A photo blog...maybe...

I like to think of myself as creative, and I like to dabble in lots of different 'artistic' ventures. I've always had a passion for writing, albeit I've not yet published my novel, which has been a dream of mine since the day I learned form words on paper. I love to create scrapbook pages, even if it can take me a whole week just to get one page finished. I'm a bit of an amateur chef; cooking is considered an art, right? Even if I do set off the smoke detector every once in a while? But lately, one particular hobby has had a stranglehold on me kept the creative monkeys in my head busy: photography. Ever since Narcissa, a.k.a. my Nikon SLR digital camera, {is it weird that I named her?} came into my life, she and I have been inseparable. To say that I've been snap-happy of late would be a serious understatement! I'm pretty sure my son is sick and tired of a camera in his face constantly; the dog has started running up the steps whenever she sees Narcissa in my hands; and I seem to have become the unofficial photographer at certain homeschool group activities and at mixed martial arts class. Not that I mind! On the contrary, it's been so much fun.

Sooo, in the midst of my recent fascination with taking photos and learning more techniques in capturing great images, a little idea started to form in my head: why not publish another blog that is solely for showcasing my foray into amateur photography? I know of a few bloggers who do this, and I was thinking that it may be fun for me. Of course, POCKETFUL OF BLISS will always be my BLOGGING BABY. This will still be the primary place where I share all sorts of random pieces of my life with you all, while my photography blog would be dedicated to my more artistic endeavor. I also think it would be fun to have a sort of 'journal' that records my progress as I move beyond amateur level photography. So what's got me hesitating? Well, really only two things. The first is that it will in fact be another blog to keep up with. And if you've followed my blog even a little bit, you already know that there have been times when more than a week will go by before I post again. I guess what I'm admitting is that I'm not always a regular blog poster now, so I can't help but wonder if I even have the time to manage another blog. The second cause for my hesitation is something that I think any type of artist, amateur or professional, goes through: quite simply, I'm wondering if the rest of the world will love or hate my photos/art. Yea, that one makes me a bit anxious....

As there are only two things that have caused me to pause before diving into the creation of a photo blog, I'm pretty sure that eventually I'm gonna just do it. I mean, what do I have to lose right? So who knows, you might just be receiving an invitation to see my very own ONLINE PHOTO GALLERY. Aren't you just excited?! I know I am!

Just call me Little Miss Sunshine!

Blog awards are so awesome! They mean so much because it comes from my blogging peers, and it's so rewarding to get that recognition. Ms. Lottie over at KAFFEINE ADDICT was sweet enough to give me this:

How cool is that!?! And it certainly did shine a bright light in my day, and my whole week. Love it! It's like Ms. Lottie knows me so well, especially that I'm all about bringing a little bit, or 'pocket-fuls' of sunshine into the lives of those I'm fortunate enough to have in my life...including YOU, my lovely reader!


Here are the rules I must follow when accepting my sweet reward:
✔ Put the logo in my post or within my blog.
✔ Pass the award onto 12 fellow bloggers.
✔ Link the nominees within my post.
✔ Let the nominees know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blogs.
✔ Share the love and link to the person who gave you the award!
So without further ado, here are twelve BRIGHT & SHINY blogs that I nominate for this award:

So there you are folks. To the lovely blogs I've nominated, I love you all! I know how crazy busy you all can get, so it won't hurt my feelings if it takes you a while to pass this on. And for those I haven't nominated, if you know of some great blogs that you'd like to reward, please, feel free to join in the fun!

I'm the Birthday Girl!

Yes, I do realize this post is a bit late, but it's been a bit of a busy week. My last POST was on Valentine's Day, which coincidentally was also yours truly's birthday. Yup, MY day!

Yay Me!!

My guys and I celebrated with a quiet day at home, just spending some quality time together. Hubby was on night-shifts, so we decided to postpone my annual birthday dinner until the following night. But we still managed to celebrate in our own way, and let me just tell you my friends, I was SO feeling the love all day long! My baby boy was up bright and early, and I think he was actually more excited about my birthday than I was! He wanted to make me coffee, but he didn't know how to work the coffee maker. Instead, he made sure I had my favorite coffee cup on standby. Then hubby came home around 7:45 in the morning, just coming off a night shift...and he had a dozen Dunkin Donuts in hand. YUMMY!!

