Friday, July 29, 2011

I Need These To Survive!

Hello, again! I hope all of you are getting your week off to an excellent start. I thought it would be fun (for me) to share all of my favorite beauty products. I can't get enough of these simple pleasures! Sometimes we easily take for granted the little things in life. Isn't it a blessing to have fun and girlie amenities? The answer: most definitely yes.

1.)Paul Mitchell Heat Seal-I don't blow dry without this.
2.) Neutrogena Oil Free Face Wash-It lasts forever, doesn't feel oily, and removes makeup easily.
3.) Redken 23 Forceful Hairspray-Not too heavy and smells ridiculously good.
4.) PINK Fresh and Clean Body Spray- Just as it says, fresh AND clean, I'm all in.
5.) Clinique 101 Invisible Matte Pressed Powder-With this, I don't have to switch shades in the summer and winter.
6.) Sephora Nano Lip Liner-This stays on forever as a matte lipstick or helps lipstick last longer.
7.) Arrojo Defrizz Serum-I first bought this when Nick cut my hair, over two years later, I'm still buying it. The smell is heavenly and it works like a dream.
8.) Dove Volume Shampoo and Conditioner-Produces silky and smooth results every time.
9.) St. Ives Body Wash-There are way too many sweet smelling scents for me to turn this beauty must down.
10.) Clinique Lipstick in Angel Red-The perfect red for me at least!
11.) Dove Beauty Bar-A timeless classic.

Images courtesy of:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When Sweet Friends Get Married

This past weekend, I completed my seventh wedding as a bridesmaid. In less than two weeks, make that eight. When I look back at these pictures, I am flooded with emotions. I cannot believe how time is passing me by. As you've probably guessed, I'm in a sentimental mood tonight. I believe it is one of the highest honors in life to have a woman ask you to stand with her on her wedding day. It means so many things, love, confidence, security, and encouragement. With that said, here's a few words about being a bridesmaid and getting it right. I sure hope I have!
You, yes you. You've been chosen. You are the chosen one; well, at least one of them. It's not all about you. It's all about her. This is her day and don't you forget it. Do everything you can to make it right. Now you're an assistant to help them handle the tasks of the perfect day. Soon, you'll be in charge of folding envelopes, providing extra bobby pins, and making sure you've got on the right earrings. Was that 508 Court Street for the bridesmaid's luncheon? Oh Lord, where are your Spanx? If you must, run to Walgreens at midnight for your waterproof mascara. I'd be ashamed if you showed up without an extra lip liner and bandaids, too. You've got to put on your big girl panties and be a real woman. Be strong, you've got responsibilities. It's time to put away those towels and throw a bridal shower. Did you ask for red velvet cupcakes or german chocolate instead? Once the big day finally arrives, I expect that you'll be in tip top shape. Better be trying that dress on every now and then. If it's hard to zip, just slide some ribbon through the zipper pull and you're off to a good start. Besides sucking in, that's all the help I can offer. Watch out, only professionals need to be zipping that thing. Granny might not be able to see that she's zipped up your skin. Don't you remember that she had glaucoma surgery last year? Where did the ring pillow go? You better be in charge of that. Don't you dare misplace his ring. The photographer will be needing it in just a few minutes. Go ahead and put the honeymoon luggage in the car when the bride arrives. We won't be sending off our southern belle without her birds and the bees book. You're going to be with her in those final minutes of the day she's been dreaming of all of her life. Watch her when she's leaving for her special moment with her man. She'll be happier than you've ever seen. You'll get to hear all the details and see those precious moments when they're simply unfolding in front of your eyes. It is all such a blessing to stop and enjoy. Many times, you'll hear her say it's all a blur. Well, I bet you already guessed, another job is to make sure it isn't. Put those feet together in all the pictures, check for lipstick on your teeth, and tilt your head slightly to the left. On your ride home, reminisce on what you'll tell her when she gets back from the honeymoon. Recall those few seconds when you almost ruined your makeup. Those will be the things you laugh about when she's just had her first baby. Sure you'll chit chat about the wedding through the many years, but you don't realize how much you'll cherish these simple memories. When your day's been long, you can rest your head on happy thoughts with those you love the most. As for me, I've been in your winter weddings, summer weddings, and spring ones, too. I see that all of you have left a dream fall wedding just for me. You are one of the most precious and genuine people I'll ever meet. Don't even get me started on how many memories we have together. I know that I'll stay friends with you for a lifetime! If you ever need to borrow your cute dress, need help with makeup shades or hair, just give me a call. I've become an expert since I spent your special day with you. I've also still got those great shoes that go with anything. Size 10, you said? Don't worry, I won't tell anyone what we talked about at your lingerie shower. I love you just that much. As if your wedding wasn't already fabulous enough, I'm showing you off to the blog world. Along with your time in the spotlight, here are the top ten reasons it was great to be your bridesmaid:
1.) You picked me, and no, I didn't forget that I was the only bridesmaid. It's o.k., deep down, we both know that I'm your favorite.
2.) You got it right. Was it the man, the venue, or the dress you wore? All of it I know was just as you wished.
3.) You let me bring my knight in shining armor along, too.
4.) You got me that really nice bridesmaid's gift.
5.) You remembered to say thank you and I love you at that.
6.) You invited me over to your home when things had "settled down a bit."
7.) You remembered that one ridiculous time we had together and reminded me of it at your bridesmaid's luncheon.
8.) You never lost sight of what was most important about your special day.
9.) You kept it together just as I knew you would.
10.) Did I mention you picked me?

