Saturday, 31 July 2010

For a Total of 200

I've reached 200 posts! To celebrate my  frequent posting habits dedication, I've compiled a list of bloggy goals and a blog recap.

 Blogging Goals

1. Host a blog giveaway
2. Host a blog swap
3. Finish the ABC challenge
4. Keep up with Featured Follower Friday
5. Meet a bloggy friend
6. Attend a blog conference/workshop
7. Participate in a blog cooking challenge
8. Reach 300 posts.
9. Do reviews for the products I've recieved
10. Create a blog post for everything I complete on my 101/1001 list
11. Feature more recipes.
12. Have a guest poster on my blog. (Let me know if you're interested)

Last 100 Recap

1. I now have 75 followers.
2. I wrote my first guest post.
3. I wrote several book reviews
4. I've won quite a few giveaways- business cards, Kraft gift pack, cooking sauce.
5. I'm planning several reviews: soap and chocolate products.
6. I've kept up with Go Win Wednesday.
7. I've started Featured Follower Friday.
8. I pulled over an old post from a previous blog
9. I created a Cast of Characters post to help you get to know the people I write about.
10. I've blogged about my time in Changwon.
11. I've made it to letter  K in the ABC Challenge
12. I've kept blogging about my wedding plans.
13. I've kept a running wishlist and featured some products from Etsy.
14. I made a tab for my 101/1001 list.
15. I've started Saturday Smiles. Won't you link up?

Questions for My Readers:

1. What made you want to follow my blog?
2. What do you want to see more of?
3. What would you like to see less of?
4. Is there one word you'd use to describe my blog?
5. How'd you find my blog?

Friday, 30 July 2010

Saturday Smiles

Welcome to the first ever Saturday Smiles! I hope you've had a lot of things to make you smile this week. I have! So write up a list of things that have made you smile- whether it was out of joy, happiness, gratitude or humorous delight and link up!.

1. Mr. Groom is on vacation for 5 days, so we're getting to spend a lot of time together
2. We had a great dinner Friday night with another couple.
3. We ran into the fruit and veg lady this week and were able to buy fresh apples and peaches at a good price.
4. We got the package my mom sent this week and were able to enjoy peanut butter sandwiches.
5. I got to read two issues of Real Simple
6. I developed a new workout plan that I really enjoy!
7. I was able to get all of my textbooks for less than $200.
8. Journey to the Center of the Earth came on TV day and Mr. Groom went out and got us lunch so I could stay in and watch it.
9. We had yummy chicken wings last night!
10. The Slingbox is back up and running so now we can watch our favorite American TV shows.

What things made you smile  this week?

K is for King

God is my king, and I am one of his daughters.

Being in South Korea has led me to grow spiritually in quite a few ways.

I've developed an improved pray life and my trust in the Lord has grown stronger.

I know he has a great plan for me and Mr. Groom and I'm excited to find out what it is and delve right in.

Being a Christian, I believe in the ABCS. The ABCS is the way I was taught in VBS how to tell someone how I believe you are "saved".

Ask God to come into your heart.
Believe that Christ died on the cross for  you.
Confess your sins.

While the ABCS are quite simplified, its the best way I feel like I can tell you what I believe on the blog. I believe many other things and try my best to keep the commandments, pray often and lead a life of faith. That doesn't mean that I am always successful.

When I'm at home, I love attending Morningside Baptist Church. I feel like a part of the family when I'm there. I've never felt so drawn to a church or felt like I fit in so well.

I have lately become curious about Judaism and things that I've read about on other's blogs like the Levitican diet. I'm taking a class in the fall on the New Testament and Early Christianity, which I think will be interesting.

Featured Follower Friday!

This week's featured follower is a chocoholic just like me. The wonderful follower of the week is Carol over at The Answer is Chocolate.

Carol describes her blog as "My corner of the world with ideas and inspiration on crafting, thrift store makeovers, DIY decor, upcycling, and of course, chocolate."

She's creative, crafty and a talented artist. She makes jewelery and writes like Stephen King.

Her blog is wonderful to read, and follow along with. I love her writing style.

She has a sidebar that highlights yummy chocolatey recipes.

She hosts Christmas themed linky parties. You should participate in the next one. They are really a lot of fun!

Thats enough from me, go check her out!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Book Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I'm not going to lie. I've heard a lot about this book and I never planned to read it. It just didn't seem appealing to me. But, a friend here offered to loan it to me when I ran out of my own books to read. So, I gave it a shot.

And I liked it. Until I got to the end. I'm not going to spoil the book by telling  you what happens. But I was having a good time, reading along with Pi's adventures and marveling at his acomplishments. A boy trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger made for a compelling story.

I immediately rejected the ending of the book as a cop out. But then I gave it some thought. The more I thought about it the more I think I understand what the author was trying to do. It often works in great works of literature. But it didn't work here. Nope, Mr. Martel, I want a do over. I want a better ending. I want an ending that flows with the sense of adventure I got from reading the book. I don't want  a halfshot attempt at a "literary"/"thinking"ending. Thats not what you set me up for. So, if you ever get around to rewriting the ending, let me know.

Other than the  ending, I enjoyed reading this book. I could see the characters, the zoo, the tiger. I really liked the thoughts Pi had about religion. I mean, you're stuck on a boat with a predatory animal- what better to think about?

Have you read it? Did you feel the same way I did about the ending? Or am I totally off the wall here?

I'm a huge slacker.

And I apologize.

Getting a blog award always brightens my day a bit. It lets me know someone has taken the time to read and has ended uo actually enjoying my blog! Woot!

But for some mystery reason I am a total slacker when it comes to reposting awards. That being said I have recieved two awards lately and must now pass them on.

