Moving On! a new blog site that is. I'm sure that Blogger has been excellent for others, but I've found that my themes give me trouble and the author-side features of Wordpress are more fun. So, off I go to a new blog to hopefully post more often and more interestingly and with greater ease.

Here's my new blog address :
Stop by and visit me!

Cupcakes and a Haircut

Cupcakes seem to be so in right now. Every other person is either opening a cupcake business or knows a great cupcake recipe and all the rest of us are craving cupcakes. And who could blame us? A cute tiny cake with pretty icing on top of it and deliciousness all throughout...heaven in a tiny paper wrapper.

By the way, the above picture is of my gigantic cupcake/cake carrier I got for Christmas. It's collapsible at it gets to a ridiculously large size that is actually comical it's so huge.

I've been on a major cooking and baking kick lately so Thursday evening my best friend Lindsay was over eating shrimp and grits with me at my house. You can find the recipe here. Oh and, for the record, I was fully satisfied with the results! I added a little bit of half and half and a couple of handfuls of shredded cheese to the grits and YUM!
Anyway, after supper I was thinking aloud "wouldn't it be lovely to have a nice fat cupcake right now?" to which my roommates and Lindsay said "YES!". So, I got out my checkered Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that was Mama Bertha's old one and is chock full of old tried and true recipes and got to work. At this point, it was almost 11pm so I needed to just use the ingredients I had in the house, which did not include confectioner's sugar--up until now I have no idea how to make a frosting without it!
I did however, have all of the ingredients to make the Cooked Orange Frosting and I must say, with Lindsay as my trusty assistant, we made some light, fluffy, silky and delicious cooked frosting!
Here's how you do it:
3 egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks
pour on a sugar/water mixture (3/4c sugar to 1/4 c water heated to 232 degrees)
Whip those two until they form peaks again. Then pour in 1/2tbsp of orange juice and whip again until thick.

It was way easier than I ever thought! Now that I have mastered that, lemon meringue pie is next on the dessert agenda. Wish me luck!

By the way, now I feel the need to mention how often it is difficult as a woman who is opinionated and often less gentle than I'd like to be for me to feel like my gifts and talents, which I know are from the Lord, are useful for His glory. It can be very discouraging to feel like your practical gifts are not as valid or important as someone else's...especially those who are gentle and their sins are less apparent to others. But I know and believe (even if I don't feel it) that a meal and hanging out with someone can truly minister to them and I want to use the gift of enjoying time with people and cooking--and hopefully being decent at it--to glorify the Lord, and that is what I will do.

Onto the haircut, here is the before photo:

A couple of weeks ago I decided to cut my hair again since it had grown out a considerable amount since August when I did the Locks of Love cut. I wanted to get basically the same haircut that I got last time, so I brought in a few pictures of celebrities with cute short haircuts that I brought with me last time. Before I had the chance to spook and change my mind, I handed my stylist the pictures and she got to chopping! One of the pictures (and my favorite cut out of the pictures I brought) was the picture about of Katie Holmes. My hair has natural wave to it and I thought would curl in a similar way if I let it air dry.

I was excited to get a fresh new look and get my split ends taken care of....but I did not know it was going to be THIS short:

Looking at these pictures it doesn't look all that short, but the back is shorter and I feel a little naked. I'm starting to like it more now that I've been able to style is some on my own, but it is a little frustrating to get used to a short haircut when you are not used to short hair.

Please excuse the cheesiness of this photo, I took this at work to send to Sara Jane so she could see my hair curly with my flower hairpiece in. I LOVE my flower clip! I felt funny wearing in the front of my hair when it was longer, but I think now that it is shorter that affords me more funky hair possibilities, including large silk flowers! If you're interested in hairpins like these, JCrew carries them (that's where I got mine...well, the JCrew Outlet clearance table) but I have seen some FABULOUS Etsy sellers making some gorgeous pieces! Like this one, which is small but so very charming and pretty. Sara Jane is also very into Etsy and even bought Christmas gifts from a few Etsy sellers who made some truly beautiful things.

In other news, I'm in a webpage development class right now which is like a completely different language. It's pretty stinkin' exciting though when I write a page of code and validate it and it works! Of course, what I'm learning is really elementary but to me it's like learning Mandarin Chinese and actually understanding it! I have to admit, I leave the labs feeling really proud of myself for making links that work all by writing's like magic. So far, the pages are really basic and boring but I'm looking forward to the end of the semester when hopefully I can build a successful website with my portfolio on it. I'll keep you posted on that.

