Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tootsie Roll Pops

Tootsie Roll Pops. They are so much better than Blow Pops because: 1. They have better flavors and 2. They have Tootsie Rolls in the middle which are way better than that gum that only lasts about 3 minutes before it disintegrates in your mouth. But look at me, I sound like one of those politicians that have overhauled ours commercials with negative ads about why the other candidates are bad which makes them good. (I can't stand them. Negative political ads suck. They make me want to vote for you even less.)

Tootsie Roll Pops.
1. They rock.
2. I used to get excited when I saw a star on the wrapper because I thought that that meant you could take it back to the store and get a free one. I don't think I ever tried because I was always skeptical that that was true or not.
3. They have become my favorite snack now that I'm dieting again (they are only about 60 calories and satisfy my craving for sweets.)
4. The have those cool commercials that look like they were made the day after the TV was invented with the owl that licks it like three times then bites into it.
5. They are 10 cents at Quik Trip. That's quite the deal.

I love Tootsie Roll Pops! (P.S. I passed my test! Now I have to pass another one next week and I'll be done!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Escape music.

I've been studying just about non-stop for the past week for my Series 6 license test that I am taking tomorrow. I was offered my job based with the understanding that I had to pass two licensing tests to actually get it. So I've been paid to study 8-5 for the last week (plus they expect you to study in the evenings and over the weekend, too.) I've never studied this much in my life. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've studied more this week than I did over an entire semester of college (uh, what does that tell you...)

I think I would have gone insane if it weren't for the fact that I got to listen to music while studying. (Well, there were a few points that I maybe did go momentarily insane. Like this afternoon when I started giggling for no reason and couldn't stop.) It's been amazing how much of an escape music has been for me this week. There were times when I wanted to stand on my chair and sing my heart out to the class (because I think I'm more designed to do that than talk about mutual funds, but whatev) but I refrained. Anyway, there have been multiple moments this week where I thought, "Man, this music is amazing. This brings me back to the reality that life is more than this test." Below are links to the songs and artists that have helped me escape. And if you're a praying kind of person, I'd love it if you prayed for me tomorrow morning as I take my test. A big thank you to you for praying for me and a big thank you to these artists who reminded me of the greater things in life. :)

"Grass Rides" by Goldmund (I'm pretty sure if I got married tomorrow, I would maybe walk down the aisle to this song, just saying. Also, Goldmund was introduced to me today by my brother Joel and may already be tied with Balmorhea for my favorite instrumental music.)

"Movement 1: In The Countenance Of Kings" by Sufjan Stevens (I couldn't actually find a video of this song so I'm showing you some other Sufjan that was equally wonderful to me this week: "From The Mouth Of Gabriel".)

"10 Thousand" by John Mark McMillan (I want the girl who's singing back up vocal's life. How amazing would it be to just sing beautiful harmonies for a living?)

"The Gathering" by Michael Giacchino (LOST music. Some of the songs on this soundtrack make me fear for my life a bit, but the pretty ones are powerful.)

Alright, well, the list goes on but I'll be done with that.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I think I've always loved Fridays but Fridays have found a new place in my heart now that I know what it feels like to work at 40-hour work week. Fridays are great! This particular Friday was particularly (yep, I said it twice) wonderful. Here's why:

1. Christine (she's my friend that I went to college with and we both got jobs at J.P. Morgan and so we carpool together. Christine's great, by the way. I don't think I would like my job at all if she wasn't around. SO thankful for her. Anyway, back to what I was saying...) picked up McDonald's breakfast for us before we met to ride to work. I think we should maybe make it a traditional. We could call it Fried Food Fridays or something.

2. We had a pump up session to some pretty quality Top 40 dance music during the drive. I was pretty convinced that after hearing this song, the whole day was destined to be a good one.

3. We have casual Fridays at work. So I got to wear jeans, and a t-shirt (so I'm not sure if I was allowed to, but I layered so much that I don't think they even knew), a cardigan, and a scarf. Casual Fridays rock.

