Friday, August 9, 2013

Made Me Monday....

Last week, I attended my orientation for Leadership Charlotte Class 35.  Leadership Charlotte is a 10-month program that develops leaders for the Charlotte community (duh).  Over the next ten months, we will not only learn about our community,  we will be exploring about who we are as leaders and taking a real look at our past, present and future selves.  My 49 classmates and I have been challenged to come to each session ready to take an honest look at who we are, who were were, and what we would like to become.  Together, we will grow as leaders, people, and friends.  I am so very excited about this opportunity.  I participated in a similar program through the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.  It was such a life changing experience that one of the first things I did when I moved to Charlotte was to into a program here.  I was extremely honored to be selected for one of the at-large spots when I applied for the first time this year.  After our orientation and having a few hours to get to know some of my classmates, I am EXTREMELY excite about what this year will hold for me.  

One of the things that we will be doing is sharing the events in our lives that have made up who we are today.  It was interesting to me yesterday in my small group, that I seemed to get more question than some of the other participants about how I ended-up as a minister and not only a minister, but an interim minister and consultant.  Each time I was asked on of the variations of, "How did you decide to become a minister?"  I could only answer that there is just not an easy way to answer that question.  Once upon a time, I would tell the story of when I was 14 and first felt God wanted me to be a minister, that I said I would not do it and how my heart was eventually changed.  Yet, the longer I do this and the more I become specialized as a consultant and interim, I become firmer in the understanding that it is not any one story that can be told to explain how I have gotten to this vocation.  

In addition, anyone who knows me, knows that there is no better way to make me angry than to put me into the box of minister.   While minister is part of my vocation, it is just one part of what I do -- personally and professional (I just signed-on to help a friend of mine run the campus rep program for his family clothing business).  For me, if you really want to understand my vocations, you must understand and know the many pieces that make-up this girl.   

So, I have decided to take a bit of what I will be doing in Leadership Charlotte and apply it to my blog each Monday by starting Make Me Monday.  Each Monday, I will share a story from yesterday, 10 years ago, or many moons ago -- stories from my past that have made me who I am today.  I hope you will enjoy reading all the crazies pieces of my life that have made who I am today.  

Have a Great Week!

The Holy Blonde

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Super Easy Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

When I was a kid, I loved Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake.  My mom would special order me a cake every year to the bewilderment of the employees in Baskin Robins.  What 5 year-old wants a Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake? It would be me.  A couple of weeks ago, I found myself with some extra Mint Oreo that I knew I would never eat so I decided to make a pie.  It was super easy and tasted much better than I could imagine.

1 Carton of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

3/4 a Carton of Cool Whip

1 Sleeve of Mint Oreos

1 Gram-cracker Crust

Extra Mint Oreos for Garnish

Let Ice Cream soften for 5 - 10 minutes on the counter.  Blend together Ice Cream, Cool Whip, and Mint Oreos on medium for 2-3 minutes, then whip for 3 minutes.  Spoon mixture into pie shell -- smoothing the top with a spatula.  Place in freezer for 2 hours.  Before serving, using a pastry bag, put stars of Cool Whip around the edge, sprinkle Mint Oreo Crumbs on the inside the Cool Whip Boarder.  Serve with on Oreo on the side.


The Holy Blonde

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Laughing and the Little Things

At the beginning of 2013, I decided that everyday, I was going to be intentionally thankful for something.   I have an absolutely amazing life filled with so much many things that I should be overflowing with Thankfulness.  Yet at the end of 2012, I found that I had lost sight of the many, many things I have to be thankful.  You see, the one thing I have always desired most in my life and that it  seems that there is nothing I can do to change, is still missing.  I was allowing that one little missing thing (OK to me it is not really little, it is huge, but the size is beside the fact it is one thing compared to the million of other things I have) to cloud my vision to the point that I was missing the things that were happening all around me that made my life so amazing.  So, since January 1st, I have been intentionally thankful for something.  As I began keeping track of all of those things, I have found that more often than not, it is the little things that I have the most gratitude for in my life -- often it is even the silly things.  As the year has gone on, I have realized that it is the little, silly things that add up to the amazing life I have been given and made since moving to North Carolina.  So as I continue in this blog, I think it is only fair to warn you, that sometime my Thankful Thursday may seem little or even a bit silly. My hope is that as you read the menagerie of my thankfulness, you will collect one of your own.  On this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for all the little things that bring a smile to my face. I'm sure in the future, I'll be sharing some of these little silly things, but for today I am just thankful that there are so many in my world. 

