Monday, July 26, 2010

Aha Moment.

Today I got an e-mail from a girl that works for this campaign sponsored by Mutual of Omaha called "Aha Moments". She said that they have a bus that is traveling around the country, recording people talking about their life's aha moment. Their definition of an "aha moment" is "a moment of clarity... where you gain real wisdom - wisdom you can use to change your life." This girl said the bus will be coming to Kansas City this week and that she saw my blog and thought I may have something to say, and if so, she would schedule some camera time for me. (Who knows if that's true... maybe she searched all blogs based out of KC and sent everyone an e-mail... but oh well, I still felt a little special.)

I don't really think I've had an "aha moment" moment in my life... where everything has become clear and I've been defined. Well, I do have one, when I became a Christian, but I don't think a situation like that is where I would choose to profess my faith. Sit down with a camera, "Hi, my name is Abby and my life was changed the day I accepted Jesus Christ. The end." That's not how I would do things. I'd rather have a real relationship with someone... and if the situation came up where the person wanted to know what makes me me, then we would talk about it. Times have changed. I don't think it "works" to pass out tracts, or shout from a rooftop, or yell into a crowd or whatever. I think it starts with relationships.

Anyway, stepping off my soapbox, this thing that this campaign is doing... taking the time to travel around the country to hear about people's defining "aha moments", is pretty stinking cool. I fully support it, I just don't think I personally have anything to say... at least not yet. But you should check out the site: or the blog: It's pretty cool!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Little (shallow) things.

Because of yesterday's deep appreciation of mother nature, I feel like I can get away with being a little more shallow today. Today was a great day, for many reasons... but three shallow reasons why today was great were:

A. I had a delicious butterscotch shake from Winstead's. I drove to the Plaza hoping to:
1. Get my system preferences back (note to all you Mac users: you can indeed delete your system preferences on accident and not be able to find them anywhere... be careful where you drag that puppy), and
2. To buy a new iPod.
I walked into the Apple Store thinking, "I'm coming 45 minutes before it closes... on a Sunday, it can't be that busy." I was wrong. It was insanity. I walked through the doors, looked around, and walked right back out. The butterscotch shake was my way of dealing with the disappointment.
(I wish I took this picture, but I did not, so I can't take credit for it.)

B. I did end up getting an iPod. Don't judge me... but I bought it from Wal-Mart. It was $5 cheaper. And every bit counts.... Below is my brand new, beautiful iPod Touch. I kind of love it.
C. After weeks apart, I got to see my friend Jessie who's finally returned home from France. It was great seeing her... And she brought me back a beautiful scarf that I love dearly. She said she chose it because it had mustard in it. I love Jessie and how she knows me so well. She also brought me back a Spanish newspaper. I'll be reading that when my brain is ready to be stimulated again. It's been about 8 months...

Hurray for shallow things that make you smile. I will try to be a little bit more deep next time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lit leaves.

The last picture I posted is so ugly that every time I came to my blog I wanted to throw up a little bit. I needed to get another picture on here, stat. So I looked through my Portland pictures and found the above picture.... And it reminded me of something I love, so I thought I'd share it with you.

One sight that I think is absolutely beautiful and mesmerizes me consistently although it's a quite common thing is the view of seeing sunlight come through green leaves. I like how the shadows and overlapping leaves create different hues of green. I like that there is a sense of life that radiates from the tree. I like how light can transform something into something even more beautiful than it was before.

I'm not sure if you know what I mean, or have even noticed it before, but I think it's beautiful and challenge you to look up and notice some time. It's worth it...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Facts: Revisited

The cake testing went well! And I was right... classic white cake it is! (Sorry for the crappy picture, I didn't have a camera around so I used my Blackberry.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Fact: My friend Janelle got engaged a couple of weeks ago.
Fact: She has asked me to bake her wedding cake.
Fact: We are having a cake sampling tomorrow.
Fact: I learned from my aunts, who are wedding cake bakers, that it is perfectly fine to bake cakes from box mixes.
Fact: I made Classic White, French Vanilla, and Yellow cake for Janelle and Ben to try (and they are all of the Duncan Hines variety, but don't tell them...)
Fact: I need to learn how to use my Canon so all of my pictures stop having this ugly yellow tint.
Fact: My prediction is that they will choose Classic White cake, but I'll let you know.
Fact: The wedding isn't until January, and I'm already nervous.
Fact: When I bake cakes, I have a stomach ache by the end from eating so much frosting.

