Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Few Last Vacation Pictures

After a blissful week in paradise (aka Nashvegas), we're back in Bowling Green. I've been struggling with that a lot lately. Rather than bore you with my inner struggle, how about we talk food!
This is a picture of the three of us at our second cooking class - Tuscan Dinner Party. We learned a lot in that class because the chef focused more on teaching us techniques than on just allowing us to follow the recipes. We cooked and cooked and then... We ate.

There were two other ladies taking the class with us, both were business owners and best friends for over 20 years. We had risotto, seared chicken (which I ate because we paid good money for that class and food!), tomato soup and dessert... The best not-chocolate-dessert ever.

That, my friends, is a baked pear with lovely sauces made of all kinds of things - but mostly sugar and cream - topped with brown sugar and cookie crumbs! It was DIVINE!

In the end, we had a lot of fun on our last few nights! I unclogged a toilet. We don't even know if it was clogged, but it wasn't flushing right and I took care of that business! Since it was my first time, I had Boogie take a picture of me. For one last hoorah, Mom and I made it to the pool for an hour Friday afternoon. It was such beautiful therapy time!

I'm back to my vegetarian ways, back in my Bowling Green home and starting my To Do Before School List.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vacation Day's 2, 3, 4 and 5

Today was our first day of cooking class! But before I dive into that, I'll briefly recap the past three days...

1. We went to Oasis Worship Center Sunday morning and spent a lovely few hours at the pool, chillaxing. Pastor Danny did a message on something he does best - worship. It was a fantastic way to begin the week!2. We watched my favorite movie of all time that evening - Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

3. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, The Bondinator woke up hungry. She was in a bit of a rush and pulled half of an Everything bagel out of the freezer. Placing the bagel on a cookie sheet, she flitted off to put on makeup. Remembering her breakfast, she ordered her sister to put the bagel in the oven on broil. Poor Boogie did as she was told, shut the oven door, and left the bagel to roast.
Or toast.
Or warm up.
Or whatever.
About five minutes later, just as The Bondinator rose to rescue the now-burning bagel, a sound like a gunshot went off. In one freaky moment, the glass inside the oven door shattered.

And we wept.

Not really, but I almost cried. We think it must have overheated. The Chef at our cooking class told us that most ovens have a heat sensor that shuts the oven down when the broiler overheats. He also said that the glass ought to have been able to withstand temperatures even hotter than the 500 that the broiler reached. The glass must have been defective. Warranty should cover the damages... I hope...

4. We had no time to worry about the glass incident. We had things to do! After quickly finishing makeup and hair, we went to see a friend in the hospital. She is 12 and is in the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital recovering from surgery. We enjoyed visiting with these old friends before we picked up a newer friend for lunch. The whole day was spent talking, eating and laying by the pool. It was delicious!

And then....

5. Once upon a time, Mom and I decided to leave the condo at 9PM and run some errands before bed. We were in a rush to reach Borders before it closed at 10, so with haste we put on our shoes and jackets. Suddenly, as we rushed out the door, Mom thought "I'll be passing the trash chute, I might as well take the bag out!" She casually dragged the bag down the hall. It was late and I followed, whispering, "Mom, stop it! Pick it up! The bag might break!" She merely giggled and hurried along. I turned my back for just a moment, and when I glanced up, glass shards from the morning's event were spilling trailing out of the bag and down the hall. "Mom!" I hissed, not wanting to wake the neighbors. She looked and gasped and tried to lift the bag but by now the damage was done and more glass spilled out into a large pile outside the trash room. We managed to get the bag into the room and down the chute, but not without emptying most of the glass onto the floor in the hall and trash room. Laughing too hard to say very much, I stumbled back down the hall to our condo. Boogie was on the couch, about to start some homework. "Come here! Come on! We need you!" I cried as I grabbed the broom and dust pan. We were in such a rush to reach Borders by 10, we left poor Boogie to clean up our mess. We were laughing so hard, the men on the elevator thought we were drunk.

