Sunday, October 26, 2008

Flash Back to Destin

Two months late...but here are the pictures from my Labor Day weekend in Destin.

First night out at The Village in San Destin - Free Drinks = Happy Girls

By this point, the free drinks forced me to lick a blow-up goat. The goat came with a group of Bachelors.

Our Bachelor Party Buddies
The Groom (in red) was from Nashville

Just the girls - Jennifer, me, Sherri

At the beach...

Our Beer Castle

Our view of the Gulf
(a.k.a. the chairs and umbrellas we didn't rent but wish we had!)

Jordano's - a little family-owned restaurant next to San Destin resort.
Lord only knows why Jen wanted pizza while we were at the beach, but I'm glad we went along with her wild craving! It was the most amazing pizza in the world. We ate so much that I think I had a food hangover the next day. Seriously.

At The Boat House, makin' Jen try Oysters on the Half Shell

Sherri & Ken

Stacey & Jen

The Gang: Our Bachelor Buddies and other random people we met from Nashville


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Husband is 30

Three whole decades of Mr. Sean P. Carroll.
Last Saturday many wonderful friends and family members joined us for a celebration at Buffalo Billiards in Nashville. The rough couple you see below -- Adrienne & Luca -- rescued a rat from a trash can just before arriving. Aren't they tough? Yah, he's Italian and she's just plain old mean...that's why we love them so much!

Crystal and Bobby shoot some pool

Phillip and Jimmy showing Sean how to be a dignified man

Bosom Buddies - Juan and Sean

This is where Monika tells Patrick they're getting married. Yah....awk-ward!

Gayness and merriment all around with Stephen and Harvie

Stace and Sean
Us with Bonnie and Ed
The birthday boy getting some chili in his new puffy vest

Emily surprised her big brother with 30 pink flamingos in the front yard.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Go Vols

I broke the law this morning. Yes, that's right -- broke the law. I was waiting at a red light for what seemed like forever. "Why is this light taking so long?!?!" I was literally speaking (or maybe yelling) outloud in the car. There were no cars, and therefore, the green light was giving the right of way to no one. I crept up a foot or two...and then again...inching my way towards that imaginary sensor that lives under the street. Unfortunately, this was a side street and I don't think it was equipt with the sensor. So, there I am sitting, starting at the red light, and NO CARS are passing. Not a single car. I am stopped for no good reason. Brentwood, TN is the sleepiest town ever at 9:00 on a Saturday morning. The only people who are awake and about are either at Starbucks or their kids soccer game.

I started to get The Rage. For those of you who don't know me well enough, I get easily worked up about things...actually, pretty much everything. My outsides look the same for the most part, but my insides turn into a 350 lb. sweaty mobster with high blood pressure about to blow your shit to pieces with a machine gun. So the mobster in me told me to run the light. Of course, I was very cautious about it...tripple checking that the coast was clear of other drivers and that the Brentwood Police was nowhere in sight. They are completely unmerciful.

Anyway, you may be wondering what I was doing in Brentwood at 9:00 on a Saturday morning. Given that it's officially Fall, I should have been at the knitting store, but instead I have other, more important obligations today. Today is Sean's 30th birthday party (although, his actualy 30th birthday isn't until Tuesday) so I was picking up his cake from the Flour Shop.

The Flour Shop has been around for as long as I can remember, and they're very well known for their delicious cakes. But I'd be willing to bet they're also known for the crotchity old lady that runs the place. Don't get me wrong -- I love the Flour Shop and I love Iris. I wouldn't change her for the world, and I've always had very good experiences with her. The Flour Shop is where we got our wedding cake without even considering anyone else. Iris is a good old Southern woman who could bake anyone under the table, but she's got a really hard she's had to deal with some tough shit, and she won't smile at you until you've earned it. This is why I like her so much, but she's also very intimidating.

As a first-time visitor, I was a little surprised that Iris didn't give me her undivided attention while I muddled over which wedding cake design to purchase. When I entered the small shop, I was asked what I wanted, and when I said, "I'm interested in a wedding cake" I thought I would be treated a certain way. You know, as a bride you get a lot of OOoos and Ahhhs from retail women. They start asking you questions about your wedding and your colors and the date and the chapel...But not a The Flour Shop. "Here, hon," she said...and she slammed down a giant photo album on the table. It had pictures and clippings from magazines falling out of every divider and it was all kinds of disorganize (probably from frequent use). "Come find me when you know which one you want," and then she disappeared into the kitchen. I realized she didn't mean any offense...she's just a busy lady and she means business. It didn't benefit her to sit down with me and browse through a million pictures of cakes that she could probably decorate in her sleep. She didn't need to schmooze me or upsell me or convince me that I needed something I didn't want. Her product sells itself.

Flipping through the album, I came across a snapshot of a gorgeous cake, so I carried it to the counter with me. She looked at it, stapled it to an order form, and handed me a pen. When I was finished, she browsed the order and said "Payment's due 2 weeks before the wedding. Cash or check only. We'll get it to the reception at 4:00. Any questions?" Nope. So I bought a wedding cake in 15 minutes, and I thought to myself, "Now that's how you plan a wedding." I wish everything would've been that simple...

