Friday, October 31, 2008

My peeps are the best peeps.

Thanks SO much for all the sweet phone calls, texts, e-mails, sweet treats (!), messages, cards, gifts and precious sentiments you filled my 32nd birthday with! It definitely made my birthday more special, and I appreciate that so much.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend - TGIF! Thanks again for being the best of the best.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wrinkle on, wrinkle off.

My last few birthdays must be kicking in all at once, because I just got so excited about Downy's Wrinkle Releaser that I had to blog about it.

I know not everyone is, but I've always been a fan of spray starch (light, at least), because it really does help remove the set in wrinkles when ironing. This week, Angela Long told me about Downy's Wrinkle Releaser. I bought some and am hooked. You're supposed to be able to use it without ironing, but so far, I've just used it instead of spray starch. It works wonders, and without the typical starch build up.

So there you have it. I'm ancient. And yay Downy Wrinkle Releaser!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I almost forgot!

Five things I've had to be thankful for in the past week (10/19-10/25):

1. Getting to go home to the Coast and have dinner with my parents, and getting to pet my dog on my birthday week.

2. Turning another year older! Some aren't fond of birthdays, but I subscribe to the belief that they're wonderful, because with them come wisdom and cake.

3. Getting to go to the LSU/Georgia game ON MY BIRTHDAY! That was really fun, even if LSU did lose.

4. All the fun mail one receives on her bday. :-)

5. Friends and family who listen and give me honest advice when I ask for it...even when said advice might not make my heart happy at the moment, but is best in the long run.

Simply put, I have been blessed.

For a rainy day?

When I was little, we had a microwave (or was it a stove?) fire at our house.

Thankfully, it turned out to be (relatively) minor and didn't damage anything outside of the kitchen, but when it happened, my very frightened mother told us to hurry outside. Thinking I needed to grab my most important belongings, I shoved my rain boots on my feet and clomped to the yard.

I haven't had rain boots since I was a kid, and had forgotten what a fun feeling they bring to my whole demeanor until a recent purchase of rain boots...for adults! (At least they say they are. I guess it's arguable, especially for the not-so-young-at-heart.)

When I put them on at home after I bought them, I became so giddy! And when I wore them to Angelle's gumbo feast last night, I was ecstatic.

So with all the happy being bestowed on my heart and face and feet, I can't help but wonder...why limit these fun accessories to a rainy day? Especially when they're clearly a prized possession.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I spent my 32nd birthday watching the LSU Tigers attempt a win over the Georgia Bulldogs. Although my Tigers sadly did not pull through, I had a GREAT time at the game with Shannon! I will post more pics of bday events (and the day) later, but for now, here I am before the game, excited to be there and hoping for a big triumph!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bugged Out

Occasionally, I get to drive the Hancock Bank VW bug to high-profile events in order to give the bank more exposure. Since I gave my nephew a stress ball in the shape of this car over the summer and told him it was a model of a real car, he's wanted to see it, so I got a pic with it this last weekend.

The funniest part about driving the bug is that when I'm in it, I forget how much it stands out and become a little irritated that people are watching me for no reason, or so I think. Then I remember....I'm in a wrapped car. ;-) And representing my company! So no dirty looks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

High Five

Shannon, myself, and Angela with my beautiful flowers.

Five things I have had to be thankful for in the past week:

1. A job with the flexibility and headquarters that allow me to go home when I need to, and to tie in a (brief) visit to my uncle's visitation during a week when it otherwise would've been a stretch.

2. A strong family with strong ties and an even stronger faith.

3. Afrin nose spray.

4. New friends. (Namely Tiffany, Jenny and Angelle.)

5. Old friends. (Namely Jams, Liz, Cicily, Amanda, and my new-in-time-but-rooted-at-heart friends who I also get to work with, Angela and Shannon. The flowers depicted are, in fact, from those two sweet girls, who know how to make a redhead smile when she needs it most. Aren't they lovely?!)

My lovely bouquet up close, including the (front and back) card listing the reasons for the happy. (It's been quite a month.)

Tag, I'm it.

I've been invited to play blogtag by my sweet friend Kristen. Rules are in the graphic.