6. Tuesday morning dawned bright and early. Boogie met up with Mr. President (her boyfriend) and went on an all-day-date with him. Mom and I made our way out to do some much-needed shopping. By the end of the day, I'd spent over $50 on skin and hair care. I also ordered these adorable boots from It was an offer I couldn't refuse!

7. We also ordered all our school books on Don't ask how much school books for two college students and a high-schooler cost. It's an unholy number.

8. Oh! My new watch finally arrived! I am so happy!

9. Wednesday we went to cooking class. We made three Thai dishes, all while learning about Thai food and special cooking techniques. At the end of class, we'd finished cooking and it was time to eat. We ate and ate and ate. Rather than make a fuss about the vegetarian thing, I had some of the shrimp and beef included in the dishes. There wasn't much meat and I was able to avoid most of it. It was also organic so I wasn't worried about the health factor. Over all, the three-hour experience was well worth the price and we learned a lot about Thai food! We took home both our leftovers and some wonderful recipes. I can't wait to try cooking again! Tomorrow's class is Tuscan Dinner Party.

10. Church again tonight! Looking forward to spending time with God, worshiping, and learning about the body of Christ.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vacation Day 1: Shopping

So, this is what we did Saturday. We basically spent the whole day at the mall. Oh, and I had a cupcake for lunch, half a Panini for snack, and Sweet Cece's for dinner. I call it the new "sugar & bread vacation diet." I told Mom that I can't keep eating like this. It's wreaking havoc on my system. I lay awake in bed until almost 1AM before the sugar/caffeine rush abated enough for me to sleep.

This is Mom and Boogie, enjoying their Panera treats. Their straws matched their shirts.

I really wanted to buy these Jonas-Brothers-style-Tortoise-shell glasses. But Mom wouldn't let me. She said they made me look dorky. I don't know what she was talking about.

Stores Visited:
Victoria's Secret
Brooks Brothers
Banana Republic
Ann Taylor Loft

Restaurants Visited:
Sweet Cece's

All in all, I'd say it was a great start to a great week!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's Girls Week! Partay!

It's Girls Week! Dad and the Cool Guy have gone on a Boyscout trip for - count 'em - 10 days.

10 blissful days of girl time.

10 days by the pool.

10 days of shopping, eating, etc.

10 days of estrogen.

Save me.

But really, here's what we're doing this week:
  • We're going to take two cooking classes at the Viking Store in Franklin, TN. Thai Cooking and Tuscan Dinner Party. I can't wait!
  • We're shopping. Today, we hit up Green Hills. We might make a trip to Hermitage to pick up a dresser.
  • We're setting up the condo for Boogie and I to live in this school year. We need things like a dresser, some way to store shoes, some cork board for jewelry and schedule stuff... Things like that.
  • We're doing lots of church stuff. We went to an old church last night to hear Mary Frances Vallaro speak and it was powerful. God moved in a major way and really told us things we needed to hear before we start the year. This will be my best year, yet! I just know it. We're going to Oasis Worship Center this week, as well.
  • We're seeing old friends. We've laid out Monday as a day to have some of our oldest buddies over.
  • We're going to try and spend at least one hour at the pool each day. This could be our last chance to get tan!
  • We're eating. The destinations include: Hot Diggity Dogs, Sweet Cece's, Burger Up (a favorite), and possibly Sambuca. We're also cooking a lot.

Now, I think it's about time for a second cup of java before we head to the mall!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Baking Adventure

Once again, we went on a baking adventure. This time, however, I took pictures not only after the event, but during the fun, as well!Step One: Make Cupcakes.

I made plain 'ole chocolate vegan cupcakes. Boogie helped me a lot. We topped them with buttercream frosting slightly flavored with coffee. I wish there were more coffee flavor in the frosting, but they taste fantastic regardless!

Step Two: Make Frosting.
The vegan buttercream frosting is made by creaming together Earth Balance Buttery Spread and Vegan Shortening - both of which I purchased at Whole Foods in Nashville. Then you add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and soymilk until you have the right consistency. We substituted coffee for soymilk today.

