With agreement from Brandon I selected a nice Dijon mustard yellow color that matches my dining room table and accent couch pillows.

Here are the before and after pictures… much better I’ll say!

BEFORE:


AFTER:


Wednesday, September 23

The Starving Artist

Wordle: Life Dreams


Nearly three years ago I graduated from college and returned home to Atlanta eager to continue learning, begin my career, and network with new people. Diving into the public relations field I felt like I was in the perfect spot - I had made the right career choice. Today, a few changes and years later, I am beginning to feel differently. Being in a creative field is tough work, each day demanding new and exciting ideas - a great design, the perfect press. That is the side of PR that still drives me; it's why I get up and head to work. I chose a creative degree for one reason, so I could be creative! My problem lies in the constriction of my field. How can I obtain total creativity, when I’m forced to work with one topic? What happens to all my other know-hows?
I’m feeling bogged down with the extreme amounts of creativity that I have – all of them in areas other than business of course. My daily routine of a little graphic design here, and a minute amount of writing there seem to be limiting my creative expression. I long for days filled with endless hours of uninterrupted creativity. I want to write. I want to read. I want to be an artist, a photographer, a baker, a seamstress, and a scrapbooking genius. I want to be someone’s inspiration, someone’s storyteller, and someone’s reader. I want to use my talents and all of my inspirational hobbies to make my life whole, to find where I need to be, but how? I feel as though I’m a starving artist – starving for the ability to use my art as my lively means.

Maybe I could start my own business… a crafty kitchen type thing. A company that specializes in my favorite things: cooking, writing, sewing, photography, reading, and the like. I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of the business would be, but I do know that I would enjoy work forever! Until I can begin my crafty kitchen, maybe I should stick with what I know. The monotony of a touch graphic design here and a tad of writing there pays the bills, and these days, it is all we can ask for.

Iced Coffee Coming Up!

Quit stopping by Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds… I’ve got a “Better Than Starbucks” iced coffee recipe that will help you wipe the sleep from your eyes and refresh your morning senses on a budget! So here it is… Steph’s “Better Than Starbucks” Iced Coffee…



Ingredients:
     Your favorite coffee – regular or decaf, flavored or not
     Milk
     Sugar
     Ice

Directions:
     The night before, brew a double strong pot of coffee by using double the amount of coffee. (For each cup you’re making use one scoop of coffee.) I usually make 6 cups for the week (4 day work week + 2 cups per day = 6 cups). After the coffee is finished brewing, add your sugar, as you like. Since I make 6 cups, I put a little less than ¼ cup in the hot coffee. Make sure all sugar is dissolved and place coffee in refrigerator overnight to cool.

The next morning, fill your glass with ice and pour coffee 1/3 full. Top off with milk. Stir and enjoy!

Sunday, September 20

Sunday Dinner: A Lost Tradition

"Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts."

Today while sitting in the traffic leaving the church parking lot I asked Brandon what he wanted to do for lunch – the same question I ask each week. Most of the time we head to a local spot with family and friends to spend a few more minutes together before separating in preparation of beginning the new week. Today was different though. Running low on cash, it is not always easy to drop and extra twenty every Sunday. As I asked Brandon the question about lunch I thought about the meatloaf fixings I had sitting at home. Meatloaf it is…

Once at home and while mixing the meatloaf with God’s built in shovels, I started thinking about Sundays past; Sundays from my childhood when good ol’ Southern cooking greeted us weekly. Then I thought to myself, where has the Sunday family meal tradition gone? Has it only slipped from my life? Or have new generations simply missed out on a once treasured time?

At that moment I made my decision – I’m bringing it back. Yes, it is coming back… just like Justin Timberlake when he brought sexy back. My family was going to be invited to join us in delectable goodness known as Southern Tradition. Why should we fixate our lives around restaurants when we have the God given gift of Southern cooking?! What a waste!

Next week the tradition will resurface with a family gathering around my table for the first time in years. Not exactly sure what the menu will hold, but I’ve got nothing but time for that.

Bring your appetite folks because it is gonna be a good one!

