Some sweet Valentines from my co-wokers, plus a couple props that haven’t been put away yet, ended up becoming a cute vignette on my desk this morning.
As I know you all know, today is the 8th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country. Please, please, please don’t forget what happened on this day. Please don’t become complacent and accept it as just a part of our history. There are horrible, horrible people out there who want nothing less than the demise of country and our freedom. They resent our capitalistic, free-enterprising country that is full of innovating citizens. Don’t forget what’s made this country great (WE HAVE), and don’t be afraid to challenge what’s happening around us. America is THE BEST country on the face of this planet, and I’m proud to be a citizen of it. What better way to honor the thousands of victims of these attacks than to stand strong together and keep making this country a better place? And support our troops!
For today’s eye candy, here’s a great picture I swiped off of Oh Joy! I don’t think I could find anything more fitting even if I tried!
I was checking the weather report this morning and this newsline caught my eye:
“Nude nymph not allowed in Alabama restaurants.”
Logically, I clicked on it. Turns out that Alabama’s ABC board has deemed the logo of Cycles Gladiator wine “too much” for Alabama. I could rant here, but I’m not since I’m sure you share my feelings anyway. So I clicked on over to their website and wrote them a letter. I hope it made them feel better and perhaps shed some light that Bama is an awesome place to live and we’re not all “that way.”
I live in Alabama, and I just wanted to tell you that the fact that my state will not allow you to sell your wine here is just ridiculous. I’ve heard of a lot of dumb things come out of this state, but this is at the top.
I have not enjoyed what I’m sure is an amazing product that you have, but next time I go out of state I’ll have to try it, just to give my state’s ABC board a kick in the pants.
Keep up the good work and awesome logos.
Malinda Kay Nichols
I just returned from a weekend at the beach with Zack and the youth group. We had a great time––even me, the foremost anti-beach advocate this world has probably ever known. But with some cool kids, a chair, the latest Fresh Home magazine, and a July cold front, it was actually fun! Can’t wait to go back in September!
Don’t forget that the reason you’re off work on Monday is because of Memorial Day!!
I come from a family of soldiers. My father was a Navy coreman in Vietnam, my uncle and father-in-law were in the Air Force and served in Vietnam, my little cousin is in the National Guard, and my grandfather was career Army and was in WWII, Korea (were he spent 3 years as a POW), and Vietnam. I couldn’t be more proud of any of them. My grandfather has, among many other decorations, 3 purple hearts and 2 silver stars (which is just second-highest award you can get, besides the Medal of Honor). Needless to say, I don’t take this holiday lightly. The men and women who have sacrificed themselves for the well-being of American lives deserve this day of remembrance, but they also deserve our constant honor and respect. If you see a Veteran or member of military while you’re out and about this weekend, just stop and say thanks! Doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, we can all agree that these people are heroes.
Two weeks ago I had the absolute honor and privilege of being a Guardian on an Honor Flight trip. Honor Flight is an organization that flies WWII veterans up to Washington DC for the day so they can see their memorial, which wasn’t completed until 2004—60 years after the war ended. I spent the whole day listening to the incredible stories that my Veterans told me. Mr. Thompson was an Navy engineer on a destroyer in the Pacific, who also shot down NINE kamikazes. Mr. Crumley was also in the Navy and served in the Pacific. He was the soldier who ferried other soldiers from the ship to the shore. It’s a miracle he survived because those men who did that were often unarmed and basically sitting ducks. Again, needless to say, they were amazing men who did amazing things that I can’t even fathom in this day and age. Here’s a few pictures of this unforgettable day.
If you have a friend or family member who is a WWII Veteran and would like to participate on this trip, please check out the Honor Flight website. My mother-in-law, Pam Nichols, is the co-director of the Birmingham chapter, and I’m so proud of her. She has given up countless hours of time and energy for this worthwhile cause. Way to go Pam!
Upon arriving at the Baltimore Airport, about 30 active duty military were there to greet the veterans. Here are Mr. Thompson and Mr. Crumley, and then there’s me, crying my eyes out.
There were a lot of tourist at the memorial that day, despite the rain. At one point a Japanese tourist walked up to Mr. Crumley, shook his hand, and thanked him for everything he did and told him he was a hero. I think it left us both a little speechless! A few minutes after that this boy asked Mr. Thompson for his autograph!
Amy and Pam with Congressman Davis, part of the group shot that showed the 104 veterans who participated that day. Once they got lined up in front of the Alabama pillar, every tourist there clapped and whistled for them. It was so, so cool
Me and my awesome Veterans at the memorial…
The WWII Memorial is nestled in the middle of the Washington Mall, right between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. It has two pillars on each end: the Atlantic and Pacific, each with pools in front of them that have the major battles of each theater carved into them. Along each side are 56 pillars, one for each state and territory that assisted in the war effort. The bottom photo shows the wall of stars, where there are over 400 gold stars, each representing 1,000 fallen soldiers.
