Archive for May, 2010

  • Wardrobe Update

    Date: 2010.05.30 | Category: Me, Style | Response: 14

    Finally, I’m going to share some photos of some of the new clothes I got. I had a blast shopping, but I am slightly uncomfortable showing off my…erm, figure. More on that in a bit. For now, here are some of my purchases.

    New colors, painted toes and jewelry.

    Color, pattern, heels and jewelry!

    What? A dress?

    Color and no collar.

    Color, a dress, and jewelry!

    Now, ladies and gentlemen, buying clothes  and being, erm, well endowed, don’t really go well together. Also, I hate my arms. Thus, the shrugs. I still have a long way to go to update my wardrobe, but after seeing a lot of recent photos of myself, and then seeing old photos of myself, I’ve decided the next important step is to work on myself.

    I’m going to try to be realistic. I know I will never be a size 2, or 4, or 6 for that matter, and I am completely ok with that. But I could be healthier… healthier like I was in college. And several pounds lighter would make life easier on a number of levels.

    In college I used to run 5ks, all the way through. I rowed, I lifted weights, and while I was no string bean, I felt better about myself and what I looked like. So, I’ve made a decision. I started the “Couch to 5k” program this morning. And, armed with my handy, dandy iPhone App of the same name, Leela and I have started training again. The goal? To be able to run the entire Race for the Cure in September without stopping.

    So here’s to new goals to making life happier, healthier and more fashionable!

  • Sure, we all make mistakes.

    Date: 2010.05.27 | Category: Whoops, Work | Response: 5

    And most people are kind enough to overlook them, or at least wait and make fun of you when you’re not there to feel the burning shame of your mess up. (That is, of course, unless they are your family or spouse who love to relish in you being wrong).

    The bad part about working in the publishing industry though is that there are thousands and thousands of people who look at your work, waiting for a mistake.

    It’s like a game show. Who can be the first to call with the typo, or, “well actually you got it wrong…” Which is why I dread the day the publication comes out. I jump when the phone rings, I cringe when an email comes through. Because the feedback is coming; it always does.

    And in the following days handwritten letters and sometimes even anonymous faxes find their way to my desk.

    Now I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a kick out of some of them. Because, oh I do. I love reading very passionate and sometimes embittered and misguided responses. And, in a way, it shows me they care.

    But this last time, I admit it, I did make a kind of big mistake, one that slipped through the careful eyes of four proofreaders.

    I listed a prominent and important local city leader as DECEASED. And not only did I list him as dead, but I wrote that something was done in his honor because he was dead.

    You see…what had happened was… I misread the press release. The press release said the person who was actually deceased was a good friend and associate of the person I listed as dead. Follow that?

    So today I get a phone call from said not-dead person’s secretary who is very confused and wanted to make sure we knew he is “very much alive.” I returned the call, inwardly slapping myself, preparing to gravel. Thankfully though, she was very nice about the whole thing and said they all had a good laugh over it, especially when not-dead man’s friend called and asked if he could have his job because he would no longer need it, being dead and all.

    Note to self: Even when deadlines are tight, take the time to double check facts.

    Not to be outdone, shortly after I got that phone call, I realized I left leftover pad thai from lunch my car, baking in the 95-degree Louisiana sun. The same car that finally doesn’t smell like a souring latte anymore.  I just pray that smell clears out before Mark gets a chance to make fun of me for that mistake

  • Ah…. Vacation.

    Date: 2010.05.23 | Category: Bonnie Barrell, Family, Friends, Pets, Travel | Response: 8

    Mark and I spent the last week with his family in Fort Walton Beach, FL. And I’m happy to report that it was extremely relaxing, sunny and full of delicious seafood. It was also the off season, which meant no obnoxious, drunk teenagers and no punk 12-year-olds, only cute little toddlers that sort of made my ovaries hurt.

