Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Things are pretty low-key here at the ranch. I think I'm going to completely show my premature senior citizen status tonight by turning the porch light off and tucking in to watch some scary movies - but since I can't let the joy that is Halloween completely slip by, here are some shots from the day.

Oh! And some treats for you! Here are some great Halloween themed links for you to enjoy:

  • Heidi Kenney over at "My Paper Crane" is one of the most creative people that I know of. Go here to see her post on her tour of the Beistle headquarters. You're not going to believe the vintage holiday eye candy in that place! She also designs and sells fabrics and you're going to LOVE this fabric that she's selling with Halloween pillow designs here. In fact, just go to her website, go to the home page and scroll on through because each and every post will leave you oohing and ahhing. I'm sure you'll recognize a lot of her work. She's big on the scene.

  • My friend Jacob recently started a site called "The Carpetbagger" that I urge you to bookmark. He's a Southern transplant who has embraced the intricacies of the South better than anyone that I know. I met him years ago over on Flickr and have never failed to be amazed at the situations that he comes across the photograph on the back roads (and main streets) of the South. Go here to see his most recent posts on The Devil's Funeral ceremony and Christian haunted houses. And while you're there, just keep on scrolling through. He'll have you on the edge of your seat. You're not going to believe that half of the stuff that he comes up with could possibly be real....but it is. Oh, and he has a huge affinity for insane taxidermy, much like myself.

  • Alexa over at "The Swell Life" is another outrageously creative individual. Every year, I can't wait to see what her signature pumpkin is for the Halloween season. This year, she is right on trend with her Honey Boo Boo pumpkin tutorial. Last year, she did a Snookie pumpkin and lo and behold, celebrity gossip mogul Perez Hilton featured it on his site - and Snookie herself even tweeted about it!  "The Swell Life" is another site that I recommend taking a journey through. I guarantee you that you'll be bookmarking some of her ideas to try.

  • "Neato Coolville" (which is currently "Neato Ghoulville" for the Halloween season) is one of the most fun sites around.  Todd Frankin curates one of the most magical collections of things that will make you scream, "Oh! I remember that!" or better yet, gasp in glee because you've never seen such wonders before. From old comics, candies and products from our retro past to movie clips, commercials and found drawings (and everything in between), the posts at "Neato Coolville" will leave you smiling.

  • And this just in: The lovely Ruth over at the ever fascinating and tastebud intriguing MidCentury Menu has recreated the cake recipe that has taunted and teased many of us vintage loving mavens through the decades - the Banana Spook Cake. I'm talking ghosts made out of bananas, people! Skip on over and see!

  • And last one: Are you familiar with Caker Cooking? I recently discovered Brian's site and it's absolutely magical. You KNOW that I love interesting and wacky recipes and that site never fails to delight me. He's pulling stuff right out of those church and community cookbooks that our grannies felt compelled to buy (and contribute to)  and the contents are proving to be pure gold. Right now, there is an apple head doll competition going on - you know... doll heads made from apples. They stare out at you from the pages of old craft books and make you look closer...closer. Go here to see the entries and please vote for your fave! 

Have a fun Halloween, everyone!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Hearts Go Out

I'm listening to the wind whistling through the trees today and watching the news footage about the storm damage. So many lives lost and much sadness and destruction. And more to come. We here at the ranch have been hearing sporadically from friends along the East Coast this morning and so far, all of our friends and loved ones that we've been able to hear from are safe, though many have property damage.  We hope to hear from more of you soon but until then, we're sending good thoughts out to you.

Let's all hug our loved ones a little tighter today.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Truly Odd Halloween Costumes

I love Halloween costumes and every year, I can't wait to see what the manufacturers come up with. I wanted to share some of the my latest strange costume finds with you today.

As a vegetarian, I think that this one freaks me out more than it might some people. 

You've also got Whoopie Cushion Man. 