After hubby got some much needed sleep, I got to open presents. I had already gotten a WAY-AWESOME present early, which was my new CAMERA. To go along with it, my guys got me a cool tripod. Now I can really play around with my camera even more, being able to take some really cool shots while keeping the camera still. I also got Season 3 of Showtime's The Tudors, the DVD set, which was way cool, since it's one of my favorite shows.

I have a slight fascination with Renaissance England...and dudes with accents.

And what would my birthday be without cake? Hubby remembered that I had mentioned wanting an ice cream cake from Cold Stone, and that's exactly what he got me:

Just look at all this chocolaty goodness in the Midnight Delight cake!

The following night (this past Monday), the three of us went out to dinner with some close friends to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, my absolute favorite place to eat! The food there is so delicious, so fresh, and of course, it's quite entertaining watching to watch the chef and his crazy-fast knife skills as he prepares and cooks your food. So AWESOME!!

So how do I feel now that I'm thirty-{something}? Not much different, to be perfectly honest. I'm a true believer in the adage that age is nothing but a number, and that you are as young or old as you feel. For me, my birthday isn't about celebrating the addition of another tally mark to my age chart (ok, I don't really have one, that was a total metaphor), but more of a celebration of my life as I have lived it, how I'm living it now, and where I want to go from here. And overall, life couldn't be sweeter. I have my husband, who has the phenomenal ability to make me feel so loved and adored every day. I honestly don't know how, seeing as we're not what you would call rich in the monetary sense, he manages to make me feel like a spoiled princess each and every day. {well, it might have something to do with the fact that he knows I'm prone to random bouts of insanity!} And of course there's my boy, Jeromy, who has been nothing short of a miraculous blessing. He makes life that much more fun, and all I want is to enjoy every precious moment. These two guys are my whole world: they inspire me every day to be the best person I can be, and they constantly show me what's truly important. So to my two awesome dudes, my birthday is about you as much as it is about me. Thank you for making it so special!


The rest of the week was pretty much like any other, but it just seemed so much busier than usual. Does that ever happen to you? You get to Sunday, and you just feel exhausted, thinking that you just had the busiest week ever. But then you look back and realize that there wasn't really anything that different about it. Yet for some reason, you literally feel SPENT at the end of it all. Oh well, guess that's life for ya!

Stay tuned for my next post: it'll be filled with awards, and why I think you should just call me Little Miss Sunshine!

My Valentine...

To my wonderful husband, Fred, who has always been,
and always will be, my Prince Charming...

Freddie, thank you for bringing so much love, joy, and laughter into my life. I often wonder how you put up with my very own brand of craziness, and the only conclusion I can come up with is that you're just as crazy as I am...hence, we were definitely made for each other! I couldn't ask for a better partner in life. And life is just that much sweeter when you're married to your best friend.
I love you sweetie....

Happy Valentine's Day!

*Thank you to SHABBY PRINCESS for the awesome digital
scrapbooking papers and elements!


Not-So-Perfect Brownie Pan

I guess you can say that this post is more of a review, but it's also a chance for me to share how much I {♥} Ghirardelli brownies. I love all things chocolate to begin with, but there's nothing quite like the richness of a chewy-gooey, double chocolate Ghirardelli brownie. First off, they make some of the best tasting chocolate ever, and to have it in brownie form?!...{drool!}...

AHEM! Sorry, I'll wipe the drool off my face now. Any-hoo, I recently procured one of those PERFECT BROWNIE PANS after seeing a commercial for it on the tube. I was so excited! Someone actually had the genius idea of creating something that would allow for the cutting of brownies that didn't result in a gooey mess. If you've ever made ooey-gooey brownies, you know what I'm talking about: like when you run your knife through the baked brownies and instead of nice clean slices, you get something that looks like a toddler hacked into it. Now don't get me wrong, we would still eat it, especially my guys who couldn't care less what dessert look like, as long as it was delicious. But me being me, I did want something more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. After all, we eat first with our eyes, right? So, I got one of these babies and took it for a test drive:

Brownie batter is in the pan, ready for baking in the oven.

Now the directions are pretty straight-forward, but there are some things that they don't reveal in their TV commercials. They aren't exactly bad, but in my humble opinion, these things sort of take away from the PERFECT part of the fun. I'll just list them here, and you can decide for yourself:

[1] The pan does leak, although not a lot. If I had to guess, about 2 or 3 tablespoons leaked out. The enclosed instructions do give you tips on how to deal with this feature, so it was obviously a known glitch. To be fair, it is easy enough to get around it. For example, I actually took a baking sheet, lined with foil, then placed the pan on top, and baked it this way.

