Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cookie Delight

I took this as a dessert last night and forgot how good it is; everyone loves it.  I first had Cookie D sometime in college, when Frances made it.  It was a staple dessert for Jenn as well.  It is incredibly easy to make and people love it.

  • Chips Ahoy cookies; I use reduced fat (1-2 bags depending on the size of your dish)
  • Milk*
  • Cool Whip; I use light (1-2 tubs depending on the size of the dish; 1:1 with the bags of cookies), defrosted
Pour some milk in a bowl and dip each cookie in the milk.  Layer a dish with cookies.  Spread a layer of defrosted Cool Whip on top.  Repeat and finish with Cool Whip.  Add crumbled (dry) cookies to the top for decor if desired.  Is best if refrigerated at least 2 hours before served.

* I tried almond milk at my aunt's and actually really liked it.  It's great if you're lactose intolerant (I am not) and only has 40 calories per serving.  It does have a bit of an almond flavor, but I like it.  I decided to buy it for this recipe; it was actually cheaper than regular milk as well.  Though I'm not a big milk drinker, I'm digging the almond milk.  (I've tasted soy milk before and was not impressed!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There is No Me Without You

I read a decent amount and I like most of the things I read.  But this book struck me in a way books rarely do.  Behind Radical, this book has made me think more than anything else I've read this year.

It was written by a journalist in Atlanta, who was compelled to learn more about the AIDS/orphan crisis in Ethiopia after seeing an article in the paper about it.  In There is no me Without You, Melissa Fay Greene beautifully intertwines histories of Ethiopia/AIDS/medicine with one woman's story of rescuing orphans in her home country of Ethiopia.  

One thing I've known, yet feel like I have been exposed to a great deal this year, is that life is complicated.  There aren't easy answers to complex solutions.  I think I'm especially tainted having grown up in America with all that that entails, coupled with an A-type/fix it personality -- to make me want to slap a band aid on someone with cancer and call it a day because I did something.  But that's not real life.  Real life involves much more than a band aid.  Greene showcases Haregewoin's personal journey of doing something.  It isn't always easy or neat and tidy, but she's taken in hundreds of abandoned children over the years, and has changed countless lives.

A clean-faced freckled girl sat humbly over her plate of food.  Haregewoin reminded her to wait for the blessing, then nodded that they could begin.  Genet dropped her face down into the plate and began shoveling and gobbling and swallowing so fast and noisily that Haregewoin looked up in shock.  Genet devoured everything in sight; she choked down the injera, dinich wat (potato stew), doro wat (peppery chicken stew), and an orange-hued, stew soaked hard-boiled egg, and another egg, then most of a sliced mango.  She pushed back from the table, belched, laughed, jumped up, cleared the table, washed the few dishes, and skipped off to her room

Haregewoin slowly registered what she herself had done: she'd compelled the teenager to grocery shop, move in, shower, have her hair done, and even bow her head in prayer - and all the while Genet was hungry.

She would never make that mistake again.  In case she ever hosted such a person in the future, she would know: when in doubt, feed first (100).

It is sometimes humorously suggested that if only the Coca-Cola company were in charge of getting ARVs to the most remote villages and isolated regions on earth - even those with high illiteracy rates and unreliable refrigeration - it would do so splendidly, accompanied by bright signs and billboards and nationwide advertising.  Everyone in the province would know the name of the product, what it did for your life, and where to line up for it (198).

Shedding tears, she felt she didn't care if she never saw the elegant house on Gojam Road again; while she would hurry, barefoot, down the dirt road, under the stars, if the police set her free, she would scurry back to her little foster homes.  The children in them were life, the thick of life, the very middle and sweetness and silliness of life.  Without the children in her two compounds, she had no life.  She wanted no other life besides the one she lived with them in noise and sloppy kisses and broken windows and the kicking of little feet in her bed at night (361).

