Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sad Times

Hi, everyone! As I mentioned in my last post, I have been consumed with my sister's wedding stuff lately, but it is finally over. (I can start sleeping again.) The wedding was Saturday, and everything turned out really nice, and she-of course-was gorgeous.  Now that that's done, maybe I can finally get back into my blogging routine. I also wanted to share some very sad news, as it may be something you will have heard about anyway.  I don't know, as I seldom ever watch the national news.

Rest In Peace: (L-R) Kassie Robinson, Miranda Morgan and Tiffany Sparkman Maggard

A small plane crashed in North Carolina yesterday, killing four people. I knew the three passengers (don't know the pilot) which are in the picture above. All three girls are from our small community, which is rural and close-knit. The girls on the end are from my little, teensie-tiny hometown, and the girl in the center was my student for two years. Kassie just graduated from college on the 14th, Miranda was studying to be an elementary teacher, and Tiffany had not been married long at all. All of these ladies were not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well. As you can imagine, this news is just devastating to all who knew them and has left a big whole in the heart of our community, so please keep the family and friends of these beautiful young ladies whose lives were cut tragically short in your prayers.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is Perfect Frosting a Figment of my Imagination?

Well, another week has flown by and it's been days since I've posted anything.  It's because I've been pretty much consumed with preparing for my sister's household shower which was held today.  My mother decided to throw the shower, but as she teaches and this was finals week at school, she really had no time to make the necessary preparations for such an event.  So...since I'm no longer working, I told her that if she wanted to turn me loose on the matter, I would be happy to help. After I convinced her that I was being sincere and that it would help keep me occuppied, she agreed that it would be a big relief. So between me, my best friend, and my grandmother, we shopped (and shopped...) for decorations, party supplies and food the earlier part of the week and spent the latter on the actual preparations. Now, I can't say I have ever thrown a party for anyone, and I don't really consider myself to be a decorator, so this was all somewhat challenging for me. In the end, I think all turned out well and was especially pleased with the flower arrangements I came up with which were earlier causing me great pains and much stress.

Can I also just add that I have made more frosting this week than possibly all the other times in my whole life put together.  We opted to make cupcakes instead of a typical cake, so that naturally meant that making cupcakes means making frosting to top them off. First of all, I hate confectioner's sugar frosting (or what some call American Buttercream), so I began early in the week in search of what I will call the "perfect frosting" (which I am thinking is quite likely a figment of my imagination.)  I wasn't confident that a 7 Minute or White Mountain frosting would hold up for the necessary amount of time, and I absolutely refused to use confectioner's sugar frosting, so I tried a multitude of various frosting recipes that came with the highest of recommendations (all from the internet) and tossed all 6, 8, 10 or...?? in the trash. Sadly, I'm not exaggerating for dramatic effect--I kid you not. (And can you imagine how much weight I've probably gained just from taste-testing all that stuff!?) To make a long story short, I ended up settling on two batches of frosting (both of which I'm pretty sure I could never make again, even if I had to) but was truthfully not pleased with the results. (Key word here is settled.) So, I am still in search of the alleged "perfect frosting."  If you know of one, please be a dear and share your recipe!
The actual wedding is this coming Saturday, so now we have all week to make preparations for that! I have a feeling that this week is going to go by just as fast as the past one. I, however, am not responsible for any frosting-making this week (thank goodness!) as my grandmother is going to make the wedding cake herself. I am looking forward to this little break from my culinary frustration (although there's an excellent chance I will be helping her with the cake) as I'm just not accustommed to having such trouble in the kitchen. So again, please, if you know of a perfect frosting that preferably 1) doesn't use confectioner's sugar and 2) doesn't use shortening, I beg of you--please share the love!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vintage Facial Treatments

Westmore Beauty Book -- A Complete 1950s Guide to Vintage Makeup, Hairstyling and Beauty TechniquesI love reading about anything beauty-related, especially if it is vintage in nature.  Several of you liked my post on easy, at-home facials, so I thought I would share some more old-fashioned beauty advice from my favorite beauty manual, Westmore Beauty Book -- A Complete 1950s Guide to Vintage Makeup, Hairstyling and Beauty Techniques.  As I have said before, this book is increadibly comprehensive and was written by the Westmores, a widely respected family of makeup artists who were notorious for creating the glamorous looks of many of the screen sirens of the past.  One reason I particularly like the suggestions in this book is because they are simple and realistic.  They don't call for any exotic ingredients, but rather, things that you most likely already have on-hand at home. 

