Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Real Ghost Stories

It is Halloween again, when carved pumpkins peer out from front stoops and costumed kids can't wait to beg strangers for free candy.  It has always been a favorite holiday of mine.

In honor of Halloween, I wanted to share some of my experiences with the paranormal.  I've definitely believed in ghosts for a long time, but it wasn't until my late teens that I saw proof for myself.  I haven't shared the details of these events with many people because it is really emotional....but here we go:

The first ghost I ever saw was my dad.  It was the day I graduated high school.  He died a month earlier, a couple of days before my 18th birthday.  I was incredibly depressed because he was gone, because he couldn't see me graduate, because I had regrets about the state of our relationship when he died, because I missed him, because my own mom had no sympathy for me at that time.  I didn't have many people to talk with about it; it's not something you want to bring up in conversation on a regular basis.

All of the graduating class had to line up outside the gymnasium before entering in a single-file line.  As we walked in, we slowly made our way around the floor of the gym in a large "U" shape to get to our row of seats.  I looked for my family in the upper levels and saw my friend Sarah's family waving at me from the balcony at the end of the gym.  I was halfway down the third side of the "U" when I turned back to smile at my friend's family again.  There were about fifteen people standing under the balcony on the floor of the gym near the doors.  I just kinda glanced at them before I turned back around. 

And then I saw my dad.  He was standing near the doors with the other people at the end of the gym, smiling at me.  He was wearing grey slacks and a reddish plaid button-down shirt.  I was shocked and I remember gasping and just staring in disbelief.  I started tearing up and wanted to run over to him.  Then I remembered I was still walking around the gym at my graduation and turned really quick to make sure I wasn't about to run into anyone.  When I turned my head back around to see my dad again, he was gone.

I took my seat and remember smiling to myself, with tears in my eyes, grateful that he showed up to support me. 



The next time I saw a ghost was a couple years later.  I was taking a walk around my neighborhood on an average evening.  I was looking around as I walked and felt compelled to look back at a certain house.  When I did, I saw a person standing there that wasn't there seconds before.  I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and looked back up and the person was gone. It was very strange.



My third experience was on a public transit bus.  It was very early on a Sunday morning.  I was on my way to work.  I had to take one bus from the town I lived in to the local mall thirty minutes away.  From there I had to catch another bus to the shopping center I worked in.  It was a couple years after my dad's death and it continued to weigh heavily on my mind.  I remember being very, very sad that morning, constantly on the verge of tears.  I was sitting in the middle of the bus thinking about how much I missed my dad when I suddenly got a strong whiff of cologne.  It grew in intensity and was all around me.  It smelled just like the cologne my dad wore to church on Sunday mornings.  I closed my eyes and felt really warm, like someone was hugging me.  I opened my eyes and smiled and said, "Thank you, dad," in my head.  I knew it was him trying to cheer me up. 

As quickly as it happened, the warmth went away and the cologne smell dissipated.  I sniffed and sniffed until I could no longer detect it at all. I was still in a public bus, with windows and doors closed, moving along to my stop.  The only other passenger was an elderly man reading the newspaper at the front of the bus.  Neither the passenger nor the driver had taken out any cologne and sprayed it in the bus.  I don't have another explanation for it.  I just knew it was my dad trying to comfort me.



Nine years later, my dad showed up again.  It was the beginning of December and I had been in a funk yet again. My stepbrother died earlier that year, so I was not only mourning the sudden loss of such a wonderful person, but it brought up a lot of issues and feelings I still harbor about my dad.   Dad's birthday was at the end of November, so I had been thinking about him a lot.  It was just a really sad time.

It was late at night and I woke with a start.  My vision was blurry and the bedroom was very dark.  There was only a bright blue light from the DVR on top of the dresser to dimly light the room.  I moved my head slowly, looking for what made a sound that could have woken me up so suddenly.  Then I saw my husband, through blurred vision, standing by his dresser.  It looked like he was facing the dresser and maybe looking in one of the top drawers.  I was about to ask him what he was doing when I heard him snoring....in the bed....beside me.  I looked over to make sure it was him.  And then I wondered who in the hell was in my bedroom standing at the dresser.

I was frightened as I turned my head slowly to look back at the person standing in the corner of my dark bedroom.  My eyes were about waist level when I turned my head.  I realized the person was misty-looking, like a light grey smoke.  Even though the person was standing in front of the dresser, I could still see the handles and details of the dresser through the person.  My eyes moved up slowly until I was looking at my dad's smiling face.  Everything seemed to pause for a moment so my brain could catch up with what was happening.  And as I recognized who it was and what I was seeing, the apparition dispersed into smokey swirls and faded into black. 