I've won the Versatile Blogger Award from The Answer is Chocolate and More than a Mommy. Thanks for the awards ladies! And I'm sorry I've been suh a sslacker about reposting.



So here are my nominess:

Life in Dawleywood
Mandy's Life After 30
My Simple Everyday
Newlywed Adventures
The First Year Wife

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Walk With Me?

Since I've been here I've been working on my goal to take more "just because" or "just for fun" walks. Occasionally, Mr. Groom and I will go on a stroll after dinner. Before the summer schedule started I would take walks around 6pm. Since it was cooler yesterday, I thought I'd walk the trail again. I took along my camera, so that I would be encouraged to be creative. I forgot that cooler weather means more mosquitos, so I didn't make it quite to the top of the hill because I'd endured far too many bug bites.

Here's the path I take:

Down two streets and past the high school


Towards the library, until I run into what looks like a driveway


Down the path I go


Need a breather?


See the graffitti?


Around the corner...


and past the mushrooms.


Up some man-made stairs

Up some natural stairs



Have a sense of humor, Mother Nature?

If you keep going, you run into a flat spot
with exercise equipment. I work out there somedays
but this time the bugs were too bad.


Thanks for walking with me!

Go Win Wednesday

A few giveaways this week....

GENERAL

Ends August 4th. Win a $25 gift certificate to Lailee's etsy shop.
Ends August 6th. Win a Kitchenaid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer!
Win a cute hostess package.

LIMITED

USA and Canada Only. Ends August 14. Win a Wine Tote.
USA and Canada only. Ends August 14th. Win a gift code to CSN!
USA and Canada only. Ends August 10th. Win a weave towel.
USA only. Ends July 31st. Win Stationary.
USA only. Ends August 4th. Win a salad dressing set.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Seven Springs

Saturday night Mr. Groom and I went out to dinner with our friend Aerie. We went to Seven Springs, which was located inside of a western style mall called City 7. You ordered of the menu and helped yourself to the buffet. I ordered maple terrayki chicken and it came with a side of carmelized onions and carrots. Aerie and I made a salad to share with shrimp, fresh pineapple and an amazing citrus dressing.

The buffet featured stockpiles of food and I felt like I was in Western food heaven. I ate more than I've ever eaten in Korea or that I've ever eaten at an American buffet. And yet, I ended up feeling only mildly full and not grossly stuffed.

In addition to my meal I dined on the creamiest "cream pasta", and tons of grilled veggies and fruit. I feel veggie deprived here so I made sure to load my plate with tomaotes, peppers, cuccumbers, corn and squash. Mr. Groom brought me bruschetta and it was  the best I've ever had. It was  topped with whole tomato slices and minced onions.

I fixed a dessert plate as well with almond cheese cake squares, a mini chocolate chip cookie, yogurt dipped bananas, apples, grapes and vanilla ice cream topped with blueberries. Two little notes I've noticed about desserts here. The first is that when  you order something like an "almond muffin", "chocolate chip muffin", the chocolate chips or almonds are just sprinkled on top of the muffins, not baked in them. The second thing I noticed at Seven Springs. I think the cheesecake we tend to eat can be described a little as pie like (not cherry pie, but like a chocolate pie?). Here it was definitely textured more like cake, with crumbs and everything.

I raved about the dinner all night and even dreamed about the cream pasta. This weekend was the perfect time for us to go because I'd complained to Mr. Groom this week  that no matter how much I'd been eating lately I couldn't stop being hungry. I have also noticed a decrease in energy since being here. Before arriving I could do situps in sets of 50. Now I can barely do 25 situps in a row. I really think the lack of variety and the lack of vegetables in my diet is causing this. (When I eat vegetables here it is either peppers on pizza or lettuce with a slice of carrot in a salad. I make potatoes and occasionally cook them with peppers but that's it.)

But,the restaurant was wonderful. If I were single, and in Korea alone I would go there at least once a week. It was that fabulous.

I got a PACKAGE!

I don't get much mail in South Korea so it is doubly exciting when it happens. Today I received the package my mother sent.


I opened the package and found all of the goodies packed in a shoebox!



I unpacked everything and discovered:


(a sweet bear card, beef jerkey for Mr. Groom, gum, our favorite granola bars, creamy peanut butter)


(the two newest Real Simples and baggies for us to bring liquids home in our carryons)

Thanks Mom! We'll be eating PB & Banana sandwiches for dinner  tonight! Yum! Oh, that reminds me, I'll have to post tomorrow about the amazing restaurant I went to this weekend!

Monday Minute- Interesting Questions

Monday Minute

I tend to shy away from weekly committments like memes. I'm suprised I still follow through with my weekly giveaways post and my current blog series that's taking me through the alphabet.  So don't be suprised if I don't come back for the next Monday Minute. Anyway, I thought these questions were interesting and decided to share my answers. What are  yours?

1. What is your what-if person?
(what-if person being what if I married this person)

I can't imagine myself with any man besides Mr. Groom. But I used to have huge crushes on Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom.

2. What is your nickname?

I have had many through the years. My dad used to call me Doodle (after my love of cheesedoodles) and my sister, Sissy and Ray-Ray. Currently, Mr. Groom calls me Bastion or Babers. And a few others but I don't want to share everything.

3.  If you could have named your self what would you have picked?

I quite like my name. Although when I was a child I wished for a name that was more "romantic" like Charlotte. Soon, my name will be changing and it will be alliterative and I like the idea of that.

4. Who were you named after or why did your parents choose your name?

No one. My parents decided my name on the way to the hospital. Before that I was going to be Morgan Danielle.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Words of Me Creativity Challenge Day One

A few of my favorite quotes to get you going:

“Sometimes you've got to let everything go - purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”- Tina Turner

“Sometimes you've got to let everything go - purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” -Scott Adams

Writing is like listening to music. It gives the subconscious time to think.