    The food was amazing. I love fresh seafood. We went to AJ’s (Yummy sauteed scallops), Harry T’s (Awesome view, they fire a cannon at sunset and the boats wave and show their catch for the day as they come in), Sushi Siam (A lot like Sake Sushi. My sister-in-law had the best roll by far) and McGuire’s Irish Pub for the best Shepherd’s Pie on the planet and my favorite place in Ft. Walton Beach to eat.

    Mark and me Harry T’s.
    Harry T's

    And so, here are a few highlights from the trip:

    The Bad: We played True Colors with his family. Turns out they all think Mark and I are big spenders…

    The Good: They all picked us as people they’d want to have as a business partner! Also, the whole game had everyone cracking up.


    The Bad: Working for yourself means lots of phone calls and emails throughout the duration of your vacation. Mark’s customers were particularly heinous.

    The Good: All mine were understanding and wanted me to enjoy my vacation.


    The Bad: Sunburn

    The Good: I managed to read 2 and a half books while burning my back to a crisp.

    I moved to the sun after my burn, and I kept on reading. This was my view from under the umbrella.
    Ft. Walton Beach


    The Bad: On our way to Florida, Mark’s latte spilled into the carpet in the back seat of my car. We didn’t discover this until the car had cooked out in the sun for four days. My car now smells like chocolate sour milk and dog vomit. It is horrible. We’ve tried scrubbing and airing out to no avail.

    The Good: This finally convinced Mark that we needed a Bissell Green Machine, which I can also use on my furniture! We got one at Lowes today!


    The Bad: My sister kept both dogs. While staying with my sister, Bonnie nearly bit their friend’s leg off because Bonnie doesn’t like strangers, especially male strangers.

    The Good: I was worried Bonnie would be a nervous wreck and ruin my sister’s house. Instead she forged an inseparable bond with my brother-in-law.

    (That’s him with his nose and arms sticking out with my dogs in their bed).
    Border collies


    The Bad: We saw oil in the Gulf.

    The Good: It wasn’t until right before we left.


    The Best: My sister’s friend Kari met up with us two of the days we were there. She took us through the winding streets of Destin to the cutest wine shop I’ve ever seen. I got a shirt with four wine glasses on it that says “Group Therapy.” And to top it off, we got to do a wine tasting of every single wine they sold… for free! Needless to say, I rewarded them by stocking up on lots of the ones I sampled.

    That’s Kari on the left. People thought we were sisters!

    It was a great vacation, and  I was in no way ready to go home. I could have camped out another week or so and have been perfectly happy… that is if I could have had my dogs there. I really missed them.

    The vacation was much needed and I can already feel my creative juices flowing again.

  • A Visiting We Go

    Date: 2010.05.16 | Category: Leela Fish, OMG YAY! | Response: 6

    Today marked a momentous occasion! We took Leela for her very first Therapy Dog Visit. We decided to start small. We went to Willis Knighton LifeCare on a Saturday afternoon to visit a friend of mine who has been in the hospital for well over a year, suffering from Arnold-Chiari Malformation.

    We met my sister up there and prepared for our foray into the hospital. I put on her designated therapy dog uniform (i.e. her tags and bandanna). Leela’s first experience in the elevator went well. I could tell she didn’t like the movement, but she didn’t fuss too much. Leela got lots of hellos and waves from nurses and patients. And when we walked in to see Amanda, her tail  started wagging like crazy.

    Leela was a big show off, showing Amanda all her obedience and little tricks we’ve been working on. She even hopped up in bed with Amanda for a while and snuggled.

    Leela and Amanda

    Amanda had a puppy there with her who visits during the weekends. She was the cutest little thing ever and I wanted to put her in my purse and  steal her. Leela was rather fond of her too.

    And Amanda gave us bracelets that say, “BELIEVE Amanda Sparks.” Leela was only sad that it wouldn’t fit around her neck, so she modeled it on her head for a bit instead.

    And then suddenly dark clouds started rolling in and I started having visions a horrible storm erupting and Bonnie tearing through the back door in an attempt to get in the house, so we bid farewell and made our way home.