Never one to say no to fun and games, here I go!

1. I cannot swim. I realize this makes no sense, as I grew up 20 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, but for a variety of reasons, it never happened. (FYI, I do not intend to die not knowing how to swim!)

2. I love -- with an absolute passion -- to cook. This surprises even me sometimes, since up till age 19, I was scared to death of touching the stove or raw ingredients. But now I find recipes fun and sometimes challenging, and it does something special to my Southern, nurturing self to be able to whip up a meal for my peeps.

3. I can tan. I know this is unusual for a redhead, but when I put my mind (and time) to it, I can acquire a tan that contends with the best of the blondes. It's not the darkest and deepest, and I certainly didn't make an effort this year (does age make everyone more concerned about healthier options?), but I've been known to be called "brown."

4. Although I have worked in PR for nearly 10 years (this is surreal to put in print, btw), I was an English major with the original dream of becoming....::drum English teacher. Then I was going to be a counselor, then a principal, then move on to the school board to change the Mississippi educational system. Sadly, I was too ADD for the classroom when it came time to hang out after preparing and presenting lessons. So now I just try to put my good intentions to work in volunteer settings.

5. Thanks to my initial PR years at the MS Association of Realtors, I love Macintosh computers.

6. Because of an old boss when I was in college (at Hancock Bank, no less), I know all the keyboard shortcuts for actions such as cutting, pasting, copying, printing, etc. I learned this because she was a lefty and I'm a righty, and as a part-timer, I didn't have my own computer so had to use hers. Learning those shortcuts was easier than groping for a mouse on the "wrong" side of the computer.

7. I am scared to death of hurting people, and I don't know where this came from. I know that unlike my sister, I haven't always been this way, because I used to be really (much more) outspoken and even cynical at times. Now I am typically so ridiculously concerned for others' feelings that I lean toward political correctness, even when it's not necessary (or even the smartest route).

I'm tagging the following friends for the following reasons:

1. Brandie, because I know what she has to say will be very interesting (not to mention entertaining ;-) ), and I know I don't know nearly enough about her since she has always been such a long-distance friend.

2. Tori, because I just met her (via blogging), loved her 101 list, and even ruthlessly copied some of her items!

3. Michelle, because she's always good for a laugh sprinkled with great insight!

4. SCole, because she's been on a blogging spree lately and just might do this!

5. Rachel, because it's been way too long since I've seen her sweet face.

6. Dane, because I'm dying to see what he has to say. :-)

7. J. Clark, because I want to see if he'll actually do this thing.

Naming the puppy.

After nearly a month, quite a few suggestions, and a lot of thought in a short time frame (namely, while I could not sleep just now), I have finally settled on what I hope is a suitable blog name.

Thanks to all of you who gave me fun thoughts to work with! As you can see, I especially loved Dane's Blog'n Rouge and C's Little Red Blogginhood, so I combined them.

I'll try to post regularly -- I really do love to blog -- so feel free to check it or not, whatever your interest is. But do let me know when you see other blogs that are interesting. I'd love to check them out!

101 goals in 1001 days

In an effort to follow my friend, PR chum and blog hero Kristen's boss's GIT method (Get It Together), I'm shamelessly ripping off another PR chum's blog idea to accomplish 101 goals in 1001 days. (Ok, so I'm not sure Nicole's was exactly that, but there were goals, and there was a time limit.)

When I Googled a count of how far away 1001 days would be, I learned that this is not Nicole-specific. There's a movement out there that as far as I can tell stems from an organization called Day Zero, if you want to read about it for yourself. Kind of fun.

Since I want a day or so to mull over the hugeness of what I'm asking of myself and I'd like my end date to be on a Friday, the first day of my challenge won't be today, but tomorrow: October 17, 2008. The last day of the challenge will be July 15, 2011.

So here I go. Feel free to comment, inquire, slap my cyber wrist when I whine, and hold me to to these without mercy:

RJ's 101

Organize the (many) books I own and resell, donate, share and/or shelve them. Attractively.

Obtain a copy of and read the Johnson family history compiled by my Aunt Troy & Co. years ago.