[2] They advertise that the pan set is made of a super non-stick metal that will make your brownies 'slide' right off. It is made of a non-stick metal, but the directions do say that you have to grease the pan and insert liberally. So make sure you have some non-stick cooking spray on hand.

[3] The directions say that it's best to use a brownie mix or recipe that calls for a 13x9 pan. Since most store-bought brownie mixes are meant for square 8x8 or 9x9 pans, you have use 2 boxes of mix. No biggie, because this just means more brownies for you to stuff your face with enjoy and share.

[4] Referring back to number 3, using a batter meant for a 13x9 pan did present an obstacle, because the PERFECT BROWNIE PAN is not 13x9; it's in fact smaller. Why is this a problem? Well, when you have that much batter in a pan that's not exactly big enough to hold it, your brownies or cake (whichever you choose to bake) will rise up higher than the pan insert, and it creates a type of seal over the inserts, thus making it MUCH harder to remove:

See how you can't see the tops of the inserts? The pieces are still divided into sections, but it was still very difficult to get them all separated, and removing the insert took some maneuvering and the help of a butter knife. Eventually, I did get it out.

[5] Again, the pan is non-stick, and the directions do call for liberal use of non-stick cooking spray. But here's another tip if you don't want them falling apart: let the brownies cool COMPLETELY cool before taking them apart. It just makes it easier to pull them apart, and you won't be left with ooey-gooey sections left on the pan bottom.

For the most part I'm pretty happy with it. It definitely yielded better results than using a regular square or rectangular pan. Would I call it perfect? Um, probably not, although with some practice, patience, and calculations of batter amount versus pan size, I do think I can eventually yield some near-perfect results. The great part is, those who enjoy my brownies love them, which is all that really matters...

Because they're made with LOVE....and really good chocolate!

Child-like versus Child-ish...

This post is part of a series of answers to a 5000 QUESTION SURVEY. I'm not exactly going through all the questions in order; instead I've decided to answer those that jump out at me and inspire me to post. Some of the questions don't really apply to me or my life, and those I've chosen to ignore, which I can do since I am in fact overlord of my blogworld. 'Cause that's just how I roll. So here goes:

5,000 questions copy

8. Are you more child-like or childish?

I would definitely have to answer with CHILD-LIKE. The word childish has negative implications when used to describe a woman in her early thirties. Of course, adults are definitely known to act childish every once in a while, but when they do, it's not usually in a good way. Being described as childish as an adult tends to shed a not-so-bright light on that person.

For me, being CHILD-LIKE can be a wonderful experience. It's when you take pleasure in the purest and most simple forms of joy and happiness. Remember when you were a child, and the whole world was your playground? It was a time for adventures, a time when magic was real and all around, laughter came so easily, and breaking out in random acts of song and dance were not only a regular occurrence, but it was encouraged. {Yea, I still do that!} Ah, good times!

Since growing up and maturity tend to come with new and overwhelming responsibilities , it can be easy to lose touch with that child-like essence of yourself, to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day business of surviving that scary journey called adulthood. And with that, we can forget to just LiVE. I have my little boy to thank for the ability to stay connected to my child-like self. He makes it so easy, with his infectious laughter and never-ending quest to have as much fun and silliness as he can. Because of him, my inner-child always has someone to play with. We have so much fun together! So in what ways am I child-like? Glad you asked!...

* I love to build LEGO projects almost as much as Jer does. Yup, I actually have my very own sets, like this one:
* When we venture out to the park (when it's not blizzard-ing!), I like to practice my cartwheels in the grass. I usually fall on my face or my butt, and I'm pretty sure I scare the squirrels, but who cares? It's fun!

* I see nothing wrong with dancing and singing in the electronics department at Target if there's a really good song playing on the radio or TVs.

* Like most kids, the first thing I run for when we go to the playground is the swings. I can't help it! I love swinging through the air, feeling the sun on my face and the wind in my hair!