Yohannes.  Holding a before picture and then weeks later after receiving ARVs:
Kids with Harewegoin at the compound:

Monday, August 29, 2011


Snatched a few pics from the weekend.  The family Eagles: my brother, Matthew, and my dad.
Granddaddy with his kids:
The whole Herring clan:
Granddaddy and I.  Please note the sign Virginia and I made and stuck in his pocket, "Hard of hearing; talk loud."
Me with Shannon:

A New Eagle

Saturday morning the rents and I headed to Charlotte to celebrate my youngest cousin, Matthew.  Mom was talking to her BFF Beth and Beth asked if Granddaddy survived Irene.  None of us even considered that it had hit Wilmington (oops!).  He was fine, but his garage is detached and the power was off and the thing to open the electric door sans electricity wasn't working.  Uncle Joe had to bust a window out, crawl in, get the car out, then load up Granddaddy to meet us in Charlotte.  {Side note: Granddaddy has never evacuated for a hurricane.  Dad has a vivid memory of him going outside in the middle of a hurricane to get something he wanted - the wind knocked him so hard that he was walking, bent over, at a 45 degree angle!}

Uncle Joe has been wanting to eat at this fried chicken dive for years and he finally got his chance!  Prices Chicken Coop was greasy and delicious!  This place fries 1,000 lbs of chicken daily, y'all.  It's to go only so some of us gorged in the car.  We headed back to Aunt Dean's house and got to work cooking for supper.  In true Herring fashion, we had a feast that night: salad with homemade vinaigrette, broccoli cole slaw, pork tenderloin with a spicy pineapple sauce, baked shrimp, grilled barbecue chicken wings, chicken salad, corn casserole, with coconut cake and banana pudding for dessert.  It was fun to be with family, along with some of their family friends.

Sunday morning we decorated the church for Matthew's Eagle Scout ceremony.  Of course, Aunt Dean went all out and had it catered.  The food was delicious and I think everyone loved it.

Granddaddy helped out with my dad's boy scout troop and Dad became an Eagle.  Dad helped with Nathan's and he, too was an Eagle.  Uncle Mike helped with Matthew's troop and he was awarded yesterday.  It was cool to see the boys celebrate together and it's been a long time since Granddaddy, his 4 kids, and all but one grandkid were together.  All in all, a great time with the family in Charlotte celebrating Matthew!

(Wish I had some pictures.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beauty in the Beast

Well, this made me think.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Long or Short?

I love Friday Night Lights and I love me some Tim Riggins.  Recently, Tim, who in real life is known as Taylor Kitsch, cut  his hair.  Such a tough call: the bad boy rebel with the kindest heart OR the man you could actually take home to your parents.

In the end, I'd have to go with short hair.  I'm just too into clean cut.  But I love that he has the ability to go greasy and still look just as good.


- people disappoint you.
- you thought a meeting was cancelled and it wasn't.
- you assume said meeting is in West Ashley and haul over there as quickly as possible.  Only to get there on time (yeah you did!) to find out it is actually downtown.
- you get a parking ticket while at said meeting.  You thought it would be an hour and it was more like three.
- you need to eat a (ok, 2) hot dogs and have a martini with a friend and laugh about life.
- you buy these hoping they will be good and they far exceed your expectations:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I have a friend from grad school, Ahmed, from Libya.  After Clemson, he headed home for a while, and then to work on a PhD in Canada.  When the way broke out, I emailed him to check on his family and he responded that he was home in Tripoli.  I emailed him a few times since then and never heard back.  Until today!  He gchatted me to say that he was alive and well!  I'm so thankful.

He and his family are just trying to stay alive during the war.  He lost an uncle in the fighting.  He hasn't really had internet since February.  No one is able to work.  His family is hanging in there.