The end!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


My brother Cory is a stud at graphic design. He found out that he can print off some of his designs pretty inexpensively thanks to my lovely aunt Georgie, so I asked him to make something for my office. Here is what he came up with. All things that I love: the color mustard, trees, benches, and Spanish. He knows me so well!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I love to sing. I think it started early with Barney, The Little Mermaid, and the sort. When I was little, I wanted my job to be to sing as the voice of some Disney princess (let’s be honest, I still wouldn’t mind being the next Ariel or Belle.) I also credit my ability to sing harmony to the boy bands I listened to in middle school. I remember one afternoon when I was in 5th grade, I was listening to a 98 Degrees song (“Because Of You”, just in case you were curious) and I started singing with the guy that sang in the background, and it sounded really cool so I kept on rewinding it and playing it over and over again. Later, I realized that that was the first time I sang harmony.

I thought my “singing career” was over when I didn’t make the musical “Bye, Bye Birdie” in 6th grade. I stuck with choir and was lucky to go to a school with a really solid program and learned a lot from my time in the alto section. I started singing for my youth group and took voice lessons in high school and eventually tried and made the team to sing for “big church” when I was a senior in high school. I continued singing for a campus ministry in college and am back singing at church now that I’ve graduated. There you have it, my entire history as a singer (sorry I gave it you even though you didn’t ask for it.)

In the last 6 months I’ve started singing with my friend Rob, who has written a lot of music. We recorded a little homemade album (pictured above) in his basement, had a mini concert at his house and then last week we had a concert for about 200 people at a church in Portland. It has been a lot of fun! My dream job would secretly (or not so secretly) be to be a musician for a living, but I am careful to not get my hopes up and am just enjoying singing along at this point.

I suppose this blog post is more for me than you. I’ve just been thinking lately how much I love to sing, and sat down to blog about it and unexpectedly began rehashing how I got where I am today (not that it's anywhere special, just somewhere where I get to sing and enjoy doing it). Overall, I’ve been singing all my life. I love it. It makes me happy. The end.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Morning coffee.

This is kind of ridiculous... but one thing that I loved while I was away on vacation was that I stayed in two different households that valued coffee. I woke up and there was a fresh pot ready to be savored, and it was wonderful. It was also wonderful to be able to enjoy it with other people. To sit, and talk, and drink coffee with people... in my pajamas. It was so great!

I don't have that at home. I'm the only coffee drinker, so if I get any, I make it myself (which isn't a big deal, I don't expect to be waited on) and I drink it alone... so I rarely make it. But I've decided something: I'm going to invest in a nice coffee maker (aka I'm going to put it on my birthday list and hope that one of my aunts buys it for me) and I'm going to buy quality coffee (not the cheap stuff that I so often buy.)

So yeah... one of the many wonderful things about vacation: waking up to a freshly brewed pot of coffee. I loved it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I remember a couple months ago I was talking to a friend, and was all “woe is me” because this is the first summer that I don’t have a legit “summer break” because I’m an “adult” now. The friend kind of scolded me and said, “Abby, snap out of it. You have all sorts of amazing things going on this summer.” Looking back now, I feel guilty for complaining because man, I’ve had the summer of a lifetime.

1. In May, I went to Charleston, SC to see my best friend graduate from Navy Power School. So cool.

2. In June, I went to Silverthorne, CO with my family. We stayed in a beautiful home, surrounded by beautiful mountains and really enjoyed each other’s company.

3. In July (aka I’m on a flight now), I went to Portland, OR. Some of my best friends from Kansas City are from Portland and were going home to visit family and invited me to join. Portland is beautiful, and eccentric, and I had such a great time seeing where my friends grew up and meeting all of their family.

4. In July (aka I’m still on my flight, going from one trip to the next), I am going to Odessa, TX with my mom, aunts, and cousins to have a girl’s weekend at one of my aunt’s house. She has a pool, so I plan on doing a lot of laying out, on top of playing games and eating food. Sounds like the perfect weekend, right?

Anyway, I love traveling. I have been incredibly blessed (I keep using that word, because I know I am SO fortunate to be able to do this) to see the things I’ve seen this summer (and in my entire life.) Wow…

Monday, July 12, 2010

Serious Contemplation.