    I really enjoyed getting to see Amanda and taking Leela on her first real visit. I learned a few things we need to work on:

    1. Leela gets so excited to see people that her little 30-pound self tries to drag me across the hospital. We have got to work on heel.

    2. Bring treats so that when I ask her to do a trick she won’t bark at me in protest.

    3. Put a harness on next time so she doesn’t choke herself trying to lick the nurses’ faces.

    But overall, I think it went well. When we get back from vacation we’re going to try out a nursing home.

    Go Leela!

  • Happy Birthday to My Favorite BachelorGirl!

    Date: 2010.05.13 | Category: Birthday, Friends | Response: 9

    What? You didn’t think I could let today, May 13, go by without celebrating the birth of one of my very favorite people did you? The lady who created THE Original Birthday Post?

    I didn’t think so. To commemorate the special day, here is a list of 33 reasons why I’m celebrating Kelly, the BachelorGirl.

    33. Because she is a fantastic writer who produces quality work for me for little to no payment.

    32. Because she talked me into Dragon Boat racing.


    31. Because she loves her Chi as much as I love my border collies, a fact which I can attest to after last night. But I’ll let her tell you that story on BG.


    30. Because she flew to Boston and went to Photoshop World with me because I didn’t want to go alone (I know, I had to really twist her arm on this one).


    29. Because on said trip she hiked it with me in the 30 degree, windy weather to do touristy things… hey at least we finally found the wine store.


    29. Because the last time I got very angry and upset, she drove through the torrents of rain to pick up my unstable, emotional self and haul me to her apartment where she consoled me with a bottle of douchebag wine and handed me a copy of  Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

    28. Because she seconded the motion to go to Green Goddess and use Neil Gaiman’s password which landed us with a free appetizer and a Twitter acknowledgement from Neil.


    27. Because she arranged for her friend Mere to hang out with me when I was there all alone in Birmingham on business. Mere, by the way, was the perfect tour guide.

    26. Because she loves Halloween as much as I do. She planned to go as Nibbler with me and Mark as Leela and Fry one year and then got sick. It made me very sad.

    25. Because she used her mad Martha Stewart crafting skills to make these amazing little bags for me for my birthday.

    Jessica's 24th Birthday - 16

    24. Because she helped me move.

    23. Because she made me carrot cake cupcakes for my birthday and brought them to me when I was stuck at home miserable and sick.

    22. Because she held my hand and wept with me on the scary plane ride to Dallas.

    21. Because she held my hand and wept with me when we saw RENT.

    20. Because she asked me to help kick start BachelorGirl, and then regularly flattered me with some great posts.

    19. Because she bought me an orange purse. Orange is my favorite.

    18. Because we have twin Honda Fits.

    17. Because she is super flexible and will endure a certain level of pain to get the best out of life.


    16.  Because she has seen me in the grumpiest of moods and is still my friend.

    15. Four words: Blind Tiger Happy Hour.

    14. Because she encourages my graphic design by letting me regularly redesign her mastheads to suit my fancy. (Check out the one I designed for her birthday today at

    13. Because she can laugh at life’s idiosyncrasies.

    12.  Because she voluntarily helped me with all my Matron of Honor duties for my sister’s wedding, including photographing events so I could enjoy them. Great photo of my and my sisters bacheloretting it up FTW.


    11. Because she helped me make fun of an idiot at the bar who wouldn’t leave us alone. Me to the jerk: “Your shirt has jewels on it.” Him: “What are you talking about?” Kel: “You know, (with hand motions) pa-chunk, pa-chunk, BEDAZZLED.”

    10. Because she encouraged me to talk to a photographer I admired at his public show.

    9.  Because she brings me back awesome things from her trips. Case in point: Chuck Taylor Jack Skelington pin from Disney.

