Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013

Finally, finally. After all the grief, all the torment of the week preceding, now we celebrate. I love to attend the Sunrise Service. While the Easter Celebration Service sounds off with victorious trumpets and joyful singing, the Sunrise Service is just a little different. We start outside. We are silent, still subdued, like the women making their way to the tomb to ready Christ's body for proper burial. The sun is not yet up. The morning is quiet and chill. The Paschal Candle is not lit.


He is not there. The Christ Candle is given flame as we hear, again, the words of the angels: Why do you look for the living among the dead?

We proceed into the darkened church, our own small candles lit from the flame on the Christ Candle. The songs start out quiet but filled with wondering hope. And they grow in sound as the sun comes up and the church brightens, filling with light. Each hymn is more joyful, more triumphant than the last.

"Awake My Heart With Gladness"
"The Strife Is O'er, the Battle Done"
"Christ the Lord Is Risen Today"
"I Know That My Redeemer Lives"
"He's Risen, He's Risen"

He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Flower and Garden Fest 2013: The Debut

My great love for Epcot's Food and Wine Fest is well-documented. In light of this, you can imagine my joy when Disney revealed that it would be adding food and beverage booths to Flower and Garden Fest. There have been a couple of token booths the past couple of years, but nothing to write home about. For 2013, though, it was announced that there would be twelve booths featuring fresh produce and tying in with the theme of Flower and Garden Fest. I was immediately curious.

I finally made my way up to Epcot to check out the lay of the land, so to speak. And oh, it did *not* disappoint. The booths are themed differently from Food and Wine Fest, and the menus are entirely original! I made my customary  "first circle," checking out the menus and getting my booth and menu photos, but I could not *wait* to dig in.

The question was...where?


Potato Pancake with House-Made Apple Sauce.

Perfect place to start! I was pretty hungry, it being after 1pm and my having not eaten anything since breakfast much earlier in the day. I needed something with enough weight to keep me from getting hangry, but not so heavy that I would feel full too quickly. The potato pancake was crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and the mashed potato had just a hint of spice to offer a little interest and a tiny bit of kick...which was immediately tempered and cooled by the cool, tart apple sauce. So delicious.

Now I was ready for something of more substance.


Pulled Pig Slider with Cole Slaw

First, I have to say, that for the price, I was impressed. It was no more than most of the other more substantial menu options for either of the two fests, and it was a generous portion! The slider was probably as big around as my fist, and it was heaped with pulled pork and topped with some cole slaw. The bun was nice and soft, but not so wimpy that it couldn't stand up to its contents.The meat was flavorful, the slaw was excellent -- crunchy and with a vinegar-based zing -- and the sauce I chose (there were bottles of sweet or spicy -- I opted for sweet and I liked that I had control over how much I got) gave the slider a nice tang.

It was a bit warm in the sun, not bad, but I was getting thirsty, so I went off in search of a tasty beverage to wet my whistle.


Desert Rose (sparkling wine with pomegranate liqueur).

Oh. Oh my. So cool and light. And bubbles! This was perfect for sipping on my shady bench, watching the people go by. (Even though the crowds were relatively light!)

Ok, time for more yummy eats!


Tarte a la Ratatouille et Fromage de Chevre (zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, onion and tomato tart with goat cheese).

I knew I didn't want another heavier food, after the slider, so I decided to go with the Tarte. The crust was light and flaky, the vegetables were savory and the goat cheese was the perfect little creamy addition. It may have been light in texture, but the flavors were awesome!

Time for something sweet. Hmmm...


Berry Trifle.

That was three bites of heaven. (And just the right size, following that slider, earlier, which filled me up surprisingly well.) There was some vanilla pudding, a little bit of sponge cake, some berries (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry), a dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of chopped nuts for a hint of crunch. Light and sweet, not overpowering, just what I had been wanting.

I was done eating, but ready for something cool to sip on my way out.


Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade.

This one was "family friendly" and so refreshing. The addition of violet to the lemonade was not at all floral. It was subtle, not overly sweet, just enough "something" to cut some of the harshness of the lemon. And just right for the long trek back to my car.