Lately I've really been wanting to get a tattoo. The urge has been on and off for the last few years. I know, on and off, that sounds a little shifty. I shouldn't ever get a tattoo if there are some "off" days where I don't think I want to get one. But I really want one... I made this rule for myself a few years ago. That if I thought I wanted a tattoo, I had to decide exactly what I wanted and where I wanted it and wait an entire year and if my thoughts hadn't changed at all... then I could get one.

Well, I've had an idea for a tattoo for over 2 or 3 years now. No waffling. If I were to get a tattoo, I know exactly where and what I would get. What and where you ask?
-Three things I love: 1. The Lord. 2. To sing. 3. Spanish. So, I would get the verse Psalm 146:2: "I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live." But I would get it in Spanish in a cool calligraphy type script. ("Alabaré al Señor toda mi vida; mientras haya aliento en mí, cantaré salmos a mi Dios.")
-On the outer side of my right foot.

The above picture is what I would want. I want it really bad. Don't freak out, Mom and Dad, I'm not planning on getting one... at least not now. We'll see though...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Iced Coffee.

I feel like a copycat because a couple of months ago, Joel's friend, and my friend by association and through the blog world, Cassie, blogged about her love for iced coffee. Well... I love it too, so I thought I'd give it some time in the spotlight as well.

I'm sitting here in the Las Vegas airport, waiting for my flight to Portland. When I got off my flight I didn't see a Starbucks. I saw something called "The Coffee Bean," but what is that? We don't have that in the midwest. Normally I'm not a Starbucks snob... but for some reason, in airports, I am. So I saw lots of slot machines, "The Coffee Bean," and no Starbucks. I thought, "Surely they have a Starbucks, isn't every airport required to have like 11 of them or something?" I turned the corner, walked a ways, and there it was!

So, I got my iced coffee... and it's splendid. I love it. I love that I can have coffee yet still be refreshed in the summer heat. I love that when I go to Starbucks I say, "Venti iced coffee with some room" and I feel like a pro. I love that I can get a venti and it's cheaper and less calories than a latte or a frappaccino or something. I love it.

So, here's to you: Starbucks iced coffee with skim milk and three (yes, three) packets of Sweet n' Low. You made my experience at the Las Vegas airport complete!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream

Lately I've really been in the mood to make homemade ice cream. It seems like 4th of July is the time when everyone busts out their old makers and some of my favorite blogs have been writing about ice cream recipes lately so I really wanted to take a crack at it. I tweeted (yep, I love Twitter) that I was contemplating buying an ice cream maker and my aunt Cindy chimed in that she would give me hers. We met for lunch yesterday so I could get it from her and I came home really excited to make some ice cream!
Then I found out I had to buy tons of ice... and tons of rock salt... and this unknown stuff called "ice cream mix"... And the really exciting task of making homemade ice cream quickly became expensive and a pain in the butt. (Sorry, Cindy, but thanks anyway...) I knew there had to be something more high tech than that. I'd seen bloggers and Ina Garten (yep, I love the Food Network) use them so I knew they existed. So I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (because I had a gift card from my friend David) and found a beautiful, carefree, homemade ice cream maker by Cuisinart. Thank you, Cuisinart, for making life easier...

The only problem was that I had to wait 16 hours and 24 minutes (yep, the directions ACTUALLY say 16 hours and 24 minutes) for the bowl to freeze. So tonight, finally, after months of waiting (and when I say months, I mean like 2.5 days) I finally made some homemade vanilla ice cream. It was delicious! The end.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I've had the same lay out for my blog since I created it almost two years ago. I thought it was time for a change... I don't love this design but I've been messing with it for way too long and I need to go to bed. I'm sure you'll see more changes soon...

Maybe I'll have one of my brothers help me. They both have awesome looking blogs... (Check them out here and here.)

New Instrumental Music

© Joel Thomason
I just wrote a long, negative post about how disappointed I am with top 40 music right now. I then deleted it because I didn't want to waste your time with negativity, talking about the things I don't like. I'd rather concentrate on what I do... Instrumental music, I like it a lot. The musicianship is impeccable. I have never heard an instrumental song where I thought, "Really? You can do better than that..." There's no doubt that the composers and musicians are highly talented. I like that.