Get settled into a church home in Baton Rouge.

Work on my APR (Accreditation in Public Relations) certification.

* Sing at least once a day (when I have a voice, that is, which I currently do not). This is something I love to do but often forget brings me big joy. Which is probably why my current voiceless state brought it to mind!

Organize, scan and share the (many) hard copies of photos I own.

Move all MySpace blogs over to Blogspot.

Find a worthy cause in the city I'm in and devote time and energy to it.

Make a living will.

Write letters to each of my parents' brothers and sisters thanking them for their contributions to my life and history. (Daddy has five brothers and five sisters. One of his brothers passed away last weekend, so I will write a letter to his children; Mother has three brothers.)

Send Christmas cards annually, and mail them by December 10.

*** Send at least one non-occasion-related card per month.

** Go to the gym (or participate in some form of exercise) at least 3 times a week.

Lose 10 pounds.

Keep it off for one month.

Jog a mile in Central Park without passing out.

*** Go to at least one professional association meeting per month.

Write an article and have it published.

Plant a small herb garden outside my townhouse (or indoors if necessary with weather), help those herbs live, then cook with them and/or share them.

Clean the boxes out of the garage by Thanksgiving 2008.

Take swimming lessons.

When friends say, "What? You never saw such-and-such movie?," make a note of the movie and see it within the month. Current movies to see are:
1. Sixteen Candles
2. Pulp Fiction
3. Fight Club

*** Read at least one non-fiction book per month. (Yep, I was an English major, but this is tough for me. I do love my chick lit...)

Visit the acclaimed St. Francisville, Louisiana, take the camera, and savor the day and the beauty.

Host a (small, rebekah-sized) gathering at my (small, rebekah-sized) townhouse.

Wear hats. In public. Even if I'm the only one doing it.

Take tennis lessons.

Get a makeover and practice new makeup tips on an ordinary day.

* Cut out carbs after 3pm at least 5 days a week for a month, starting -- yikes -- tomorrow. (I read in a magazine that this helped Jennifer Love Hewitt's weight loss measures by leaps and bounds.)

** Do not miss one kickboxing class (held weekly at my gym) for one month, starting the first Monday that I am able to breathe and move like a normal person.

Go to Highland Road's Observatory some night and watch the stars.

Give blood as often as permissible…after eating breakfast, of course. None of my nifty fainting tricks this time, no siree Bob.

Pick back up my old tradition of adopting an angel at Christmas.

Sort, purge and organize cassette tapes. (Yes, cassette tapes. I was born in ’76. Work with me.)

Write letters to three of my favorite college professors -- Dr. Joan Fitch, Dr. David Fitch, and Jeanne Ezell.

Sell, transfer to hard drive, share and/or organize CDs effectively and neatly.

Host a picnic for friends with food that I made, not food that I bought.

Take dance lessons for a month. Jitterbug, ballroom, salsa – the possibilities are endless!

Pay for the person behind me in line.

Stop gnawing at my nails. (Yes, they’re fake. I know. It’s bad.)

*** Finish a special project for a special someone. (The project and recipient will remain a secret until the gift is complete.) Give the gift for Christmas. This Christmas.

** Blog five things I am thankful for each week.

*** Visit at least one farmer's market a month, starting November 1, 2008.

** Take my lunch to work at least twice a week, starting next week. (Weeks containing lunch meetings can be exceptions.)

Be able to at least jog the entire weekly Happy's Run (on Tuesdays) within a year from today (by 10/17/09).

Write out, carefully review, and stick to a disciplined budget for 6 months. (I think I have this in my head, but I hear it's smart to do on paper.)

See all of Ronald Reagan's movies.

See all of Paul Newman's movies.

See all of Marilyn Monroe's movies.

Go to a drive-in movie.

Learn to make a really good gumbo by spring of 2009.

** Call at least one out-of-town friend each week. Return calls don’t count.

Appear as an extra in a film.

*** Save at least 20 un-earmarked dollars per month for six months.

Decide on a suitable name for my blog, and share it with friends and family.

Reward the idea-giver who helped most with picking this vital name, especially since it’s taken me forever to decide on one. :-)

Take a train ride to Kim's.