* Jer and I LOVE to ham it up and take goofy photos of ourselves. Just take a look at us:

Now of course, I've been guilty of acting childish from time to time. How is that different from being child-like? Well, here are some examples, and you can decide for yourself if there's a difference:

* I've removed people off of my Facebook friends list because they irritated me. No questions, no discussion, just felt like it. I did it 'cause they weren't playing nice and I didn't wanna be friends anymore.

* I yelled at the teenager bagging my groceries at the store for not packing my items just the way I like it.

* I've been known to cry because I found out I wouldn't have cable TV or internet for a few days while we were moving. Yes, literally CRY!

* I threw a hissy fit when a particular FB totally awesome game!! application was down for maintenance.

* I have plotted severe retaliation when a stupid teenager boy was mean to my son. Yea, it was an elaborate plot, complete with duct tape, rope, and rotten fish. Did I actually put my plans into action? HA!...you will never know, MWAHAHA!
Incidents like these are generally few and far between. Thank goodness I have a very understanding hubby who knows that it's only temporary insanity when I'm being childish, and I haven't really lost my mind. Either that, or he's just thankful I haven't ended up in a straight-jacket in a padded room...or prison.

So what's our lesson for today, boys and girls? Go out there and reconnect with your child-like self, he/she misses you! And go easy on the childish stuff...I don't wanna have to bail you out! {wink!}

Wanna see more of my answers to this series? Click HERE!

dearest mama nature...

Ok, you know I love you, right Mama Nature? I really do. You're gorgeous, inviting, and mysterious all at the same time. Trust me, I have the pictures to prove just how much I revere thine glory. I'm truly a HUGE fan of yours....


Look, I get it...you have your own reason for dumping more than three feet of snow on everything here in Charm City, and most of us are trying to make the most of it, maybe even enjoy it a little. It's so pretty outside right now while everything is coated in white. And I even looked at all the required snow shoveling as an opportunity to get a serious work out. You're just trying to keep me looking all fabulous and sexy right? Although I have to admit, Mama Nature, having part of my back thrown out is so not helping with the sexyness; I don't particularly feel fabulous when I'm hunched over, limping, popping ibuprofen like it's candy, and basically have a heat pad stuck on the right side of my lower back and above my right butt cheek. No matter though, I can still bring sexy back even while injured. And Jer is really having a lot of fun playing in all the snow:

But Mama Nature, I'm now SERIOUSLY whining and crying because of this particular bit of news I received today via FOOTS FORECAST:
"Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, another major winter storm is in the Mid-Atlantic pipeline.... The Forecast Team expects snowfall by 7 PM Wednesday to exceed 12 inches across central Maryland the I-95 corridor from Baltimore to Philadelphia and southeastern PA. We expect some areas may receive up to 20". NOAA's HPC Snow & Ice Team has already throw the B-word into the mix. The Philadelphia metro NWS office is using the phrase 'explosively developing.' Just so you know."
Oh COME ON!! Seriously??! This whole blizzard thing was kind of exciting at first, but now, it's just not cute anymore. Lots of cars are still buried, hubby was stuck at work for three whole days and is STILL on shoveling duty here at home, along with the rest of our neighbors, schools are closed until Thursday {ok, granted that one doesn't apply to me 'cause of the whole homeschool thing}, I can't escape drive to anywhere, and my poor dog is not happy with only having a tiny part of the yard to choose from when she does her business. Despite all that, we've all been trying to make the most of it all...you know me, I mostly lean towards a HALF-GLASS FULL direction. But with all we've been through in the past 72 hours, it's darn near impossible to remain the optimist when I read this:
"Finally, something that people need to take attention to is the amount of snow already on the ground. After the final chances at melting today, many will have a snowpack at or above 20'' with 4' snow piles all over the place. That means there will not really be ample places to put the snow..."
SEE?! Even the scientists agree, we don't have anywhere to put the darn snow because you're keeping the temp way below freezing! Oh, and there's also this:
"After this second storm impacts the area, there is a potential for up to 50'' of snow to be present in areas, with very few locations to place the snow. Be prepared ahead of time as to where all of this new snow will go. Be safe and good luck, you may need it."
This question isn't exactly for you Mama Nature, but I'm gonna post it here anyway:
C'mon Mama Nature, I don't want to believe that you have a cruel streak; maybe you just have a wicked sense of humor. But TWO snowstorms in less than a week? I lived in Alaska for ten years, and I don't ever remember snow being as bad as this!