Finally! Time to breath and post!

(photo of the Carriage House & on the blog)

I have been swamped with school work and HALLELUJAH this semester is over! I got 2-A's and 2-B's...somewhat disappointed I didn't get all A's, but I suppose you can't have it all.

Anyway, I am at a loss of inspiration at the moment and don't have anything too exciting to post about.

However, I would like to tell you about a new blog you should check out. It's for The Carriage House where I work in Statesboro. The Carriage House has interiors, furniture, gifts, and decor that is so beautiful! You can see pictures of the new items on the blog, and even become a fan on facebook! There you will find updates on the gorgeous new orders we get in, as well as special promotional information or anything else going on at the Carriage House.

I'll be back with something creative to blog the moment my mind is just in relax mode, and that so far, does not include much writing.

Dear Sweet Friend, Amanda

Amanda and her wonderful family (including her fur son, Calvin who is so cute and just like a little boy)

from the first trip to Haiti, caring for children at the clinic site.

Being such a great RN to the kids in Haiti

Me and Amanda at semi formal when we were both in Atlanta.

Recently, my dear friend Amanda left for Haiti to live for several months as a missionary/nurse. She knew that the Lord was calling her there and her heart was truly drawn to serve the Haitians. The original plan was for her to be there until Christmas time which if I remember correctly would be about 3 full months in southern Haiti. She was living with a family and was pretty much the only person who spoke English (except for a few others here and there). She sent out updates while she was there about all the the Lord was doing and what she was learning and even how difficult it was. I think every time I read one I cried.

It's so beautiful to see the Lord's work in some one's heart whether they know Jesus or not, and seeing my sister in Christ and very dear friend trust Him in circumstances that I have never faced and can't really imagine truly brings tears to my eyes. This work in her life and her work in Haiti has made me think, "How am I trusting the Lord and letting Him control my life? How am I leaning not on my own understanding but rather leaning on Christ and His sovereignty?" Does this ever burden your heart? I think it's a very important thing to think and pray through, especially living in middle class America where our greatest material needs are a new cashmere sweater and we can't see our need for Christ as desperately since we don't want for too much.

In case you didn't know, Haiti is a really volatile place right now. As much as I am thankful for the Lord calling Amanda to Haiti and for being able to share in that through prayer, it terrified me that she was leaving and going somewhere so dangerous. I cried the day she left. It's silly really, I obviously wasn't trusting the Lord in that. She is such a dear friend and even though I don't get to see her nearly as much as I'd like now that we live in different cities, she is truly one of the people I cherish most. There's something about the becoming friends in a hard time in life that brings people closer, and Amanda was a friend that I was so drawn to when I didn't have any friends when I first moved to Atlanta. I am so thankful for her and I praise the Lord for bringing her into my life and allowing me to get to know not only such a genuine and treasured friend, but her wonderful loving and godly family as well.

Amanda went to Haiti once before on a shorter trip (over spring break I think), and when she came to visit right before her departure in October, she told me all about what she saw. The poverty is so great there that starving families give their children dirt cakes made of actual dirt and sugar mixed together just to give them something to fill their stomachs. As you can imagine, this is terribly unhealthy and many children get parasites among other problems due to eating actual dirt cakes. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and although the American government has given money to help with the national hunger and poverty problems, it seems that the leaders of Haiti art not wisely spending that money to help the Haitian citizens. Amanda said that when she first got off the plane there were swarms of people fighting to help them with their bags and open doors, anything to make a little bit of money since there are no jobs and so many families are starving and barely scrapping by.

In her updates she shared with friends and family, Amanda shared some of the things she encountered (I'm sure there is MUCH more to share and I can't wait to fill you in on that once I talk to her) which included the very low health standards and the poor state that most Haitian children grown up in. It's heartbreaking to hear about the standard of life that people not so far away from where we live deal with every day.

If you feel led to give in any way to the cause of Christ in Haiti, please let me know and I can get you in touch with Amanda. There are needs in Haiti that she now has a better idea of how to fulfill and here are some specific things you can do to help: 1. PRAY! Pray for the hearts of Haitian people to turn to Christ and trust in Him for life and fulfillment even in the desperate state in which they live. Pray for Christian leaders who will be selfless and will be wise in making decision about caring for their people and spending the money they are given from other countries. That the Lord will be merciful and provide for the starving families and poor children who eat dirt cakes. 2. Give toys. Some Haitian children have never had a toy in their entire lives and many of the little girls make dolls out of coconuts. You can send toys to donate to Amanda and she will send them to the host family she stayed with in Haiti and they will hand them out in the villages. 3. Give money to purchase a laptop. Dr. Don, the doctor at El Shaddai orphanage would like a laptop so that he can organize their pharmacy, make a database of patients, and just better take care of the children who are in his care (there are 2000 of them!). Dr. Don needs about $900 to purchase this computer.

