Archives for May 2013

Eau de Charred Tomatoes (And A Giveaway)

I wasn’t planning on doing anything special for supper tonight – just serving my people some leftovers that we could all pretend were tasty and delicious – but at the last minute my husband suggested that we go out to dinner. It took me all of two seconds to say, “YES, PLEASE,” and within a couple of minutes we were in the car and on our way.

We ate supper at one of our favorite non-Chuy’s Mexican places (Chuy’s, of course, is the pinnacle), strolled through a nearby bookstore, and grabbed some frozen yogurt before we headed home. I’m going to be out of town this weekend, so as we pulled in the garage, I was thinking about how fun it had been to have an unexpected night on the town with my fellas before I leave for a couple of days. I was still in my little reverie as I got out of the car, but then I stopped, and I looked around, and I smelled it.

I didn’t know what “it” was, exactly. But I knew that it was a cross between Italian food, smoke, and a white-hot BBQ grill.

Then it dawned on me.

I must not have. Turned off. The leftovers. On the stove.

I mean, I thought I did. I announced that I was going to turn them off. But apparently there was a significant user error, because when we walked through the kitchen door, I realized that I might need to practice getting that control knob to the COMPLETELY OFF position.

Oh, y’all. The smoke. It was so very smoke-y. Granted, I’m so grateful that nothing actually, you know, caught on fire, and I think we’ve gotten most of the smoke out of the house, but oh, it is some charred-smelling awfulness in this place tonight.

And for the record, I am never cooking meatballs again.

Anyway. Let’s talk about something fun now. Like prizes!

Here’s the winner of the cornstick pan and two copies of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet.

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Yay, Jennifer! I just sent you an email.

I’m also starting to feel like a game show host. And I don’t mind it.

So I’ll make this next giveaway pretty quick because I need to start typing “how to get smell of burned Italian food out of my house” into the Google, but I think y’all will enjoy this next little Southern treat. Especially if you’re planning to take some road trips this summer because, well, hash brown casserole, anyone?

Yep. It’s a $50 gift card to Cracker Barrel, plus, you know, a copy of this book.

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And who knows? If I can’t get this smell out of my house, I may be at the Cracker Barrel first thing in the morning. Coffee and homemade biscuits can cure a world of hurts, you know.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

This giveaway is now closed.

My Hair Wasn’t The Only Thing That Was Flat (And Another Giveaway, Too)

All righty. A list!

1) I’m a little sick of myself right now. Just in case you were wondering.

2) Before Karla installed my re-design, something in my WordPress was broken. Because of all the brokenness, I had to type in any code – like for links, formatted text, etc. – by hand. But now my WordPress is fixed, and I can link and italicize and LO, EVEN MAKE WORDS BOLD (see what I did there?) with the click of a single button. My life has meaning again.

3) Book signings are listed over here. You win, non-Facebook people. :-)

4) Today I initially thought that I was going to have a very promising hair day, but then I stepped outside, and it seemed like I could actually hear the volume leaving that critical crown area. I tried to fluff it a bit after we left the house, but I could not revive it. It was flatter than a pancake and deader than a doornail. And I kid you not: within five minutes of my hair-tastrophe, the tire pressure light came on in my car. A few weeks ago I ran over a nail and had to have my tire patched, and today, apparently, I ran over a good-sized bolt. I know this because our favorite / beloved / blessed-among-men mechanic pointed out said bolt when my flat-ish tire and I arrived at his shop.

You’d think that I spend all my free (spare? get it?) time driving leisurely through construction sites.

Needless to say, it was not a good day for my hair or my tire. But the good news is that I ordered a new tire (the hole was in a place where it can’t be patched), so I’ll be back in fine tire form tomorrow. I’m afraid that I cannot say the same for my hair. Because OH, THE HUMID.

5) Here are the winners from yesterday’s giveaway. Thanks,

106 – Susan (comment on 5/28 at 10:11pm)
180 – Angela (comment on 5/28 at 11:44pm)
245 – Kim (comment on 5/29 at 6:39am)
381 – Glennell Strawng
518 – Sarah at 32 Flavors

Y’all will get an email from me later tonight with info about how to claim your prizes.

6) When I was growing up, Mama almost always cooked a hot lunch straight from Daddy’s garden. We’d have fresh corn, blackeyed peas, fresh tomatoes, fried okra, fried eggplant – or whatever delicacy happened to be growing at the time. We usually didn’t have meat for lunch unless it was leftovers, but more often than not, Mama made cornbread. And for some reason, when she’d make cornbread at lunch, she’d use a cornstick pan that had belonged to her mama, my Mamaw Davis.