But then there's this version: 

So sad!!  Check out the description:

First off, that's not a whippet and second...seriously??

And in keeping with the "don't pets get a vote?" theme: 

The Katy Perry

The Madonna

I think that we're learning that bras on dogs don't work.

Not nearly as much as sports jerseys do anyway.


We all know that zombies are terribly hip these days. There are zombie versions of everything. Including Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz".


Crazy macabre. But it's this that really takes it over the edge:

Poor Toto! He didn't sign up for this!

And now I think I'll show you perhaps the most ill-advised costume that I've ever seen:

Dis-gus-ting. Is it any surprise that this one is on sale before Halloween? Since I'm as barren as an old tool box, I try to keep my nose out of how other people do their parenting - but I'd seriously like to have a long chat with the person who would buy that for their kid. 

In another vein of questionable Halloween costumes, you have those that would most likely only be worn by men who never bring dates to Halloween parties. Like this one: 

Yes, I know. They're showing a lady in the main photo but you see that guy in the bottom right? That's the actual scenario that you'd find this costume in. Trust me. There are too many sexy kitty, sexy police officer and sexy milkmaid costumes for we ladies to choose from for us to wear such an obviously demeaning costume.

Another guy costume:

That photo was censored by the costume store and not me. At this point, I don't think that showing you a man smiling in a penis costume could shock you.

But these might.

Did you notice that a lot of the above costumes are modeled by the same guy? He must have some modeling agent, huh?

Did you know that I sat at my computer and created the above mosaic by putting those photos in one by one by one for y'all?  Blogging is hard work! I wonder if I'll ever be a famous blogger like that Pioneer Woman?

Eh. Probably not.

 What about you buckaroos? What are you Halloween-ing in this year? What's the craziest costume that you've ever seen?

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October: How I Love You

Hey y'all!  I hope that the month of October is treating you well! It's really flown by for me. And that's unfortunate because it's my favorite month - partly because it's the height of glorious Fall but mostly because of Halloween (the best holiday in the history of the world). I had a little outpatient procedure done last week that really threw me for a loop so I've done a lot of laying in bed and trying to get back up to snuff. I hate, hate, hate being stuck in bed. I get hella cranky, people. Just ask the Mister.

To fill the time, I've watched a lot of Lifetime movies. Way too many actually. One day I watched four in a row! And I don't even like Lifetime movies. What I've learned is that with most of them, you can predict the outcome within the first ten minutes - that is if the title of the movie doesn't give it away well before that. Thankfully, I have taken away one tip that I'd like to share with you all: If someone ever abducts you and makes you drive a car, you should sneak and put your seatbelt on (because bad guys never take the time to buckle up) and then slam on the gas and hit the side of a building or a retaining wall as fast as you can. Why, those abductors go flying through the windshield to their demise every single time! Would you believe that this was the ending in not one but two movies that I watched in a row? Boy, was I pissed. Completing a movie on Lifetime can often give you the feeling of, "Well, there's two hours that I'll want back when I'm on my death bed."

I've also learned that if your new love interest seems too good to be true, they probably are and have lied about their name and their previous time in jail or a mental institution and more than likely are going to try to kill you. Also, never make friends with the new neighbors because odds are that you or your spouse are going to end up sleeping with one of them and there will be cut phone lines and a stabbing involved in the end. Trust me. You're welcome.

Okay, now back to Halloween. Tomorrow, I'm going to show you some very ill-advised Halloween costumes that I've been gathering on the ole laptop while under the covers. Today, I'm going to show you some of the Halloween and Fall preparations that I managed to muster before the healthcare system rendered me useless.

Pip and I put up another skeleton in the kitchen, this time too high for the hell-on-wheels kitten to rip any limbs off. This one with a natty tie and googly eyes. And he gloooows in the daaaaark!

Pip is all "You mean he doesn't creep you out too??"

Also in the kitchen: I made the first big pot o' chili of the season.

