Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Photo a Day Summary

The word of the month was RED. I made a goal for myself at the start of this month that I would include red (or pink) in every photo.  Let's see how I did....

I admit. I stretched it a little bit on some days... like "something orange" and "cloud".  But on other days, I did very well. I have to say I'm proud of myself for sticking through with it for the whole month, but I am also SO GLAD it's over! I really miss my black and white photos and landscapes.

Onto another photo taking month for March. I see some very interesting prompts for this month. Should be fun.

02.28.13 Upside Down

Is it upside down?

The label is, but the lid is at the top of the bottle where it normally should be. If you flip it over, then the words are correct but the lid is on the bottom. It's really a pretty cool design. I like the squeezable bottles of jelly because you store them upside down. The jelly settles in the bottom, where the lid is, and it comes out easier. So it may be upside down, or not.

And that concludes the month of February! Who's ready for March?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

02.27.13 Playing

Power outage yesterday! A collective cry of "OH NO" was heard throughout the house. For the kids that meant no TV, no electronic games, and no movies. For me it meant no heat and my cell phone was low on battery power. Thankfully I could charge it off the car battery and wrap a blanket around myself.

So what did we do for entertainment? Board games!

My kids actually really like to play board games. The end tables in my living room are packed with them. Connect Four and Battleship are two of my favorites (I like the one-on-one challenge). We also have checkers and chess. Brandon is a very good chess player, and Krista just finished chess club at her school. I, on the other hand, still need to learn how to play. In addition to Monopoly yesterday, we played several games of Uno, Trouble and Sorry

We usually receive a new game each year for Christmas. This year's game was Apples to Apples. That is a LOT of fun. If you've never played it, look it up. We always have a blast and laugh for hours.

Do you have a favorite board game?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday - Snow Day Playlist

We're buried under a blanket of snow again here in the mid-west. I feel like hibernating with a warm blanket, a cup of coffee and a good book.

Or maybe a new playlist.

The winter weather has inspired me to search high and low for wintry, snowy songs. I've come up with a very diverse group of songs to keep you entertained on a cold and blustery day. I've listed out the songs here or just click below to play if you have Spotify. Subscribe if you like it.

Snow Day Playlist
  1. Winter - Joshua Radin
  2. Snow (Hey, Oh) - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  3. Cold As Ice - Foreigner
  4. Snow Outside - Dave Matthews Band
  5. Tracks In The Snow - The Civil Wars
  6. A Hazy Shade Of Winter - Simon & Garfunkel
  7. Colder Weather - Zac Brown Band
  8. Winter Winds - Mumford & Sons
  9. Winter In My Heart - The Avett Brothers
  10. Weather With You - Crowded House
  11. The Hounds Of Winter - Sting
  12. Winter Song - Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaels
  13. Song For A Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
  14. Baby, It's Cold Outside - She & Him

02.26.13 Quiet

I woke up to a winter wonderland.

At least six inches, maybe more, of newly fallen snow.

Very peaceful outside.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Truman the Snowman

It was a bright, sunny and warmer weekend which led to much of the snow melting. Yay! And that made the snow perfect for snowman building.  Little Frosty was reduced to a puddle fairly quickly on the back deck, so we moved to the front yard for some snow building fun.

Truman the Snowman

02.25.13 On Your Bedside Table

My alarm clock, a picture frame my sister gave me for my birthday, a vase full of buttons, and a little mirrored candle box.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

02.24.13 Cloud

Not a cloud in the sky today! Which was great because the warm, bright sun melted a lot of the snow away. What was not cool is that today's photo a day word is "cloud."

To the archives we go...

This is a sunrise picture I took a few weeks ago (note: just the right amount of red).

And here it is with a marble effect (love my marblecam app).

And this was the sunset tonight (note: not enough red).

Little Frosty

This snow isn't the best snowman making snow, so this was the best I could do. I broke off chunks and made a tiny little snowman. I asked the kids what his name would be. They said Frosty. Not very original but that's his name...

He's a little snowman short and cold
His nose fell off, so I am told
The sun is shining bright now, so I say...
How long before he melts away?