"When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not." - Mark Twain


To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955


"Dream big, work harder. Have lots of fun, lift a finger, do something for someone else. Cheer your friends on. Cheer yourself up. Celebrate as much as possible. Enjoy everything. Right now. It's OK to want more and do more but be present with where you are or who you are with. Don't rush the situation - even if it's bad. Move on when you can. Don't settle.Try everything you can and get over everything holding you back." - Alex Beauchamp

Now, if you haven't checked out the creativity challenge, stop by Words of Me and check it out. Click here:





 I've been being lazy today so I'm not sure what I'll do creative today but I'll be sure to give you a recap at the end of the week. Happy Creating!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

An Old Entry from an Old Blog

Last year I blogged for my college, on their website. I'm copying over one of my favortie posts, because sometimes I feel I need a reminder of what it was like to be in Scotland and let the little things go. The lesson I talk about in the post is something I really want to try to work on and bring back into my life. So here is the old post:

Long walks in the rain leave plenty of time for reflection. Yesterday, on my way home from Uni, I thought about my professor’s description of the Scots as “messy” and about how much whining I’d done about the Scottish way of doing things.
I’ve come to realize that the “messiness” I strongly rejected with every American bone in my body, is actually something to strive for. The Scottish have got it figured out. None of these people care that it’s raining on their nice clothing. What the heck can they do about it? Nothing. And they realize this and have embraced it. Instead of going around in sweats on dreary days, like I do back home, the Scots go about as if nothing is different. They can’t change it, so why worry?
“Why worry” seems a common thought among the Scots. I’ve heard it so often since I’ve been here. The way I am, I want to know things now, I want things to follow a logical system. I want to know things are taken care of. Well, that’s not quite how things are done here. “It’ll work out,” “It’ll happen,” “It’ll take care of itself” are all things I’ve been told, when I’ve been stressed about something, like signing up for classes. The attitude here is much more, “You’ve done your part, let it be.” It has to be a much more stress free way to live.


Without having to worry about things in life that really don’t matter, or aren’t the most important, they focus on what really matters–life’s pleasures, like spending time with family, walking through beautiful gardens (even in the rain), savoring a hot chocolate with brandy, eating ice cream (even when its cold), picnicking in Edinburgh, and at least in Glasgow, alcohol.


I see children everywhere. Small children play in the gardens during their parents’ lunch break; older ones go off to eat lunch alone. Instead of rushing to different activities after school it seems like the family congregates in the park. Children are allowed to play outside for recess, in the rain. I was never allowed out for recess if it were raining. And why shouldn’t they be allowed? Children love to play in the rain. It’s just not a big deal here.


Walking everywhere is not a big deal either. I walk about a mile to class everyday, sometimes further. My friends and I have started to calculate distance, based on how far something is, in addition to the mile we already walked. So if it’s two miles from home, we say one.


I hope this attitude will seep into other areas of my life. I want to be more appreciative of the little things, and to be able to let go of things that don’t matter. But, I don’t think that it’s something I can control. I just have to let it happen.

So, I want to try to reiterate this way of thinking into my everyday life. I think I will find it useful later when I am a newlywed  and recent grad.

I want to think hard and see if there are any "lessons" I can pick up from the Korean culture as well. I'll get back to you in a later post on that one. If you'd like to browse through the old blog and read about my time in Scotland and my college focused life, go here. Some of the last entries overlap with things I blogged about here.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Cast of Characters

I blog about the people in my life all of the time. Sometimes I feel like I just mention them haphazardly and leave you to figure out who the heck I'm talking about. So I thought I would do a run down of who everyone is:

Mr. Groom:

He was born and raised in Pennsylvania, but acts more like a southern gentleman than any man I know. Maybe, its because he's traveled a lot, maybe its because he was in the Army. He's a sports ADDICT, and loves to make people laugh. If we believed in reincarnation I'd say he was a stand-up comedian in a past life. He is a certified teacher and has a degree in Sociology. Currently, he's teaching English in South Korea.

"Lyric"

We met my freshman year of college and roomed together last year. We are both rooming with K10  this year. She's very artistic and wants to be a teacher. I call her Lyric because thats what some Facebook app said her name would be if she was born today

"Hot Glue/MOH/bestie"

I met this hot lady my junior year of high school and we've gottten closer every year. She goes to my college's "brother college". She is the Maid of Honor in my wedding. She loves penguins and Disney and has a boyfriend who does a kickbut impression of Captain Jack Sparrow. I call her Hot Glue because of an inside joke a few summers ago that I can't quite remember. And no alcohol was involved during the joke's conception. Go figure.

"K10"

K10 is Lyric's Red Devil Little Sister and our future roomate. I'm so glad the two of them got paired together because, although I've only known her for less a year (oh! I just realized that), we've become really close and I can't imagine being without her friendship.

Mother

Mommy dearest. She's my mom and for that reason I love her, but she doesn't make being around her very easy.

Father

My dad's a hunting and fishing kinda guy. He's a part of the local Duck Unlimited group and has a "Duckaholic" sticker on the back of his gold Expedition. I guess "aholics" run in the family. For the most part, he's a better cook than my mom, but don't tell her I said that.

Sister

She's younger than me but a whole lot tougher. You don't want to get into a wrestling match with this gal. Beach lover, softball player, IGA clerk. She's headed to USC-B.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Featured Follower Friday

For the next few Fridays I am going to feature a few of the bloggers that follow my blog. I doubt I'll make it through 70 weeks and get to feature all of you but at least we're starting somewhere. Maybe a few weeks I'll double up and feature more than one follower.

The first blog I want to feature is Life Blessons: The Blessings and Lessons of This Little Life of Mine.