Step Three: Ice the Cupcakes

I bought a set of disposable pastry bags at Hobby Lobby. I also bought one pastry tip and the little gadget that holds it on (I can't remember what it's called...). The piping is great fun! You can see what a great time Boogie is having! Haha
Step Four: Spread icing on little sister's face while she has her hands full.

Step Five: Eat Icing (Watch out with this one, because your sister might seek revenge while your hands are full of icing and the camera.)

I love that I snapped a picture with her finger on my face...
See? She got me!

P.S. Did I mention I'm a Phi Mu? Well, now you know.

This is happiness.

This is summer.

This is me with icing on my face.

And my Disney hat on.

I love this.

Wish you were here to eat them with us! Have a great night, folks!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

This Dirty Room... Beware: Graphic Content!

I'm going to show you something that few eyes have ever beheld. Something embarrassing and wrong. Something disgusting and obscene. Something crazy.

Just, do me a favor... Don't share these with too many other people. I don't want my reputation totally ruined. See, this is my room. I've never been a very tidy person, but I'm usually pretty organized and neat. I'm usually not this filthy. But it's gotten so bad this summer, I've actually found it pretty hilarious. Yesterday, I decided to clean up the whole mess. Here are the "before" pictures.

Prepare yourself as best you can.
Grab a cookie and glass of milk.
Wrap yourself up in a blanket.
Hug a pillow.
Whatever you typically do when scary things happen.

The Clothes Pile. Yes, it is dirty clothes AND clean, all mixed together. Horrid, isn't it?

The closet. I haven't been able to close the doors for weeks. The box is stuff to donate. Note the recipe books and notebook on the floor. Also, my beloved Sperry's.

This is where I sleep. The books don't ever move off the bed. I just sleep next to them. Creepy, isn't it?

Finally, the bookshelf. Not as bad as it looks, and yes, those index cards are more recipes. I don't know where Eclipse is at this moment.

Time for some "after" pictures:

There. Isn't that better?! Nothing like a clean room to help you sleep peacefully at night!

Now, you may go on with your life, knowing that, as bad as your messy room may be, you are not the worst and certainly not alone.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Slow Loris, Almost Barefoot Running, Country Boys

1. I got up to go for a run this morning. I was dressed and about to walk out the door at 8AM sharp, only it felt like 90 already and like the humidity was at about 180%. (Here's the actual forecast). So, I came back inside.

2. For a few minutes, I was tempted to scrap the workout plans entirely.

3. Then I figured I'd go ahead and do some Pilates, since it was an indoor sport and I was already up.

4. I haven't done Pilates in weeks, and I was feelin' it this morning. This is a good thing, since it means my core has quite a ways to go and I will make progress. If you think an exercise routine done on the floor must be easy - (hey, I get it... I mean, you are laying down) - you should try it. It's not easy, and you'll be introduced to muscles you didn't know you had.

5. As a reward, I fixed myself a cup of coffee... Coconut coffee with Vanilla Almond Milk.

6. Last night we watched Walk the Line. Country music has never appealed to me, but Walk the Line tempts me to buy a few country CD's and listen to them while drinking a beer on the back porch (just kidding, I would never). It's a fantastic, intense movie meant to be watched with your full attention. Based on a true story, Walk the Line features a Franklin, TN native - Reese Witherspoon. Reese sings in this movie, which is quite a treat! Oh, and they talk about Nashville, the Ryman and other places that are so familiar to me. I loved that bit.

7. I later joked with Mom about how we should watch a movie about Kentucky next, just so we keep it even between our two home states. Seabiscuit or something...

8. All this talk of horses and country music has me tempted to buy cowboy boots. This longing goes through ups and downs. Sometimes, I see myself in skinny jeans with shiny boots and a cute top marching down Music Row. Then I picture a man in a plaid shirt and a hat walking next to me - just to complete the picture - and I freak out and grab the nearest Brooks Brothers magazine to bring me back to my first love.

9. Not that cowboys are bad, I just like boys who read a lot. And boys who can talk business and politics. And who read. And who have iPhones.

