Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday five

1. Apple-flavoed tea

I ran out of tea at work this week, so I had to buy more ASAP, obviously. I ended up with Sweet Apple Chamomile and Cinamon Apple Spice. Both by Celestial Seasonings. Both amazing.


A few weeks ago, I purchased a beautiful boxed set of the Lord of the Rings series & the Hobbit. I guess this was partially because of the new Hobbit movie coming out. It looks amazing, and I've never ready these books. I have no idea how they escaped me, but I'm loving them now. Such a great adventure!

3. Christmas decorations

I put up what I had a few nights ago. It's out of character for me to decorate before December, but I can't help feeling a little holly jolly

4. The Mountain Goats

I'm going to see them tomorrow! In Nashville! They played in Atlanta last year or early this year, I can't remember which. We were planning on going, but the show there sold out. They're one of my only favorite bands/artists that I haven't seen live before, so I'm really excited to knock this one off my list. I'm sure it'll be a great show. We're going to stay in Nashville afterwards and climb in north Georgia on Sunday.

5. Nail Polish

Because...why not. It's fun. My nails have been a really pale pink/nude all week, but I'm excited to paint them a fun color for the weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

snickerdoodle love

I could never be an original food blogger, because I get all of my ideas from food blogs and pinterest and Laura Vitale...

This amazing cookies are no different. I got the recipe from a blog called Lovin' from the Oven.

And now that I've stated that, I'm going to take this opportunity to rant about a pet peeve I have: I really dislike it when people say "Oh, I got this recipe from Pinterest." or "I'm doing a Pinterest project!" That implies that Pinterest is responsible the idea you're taking and making your own. ...and it's NOT! Sites like Pinterest and Tumbler and Food/Wedding Gawker, etc. are simply photo-sharing, link sites. There is a real person working their butt off on their blog behind everything YOU may see as a "Pinterest project". So, whatever. Props to Kim at Lovin' from the Oven because this recipe is great, and as she states on her blog, the original recipe is from Mrs. Fields. Cookbooks = old school food blogs? Basically.


I made this batch last night, having never name snickerdoodles before, because we're going to be staying with a friend on Saturday night, and I wanted to bring him something yummy. But...I might have to make another batch just incase we eat all of these before our weekend trip!

They are so, so soft and so,so just...yummy. They're perfect for the holidays, I think. I love a good Christmas cookie. Or anytime cookie. Again, I say, yum!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On not being published (yet)

OK. So, I promised that part two of this NaNoWriMo thing would be about my journey to publication…

First, a quick update on where I am in this year's challenge: I'm caught up! I wrote my 1,667 words today, and now there are only two more days to go. Wow. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I finish. (That's not at all true. There's plenty to do!)

Anyway, I guess this story begins last year," when I finished NaNoWriMo 2011. I didn't actually plan on finishing. I gave up on my story after missing too many days of writing. I was a reporter at the time, and after writing all day for work, it turned out to be really hard to motivate myself to write fiction.

However, I took the week of Thanksgiving off and went down to Florida with my parents and my then-boyfriend, now-fiance. That week was pure relaxation…and a little bit of anticipation since we were planning on moving to Alabama from Arkansas in the weeks following.

So, I realized I had time to finish …so I did! I wrote several thousand words a day for those five-ish days and finished my novel!

And when I was done, I didn't hate it. I still really liked the premise, and my mind was already swimming with edits I wanted to make. But, I took a break from it. I'm still not sure if this is the right decision, but I suppose it had to be for me at the time since did in fact move to Alabama and start a new job/life/etc.

In February, I began the editing process. I edited, and I edited, which I've never really done before. I think there ended up being three drafts. During this time period - from February to about the end of May - we bought a printer!

I was super excited about it, and it has turned out to be such a nice thing to have! I learned that editing in hard copy with red pen? …there's actually something to that. I tend to pay more attention when things are down on real paper.