Saturday, September 19

Revamping Life’s Look

Change is a constant thing, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. I enjoy slight changes in my life, on an occasional basis, when it comes to every topic but style. I enjoy having new looks for the upcoming season, a new pair of shoes to spruce up an old favorite, a shiny new purse that just seems to brighten my day… (Let me interject here to say that I’m not a fashion diva, nor will I ever be. I have entirely too little money for that and I shop no name brands.) Change is something that is a must for the new season, I can feel it. As you can see, I’ve even gone so far as to change the look of my blog. It is just one of those things, when I want change… I’m ready for it yesterday.

On Monday I decided that money or no money, I was going shopping. I pulled my JC Penney credit card out, ready to spend whatever was necessary, and headed to the Mall of Georgia. Riding up the escalator I was setting my limit: “ok, a couple new work to play outfits should only cost $200 max… that’s all I can spend…. I’m broke anyway!” Arriving in the women’s section, I quickly veered to the right to begin sifting through the racks of my favorites, and quickly is how it went. I walked past rack after rack of fall clothes that did absolutely nothing for me. There was none of the “must haves” in the store. Loosing interest I went down to Old Navy to be slapped with the same experience. Fall shopping day number 1 was a total disaster. Not one swipe of the card for me. On the money side of things, that was a blessing – but for my new look, not so much.

I want my new look to be something, cute but edgy; simple yet extravagant. I like the rocker mixed with bohemian style look, but I’m not quite sure I could pull that off. (For gracious sakes, my family and friends think I’m nuts when I paint my nails black!) I don’t want to be way over the top, but maybe on the upside of the swing.

Maybe I’ll wait to try shopping day number two until the weather starts changing a little more, when the leaves begin to turn brilliant colors, and the air cools. The new season’s beginning may be inspiration enough to find something perfect – the new style I’m waiting for.

Friday, September 11

Eight Years & Counting

Just like any other morning I had pulled myself out of bed, prepped and scooted off to Central. After taking first period to wake up, I managed to slump into my seat in the band room. There was an interesting buzz flowing through the air… something about a plane crash. I thought nothing of it considering that I still wasn’t 100% awake. After the bell I scurried across school to the math wing, where I found my teacher glued to her television. “A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers… emergency crews… death… fire…” As we all silenced and placed our attention to the announcer it happened… the second plane hit the towers. For the remainder of the day everyone in the school feared for their families, their friends. What was happening? Who was responsible? How could this happen in America?

Eight years later, I think back on that day as if it were yesterday. The vivid emotions and pictures, the sounds and thoughts still swirl through my mind haunting me. This morning while I was on my way to work, the Regular Guys paused for a moment to reflect on that day. This caused a stir in me that I feel every year since 9/11/01… It made me think back to that day. It made me remember. Sometimes I feel that we forget what sacrifices total strangers have made for us.



I would like to thank every man, woman, and child who has sacrificed something for our country. Because of you, everyone else has the great gift of living free… God Bless You All and God Bless Amercia!

Wednesday, September 9

That’s Ms. College Football to You

My favorite time of year is upon us… yes, college football season.

For the second year in a row, I’m participating in a football pool. Each week we make our picks, plug them into the computer, and hope that things work out our way. Since last weekend was the first week of the season and the pool, I thought I’d brag a moment… I have a nice solid lead… by nearly 10 points! Great way to start out the season!!

One thing that I find amusing is the fact that MOST guys just assume that because I’m a girl, I’ll mess up my picks, leaving my $25 buy in for them. Ha… you are greatly mistaken. Growing up in the wonderful state of Georgia, with the college football lovin’ family that I have, I KNOW COLLEGE BALL. Fridays smack talk was muffled yesterday by whispered “congrats” and “any advice?”

As the season progresses, I’m sure I’ll have off weeks… everyone does. The fact of the matter is this; I’m here to play hardball. I know which teams to pick and why to pick them, so don’t assume that, because I’m a girl, I’m an easy last place. You know what assuming does right?

Quick shout out to mom too… she’s holding on to second!

Things look mighty fine from the top spot… on to week #2!

Tuesday, September 1

Inspirational Baptism

Sunday at 12Stone was inspiring.  Witnessing Open Baptism for the first time I was absolutely awestruck at the amount of people who gave their lives to Christ.  I felt honored that I was able to be a part of each person’s dedication.  It was amazing!! 