(sung to the tune of I'm a little teapot)

Frosty contemplates his impending doom.... 

To be continued....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

02.23.13 A Word

It's been the word of the month for me all month long....

Only part of the label is showing. Can you guess what it is?

I have included red in for the whole month of February. It's been a tougher challenge than I thought it would be. I have had to forgo some photo ops this month because there wasn't any red. But it has also forced me to think a little bit and stretch my creativity even more.

Still I'm glad February is a short month. Five more days!

Friday, February 22, 2013

02.22.13 Makes You Smile

There are many things that make me smile.... warm sunshine, a beautiful sunset, a cold beer on a hot day, a tasty cup of coffee in the morning, or a Mizzou Tiger win.

I also smile when I look back at old photos.... when we were young and just starting out.

Going clockwise... Pat and I were newly engaged here and attending a friend's wedding. Christmas photo of the kids. Pat and I at a Columbia Photo Christmas party. Brandon age 4. And I'm holding a 4 month old Krista.

Seems like only yesterday, but Pat and I have been married for 17 years. Brandon will turn 12 in April, and Krista will be 9 in August. 

And then I smile when I think how far we've come.

My Latest Blurb Book

Do you know about Blurb?

Blurb allows you to publish your favorite photos into a beautiful book. This is my fourth Blurb book, and I just love them. With Facebook and Instagram, I hardly ever print photos anymore. When was the last time you printed a photo? This is the perfect way to preserve those precious photos.

These books also make excellent keepsakes and gifts. I gave some as gifts last year for Christmas. It documented the whole school year for my kids. The grandparents really appreciated them.

My next project will be all Mizzou photos through the seasons. Some of them are included in this book. I should have enough photos for that book this summer. Until then, enjoy my latest creation...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

02.21.13 Full

The "photo a day" word is full, but the REAL word of the day is THUNDER SNOW! Ever shoveled snow while it is thundering? It's weird and cool all at the same time. But still weird.

Back to the photo of the day... Good thing I have this FULL basket of blankets to wrap up in today. School was called off last night, so we're all hunkered down inside.

A fun thing to do today is track the accumulation. I took a photo every hour this morning, and by 11:00 this morning, we were up to about.... half a beer bottle (don't worry, it's an empty one).

At noon, Mizzou canceled classes and exams for the rest of the day. Glad I didn't go to work this morning. But my husband did. He called and said the roads are a mess with cars stopped everywhere. By 1:00, you can barely see the top of the bottle... that's 9 inches of snow!

Not a big fan of snow, but it sure is fun to photograph.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

02.20.13 Where You Stood

I'm feeling a little uninspired today, so I give you the map of Missouri.

I have stood in many places, roads, walkways, sidewalks, structures and buildings in Columbia, Missouri. Located in the heartland of the good ol' USA.

I also STOOD in Ellis Library yesterday and took some photos. Here's one highlighting the red books in the stacks. I love using selective coloring.

OK, so maybe I'm feeling inspired after all.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

02.19.13 I am...

...a beer enthusiast, lover of food, and a sports fanatic!

So... I am drinking a beer, eating some spicy chili, and getting ready to watch some Mizzou Tiger basketball! Beat the Gators!!!


New Tunes Tuesday - Imagine Dragons

Night Visions, the first full length album by Imagine Dragons, was released in the US in September, and last week, a deluxe version hit the shelves with five additional songs. Their hit single "It's Time" has received a lot of attention (understatement), so I had to give the whole album a listen. Indie alternative rock is not the typical kind of music I review, but I'm seriously hooked on this album.

The first track "Radioactive" bursts onto the scene and sets the stage for the rest of the album. It is a powerful song full of drums and has more of an electronic feel. The lead vocals by Dan Reynolds are strong and impressive.