4. I came home from work, lounged on the couch and read October's Real Simple. I love Real Simple. A lot.

5. I finished the day with a date with my momma. We went and had Thai food and saw Life As We Know It (yep, that's the second time I've seen it...) and it was a great evening. I love hanging out with her...

Fridays are great. Particularly this particular (yep, I meant to repeat it) Friday... (P.S. I couldn't find a good picture for Fridays so I found this silly one on Etsy. It made me smile no matter how cheesy it is. Don't judge me.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Singing together.

Lately I've had a few instances where I've realized that I love it when people, like large groups, sing together in public. I'm not talking about a band or a choir or anything like that, I'm talking about normal people, who all know the same song, and come together and sing it.

Last week I went to a concert of this brass band, The Dallas Brass, with my mom and cousin Dana in Liberal, KS. I'm not going to lie, when I walked in the door and saw hundreds of old people and then walked in the auditorium to hear this cheesy, brassy "jazz" CD playing as prelude music for the concert... I was a little nervous. The concert actually ended up being awesome. One part I loved is that they played a whole bunch of "America songs", and one was "My Country Tis of Thee." The main guy from the band encouraged the audience to sing along with that one, and because it was an audience of old people, no one held back (that's one of the many cool things about old people) and everyone was singing together and it was awesome. I got goosebumps.

For some reason it seems like young people don't sing in public as much. Let's use a high school football game for example... How many students do you think actually sing the National Anthem out loud? Very few. It's true that there are a some examples of when young people will sing together, and I experienced one the other night at a Sufjan Stevens concert (a what concert? He's a guy, he's kind of crazy, and you have to listen to his songs about 5 times before actually enjoying them, but he will for sure stimulate your brain if you give him a chance.) Anyway, the whole concert was pretty out there, but he finally played a song that everyone knew called Chicago and everyone sang along. It was pretty amazing.

Anyway... I love singing in large groups. I think we should all sing the National Anthem, or Take Me Out to the Ball Game, or whatever song you have the opportunity to sing a little bit louder next time. Deal? Deal.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Art that makes me smile.

While scanning Design*Sponge (because let's be honest, I rarely read what she writes, I just look at the pictures) I came across this picture and it made me smile. I didn't take any time actually read about the artist (because it's way past my bed time) but here's the link in case you want to.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New job.

Well, I've been fretting the whole past month about starting my new job and as of Monday, I started. And I'm alive to write about it! Can you believe it?

As is to be expected, I'm tired. I had a schedule of 11-3 before, it's that no longer. And I have to pass a couple of licensing tests before I can get the job so I've been studying from 8-5 the past two days and then some more when I get home (and will be for the next two weeks). I do feel pretty educated though because I can now converse about things like mutual funds and IRAs and aggressive growth common stocks and stuff AND still sound relatively knowledgeable.

Overall, I'm really liking it! The business is pretty impressive. The building is nice. I even have one of those badges that you have to swipe to get into the building! And, more importantly, I'm liking the people I work with and the managers that I will work for, so that's pretty much all I need.

Just thought I'd give a quick update. Hopefully after I pass my two license tests I will be back in action in the blog world.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Getting Away.

Sunday was my last day working at the church. I was grumpy the whole morning. A little emotional at times, too (not a good day to choose to write "I appreciate you" cards to the co-workers that I will miss the most.) By the time the morning was over, I was so ready to get out of there. Like I've said, this transition out has felt like forever, so when the last service ended, I was ready.

Not only did I get out of the building when I left, I got out of the state. My mom and I had planned a trip to go visit my cousins Dana and Marc in Sublette, Kansas (What? Where? It's here, somewhere in between Dodge City and Liberal.) I've been meaning to visit them since Dana moved out there a couple years ago, and even wrote it on my "To Do When You Graduate" list (so far, I've only completed three things on the list... woops.) My mom and I made the 6-7 hour drive out there, and I cried a good portion of it. I'm not even really sure why... But I guess I just needed some time to wrestle with my thoughts and get some emotion out, and God gave me the long drive and a safe person (my mom) to do it with.