We also went the Iwo Jima Memorial, and being the granddaughter of a man who served in the Pacific, I loved this. They say that there are 6 soldiers in this statue, but there are 13 hands: one extra representing the hand of God. Around the monument is the name of every major battle and war America has ever fought, starting with the American Revolution. The detail on this is unbelievable. The inscription says “Uncommon Valor Was a Common Virtue.” How awesome is that? It’s awesome.
When we got back to Birmingham, there was a huge welcoming party for them. The families of the veterans were all there waving flags and holding posters. A military color guard was there, as well as a bag pipest. It was overwhelming for me, and I can’t imagine what the veterans must have been thinking. I’m so glad that they could have this day that was for them and no one else. They deserve so much more, but I’m so glad that Honor Flight is in place so they can see how much their sacrifice means to us all!
OK so in mere 26 days I will be on my way to Italy. Two weeks going from North to South, East to West. I’m so excited that I don’t know what to do…except for blog! I never really got around to blogging about my weekend trip to Rome back in January anyway! We might have only been there for 3 days, but I got a lifetime of experience from it. So here’s a quick post about the highlights of the highlights, plus some silly stuff thrown in.
One of the most iconic things in the world: the Colosseum. This was one of the first things we saw, and I was positively giddy to behold such a thing, as the picture clearly shows:
I might not have seen any rock stars or actors in the Eternal City, but I DID see the Pope, and he threw down a blessing to me! How much more rock star do you get than the POPE?!
After the blessing, we toured St. Peters. I was in there for HOURS. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen; I swear I was this close to converting to Catholicism (alas, I’m still a Presbemethodist, Zack). Again, see the giddyness:
Michelangelo’s Pieta. It actually took my breath away from a second. Need I say more?
One more from St. Peter’s: I just had to snap a quick one of this crazy-looking woman. That hair! Apparently it’s a popular choice for middle-aged women in Europe, as I saw this quite a few times:
What is it with Italians and their signage? Noticed this last time I was there back in 2002 as well.
“Mi scusi, but I’m looking for the toilet bookstore?”
How hard is it to find a decent translator? Teresa Ann and I giggled about this one allover the Castel Sant’Angelo and no doubt gave Italians another reason to dislike Americans. We might have been using bad Italian accents while we read it out loud though…
Sorry farmers and girls I graduated high school with, but if you are wearing your overalls, don’t even think about touring St. Peters. They are forbidden.
Capitoline Hill—one of the seven hills of Rome, and probably to most prominent. It’s also called the Wedding Cake, which you know I love. If you look at the last entry I posted, this is where the Vespa scene begins.
A couple other interesting things is that off to the right of this picture (can’t see it) is where Mussolini’s office was located. Gross. Stupid fascist. Also, if you took any semblance of an art history class in school, you’ll recognize the famous piece of art that’s front and center as the the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius. This is the replica of course, but it’s said that the real one (which is just next door in the Capitoline Museum) was clad in gold and will turn into gold again on Judgement Day. Oooooh…
Again, if you’re into art history, here’s Trajan’s Column at sunset. And here’s Teresa translating some Latin off of it.
Can someone please explain to me why plumbing and electricity in Italy are so ludicrious? They are. In our hotel room, we had to actually plug our keycard into the wall so the power would stay on. Our shower was a mere hole in floor with a curtain around it, yet we had a towel warmer. Ludicrous.
Here’s a couple more things I love that are rampant in Italy: gelato and boys. Haha! Zack, please disregard this. This guy was dressed up in a costume outside the Pantheon and I just had to take a picture with him. I mean, an Italian guy walks up to you, tells you your bella, tries to get you to go to the opera he’s promoting, and you’re not supposed to take a giggly picture with him? Come on.
This gelato was from one of 7 gelateria trips Mom and I made over our 3 days there. No exaggerating. This was a double-scoop of Nutella.
Thanks SO MUCH to my amazing mother, Teresa Ann, without whom neither of these unbelievable trips would be possible!
Roma, I bid you adieu until we meet again in June. You will always have my heart!! *double cheek kiss*
(view from atop the Castel Sant’Angelo)
I’m off to Rome with my mom tomorrow for the long holiday weekend (Italy, not Georgia), and I wanted to do a quick post before I left…I already have a million things I want to post, and even more fun stuff will be added to the queue in a few days! But alas, it’s 11 at night, and I have to get up very early to get to the airport, so a quick post is must be!