Caring for Dry Skin:

Make sure to clean your face with softened water.  If you have hard water, purchase distilled water for the purpose of washing your face.  If you are unable to get distilled water, boil the water to be used and allow to cool. This will help soften hard water. Be sure to use a mild and super-fatted soap for washing. To remove the day's makeup, apply two applications of cleansing cream, and wipe off with tissues.  Then wash your face gently with a soft cloth, moving your fingertips in a circular motion.  After washing with soap an water, rinse your face well, being sure to remove all traces of soap.  Pat (but do not rub) face dry with a soft towel. Morning cleansing should consist of an application of cleansing cream, removed with a tissue.  Then apply a skin freshener with a cotton ball, and wipe off with a tissue. (Do not allow skin freshener to dry on face.)  Whenever possible, apply a moisturizing oil to face and neck and leave on as long as possible.

Oil Facial for Dry Skin:

Warm oil to be used and apply generously to face using a cotton ball.  Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, then wipe off excess with a cotton pad.  Apply facial moisturizing cream in a circular motion and finish with a skin freshener.

Caring for Oily Skin:

Nightly cleansing should consist of two applications of cleansing cream, removed with tissues.  After this, wash the face with warm water and a neutral soap.  Use a clean washcloth each time, or use your fingertips (being careful not to use your fingernails) to prevent spreading infection.  Work up a good lather on the face and rinse thoroughly with warm water.  Pat the face dry with a soft towel (do not rub). Pat the face with a cotton ball soaked with skin freshener, allowing the freshener to remain and dry on the face.  Morning cleansing should consist of washing with soap and water, thorough rinsing and an application of skin freshener. Do not allow skin freshener to dry on the face in the morning, but remove it with a tissue.

Treatment for Oily Skin:

Use this along with the regular cleansing procedure as often as needed.  Add one heaping tablespoon of epsom salts to a hot cup of water.  Allow to dissolve. Dip cotton balls or pads into this solution and pat over face.  Rinse with cold water. Repeat for 10 consecutive nights.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Do you know about Pandora Radio?

My mom, Aunt Nellean, sister Elizabeth and myself
Hi, everyone! I hope you all have had a great weekend. Mine was spent with family members .  Saturday was my Aunt Nellen's 80th birthday, so her daughter very generously arranged a surprise party for her, and I got to see a lot of relatives that I normally don't see very often.  It is so nice to see and talk to people that are pretty much obligated to love you no matter what! Haha!
Aunt Nellean was my grandmother Hattie's sister, who passed away almost three years ago.  Granny was very special to me, and I always considered her and my other grandmother, Lannie, to be my role models in life.  It has taken me a long time to come to terms with Granny's death, and I have only in the last few months felt like I have been able to peacefully deal with it (emotionally speaking).  Then, Sunday we went to visit my in-laws, because it was my mother-in-law's birthday.  We were going to grill out, but it started raining, so we decided to drive to a nearby town to eat instead.  As I was sitting in the backseat of my in-law's car, with my husband beside me, I suddenly began feeling very anxious and claustrophobic.  Then my feet started going numb and I knew I was about to have a panic attack.  Fortunately, I moved up to the front seat and felt some better.  Eventually, another wave of panic hit me, but I was able to work through it without it escalating too much.  I couldn't believe it.  I haven't had a panic attack in a long, long time....months. Then I started thinking about it, and realized that it was probably due to having been so emotionally upset the night before.

Even though I had a good time at my aunt's birthday celebration, it really hit me hard after I got home that my grandmother wasn't there, and of course, I missed her. And I grieved for her. And I felt fine Sunday, until I got in the back seat to go out to eat.  It was very unexpected, not to mention disheartening as panic attacks (or the intense fear of having them) has completely altered the course of my life over the last year or so. I find it fascinating that our body can't handle things even when we think we can...I'm just trying now to not let it discourage me. 

Ella and Marilyn, two of my favorites
So why do I mention all this? Well, partly because it's heavily on my mind, and partly because one thing I like to do when I need to get my mind off something is listen to music.  And if you like music, and don't know about Pandora Radio, you have to check it out! I've known about it for several months now and LOVE it!  You pick out songs/artists you like and build your own radio "stations." Based on what you like and dislike, they will play music tailor-made to suit your taste! And the best part--it's free!! Well, I think you get 40 hours of listening time a month that is free, and if you want more than that, you have to pay for it.  But all you need is an email address and go to to make an account. I have been listening to my "Marilyn Monroe" station this evening which plays a mixture of the rat pack, Marilyn, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Doris Day and's amazing, and practically commercial-free!


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