Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: The Cat's Meow

Long before we ever had dogs, or even had each other, I had my kitty cat.  I got my cat back in my single days, and she has slowly adjusted to life in a house, life with Hubby, and life with the dogs.  After all these years with her, I kind of forget the excitement of having a little kitten running around.


Luckily, I got a reminder over the weekend.  My sister's family got a new kitten named Shadow. My niece was so excited, she sent me all kinds of photos.  He does seem pretty darn adorable!  Everyone in their family adores him, even their dog, but I think he will probably be most attached to my niece.  I cannot wait for my next visit with the family so I can see him.

All this kitty talk the past few days got me to thinking.  I gush a lot about our dogs, because they are exuberant, and bursting with love and affection.  But our cat shows us just as much affection, in her own quiet, moody way.  She snuggles up to us, and even on occasion give us kisses.  And even though she pretends not to, she secretly loves the dogs too.  Whenever anything is wrong with one of them, she is greatly concerned.  It is pretty cute.

So, in honor of Shadow, and Nora, and cats everywhere, I present, this week, a playlist that totally is The Cat's Meow.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: D is for Desks, Dorms, Division, and Detention

BHS Homecoming Parade and Game

It should come as no surprise that I was an odd child.  My nerd roots are deep, going back to toddlerhood really.  While I cried hard on my first day of kindergarten, asking my mom not to leave me there, after that, there was no looking back.  I was in love with school, and learning.  From the age of 5 to 24, each fall I prepared for another year of educational adventures, and I LOVED it.  I went directly from high school to college, took an extra year of college classes, and then directly from college to graduate school.  Nerd much?

I was so in love with learning that at the end of each school year, the teachers would send me home with extra copies of worksheets we had done all year.  I would do these all summer long, along with workbooks my parents purchased.  Before the first week of summer vacation was over, I had already checked out half a dozen books from the library.  And I counted down the days to the open house, when I would learn who my new teacher would be.

The first fall that I did not prepare to return to classes, I felt an aching sensation.  I felt lost; nearly 20 years of my existence revolved around the newness of fall classes starting.  I still feel a little sad when school starts.  I wish I was in school again.  Oh, I do not miss the drama or the mean girls, the homecoming queens or the quarterbacks.  Nor do I miss the blue books or the high cost of textbooks.  But I do miss the order and structure that comes with being in school.  I often think of returning to college or graduate school, in a variety of subjects, just because I love structured education so much.  For now, I will settle for reading 200 books a year, but who knows what the future may hold.

Whether you loved school, or hated it, whether it was elementary, high school, or college, whether a student or a teacher, school was, and still is, an inevitable force in all our lives.  So here is a playlist to help you ease the transition back to school.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Explorations: Cake Concepts

One of the things I miss most about living and working in the city was having access to all kinds of neat specialty shops.  Whether the stores sold clothing, food items, or tchotchkes, there were always interesting things to see.  Which is why I am so excited that Kittanning is getting some new shops.


One of the new shops that I have been wanting to check out is a new cake bakery, called Cake Concepts.  Since going gluten free, however, I have not had much reason to buy cake or cupcakes.  But this week, my niece is visiting.  When I asked her if she likes cupcakes, her response was, "Uh YEAH, duh" so I knew I finally had a reason to visit.


Yesterday we walked into the store, and I swear it was like visiting the childhood dream of the perfect tea party.  Everything was pink, and elegant, and beautiful.  I absolutely love the way the store looks.  I could have spent hours in there, even though I cannot eat anything there.  That is how lovely it is.  After taking in the cuteness of the shop, I spied the cupcakes.  Oh, they all looked so delicious!  The specialty cupcakes were Key Lime and Chunky Monkey.  Um, yummmy!  There were also plain iced cupcakes, and filled cupcakes.  DARN YOU GLUTEN INTOLERANCE.  I bought half a dozen for my niece and for Hubby.



I was talking to one of the owners, and explaining my gluten intolerance.  She said they are currently working on recipes for gluten free and sugar free cupcakes to add to their offerings.  She said they are taking their time to find really delicious recipes, which I totally respect.  No one wants a subpar product just because it is the only GF thing available.  So, I look forward to the day that they release GF cupcakes for sale.  


When we got back into the car, my niece wanted to eat a cupcake immediately.  It was all I could do to get her to wait for me to drive the few blocks home, because she said they just looked that good.  And once we got home, she sampled them and assured me they really WERE that good.  I snuck a swipe of the icing, and it was delicious.


The atmosphere is wonderful, the owners are friendly and helpful, the product is delicious, and the price is really reasonable.  So, what are you waiting for?  Go get a cupcake from Cake Concepts, and you can thank me later!