Pictured above: Laura Chism, Gene Ellen Holt, Jaclyn Elkins "Garner", Sarabeth Bowen, Briana Butler, Katie Beth McBay, Brianne Johnson, Abby Carpenter

Monday, July 25, 2011

Packing a Punch With A Fruit Ring, Too!?!?

It isn't really a party without punch. So, I'm here to enlighten you with three of my all time favorite recipes. I promise, you'll use them time and time again depending on the occasion. These serve ten with extra, but don't forget to double your ingredients as needed.
1.) Rasberry Delight:
1 container rasberry sorbet
1 bottle diet ginger ale
Place Sorbet in a punch bowl and pour ginger ale on top. Let's make this a little more complicated, please. :) I first had this at Maggie Bea Dawsey's house and it was fantastic!! She's got you covered when it comes to cupcakes and punch! Thanks, love!
2.) Coffee Punch:
1 container Blue Bell Coffee Ice Cream
1 pot of hot coffee
Whew! Here's another tough one. Place ice cream in punch bowl and slowly pour coffee on top. I've also placed ice cream in Ball jars and poured coffee on top for a breakfast party. Thank goodness my sweet friend Bonnie Little introduced me to this recipe. How did I ever survive without it or her? She's got cooking skills and style I dream about. Thanks, friend!
3.) Pineapple Sherbet Punch:
1 carton pineapple sherbet
1 diet ginger ale
1 can pineapple juice
1 tsp. Almond flavoring
This one is about as hard as it gets, that almond flavoring will get you every time. Place ice cream in bowl. Pour pineapple juice over and allow to melt for a few minutes. Just before serving, pour ginger ale and almond flavoring on top and gently mix. This recipe is Dr. K's very own. What can I really say about her in only a few words? Hmmm... Superwoman says it all. <3

Please try these recipes! You'll make your guests oh so happy. And yes, I've caught many men sneaking over for a cup full of these, don't let them fool you. Deep down, they're in touch with their feminine side.

Fruit Ring: (Works best with Pineapple Sherbet or Apple Julep recipe-already listed on the blog-check my history)
You Will Need:
1.) Bundt pan
2.) Assorted fruits: grapes, strawberries, and pineapple work best
3.) 1 large can of pineapple juice
4.)Crisco to grease pan
1.) Grease bundt pan with Crisco LIGHTLY-just enough to help it slide out
2.) Arrange fruit in bundt pan. Pack it tightly.
3.) SLOWLY pour pineapple juice into bundt pan. Be very careful that fruit does not rise to the top.
4.) Allow to freeze well-at least overnight.
5.) Turn out fruit ring onto punch bowl. This is easily done by placing a plate on top and flipping the pan over. It may need a few minutes to loosen up and release.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Follow Me Here....

Since my life is oh so interesting, here are a list of sites involving me: I'm searchable under Faith Landers or fjlanders9 My shop is storehousebinding-all one word-you can add me to your circle also and follow my favorites @HomeOfOwl

A Freshly Cooked Dinner

A few weeks ago, a dear friend of ours had a baby. Of course, I just had to go visit it. Along with a baby gift, I made a meal for the family. I cooked the food and separated it into containers with tags taped on top. Each slip had all ingredients listed. I used a cardboard box, tissue paper, and ribbon to decorate and took it right to their door. It is nothing but southern tradition to carry food to others when they need it most. However, I think presenting it in a package gives it an extra something special. Can you imagine all of the decorating possibilities? Ah! I’ve already thought of three more! Moral of the story: take care of those you love.
1.) Foil food safe containers-Dollar Tree
2.) Tissue-Dollar Tree
3.) Ribbon-Target

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Handling a True Fashion Emergency