I can't imagine that.  Sometimes I forget how good I have it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If I had a Boat

I recently recalled this fun little Lyle Lovett ditty.  Digging the Dave's version.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Annual Weekend of Fun

This past weekend, we had our annual B5 reunion.  I could tell you about the good food we ate, the barrel of margaritas we drank, and the laughs we shared...or I could let this picture say 1,000 words.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Haiku for the Single Girl

Krissie sent me this.  I adore it:

I walk alone, 
Bag covered in Cheeto dust, 
Should this depress me?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unrelenting Prayer

Last week, I read this book by Bob Sorge and it really challenged me a lot.  This line sums it up fairly well:

Would you be willing to give yourself to a lifetime of unrelenting prayer if it meant being available for one single moment of obedience (45)?

Sorge really made me think about time.  First off, that I should be communing with the Lord all the time.  Twenty four hours a day.  So that in all things I do, my heart is speaking to the Lord about it and lifting up things on my mind and listening to hear his voice and following his guidance.  So much so, so that your prayers are like incense: when they are over (incense burns out) an aroma is left behind.

Secondly, that the Lord's timing is perfect.  Yes, I've known this for quite some time...but he shed new light on it.  Thinking that sometimes God is brought more glory the longer you endure something.  Thinking that God is mighty to work but waits on the best time to do so.  Personally, this brought me a lot of peace when thinking about some areas of my life that I'd like to go ahead and have an answer or a game plan.  In the long run, and in God's calendar, what's another month?  Year?  Decade?  It isn't easy to live life this way, but I can only imagine how much freer and content my heart would be if I did.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I've never been a fan of oatmeal: too mushy.  Last week, while cruising through Trader Joe's with mom, I decided to snag some whole wheat steel cut oats and force myself to like them.  I hear they're healthy and seemed like a more reasonable breakfast than Cheez-its.

I gave it a try over the weekend and the result: I enjoy!  I cooked them al dente and don't like too much water in them -- they ended up with a grits-like consistency.  I added salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.  Sweet, but not too sweet.  Last night, I made a big pot for breakfasts these week.

Bring it on, steal cut!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tasty Treat

Sometimes you just have to go all out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mom & Moe's

I got an email from my mom yesterday saying dad was out of town and she was all alone; did I want to do supper?  Sure.  She called asked about cooking fried pork chops, rice & gravy, and okra.  While this did sounds amazing, I've been trying to eat healthy this week (salads at lunch; veggie burgers for supper), so I asked if we could do something healthy.

We played what I like to call the restaurant game:

Mom: What do you want to eat?
Me:  I don't care.  Name some places.
Mom: We could do Moe's, x, y, z.
Me: (Stopped listening after I heard Moe's.)  You'll eat at Moe's?  (Mom is SUPER picky!)
Mom:  Well...ah...
Me:  You suggested it!  Let's go there!  You can eat a quesadilla.

So we get to Moe's and there are about a million and one children.  I get the Moo and mom orders some fancy BLT chicken quesadilla with a sauce.  Of course she doesn't want the sauce on the quesadilla (see above = picky eater).  When mom is paying they ring it up then subtract a bit and she's like huh?  Turns out, its kids night.  Since she got a real meal and I got a kids meal, they didn't charge her for mine.  Score.  Mystery of a million and one children: solved.

Over the course of the meal:

  • Mom sees several people she knows in Moe's.
  • As I was being introduced to one, she asked where I was visiting from: James Island (20 minutes away).  Haha.
  • Turns out one fella, with Alzheimer's, LOVES coming on Tuesday's to sit and watch all the kids and commotion.
  • I got salsa for mom and my usuals.  She didn't like the one I got hers and stole mine.  Then she tried the green salsa but didn't like it because it was green (again, picky eater).  
  • I mentioned they also had corn salsa and she was eager to try it.  She ended up liking that mixed with a red salsa because she thinks salsa should be red.  Love it.
  • They forgot to give mom her sauce on the side.  Five minutes into sitting down.  Mom:  what do you think the sauce would taste like?  OMG, would you like me to ask for it for you?  She did.
Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty hilarious.  Going to Moe's with mom is like taking a child to an amusement park: they both get overwhelmed.  