In her sweet and meaningful blog Carmen shares things she has learned about her faith and marriage. I love reading her insights on things like the Old Testament, God's loyalty and  marriage vows

I also love the posts where she shares how to make things like corn dog muffins or your own shampoo.

So go check her out and tell her I said hello!

Five Question Friday!

Happy Friday Ya'll!!

Its time for 5 Question Friday with My Little Life! With the time difference I always forget to link up but hopefully I'll remember this week. Here are the questions:

1. What were your school colors?
High School- Blue and Green.
College Purple and Gold. Our mascot is the Valkyries.
2. What's the best compliment you ever received?

It probably had something to do with my writing. That, and Mr. Groom telling me he thought I was better at sharing than I said I was.


3. Do you buy cheap or expensive toilet paper?

Charmin, usually.
4. Have you ever had a surprise party thrown for you? Or have you had one for someone else?
Yes! My 18th birthday was a suprise party. We played twister and had a cake fight. It was awesome


5. What is one material possession that you "can't live without"?
 
I've been without my laptop for a while now and I miss it. It's got all of my wedding planning, school stuff , writing stuff and recipes. I can't wait until the night of August 24th when I can charge it up and get everything sorted back out!

What are you answers?

On My Own

Today is the last Thursday Five you'll see from me because Mannland has stopped hosting them. This one I'm doing on my own because I'd been looking forward to it. After this week's, I'm going to start posting a list of things that made me happy/grateful/excited/joyful/estatic/bouncy or that simply brought a smile to my face. I'll be posting them as Saturday Smiles and including a Linky for anyone who wants to link up. You can write a post specifially for the Saturday Smiles linkup or you can link a post you'd written earlier in the week-as long as its relevant. So check back July 31st for the first edition of Saturday Smiles.

Here's my last five:

1. I won two food  related giveaways this week!
2. I got a letter in the mail today.



3. I was able to borrow two new books to read- The Host and Life of Pi


The Host: A Novel    Life of Pi

4.  I ate heavenly rich chocolate gelato (twice...sssh!). And it cost around $2.

5. Mr. Groom's sister called and told him about a job opening for a principal at a private school. The deadline to apply isn't until after we get back from S. Korea. Keep your fingers crossed! If he gets the job, I'll be moving to PA. Anyone from there?



PS: Don't forget to visit this weeks ABC Post: J is for Journaler

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

J is for Journaler

I have always had journals. People always give them to me for birthdays and holidays. I have many that, as a child, I only wrote in for a few pages and then tossed aside.

Recently (maybe since 2007), I have started to write in them more often. One of my goals on my 101/1001 list it to write daily and writing in my journal is one of the  ways I accomplish that. I also count blogging, and of course creative writing, whether it be a poem or a character sketch.



In my journal I writer down my thoughts about the day, or my plans for the day or tomorrow. I write lists. Just this morning I started a list of 15 recipes I want to try-in preparation for completing number 44 on my list.  I write down wedding ideas and blog post ideas. I've made comparison charts for things like my bridesmaid gifts and I've started on a wedding day timeline. Occasionally, I start writing prompts in my journal. I have another journal that I glue quotes into.  I often write down my prayers in my journal. I am a better writer than speaker so I find that when I write my prayers I don't "fumble" for words as much. God made me a writer for a reason.

My journal serves as a record of my thoughts but also as a planning tool and a spiritual tool. No one is allowed to read my journal but me. My journal is the grown-up version of my imaginary friend.

Do you keep a diary or journal? What do you use it for?


Oh! One last thing! I found out about this thismorning and figured it would tie in perfectly with my post about journaling.







Its a commitment to 31 days of being creative- whether it be through scrapbooking, decorating, cooking or simply journaling. Even though I won't be able to do much besides journal as the 31 days ends soon after I return home I will be journaling and possibly sharing some writing on the blog over the next 31 days. So, if you'd like to join the challenge, head on over and check it out!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

French Toast?

Last night I thought I'd make french toast for dinner. I'd never made french toast but had seen it made, and looked up a few recipes to make sure I would do it right.

I didn't have the cinnamon that I usually love on my french toast so I mixed honey in with the eggs and milk. But I used a really light hand with the honey because I am running low and really don't have it in my budget to buy more and only use it a few times.

The toast came out yummy but I think I used too much eggs or not enough milk to balance out the eggs. I liked the toast but it wasn't the slightly sweet treat I'd hoped to cover in banana and pieces of chocolate. It was way to eggy. So I ate my egg toast with a side of bananas covered in chocolate bits.

Not a culinary masterpiece but it sure was yummy.

And on a side note: My mother is suppoused to be sending me a package filled with granola bars (I'm a huge snacker) and peanut butter. So hopefully I can make peanut butter toast soon!

What'd you make for dinner last night?

Go Win Wednesday

Limited

ENDS TODAY. USA and Canada. Win a CSN gift certificate.
USA and Canada. Ends July 24th.Win a CSN gift certificate.
USA only. Ends August 6th. Win a lovely candle!
USA only. Ends July 23rd! Win 100 postcards.
USA and Canada only. Ends August 14th. Win a purse holder/hanger.
General

Ends July 28th. Win $40 to spend at MB Arts Studio.
Ends July 25th. Win 100 postcards.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Music: A bit of wedding planning

As Mr. Groom used to work as a DJ he has taken it upon himself to write out a playlist for our DJ. Until that list gets finalized I want to share with you the songs we've picked as our special songs:

Bridal Party Entrance: Jackson by Johnny Cash

Our First Dance: You Belong to Me- Duprees  (One of our two songs. We hope  to dance to "Amazed" by Lonestar later in the night. )

Father Daughter  Dance: TBD

Mother Son Dance: Some Ozzy Osbourne somg I can't remember the name of

(Background Music) Bouquet Toss: This One's for the Girls- Martina Mcbride

(Background Music)  Garter Toss: I Just Can't Help Myself- Five Tops

Anniversary Dance: Remember When by Alan Jackson

Last Slow Song of the Night: Everything I do, I do it for you- Bryan Adams

Last Song of the Night: Please Come Home for Christmas- The Eagles



Any suggestions for the Father Daughter Dance? What did you/will you dance to?