Warning: This story explains why it is a great idea to have one or all of the following: a safety pin, an undershirt/camisole, and an over shirt/cardigan with sleeves. The victim of this embarrassing moment is not responsible for lifelong anguish or mental damage caused by recurring thoughts of what you are about to read.
How often do we think of, plan for, and even worry over real fashion disasters? They happen at all times, ketchup stains, lost buttons, or that dreaded broken high heel. My question is, how can we heal the unbearable pain of these awkward and unfortunate events when in public and all eyes are watching? When I told my mom I was going to tell this story to the world, she thought it was hilarious and bold at that. I not only want to prepare you for the unfortunate disasters that can come your way, but honestly tell you that based on my experience, the three items listed above can be lifesavers.
Last Sunday night, I was with my sweetie in Birmingham for his job interview early the next morning. We had been traveling all weekend and decided to go out for dinner when we arrived. Taking our time, we had a great and relaxing meal at Brio in Brookwood Village (GREAT restaurant-Chopped Salad and Margarita Flatbread are musts). Anyway, after our date, we decided to drive to find the building of his interview. On our way, we passed a Bruno’s grocery store. Me, always trying to be prepared, believed it would be an excellent idea to run in there at 11:00 p.m. to grab something quick for breakfast. When I uttered the words, “Just drop me off at the door, I’ll be right back,” I spoke much too soon. It was meant to be that I only carried a $10, no cell phone, Mary Poppins bag, etc. Off I went in my floral cardigan, orange tank, gold heels, and favorite $8.00 Gap pencil skirt. As my normal grocery trips go, I just had to head down the cereal aisle first. There are far too many crunchy, sugary, delightful concoctions awaiting me there. Without delay, I sashay my way down the aisle and before I know it, cereal boxes are flying everywhere. I’m grabbing onto shelves, contorting myself everyway known to a professional gymnast. I’m showing off my right leg and left leg doing center splits all while Captain Crunch is on the attack. I am distraught about the ways I am able to literally “break it down.” Finally, my behind finds its way to the concrete floor and I am beat. My foot is rub burned, my knee is bruised, my shoe is chipped, and I am almost sure I’ve ruined some item of clothing attire. At first I panic. I look all around ready to see someone wetting their pants at my expense. Alas, I am alone, and thank the good Lord for that. I manage to scrape myself up off the floor where I discover that I’ve ripped my skirt all the way up my behind and oh yes, even past my underwear. As much as I hate to admit it my friends, my panties are flapping in the wind. What am I to do? I try to hurriedly throw the boxes back on the shelves while disguising my fashion outrage. I’m really getting worried because I cannot call my knight in shining armor to my rescue. I decide that I must tie my cardigan around my waist and unfortunately expose my colored bra straps (GASP!) while walking proud to the produce section. The show must go on, I know. By the time I make my rounds, I am laughing so hard at myself people around me must think I’m as high as a kite. I pay for my items and make my way outside, avoiding a lawsuit questionnaire at all costs. Billy pulls up to get me and admits to me in the car, “When I see Faith Landers with her cardigan around her waist, dare I ask what has happened?” For a few miles, I cannot get the words out. Of course, we are having quite a good laugh. My main thought all along is why was he not there to witness my hilarious debut for Tony the Tiger? I assure you, I gave it nothing less than my best for all of my favorite good morning greeters.
Well, all is said. I’ve thrown out my embarrassing moment in hopes that you will remember my unfortunate spill when you need a pick me up. Please, for your own good, always have some item that can attempt to save you in the wake of a fashion disaster. But, most of all, learn to laugh at yourself. I’ve made many people laugh about this story in the past week which, made it all worthwhile. So cheer up lads, just when you think you’ve got it under control, there are black skid marks awaiting you on aisle ten.

Image courtesy of

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mamaw Shirley's Fried Green Tomatoes