Watching the baptisms Sunday made me think about my own spiritual track, my own baptism.  Being raised Presbyterian; I was baptized as an infant.  Presbyterians believe that “the baptism of a baby signals that God acts on our behalf even before we are able to respond.” (Presbyterian Church USA – pcusa.org)  I still believe this, but after witnessing the power of God on the hearts of the 12Stone attendees Sunday, wondered if God could move me to be “re-baptized”.  Is it even possible or proper to be baptized more than once in your lifetime? 

It makes sense to me, but I’m not 100% up on church doctrines.  To me, if I ever decided to be “re-baptized”, it would signify that I was reaffirming my parents’ decision.  It would be my decision to show the world that I was giving my life to Christ.  Make sense? 

Although, I do not feel that I need to be baptized again to fulfill my walk with God, I do think that it would be an option to keep open…

One thing that Open Baptism Sunday did for me was inspire me to finally begin a yearlong walk with the Lord.  To follow along, you can check out my new blog / Bible journal http://stephsbiblejourney.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, August 26

Bloody PSA

Recently a new public service announcement has come out showing the negative affects of texting while driving. The controversial clip was created in Europe but is flooding the Internet sites here in America. After watching the video yesterday, I too passed it along via Facebook. It is a pretty graphic video, but an important one.

On the AJC’s website today there is an article written by a Theresa Walsh Giarrusso in response to the video. She asks the following questions of moms:
1 – What do you think of the video? Is it too violent? Is it too graphic?
2 – Would you show this clip to your teen?
3 – Do you think it would make them think before driving and texting?
4 – Would you be ok with the school showing it to your teen?

As a non-mom, and a past text/driver, I know that my responses to these questions vary from parents who have been there and done that. My concern with her write-up is simply, why wouldn’t you show this to your teen? Think about the movies that children in our society watch. (Final Destination & Halloween 2 are coming out this week, and I’m sure they are full of gory details.) Should our society hide the important truth from children and teens? Or should they have to face the reality that with dangerous situations come dangerous, and possibly even deadly, results.

The impact of the video is one that may be able to save lives in our country. I’m for the video being shown in schools, on television, before movies, and anywhere else that it could reach the majority of the American drivers. Teens aren’t the only ones who make this mistake…

Here is the video. It truly will make you think before taking your eyes off the road to text – save the texting for red lights.


Tuesday, August 25

Listless Life

Note: After PK’s emotional service on Sunday I felt like I needed to get some things off of my chest… This blog may be a bit of a ramble. I’m sorry for that, but it is the way things are pouring out of my heart.

I can feel it happening again. Every so often the irritable wave comes knocking when I least expect it. The last time I can remember feeling like this was the end of my sophomore year in college. I wanted to be left alone… everyone irritated me… the more life pushed, the more I pushed back. And here I sit, feeling the same way all over again.

It’s the strangest feeling ever. I feel distant, yet present all at the same time. I feel heartless in situations that matter most to me. I feel like people just don’t get the big picture, but I do, even though that’s not the case. The point is, I get irritated with those closest to me and I want to be left alone. Small things like a simple comment or text, an email, a look, the lack of a response… they all seem to grind on my nerves like a gear needing oil. Certain events that should trigger a huge emotional response from me, no matter good or bad, seem to barely graze my skin. I’m moved only by extreme situations, but even then, the emotions that should flow from me are limited.

Yesterday, when thinking back on Sunday’s powerful service I started to consider why I might be feeling this way. Several ideas ran through my head, but the most prevalent ones seemed to be: am I going to be able to help those in my life who are struggling through some pretty rough issues? Am I really strong or is it a façade that I put on to protect myself? Do I REALLY put God first?

PK’s breakdown on Sunday hit a nerve of mine. After wondering if the 12Stone cameras were actually in my apartment, I started to realize the simple fact that God had moved PK to talk to people like me (heck, maybe even just me!)… Have I been putting God first? No. The listlessness that I’ve been feeling is the creeping response to a life without the right firsts. It’s the signs that I’m straying from the right path.

As long as my question, “do I REALLY put God first” is answered with a YES, all things are possible. So now my next question… how do I go about making things right? Where do I begin with putting God first in my life, everyday and not just on Sundays?

Philippians 4:13
Matthew 6

Thursday, August 20

Furry Little Hunt


I’m super excited to announce that Brandon and I are now puppy parents! After several months (possibly even a year) of longing and searching for our dog we finally found her. During my lunch break the other day I was looking through Craigslist to see what dogs were up for adoption. This has become a routine thing for me, just to check out the new dogs, the cheap dogs, etc. While thumbing through the listings I came across one that read “Need Homes ASAP”. Let’s just say my attention was caught.