Wishing you lots of little joys in this day!

The Holy Blonde 

The Big Cut...

Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE my hair.  I am very blessed with thick, strait blonde hair.  I've always had long hair, except for one moment of insanity when I was in 2nd grade.  Besides that, my hair has always been at my shoulders or longer.  I am also very, very attached to my hair and not just because it is attached to my body. 

When I was younger and I thought about what would be the worse thing someone could ask me to do, it was to shave my head.  I had dreams about someone holding a gun to my head asking me to choose between shaving my head or getting shot -- I would have to stop and think for a long time before making that decision.  I'm so thankful that has never been a real life situation. 

A few years ago, I decided that I would grow my hair, so that I could donate it.  I felt I'm so lucky to have this amazing hair, the least I could do it share it.  My goal was to grow it to my hips, so that when I cut the minimum of 8 inches it would still be long.  Earlier this year, I began measuring it to see how much longer I had to go before I could cut my hair and have it not be short.  I had decided that the 8 inches were there and it would not be too short.  So, I made an appointment in March.  The day before the appointment, I canceled it because I just could not give-up my hair yet.  I needed to grow 4-5 more inches, so it would not be too short. 

In June, a little girl from my hometown - Pensacola, FL, who's parents are just a few years older than me was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that occurs either in or around the bones.  I found out about her diagnoses through friends from Pensacola who started liking her facebook page Praying for Carolyn.  I visited her page and the story was so moving, that I had to like it as well, so I could follow her updates.  Within a week of liking her page, Carolyn started losing her hair.  As an adult I cannot imagine that reality, I could not even begin to think about what it might be for a child.  I decided right then that now was the time.  I contacted Carolyn's family through the facebook page and asked where I should donate.  They said they had been working with Children with Hair Loss  out of Michigan.  I contacted them to find out that they were in desperate need of blonde hair (which Carolyn would need) because there are so few people with natural blonde hair to donate (hair cannot be processed). 

It did take me a day, but I made an appointment for that week with my friend Mal's hairdresser at .  I had e-mailed Carolyn's family and Children with Hair Loss that my hair was coming, so there was no backing out this time.  On a Thursday afternoon, I arrived at All About You Salon in Charlotte to make the big cut.  I had not had my hair cut in a salon for almost two years -- I had just been going to the Aveda Institute because it was such an easy cut while I was growing it out.  I was more than a little nervous. 

Kayce was amazing and helped me measure it out and pick a style.  We put my hair in three pony tails and she made the big cut.  The side pony tails did not make a huge difference, but when she cut the one in the back, it was an immediate difference -- I felt like 20 pounds have been taken away. 

While my hair is very, very different -- I have received great compliments and it is so easy to style.  I'm not sure I'll keep it this short, but it is good to know it works short as well.  The greatest part of it is, there is a little girl who will have hair while she fights a horrible battle. 

The Holy Blonde

Little Miss Carolyn

My hair on Christmas Morning
After the Big Cut...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

30-minute Bruschetta Chicken, Bruschetta Pasta, and Creamed Garlic Spinach - Tasty Tuesday

It's summer time, which means there are tons of fresh veggies and herbs to be had.  This is is one of my favorite meal to whip-up in the summer.

Believe it or not, you can make this meal in 30-minutes, depending on how fast you are with a knife and how quickly your grill is!  Balsamic Vinegar Chicken topped with home made bruschetta, bruschetta pasta, and garlic creamed spinach.  So, easy and SO GOOD!

Start with a pound or so of thinly sliced chicken breast two hours before dinner.   These are something I just discovered, but I love them!  They cook so quickly.  Take each breast, dash balsamic vinegar on each side and sprinkle Italian seasoning -- let sit in fridge until ready to put on the grill. 

Begin by wilting the spinach -- you don't want to cook the spinach all the way, just put a little bit of water in the bottom of a LARGE cooking pan with a few cloves are garlic cut in half and toss the spinach while the water is boiling -- this should take too minutes. Drain Spinach.  If you have a charcoal grill, go start you coals now.

