Friday, August 29, 2008

You Know, the Girl With the Curly Hair

Since I consider my bachelorette party weekend to be a "special occasion," I decided to straighten my hair. My girlfriends will be arriving in waves starting in about half an hour.

As I blew my hair dry, I thought about how it had been about two months since I'd blown dry my own hair and straighted it with my flattening iron. The longer my hair has grown, the less I take the time to style it. My typical look involves throwing some gel or curl cream into sopping wet hair and walking out the door, allowing it to dry as the day goes on.

I suppose the wavy/curly regular look really started a little over two years ago. Up until that time, I styled my hair almost every day, with the occasional hurried wavy day. Just before a Train concert in July 2006, I decided I didn't have time to fully do my hair. When Dan came to pick me up, he saw a different style than what he was used to (which I was honestly very nervous about). 

To my surprise, Dan complimented my hair and asked me why I didn't wear it like that more often. I hope he doesn't regret it, because ever since he said complimentary things about my quicker "do," I don't straighten it very often.

Sometime I'll have to post pictures of the many hairstyles I've had (mostly during my high school and early college years). The mane has been everything from chin length and chocolate brown (not my shining moment) to three inches long with bleach blonde and dirty blonde chunks.

Apparently I've become very boring (and lazy)...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No Work for Roxxi

So, our CEO came into my office the other morning and let me know that after two "trial runs" in the office, Roxxi could not, at least at this time, become an office dog. He said that it's probably perceptions more than realities, but the issue is that people aren't used to big dogs. 

I was glad to hear him say that Roxxi seemed like a sweet and well-behaved dog. Also cited was the fact that we have an important client who's not as dog friendly as many of us are. I agree with our fearless leader that the work environment and culture are important and shouldn't be disturbed. He said she can come back for occasional visits. 

At least I know that she didn't do anything in poor character or hurt anyone or anything. I don't think she's the first approximately 100-pound Rottweiler to get somewhat of a bad wrap for others that came before her. 

Luckily Roxxi never got accustomed to being an office dog. Her life won't really change as a result of this decision; she'll continue napping at home on her bed or the chestnut-colored hardwood floors. All is well in the end regardless. I'm still happy to be in an environment where they are dogs roaming free, even if those dogs aren't mine. 

Photo is a few years old (visiting Jason's family's place up in Blue Ridge, Georgia). Roxxi is wearing Jason's family dog's life jacket.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Greek Yogurt: I'm a Believer

Referencing Kate in my previous post reminded me that I tried a trick she suggested to me—and I forgot to report my findings to her!

I am self admitting sour cream addict. I can find more ways than most to eat it, ranging from traditional Mexican and Japanese stir fry to chicken poppy seed casserole and homemade salad dressings. 

Kate suggested that I try Greek yogurt. If my memory serves me correctly, she described her love affair as borderline obsession. Well, I picked up some Greek yogurt about three months ago and never got around to eating it with so much perfectly good sour cream still in the refrigerator. I threw it out because its expiration date came around before I got around to eating. 

Well, I gave the stuff another shot recently. I don't know why I'd been too timid to crack open the container; I've always been a big yogurt fan—though usually in the vanilla variety. So last week, when I made chicken, red and  yellow pepper, onion and portobello mushroom teriyaki stir fry, I gave it a try. 

I'm here to tell you, I didn't feel like I was missing a thing by eating this Greek-style yogurt instead of sour cream. The sexy food accessory was still tangy, mildly sour and creamy just like the sour cream I've grown to know and love. And with 150 calories in the entire seven-ounce container (versus 40 calories in just a typical two-tablespoon serving of even light sour cream, about twice that much in the regular plastic tub), my pre-wedding dress body should be grateful. It does need all the help it can get!

The variety I picked up at the Your DeKalb Farmer's Market is Fage Total 2% kind. Check out the nutrition facts here

Guilty Pleasures Part II

Not unlike my friend Kate, I have an affinity for cheesy R&B music, sometime so sugary sweet that I am embarrassed to sing the lyrics in the company of others. Wouldn't singing the lyrics, after all, be a hit on my credibility?

After hearing a tune for about the fourth time on 99.5 fm ("99-5 the Beat"), I finally downloaded it. I've been jamming to this tune ever since.

So in an ode to my Guilty Pleasures blog from April 29, I write version 2.0.

  • "Closer" by Ne-yo
  • "Forever" by Chris Brown
  • (I can't believe I'm publicly admitting to this, but...) "Crush" by David Archuleta (of American Idol fame) 
Download the iTunes  (or mp3's). I guarantee you'll soon be addicted, and dancing in your seat.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Extreme Random Room Makeover

We have a "third bedroom" at our little 1950's ranch that's oddly situated between the kitchen and a hallway leading to additional bedrooms. Its tiled floor and doors to the back deck also make it a less than desirable "traditional" bedroom.