The next step was to write a great query letter. There are tons of online sources that will tell you how to do that. Mine does its best to appeal to the agent, talk about me and the project AND what inspired it - because that's important to me, I think.

So far, I've been rejected by a number of great literary agencies, and that's what I expected would happen. I think I have the right attitude. I hope I do anyway.

This is the first time I've edited a project and done this! It's GOOD to get rejected. Every writer says so - especially and famously, Stephen King: "My mother knew I wanted to be a writer (with all those rejection slips hanging from the spike on my bedroom wall, how could she not?),"

So, I'm preparing for several more in the coming weeks. I'm going to hold my head up. And, what I'm NOT going to do is keep pushing this project. I want to make sure that when I get published, it's with the right agent and the right project, and if this one isn't it…well, that's why I'm still writing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

Since my senior year in high school, I've always participated in, or at least thought of participating in National Novel Writing Month.

Actually, I finished in 2005, but didn't finish again until last year. In 2010, I wrote a story about it, which has to count for something, right?

As a writer, and aspiring novelist, I love NaNoWriMo! I love racing to meet a goal. This year, instead of writing 2,000+ words a day like I usually do, I've written the slow and steady 1,667, which is known as the "magic" number for NaNoWriMo participants. If you write 1,667 words EVERY day in November, you'll make it to 50,000. I'm pretty busy and pretty entrenched in this routine of mine, which I've come to love, and which keeps me sane, but I have had time to meet this goal so far with the exception of three days, which I've caught up with and made up for. So now, all that's left is this week: finishing it up & calling it a day er- month.

But, I've learned something this year, which I intend to share over the next few blog entries here. It's that I'm kind of over NaNoWriMo. The project is great for new writers: for people who have never written 50,000 words, or for people who want to do it just to see if they can. But, I don't even know how many writing projects I've finished in my life that I sprinted through and just ended up hating, and what I've written this month is just another one of those.

I want to grow as a writer in my own way starting from here on out. And for me, I think that means slowing down. It means planning more before I start and as I go. I might mean even doing some hard-core editing in the middle of things. But I'm OK with that.

I'll write later this week about the querying process for my first, real, official, edited project. Not surprisingly to me at least, it's not going great. I want the next thing I write (after November) to have a real shot at getting published.

I'm gonna try to make it work! Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hey, Thanks.

Thanksgiving happened.

This Thanksgiving was special because I cooked everything myself for the first time ever! I decided to keep it simple. I made: two turkey legs, a turkey breast stuffed with goat cheese, basil & sundried tomatoes, cornbread stuffing, green beans, butternut squash and pumpkin pie.

After that, Aaron and I took a short, little cat nap

And we went to see Lincoln with my parents, who came to town for the holiday. I just said goodbye to my dad. He's going down to his condo in Florida for the next two weeks, and I'm hoping to head down there for a couple days too! For now, I'm going to continue to revel in my food coma. How was your Thanksgiving?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Woo pig weekend

This was our weekend. And I'm sorry I'm so late. I wasn't feeling well yesterday, and today has been randomly busy.

Saturday, we went to see our Razorbacks play in Starkville against MSU. It did not go well, and yes, the cowbells their fans use are probably the most annoying things I've ever seen, heard, etc.

On the way home, we drowned our sorrows in some BBQ.

And on Sunday, like most Sundays, we went climbing at Horse Pens 40.

Not a bad weekend at all. How was yours? Or are you already looking forward to the long one coming up?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Five

This is new, but it's gonna be five things I love on Friday to help start the weekend on a positive note!