Note: This post was not sponsored in any way, nor was I approached to do a review of this business.  I simply wanted to share this great shop with my readers and encourage people to support local small town businesses! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: Dog Days of Summer

I make no secret of the fact that we absolutely adore our dogs.  I cannot remember what life was like before these two wiggly lick filled balls of love entered our lives, and I cannot imagine life without them.  Our dogs really are a part of our family.  Heck, our vacation plans are made around places that are pet friendly.  I fully understand that not all people are animal lovers, and not all pet owners adore their pets the way we do.  And that is fine.  But we do chose to treat our pets as family.


Dexter and Chloe know exactly how to make a crappy day turn into an awesome day.  Whether it is covering my face with dog kisses, or waiting at the door for Hubby when he gets home from work, they seem to know exactly what we need.  There are days when we simply hang around the house, snuggling with the dogs.


Since getting the dogs, we seem to be paying more attention to dogs in public.  Whenever we pass a dog, one of us always says "look at the dog!".  And often when we see people walking their dogs in public, we talk to the dog rather than the owner.  Because, let's face it, sometimes, we like dogs better than we like people.

My happy place is wherever my dogs are.  In honor of our two awesome dogs, I present to you a puppyfied playlist.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: C is for Catfish

Since I was in my early twenties when the internet really exploded, I spent a lot of time online socializing, and in a lot of ways I still do.  In college, I mostly emailed and IMed friends and family, and when really really bored I hit up some Christian chat rooms.  When I went to grad school, I was alone in a town where I knew no one.  I had a whole summer to get through before classes started, and no real idea how to meet anyone.  So, I turned to the internet once again, only this time, I began talking to strangers.  I started creating friendships with people online, and in a few cases going on dates with people I met online.

After grad school, I once again found myself in a new place, knowing no one.  And once again, I tried online dating.  It was bumpy, to say the least.  I met some decent guys that I maintain friendships with to this day, but very few of them clicked on a romantic level.  I met plenty of duds, liars, manipulators, and deadbeats.  By the time I was approaching 30, I was ready to give up.

I spent all my time pouring my heart out to my best friend, someone I had met online.  Someone I had spent years talking to, but had never actually met in person.  They wanted to meet, I thought it would ruin things.  Finally, I realized that we were already more than friends, so why not just go on a date with the guy?  That date... was my last first date ever.  15 months later we were married.  I will never ever regret dating online, because I was lucky enough to meet Hubby that way.


Because of how we met, Hubby and I love the MTV show "Catfish"  and we watch it together ever week.  We often hold hands, get sappy eyed, and reminisce about how nervous we were to meet each other.  We relate to the people on the show, the ones who are honest at least.  I cannot imagine lying to someone about who I was, and then expecting a relationship to work; I cannot imagine being in the position of the people being lied to.  Fortunately, I never have to imagine those things, Hubby and I are the real deal.  Friends for 2.5 years, dating for 11 months, engaged for 4 months, soon to be married for 4 years.  Almost 8 years we have been connected.  I hooked me a keeper.

In honor of those looking for love online, this week's playlist is some of my favorite songs to be featured in episodes of "Catfish".  Listen to them, and appreciate the love you have in your life, regardless of how you found it.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Thankful for... a wake up call

I was always an early riser.  From the time I was about 13 to my 30s, I would wake up at 5:30 most mornings.  Part of this was out of necessity, because the school bus came at 7, and then when I entered the working world the habit just stuck.  I would get a lot of things done before I would need to be out the door for the day.  However, since I have been out of the full time work force, I have gotten out of the habit of being an extreme early riser.  An early morning for me now is about 7 am.  I enjoy the luxury of sleeping in.  Especially since, with my periodic insomnia, I often do not fall asleep until after 1 or 2 am.

The past week, my sleep schedule has been way off, so I finally forced myself, on Thursday night, to go to bed early and take some melatonin to insure sleep.  It is a good thing, too, because Hubby called me at 7 am on his way to work to ask me to check on something for him.  He felt really bad that he had made me get out of bed so early, but it turned out to be a very good thing.

It forced me to get moving early.  As a result, I was out the door by 8 am to do a little geocaching.  As I drove to my location, I watched the sun burning of the fog that had settled low in the hills.  I reached my destination, and saw a breathtaking sight.  A lovely little waterfall tucked away in a patch of woods.  There was not another soul around, and I felt so much peace.  It was the absolute perfect way to begin the day.


So, I am very thankful that Hubby called and made me get up early.  It was just the wake up call I needed.