The listing was from the Cleveland (Georgia) Veterinary Hospital and showed several pitiful dogs that need forever homes. None of those dogs interested me, but I thought I’d give the site a look.

When I opened up their site on Petfinder.com I saw it! The little black face, the white chin, the sweet eyes… our search was over! And this is where it should be ending… happily ever after and all that good stuff right? Wrong… that comes later.

I rushed home that afternoon to tell Brandon about the dog and to show off the pictures. He was immediately on board (I love that guy!) and said that we needed to find out how much, when we could go meet our newest family member, etc. I called to find out that the price would be about $75 for a neutered little boy. Perfect! We placed a hold on the puppy and planned to go up Saturday morning to meet and bring him home!

A couple of hours later I received a call from a nice lady at the hospital. She explained their adoption process and told me that I could pay now and have the spay/neuter surgery done tomorrow, making the puppy ready to come home for good on Saturday OR we could leave a $100 deposit and bring the puppy all the way back to Cleveland at a later date. Umm… $100 versus $75… I quickly got Brandon on the phone to figure out what we needed to do. Do we go ahead with the purchase and pay for the dog to have surgery? What if it doesn’t like us? What if we don’t like it? We have searched too long… this was the dog! We went for it. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow… pray all goes well.

Note, in most of the above paragraphs I said HE, well… HE is actually a SHE! The Internet listing was shown wrong… I got that call a few minutes after finalizing my payment authorization and adoption procedures. It caught me off guard because I was so prepared for a little boy. (I wanted to name him Paulie after my favorite Sopranos character and everything!) After getting Brandon back on the phone for his blessing I gave the ok for the additional $10 fee for the female surgery. Now on to the important things… what shall we name her?

All is well with the world because God has put her in our lives and we are SO super exited to meet her on Saturday. Finally, the search is over… we have our first little Hunt.

Wednesday, August 19

Sewing Adventures: The Tote


Ok, here is the update on the crafting ventures that I recently started. I completed my first project: a tote!

My trip to Joann’s was anything but simple. I felt overwhelmed with the different fabrics, patters, threads, EVERYTHING! The good part about it was that the lady was nice enough to guide me through the directions on the pattern and help me decide exactly how much fabric I needed. I was able to pick out the patterns myself! :)

Once I got back home I started cutting out each of the 15 patterns. For those of you who are not sewers, patterns are made from thin tissue paper and require extreme care when cutting. After cutting out the patterns I had to decide which fabrics I wanted to use for the different sections and start cutting!


Finally, after all of the preparation, I was able to being using the machine! Sewing each piece carefully, sometimes messing up and having to re-do, I was able to complete the tote in just a couple of hours!

My next adventure will be another tote. I want to be able to firm up my stitches, make them a little stronger, have no visible threads, etc. After that… who knows?!

Tuesday, August 18

Let It Go

After week two of The Convenience Series at 12Stone, I started thinking about how truly important this set of sermons is for us today. More than ever, people seem to be letting the unimportant quarrels of life get in the way of lasting relationships.

I find this ever true in my life. Many times I pick the minutest topic to argue with Brandon about. By holding on to anger we turn simple misunderstandings into feuds that last far too long. Regardless of the feelings involved, the simple fact is that we just have to let it go.

If we could “turn the other cheek” and “let bygones be bygones” we could live more fulfilled lives. Instead of holding grudges and ending relationships, we should forgive and move on.

I know, much easier said than done, but I heard a quote that puts our unforgiving nature into perspective: “you must forgive your brother so God can also forgive you.” So true…

Sunday, August 16

Sewing Adventures: Day 1



After searching for the pedal and finally getting the machine ready to roll, I was able to begin testing my sewing skills. Like riding a bike, once the machine started, I was able to quickly pick up where I had left off so long ago.

My first test was to make a simple pillow out of scrap material I picked up yesterday. Small and simple, the pillow proved to be a success!

Tomorrow I will begin my first real sewing adventure, the tote. I found the pattern I want to
use at Joann’s and will make a craft store run in the morning. All I need now is to think of the material (color, pattern, etc) I want to use and I’ll be good to go. I’m thinking in honor of fall being just around the corner a nice Bama/Georgia look is in order.