When we finally arrived in Sublette I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me. I got to get away from this environment (home, church, KC) that I (I can't blame anyone else but myself) had turned into this emotional black hole of irrationality (is that a word?) I had the distance to get perspective and get my head back on straight. PLUS, I was surrounded by some wonderfully supportive people (Mom, Dana, Marc), I did some things I love (play games, eat good food, talk about life), I did some things that I don't normally do (ride 4-wheelers (which could also be added to the "did things I love" list), shoot guns, talk about crops) and I just escaped.
I guess all that is to say that I left on Sunday a pretty emotional, irrational mess. I feel like God put it on my heart to plan that trip to Sublette for a reason. Because now, coming back, I feel renewed. I feel like I'm ready to move on. Which is perfect timing, because I start my new job on Monday. (Now off to Dallas to visit Valeria! I anticipate my time with her will be just as fantastic as my time in Sublette. Man, I'm one lucky girl to be able to do all I've done this week.) (P.S. Sorry for the crazy, long post. I guess I had a lot to say.)
(See! Told you Kansas is beautiful.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Twenty Five.

A co-worker and longtime friend, gave me a book as a farewell/good luck on your next job gift called "Bittersweet" by Shauna Niequist. She said that one chapter in particular entitled "Twenty Five" reminded her of me. I haven't read the whole book yet, but I took the time to read that chapter tonight and it had some quality stuff to say. Here are a few things that I liked:

"...when you start to hit twenty-eight or thirty, everything starts to divide, and you can see very clearly two kinds of people: on one side, people who have used their twenties to learn and grow, to find God and themselves and their deep dreams, people who know what works and what doesn't, who have pushed through to become real live adults. And then there's the other kind, who are hanging on to college, or high school even, with all their might... They live in kind of an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than they were when they graduated college. Don't be like that. Don't get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. Walk away, try something new. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming."

"Now is your time. Become, believe, try... Don't get stuck in the past, and don't try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven't yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life's path."

I have the tendency to always be looking toward the future, wanting the dream life with a great job, a husband, a house, a car, some kids, and I want it now... So I loved the line, "Don't try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven't yet earned." Such great advice.

Well, there you have it! Whether you are 25 or 55, there's your little pep talk for the day....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chex Mix!

I love Chex Mix. I can't believe I haven't blogged about this yet. I just can't believe it... because I LOVE Chex Mix. I think if someone asked me my favorite food, I would say Chex Mix (homemade that is, not that store-bought crap. I can't even believe Chex Mix will put its name on that when you could have the real thing.) It's not just my favorite snack food, or favorite salty treat, it's literally my favorite food.

Even though it is indeed my favorite food, I haven't had it in probably 6 months if not more. I guess I just associate it with fall and the holidays so I don't really think about it until then. Last night I was trying to figure out what the bring for snacks at church this weekend and my mom threw out the idea of Chex Mix. I couldn't get it off of my mind after that.... so I made a batch tonight. It. is. delicious.

Yeah, so... I love Chex Mix.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Yesterday my friend Jessie brought me flowers to celebrate (or help me cope with, ha!) my last day of work. I don't know if I've ever been given flowers before... (Well, as I was racking my brain to think if I have, I remembered one time in high school when I left my headlights on and killed my battery, and I realized it in the middle of the day so I had to call my dad to come and fix it and he did... and he left flowers in my car for me. What a great dad to fix my car for me AND bring me flowers. I don't deserve a dad like him.) Ok, so I guess this was the second time I've been given flowers. But it was pretty special. And they are beautiful. And they look like fall. And Jessie's the greatest.

I love getting flowers. (And yes, I did take these flowers outside to take a picture of them. I hear natural light takes better pictures, especially if you haven't taken the time to figure out your Canon yet. Someday I will figure it out... someday.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I feel like the word "passion" has come up in a lot of the conversations I've had lately... but it's been in the negative. When referring to my new job at JP Morgan, many times I've said the lame statement of: "Well, it'll be a good job, but what can I say, I'm just not passionate about 401ks." I was just reading a friend's blog and she answered the question, "What are you passionate about?" and upon reading that I was completely convicted that I've been focusing on the negative rather than the positive. What am I passionate about? What gets me excited and motivated and high on life?