But we had a great time together and it was fun.  We ended the evening by touring Mt. Pleasant's newly opened Trader Joe's!  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Atlas Shrugged: quotes I loved

She was turning to go, when the engineer asked, “If there’s any trouble, are you taking responsibility for it, Miss Taggart?”  “I am (24).”

Lillian moved forward to meet her, studying her with curiosity. They had met before, on infrequent occasions, and she found it strange to see Dagny Taggart wearing an evening gown. It was a black dress with a bodice that fell as a cape over one arm and shoulder, leaving the other bare: the naked shoulder was the gown’s only ornament. Seeing her in the suits she wore, one never thought of Dagny Taggart’s body. The black dress seemed excessively revealing – because it was astonishing to discover that the lines of her shoulder were fragile and beautiful, and that the diamond band on the wrist of her naked arm gave her the most feminine of all aspects: the look of being chained (131).

“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the rest of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders–what would you tell him to do?”
“I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?”
“To shrug (422).”

…sex is the physical expression of a tribute to personal values (455).

He did not lift her, he let her cry, with his arm tight about her. She felt his hand on her head, on her shoulder, she felt the protection of his firmness, a firmness which seemed to tell her that as her tears were for both of them, so was his knowledge, that he knew her pain and felt it and understood, yet was able to witness it calmly—and his calm seemed to lift her burden, by granting her the right to break, here, at his feet, by telling her that he was able to carry what she could not carry any longer. She knew dimly that this was the real Hank Rearden, and no matter what form of insulting cruelty he had once given to their first nights together, no matter how often she had seemed as the stronger of the two, this had always been within him and at the root of their bond—this strength of his which would protect her if ever hers were gone (783-4).

“For twelve years, you have been asking: Who is John Galt?  This is John Galt speaking.  I am the man who loves his life.  I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values.  I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world, and if you wish to know why you are perishing – you who dread knowledge – I am the man who will now tell you (923).”

Monday, August 8, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

I didn't know if I'd ever finish this book or not, but I'm proud to say that I did:  1,069 pages behind me.    I'd been wanting to read this book since graduate school and I'm glad I finally did it.  Regardless of your thoughts of Ayn Rand, you have to give the girl credit: it takes talent to write such a long book and keep it interesting.  I would love to take a class on Atlas Shrugged - there are so many theories and philosophies one could discuss.

I read this article a while back and found it worth pondering.  To sum up my thoughts, I'll say this:  I agree with Ayn in regards to business.  However, regarding personal matters, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I think we are called to love and serve others.  That can take various shapes, but part of that is helping those less fortunate than yourself.  Regardless, there's a lot of food for thought in these pages.  If you're a fast reader, or just a dedicated one, that enjoys pondering life issues pertaining to politics, the economy, relationships, and discrimination, I'd recommend it.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Krissie raved about this book and was kind enough to let me borrow her copy.  After reading Atlas Shrugged, I needed something quick, light, and funny.  Tiny Fey delivered.  I laughed my way through the book and totally recommend it.  Plus, I just adore Tina Fey.  This book feels like she's sitting across from you telling you stories and making you love her all the more.  Which, hanging out with Tina Fey for an afternoon or so is kind of a dream I have.  Plus, I'd want her to play me in a movie about my life.  The movie might be boring, but I'm sure she could liven things up.

Here are a few reasons why I loved Bossypants:

But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—BeyoncĂ© brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.

Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” was constantly on my FM Walkman radio 
around that time. I think that made me cry because I associated it with absolutely no one.

I only hope that one day I can frighten my daughter this much. Right now, she's not scared of my husband or me at all. I think it's a problem. I was a freshman home from college the first time my dad said, "You're going out at ten p.m.? I don't think so," and I just laughed and said, "It's fine." I feel like my daughter will be doing that to me by age six.   How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law. The Worldwide Parental Anxiety System is failing if this many of us have made sex tapes.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fun Surprise!