The track that pop stations have devoured is "It's Time," a great demonstration of their sound. Extremely catchy with folk-inspired strumming, undeniable beat, and poppy hooks. All that and a great message to accompany this mega-hit. "It's time to begin, isn't it? / I get a little bit bigger, but then I'll admit / I'm just the same as I was / Now don't you understand / That I'm never changing who I am"

There are also a couple of standout ballads with "Amsterdam" and "Bleeding Out." The first is an interesting one and is kind of a grower as there aren't many stupendous hooks like the previous songs. The second is quite the opposite - very sporadic, twisted and emotional. Sounds like something from OneRepublic. "So I bare my skin / And I count my sins / And I close my eyes / And I take it in / And I’m bleeding out / I’m bleeding out for you (for you)"

Another standout track for me is "Demons." A song about the human behavior and the imperfections of us all. It really sounds like a lost track from Coldplay. It's a slower and emotional track driven by a booming drum.

The album is definitely set for commercial success. It's catchy and creative. As you progress through the album, their sound is varied and diverse yet cohesive at the same time. They play tribute to an undeniably 80's sound without it feeling cheesy. Two thumbs up.

Monday, February 18, 2013

02.18.13 Something You Don't Like

Interesting prompt for today to photograph something you don't like. I thought of many different things I could feature today...
  • Mornings. I've always had a hard time getting up in the morning. 
  • Mondays. After the weekend, Mondays are especially difficult. And see the above... double whammy today.
  • Laundry. It never really ends, does it?
  • Cleaning the bathroom. My least favorite room to clean in the house.
  • Beets. They are disgusting. I'm sure I could think of other foods I don't like, but this one comes to mind first.

I decided to settle on tea. I cannot stand it. I have tried to like it. I have tried regular, sweet, green, flavored, chamomile, hot, cold.... I just do not like it. Which is a shame because tea is offered at just about every dinner function I have ever attended. It seems to be a universal drink.

None for me, thanks.

So this is my photo of the day, the thing I don't like but keep around for my guests who do like it. Because I'm nice like that, and they appreciate the gesture.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mole Stout by Ska Brewing

It looks intriguing right from the start. I mean, just look at the artwork on the can? Ska never disappoints here. And they don't disappoint with this beer either. This is my first time trying this beer though it has been out for a while. Not sure what took me so long!

This ale is brewed with peppers, cocoa and spices. If it sounds like it brings a lot of flavor, you would be correct. The term "mole" refers to a mix of different chile peppers that are made into a sauce in Mexican cuisine. These 3 chile peppers consist of: mulato, ancho and hatch green chiles. All of these peppers are considered mild - and probably a good thing, you wouldn't want too much heat dominating over the cocoa nibs and dark roasted malts in this beer.

This beer has a lot of flavor and is very complex. The spices and chocolate flavors really work well together. It would pair well with a dessert or any Mexican food dish (and I love Mexican food).

Don't wait as long I did to try this one. Cheers!

02.17.13 In Your Hand

When I read the prompt, I immediately thought of a game of cards. I'm not a regular player, but I do love a good game of cards now and then. So I staged a photo of a winning hand in my hand.

Another shot I took was of my new favorite flavor of M&M's... CHERRY! In my hand... but not for long!

02.16.13 Perfect

How very ironic that today's prompt would be perfect. It was a long, exhausting, busy day... far from a perfect Saturday.

It started rather early with my son playing in a basketball tournament. His first game was at 9 am, so not too horribly early. But we did have to travel to Hallsville. It's only about a 20 minute drive, but we were doing a lot of back and forth traveling today so it seemed longer than it actually was. His team played pretty well all things considered but lost anyway. And that was the theme for the rest of the day....

His second game was at 3:00. Same time as the Mizzou game against Arkansas. We arrived back in Hallsville at around 2:30, but the tournament was running at least 40 minutes behind. So we sat around and watched other games until it was his time to play. We were checking the progress of the Mizzou game while watching Brandon play. Brandon's team lost in overtime, and Mizzou lost to Arkansas by 2 points. UGH!

Brandon had one final game to play at 5:00, which actually started after 6:00. By this time, we are all getting a little antsy for this whole thing to be over. Unfortunately, his team was blown out. It was almost painful to watch. The mercy rule was put in place during the fourth quarter, and they just let the time expire. It was a quiet car ride back to Columbia.