After much contemplation (ok, not that much, maybe 15 minutes), here is my list of things I am passionate about:

1. Encouragement. I think everyone deserves to hear the nice things we sometimes think in our heads but for some reason are too embarrassed to say out loud. If you like a person's sweater or think someone did a great job at work, why not tell them about it. I love to give compliments and I love to write thank you cards. I'm passionate about encouraging people.

2. Friendships. Solid friendships are pretty huge to me. Tonight I went for a drink with a friend and asked her how she was doing and she didn't waste any time with the lame, "I've been good, how are you?" She went straight into how her heart really is. I loved it! I love how real our friendship is. I'm passionate about friendships. Not only my own but that we all need them.

3. Music. I suppose this is a little more shallow than the things above, but I'm passionate about music. I'm passionate about singing and communicating a message through notes and words. And I'm passionate about instrumentals and communicating emotion through the a major or minor key. I love it all...

4. Creativity. I'm passionate about thinking outside of the box. About creating beautiful things out of not so beautiful things. I kind of feel like creativity is a form of redemption, artistically improving a situation. I know... I just made that way deeper than it probably is, but why not...

5. Christianity. This is what I build my life around... or try to. (I fail, again and again....) It's where all of my passion begins.

The kicker is that while, no, I'm not passionate about 401ks, I can still incorporate all of the things I am passionate about in my new job (ok, well, maybe not music, but I will do that on the side...) It's these things that I will be focusing on... The end. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blessed Baker.

Today was a hard day... It's true, the girl who blogs about how happy and beautiful life is has hard days. Long story short, I'm having a hard time leaving a job that I enjoy and working with people that I love to go into this unknown territory of the "working world" doing something I'm not totally passionate about. I've always been bad at transitions so it only makes sense that I would be struggling right now. The leaving is always the hard part, but once I've arrived at the new place, I'm generally fine. So, since I found out three weeks ago that I got this new job and will be leaving my current job, it's been this never ending, painful transition. It's like a bandaid that you can't rip off, so you gradually pull it away, one hair at a time. Today the bandaid got closer to budging. The staff that I currently work with took me out to lunch kind of as a farewell (talk about bittersweet) and I cleaned out my office (it was like in the movies, where the person has all of their belongings in a cardboard box.) It was just hard.

So I came home, talked it out with my mom, cried a little bit, went shopping :), and then I baked. When I busted out a food magazine with some new recipes in it my mom said, "You always bake when you're depressed." I wouldn't say that I'm depressed, but it's a fact, baking is a pick me up for me. So, that's what I did. I baked, and it was glorious. I made these cookies from Taste of Home magazine called "Mini Cinnamon Roll Cookies" or something like that. They were wonderful...
So today was rough... But at the end of the day, I'm blessed to have worked where I've worked and with the people that I've worked with for the last 9 months. I'm blessed to have a new job that is full time, pays decently, and has benefits. I'm blessed to have a brother that loves me even when he gives me a hug and I say "I don't really want to be touched right now," but comes back for another when I'm ready. I'm blessed to have a mom that listens to me and lets me cry and then moves on. I'm blessed to have a working oven, a beautiful Kitchenaid mixer, and miraculously all of the ingredients I need to make a new cookie recipe. I'm just blessed, and that's the truth I'm focusing on to finish a day like today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm missing it...

On September 1st I got excited because fall was near. It officially became fall on September 22nd but I've realized something lately...

I keep on waiting for fall to arrive and I'm missing the fact that it's already here. I think half of the beautiful season I'm waiting for it to become "truly fall-like" and therefore kind of ignore the gloriousness of the entirety of the season. For example, in September I kept on thinking, "I can't wait for it to get cool outside, it'll be fall when it's cool." Well, it's cool now, and I haven't really acknowledged that it's here and it's wonderful. Now I'm waiting for the leaves to change, and I'm thinking, "Fall will be perfect when the leaves start changing." Fall is already beautiful. And I'm missing it because I keep on waiting for the next lovely thing to arrive.