My brother gave me the Leatherman Micra that is now sitting in the Love Field TSA agent's pocket when I was in high school.  I told him that it was confiscated; of course he asked why I thought I could take it on the plane with me, but that's neither here nor there.

I was delighted to get home from work today and find a lovely surprise: Nathan sent me a new Leatherman Micra!  Isn't he the best brother?  It was such a fun treat.  Let's home I remember not to take it on the plane with me next time I travel.

You can't turn down this street; it's one way. Oh, we do.

As the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end."  We took a(nother) trip to McD's for breakfast and $1 bevs Sunday morning.  Courtney Molony was on a separate flight so we had to say good bye that morning.  The rest of our crew headed to Love Field courtesy of MOH, Gina, "the Asian."  We parted ways and made our way through the tiny airport.

What is it about TSA folks at tiny airports?  One worker was incredibly rude to the family in front of us.  And the dudes looking at the x-ray machine of your carry-ons were on a major power trip.  Seriously.  Courtney was randomly selected to have extra body searching.  My carry-on bag had to go through the x-ray machine twice.  Ugh.  Then the bag was pulled out and grandpa riffled through all of my stuff to show me I was not allowed to have my small pocket knife on the plane*.   I tried to explain to the manager that I wasn't planning to kill anyone; it didn't work**.  With our plane boarding in 5 minutes, my beloved Leatherman Micra that I'd had for over a decade went in the trash can***.

I met up with Courtney and Cameron and we boarded.  This time around, we just made a pit stop in Houston and then on to GSP.  The Festas were behind us from Houston to GSP and added a nice element of humor, conversation, snacks, and cute Patrick kicking the seat for about an hour.  Patrick and I had a race to see who would get their baggage first; sadly, I was not the winner.

We headed to Spartanburg and finished up our weekend of food by eating Zaxby's for supper.  Granted, lunch consisted of some pretzels and pita chips courtesy of Southwest.  Cameron and I had some good convos on the way to Columbia, zipped through Lexington Medical for a potty break, and then went our on ways home: her to North Augusta and me Back to Charleston.

I have to say the trip was a GREAT one.  Good times in a new city, great food, the best company, lots of laughing, dancing, deep conversations, meeting fun new people, seeing old friends.  Thanks for getting married (after all that time) Festa and Austin!  Dallas, until we meet again...

Sadly, Courtney Molony was detained in Dallas due to AC problems on the plane.  While she was supposed to land in Columbia before us on her fancy direct flight, that did not happen.  In fact, I got to Charleston before she made it to Lexington.  Sad day!

* I understand that this is a no-no.  However, I wasn't stopped in GSP and didn't think a thing about it.  If we're going to regulate, can't they all be on the same page?
** My liquid nasal spray, hand sanitizer, and eye drops (not in plastic bags) were perfectly acceptable though.
*** Or the TSA dude put it in his pocket.  Or it will go to one of those garage sales of things they confiscate...and some lucky dude will snag it for about $2.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Elizabeth Anne & Katherine Anne: Sisters, not cousins

The Courtney's were heading to the bridal luncheon, which left Cameron and I on our own sans car in the big city.  Not to fret: someone told us about an awesome walking trail we could hop on and get to many fun restaurants from.  Done and done.  We headed down this walking trail and were the only folks not exercising or in work out clothes.

At some point we realized we had no idea where we were going and there weren't really "exits" for food.  So we scooted off our little path and wondered through a neighborhood until we hit a street that looked like there might be some life on it.  We rolled the dice and went left.  I was relieved to see a normal looking dude on the street that we could ask advice of.  He told us we were definitely heading in the wrong direction and should go back the other way.  We'd come to a place with several restaurants, but he recommended going a few blocks further on McKinney and finding something good.  Turns out, his name is Reggie and he's a bartender not too far down the road.  He told us that if we stopped by, the first round would be on him.