In a smaller cooking pan, put 2 clicks (Tablespoons) of butter and 4 cloves of chopped (or pressed) garlic in the bottom of the pan.  While the butter is melting, put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.  In about the time it takes you to put the water on to boil for the pasta, the butter should be melted.  Add the spinach, and other four cloves of chopped (or pressed) garlic, and 1 small container of whipping cream to the pan -- cook on medium low for about 20 minutes -- it is going to boil and the liquid is going to cook off. 

Next you are going to put the chicken on the grill, if it is charcoal, it should be ready, if it is gas, it is always ready.  While chicken is cooking, begin chopping 6 roma tomatoes and a jar of Sun-dried tomatoes for Bruschetta (I normally do this outside because then you can watch the chicken).  Once you are done with this, the chicked should be ready to be flipped, the water should be ready for the pasta, and the spinach should be stirred. 

Add a bunch of chopped Basil, 5 cloves of chopped, a package of pre-cut Pico De Gallo veggies (it gives it a little extra kick).  Toss all the ingredients with 1/2 a cup of olive oil and 1/4 a cup of balsamic vinegar. 

At this point, the chicken should be done, the pasta is ready to be drain, and the spinach stirred.  Take two pieces of chicken and put on each plate to serve -- top with the bruschetta.  Toss the rest of the bruschetta with the pasta (you may need to add a little more olive oil).  Add a scoop of pasta and spinach, top with Italian blend cheese and serve! 

OK, for my readers who want more of a "recipe" to follow here you go:


6 Roma Tomatoes
1 Jar Sundried Tomatoes in Oil
1 packaged of Pico De Gallo
5 Cloves of Garlic 
1 Bunch of Fresh Basil 
1/2 Cup of Olive Oil (I free pour, but this is the best I can tell)
1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar (I free pour here too)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop tomatoes, basil, and garlic.  Combine with Pico De Gallo.  Toss with Olive Oil and Balamic -- salt and pepper to taste (HOW EASY IS THAT!!! And there is SO MUCH you can do with this!)

Creamed Spinach

10 Cloves of Garlic -- two halved -- eight chopped
2 Bunches Fresh Spinach
1 Small Container of Heavy Whipping Cream (A Cup I think they are)
2 Click (tablespoons) of butter

Wilt Spinach in pan with the two halved garlic cloves.  Melt Butter and 4 cloves of garlic in a pan, add spinach and cream when melted.  Cook on medium low heat until the cream is firm and not liquidity.    For a little extra something, you can add some Italian Cheese).

I don't think you need a recipe for the chicken and pasta, but if you want one let me know, I'll be happy to post it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kayce Hughes -- Friday's Favorites

For my first Friday's Favorite one of my new favorite designers, Kayce Hugh

Right out of college, Kayce worked in the Women's Design Department for Ralph Lauren for six years until the birth of her first child.  After a few more children, she began making nightshirts for her daughters out of vintage fabrics.  Eventually she started having dressed and shorts made as well, which turned into her label of Pears and Bears.  Now she has a full line of children's apparel, women's clothing, accessories, and gifts.  She just launched her new line of paper a few weeks ago.  You can read more about here and see the articles from Country Living and Child's Manazine by visiting her About Us Page

I discovered Kayce this past fall and fell in love with her classic styles and fun fabrics.  There has not been one time that I have been out in one of her dresses that a stranger has not stopped me to compliment me or ask where I got my dress.  

My favorite dress from the fall collection.  It quickly became my go-to dress for business meetings and dinner with friends. 

My holiday party dress for 2012 and I'm pretty sure it will make some appearances in 2013 as well. 
A good mix of the fall collection that began my love of Kacey Hughes

Some of my favorites from her spring summer collections include:

The classic shirt dress is always great for work or play.  I love the fun green print and light weight material. 

A little more casual, but twice as fun is as the classic shirt dress, the Willa Ruffle Dress.

The Vintage Shirt Dress will get you stopped every time.  I have two from this past fall and just added this one to my collection.

As who loves to write letters (I write at least two every week, my goal is to one day write a letter every day), I am so excited for Kayce's new paper collection. 

New Note Cards released this week.

These will be coming to my mailbox soon!

I love these new mini cards as well.  I always keep mini cards in my purse to be able to write notes to attached to contact information when meeting new friends. 

I hope you will check out Kayce Hughes' site to explore all her lines.  Her children's clothing, accessories, and home goods will not disappoint.  