I think we all do this. Maybe not with fall (you're probably not as obsessed as I am), but we are constantly looking forward to the next thing instead of enjoying our current surroundings. We need to stop. I need to stop. I need to start enjoying fall now, because before I know it the leaves will fall off the trees and turn brown and the cool air that I once found refreshing will turn into a freezing wind that won't go away until March. I need to stop waiting for fall (and more importantly life) to be perfect and start enjoying it for what it is now. So that's my goal. Amen. (Ha, do you feel like I just preached a sermon, because I do...)

(Fact: I need to go out and do some serious picture taking when the leaves start to change (not that I'm not enjoying it now, but if the leaves don't change you can't tell it's fall) because I keep on using the same picture to represent fall. My bad.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Picking Up.

"Business" (if you can call it that) has been picking up lately. Two weekends ago I baked 4 cakes, last weekend I baked 2, and this weekend I baked 2. It's kind of a shame that now it's picking up. I've had all this time on my hands over the last 9 months with I've only been working 20 hours a week. And now, that I just got a full-time job, things pick up. Tonight I had the realization that once I start my new job I won't have as much time to bake. It's kind of sad...

So, I've decided I'm going to try to bake a lot over the next 2 weeks and take advantage of the time I have. (It sounds like I'm dying or moving or something, but no, I'm just getting a full time job like a normal adult...) Anyway, here are a few of the cakes that I've baked over the last couple weeks. I haven't been as diligent at taking pictures, but I managed to remember for these cakes. (Above is a birthday cake for one of my co-workers. That is supposed to be the Orange County Chopper logo on a chocolate cake with white buttercream frosting.) I still have a long way to go, especially with my writing, but I can see myself improving which is a step in the right direction (sorry you just had to sit through the little pep talk I just gave to myself.)
(Chiefs cake for another one of my co-workers,
white wedding cake with buttercream frosting.)
(Birthday cake for a friend at church,
white wedding cake with buttercream frosting.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The man on our thermometer.

We had one of those indoor-outdoor thermometers that tells you both temperatures. It broke a few weeks ago and we haven't been able to find one that works well. Today... my dad brought home another one to try. I can't say thermometers get me that excited so I thought nothing of it. (For some reason I feel like older people care about the weather and temperature more than younger people do (with the exception of my college roommate Megan), am I right?)

I didn't even look at the thermometer until my brother Cory pointed out one of the coolest features I've ever seen. It has a picture of a man on it that is dressed according to how the weather is outside!! When it's warm, he's wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and shoes. When it's cold, he's wearing a jeans, a coat, and boots! Isn't that awesome?! So this afternoon it was warm and he was wearing this first outfit... And tonight, although he was a little confused on the sunglasses, considering it was 12:48 am when I took this picture, he was wearing jeans, because it got a little cooler. Isn't that great?!
Yes. I realize this post is silly. But this gave me a chuckle today... so I hope it gives you one, too!

And P.S. I've decided to name the man Gary, after our local weatherman, "Llllllook at that rainbow."

Friday, October 1, 2010


Growing up I didn't really like pumpkin pie. I always thought it was because pumpkin was gross, but it turns out it's because I think the texture is gross. Pumpkin, in fact, is awesome. I now LOVE pumpkin flavored things. Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin cupcakes. I love pumpkin.

I was excited for the arrival of fall so I could bake with pumpkin again. The other night I attempted the Pumpkin Cake with Butterscotch Filling and Brown Sugar Icing recipe from Annie's Eats. The recipe was way more difficult than I anticipated and didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. I took it to work and everyone said they liked it, but who would honestly come up to me and say, "So, Abby, I just feel like you kind of missed the mark this time." (Well, Jessie might.) Anyway, if you're up for a difficult cake and mediocre results, this recipe is for you! BUT, the moral of the story is that I baked with pumpkin, and that was fun.
This afternoon I'm baking with pumpkin again. Trying another Annie's Eats recipe, Pumpkin Butterscotch cookies (I just love the idea of pumpkin and butterscotch, hopefully it'll actually turn out this time.) They just got out of the oven and I'm hoping they turned out well. I have high hopes.
Anyway, yay for baking with pumpkin! I think the next think I'm going to try is a pumpkin cheesecake. I wis you could come over and enjoy some with me!