Mr. Kitten Pants went all Meerkat Manor on it! 
 He was really aiming to find out what was in that pot. 

Also in the kitchen: Manna from Heaven

Our local market takes toffee apples and then rolls them in chocolate chips and nuts. I've become more than reasonably obsessed with them. And I love that they put them in the produce section so that I can answer the Mister's raised eyebrow with, "There are apples under there!"

I got that cute little girl there from a contest that I won from Ashley Marie over at Octopus Pie Studios. If you don't know her site, check it out. It's really great!

Off of the kitchen, we have a china cabinet that I like to decorate for the holidays.

As you may know, vintage Halloween stuff is very hard to come by and super expensive so I don't have many pieces. Instead, I try to use Halloween-esque colors and go through my everyday things to see what might fit. I love the Halloween cabinet in particular because there are so many things in there that friends and family have given to me or that they've made. Sometimes, Halloween decor can be something as simple as knick-knacks that you already have around the house.

Like these owls that look pretty alarmed all year round.

Or this painting that was done by a former owner of our ranch. 

Yes, her skin is purple! 

Here are some other peeks at the cabinet. 

This cake topper came like this with the groom broken off. The bride has a black and blue eye!
I got it at a yard sale for less than a buck and the lady couldn't believe that I wanted it. The years hadn't been good to the topper but it's perfect for Halloween. Or for the final shot in a Lifetime movie. 

And a few spots in the rest of the house that have begun to get Halloween-ed out. 

What about you guys and girls? Do you go all out for Halloween or is just a "Boo. Meh." holiday for you? Have any favorite Lifetime movies that are worth staying awake for? 

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Seen Around Nashville

You are so Nashville if you get snatched out of Jesus' arms by the Achy Breaky Defibrillator.

This illustrations on this billboard look like they were stolen from the drawings on the back of a junior high fantasy geek's notebook. And I LOVE them. We all know that we're not getting the whole truth when we buy a used car, so why not run with it? Wings? Heck yeah! And to name the place "Reality Auto Sales"?  Awesome.

And doesn't this place look like an interesting haunt? 

I love the little kitty cocktail waitress. 

And the champagne glass. I'm pretty sure that she serves a lot of champagne in there! 

And here are two examples of one of my favorite things - sassy church signs: 

Thanks to the Mister for three of these photos! 
I hope that you all are having a great Sunday!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Matchmaker....Matchmaker....Make Me A Match

This morning, I was thinking about some of the jobs that I've held through the years. Some of them good and most of them? Well, not so good  - like my stint in a video store in a small conservative Georgia town that was actually a thinly-veiled front for a porn shop.

Holy heck, I'll never forget that Summer. It was the only job that I could get, having recently moved there from out of State. I could tell right away that it was going to be a hard job search when I wasn't getting jobs because nobody knew my family. That's big in those small Southern towns - people want to know who your family is. I remember always being there alone at night and having to deal with creepy guys who'd go into the back of the store for a long time before coming up and asking for a porno flick by giving me the title. All that they were supposed to do was give me the ID number but no...nooooooo...instead, they'd give me the full titles. And let me tell you, if you've never taken a peek at titles of the genre, you are in for a real treat!

Luckily, I only had to stay at the video shop for one Summer before getting a job at the local florist. I don't even know how I got that job. When I left my interview, I put my car into drive instead of reverse and plowed right into the side of the building! It turned out to be another job that I just wasn't cut out for. I never could master making ribbons (which is a huge deal in a floral shop) and soon got delegated as the one who put the greenery into funeral sprays and who tied off balloons.  The owner of the business was a very sassy and blunt little lady named Rachelene who at the staff Christmas party got drunk and revealed to me that a lady had once committed suicide in the walk-in closet of my rental home.  A home that already gave me the creeps. I'll never forget going home that night in the dark.