Cameron and I cruised through the eat/work/live/shop area Reggie told us about.  If you don't want tacos and eggs for brunch, that place isn't for you.  So we took his advice and keep moving down McKinney.  I have to mention that I ate leftover pizza, again, for breakfast (I wake up hungry!), but was in dire need of a Diet Coke at this point.  We finally found the perfect brunch place -- the only one we saw in Dallas.  While waiting for a table, I noted the beautiful desserts and decided that I'd treat myself to one.  That counts as brunch, right?  As we were being led to our table, I rounded a corner to head up a flight of stairs and I heard Cameron, "EA!"  I turned around and what did I see: everyone we know in Dallas.  That's the exact place where the bridal luncheon was being held!  What are the odds?  Actually pretty good when brunch joints are not abounding.  Festa asked how we got there and was shocked when "walk" was our response.  It was fun to see them.  Apparently Bread Winners has amazing frozen mimosas and blinis.  I tasted Courtney's real quick and it was yummy.

First things first, I ordered a DC and told the waitress to "keep em coming."  She did!  Cameron ordered French toast stuffed with raspberry filling and had an amazing creme on top.  I ordered the Chocolate Seduction cake; it wins awards and such.  It might be the best cake I've ever had and seeing these pictures makes me want a slice right now.

We handed over our leftovers to the Courtney's and took a stroll down McKinney to find Christie's, where our old pal Reggie works.  To say that he was surprised to see us would be an understatement, but he was thrilled nonetheless.  True to his word, he treated us to a late morning beverage.  The sports bar was clean and well air conditioned.  It was fun to swap brief life stories with him and do something out of the ordinary.

Cameron and I headed home, thankful for a much more direct route, aka: no walking trail.  Festa left us with her car and we were able to drive the Courtney's to the church, we swung by McDonald's for a snack.  Who knew they had giant $1 drinks?!  We headed back to the house to get dolled up and cruised back over to the church.  The church is beautiful; the ceremony was sweet.  Festa looked gorgeous.

The reception was at this fun little hall on some type of water (I asked the bartender, Jose, but he didn't know what body it was). Wasn't the decor beautiful?  Loved the colors.  The food was good: mashed potato bar and prime rib were my favorites.  Oh, and the cake was really, really good.  The icing, divine.

We had a great time dancing the night away.

Such a fun trip with these ladies!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Are you in line for 31-60? No, 1-5.

We awoke Friday morning and waited for April to come pick us up (seriously, Festa has great friends in Dallas!).  While I ate leftover pizza for breakfast, no one else did, and I needed some Diet Coke ASAP.  We spent some time in Einstein bagel and then headed to April's pool.  She had some things to do and sadly missed out.  But the SC four-some had a good time getting some Texan sun and being silly poolside.

I booked my plane ticket at some point in February and from that point on, I was determined to eat at Chuy's (Maggie, you'll get there one day!).  Y'all, you should buy a ticket so that you can eat there, too.  They have yummy frozen concoctions for grown ups and the food is amazing.  They have some kind of spicy ranch sauce with cilantro that will rock your world.  The tortilla chips are paper thin and super crispy.  Courtney and I split the Chuy's special and it was awesome.  We weren't able to partake in this (due to timing), but apparently they have happy hour where there is an out-of-this-world cheese dip bar?!   OMG.  It's reason enough to make my way to another Chuy's.

After gorging ourselves, we headed home to shower and get spiffy for the evening.  Cameron and I entertained ourselves while everyone else was at the rehearsal and then we headed to the rehearsal dinner.  It was held at the YO Steakhouse and was very Texas.  The red wine was good; we were able to choose from a select menu.  Obviously, Courtney and I made a game time decision to get different things and split so we could maximize our experience.  Appetizer: seafood bisque and a salad with goat cheese, tangy dressing, apples, and caramelized pecans.  Main course: salmon with some type of sauce on a bed of rice (I think?  Courtney mainly ate this one) and filet, medium rare, served with mashed potatoes and crisp green beans.  Dessert: pecan pie and chocolate torte.  I guess you could say we ate well in Dallas.