1. Sweet potatoes
2. Meeting goals (I'm current with NaNoWriMo!)
3. My Mountain Hardwear Monkey woman fleece
4. Walks around my beautiful neighborhood with my pup
5. The cold/warm feeling sheets have when you first get inside them in the fall

Thursday, November 15, 2012


In high school, I got annoyed at my old friends for wanting to stay home on Friday nights and watch whatever show was on. At that point, I developed a motto: “Stick a tape in the VCR and live your life!” ...We have DVRs now. And Hulu, and Netflix and all that good stuff, so now, of course, there’s less reason than ever to be on your couch when you could be out doing other things. But, since we live in Montgomery for now, and since there’s nothing too exciting going on, and since I’m usually too tired to go out most nights anyway, we’ve started watching TV. This is what we’re watching. I’ll start with what we actually watch on TV currently:

The Office
An old favorite. I’m absolutely obsessed with the America series. The British one is great too. It knew what it was doing stopping after two seasons, right? But I’m such a sucker for Jim & Pam, and the whole gang that I can’t stop watching. Yes, I miss Steve Carell like woah. And the writing/producing loss of Mindy Kaling is noted for sure this season. It’s time for it to go, there’s no question, but I’m really enjoying the last season. It’s not as bad as everybody thinks...

The Mindy Project
I mentioned about how much I love Mindy. I loved her book, and I love that she’s such a powerful, strong woman doing her own thing in Hollywood. I think she brings that across through her character. This show makes me laugh. I would probably follow Mindy to the ends of the earth.

New Girl
In high school, I started getting called “Jovie the Elf” after Zooey played that character in the movie Elf. I’ve been compared to her ever since. I even got asked for my autograph (someone though I was her) in San Francisco once. I’m honestly not TRYING to look like her. I like the way I look with bangs, and I always have. I’ve lived bang-less for 7.5 of my 25+ year existence. She has blue eyes; I have green eyes. Her hair is dyed crazy dark; mine is its natural medium-brown for now. I do love her, though, and she’s hilarious in this show. I’ll probably freak out and throw something if Jess and Nick don’t get together in the next several episodes, though.

Go On
Hello, Matthew Perry! I guess this is another show I’m watching for the actor. I was the biggest Friends fan ever, and I’m so glad to see Matthew Perry back on NBC. I love the premise of this show for the most part. I love ensemble casts, and this show has a crazy one - literally. The one thing i hate is SEEING the dead wife. Like, this is not supposed to be a paranormal romance story, right?! We’ll see. I doubt it’ll go on much longer.

Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl is my biggest guilty pleasure at the moment. I watched all of the previous seasons on Netflix, but I finally caught up enough to start watching this season on Hulu. I’m bored at this point. Last season was so ridiculous, and I have no idea how they’re going to wrap up this series. It’s just....too much. But, I can’t stop. Don’t judge.

We’re also watching the first seasons of Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones on Netflix when we can, but all of this overshadowed by the FREAKING WEST WING! Aaron has been a fan of this show for a long time, and I love it now too. We’re almost done with the second season. I love all of the characters so, so much. CJ is the strong, female character I crave. Sam reminds me of Aaron, so of course, I’m in love with him. I also have a soft spot for Donna...and Josh. I want them to get together SO MUCH, but don’t tell me if they do or not. I don’t want any spoilers! I wish I could have voted for President Bartlett in the most recent election. If he existed in real life, or if Martin Sheen could just channel him somehow, I truly believe all of our problems would be solved...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Three day weekend

This three-day weekend nearly killed me a little bit. Mostly because of my sleep schedule being compromised.

We were so, super happy to have our first real visitor to our home in Montgomery. We've had couch surfers, yes, but this friend of mine came to visit US from Tennessee.

Of course, he stayed over because he was covering a game in Jacksonville, Ala. for the paper he works for, but I'll take an visitor I can get. Not many sane, normal people actually want to spend time in Montgomery for any reason.

Friday night was nice and relaxing: a spaghetti dinner and some West Wing.

On Saturday, after Aaron got off work and I got finished with yoga class, we watched some more West Wing and got down to the business of addressing our Save the Date postcards! We'll finally send them out later this week, and I am so excited to finally have that first big project done.

We also did laundry - a feat in itself because one of the washing machines in our apartment complex is broken - and we roasted a chicken, which I told you about before.