Why I Will Never Buy From Uprinting

I recently won two giveaways from Uprinting- I won a banner and 500 business cards.

Both times the prize came with a rather short deadline for ordering. I wasn't able to order my banner because I was on vacation and wanted to use pictures I had saved on CDs. And so the deadline to order (not claim, order) the banner passsed.

And now I'm trying to order the business cards. First, you have to upload your own design. When I won postcards from Vistaprint they were very generous and let me choose two of their designs to use.

Now, that I have designed my own cards there have been technical problems with my proofs which caused me to recieve several emails from several different represntatives each requesting me to do another thing. And none of them knew anything about me being contacted by someone else.


The proof  issue has been resolved but now they are trying to charge me for the business cards. The computer generate message I keep getting tells me  that the coupon code they gave me has expired- even thought the deadline is not for another 10 or so days. I've sent one more email and if its not resolved at that, I am to the point where I don't care anymore.

Because of this experience I will never buy from Uprinting and will never have a Uprinting giveaway on my blog.  Before I  won the giveaway I never considered Uprinting a suitable alternative to Vistaprint because there prices are so much higher. Now that I have worked with Uprinting I now KNOW that the are not worth my business.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Seven Good Things This Week

Since I didn't get to do Thursday Five this week I thought I would share some good things that happened to me this week:

1. My first guest post went live this week! I'm so excited. You can check it out at the Plunge Project.

2. We had dinner plans with a big group on Saturday. We had duck and then went to karoke.

3. At dinner we meet a very nice English couple. They are new at Mr. Groom's work and will be moving into our neighboorhood on Tuesday.

4.. I bought yummy, fairly fresh peaches this week. I'd been craving them for awhile.

5.We have around 5 weeks until we're both on a plane home.

6. I was able to buy 140 address labels for just over $3 this week from Vistaprint. We'll probably use them to address the RSVP cards with.

7. 50 First Dates came on last night- and in English.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Quick Book Review: The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

I finished reading this book a few weeks ago and did not want it to end. I tend to be iffy about Nicholas Sparks books because they are often on the "do not cross" line between romantic and cheesy.

The Rescue, however, was a far from cheesy as it gets. The story felt so real and believeable I did not want to put the book down. If you like Nicholas Sparks, or are on the fence about him I think you should give this book a try. I  hadn't found a book of his I really liked enough to recommend since I read The Notebook a few years ago. Yes, the book is somewhat formuliac- but aren't most romances? Thats the reason many people read them.

But this book is far from dull and I couldn't guess what was going to happen next in the plot line. Its the story of  a woman whose son has speech problems and their interactions with the volunteer fireman who rescued him.

Two great love stories in one.

Want a copy? Have you read it? What did you think? What is your favorite Nicholas Sparks book?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Vistaprint

A while back I won postcards from Vistaprint and used them as my wedding Save the Dates. I just bought 140 return address labels from them for a little over $3. They always have great deals and great designs, so I suggest checking them out.

If you buy something from Vistaprint within the next two days you can get up to 80% off! Is that a good deal or what?

Just use this link:

http://vistaprint.tellapal.com/a/clk/n5Jxd

First Guest Post!

My first guest post went live today.

Exciting!

So go check out the Plunge Project to read my post about choosing a wedding theme!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I is for Inquisitive

Did you think I'd forgotten about this weeks ABCs challenge? Truth be told, I almost did. I looked at Mr Groom the other evening and said "Oh, no! I haven't done I." And he looked back at me like I was a loony toon.

I am very inquisitive. I'm always asking questions, wanting to know the who, what, when, where and why of things. I think its the why question that most irritates Mr Groom. I' m always asking "Why do you think she said.." or "why do you think he did...?" It drives him batty.

Oh, because of my inquisitiveness and the fact that I was quick to point out that I am not a cat and therefore won't die from my curiousity, Mr. Groom has taken to calling me "Nosey McNoser".

I really can't help it. Its what fuels my journalistic desires, what helps me to write thought proving poems and stories. The what if factor.

But I am trying to work on my habit of asking Mr Groom who was one the phone everytime it rings because he tells me that one drives him super batty. I'll ask and he'll say "Was it for you?". And I'll stammer back "No, but.." And then he shoots me the look.

Just the other day I saw what I thought were peaches- but they were a lot lighter in color than the peaches I am used to seeing. So I asked him :

'"Do you know what those are?"

"Nope"

"Don't ya think they look like peaches?"

"Didn't I just say I don't know what they are?"

Men.

Go Win Wednesday

Just a few giveaways this week. Good luck!

LIMITED

USA only. Ends July 22nd.  Win a Chocolate Bliss book and quality vanilla.
USA and Canada. Ends 19th. Win $60 to spend at CSN stores.
Ends July 30th. USA and Canada only.  Win Gummy Bear Soap!
USA only. Ends August 6th. Win a beautiful necklace.



GENERAL
Ends July 21st. Win a set of personalized notecards.
Ends July 20th. Win a rubber stamp. \

Our future depends on...

Math, Science and Technology. These are the things that will help America being about a new age. Have you seen the commercial?

I'm sick of it.

Math, Science and Technology are over promoted. College students majoring in a related subject recieve more scholarship money.

I'm sick of it.

If we're focusing on bringing about a new age, then I think the things that will make the new age happen are creativity, compassion and communication.

We need people who can clearly communicate their ideas. People who can speak multiple languages and switch between them in order to create compromises or team up and develop cross country solutions to worldwide problems.