Dan has mustered up the energy to do quite a bit of work on the room over the past few weekends. He painted the walls a warm yellowish khaki and pulled down a mishmash of shoe molding, crown molding and corner molding (the original owners didn't coordinate the dry wall to meet in the corners, leaving gaps that were covered up by molding). The old and disjointed molding was replaced with nice, new molding. Dan also stained tile grout (to match the kitchen's), switched out the light fixture, put up navy curtains (with a nice, mahogany rod), painted the dingy closet doors and changed out the closet and door hardware. A braided rug (from Scarbrough Faire via Ebay) and our new rooster painting topped off the transformation. We think the room will be a more inviting "office" than before and will serve the purpose of a convertible guest bedroom when needed (we moved the futon from the back bedroom, replacing it with a double bed).

Selfish thoughts run through my head... (I'll be able to sleep at least seven my bachelorette party weekend)!

Wedding Invitation Collateral

Samantha at Hi Tech Imaging (one of Cara's employees) e-mailed Thursday to say that all of our wedding-related print pieces would be ready for pickup Friday. I headed out to Windy Hill/Cobb Parkway during lunch to pick up everything. Carefully packaged and organized in a box were invitations (scored and folded perfectly), direction cards, response postcards and some really nifty multipurpose folded notecards (for thank you notes or other wedding-related correspondences). All items were designed with Greg's careful and artistic touch and executed by Cara's team.

Samantha was kind enough to FedEx us the wedding invitation envelopes a week early so we could be addressing them while the other items were being finished. Dan and I stuffed the envelopes Friday night, successfully putting everything in the mail Saturday morning. Invites are going from California and the U.K. to upper Michigan and right here in Atlanta. 

The monogram Greg designed is so neat that we've decided to do a signable ceramic platter (with the monogram in the center) in lieu of a traditional guest book. It's being handled by a downtown Decatur company (yay for supporting local businesses!) called That Pottery Place. Edith, the owner, has been taking very good care of us. I'll post a picture when we pick up the platter.

Roxxi's Office Debut

Our five-year-old Rottweiler (okay, technically Dan's dog, but I've adopted her) made her debut at my office last week. I brought her in on Monday after a Sunday of playing at Paw's Playhouse.

An average of four or five dogs are usually at my office, with the liberty of roaming freely. Tod, the CEO of my office, encourages a dog-friendly environment. I was surprised to see all the dogs at large when I came into interview but found this to be a nice, comforting touch.

The "regulars" are all characters. There's Cleo, Tod's dog, who I can't tell you much about other than that she's old and really only has one sensory perception left (smell). Jay J is a white, rescue boxer/bulldog mix who couldn't be cuter. Bella is a petite black lab with a sweet heart but a nervous and sometimes territorial attitude. Olive is a teeny and spunky king charles cavalier spaniel, and such the cuddly pooch. 

I know Roxxi is scary looking to strangers but has a gentle temperament and backs down to the tiniest of dogs. As I suspected, she was wonderful with the people and other dogs alike. She was 99 pounds of energy and showmanship, especially this past Friday (her second visit to the office). After a few days, I'm going to feel out my coworkers, gauging their levels of comfort with her becoming a regular office dog. I know she would love that!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Update on Paul

My little brother Paul moved into his dorm last week and is enjoying The University of Georgia so far. He sent the family an update today (probably an easy way to keep all of us updated since there are so many of us). He's still working on getting his dorm room situated and is enjoying cheering. 

This picture of him, along with the other freshman cheerleaders, is too great not to share.

I am a proud sister! Gooo Dawgs!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Argh special characters

Can someone tell me how to make an em dash or an en dash in Blogger without copying and pasting copy from Word?


(Update: My coworker, Laura, just sent me the following... "Also, the keystroke for an em dash is option+shift+dash." Thanks so much, Laura!)

A Little Bridesmaid Creativity

When Megan and Maria came over Saturday night for a little takeout (mmm nom nom Noodle thai peanut bowl), they brought over their bridesmaid dresses for me to look at.

One may ask, "As the bride, shouldn't you already know what they look like?" Well, I have seen links to the dresses but haven't seen some of them in person. 

When I started thinking about the "perfect" wedding, I decided it would be fun to have each girl pick out her own dress. I did add in some stipulations and guidelines. For our fall wedding, I asked the girls to find chocolate brown, satin, solid-colored, floor length dresses. That sounds like a lot of limitations; however, all eight of the girls managed to find fabulous dresses -- with no two alike!

My thinking was that even though they'll still probably never wear this dress again, the girls all might as well look great that night. Every woman has different cuts and lines that are flattering. Few women are the same. Some are more well endowed while others are less curvy.  Mermaid cut, strapless, spaghetti strap, full skirt, A-line skirt -- the girls' choices run the gamut. I love it!

I promised Maria and Megan on Saturday night that I wouldn't post the picture I took, so I won't. But I will at least show a few examples the dresses they chose. 

Thanks, girls, for putting some time and effort into this, as I realize it was more complicated of an attire endeavor than if I'd assigned one dress to all. 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

RSVPs, Regrets and More

Maria came over tonight for takeout, wine and girl TV. While she was over, I showed her a proof of my wedding invitation materials (invitation itself, directions and the response card). 