With one round firmly under my belt, I anticipate another threeto get in all the tasting that has caught my eye. A "mini" Food and Wine Fest to get me through to the real thing in the autumn? Epcot, you know the way to my heart. I hope this little bonus treat becomes an annual event!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday 2013

In keeping with my loose "theme" this year, tonight we sang:

"Jesus, I Will Ponder Now"
"Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted"
"O Sacred Head, Now Wounded"
"When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"

The music has changed in tone from Palm Sunday's praise with a hint of foreboding to Maundy Thursday's quieter introspection to Good Friday's somber and sorrowful notes. The lyrics make me feel convicted, humbled and profoundly sad, yet filled with grateful awe at the images of a sacrifice of love I could never deserve.

Tomorrow, there will be no music. There will be silence as we ponder and wait...


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday 2013

This Holy Week continues with more of my favorite Passion hymns being sung. In this evening's celebration of the Sacrament, we sang:

"When You Woke That Thursday Morning"
"What Is This Bread"
"My Song Is Love Unknown"


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Cannot Hear You Now

There are some places my cell phone does not go:

To church. (Well, it does come in with me, but it gets shut off. Not good security to leave items in your car that may be tempting to steal, but neither do I want to be That Person whose phone begins playing La Cucaracha during the silent meditation portion of confession and absolution.) (No, my ring tone is not La Cucaracha. But it belongs to someone who attends my church.)

Into the bathroom. ('Nuff said.)

In the bedroom. (It comes in with me at night, if I need an alarm clock to be set, but it gets set to "alarm only" and gets placed face down on my nightstand, and there it stays until either the alarm sounds or I get up.)

To the table. (House rule. No tech at the table. We may or may not deviate from this when we are away from home, but in our house, at our table, no exceptions.)

At the movie theater. (It gets muted and left in my purse. We pay good money to see that movie and I can text you when I haven't paid to be entertained.)

During the National Anthem. (If I am attending an event that plays the National Anthem, then my hand is over my heart, my eyes are on the Stars and Stripes, and my phone is in my pocket.)

While I drive. (If I am behind the wheel and the vehicle is moving, my phone is down. I might check an incoming text, if and when I stop at a traffic light, but if I can't reply before the light turns green, you will just have to wait. Waiting ten minutes for a reply is better than waiting forever because I wasn't paying attention to the road. My responsibility is to my driving.)


In which I give my hair The Side-Eye Stare.

Two days in a row that the infamous cowlick in my bangs has behaved for some inexplicable reason? Now I am suspicious.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 12


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday 2013

Whatever a trifecta is when it's four instead of three, that's what I got in church this morning: all four of my most favorite Palm Sunday hymns.

"All Glory, Laud and Honor"
"Hosanna, Loud Hosanna"
"Ride On, Ride On in Majesty"
"No Tramp of Soldiers' Marching Feet"

The familiar tunes. The poignant lyrics. The imagery. I know the trend is to sing more contemporary songs, but the power of these traditional hymns should not be underestimated. As many times as I have sung them in my lifetime, each year I sing the words and see the images with fresh ears and eyes.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Girl on the Other Coast: March 23, 2013

G's turn to choose the topic of our collaborative post. This time she asked me what my go-to makeup arsenal contained and shared her own. Curious what that part of my morning routine consists of? (Humor me. Pretend you're curious.) Take a virtual voyage to Little Italy and find out!

And here we go with G's!

This week I wanted to take a look at our makeup routine. What are your favorite products that you turn to on a daily basis? The "Must Have" list.

Here's a look at my favorites that greet me every morning:

I always start with my eye makeup. I first fill in my brows a bit withClinique Brow Shaper in soft brown. I don't really pluck my eyebrows because I'm happy with how they grow in. Plus, plucking your eyebrows is boring and time consuming. And? I've had many an aestheticiancompliment me on my eyebrows. So why change it? I have found, however, that filling them in with powder gives them a bit more definition which I like.

Then I line my eyes with Clinique Quickliner in either dark chocolate or black/brown...depending on my mood. I line the entire top lid and about half of the lower lid. Sometimes I'll smudge if I think it's a bit too harsh but most of the time this eyeliner goes on really smoothly. (That's why I own it in 6 different colors!)

I switch back and forth between my base eye shadow. It really justdepends on what I'm wearing and which color will be complimentary. I really like MAC eyeshadow. Thankfully they last forever because they are a bit pricey. (Boo.) My two favorite colors are Satin Taupe and Shale. The lighter vanilla color (called Nylon) goes below my brow bone as a high lighter.