    8. Because girl can work some stripper shoes.


    7. Because when I asked her and The Guy to act out movie scenes for their photo shoot, they did so with gusto.


    6. Because she always willingly proofreads my writing and provides great feedback.

    5. Because she’s a girl who knows how to have fun.


    4. Because she bulldogged the rude people at the Melting Pot when my credit card went missing.

    3. Because you can always rely on her to come to a party.


    2. Because if you are ever feeling bad or in a bind, she is the first to speak up and ask how she can help.

    1. Because she is a good and loyal friend who will sing your praises to anyone who will listen.

    Jessica's 24th Birthday - 15

    Happiest Birthday Kel. May you have a happy and drama free day. I am so happy to call you my friend

  • In which I learned about the time my grandmother was a… swinger?

    Date: 2010.05.11 | Category: Family, Weirdness | Response: 7

    For Mother’s Day, I went with my mom out of town to visit my grandparents. Both of my sisters were out of town, and I decided to take full advantage of mom-grandmother-me time. And boy do they know how to spoil me rotten.

    They took me shopping, and I added jewelry, shoes and a shrug to my growing wardrobe of new clothes. Then they wined and dined me (is there anything better than Kendall Jackson chardonnay and sweet potato fries?)

    And then they took me to a play - Fiddler of the Roof. It was produced by the students and professors at LA Tech. Shamefully, I didn’t know anything about Fiddler going in, but I was quickly swept up into the show. Maybe it was the catchy music that my grandfather was happily singing along to, or maybe it was the fun Jewish bottle dance, or maybe it was because we were on the third row and could see the actors’nose hairs, but I enjoyed it immensely.

    On the drive back, everyone was discussing the play, particularly a scene where a ghost lady was flying around the top of the stage by means of some kind of swing. My grandmother’s friend Priscilla declared, “I don’t think I’ve ever known someone who has swung from the top of a theatre before.”

    To which my grandmother replied, “Well I have.”

    She was met with dead silence. You see my grandmother is the bake-cakes-for-nursing-home grandmother. The shopping, always dressed modestly grandmother. The sit back and enjoy everyone else acting silly grandmother. Definitely not the swing from the ceiling grandmother.

    Finally we recovered from our stupor and Priscilla said, “What in the world were you doing swinging from a ceiling?!”

    To which my grandmother calmly explained that when she was a freshman in college her sorority sisters made her take part in a performance. She had to get on a swing hanging from the ceiling of the auditorium. And not only was she on the swing, but she was standing on the swing, wearing a swimming suit in front of the entire student body.

    “Well Priscilla,” said my grandfather, “You were wrong. You did know someone after all.”

    And to prove her point, my grandmother whipped out her 1956 yearbook and found the picture. But she wasn’t in a swimsuit (turns out that was for practice). Instead she was in a slinky dress with a slit up her leg and a garter.

    (I quickly snapped a photo with my phone. I knew my sisters would never believe it without a photo. She’s the third from the right. The one in the slinky black number.)

    I said, “Paw Paw, look what she’s wearing in this picture!”

    He just wagged his eyebrows at me.

    I hope Mark and I have that kind of spirit when we’re their age, and I hope your Mother Day was as good as mine.

  • Leela Fish is Here to Save the Day!

    Date: 2010.05.07 | Category: Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Leela Fish, Pets | Response: 16

    It’s official! All of Leela’s paperwork came through. We now have a licensed Therapy Dog and Canine Good Citizen in our midst. In our welcome package, we received a list of places where we can take her. Several libraries, nursing homes and hospitals are on the list. We plan on making our first visit next week to visit Amanda in the hospital.

    As part of the welcome package. Leela got this snazzy bandanna. Looks good with her black and white, no?

    She also got this nifty yellow tag she wears on her collar. I know you can’t really read it well here, but it says, “I’m a Therapy Dog.”


    Leela says, “I am a therapy dog, here to SAVE THE DAY!” Doesn’t she look so super hero-esque?

    And what does Bonnie think of all this?


    That’s ok, we forgive her. If she ever gets over her constant fear of everything that moves, maybe one day she too can be a therapy dog. In the mean time, she’ll stick to snuggling and squirrel chasing, thank you very much.