We need people who care. People who want to figure out a way to get surplus food to the starving. People who put people before their bank accounts or desires for fame. We need people who want everyone to be able to afford healthcare. We need people who are willing to reach out to others in times of crisis- whether it is local like serving at a soup kitchen or global like providing medical relief after natural disasters.

We need people who can devise creative solutions to our problems- like world hunger. We need people to create art that expresses big ideas or helps us to unite as one race-human.

Yes, math, science and technology can and in a lot of cases must play a role in the things I've mentioned above. But they are not the end all be all. We need a balance and if that balance isn't achieved we won't be successful.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Christmas in July

Its not Wednesday but this is worth letting you know about ahead of time. Some Days You Gotta Dance is hosting Christmas in July this week. Here are the shops/sites that are being featured this week:


* All Things Pretty

* Cutie-Patooties

* Sugar Owl Design

* Blue Artichoke Designs

* Little Bittle Designs

* Childish Thoughts

* Melissa Hardin Photography
 
So go check it out!

I'm Hungry and in Korea

I'm hungry, in Korea and tired of sandwiches, fast food and breakfast food. I have a stove top and a grocery store that sells a handful of recognizable ingredients. What do I make?

Hot Dog Stir Fry (Kinda)

Ingredients:

2 hot dogs, cut into "beanie weenie sized" pieces
1/4 of a red pepper chopped
1/4 of  yellow pepper chopped
2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 slice of cheese
mustard


Season the potatoes- my limited supply caused me to salt and pepper them and then cook them in corn butter. Cook up the veggies and hot dog pieces in a pan-potatoes first until they're soft and and then everything else. Top with cheese and mustard. I started out trying to grate the potatoes, but the potatoes were too small for me to grate them without chancing a finger. Tastes kinda like a hot dog and fries. Is quite possibly kid friendly.



The bread was suppoused to be cheesy bread but upon biting into it I discovered it to be a plain dinner roll. Slightly dissapointing.

Man I miss "regular food", but this was a good break from sandwiches and breakfast food.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Happy Friday!



1. What is one food you could eat everyday?


Chocolate. But you probably knew that already. So we'll go with berries.I love berries.

2. Are you working in the career you thought you would be when you were 18?

Hmmm. Once I have a career I'll get back to you.


3. What is something that you wish you would have done when you were younger and you didn't?

two things- been an exchange student in high school and learned a foreign language as a child. If I have kids they are going to learn when they're young.

4. What color are your kitchen walls?

Well.....I'll get back to you when  I have a kitchen/ Hopefully this fall.

5. Do you remember what your very first favorite song was?
Yes, I do.

Oh, you want to know what it is?

Achey Breaky Heart- Billy Ray Cyrus. I had the tshirt and everything.

What are your answers?

Thursday, 8 July 2010

More Etsy Goodness

Here are a few more of my current etsy loves:

This is so beautiful its making me rethink my decision to DIY my ring bearer pillows:


I love oceans and charms, so this is perfect:





I have a thing for antique keys
:




Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Chocolate in Changwon

After reading on Kraft Foods' facebook page that Wednesday was National Chocolate Day, I thought I'd do a post about the chocolate I've had in South Korea.

I've had three kinds of Chocolate bars:

1. Toyou




None of the chocoalte I've had tastes bad- but I haven't tried anything high quality either. I'd say this and and the Ghana flat bar are similar to the Hershey bar. I think its interesting that the bar seems to be called "To you", but that the brand name is whats printed on the chocolate- same with the Ghana flat bar. Until the other day, every time I'd eaten the Toyou bar or the Ghana flat bar the chocolate was quite bendy and never snapped when I broke it into pieces. And quality chocolate should snap. When I mentioned this to Mr. Groom he pointed out that the stores here don't usually run airconditioning so the chocolate is usually melted when I buy it which is what is making it bend. He's so smart. So now I put my chocolate in the fridge after I buy it- it snaps and tastes a little better too.

2. Ghana




This Ghana bar is similar in style to a Snickers- but the filling is different. Its peanuts, peanutbutter and sometype of nougaty filling. Its at least twice as chewy as a Snickers and costs close to eighty cents. A Snickers here cost around $1. As does the Toyou bar.

3. Ghana- or what I call Ghana Flat

I don't have a picture for you because the last time I ate one I thought I'd already taken a picture. Its very similar to the Toyou bar. In fact, I can't taste the difference.It costs about the same as the Toyou bar too. It drives me insane that its called a Ghana bar but is obviously quite different from the above Ghana bar. Its got Lotte stamped on it (brand name). Lotte owns freaking everything. There is a Lotte grocery store, Lotte cinema, Lotte department store. Restaurants and convience stores sell Lotte brand drinks and food.

Heres the corner of the Snickers style Ghana package where you can see the brand (look closely and in the corner):


Incorporating Thursday Five


Yesterday I got really excited when I realized that that today was Thursday and I could post my Thursday Five. Doing this blog exercise really helps me keep my mood up, focus on small things that make me happy, and reflect on things I'm thanksful for. I've been trying to have myself thin of things at the end of my day that were good things. Also, I like thinking about things I'm thankful for and incorporating them into my prayers.



Happy
Giddy
Joyful
Excited
Appreciative

1. Today is Mr. Groom's 31st birthday! Its his last birthday before we get married and his third birthday that I've known him (although on the first one he let his birthday pass by without telling me). Tonight we're going out for duck when he gets off work and I'm  getting all dolled up for him in a cute dress and heels. Hopefully my hair will behave.

2. I went to Dunkin Doughnuts this morning and ate a chocoalte waffle and a powedered doughnut stuffed with pineapple. Yummy!