Updates to follow!




Tuesday, August 11

Crafting Ventures

Lately I’ve been missing a big piece of my life puzzle due to the ongoing stress of life. I quite enjoy the “old lady hobby” of sewing and have had NO time in the past few months to develop my prowess. My wake up call came at an odd, but greatly needed and appreciated time.

While vacationing on Tybee a couple weeks back I noticed my Victoria’s Secret beach bag was about to croak. The well-loved mesh bag has been faithful for a year, but its times at the lake and beach are coming to an end. I decided to prolong the bag’s life by purchasing a cheap bag at the glorious Wal Mart. Let me interject here and state that the Whitemarsh Island Wally World is still not a Super Center. When you enter you’re not sure if you have stepped into the backwoods of Alabama or if you are in the early 80’s. Any who, back to the bag… I found a precious pink bag with beach chairs, palm trees and flip-flops all over it. The only thing missing was the tag that said, “made specifically for Stephanie Wallace.”

To make a long story short, the bag ripped the day I bought it and I sadly took it back to the backwoods/80’s store. As I returned the piece I thought about getting another, then stopped… why buy a bag made in China by a bunch of kids when I can make my own?! Thus beginning “Martha’s Monday Craft Time.”

My first venture will be to complete my very own beach bag (details to follow). Next “Craft Time To Do” is to complete my stocking. After all, Christmas is only 4 months out and I can’t have Brandon’s stocking hanging all alone on the mantle. If all goes well, you can expect homemade gifts for Christmas. :)

When I think about getting back to my crafts I get excited about the whole process: the beautiful and fun fabrics, the cute accessories, and the pride upon completing a craft masterpiece. It also makes me think of my Grandma, the one who taught me to sew. With a little of my skill, a little luck, and help from her/above, I’ll be a sewing queen come Christmas!

Wednesday, July 22

Two Years & Counting

Two years ago today I was sitting by the pool at my apartment complex in Duluth asking my roommate at the time, Adrian, why in the world I had gotten myself into this mess. What had possessed me to listen to my little brother’s coach and his wife about meeting their oldest son? Why on earth did I invite them over to my 1-week old apartment? Basking in the sun, finding courage at the bottom of the cold cooler, I finally was as ready as I would be for the blind date that awaited me. I’ll never forget that night: mom came over early to make low country boil, I tried to help her but couldn’t because I had to pace away my nervousness, I couldn’t think of what I wanted to wear, so I stuck with the barefoot-comfy look – my safe haven. When the Hunt’s arrived I ducked out onto the patio to try and hide… if they don’t see me then I’m not here… Slowly I picked up my butterflies and reentered the apartment to find our guests. That moment is when I met Brandon Hunt for the first time (this is where they say, “and the rest is history.)

Reflecting on that night always brings back butterflies: the first minute, the conversation on the patio that never seemed awkward, the family standing around watching us like we were animals at the zoo, him staying so long that he slept on the couch, the next morning when Adrian and I couldn’t decide whether to let him sleep or wake him up for a Waffle House run, and what he said to me when we dropped him off at his apartment after breakfast… “It was a pleasure meeting you Stephanie, and I’ll see you again soon.” That STILL makes my stomach turn thinking about it.

Two years later, we’ve moved in together, are planning a life together and couldn’t be happier! If it wasn’t for Frontera and Debra Hunt, we’d never be here… so thanks Deb! :)

I am amazed at the relationship that we have and that we continue to build each day. Brandon is my rock, my personal comedian, my protection, my shoulder to cry on, my partner in crime, my best friend, my life, my heart, my everything… Why I’m so blessed, I’ll never know, but I thank God everyday for giving me the courage that night two years ago to be myself and for every moment that I have with Brandon.

"I can't see me lovin' nobody but you
For all my life
When you're with me, baby the skies'll be blue
For all my life

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
The only one for me is you, and you for me
So happy together"
~ The Turtles

Monday, July 20

Facing a Lifetime Fear

Almost 23 years ago I was sitting behind a picnic table with my Aunt at a family picnic. Enjoying my grandparents’ HUGE backyard, we had gathered for some occasion, unknown to me. After helping my plate my dad had gone back inside to eat, leaving me and my Aunt alone in the yard with my grandparents’ dog, Brownie.