I didn't breathe for what seemed like a long time.  And then I burst into tears.  In between sobs, I tried to figure out if I was just imagining things.  I almost wanted to have some explanation other than what I know I saw.  But I had no other answer.  I went over everything in my head and I knew I wasn't seeing something other than who it was.  I woke my husband from his sleep.  I just remember saying, "I saw my dad!" before sobbing more.  He hugged me for a while and tried to calm me down.

Even though I was happy to see my dad, and comforted by it, it also freaked me out.  That was two years ago and I live in a different house now, but I still cannot go to sleep without a light bright enough that I can see around the room and music playing in the background.  I think about it all the time.  Whenever I wake up in the middle of the night and the bedroom is dark, I wonder if I will see a ghost when I open my eyes and look around the room.  The experience was very jarring.


Have you had an experience you can't explain?  Have you ever seen a ghost?  Please share your experience with me.  And have a very Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What I Wore: Floral in Fall

I've been keeping my eye on all the clearance sales recently.  Torrid had an extra percentage off of clearance a few weeks ago, so I purchased this Twist Tees Floral Babydoll Cami.  It is still available online in the clearance section at $11.99.

I love this cami!  I like the colors of the floral and the little ruffle at the top.  I love the length and the style.  The fabric is really soft and comfortable.  The shoulder straps are adjustable as well.  It was a bit more low cut then most tops I wear, but it is good to get out of your comfort zone once in a while.  I got a lot of compliments when I wore it. 


Jeans - Avenue
Bronze Glitter Flats - Torrid
Necklace - Crafting Expo last year


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diva In The Kitchen: Ginger-Pear Muffins with Lemon Glaze

Hey there!  I'm back with another recipe!  I've been trying new recipes here and there and having fun with it.  This recipe is a little bit different.  I bought a cookbook called The Cornbread Gospels after a trip to Georgia to see my family.  I haven't used it a whole lot yet, but wanted to try more recipes from it.  It is a really interesting book to read because it has a lot of information about cornbread from all over the world and how cornbread differs by region, as well and cooking tips.

This recipe is a mix between a cornbread muffin and a cupcake.  If you don't like overly sweet treats, this may be the recipe for you.  It has just a little bit of sweetness and a lot of lemony-ginger goodness.  Mr. Diva and I couldn't really taste the pear flavor, but they were definitely moist. 





Ginger-Pear Muffins with Lemon Glaze

Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 4 ounces fresh gingerroot, unpeeled, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup (optional) {I didn't include this}
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal (rolled oats)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, preferably organic
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ripe, flavorful pears, Bartlett, Bose, or Anjou, cored but peel left on, in 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 batch Lemon Glaze (recipe below)
 Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray 16 muffin-tin cups with oil.

2.  Prepare the ginger by pulse-chopping it very fine in a food processor, pausing to scrape down the sides of the work bowl.  Place it in a small skillet, adding 1/4 cup of the sugar and the teaspoon of corn syrup, if using.  Put the skillet over medium heat and, keeping a close eye on it and giving the pan an occasional shake, cook just until the sugar has melted, about 6 minutes.  The mixture will be quite hot.  Remove from the heat and let it cool.

3.  Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar into a large bowl.  Stir in the oatmeal.

4.  Whisk together the butter, eggs, lemon zest, and buttermilk in a small bowl.

5.  Combine the wet and dry mixtures with a few preliminary strokes, then add the prepared ginger and the diced pears.  Stir just a few more times, until the ingredients are barely combined.

6.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake until golden and crusty, 15 minutes.  Let the muffins cool briefly, then pour the lemon glaze over them (it is quite thin and sticky and will be well absorbed by the muffins, making for extra-moist, very lemony muffins that will have you licking your fingers).



 Lemon Glaze
(enough for 16 muffins)

Ingredients
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Directions

Combine all ingredients in a small pan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Lower the heat and simmer the glaze until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.  Let cool slightly, and use as directed above.

Enjoy!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Diva In The Kitchen: Frozen Peanut Butter Swirl Pie

I found this recipe over at Alli n Son.  Mr. Diva's favorite flavor combination is Peanut Butter and Chocolate, so I knew I needed to make this for him.