This a couple of my favorite shots from my portfolio. I did the food and prop styling, and Kamin, one of my favorite people on the planet, did the photography. I love these shots because the natural lighting is gorgeous (K’s amazing at that), the angles are fun, the props and background are simple (I’m obsessed with slightly tarnished vintage flatware), the food is friendly, and I think (hope!) it all combines together for a very approachable picture. Thanks, Kamin!
Today, my food editor, Betty, and myself trekked to Atlanta for the Market. It’s always fun, but nothing to write home about. However, today as we were getting on the escalators to make our first stop in the press room, a sign catches my eye that Rocco DiSpirito, the sexy TV chef, was giving a demo/book signing in the new gourmet kitchen/West wing of the mart, and lo and behold, it was today!!!
So after some finagling with the Mart employees (and a helpful hint from my friend/work associate Rick), I got one of the 150 tickets to meet Rocco and get his cookbook signed. His presentation was so much fun! He cooked some great food (and looked so, well, just so cute doing it) and told some great stories and was quite the entertainer. I gave him a copy of my magazine, which I hope he was impressed with, and got my picture taken with him. And I do that whole girlie-taking-pictures thing where I press the side of my face to the other person’s face and give a big toothy grin. He was like “our foreheads are forever fused together!” and when I walked away he pretended to almost fall out of his chair, which, I guess you had to be there, but it made me giggle like a dumb 5th grader. He is quite the charmer!
Here are my most recent permanent additions to my skin.
First, my newest scar. I was in a rowing accident with my friend Trevor. We were out rowing one Saturday evening and our double went “I don’t thin so” and flipped. The massive wound was no biggy, but rather the 50 degree water. I also love the accompanying scratch on my wrist that makes me look suicidal. Sweet. Blue is my favorite color, but not when it’s the color of my toes and lips. Thanks to Trevorsaurus, who saved me! My hero!
Here’s my newest tattoo! We had a tattoo party at our house recently. That’s not weird, is it? Mason, our artist, brought his tattoo stuff and his new bride, and me, Zack, and Ruth all got new tattoos. Mine is from Song of Solomon 6:3, “I am my beloved and he is mine.” Ruth’s says “and my soul wells up with hallelujah.” She also got a freakin’ awesome cover-up on her other wrist of a cherry blossom tree.
It hurts to be so bad-A. Notice how Mason is laughing at me.
Oh my gosh when did I my face get so fat?
Tags: feta, honeymoon, Niagara Falls, pasta, tomato
Cancun? No. Jamaica? Yeah right. Zack and I got married in June, and his parents, so nice to send us on our honeymoon, gave us a few choices for our post-nuptial right of passage. When you get married in the middle of summer in Alabama, tropical destinations aren’t a viable option–to my betrothed and myself anyway–so we chose Niagara Falls, baby. So retro-chic. So beautiful. So Canadian. And so 70 degrees sans the sweltering deep South humidity. We stayed at the beautiful and luxurious Fallsview Marriot and had one of the best meals of our lives in the hotel’s restaurant, the Terrapin Grill. It was a chicken dish that was stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese that sat atop fried risotto. When we got back to the Ham, I set out to re-create this dish, and I think I’ve come quite close. Here’s my recipe for you, which certainly differs a bit from the Niagara Falls version. I use whole wheat penne pasta instead of fried risotto, and the diced tomatoes that I bake it in becomes a yummy, light sauce. It’s Zack’s favorite dish I make, now if only we could look out our window to Niagara Falls…
Niagara Falls Chicken for Two
4 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, pounded thin with a meat tenderizer
Salt and Pepper to taste
Italian Seasonings to taste
1/2 jar of sun-dried tomatoes
4 tablespoons of feta cheese
2 cans of diced tomatoes (or one large can; I use the regular kind, but you can use garlic-basil-oregano flavored if you’d like)
2 skewers or 4 toothpicks
Shredded cheese (I love the 4-cheese blend by Sargento, but use whatever you like!)
Penne pasta, cooked (or whatever kind of pasta you prefer)
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Pour the cans of diced tomatoes into an 8×8 baking dish and sprinkle with Italian Seasonings. This will become the “sauce” for the pasta.
-Pound the tenderloins with a meat tenderizer until it’s thin enough to roll, but not too thin, and season with salt and pepper.
-Dice up the sun-dried tomatoes and spread evenly on each tenderloin.
-Spread a tablespoon of feta cheese on each tenderloin.
-Roll each tenderloin and secure with a toothpick, or put two to a skewer.
-Place in the baking dish and cover with tomatoes.
-Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
-Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until chicken is baked all the way through.
-Remove skewers and place chicken on top of pasta. Heap all of the remaining tomato-y goodness onto your plate.
-Dream of better places, like Niagara Falls!