  • On Shopping and High Heels

    Date: 2010.05.06 | Category: Family, Style, Work | Response: 7

    Well guys, I did it.

    I literally cleaned out over half of my closet, put it in a giant trash bag and hauled it away.

    It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. For one, I was in “go mode.” And for another, I bought so many new clothes that I needed a place for them!

    New Rule: If everything doesn’t fit in the closet or dresser, then somethings have to go.

    So shopping. It went surprisingly well. So many times when I shop, I go in with a negative attitude, but not this time. This time, I knew things would be different. I brought my sister-in-law Stephanie with me (who I may or may not have duped into going with me by getting her to agree after a few glasses of wine the night before).

    She was a huge help. She picked out colors and styles for me to try on that I usually shy away from. And, most importantly, she was honest with me when I tried something on. If it made me look huge, then it went back, no matter how comfy it was.

    Stephanie was by my side during the first part of our shopping, but wandered off to do some of her own for a while. Much to my dismay, when I was in the dressing room I discovered that everything I had picked up by myself was GRAY. Every single thing. What is wrong with me? My subconscious wants me to dress like Eeyore.

    In the end, I got tons of cute items in a variety of colors including tops, skirts, tank tops and dresses and just three gray/black items. After all, I still need to pair those colors with something.

    I made another trip out on Sunday and picked up a few more things. I was thrilled with my new wardrobe and ready to show it off.

    I eased into my new wardrobe throughout the week. Monday I wore brown slacks, as usual, but paired it with a cute, floral top. Number of comments on my new look: Two.

    Tuesday I got a little braver. I still wore slacks, but this time I went with a bright, salmon colored shirt. Number of comments: Zero.

    “Not bad,”  I thought and breathed a sigh of relief.

    Wednesday I combined the two, I went with a print, a bright color and, on a whim, decided to wear heels. Number of comments: Two.

    Now, why my 5’10”, curvy self decided wearing heels all day long was a good idea, I still don’t know. Putting all of my weight on one spot of my foot was clearly a bad idea as I now have achy ankles and blistered pinky toes.

    I have decided that I love the idea of high heels, and don’t mind breaking them out for the occasional formal event, but that they are not work shoes. At least not until I can afford some hand-made couture shoes custom built for my foot. If that ever happens, then I may never wear flats again.

    So that brings us to today, Thursday. The day I decided to wear a dress. I was nervous – seriously! But I picked one of those long town gowns and paired it with a pink under shirt and a light gray cropped sweater. Start modestly I thought.  And it’s black, people won’t even notice I thought.

    How wrong I was. Number of comments: Seven.

    The comments ran the gambit.  Six were from women. One from a man.

    The majority of the responses I got were “Cute dress!” and “Look at you! You look great!”

    I got one “Is it a special occasion?” And another, not so subtle, “I’m sorry, but I have to ask, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you wear a dress. What’s going on?”

    And to think I thought people wouldn’t notice! Ha!

    But, I feel great and confident and proud of myself for making a change in my look. Mark has been taking photos of me in my new outfits throughout the week and I will post them here this weekend. (I’m not crazy about my figure, but in the name of blogging, new clothes and new confidence, I’ll post them).

    For now, I’m going to take my co-worker Lori’s solid advice, “If they ask why, just tell them you’re doing it for yourself. In a week, it will stop.”

    And so I will.

  • TWO!

    Date: 2010.05.03 | Category: Friends, Photography | Response: 7

    On Saturday one of my favorite people turned TWO years old. She celebrated in style with a Minne Mouse themed birthday party and lots of cake, candy and rice crispie treats with all her toddler friends.

    To help her celebrate the big day, her mom Angela asked me to take some photos so we could capture her spunky little two-year-old spirit.

    Toddlers are, um, interesting to photograph. They don’t stay still for long, but as Angela and I quickly discovered, props help.

    So without further ado, Happy Birthday Miss Amelia.





    Mom jumped in for a few…

    And I saved the best for last.

    Two beautiful ladies.