10. I have a list about boys that is more detailed than that in #9, but it's too long to post at the moment. Some day, however, I will likely post it.

11. As a parting note, I give you this quote from Mom this morning, "Something I've learned about being happy is that you have to make the effort to surround yourself with what makes you happy. Other people usually won't do that for you, and it's important."

12. This makes me happy: Slow Loris Being Tickled

12.1 And this makes me happy: (That was my birthday).

12.2 This makes me happy, too: Eat More of This

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

God in Time

The Christian walk is high-maintenance. By high-maintenance, I mean that it will require a lot of time, effort and dedication. The rewards are outstanding and nothing else in this world can compare. However, if you're looking for a religion that only requires a few hours each month, Christianity isn't the way to go. With Christianity, you're working with a living God, not just a set of rules. Relationships, especially your relationship with God, take time and regular attention to maintain. As you pour time into your relationship with God, you find yourself wanting more. You fall in love with Him, because He is already in love with you. I say all this because one of my current methods of maintenance of my relationship with God - a current method of spending time with Him - has been through reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Since the purpose of this blog is to share things with you, that includes sharing my current readings and the parts that strike me as particularly captivating/interesting/striking/wonderful! Here ya go!

I learned some really cool things about God the other day. Have you ever thought about God's relationship with Time? How does it work? He obviously thinks very little of Time, since He has eternal life. But C.S. Lewis took this thought a bit further.

"Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty - and every other moment from the beginning of the world - is always the Present for Him.

That is difficult, I know. Let me try to give something, not the same, but a bit like it. Suppose I am writing a novel. I write 'Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door!' For Mary who has to live in the imaginary time of my story there is no interval between putting down the work and hearing the knock. But I, who am Mary's maker, do not live in that imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of that sentence and the second, I might sit down for three hours and think steadily about Mary. I could think about Mary is if she were the only character int he book and for as long as I pleased, and the hours I spent doing so would not appear in Mary's time (the time inside the story) at all. . .

God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along int he imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world."

I'll be chewing on that one for a while.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Introducing... My Darlings

The defining quote of this blog is "People with many interests live, not only longest, but happiest." (See above). Today, I share yet another of my interests with you... My babies.

Meet Maverick (black) and Goose (gold). Taking photos of fish is tricky business, so forgive the poor quality. Maverick and Goose refused to sit still and pose. It was probably the severity of the flash hitting their giant eyes, but whatever.

I bought Maverick for my little 1-gallon tank at school in March. Some dumb mistakes on my part killed Purl, who had been my faithful companion all fall, and Maverick was Purl's replacement. He was tiny when I purchased him. And my, how he's grown! With the help of the internet, my goldfish care skills have dramatically improved. I bought the 5-gallon tank this summer and rescued Goose a few weeks later. Now they are two of the happiest goldfish out there! Maverick is a Black Moor, one of the hardiest kinds of goldfish and - in my opinion - one of the most beautiful. Poor Goose was slowly dying in a pet store when I walked in one day, looking for telescope-eyes. I saved him from a potentially horrible fate. Within a few days his fins brightened and he was alive again! The two have become the best of pals and tend to follow each other around the tank. Don't let anyone tell you that fish don't have personalities. Maverick, especially, tends to be moody and shy. Goose is sort of dumb and adventurous. Since Goose entered the picture, however, Maverick's confidence has improved and I've even watched him explore their tiny cave (A note about the cave: it was specifically chosen to be small enough that they wouldn't attempt swimming into it, but that didn't stop either of them and I nearly lost it when Maverick swam in there. I'm convinced one of them will lose an eye that way. Don't laugh, it happens with telescope-eye goldfish!).