Next is my face. I know most people do their face first since it's the "foundation". But sometimes my eyeshadow shmears under my eyes and it's much easier to wipe it off with water without worrying about redoing my foundation again. Which is funny...because I don't really use foundation. I love Bare Minerals and have used their powders for about 8 years now. I know it's called a foundation but I really just think of it as applying power. I currently use their Matte Foundation SPF 15 in Medium. Sometimes I change the color during the summer depending on how tan I get. I then highlight my cheeks with their blush in Golden Gate.

Once I'm done with all of that it's time to apply mascara. Mascara is a weird makeup item. Some people swear by some while others hate it. I've gone through my fair share and am pretty happy with Maybelline The Falsies Volum Express. Lashes look long and aren't clumpy? Sounds good to me.

This whole process takes me about 7 minutes. That's about all I have to spare when I'm rushing off to school in the morning! 
(please excuse the fact that this photo was taken after a VERY full day)
(edit to add mine)

G wants to know my makeup must haves? I will be the first to admit I am probably the least fun girl ever, when it comes to my makeup. I spend my fair share of time drooling over Sephora, but my budget dictates that I do my actual shopping in the cosmetics section of Target.

With so much humidity in the air here, I steer clear of foundation. (Humidity = good for the skin, bad for any heavy makeup.) I start with some lightly tinted Cover Girl loose powder and a little blush -- right now, Maybelline FITme!, but I'm really not loving any of the shades I've chosen; I like them but I don't *love* them, so when this one is gone, I'll try another.

With the base finished, I get to the real focus: my eyes. I always feel like a fraud wearing any lip color, so I tend to keep that to lip balm (SoftLips! Love it!) and I play up my eyes, my favorite feature, but they are easy to lose behind my glasses. I have several go-to color options, depending on my mood. I play around with various combinations. My favorites lately are copper-brown, rosy pink-brown, taupe-brown, smokey grey-charcoal (I am running pretty low on my stockpile, which means I get to choose some new colors soon, but some of my favorites are Maybelline EyeStudio Color Plush in "Copper Chic" and "Taupe Temptress," and Maybelline EyeStudio Color Explosion in "Caffeine Rush"). I usually do a lighter color on my lid, with the darker color along my lash line as a "soft liner," slightly blended. Sometimes I apply a layer of subtle gold shimmer or some (subtle) silver glitter (Revlon Diamond Lust in "Celestial Silver) -- you know, when I'm feeling the need for a little sparkle. A little brown or black eyeliner for definition (I really like Cover Girl Perfect Point Plus in "Onyx" and "Espresso"), and then I finish up with my absolute must-have: Maybelline Volum Express The Colossal mascara (in "Glam Brown" because black looks too unnatural on me and it doesn't come in a black-brown, but I *love* the formula, so I can live with that).

And there you have it. Ready to dry my hair and get on with my day!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Flashback Friday: March 22, 2013

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this
(from "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins)

There are countless things I miss in these photos. The hair in that last photo? Not one of those things.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 11


Monday, March 18, 2013

A lot about nothing?

They say you never know exactly what's going on in anyone else's life. You see only as much as you are allowed to see, and of that, only what you choose to see. I am a prime example of that. I know it. I don't believe the internet is the place for everything, at least not *my* everything. (Or, now that I am permanently part of a "we," *our* everything.) Social media and the blogosphere are often not the places where I choose to bare my soul.

The line of what we share on the internet is hazy. We all have our limits. Some of us use pseudonyms. Some of us won't post photos with faces. And some of us bare all, no topic off limits. I struggle with this, because I want to be authentic. I want what I "put out there" to be a true picture of me. I am genuine, in my "real life," and I am not ok with being less than that digitally. But on the other side, I don't feel every corner of my life is open for inspection and discussion and outside opinion.

The more I ponder this, the more I realize that this *is* the authentic me. Even in my face-to-face interactions, I pick and choose what is revealed. There are some things that aren't meant for work. Others that are meant only for my immediate circle of People. There are some things that I divulge to only one or two individuals, on a case-by-case basis, which I weigh every time I have the opportunity to either tell or stay close-lipped. Some things are fair game and they make it here (or onto Twitter or Facebook or where ever they best lend themselves), but much of it isn't. And it isn't because I am afraid to show my full life. I am not embarrassed nor do I feel I have something to hide. I just don't feel like all of me is available for public consumption.