Have a great weekend!

The Holy Blonde 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bruises - Thankful Thursday

This is a post I posted in my blog that I was going to dedicate to being thankful, so sorry if you already read it. I thought it was the best way to start my Thankful Thursday post. 

First, 99% I have one or more unexplained bruises on my body.  There are a two reasons for this: 

First, I am extremely clumsy.  Most kids hit a growth spurt around middle school where they seem to be all arms and leg.  Around that time they seem to loose all coordination, mainly because parts of their bodies have out grown other part.  After a few years, everything catches up, they regain control of their bodies, and they a lot less unexpected falls.  Well for some reason, I never seemed to grow into my arms and legs.  So, I still fall.....a lot....and most of the time on flat ground.   It happened the first frost last November, I fell so hard on flat ground I had to get a X-Ray to make sure my foot was not broken.  In addition, I am constantly bumping into things -- door handles, tables, glass walls, etc.  My mother and sister are more than happy to share with your many many stories about my inability to walk.  

Second, I have Lupus which causes me to have poor circulation, so I bruise extremely easy.   Sometimes if I am touched in just the right place with just the right pressure, I'll have a bruise for weeks.  It is always funny to me when someone who I don't know well inquires about an awful looking bruise.   They are completely complex when I reply, "I have no idea."  Most of them cannot imagine having a bruise without knowing what cause it.  Unexplained bruises have been part of my life for as long as I can remember.  Yet, another source of entertainment for my mother and sister.

So, bruises have always been a big part of my daily experience.

Obviously, the bruises on my body do not turn pink and green -- although sometimes if I get a really nice one there is a green tint.  

The pink and green bruise I am talking about are those events in my life that leave a mark that hurts....for a long time.  Eventually even the deepest and most painful physical bruises fade away and you cannot even remember where it was.  However, those bruises that are caused on ones hearts by life events may fade, but they never really go away.  In some ways you never want them to go away because they make you who you are.

Part of what I am doing with this Year of Thankfulness is looking at those bruises in my life and finding what they have help create the pretty world in which I live.  While I will never be thankful for the pain I or anyone else has experienced in our lives, I work to see where that pain has brought forth something of beauty.  As a Christian, I believe that God is constantly working to bring about new life in our world -- light in the darkness.  Spending time turning my bruises from black and blue to pink and green is my way of finding the light that has been revealed in even the darkest of times.

While my bruises will always be a part of me, I choose to make them something that makes me prettier -- just like my favorite Lilly Pulitzer pink and green shift does when I'm having a grey day.

One of the great things about bruises -- is that everyone has them -- the physical and metaphorical ones.  In someways, part of what connects us as humans is our ability to be bruised.  Luckily, we are also connected in our ability to be healed.

In December, Train released a song with Ashley Monroe about this

I love what the chorus says:

These bruises make for better conversation  
Loses the vibe that separates 
It's good to let you in again  
You're not alone in how you've been  
Everybody loses  
We all got bruises  
We all got bruises

However in my opinion, the best wisedom is found in the bridge:

I would love to fix it all for you 
(I would love to fix you too) 
Please don't fix a thing whatever you do

I look at the people in my life who's hearts are filled with deep bruises and long to fix them -- I long to take away the pain.  But I know, that just as my bruises makes me who I am, their bruises do the same.  Because I love them, I don't fix a thing, I hope that theirs will turn pink and green eventually too.  

The Holy Blonde

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Here We Go.....

So, I finally decided it is time for me to start a blog of my own.  Over the past few years, I have helped several friends start blogs for themselves or their business all of which have been pretty successful.  However, I have not been able to get one going personally.

I have had a few false starts along the way.  I've tried to have tried to have subject specific blogs-- thankfulness, cooking, fashion, etc.  They never seemed to work for me because I love all of those things and more equally.

The great thing about the life I have created is that I have filled it with so many things that I absolutely love!  I have trouble saying no to things, not because I feel like I need to do it, but because I LOVE to do so many things.

The only way a blog is going to work for me is if there is room for me to fill it with all my many adventures.  I am going to have three days that will be themed:

Tasty Tuesday - A day where I will share fabulous recipes with you.

Thankful Thursday - A day to share things for which I am thankful

Friday's Favorites - Well, it's just going to be Fabulous!

 So, here we go.....