We ended the evening at Broadway Brewery because we were all starving for some dinner (and I needed a drink). Beer and pizza never tasted so good. The kids were exhausted though. Krista actually fell asleep at the table. I couldn't say I blamed her. After we got home and the kids went to bed... I decided I needed a hot bath and bubbles.

Ahhhh..... Finally a perfect moment.

Friday, February 15, 2013

02.15.13 In Your Fridge

We all have those certain things that are regulars in the fridge. The necessary items, the staples, the must haves... they vary from person to person. If you were to open my fridge, you would definitely see skim milk, butter, salad dressing of various flavors, Sweet Baby Ray's sauce, ketchup (debatable location among my family, but I think it belongs in the fridge), and this...

This is a MUST have for me. It may not always be Vanilla, but there will be some flavor of Coffee-mate in my fridge. My favorite is Warm Cinnamon Sugar Cookie. It tastes just like a snicker-doodle in my coffee! It's a crying shame that it's only out around Christmas time. I seriously stock up on it when I find it.

What's a staple in your fridge?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

02.14.13 Love is...

Love is family.... supporting one another, being there for each other, growing together, and sharing memories.

Love is a commitment... built on a firm foundation. Love is a choice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

02.13.13 Walking

"These boots were made for walking..."

And that's what they've been doing all day! Busy.... and it's not over yet.

"Are you ready boots? Start walking!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

02.12.13 Where You Ate Lunch

I ate a sandwich at my desk for lunch. You don't really want to see a picture of that, do you?

Okay, good. Because I spared you the boring details and didn't take a photo. What I did AFTER I ate my lunch is more exciting!

I went to The Candy Factory.

We have a tradition around Valentine's Day at my house. I pick up chocolate covered strawberries at The Candy Factory.

Completely covered in chocolate. They are sooooo good! I always get the mixed pound of white and milk chocolate because I like them both. And the kids love them too!

Happy FAT Tuesday!  :)

New Tunes Tuesday - Gary Allan

It is always refreshing to hear an artist sing real songs with real emotion. Enter Gary Allan with his 9th studio album "Set You Free." It's a perfect title as he roams freely from one musical genre to the next - a little blues, a little jazz, and even a little reggae.

His heart-wrenching honesty comes out in track one and continues to the end. "Tough Good-bye" is a song of almost getting too close and letting her go. He knows heartbreak all too well. He hates to see her cry, but he's leaving anyway. He's not done being free.

One of my favorites is the bluesy "Hungover Heart." It's a cautionary tale of getting too high or addicted to love. He sings with bitter wisdom "Don't get too high on love or addicted to her touch / Don't get hung up on forever 'cause there ain't no such / Don't get strung out on a woman 'cause comin' down is the hardest part / When she walks away and leaves you with a hungover heart." 

The addiction theme continues with "It Ain't The Whiskey" and is quite possibly my favorite song on the album. He's falling apart piece by piece; not from the whiskey or the smoking but from the pain he can't forget. "I done all I could to drown this hurt inside, but I can't wash you off of my mind / It ain't the whiskey. It ain't the cigarettes / It ain't the stuff I smoke. It's all these things I can't forget / and it ain't the hard times. It ain't the all nights / It ain't that easy, cause' it ain't the whiskey that's killin' me.

His amazing single "Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain)" is pretty self-explanatory. It's a song of pushing through, hanging on, and staying strong. And this is where the album gets its title. It's gonna set you free.

A great song about reflection is "One More Time." He wonders what he might think of his life as he's standing at the pearly gates. He knows he's lived like hell and done it well (he's got the scars to prove). He fears he hasn't loved enough, cared enough, or given it all he's got. He's grateful for one more time to get it right.

By the end of the album, he's pulled himself together and is as "Good As New." His broken heart has mended since he's met the new love of his life. Your heart can't help but swell through the crescendo. It's a solid and powerful album closer.

Overall, it's a great country album that you'll want to play over and over. It has a good mix of old and new country with hope and optimism blended throughout.