I recently came across two instrumental (or mostly instrumental) artists that I really enjoy:

1. Peter Broderick: I was looking to see if my beloved Balmorhea has put anything new out lately and iTunes suggested this guy as someone I might also like. Well, iTunes, you were right this time. Thanks for the suggestion. (I bought his album entitled "Float.")

2. Ludovico Einadui: I'm not going to lie, I was watching So You Think You Can Dance with my parents when the song "Fly" by this guy came on and I was instantly drawn to it. (I bought his album entitled "Divenire.")

Anyway, when you've heard one too many songs by Enrique Iglesias or Rihanna, I encourage you to check out these guys. They are quality...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireworks Free

Well, it's July 5th... I officially survived the fireworks season. I officially am relatively stress free. And I officially will stop complaining about how "busy" I am. (I hate when people say that, like their life is busier than everyone else's... I know my life isn't any busier than yours, so I'm sorry for complaining...)

Today, with the lifting of all the weight I've been carrying from trying to pull off this crazy fireworks stand, I feel like my eyes were reopened to the beauties of this world. I know, that's cheesey... but it's true. Here are the great things that I thoroughly enjoyed tonight:

1. A nice dinner with my parents.
2. Driving with the windows down with Ben Rector's "Into the Morning" as my soundtrack.
3. A beautiful sunset which was made even more beautiful when I saw a bicyclist pull over and take a picture of it on his phone. There's something special about seeing something beautiful and seeing someone else appreciate it's beauty in addition to yourself.
4. A quick stop at Beauty Brands to pick up a new fingernail polish color: OPI's "Mrs.'s O'Leary's BBQ".
5. Shooting off fireworks with my parents. (Thanks to my aunt Cindy who saved some for me from last night!)
6. A free Redbox movie. I was in the
mood for a chick flick (surprise, surprise) so I shamefully picked up Remember Me. We could all use a little more Robert Pattinson in our lives, right? (Wrong. But I'll watch it anyway...)
7. A chance to blog about the wonderful things I've experienced this evening.

What a great night! (Update a few hours after I wrote this: Want a quick way to bring a downer to a good night? Watch Remember Me. Holy cow what a depressing movie...)
(My fireworks buddies... Mom and Dad)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

And I'm back in the game...

One of my favorite movies of all time is 10 Things I Hate About You... It's for sure my favorite high school chick flick out there. One of my favorite lines in the movie is from Cameron, the nerdy kid, after he finally kisses Bianca, the popular chick when he thought she was done with him. He kisses her, she leaves his car, and he says, "And I'm back in the game..." I don't know why, but that's one of my favorite lines in the movie. Maybe it's just because Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome.
All that big long story is really meant for is to say that I baked something tonight (therefore I'm "back in the game" of baking... I guess?) Guess what ingredients my baked good included... Yep, chocolate and peanut butter. It's a condition really, my love for chocolate and peanut butter... I got this chocolate peanut butter pie recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I think her cooking blog is my new favorite.

Anyway, yay for baking! Yay for chocolate and peanut butter! Yay for a pie that doesn't include mushy fruit (I don't like fruit pies.) Yay for my family getting together tomorrow night to celebrate the 4th and (if all went well with this recipe) enjoying these pies. Hopefully I'll be saying yay tomorrow night because I'll be able to leave the fireworks stand early and come home to be with my family. We'll save that yay for later...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mixed Emotions.

I realized something today that hadn't even crossed my mind.... I haven't baked a thing in over 3 weeks. I left for vacation and then when I came back fireworks smacked me right in the face so I've been busy. Probably not too busy to find time, but for some reason I haven't made time to bake. (It could also be that I re-started my diet and baking isn't quite as fun when you don't pig out on your finished product.) I have been keeping busy with working on on my office though. I didn't think it could keep me this busy but because I bought so much crap from some thrift stores and they all need work, which takes time. It's been fun though! I can't wait for it to be finished.

So yes, it's sad that I haven't baked in a while. Maybe I'll make something tonight so that my family can enjoy it while I'm out emptying people's wallets on things that blow up and make noise. But I am excited that I'm having a different kind of outlet for my creative juices... hopefully the end result will be a good one.

Here's a sneak peak at my office. I may be the most excited about this little guy. I found him at a thrift store... I'm not really sure what his original purpose was but I painted him purple and planted a plant in him. And tada, you've got yourself a purple elephant planter. :) I love him!