I don't have a lot of extra things to say about this pie recipe.  It was super simple and SO TASTY.  I could probably eat it every day if I knew it wouldn't stick to my hips or thighs.  The chocolate shell makes it a little difficult to cut, but it tastes so good you won't really care.


Frozen Peanut Butter Swirl Pie

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  •  3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1 cup powdered sugar
  •  1/2 cup skim milk
  •  1 8 ounce container frozen light whipped cream, thawed
  •  1 deep-dish graham cracker crumb crust {I couldn't find this at my grocery store, but there was a larger crust size which worked well}
  •  1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
Directions

In a small microwave-safe bowl, add 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave on 50% power for 15 seconds, stirring, until the chocolate chips have melted. Pour over the bottom of the graham cracker crust and smooth out with a spoon or spatula. Put the crust in the fridge to harden the chocolate.

In a mixing bowl on medium speed beat the peanut butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Slowly, so the milk doesn't splash out, add the powdered sugar and milk, beating until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Set aside 1 cup of the peanut butter mixture in a separate bowl. Spread the remaining mixture in the prepared pie crust.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave on 50% power for 15 seconds, stirring, until the chocolate chips have melted. Stir the melted chocolate into the reserved peanut butter mixture. Drop by tablespoons on top of the pie. Use a knife and gently swirl for a marbled effect.
Cover, and freeze for 4 to 5 hours, or until firm.




Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beautiful Fall with the Furkids

We had a lovely fall day this week.  The sun was out and warm.  There was a cool, fresh breeze, and not a cloud in the sky.  Glorious!  I let the furkids out for a bit and took some pictures of them.  I've been gone a while, so I thought I would share.

This is Kiki.  He's my 10-year-old.
This is Rusty.  He is Kiki's dad and my little old man, at 15.
He has cloudy eyes and squints a lot in the sun.
Kiki practicing his romance novel look.
Pensive Miss P.
 
 
 
 
I love his prancing walk back to the house.


 I hope all of you get an opportunity to enjoy your fabulous weather days!

Birchbox Review: October 2011

Catching up with Birchbox posts...

If you don't know about Birchbox, it is a monthly subscription service.  For $10 a month, you get a box of 4 to 5 high-end skincare, makeup, and/or hair care products to sample.  Sometimes there are also "lifestyle samples", like an organic granola bar, tea, etc.  Some products are even full-size!

It is a really fun thing to get in the mail!  Plus, I am a product junkie and love being able to try all these different products.  Check out the website for more information!


This month's theme was Prep and Finish.



Birchbox October 2011


Products included:

  1. Amika Obliphica Hair Treatment.  This is an Argan oil product you can use on damp or dry hair.  I mainly use it on dry hair to keep down fly-aways and hydrate the ends just a bit, usually when I do my hair naturally curly.  It smells nice too.
  2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Hydrafull Gloss in Bellini.  I love this coral color.  It is a bit sticky and the small plastic spoon-like applicator is weird....but I use a lip brush to apply it.
  3. Clark's Botanicals Intense Radiance Mask.  This smells nice and feels really nice on.  It is a thick, cream-like mask that leaves my skin feeling soft.
  4. Laura Gellar Spackle Tinted Under Makeup Primer in Bronze.  I've used Spackle before and didn't really like it.  I use my normal Spackle sample to mix glitter with for eye application.  I like the look the tinted one gave me, but I won't use it much.  I love my Smashbox primer too much.
  5. The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo.  Haven't used this yet.





Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pinterest

Hello, dahlings!  I have had to cut back on blogging time in order to work on some things around the house and with my family.  I apologize for my absence, but hope to get back in the swing of things soon.

I wanted to let you all know I am FINALLY on Pinterest!  I love it!  It is so helpful in keeping all my likes and ideas organized.

For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is basically an online pinboard.  It is a place to save and organize all the things you come across on the web.  You can even see all the things other people have saved, or "pinned", to their boards.


I really wish I had Pinterest when planning my wedding.  I kept everything saved and organized in folders on my hard drive; Pinterest shows all the pictures and lets you caption it all as well.  I have quite a few boards dedicated to things like Recipes, Clothing, Beauty Products, Home Decor, etc.



I have installed the "Pin It" button on my taskbar in Chrome, so when I come across something on a website that I like I can "pin it" very easy.  I really recommend you give it a try!!  If you would like an invite, leave me a message/comment or send me an email with your email address.  I can send you an invite ASAP.



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