Ok, so this is my official letter of complaint, Mama Nature, and I'm sure it's not the first you've received. Please, pretty please, take pity on us poor Mid-Atlantic folk, and maybe just give us a light dusting of snow, and not so much of the blizzard variety. We would really appreciate it. And if you can do that, I promise to be better about being green: I'll recycle more; I'll CONSIDER composting; I will try my hardest not to forget my canvas bags when going to the grocery store; I'll even plant some pretty flowers in the spring! Are you open to bribes? Because we can negotiate...

So thank you Mama Nature, for taking the time to read the ramblings of lunatic suffering from some serious cabin fever my letter. And just so you don't think it's just me that's tired of the snow, just look how pooped out your favorite snow bunny is:

Peace Out Mama Nature!


February Snowstorm, Part 2: Sundays in My City

Unknown Mami

I decided to post a few more pics for Unknown Mami's Sundays In My City meme. If you haven't joined in yet, go check it out. It's super fun!

So here's more pics of my city, covered in a huge, thick blanket of snow:

Check out my PREVIOUS POST to see more pics of our snowstorm!


February Snowstorm

Our part of the world got slammed with a snowstorm that started Friday afternoon, and didn't let up until last night. For some reason the various news stations and weather watching organizations can't seem to get all their facts straight in order to figure out exactly how much snow Maryland got. Now, I don't have the PhD in weather-ology {yea, I make up my own words}, and I don't have all the fancy schmancy satellites and fun scientific tools that the weather folks do, but I do have a solution, which I posted on my Facebook status:
"The news channels can't seem to agree on how much snow actually fell. I have an easy solution: step 1: get a $2 yard stick. step 2: stick in the snow. step 3: measure the darn snow!! Duh!"
By yesterday mid-morning there was close to 2 feet of snow on the ground, and of course, the huge task of digging out paths, sidewalks, and cars went underway. Hubby got stuck at work all weekend, what with people calling off and the roads being so bad, so the job of snow shoveling fell upon Jer and I. With our combined efforts, we managed to get our front path dug out, along with a portion of the main sidewalk:

"Maybe I can literally DIG out the front steps..."


And let me just say folks, my little man did a FANTASTIC job. He actually did in fact do most of the shoveling, because guess who got a little snow injury whilst trying to lift with her back instead of her legs? THIS GAL! I went to lift the shovel, and all of a sudden got this shocking pain in the right side of my lower back that shot down my right leg...and I was done. My little man took care of the rest...he's such a rockstar!

After all the hard work was done, it was definitely time for some snow play:

As my lovely friend Debi put it so poetically:
"Introducing the Jeromy plant. Planted in winter,
he will grow and appear to get taller in the coming days!"

Ah yes, good times! Though not so much for me: my day will be spent indoors, with Costco-size bottle of Ibuprofen, hot coffee, and heat pad.

Is there snow where you live? Are you having fun playing in it?

Small Talk Six: Pink Edition

February 6: Six of your favorite things that are pink

You can always tell when it's getting close to Valentine's Day {a.k.a. MY BIRTHDAY!}, because just about everywhere you turn is hearts, chocolates, red, and pink. I'm assuming this was the inspiration for this week's Small Talk Six. So here's my list:

My pretty pink bottle of perfume. It's called "PETAL" by Cynthia Rowley. If you have an AVON rep, ask her about this, because it smells so pretty. It has a light fresh-floral smell, subtle and elegant.

One of my favorite bracelets. I love the pink leather cord and the small pink crystals. It's very pretty, yet simple enough to pair with casual outfits. A perfect every-day accessory!
My pink Merrell Siren Sport shoes. Now, I'm not a big sneaker girl, but I love these shoes. So very comfortable and light, and the pink gives it just the right amount of femininity. They were actually on my CHRISTMAS LIST, and I was quite happy to get them!

I got this for Christmas as well: a pink Hello Kitty accessory case. My adorable son picked it out, and I use it to store my mani-pedi accessories. I just love Hello Kitty...I truly can be a little girl at heart!
Strawberry milkshakes...need I say more?
*photo courtesy of this site

Pretty pink roses...who knows, maybe I'll get a bouquet of them for V-Day! {hubby, I know you're reading this!}

If you're feeling inspired by the color pink today, come join in the fun! Just click on the SMALL TALK SIX BUTTON in the left column (you may need to scroll down just a smidge), and play along!