Monday, February 11, 2013

02.11.13 Entrance

This is a very familiar entrance for me.... it's the entrance to the Medical Sciences Building - the building where I work on the University of Missouri campus. I walk up and down these steps every day.

And today is also Mizzou's 174th birthday. We were founded in 1839 as the first public university west of the Mississippi River.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

02.10.13 Three O'Clock

It's 3 o'clock and all is well....

Bright sunny day. Warmer for this time of year but extremely windy! The reflection you see is of my son hanging out in the living room enjoying the sunlight pouring through.

A perfect lazy Sunday...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

02.09.13 Guilty Pleasure

First of all, I'd like to state that I don't necessarily feel "guilty" about any of my pleasures.


Having said that... I will occasionally feel guilty if I indulge in a dessert. Yes, I will admit it. I have a sweet tooth. I have a weakness for all things chocolate. Especially chocolate covered fruit. So when I saw this beer on the shelf, I HAD to try it.

SO GOOD! Just the right amount of chocolate and cherry flavors. Sometimes the fruit beers will come off way too sweet. Not this one. O'Fallon did a really nice job.

So if you like cherries? And you like chocolate? And you like beer? Then you will LOVE this Cherry Chocolate Beer. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

02.08.13. Something Orange

Silky dark chocolate enhanced with the flavor of orange, accompanied by the delicate crunch of almond slivers. Oh my, yes please! Now consider this... pairing it with a wonderful dark beer.

Oh, now we are talking! I know you have heard of pairing chocolate with wine, but I'm a beer gal. I prefer a tasty brew over a glass of wine any day. So I tried pairing this tasty chocolate with Left Hand Brewery's Fade to Black.

Winner! It worked really, really well together. The roasted malts and coffee notes really brought out the orange flavor in the chocolate. However, the orange doesn't need a whole lot of help because when they say intense, they really mean intense! The smokey flavor in this beer is a good contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. The lingering hops also pair well with the taste of citrus. 

Dark ales or stouts typically pair well with desserts, so this was not a huge surprise that they went well together. I think I may have another.

02.07.13 Your Name

Ever wonder what your name means? My name is derived from the French cherie meaning "darling." I kind of like that. You've probably heard the phrase "mon cherie" or the Stevie Wonder song, My Cherie Amour?

Well that's me. Or at least my name.

I like to hear the stories of how parents name their children. It's really a difficult and stressful task for parents to be honest. I remember fretting over my son's name. Took us FOREVER to come up with his name. We had actually settled on one name and then changed it after he was born. We changed it the moment we saw him because Brandon did not look like a Hayden. At. All. The name Brandon was a better fit for him. Krista was much easier to name. I already knew I would name my daughter after my first college roommate. (That's right, Kristin. My daughter was named after you.)

Because my kids have a story behind their name, I wanted to know mine. So, I asked my mom... "how did you come up with my name?" She said she liked the unique spelling. It is different. I remember the difficulty of finding my name on a mug or key chain at Worlds of Fun or the mall. I could easily find Sherry but not Cheri. She also said I was named for a friend. "Nothing spectacular, just positive memories from the past." Sounds like a pretty spectacular reason to me. I like knowing my name is associated with positive memories.

You know what else is cool? My mom was named for a friend of her mom's too. That's a nice tradition, don't you think? Being named for a friend of your mom's. You never know what kind of an impact you will leave on the people you come in contact with every day.

Do you know the story behind your name? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

02.06.13 Soft

Teddy bear soft sits in his chair.
I want to nuzzle his warm brown hair.
Underneath his head
is a bow quite red;
the perfect color to wear.

I'm fairly certain I have featured this bear before in my photos. But he's so soft... and he's wearing red. 


New Tunes Tuesday - Grammy Edition

It's Grammy time! The 55th annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS this Sunday. Some people get excited about the Oscars; I get excited about the Grammy Awards. I love music, all kinds of music, and this is the biggest musical event all year. So for New Tunes Tuesday, I'm going to take a stab at giving my predictions on "the big four."