3. I've been on several enjoyable walks this week to my special excercise spot. I'll do a post later showing you the trail I take and the exercise equipment at the top of the hill

4.Its mail time!I got a precious moments card from my future mother-in-law this week and a letter from my roomate Lyric (I love precious moments!)

5. Mr. Groom seems  to be moving out of the dark spot he was in and is returning to his usual cheerful, jokester self.



Thursday Five

What things made your week?

Book Review: Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson

I have to start off by saying that I have loved everything I've ever laid my eyes on that was written by Mr. Bryson.

This particular book is a record of Bryson's second trip across Europe. He starts his adventures in a small town in Norway, hoping to see the Northern Lights and ends it at the edge of Europe- in Istanbul.

Bryson writes about his fear of ordering off a German menu, his frequent stops for coffee, trying to trace a trip he took in his younger days, his frustrations dealing with public transport or in some instances the lack of, and conversations he imagines strangers having as he waits his dinner- which he hopes is not eyeballs and pigs trotters.

While this is a travel book it does not read like a travel guide. It is fully of Bryson's witty sarcastic humor that will have you rolling on the floor (or in my case park bench with Asian women staring me down). I highly recommend this and any other book by Bill Bryson. And that is  why I recently added it to the ATM carousel.

Have you read it? What'd you think?

Haven't read it? Get your copy here:

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Go Win Wednesday

Good luck! Let me know if you win! Remember- the General catergory means the host blog didn't specify if the giveaway was open to all or not.
ALL

Ends July 14th. Win a lotus flower necklace.

GENERAL

Ennds Juy 19th. Win a $25 gift certificate to KAMsnaps.
Ends July 13th. Win a Holly Days product of your choice.
Ends July 14th. Win a tropical tote....I want this bag pretty bad. Its too cute!
Ends July 13th. Win a tiny tokens necklace.
Ends July 23rd. Win $100 to spend at CSN. (I would totally buy an ice cream maker if I won. )
Ends July 21st. Win a family planner!
Ends July 18th. Win a cleaning product.

LIMITED
USA and Canada only. Ends July 30th.  Win a Savvy Cents Wallet. (I love these!)

Weekend Recap

This weekend was quite enjoyable- even if I didn't get to spend it cooking out, making festive desserts and watching fireworks.

Saturday we met our Korean friend A, one of her friends and two Belgian guys for dinner. We went to a place called Meat Home. It was very literally just that. For a little under $12 a person we experienced an all-you-can eat meat buffet. The meat sits out, uncooked buffet style and you pick out what you want and cook it yourselves at your table. We had beef and amazingly yummy pork and excellent sausages. We even ate dumplings stuffed with meat. There were also vegetables but they came fried. I ate something similar to corn fritters and random assortments of veggies all cut up and fried together. It was quite delicious. We ate for two hours!

After dinner we went down to the WABAR (which according to the sign stands for western ice bar-somebody messed up with that one) so that we could show the Belgian guys where they can get Belgian beer. We all hung out, drank, told jokes and laughed. It was so wonderful to be around a bunch of English speakers (I think the Belgians said they know 4 languages)--people who could understand sarcasm. You don't realize how much you miss it until you're around it  again.

Sunday was the usual two small pizza's-pineapple for me, spicy taco for him. And lots of relaxing and resting from the night before.

I think next weekend the girls and I headed to the beach for the day!

What was your weekend like? Did you do anything exciting for the fourth?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Trying My Hand

I've been seeing a lot of Top Two Tuesday posts but somehow I've never caught on. So here it is this week, my first try at a Top Two Post.


This week we're suppoused to name our top two favorite purchase of the year.

My most favorite purchase of the year (also happens to be my most expensive purchase of the year):





My wedding dress! I love it. Its all lace and quite flowy. After the wedding I'm considering having it cut down to a party dress- I love it so much I'd like to  get more than one wear out of it. But at the same time I want to keep it special.                     

Favorite Purchase #2:



Earrings! I love earrings to begin with but these are even more special because I bought them for my wedding. I tried to think of at least one non wedding related item but this was the second thign that came to mind.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

H is for Homemade

I love things that are homemade-whether made by me or by others. I love things that are homemade because they are often one of a kind, heart felt and twice as tasty as store bought. One of my roomies, "Lyric" knitted me a scarf for a birthday gift and I couldn't have loved it more- its was the perfect shade of red and had my initals knitted into it- how lovely.

I love to make homemade desserts because they taste so much better than store bought, they're better for me-fresher ingredients and less processing -and making them is a great stress reliever. For the same reasons I can't wait to begin cooking dinner nightly.

I love to make homemade cards. I get to make beautiful things to share with my friends and family. I feel like the homemade cards says "I care" on a so much more personal level than a store bought card. That being said, I still love my frequent trips to Hallmark. With my leftover cardmaking supplies I've started to make bookmarks and gift tags.

Becaise of my love for homemade I want to expand my DIY skills and learn to make more things on my own- and if not make them completely than personalize them to better suit our tastes.

My love of all things homemade has led me to become an etsy addict. I can spend hours searching for a homemade something or other. I've recently bought a super cute apron (my sewing skills are subpar), my wedding garter and wedding earrings from etsy.

What are your favorite things to make at home? What is the best homemade gift you've ever recieved? What do you wish you had the skills to DIY?

Getting to Know You Sunday

The questions..




1. What do you look forward to the most on the 4th of July?

Fireworks. I've always loved to watch fireworks. They're so beautiful. I can't believe I'm missing them this year. I guess I'll have to be content with the sparklers at my wedding.

2. Are you a hugger?

Not really. But I am a cuddler.

3. What is your favorite BBQ'd food?

Chicken.

4. Do you like to watch parades?

Yes. I love to see all of the neart floats and all of the lovely children. I would love to make it to the Rose Bowl Parade or Macy's Thanksgiving.