And so I walk a fine line.

I read a quote, a while back, by the radio host Delilah: "Too many people are afraid of exposure. But the more transparent you are, the more you give others permission to be open right back." That is certainly an environment I was to create for myself. (Well, within reason -- I don't want that, say, at work, or in the company of an over-sharer, and I do firmly believe there is a time and a place for everything.) (I offer no apology; I am a Libra, through and through, and to everything there must be balance.) I am not afraid of exposure. I will open up when it is fitting, whether the conversation or the company lends itself to sharing, or because I feel particularly driven to do so unbidden. I am guardedly transparent though, and I have thought long and hard about why this is.

An even longer while ago, I read another quote, in a magazine interview with Nicole Kidman, who said: "I would never write a memoir. There are things that happen behind closed doors, and that's where they belong. I'm not secretive. I'm protective." This is me. I *am* protective: of my heart and my vulnerability, of the precious moments I share with those most dear to me, of my deepest thoughts and feelings. They are not secrets, they are just *mine*. And many of them deserve the respect of being treasured or revealed only privately or in very limited company.

It's not that my life is perfect -- although, to be fair, it's pretty darn awesome, and that is no sugar-coated fairy tale woven for the eyes of the internet -- or that I need anyone to think that it is. In fact, my life has its challenges and disappointments, just like yours, just like everyone's. It isn't just the hard days or the bad moods or the complaints that don't make it here. There are beautiful, joy-filled, amazing moments that exist solely in my undocumented life as well. Not because they aren't worthy of this place, but because I don't wish to put them here.

In fact, my life looks much like this blog: far more good than not, with a little "reality" sprinkled in. Which is maybe all the barometer I ever need to feel I'm being true to myself in what I share here: Is this place truly a microcosm of the life I lead? Because no life can be fully encapsulated in so many pixels and characters spilling out of a blinking cursor. All you ever get is a little slice.

It's been quiet here the past couple of weeks. I've been a little introspective. I've been pondering and feeling...and living. That doesn't translate well to written form, except in near radio silence. At the risk of being considered one of those people who comes off as teasing with details they don't intend to share -- because there are details and I don't intend to share them, let's just be up front about that right now -- I've learned something about myself over these quieter days. I've learned that I am strong, that my mind and my heart and my marriage are healthy and thriving. I feel still, at peace, unshaken. There were once darker days when I wondered if I would ever be this person, and here I am.

If all of this has you wondering what's going on and if I am ok, the simple truth is: yes, yes I am. Sometimes, that's all there is to say.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

TV Loves and Hates: March 17, 2013

Disclaimer: I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead if you're even further behind than I am. You read at your own risk!

**Elsbeth episodes of The Good Wife are always so entertaining. I love her expressions and mannerisms.

**The continuity of the character Carrie Bradshaw is fabulous. I love that The Carrie Diaries give us the backstory of the Carrie we got to know on Sex and the City. I was so confused when young Carrie decided to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner, because adult Carrie did NOT cook; she used her oven for storage. So when the comment was made, after a disastrous attempt at cooking, that she would just use her oven for storage when she grew up, I cracked up. (ep 6)

**Whitney is actually getting funny. I never thought I would see that day.

**The chemistry between Megan and Tommy (Body of Proof).

**Broyles is back!! (Fringe)

**Sheldon and the dryer lint. You just have no idea how "me" that was. I was so skeeved out by people who left their lint in the communal laundry room at the apartment complex. I don't care if it came from their supposed clean clothes, it's still gross. I would not remove it with my bare hands, though I opted for my used dryer sheets to remove it, and I wish I had thought of using rubber gloves like Sheldon's. One of the greatest joys of home ownership is having our own personal laundry room, where the lint is emptied after each dried load of laundry and its contents are only our own. No price can be put on that peace of mind.

**Body of Proof breaking out of character in "Lost Souls." I am more accustomed to this show being more like Monk or The Mentalist -- a crime drama with some humor and "lightness" tossed in -- so when this one got downright creepy, I was sorry I watched it right before heading to bed.

**Too many shows without new episodes! Although that does allow for clearing off the DVR backlog.

**Fringe killing off Etta.

**Deception tries so hard to be mysterious that it just casts a shadow of doubt on every character. I swear, if the killer turns out to be some random person we've barely met, I am going to be totally peeved.


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