As I started eating Brownie jumped up on the bench next to me to check out what I was eating. Not being scared of dogs, I started petting him and turned to look at the dog. Being 2 1/2, my eyes were level with his...

Immediately his demeanor changed - a flash in his eyes let me know that something bad was going to happen. He lunged at me, grabbing the left side of my face, and knocked me to the hard concrete patio. My Aunt jumped up and ran to my aide as Brownie was tearing away my flesh. Shaking his head back and forth before my Aunt could pull him off he had already done serious damage as the rest of my family rushed outside.

My face badly torn and bruised, I was rushed to Henry County hospital where doctors were unsure as to what was needed to help me. After my initial assessment, they called in a plastic surgeon to help put my face back together. The only thing I remember from the surgery is the 37 Lanacain shots that they put in the left side of my face. (if you've never felt Lanacain, it feels like acid until it numbs your skin). Doctors told my parents that my injuries were the same as if a grown man had beaten me in the face while wearing diamond rings.

Since this incident I have had to work on facing two fears: needles and big dogs. For years I would fight doctors when having to get shots or have blood taken, but have been able to deal with that issue. Large dogs still make me uneasy, but I am able to cope... Or so I thought...

Yesterday after church we were heading to the lake when I learned that a family friend was there with his Pit Bull. I, totally unaware that my fear was still so serious, began to have a panic attack. I have always thought that panic attacks were just a way for people to get attention, but after yesterday, I change my mind! I started to shake and cry uncontrollably about the dog... Unable to calm myself down, I had to get pep talks from Brandon and my mom.

After the pump up chats, I was nervous, but ready to face my fear when I learned that the dog and owner had left before we arrived. Relieved, I now know that my phobia of dogs is a real barrier in my life that I must face in order to overcome. I'm amazed that an event that occurred so long ago can still cause so much fear and such a reaction today.

Thursday, July 16

Must be Something in The Liberals' Water

Let me preface this blog entry with this: I am not into politics. I do not usually listen, read, or even care to think about the “leaders” in Washington. However, our lovely President’s brilliant (cough… cough) idea called Healthcare Reform is enough to get my attention. Consider my cage rattled.

The US Census estimates that there are 306,928,675 currently in the United States. This figure has a net gain of one person every 11 seconds. With President Obama’s Healthcare Reform, he is planning to spend $1.5 trillion in order to cover 50,000,000; thus meaning that 256,928,675 must already have health insurance because we can’t leave people out now can we? If 256,928,675 Americans are driven enough and smart enough to have health insurance or at least the capabilities to get health insurance somehow, why are we adding $1.5 trillion to our already HUGE national debt which is now at $11,584,939,042,938. Heck, we are already $11.5+ trillion in the hole, another $1.5 can’t hurt too bad…

According to the AP article written by Erica Werner, ”Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf warned lawmakers the legislation that he has seen so far would raise costs, not lower them. Elmendorf was asked by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.S., if the bills Congress is considering would ‘bend the cost curve.’ The budget director responded: ‘The curve is being raised.’ Subsidies to help uninsured people would raise federal health care spending, which is already growing at an unsustainable rate, Elmendorf explained at a hearing. The Medicare and Medicaid cuts that lawmakers have offered to pay for the coverage expansion aren't big enough to offset the cost trend, particularly in the long term, he said.”

I feel that people should work for what they receive and stop waiting around for the government to hand them a decent life on a silver platter. Having said this, I blame the ignorant leaders in this country for giving the American people notions of “free assistance”. Nothing is free – if you are not paying for it that means that someone else is. Being a hard-working young American, I do not understand why I, someone who pays for my own health insurance by working, have to be responsible for paying the insurance of someone else – legal or illegal, working or nonworking. Currently, my boyfriend is without health insurance. If I wanted to help someone pay for their health insurance or was even able to I would help him! Due to the economic strife in the states, people are hurting to pay for their own insurance and have no extra money to help what the government seems to think of as “the helpless”. By the end of the next four years, the best paying job is going to be a single mom on welfare!

Government leadership requires little to no common sense these days. The fact is the economy is suffering because of the expansive national debt. By adding an additional cost to the bottom line, the leaders of this country are only worsening an already dire issue. If a young lady, with little knowledge and no experience in politics can figure this out, then why can’t our elected officials?

“You keep your change… I’ll keep my money and my gun!”