I hope all of you had a great weekend! These past few weeks, I've had some time well spent with some of the dearest friends of all. Visiting with all these precious people made me decide to blog on one of their favorite recipes. My Mamaw Shirley is a woman very dear to my heart. She is my uncle’s mother and has been a precious “grandmother” to me through the years. Quite the cook, among other things, she can make any southern dish from casseroles to cakes. And dare you ask me if she ever glances at a cookbook. Her precision and attention to detail inspire me to work extremely hard on perfecting my cooking skills. I mean if the woman can make yeast rolls from scratch without a recipe, I’ve still got a long way to go! I visited her the other day and as always, we conversed about cooking. I asked her the best way to make crisp fried green tomatoes. As many of you know, it is always fun to speak with older women about their cooking habits. Many can recite entire recipes down to the exact measurements. I love it. So, as simply as she shared this recipe with me, I will pass it on to you. I tried to modify the measurements as close to correct as possible; however, as I’ve mentioned before, I rarely cook with recipes. I know this is detailed but, I want to make extra sure that everyone knows exactly what to do! This is a really easy dish that can be made into an appetizer, entree, or side dish. Just experiment and have fun with it. Remember, it would do us all a dose of good to honor our “Mamaw Shirley” in the kitchen. Enjoy!
1.) Two Green tomatoes sliced thin (I had a red one that was very ripe so I fried it, too)
2.) 1 cup All Purpose Flour
3.) 1 cup Low-fat Buttermilk
4.) ½ to 1 tbsp. Kosher Salt (depending on your taste)
5.) ½ to 1 tbsp. Fresh Cracked Pepper (depending on your taste)
6.) Vegetable Oil for a fryer or cast iron skillet (heated to 375 if in a fryer)
7.) Optional Toppings: Feta, Chives, Ranch, Bleu Cheese, Spicy Ranch
1.) The amount of oil you use depends on your cooking method. If you use a fryer, you need enough oil to cover the tomatoes completely. If you use a skillet, you need enough to coat the pan liberally. Heat your oil accordingly, usually on medium high. A good way to test if oil is hot enough is to drop a small clump of batter into the oil and if it bubbles, it is ready.
2.) Cut all tomatoes thinly before dredging and allow to “dry” somewhat on a paper towel for a few minutes. This will help the batter adhere to the tomatoes.
3.) Pour the buttermilk into a cereal bowl.
4.) Pour the flour onto a dinner plate. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in salt and pepper. Mix salt, pepper, and flour together with fingers or fork.
5.) Arrange the following items in this order: sliced tomatoes, buttermilk, flour, extra plate, fryer, extra plate with paper towels. Use your left hand to pick up tomato slice and drop it in the buttermilk. Coat it well on both sides. Pick up the tomato with your left hand and drop it into the flour. Using your right hand, press flour onto the tomato to coat. Use your right hand to pick up tomato, shake of excess flour, and drop tomatoes onto the clean plate. Having a wet and dry hand will make battering the tomatoes much easier, I promise. Continue these steps until all tomatoes are battered. You can drop some into the oil and allow them to cook while you finish battering the others for an easy time saver.
6.) Cook all tomatoes to a crispy golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with desired toppings listed above.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Our Inner Mary Poppins

"In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap! The job's a game."
Can there really be any higher compliment than someone calling you Mary Poppins? By gracious, no! I've got the whole movie memorized, the soundtrack down pat, and I've seen the show on Broadway with tears in my eyes. Oh good heavens! As practically perfect as Mary Poppins is, she is a role model to me. I mean, how many women can successfully float through London with an umbrella, take care of two children, sing to the robin in his nest, win over men, and keep their lipstick practically perfect in every way? At some point, they have to take a spoonful of sugar, win the horse race, stay awake without closing their eyes and step in time all while being supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. If someone says, "Does anyone have any...?" I make sure to whip a whatever it is out of my oversized handbag that also doubles as my hat rack. Striving to be a little more Poppins-ish in our everyday lives could do us all a world of good. We can always go that extra mile to take care of ourselves and others. We can sing songs, bring sweets, and never be cross or rude. In short, don't forget to stop and feed the birds.

P.S. Check out this awesome Youtube video
Images courtesy of: and
Video: Pogo on Youtube

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Love Me Some Biscuits!

Most of you that know me understand that I am crazy about Food Network. I am selective about which stars I watch depending on their cooking styles. But, let me tell you, when I'm hooked, I'm hooked. Here is a biscuit recipe from Alton Brown that your cookbooks cannot do without. Baking is a very precise science and recipes of such must be followed exactly. I once had an older woman tell me, "Honey, if you can master a good biscuit from scratch, you've mastered it all." Well, of course I'd like to think I've succeeded at this very recipe. I baked these for a bridal brunch I hosted a few weeks ago. I served them with Honey Orange Butter (my recipe below) and assorted jams. Hats off to you, Alton! You are the biscuit god. I hope you can make some for yourself; be hungry because you'll eat the whole tray. Please remember, don't knead that dough too much!
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

Honey Orange Butter:
1/2 tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or 1 stick of real butter if you wish (and usually, I wish)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of honey
Fresh orange zest
1.) Allow butter to soften to a spreadable consistency.
2.) Pour honey and orange zest into butter. I usually use 1/2 cup of honey and a whole orange zested because I like the strong taste of each.
3.) Mix WELL and chill until ready to serve.