She thought the materials looked great (thanks again Cara and Greg) but had a question about the response postcard.

"Are you supposed to put a blank for the number of people attending?" she asked.

I responded, saying, "I think you're actually supposed to fill in the 'M____________ field with all the names of the people attending. An example would be 'Mr. Dan Mallory and Miss Katy Beck.' That would make two people."

Maria, having just tied the knot herself (actually, not by herself, but with her now husband) back in May, knows better than anyone about responses and how much you can count on them. She told me of how few people knew how to fill in the response cards correctly and how some people wrote in that they were bringing their children despite only the adults' names being on her outside and inside envelopes.

This launched us into a conversation that's come up all too many times recently.... what is the deal with people not knowing how to handle RSVPs and Regrets?

Dan, my fiance, claims "the system is broken." I don't totally understand what's so tough about handling them correctly, but I do recognize his point that something isn't working.

RSVP. Most of us, myself included, can't repeat verbatim that RSVP stands for "Repondez s'il vous plait," French for "reply, please." I do know, however, when I receive something that says "RSVP" at the bottom that I should call the host regardless, letting him or her know if I will be able to attend -- and if so, who my guest will be.

Regrets seem a little more straight forward. If an invitation mentions "Regrets Only," this means you only call the host if you are unable to attend the event. In other words, you're calling to say, "I regret I am unable to attend..."

Emily Post and her contemporaries tell us we need to respect the needs and wishes of party hosts, following through with the RSVPs or Regrets as indicated. And I believe this is fairly common knowledge. Seems easy enough, right? In an era where Evites aren't quite yet kosher enough for formal events, everyone ought to become familiar with the rules. 

Well, then why is it so difficult for people to make the call? From parties I've hosted, attended or helped coordinate on the periphery, it seems as though the answers have to be dragged out of people.

I put myself in the place of the invitation recipient. What is going on in my head? Here is what I came up with:
  • I feel really guilty I cannot attend. I don't really want to call and tell anyone I can't come to the event.
  • If this invitation says "RSVP" and I'm planning on attending, I don't have to call. (wrong)
  • Will anyone really notice if I don't call?
  • I feel awkward calling someone I don't know. Do I really have to?
To address the first point, if you feel that nervous about saying you cannot come to an event for your friends, you have bigger problems than calling to say you cannot attend. Your real friends will understand a prior commitment or your inability to travel from a time and money perspective.

Response to bullet point two: an RSVP asks for your response regardless. If you can come, you call. If you can't come, you call. And when you do call, you don't just say "I'm calling to RSVP." Due to the meaning of an RSVP, you must indicate "I am RSVPing 'yes'" or "I am RSVPing 'no.'"

Yes, people will notice if you don't call. Hosts take numbers into consideration when they order food, drinks, favors, space and so on and so forth. In the event of a wedding, a guest costs anywhere from $50 to $150 dollars for the couple. RSVPing "yes" and not making the event is costly for the couple. (Note I am not venting about anything personal here, as we haven't even sent out our invitations yet).

Final and fourth point. If you can call and make reservations or a doctor's appointment, you can call a stranger and let them know whether or not you're attending an event they're hosting. Chances are, they won't bite, especially over the phone. 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Sad Day for Gmail (or for Katy)

It is a sad, sad day.

Gmail is now offering Comic Sans in its drop down menu as a font choice.

Why? WHY?!?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Few Observations on Pineapple Express

I'm not quite in the mood for a full blown review (I cite a coffee mishap that led to a pot of coffee on the floor, in a drawer, on a cabinet, on the rug, stuck up in the maker itself, etc. and being late to work because of it).

Instead, I am making a short list of my observations. 

I will start with the pre-movie madness:
  1. Free movie previews are fun, but they give away about twice as many tickets as they have seats. You have to get there REALLY early. (Thanks, Emily, for the free tickets!)
  2. You can't bring your cell phone into advanced screenings. They are serious about this.
  3. Don't be a douchebag with a laser pointer. Someone pointed a laser pointer at the screen before the previews began. Movie management said they wouldn't turn on the movie until it was turned in, and the movie had to start in under 20 minutes or it would be cancelled. Would you believe it took this goofball 10 minutes to turn in the silly laser pointer? And he left it in the bathroom instead of owning up to his sixth grande antics. Smooth one, loser.
The movie itself:
  1. I had no idea that "pineapple express" was the name of a certain blend/grade of marijuana.
  2. I hadn't realized before that James Franco can be funny, actually, really funny.
  3. If you liked Superbad, you'll really like Pineapple Express. It has more action, more of a plot and a helluva lot more one liners. It's also wittier and less crude than the younger Judd Apatow flick. 
  4. Watch out for the character "Red" played by Danny R. McBride. He had a lesser role but may have been the funniest person in the film.
  5. I recommend that you see it. Pineapple Express is one funny movie. I think it may even find a home in our DVD collection.