And that’s the prize for today’s giveaway: a cast iron cornstick pan. I didn’t even know that anyone still made them, but I’m so happy that they do. Whoever wins the cornstick pan will also receive two copies of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet – one for the winner and one for friend.

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So there you have it. A cornstick pan and a couple of books. Just leave a comment if you’d like to enter to win. I’ll close comments in 24 hours.

And if you made it all the way to the end of this post, please accept this invisible certificate as a token of my appreciation. You are a champion. No doubt about it.

This giveaway is now closed.

A Short-Lived Burst Of Productivity (And Also: A Giveaway)

It never fails that on one of the first “real” (read: not weekend, not holiday) days of summer vacation, I decide that I am going to run ALL THE ERRANDS. I put together a to-do list that’s approximately a quarter-mile long, and oh, I TACKLE SOME THINGS. That is precisely what Alex and I did today. We went seven or eight different places, crossed almost everything off my list, and by the end of the day, there may have been a little Bachman-Turner Overdrive running through my brain.

I was feeling so accomplished, in fact, that when we pulled in the garage around 4:00 this afternoon, I put away all the groceries and assorted items and then promptly changed into my pajamas.

You can’t possibly be surprised.

One of today’s errands was to run by Belk, which means that I let the little guy take his DS on our excursion because no 10 year-old boy can bear spending more than approximately fifteen minutes in a department store. I am normally more of a “deal with it” mama since I don’t think there’s any written or unwritten rule that states that a child must never be bored, but I was trying to put together an outfit for something on tomorrow’s to-do list, and I wasn’t sure how long the wardrobing was going to take me.

Once A. was comfortably settled in front of a big ole mirror, I started looking through racks upon racks upon racks of clothes. I ended up buying a couple of shirts, and here is what I love about Belk: when you shop their sales, the prices always end up being less than what you think they’re going to be. I had two tops from the 50% off rack – one with an original price of $65.00 and the other with an original price of $94.00 – and I ended up paying $7.99 for one and $23.49 for the other. That was delightful in and of itself, but I think the best part of all was when the cashier handed me my receipt and said, “You saved $127.52 today!”

Clearly that was a sign that I needed to do some more shopping!

Oh, I’m kidding. But I did buy some of that new CC cream (apparently the BB cream has some exciting new features), and I’m really curious to see how well it works. My only expectation is that it will make my skin look like it did when I was 19 because, you know, I’m all about being realistic.

Anyway, my errands – riveting though they must be – are not in fact the point of this post. Because today is the first in a series of happy little giveaways leading up to ye olde book release. And listen – if this next week were solely up to me, I’d be curled up in a corner and watching Notting Hill over and over again on my iPad. But the folks at Tyndale had some fun ideas for giving away copies of the book (assuming, of course, that you want to win a copy of the book, because if you’re not at all interested in the book, then I’m assuming this string of giveaways is going to be a bit of a let-down), and I am always a fan of some festive prizes.

Festive prizes make life feel more like a kicky game show, don’t you think?

Today I’m giving away a little something that I discovered back in the spring, and oh, I do enjoy this particular item.

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I for one think that these are the cutest measuring spoons that the world has ever known. They’re not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s no way to use them without smiling. TRY THEM AND SEE.

I’ll leave this post open for the next 24 hours, and at the end of that time I’ll draw for five winners. Each winner will receive a set of the sassy measuring spoons as well as a copy of this little number.

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So. If you’d like to enter to win the measuring spoons as well as a copy of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, just leave a comment on this post. I do have to make the disclaimer that Tyndale can only mail the prizes to people in the continental US, and I’m just as sorry as I can be about that, Canada. Not to mention Hawaii and Alaska and the six to twelve people who read in other parts of the world.

Happy Giveaway-ing, everybody!

This giveaway is now closed.

It Was Time

One of the odd things about having a blog is that I very rarely read it. I mean, I read the posts as I write them, but as a general rule I don’t click over to my blog just to see what’s going on. I know what’s going on. Because, well, I lived it.

That’s why I was a little shocked about six or seven months ago when I actually looked at the front page of my blog and realized that I’d had the same blog design for the better part of five years. Now I happened to love that particular design, so that was a bonus, but five years is a long time to go without making any significant changes. Every once in awhile it’s good to shake things up and move them around and put a little pep in your bloggy step. So I decided that finding someone to do redesign was an excellent idea.

And then I didn’t do one thing about it for another couple of months.