I originally wanted to bake a homemade birthday cake for Sean, and I asked him what flavor he wanted. When he said, "Red Velvet" I thought, "Ok...I can do this....maybe..." I've never made a cake from scratch before and Red Velvet sounds intimidating for some reason. Sure, I've used the boxed stuff, but this is Thirty, and Thirty is a Big Deal. And boxed cake, unfortunately, does not equal a Big Deal. I started browsing recipes and checking out equpment and ingredients, and realized I wasn't equipt to bake from scratch. There's not even room in our kitchen for all the pans and cooling racks. Plus, I don't have one of those fancy hands-free mixers. Too many things to buy, and too many techniques that I've never tried. In an effot to keep myself stress free (which is a neverending challenge), I decided to call the Flour Shop.

Wednesday I the shop on my lunch break. Iris answered in her hard-edge voice, "Flour Shop." To be honest, I wasn't even sure I had called the right place. I expected to hear a sweet, Southern greeting like, "Hello, and thank you for calling the Flour Shop on this beatiful day. This is Iris. What can we do for you?" Haha. Nope. So I said, "I need to place an order - do y'all make Red Velvet cake?" if a damn bakery in the South wasn't going to have Red Velvet. I'm sure Iris was rolling her eyes at me. "Yes, hon" she said impatiently. "Ok, then. I need a cake for about 20 people." "We have a cake for 24." So I said, "Yes, that'll do."

"What's the name?"

"Sean. S-E-A-N."

"Hold on." She said. I could tell someone had entered the shop, and now, for some crazy reason, I felt paniced to get off the phone. I felt like I was bothering her. This is how I am as a patron, and I can't explain it.

She picked up again. "Ok, Sean S-E-A-N," she repeated. "What kind of decorations?"

"Well..." I started off slowly as I pondered what to order. I hadn't even thought about how to decorate it so I said, "Well, not flowers because he's a guy..."

"Balloons? Does he want balloons? We can do balloons."

"No, no balloons...umm...."

"What kind of sports does he like? Does he like fisihing? Basketball? Baseball? Football?"
She was rattling off questions to me like I was on some 30-second gameshow, and I totally buckled under the pressure. I definitely did NOT want a sports-themed cake, but my head was completely blank.

"Football," I said. Shit! I didn't mean to say that!

"Ok, what's his favorite team?"

"UT." Double shit!!! I really really didn't want to say that!

"Alright, we have Red Velvet, Happy Birthday Sean, S-E-A-N, Football, UT. When do you need it and what time do you want to pick it up?

By this point, I realized I had made a terrible mistake, but I didn't know how to tell Iris that this wasn't what I wanted. So I said, "Saturday 9:00 a.m."

"Ok, see you at 9. Cash or check only."

I cannot bake, and apparently I'm not good at ordering either. It's a good thing Sean has a great sense of humor. We laughed for about 10 minutes when I came home with this jewel. He was a good sport about the whole thing (pun intended).

Saturday, October 11, 2008


As a young child, one of my favorite breakfast meals was Eggs in a Basket. Mom would let us help out in the kitchen, allowing us to punch out the buttery bread circles and letting us eat those first. It was a little morsel before the meal, and the circles were the perfect size for our tiny fingers.

I made Eggs in a Basket for Sean for the first time last year. Imagine my surprise when he told me he had never heard of them before. I thought everyone knew about Eggs in a Basket!!! So, since that's apparently not the case, I wanted to share this childhood favorite with you.

First, melt some butter in a bowl. Brush the butter on both sides of your bread slices. Use a small cookie cutter to make a hole in the center of each slice.

Get your skillet nice and hot, and spray it with some non-stick spray for safe measure. Place your slices on the skillet, and then crack an egg in to the holes. Let that cook for a little while until the egg is firm enough to flip.

Coat your spatula with some more non-stick spray and then flip each slice. You have to be ninja-quick when flipping the "baskets" so your egg doesn't splatter all over the place (see egg spillage below). Cook a little longer until the yolk has reached desired doneness. I like my yolks extra runny, so this doesn't take long at all.

MMMmmmmm Mmmmmm - Enjoy!

When you're finished with your Eggs in a Basket, you can go outside and enjoy a beautiful Fall day. And if you're extra lucky, maybe you'll find that a giant branch will have fallen from the big dead tree in your yard and lodged itself into the earth.

Turning Thirty

Don't worry, readers. I'm not referring to my own 30th birthday. No, I still have 4 more years before that happens. I'm actually referring to our dear old (and I do mean old) friend Luca. Last weekend we drove down to the ATL to celebrate Luca's birthday. Getting old is in the air this season. Sean's 30th birthday is in just 2 weeks!

These guys look too happy to be turning thirty...

Adrienne made hundreds of delicious cupcakes, offering 3 different flavors:

Peanut Butter w/ Chocolate icing, Pumpkin w/ Cream Cheese icing, and something else with Maple icing. As a party guest, I was my personal duty to sample all three flavors, and I must say they were all very delicious.

This is what happens to your teeth when you eat blue icing gel

This will mess you up...Vodka infused sweet tea. What a proper Southern drink.

Sean had a really good time at the party. He helped himself to another proper Southern drink - Jack Daniels and Coke. This picture was taken shortly before we passed out on a futon.

The next morning I woke up and asked Sean, "How do you feel?" He replied, "I slept in my clothes. How do you think I feel?"