Record of the Year
» The Black Keys: "Lonely Boy"
» Kelly Clarkson: "Stronger"
» Fun feat. Janelle Monae: "We Are Young"
» Gotye feat. Kimbra: "Somebody That I Used to Know"
» Frank Ocean: "Thinkin Bout You"
» Taylor Swift: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

This award goes to a single or one track on an album. It recognizes the performing artist, the producer, recording engineer, and/or mixer for the song. This is a tough category... so many strong contenders here. But I'm thinking Gotye will come away with the win.

Song of the Year
» Ed Sheeran: "The A Team"
» Miguel: "Adorn"
» Carly Rae Jepsen: "Call Me Maybe"
» Kelly Clarkson: "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
» Fun: "We Are Young"

Two of the most inescapable songs of the past year were "Call Me Maybe" and "We Are Young". They definitely deserve their nominations. However, since this award is given to the songwriter, I think "The A Team," a song of drug addiction and homelessness, will be given this honor.

Album of the Year
» The Black Keys: El Camino
» Fun: Some Nights
» Mumford & Sons: Babel
» Frank Ocean: Channel Orange
» Jack White: Blunderbuss

This is a jammed packed category, but my personal favorite on this list is Babel. You can read my review here.

Best New Artist
» The Alabama Shakes
» Fun
» Hunter Hayes
» The Lumineers
» Frank Ocean

It will be very interesting to see who is chosen in this category. A soulful southern rock band in The Alabama Shakes, biggest indie pop band of the year in Fun., rising country artist in Hunter Hayes, a great folk-rock band in The Lumineers, and an alternative R&B artist in Frank Ocean. I'd really like to see The Lumineers pull away with this one, but I'm thinking Frank Ocean will get the nod as he is also in the Record of the Year and Album of the Year categories.

So what do you think? In case you want to do your homework before the big show, I've created a Spotify playlist of the nominated songs included in this post and the songs nominated in the pop, rock and country categories. For a full listing of all the categories click here.


02.05.13 Something You Smelled

What's that smell? My favorite perfume.... Burberry Brit.

I always get complimented when I wear this scent. Burberry says it is "different, unique, fun and eccentric." I agree. It's slightly musky, a little sweet, and fades into a vanilla lime scent. It stays with me all day long too. That's key to a good scent... how long it lasts.

Too bad the bottle is boring as heck though. I had to dress it up a little with a spot light and red blanket (keeping with my red theme this month!)

What's your favorite scent?

Monday, February 4, 2013

02.04.13 Hope - World Cancer Day

The pink ribbon. A symbol of hope that a cure for breast cancer will be found.

I can't remember where I got this little pink ribbon. It must have been while I was working at the American Cancer Society. I really like that there are people* attached on the ribbon. It symbolizes a community effort and support. That we are all in this fight together, and you are not alone.

*Edited: Worry People. That's what the little dolls are called. You are to tell the dolls all your worries and they take them all away.

Thankfully, I have never had breast cancer, but I have had skin cancer. I am fully aware of what it feels like to hear that word. "The mole we removed was melanoma." It was a small amount and easily remedied with two surgeries on my back. I have a nice scar to remind me to use sunscreen. Hearing the "c" word is a little unnerving and frightening and makes you think about many, many things.

Did you know today is World Cancer Day? My hope is that today you will learn more about cancer and how to prevent it. Here are four myths that you may not know.

  • Myth 1: Cancer is just a health issue. Truth: Cancer is not just a health issue. It has wide-reaching social, economic, development, and human rights implications.
  • Myth 2: Cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries. Truth: Cancer is a global epidemic. It affects all ages and socio-economic groups, with developing countries bearing a disproportionate burden.
  • Myth 3: Cancer is a death sentence. Truth: Many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now be cured and for many more people, their cancer can be treated effectively.
  • Myth 4: Cancer is my fate. Truth: With the right strategies, a third of the most common cancers can be prevented.

You can fight cancer through early detection and screenings, eating healthy and getting exercise, quit smoking, and raise awareness.


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