After supper, I listened to some of the sweetest toasts I've ever heard.  I don't cry at weddings and crying at a rehearsal dinner is definitely atypical for me.  However, I teared up.  So, thanks for that, new found Dallas friends and Festa/Arial family.  What's the best way to dry up any tears?  KARAOKE!

We all headed over to Dallasite Karaoke bar.  I'm not even sure where to begin.  Personally, I had a blast meeting some of the other patrons.  That included Terry, whom I coerced into singing Sweet Caroline with me.  There were also many "regulars" that livened up the night.  However, nothing livened that place up like Festa's friend Morgan.  Wow.  She should take her show on the road.  She has an amazing voice; once paired with her outgoing and humorous self, you are left with a comedy tour/karaoke mixture that might make you piddle a smidge.  To say we had a good time would be a huge understatement.  Oh, and there was that time Festa's awesome friend Rebe sang Wind Beneath my Wings...and I stood behind her and did an interpretive dance.  That happened.  It was pretty awesome.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tell me what you want; I'll find a way to get there

I headed out of work on Wednesday and picked Cameron up in Columbia.  A short detour around a wreck (thanks for the help, dad!) and I was there.  We had so much fun catching up in the car and the drive to Spartanburg flew by.  We ate semi-bousee Mexican with Courtney that night in order to gear up for the big trip to Dallas.

We ran through Chick-fil-A and headed to Greenville early Thursday morning.  In order to arrive in Dallas as early as possible on Thursday, we went around our butts to get to our elbow.  We flew from GSP to Chicago (Midway) to St. Louis to Dallas.  We got a second round of breakfast in Chicago.  The flights were on time and not too long.  Cameron got a smidge sick twice.  Yikes!  We met the greatest flight attendant ever: Jon.  Seriously, he's a huge asset to Southwest.  I, of course, made a single serving friend from Chicago to St. Louis.

Festa, Courtney Molony, and April (new friend) picked us up from the airport and it was game on.  We were staying at Festa and Austin's house and so we settled in and got to know April a bit.  She's awesome.  All of Festa's friends are really.  Courtney detected a gas leak so we went to the mall while Festa took care of business at home.

A few notes on Dallas: to me, it felt a lot like Charlotte -- only bigger.  Traffic is much less intense than in Charleston.  No bugs.  No humidity.

We went to North Park mall.  Similar to Charlotte's South Park, but the stores were much more high end.  After cruising through Anthropologie and me finding my dream bag for the fall/winter, we needed to re-fuel.  After all, we'd only had two breakfasts.  Courtney and I split Sonic diet vanilla cokes (yes, this mall had a Sonic in it!) and chips/salsa/guac.  Delicious.  I was ready for some alone time and April took me home to shower while the rest of the crowd headed to the Container Store.

We met up with The Festas and some of Festa's other friends at Louie's for supper that night.  The pizza.  Wow.  It was great.   Festa told us the bar we were heading to afterwards had life size Jenga and Connect Four.  The Jenga pieces were, and I quote, the size of two-by-fours.  I'm going to be honest.  I was disappointed with the 10 inch blocks.  A few rounds of games and I was kind of done.  I noticed the bar across the street seemed interesting and decided to walk over to check it out.

Walking in was like walking in to a different country.  I saddled up to the bar and chatted with the gal next to me: Seline (with an S, not a C like the singer).  Turns out, she was on a date -- first date -- no less with Tim.  It was the first Tim she'd been out with since her ex husband (the things people tell you!).  I went back over to Barcadia to grab some of my gals.  Courtney Molony came with me and honestly, I never thought she could be so happy in a bar: it was the mecca of all bars for her: Beauty Bar.

To say we had fun would be an understatement.  She took pictures of everything.  We were amazed.  It was so fun and random and I am hoping she'll decide to open one up in SC.  You can get a manicure while drinking a martini!

After a quick stop at a friend's house to shoot some fireworks off the parking garage and a run in to CVS, we headed home to watch Modern Family on DVD and call it a night.