Purge my closet of items I don't feel attractive in. Recruit friends' opinions if necessary!

** Deliberately accessorize at least once a week.

*** Send at least one piece of mail per month to my nephew.

** Track caloric intake on at least 5 out of 7 days per week, starting next week.

Learn to make really good cornbread.

*** Participate in at least one kid-related event per month.

Make friends with an elderly person I'm not related to, and keep in touch with them.

Set dates to visit my sister at least twice a year, and stick to the plan.

Cook an entire meal for my parents at least once during each visit to their home. (Holidays could be exceptions, depending on timing and the amount of leftovers in the fridge.)

Paint something on canvas.

*** Handwrite in my journal at least once a month. (It's been years, thanks to electronic communication and blogging.)

Visit at least three states I've never been to. My current unvisited states are:
1. Washington
2. Oregon
3. Idaho
4. Montana
5. Wyoming
6. Utah
7. Arizona
8. New Mexico
9. Colorado
10. Nebraska
11. N. Dakota
12. S. Dakota
13. Kansas
14. Oklahoma
15. Minnesota
16. Iowa
17. Wisconsin
18. Michigan
19. Indiana
20. Ohio
21. W. Virginia
22. Connecticut
23. Rhode Island
24. Vermont.
What a long list! Longer than I thought. Kind of sad.

When time to buy new lightbulbs, switch to energy-saving ones.

*** Do one nice thing for someone who will never find out per month, starting this month.

Consciously work on becoming a better listener.

Develop a personal career goal outside of my job description and achieve it by November 2009.

** Drink hot tea instead of coffee at least two mornings per week.

Have myself painted (I'm thinking a portrait -- not myself -- by a street artist in New no worries. Not anything too off-the-wall.)

Treat myself to a weekend at a Bed & Breakfast with a favorite girl friend.

Water my office plant...before it starts looking puny.

** Free my spaces of clutter at least one a week.

Try Vietnamese food. (How did I grow up on the MS Gulf Coast and never try it? IDK. But I intend to correct that.)

Learn to make at least three amazing shrimp dishes.

Go through old childhood books and toys that are still at my parents' house and relieve my mother of what she doesn’t want to (or doesn’t have space to!) hang onto.

Watch The Godfather movie series with my daddy.

Watch the HBO John Adams series when it's out on DVD and share with my daddy.

Have someone take posed and candid photographs of my sister and me, when we're dressed for the occasion and feel great about how we look.

*** Read my Bible at least once a day for a month, starting this month.

Ask my parents about their favorite childhood dishes that they don’t have recipes for and attempt to recreate at least three of them.

* Work on praying throughout the day. (Celestial complaints do not count.)

* Unless allergy-ridden or planning to be around those who are allergy-ridden, wear perfume, not because of a special occasion, but just because it makes me happy.

Get CPR certified.

Learn the Heimlich maneuver.

Visit friends' churches, including those not in my chosen denomination.

Share digital photos from events with friends and family within two weeks of said event.

Save $10 for every completed item on this list, but…

Donate $10 for every item not completed at the end of the 1001 days.

Obtain an authentic piece of jewelry from Tiffany’s. (I don't have to buy said piece from the actual store -- eBay is ok -- but the accompanying blue box is essential.)

Read all published books by authors whom I know personally, and especially ones by those whom I’m related to!

* Don’t text and drive for a month, and try to make this a much-needed, very safe, super-conscientious but oh-so-hard part of my world.

Throw a party on the 1001st day, Friday July 15, 2011. Don’t tell anyone who doesn’t already know what the party is for.

* Daily
** Weekly
*** Monthly

purple rain

I have had the misfortune of being a hayfever allery victim for more than a week now, which means my appreciation levels for all things at CVS are on the rise. My new favorite beverage is something Carl has raved about for years -- Gatorade's Rain drink. I particularly like the berry flavor, although it does have more calories than Gatorade's (equally tasty) G2.

Hopefully, the electrolytes will merge with my many meds to produce something people will actually enjoy reading in the near future. For now, it's back to bed. And my glass of purple rain.