Some things you might not know about goldfish:
  • Goldfish are completely capable of eating vegetables. Peas, cucumbers, lettuce!
  • Goldfish are prone to overeating and constipation. So you have to be careful with the amount of food given to a goldfish.
  • You can leave a goldfish for the weekend - don't worry about feeding him, he'll be fine. They're great pets for frequent travelers. (Or people who live in two cities at once...)
  • If a Black Moor is exposed to warm water, his color will become more golden.
  • Telescope-eye and bubble-eye goldfish are handicapped. They just don't see very well and tend to run into things. Care must be taken not to expose them to sharp decorations and to give them plenty of time to find food and eat.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sharing Happiness

The Maque Choux was a complete success!!! Mom and Boogie made it; I handled the rice and reheating the fried okra from yesterday's lunch. A big spoonful of Maque Choux on top of white rice made for a colorful meal. Someday soon I'll buy a good camera and start adding pictures to these descriptions! I'm excited about the vegetarian sausage we used in the recipe. It was delicious! I can't wait to try the brats and other products by Morningstar. No meat replacer will ever have the same texture or taste as real meat, but this one came close enough for me!

Now, I can't write for long because the Bachelorette is on and nothing else matters when the Bachelor or Bachelorette is on. However, everyone knows how much I love to share happy things. Finding myself on YouTube, I decided to look up an old classic and play it for my family. They all loved it and I hope you will, too!

Click Here Just for Kicks

Have a great night!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Food! Food! Food!

Well, I finally did it! I finally went to the farmer's market! It all started - as it so often does - with a recipe...

Okra-and-Corn Maque Choux (Beware, there is no picture of the dish online. The picture in the magazine, however, makes the dish look really good!)

Our local farmer's market is only open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, so I stopped by before work on Saturday. I had very little time to waste and the luxury of browsing will be saved for another day. In a matter of minutes, I located a tent with all the veggies I needed, loaded up a bunch of bags, and paid only $6 for all the delicious fare! I only wish I'd been able to visit and browse.

I still went to Kroger after work to pick up some other things I needed. I bought rice to serve with the Maque Choux, and veggie sausage to substitute in the recipe. I'll let you know how that goes later. I'm planning on making the dish tomorrow or Tuesday... The weekend has been too busy to bother much with cooking.

So far my experiences with veggie versions of meat products have been negative ones. With the exception of Morningstar Spicy Black Bean veggie burgers, I have yet to find a "fake meat" that tastes good. Speaking of Morningstar Spicy Black Bean veggie burgers, I had one yesterday on Ezekiel bread with tomato, avacado, and cheese (and a side of fries). It was the best sandwich I've made at home in months! I toasted the bread first, and it was yummy! And crunchy! And divine! By the way, a friend of mine has a soft spot for hot dogs and texted me after making a trip to her favorite hot dog place in Nashville... She said that they have veggie dogs that are rumored to be very good! I can't wait to try them! The shop is called Hot Diggity Dogs. If you get there and have a veggie dog before me, tell me how it goes!

In other exciting news, it looks like Southern Living has caught on to the cupcake craze! Check it out here. The thing about cupcakes is this... Single serving. Fun size. Each one looks like a whole piece by itself, not like some small part of a larger whole. How can you help but love them? I made peanut butter cupcakes yesterday night. They are moist and crumbly with melted chocolate chips on top. I really like the texture of the recipe and will probably make these again. They're vegan, of course.

New food finds that I'd recommend:

Amy's Kitchen
soups and chili. Many are vegan and make for quick, easy meals. Organic section of grocery.
Raphael's Coffee. Coconut coffee with real coconut flakes! I've had it every morning for almost a week and it is fantastic! I'd love to try other flavors and this coffee is a delicious way to treat yourself and support locals.
Ezekiel bread products. Found in the organic section in the freezer, it's a bit rough and rustic at first, but addicting in a good way. Benefits of sprouted grains are explained at their website. P.S. Christian company!
Publix. I will always love Kroger, but Mom and I made a stop at Publix last week and the most amazing thing happened... All of the organic food is........... *drumroll here*.......... mixed into the aisles with the regular food!!! For example, on the baking aisle, there is a section of shelf labeled "Greenwise" with organic versions of all your baking ingredients! Imagine a world where you don't have to split your grocery run into two parts - organic section and regular. Pretty sure Publix is where God does His grocery shopping... Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm from the South because...