Wednesday, July 15

Redneck Riviera + Adventures at Sea

It has been too long since my last blog. My bad readers… I know each and every one of you have been anxiously awaiting my return to the blogging world… HA!

My absence is due, in part, to my recent trip to the Redneck Riviera. That’s right folks – Panama City Beach! The trip, my second ever to PCB, was a great one. In a nutshell, the vacation consisted of:
“I love a great bridge” + 190 Octanes with Bama buddies + pool nazis and meth mouth + fireworks on the beach with Nashville Fans… and in the room + Hammerhead Fred’s + LONG walks + “Beat It” for MJ (RIP) + Jaeger bombs + Gilligan’s Island… Hunt Style leading to salty Subway + flounder underfoot + jellyfish sting… no pee please + relaxing beach time + stilt chicks and “Sweet Home Alabama” at Margaritaville = GREAT FAMILY VACATION!!


One story that I MUST elaborate on from our vacation is something that I like to call Gilligan’s Island… Hunt Style.

A couple days into the vacation, the family decided to take a pontoon ride out to Shell Island. (Let me interrupt here and mention that there really are very few shells on Shell Island… stupid Florida people.) Monday morning, meteorologists were calling for storms all day, but as we all know, they can be wrong 90% of the time. As 1 o’clock approached and the sun shone, we packed into the cars and drove down to the marina to load up and hit the sea. The sky was starting to get a little darker, but nothing that would spook us from our adventure. With Timbo at the wheel, we headed out into the bay with the storms quickly approaching at our backs. Once at the island, the rain began to fall in sheets. The guys all jumped off the boat and started running around the island like maniacs in the storm, while the ladies stayed on board under a makeshift shelter (made from plastic floats – great buy Deb!)

Just as we started to settle in for the storm, Timbo called out for everyone to follow him. We all jumped from the boat and took off up the sand dunes. Trekking across the island for 30 minutes in the rain really puts a damper on things (no pun intended) and, as you know, I’m not one with nature. Walking through the islands wilderness was not bad, now that I’m safely home, but at the time, I was freaking out. By this time, lightning began to flash overhead and I, being terrified of thunderstorms, was at my wits end. As we made our way back to the pontoon that had been tossed and thrown up onto the sand, the storm slowly passed.

After exploring Shell Island a little more, enjoying a nice watermelon fight, and snorkeling along the jetties, we decided to head back to the marina. Although the waves were still rough from the afternoon storm that had stranded us on the island for an hour or so, the sun beamed.

After getting back to the marina my nerves were shot, but like Timbo said “at least we had an adventure!”

Wednesday, June 24

“I Do... For Now”

These days, the sacred union of marriage just isn’t so sacred anymore. The temptations of the flesh seem to win out over the ups and downs of a typical relationship. When the going gets tough, it seems today people bail… or run to the arms of another. The “I do until something better comes along” attitude is leaving a scar on the union of marriage.

In recent days we have learned about America’s favorite family calling it quits after alleged infidelity. Jon and Kate just can’t do it anymore. They met, fell in love, had eight kids, and now can’t even sit on the same couch to be interviewed by television crews. Rumors of Jon with the third grade teacher and Kate with the bodyguard are enough to make a family go crazy but instead of standing up for their family, their children, their marriage Jon and Kate are throwing in the towel. If they were innocent, would they let the media rip the family apart like that? I think not.

Just two days after the Gosselins’s announcement, Gov. Mark Sanford (SC) is caught today arriving in Atlanta after spending several days with his Argentinean lover. How nice. I can see it now, “hey dad, what do you want to do for Father’s Day?” “Well son, I think I’ll do Argentina.”

My rant: why get married if you have an inkling in your heart, or groin for that matter, that you may one day be led astray? If you are not 100% sure that you can be faithful for the remainder of your life, then why go through the pomp and circumstance just to find out that you couldn’t do it – you failed. Why set yourself up for that? Gov. Mark Sanford said it best, “What I did was wrong. Period.” If you knew that Mr. Governor, then why do it? I think it would be much easier on all parties involved to call a marriage over before beginning to prowl for the next Mrs. Ex.

Being a young adult in the society we have today that sends us these broken messages is disheartening. Is infidelity more prominent these days? Or is the media basking in the wealth of this so-called news? The fact is, instead of staying home with the struggles of life, more and more people are venturing out into the world of temptations. Relationships are work… put in the effort or get out before you stray!