Then, we waited for Luke. We watched another episode of the West Wing and Aaron fell asleep. After that, I got a lot done: the dishes, writing a chapter for NaNoWriMo (though, I didn't write on Sunday, so now I'm behind on my word count for the first time this month, though hopefully not for long).

Luke's game went later than expected, and then he had to watch his Kansas State Wildcats win their game. I can't blame him, but he didn't roll into Montgomery until about midnight.

On Sunday, we made our way to Birmingham to take Luke to the climbing gym and out for some Chipotle. Yum. We also hit up one of our favorite spots in Montgomery: Leroy for drinks, which turned me around even further.

These days, having three beers right before bed is more of a workout than running 10 miles. It seriously messes with me. Yuck.

Monday, my bonus day off was as dreary as I felt after a night of drinking. We ventured out in the drizzle for some Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A and to walk around downtown. Aaron snapped these photos of Boone and me at the Riverfront:

And we returned to the couch for a West Wing marathon! If you haven't noticed, I think the permeating theme of the weekend was the West Wing. We have been watching the show for months now, but it starts out super slowly, and took me awhile to get into it. We absolutely flew through season two, and have now started season three.

If anyone spoils me on any part of the series, I will not be a happy Callie…

How was your weekend? :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

These are a few of my favorite foods

There are now three things I like cooking more than any other things I cook. Two of these are recently-liked things. The one that’s not is soup. I like just about any kind of soup, stew or chili, and I love making them. I’ve decided I like making soup so much because it’s what I always thought cooking would be like when I was a little kid: just mixing things together in a big pot with lots of stirring.

I mean, I played a lot of House, so I pretty much got the stirring thing down pat by the age of about 6 or 7. Not that I’m bragging or anything.

Number two is scones. I started making them recently for no reason, really, except for that I like to bake and I like to have sweet treats for breakfast. So far, I’ve made cranberry/white-chocolate, chocolate chip and apple-cinnamon; and so far I’ve enjoyed the cranberry-white-chocolate and the chocolate chip. The apple-cinnamon scones met an untimely death when my small counter was too full, and I accidentally knocked them off of their pan while they were cooling onto the dirty floor. Tragic, I know. In any case, they are easy to make and delicious to eat in the morning with a cup otea.

My third favorite...wait for it:

Roast Chicken. But, not just any roast chicken. I’ve only made it one way, and I’ve made it that way three times now. I can’t stop.

Laura Vitale taught me how to make Roast Chicken. And for that, and for her meatballs and her pork chops and, you know, like everything else, I am forever grateful.

This Italian woman - who is actually MY age - is a beast in the kitchen. I basically want to be her when I grow up.

I roast chicken with yukon gold potatoes just like Laura and it comes out perfect every single time. I’m just amazed at how easy it is, and how delicious!

Fun Callie Fact: I’ve refused to touch meet my entire life, which is probably further evidence that I shouldn’t eat it. I don’t eat much, anymore, but I can’t imagine never having this roast chicken ever again, which is why I won’t be calling myself a vegetarian any time soon. So, Aaron gets the fun task of rubbing the butter all over the chicken and stuffing the lemon, head of garlic and sprigs of herbs up its butt. I can’t wait for this man to be my husband, by the way. He stuffs a mean chicken.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little mini food rant. If you’re not watching and worshiping at the throne of Queen Laura Vitale, you should be. I hope you’ve enjoyed spending time with me! Visit to get things that will never be as awesome as Lara’s recipes. ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The good old days

So, lately I've been thinking over and over about how much I miss how the internet used to be. The days of yore, if you will, when things just seemed so much more fun. Theweb was new and shiny, and I was in fourth grade and in a special club of people who had brand new computers with internet connections...

Does anyone ever think about how FAST the internet is now compared to how it used to be? I just gave up watching a video because it wouldn't load fast enough for me. Back in the day, I would plan a whole day around loading an internet video, watch it in two minutes and then think about how cool it was to have just watched a VIDEO on the INTERNET. I mean, really.