  • My Mom cooks sausage with Mrs. Buttersworth Syrup and/or honey.
  • We have every Southern Living Cookbook, from the mid 1980's to date.
  • I don't feel comfortable unless my toenails are painted. I really don't feel comfortable if my nails and toenails are two different colors.
  • Despite my Dad's efforts, we have yet to go skiing. The family vote always goes to the beach vacation.
More to come later...

Friday, July 9, 2010

I quit drinking coffee... It was a rough three days.

In the past two weeks I have....

1. Driven to Nashville, stayed the night and then driven back to BG, only to turn around and drive back to Nashville the next day.

2. Contracted Strep Throat, probably from a baby in the nursery last week, and was convinced it was a mono relapse. I didn't go to the doctor for days and days, because there is nothing a doctor can do for mono... So, I exposed all of my family to the Strep virus. Learned a lesson about making doctors visits earlier, rather than waiting until symptoms are really bad.

3. Watched Star Wars Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 over the course of two days. Spike TV usually does themed holiday weekends and this weekend was the Force of July. Of course, since my family is mostly comprised of brainiacs and nerds, we watched most of it.

4. Hardly ate anything over the weekend cause I was nauseous. Then ate a whole lot on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, cause my appetite was back.

5. Made S'Mores cupcakes. They were not my favorite. The cake part was a gingerbready-cakey-graham-cracker-y flavor... It was weird. In typical Bond Family fashion, not many of us liked it because there wasn't a lot of chocolate involved.

6. Quit drinking coffee for a few days because I thought it was making the mono worse. (I was really sold on this mono idea). This led to #7.

7. Bought a latte as soon as we finished up at the doctor's office and I knew it was Strep. I bought the latte before I even bought my prescription, if that tells you anything about my desperation.

8. Fell in love with the Publix in Brentwood. All of the organic food is scattered throughout the store, not just in its own area. There's an organic section on each aisle and the soymilk is next to the regular milk! Who would've thought this was possible?!

9. Saw Avatar: The Last Airbender and LOVED IT! Many hardcore fans are upset that they messed certain things up. Here is what I say to that: Someone finally made a movie out of one of your favorite series, and it's not perfect. It is never going to be perfect, so enjoy everything that you can - like the special effects and cool costumes and rockin' action sequences - and quit ruining it for yourself by getting upset about the little things like name pronunciations.

9.5 P.S. Don't write your angry rants on my status. No one wants to see people get upset on facebook. It's inappropriate.

10. Drove back to BG with a table and four chairs packed into the back of my little sister's Prius. Let me tell ya, visibility in the rearview mirror was low.

11. Listened to the Eclipse soundtrack the whole ride home. Loved several songs on there. Including this one. Beware, the main singer needs to put on more clothes, but the lead guitarist has a really neat guitar.

12. Finally watched the Bachelorette with my sister and Mom. The drama continues! It's our guilty pleasure. Don't judge.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Figured it was time for another post. It's the 4th of July, and instead of celebrating by canoeing the Harpeth with my cousins, siblings and parents, I'm sitting on the couch watching Star Wars and drinking juice. I defeated mono last summer and now I've relapsed. It isn't nearly as bad as last time, but the symptoms of the disease are all present. It explains many of the odd ways I've felt lately - anxious, tired, unable to sleep, sore throat, etc. I'm fighting the symptoms by resting, taking lots of supplements, drinking lots of juice and tea and mostly just paying attention to my body. Hopefully I'll have it back in remission by the end of vacation.

There is nothing that matches time with family, and today I am reminded of the thousands of men and women who have fought to make this nation free. Their service has protected all of our families. I was saddened to see a friend of mine update their status, saying that today is a day for mourning those who had no choice but to fight and give their lives so that new freedoms could be attained. I disagree. Perhaps some of us mourn, but I choose instead to celebrate. If I were to give my life so that another could experience freedom, my hope would be that they enjoy that freedom to its fullest. So, today we'll watch TV and shot off fireworks. But we'll also pray for those who are living without family members who gave their lives to service. I am thanking God for their bravery, for His provision and His grace.