So, as I mentioned before, the original plan was for Amanda to be in Haiti for about three months, but she became very ill and had to return home after much less time than planned. She could not keep food down and was becoming very weak and just could not get better. She was so sad to have to return home, but it was necessary for her health that she come back and recover. I must admit, I'm very thankful that she came back. It's a terrible feeling to know that a dear friend is ill in a third world country and not be able to do anything (other than pray) to help. Not to make this about me, but this is teaching me so much about how little I trust the Lord. I want to be able to control everything and I cry or get so weighed down when I can't take care of someone with my own two hands. Anyway, Amanda is back in the states and has been for a week now. She was admitted to the hospital and seen by an infectious diseases doctor. Turns out, she has typhoid fever (which I think is actually a little bit cool to be able to say that later, it's like a battle scar) and is now on antibiotics and hopefully, prayerfully, on the mend. She is very sad and I can imagine disappointed that she had to return so early, so please pray that she will have peace in her heart with the Lord bringing her home before she had planned. Pray that even if she doesn't see His purpose now in bringing her back, that she will rest in His sovereignty and trust that His way is best. Also, please pray for healing for her body. Even though she is back in the states, and saying you had typhoid fever sounds cool, having it is clearly not cool so please pray that she will recover quickly and that the medications will continue to work and provide relief.

The Results Are In...

If you read my post here about the redesign of the Lakeside cafe on campus, you will know that our group placed in the top four and were to represent to a different panel of judges.

We represented on Friday of this past week, and on Saturday they announced the winners. OUR TEAM WON!!!! We are very excited and I can't wait to see the transformation. Please take a look at the earlier post to see the quick rendering the interior designers did and you can take a look at the branding and signage that Matt and I did.

The outside of Lakeside will mostly remain the same aside from extending a wall and balcony out for additional seating, but the inside will make a total transformation. Can't wait to see things begin and be a part of the change to the campus! Construction will start this May.

A little bit of my work

Some of these are recent, others are not as recent. I'll update more soon. Just switched to my new MacBook Pro and am still trying to figure out where all of my files are without adding them two or three times to the new computer. I LOVE this computer. Her name is Fiona Apple. Get it?! Much more to come... I realize I haven't posted in a while. I've been in hiding designing and studying and such non-stop. People warned me that senior year would be a challenge, but true to form I didn't listen and now it's gotten tough and I haven't slept enough. I will be posting proof of that (some of this included) so you'll believe me that I've been busy and am not just blowing smoke. More to come..stay tuned!

She's pretty good with a pen and paper for not having thumbs

My roommates and I received a wonderful letter and gift this week. Someone sneaked it into my car as I was packing it up to leave Augusta and head back to school. Inside of a gift bag was a beautifully wrapped box containing a tin of lemon straws. There was a card included with the gift inside a gold lined envelope on embossed border stationary written in beautiful cursive penmanship. At first I thought it was from Mama, but after reading I discovered the "true" author of the letter. It reads:

"My dear young ladies,
I would like to humbly apologize for my "indiscretions" during my recent stay in your lovely home. You were so gracious to allow me to visit, yet I repaid your kindness with repugnant manner and inexcusable actions. I was not raised to behave so.
I first sought to blame the aforementioned behavior on a touch of the swine flu. But now having had time to reflect upon my comportment during that week, I realize that I must accept full responsibility. Away at University for the first time, far from the watchful eyes of my parents, I fear that succumbed to youthful recklessness and rebellion. However, rather than gaining the "freshman fifteen" from excesses of beer and wine, I left my freshman fifteen on your parlor floor.
I now beg your forgiveness and hope that you will accept this small repayment for the anguish and disgust that I surely caused each of you. My sincere hope is that any lingering memories or me not be of the odoriferous kind.
Most sincerely yours,
S. Potato Roupe"

In case you don't remember, Tater (Sweet Potato aka S. Potato Roupe) came to visit for about a month ago for a week and poo pooed on the den floor in front of the TV 6 or 7 times throughout the week. It was ridiculous.

Someone was mighty clever to write this note and send a gift. We all got a kick out of it.

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