Friday, June 19

Glorious Friday

Amazing to me, one of my favorite days of the week is Friday. Seemingly strange because I still have to go through the monotony of my week-day routine, but when the alarm goes off on a Friday morning, I have a little more skip in my step as I scurry off to the showers. The promise of a good weekend (and a reprieve from the workplace) always makes a dragging Friday seem bearable.

Each Thursday I start dreaming of what the weekend will bring: family gatherings, a lake trip, vacations, relaxing time around a pool, time spent with friends. This weekend’s promises are abundant as plans fall into place.

The thing I’m most excited about is my trip to the Suwanee Farmers Market. Tomorrow morning, my friends and I plan to visit the Farmers Market located at the Suwanee Town Park. The thought of fresh tomatoes make me want to wish the rest of Friday away! Must make an earmark in the budget for fabulous fresh produce… so fantastic… so exciting! Check back for a “Farmers Market” report.

Monday, June 15

Living in “Sin”

I don't need no license
To sign on no line

And I don't need no preacher
To tell me you're mine
I don't need no diamonds
I don't need no new bride
I just need you, baby
To look me in the eye
- Bon Jovi

After spending a weekend filled with uncountable questions about our non-engagement, why we are “shacking up” and hearing that it was spoken about in church on Sunday in our absence, I decided it was time to get it in the open; time for me to stop, research, and put everything into perspective.

Let me first say that I, of all people, want to be engaged and planning a wedding with Brandon more than my family and friends want it - now just seems like it is not the time.

After doing a lot of thinking and a lot of reading I still feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. Growing up, I did everything I was told – was a good student, was a responsible teen and young adult – and now, I feel like some of those around me seem to question my responsibility. I’m amazed that something that I originally thought was such a great idea, something that was going to make life so much simpler, has seemingly blown up in my face. Just four days in, not even completely unpacked, I start to wonder if we made the right decision.

According to a report by Fox News, “cohabitation has been mainstreamed, especially with the help of Hollywood stars like Sarandon, Robbins, Hawn and Russell, who have publicly advocated their type of union”. If this is the case, why do I feel like I’m the first and only person to do this?

I never thought that moving in with Brandon would cause such a stir – never thought it would make me be the “bad person” that I now feel like I am. After finding my new church home and giving my life to Christ I learn that I am committing “sexual sin”. In the service yesterday the pastor said, “if you say you follow Christ & you live together and you are sexually free then something is wrong… you are corrupt”. Does this mean that I’m no longer on the path to righteousness? Will I eternally pay for a so-called “wrong” that I made now?

Last night as I cried myself to sleep over this issue that is eating away at my happiness I wondered why everyone seems to bring the issue of cohabitation to me. Why is it that the female in the relationship seem to catch the heat? Does it mean that I am the only one that is sinning? Am I lesser of a person now than I was last week before we moved in together?

Other countries, which are of Christian decent, practice cohabitation as a norm. Does this mean that because I’m from America I am sinning more than those from other countries? From the same Fox News article mentioned earlier, the author writes of her arrival in America and the greeting she received about her personal beliefs. She says that she was told her family was regarded as “heathens” because they did not have a problem with the concept of cohabitation. Does this mean that I am heathen now?

I understand that “old fashioned” beliefs will always run through the threads of our society. What I will never understand is how my own family can make me feel lesser of a person for doing what my heart feels I should do. Maybe I should have kept it to myself, lived a secret life in order to “protect” my family – and maybe not. The secrets kept from the grandparents or family friends will always be found out in the end and the small comments made by loved ones, thought as harmless play, seem to slice holes in my heart.

All I can say is that something that I was praying would be some of the happiest times I’ve had yet in my life have been scarred by the unwelcoming arms of the stigmas carried by me “living in sin”.

I can only ask for forgiveness… Dear Lord. Forgive me for living in sin. If, in your eyes, I am not wrong for my living situation and happiness, please forgive those who are judging me for doing so.

Sunday, June 14

June 14 - Daily Bible Study

I Kings 12:20 – 13:34
Do not turn from God. He is there for you… you must be there for Him and do His bidding.

Acts 9:26 – 43
God will give you everlasting life.

Psalm 132:1 – 18
Question… why would Solomon be so ignorant to disobey the Lord? After all the Lord had given him and his father, David? It makes no sense to me…