And, I realized as I typed all that, that someday this will sound to my children like my mother did when she talked about her family getting their first TV back in the real "olden days" (just kidding!). But, I think something happened to my 8-year-old mind when I heard the AOL dial tone connect for the first time. It was like a drug I couldn't get enough of.

I embraced the dancing baby. My first favorite website was where we could learn everything there was to know about my other favorite hobby at the time: beanie babies. Yup...

There was a creative group of young girls writing serialized stories on the internet and making pretty websites with beautiful, simple layouts and sparkly graphics.

I knew I had to be apart of it. But, back then, creativity was what made you cool on the internet...because we had to be so much more creative back then.

We had to teach ourselves HTML to make a website and come up with things to post there. We had LIVEJOURNAL and eventually XANGA, which became our outlets for expression.

You had to try harder. You had to know more. You had to sit in a chair at a desk with a mouse and a keyboard and a slow ass printer to get anything done. But we had Geocities, where you were assigned a web address based on what community you wanted to put your site in. There was Heartland Prairie and Enchanted Forest.

That helped connect you to a whole community of nerdy people learning the same things that you were...

And if you needed to be connected any more than that, there were WEBRINGS. Sometimes you had to be super popular for your site to be in a web ring, or sometimes you had to know the owner of it or your site had to be about a certain topic. In any case, it was amazing.

These days, you can put any old crap online, and since putting crap online is basically what I do for a living now, I'm honestly getting kind of bored of it.

To alleviate this, and, you know, if the whole world listened to me, I'd say we should bring back Geocities 1.0 - before Yahoo even played a role. We should bring back floppy disks (because the old versions of my treasured first websites only exist of floppy discs). We should show down connection speeds and have an internet renaissance.

We would all be better for it...

What are your favorite old internet memories? We should share them before we get too old and forget, right?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting in Alabama

I didn't research anything until the day before. Aaron said he doesn't care about most of the local amendments, but I still want to do the best I can for this place before I inevitably leave it.

I decided I wanted to vote for Bob Vance for Circuit Judge because he has the name as a semi-reoccurring character on The Office, and I just imagine him introducing himself to people as, "Bob Vance, Circuit Judge."

I voted YES to Amendment One, which will "Keep Alabama Wild," and preserve an important environmental program, which is important to me as a person who enjoys being outside in Alabama at the present time.

I voted YES to remove racist and terrible language from Alabama's constitution, which was apparently written in 1901.

I voted NO to combine a small town's water system with the city of Mobile, because I figure the small town wants to keep it's little water system and some people want to keep their jobs.

I voted to decrease the length of time between elections for county officials from 6 years to 4 years, because I think everyone gets bored after 4 and needs a change anyway.

And yes, I voted for four more years of Obama, even though the state is going to go red, and even though I apparently agree more with Jill Stein's position. I still support the President.

…I went to vote with Aaron when he got off work at 1:30. Our polling place is about a mile from our apartment on the campus of Huntingdon College, a cute, little Methodist school. There was no line, but a steady stream of people going in and out of the student center on a chilly, gray day.

I learned that all of the old people in Montgomery know each other. They say, "Hello theya" to each other when the hobble close enough to recognize their similarly old friends.

I just said, "Hah." to the old poll volunteers. They don't seem impressed that I'm the last name in their book and still have my Arkansas ID. They don't care that this is the last time Caroline ZILK will vote for a president. Next time, Caroline NEWTON will. She sounds like an old, English grandmother to me, but I'm sure I'll get used to that.

I had an hour off work, paid, to go do my civic duty, and since it didn't take that long, so we went to the cafe down the street that we usually only go to, to get some gelato after we have pizza at their sister restaurant. I got a cappuccino, and of course I wondered why I haven't been drinking this cappuccino for the almost-year that I've lived a mile from this cafe.

And now I feel all jittery… And now I've told you my whole election-day story. The end.