5. Who has stinkier farts..boys or girls? Boys. Duh.

6. Vampires or Werewolves? Umm I'd really not have either coming after me.

7. Do you read your horoscope? Not really. Sometimes if I catch a gkimpse of it one the page I'll read and laugh along.

8. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Moosetracks or Rocky Road or Butter Pecan or Chocolate PB.

I've won two awards!

Okay, I won one a while back but, again, I've been slacking and haven't gotten around to sharing.

Thanks to more than a mommy for giving me this:



I've got to pass the award on to more bloggers. I've recently added some new blogs to my reader and they've quickly become favorites. So without further ado, here's my list:





The second award is from The Answer is Chocolate. Thanks!


I'm suppoused to share seven  facts  about myself and pass it along to bloggers I think are fantastic.

Here are my 7 facts:

1. I love smores. I'll make them any time- over a campfire, in the oven, in the microwaye.
2. I don't like wearign socks but I have a "thing" for cute socks.
3. I'm left handed.
4. Dolphins are my favorite animal.
5. I love stuffed crust pizza. I could just eat  the crust and be happy.
6. My fiance and I argue over what my birthstone is.
7. I love charm bracelets-but since mine got stolen a few years ago I've been reluctant to replace it.
8. I love shows on TV  land - Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, Andy Griffith, Gilligans Island, I love lucy, etc
9. When I was a kid my favorite cartoon was David the Gnome but when I ask other people about it they don't remember it.

10. I love vegetables so much I could be a vegetarian out of neccesity and wouldn't put up much fuss.

Here are the people I'm passing the award on to:




Friday, 2 July 2010

A lot of people don't know...

That I would love  to own a bakeshop/cupcakery.

Seriously.

I know I'm not talented enough to be the main baker-even after some classes I just don't think I have the coordination to be able to efficently produce enough treats or ice them properly. But I've got a fabulous idea for  a cupcake shop/bakery. I've got the name worked out, some flavors tested and half of a business plan written. What can I say, I'm a marketing minor with a sweet spot for cupcakes.

Mr. Groom's even suggested I think hard about opening a shop. But he's never really seen me bake-hes only tasted the results. I'd love to be the one who owns the shop, tests out recipes and handles the management and the marketing. Heck, I wouldn't even mind being the lady behind the counter doling out the goods,  but I'm not sure I'd enjoy- or could make the shop profitable if I were the one doing all of the baking. But I am considering taking decorating classses and maybe a few baking lessons to see just how good I could get.

Its definitley something I want to put a lot of thought into a few years down the road. I'm also considering opening an Etsy shop as a test run- once I have my own kitchen!




Another post inspired by a Mama Kat assignment.

Happy Friday: Five Question Friday

1. What is one thing you miss the most about childhood?


Not having to worry about anything...now that was nice. Would I trade back? Probably not because so far its only gotten better

2. Are you still friends with your friends from high school?

I am friends with a few but we're not as close.


3. Is there a catch phrase, cliche, or word that just drives you bonkers every time you hear it?

I hate hate hate the use of "TY" for thank you. TY is a brand of beanie babies or the first name of the Extreme Makeover's host. It does not show your appreciation.





4. What is one thing that you think symbolizes America...besides "Old Glory"?

I've always loved the song My Country Tis of Thee...(and apple pie)

"My country,' tis of thee,

sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims' pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring! "



5. What are your 4th of July weekend plans?

As I'm in South Korea I'm going to miss out on all the cookouts and fireworks-which I love. Just means I have to do it up big next year (after all it'll be my first fourth as a mrs.). We'll probably go to the Meat Home (a buffet restaurant that specializes in meat) and get pizza on Sunday. Maybe call the folks.

What are your answers?
 

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Wedding Inspiration Search

Since I'm spending my summer in South Korea I can't actually DO a lot of  things for the wedding but I can look for ideas. Here are some ideas I've been tossing around.

Programs: I'd been thinking making wedding programs  that look like passports. But I've found a less time consuming and much simpler idea that still ties into my travel theme.  I want to make them look like luggage tags. I can make them luggage tag sized like a little book or I can make one bigger luggage tag.

Fauxtobooths:  Back when I was planning a Spartanburg wedding I wanted to have a photo booth. Now, a "passport photo booth" defintely fits into my theme. But now its not in my budget or geographic location. So I've been inspired by these pictures and am tossing around the idea of making my own booth. Have any of you done this or seen it done? I think my dad could easily rig something up and that I could convince a few of my cousins or sisters friends to hang out and take the pictures. I really love the idea of having props like the picture frame and chalkboard.


Now this one is super cool:



Shoes: I want my shoes to bring a (realitively hidden) pop of color. Mr. Groom wants me to stick with the classic white. I'm thinking about compromising with these babies:

 via
Additonal Thank You Cards: I won some free Thank You cards from Vistaprint, but unless only 1/6th of the people I invite get us a gift they won't be enough. So I'm thinking about buying these airmail inspired notecards:


Stamps: I've been working with the Paper Nickel Stamp Company to find vintage stamps that give the feel of travel. They've put together some great combinations at great prices. I'll share them with you once I pay for mine.

Out of Town Bags: Since my wedding is travel themed I think it would be appropriate for me to have little souveneirish treat bags for my guests that have to come from out of town. But I have to decide this a little closer to the wedding to make sure my budget will allow. I'd want to include driving directions, restaurant information, homemade cookies, hot chocolate packets and preferably Carolina Gold grits or rice. I'd like to keep the bags simple and design them with this in mind:



If you have any suggestions relating to my travel theme or recommendations for any of the above items I'd love to hear it. And I'd appreciate it very much if you wanted to send me a blank postcard from your city/region/state/province/country for us in my wedding guest book-just leave a comment letting me know and I'll get you my address.