Eventually, though, I emailed my friend Karla. Karla and I met through blogging about six years ago, and I thought she’d be a great person to tackle the redesign because 1) she’s really great at what she does and 2) she is totally willing to work with crazy blogger people who don’t necessarily know correct design terms and occasionally say things like “I just want it to be a little more whimsical.” So we emailed and discussed and went through a couple of rounds of possible designs, but as soon as I saw this particular variation, that was it for me. I was crazy about the color and, yes, the whimsy – and I also loved that it’s simple. Lots of white space. Good, clean fonts. Easy to read.

(If you are reading this post on a feed reader, you are no doubt thinking, Everything looks pretty much the same to me.)

(But oh, it is very different around here. New and fresh and lo, even festive.)

So all that to say: thank you so much, Karla. You heard me loud and clear even when I didn’t know what I was saying. And I am mighty grateful.


There is something else that I need to mention. And I’m going to mention it quickly because I don’t want things to get too awkward.

My book’s official release date is exactly one week from tomorrow. I know that a few people have found it here and there and yon already, but in terms of your Internet booksellers and whathaveyou, June 4th is the official date.

So over the course of the next few days, we’re going to have some Happy Good Time Giveaways. That is not the official term (nor should it be), but the whole idea is that I’m going to give away some books and some Other Things. Southern things. Things like banjos and fried catfish and turnip greens.

Oh, I am totally kidding.

Although I could absolutely get on board with a banjo.

So just know that there are going to be some free things. And some fun things. And I should probably also mention that I do have some book signings scheduled (in Alabama and Mississippi), but I’m trying to keep all that info confined to my bloggy Facebook page so that I don’t get on your nerves. Because while I still haven’t gotten used to having a bloggy Facebook page and don’t really know how to use it, I do know that it makes my brain feel better to have a designated place for communicating that kind of stuff. Apparently my mind likes to compartmentalize meaningless information.

So. That’s the latest blog and book news. But it’s not the latest Bachelorette news, because OH YES MA’AM I’m about to sit down in front of the DVR and FIRE ‘ER UP. Depending on the level of cheesy that’s on display this season, we may have to link arms and support one another through some socially awkward reality television moments.

I for one am all for it.

P.S. Can we please take a moment to remember Jesse’s Book of Thoughts from Deanna’s Bachelorette season?

P.P.S. I think this next week will be much better if we do.

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 23

So yesterday I was sitting outside The UPS Store while I wrapped up a conversation with Melanie. The conversation only lasted about five whole minutes because I was bound and determined to plow through my to-do list, and Mel was on her way to eat lunch with a friend. But just as we were about to hang up, she said, “Hey. We should try to podcast sometime soon.”

And I said, “Okay. How about tomorrow?”

And she said, “Sounds good.”

So we did. We recorded a podcast. And in addition to that, we managed to record a podcast where 1) you can actually hear both of us 2) the Internet connection was reliable and 3) I was able to upload the file without incident.

I am totally unfamiliar with how to respond given this unprecedented series of events.

Anyway. We cover all sorts of stuff: college baseball, working out, the length of shorts, phobias, skin care, and Taylor Swift. I can’t promise that it’s entertaining, but I can promise that it’s, you know, there. And quite frankly that is more than I’ve been able to say for the last eleven months.

Please do enjoy.

You can click here to listen. Or here. Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Quick Question(s)

Well, this is the second post in one day. ON A SUNDAY. I KNOW. But here’s the deal.

Tomorrow I’m talking to / visiting with some high school girls about healthy, God-honoring friendships. I had really great friends in high school and college – and there was rarely, if ever, any drama between us. So – because of my own friendships, which have been overwhelmingly positive, I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my brain around what goes on in a “mean girl” culture. I also have a hard time understanding how girls can be so threatened by / distrusting of each other, because (thankfully) that’s never been my experience.

HOWEVER. I don’t want to be unrealistic when I talk to the girls, and I don’t want to ignore the fact that some of them probably have some hurts that go pretty deep. So I want to make sure that I’m considering perspectives that may differ from my own – and that is why I have three questions.

1) When you were in high school / college, what trait did you most value in your friends? Honesty? Trustworthiness? Loyalty? Kindness? Something else?

2) If you struggled with friendships when you were in high school / college, what were some factors that made friendships difficult? Bitterness? Jealousy? Gossip? Insecurity? Something else?

3) If you could travel back in time and give the high school / college version of yourself some advice about friendships, what would that advice be?

Thanks in advance, y’all. I’m oh-so-grateful for your help!