Okay, now back to videos.  I was once offered a job in a video matchmaking agency and like a fool, I turned it down.  I'll forever wish that I'd taken the job at least for a while. I think that it would have been one interesting story after another. Have you seen these old video dating videos from the 80's? I can never get enough of them.

Some of you younger readers might not realize it but yes, in the 80's, we actually dressed like that with no sense of irony whatsoever. You guys and girls might be bringing back some of the fashions in the spirit of retro fabulousness but I double-dog-dare you to bring back the hair!

Ellen Degeneres was able to find three of the men and get updates on how they're doing now and if they found love. Go here.

And do you remember "Love Connection"?  Check out Lee Little.

I love that guy! I'd love to know whatever happened with those two.

On the waaaaaay flip side, did you know that there was once an infamous serial killer on "The Dating Game"?  Not only was he a contestant, but he actually won the date with the bachelorette! 

To make things even scarier, Rodney James Alcala was on the show during the time that he was on his killing spree. Lucky for Cheryl, she didn't go on the date with him because she thought he seemed "creepy".   He as actually out on parole for rape when he was approved for the show. Yikes.

Wow, I really know how to bring down a mood, don't I?  Let's lighten things up. I can't think of anything that can lighten a mood like well, Rip Taylor. Let's go!

Can you imagine what taking a trip to Mexico with Rip Taylor would be like? 
I would definitely like to find out! 

And does anyone remember Jamie Foxx's character Wanda from "In Living Color"? 

It's interesting to see now how many big stars were born on that show. 

Okay, that's enough tripping down dating memory lane. I hope that you all have a great Saturday!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Five Years Ago

Five years ago today, the Mister and I were at the hitchin' post.

The Mister hates to have his picture online but you can see me about to break out into the ugly cry in this shot. He was wearing his late grandfather's pinstriped suit and just like Doris Day said in the movie Calamity Jane, I was wearing my "frilled-up, flirtin', man-rustlin' petticoat" crinoline in bright red as my "something new". 

It was a beautiful Fall day just like today and he played the wedding march on accordion as I came down the aisle.

Well, I say "aisle" but it was just a green lawn!  We had a small wedding with only ten guests. With he and I both being the shy type, it was just perfect. We threw our own wedding so that we could keep things thrifty.

We had it planned so that when the preacher pronounced us husband and wife, a friend of ours would cue up the Victrola and one of our favorite songs would play.

Which of course went awry. We were having our first kiss as man and wife and the song started. But wouldn't you know that the victrola hadn't been cranked enough?

Before we could even complete the kiss, the record wound down and was kind of like, "Iiiiiiim braaaaanddddding myyyyyyy daaaaaaarliiiinnnnn...." and then went dead. Then the Mister ran over and cranked it up and came back so that we could recreate our first kiss. We all had a good laugh over that one! Oh, the best laid plans.

Oh, and our preacher was late to our wedding! Everyone was sitting outside in the direct sun waiting and I was nervously pacing in the house when he called saying that he was lost. And hello, he actually lived in that town! We had wanted to get a friend dressed in a bear suit to marry us and after that, we regretted scrapping the idea. A bear in the hand is worth two preachers lost in the bush.

I got a florist at home to make my bouquet and I carried it with me. My wedding dress came from eBay and oh what a mess. When it arrived, it was absolutely coated in nicotine. It wasn't white at all but a putrid shade of yellow. Oh, and the smell! I sat down and cried when I pulled it out of the box. I ended up finding an amazing cleaner here in town who got it spotless for me. And the good news was that the Seller refunded all of my money - so my wedding dress was free! Yee Haw! 

We rented a house way up on top of Lookout Mountain (about three hours from home) just up the road from Rock City and it was both the site of our night-before party, our wedding and the reception. Oh, and it was also our honeymoon cottage! I told you - thrifty. We had never seen the place in person before we went there for our wedding and were thoroughly relieved when we drove up.

It was so beautiful and had this big porch on the front where we all hung out each night. And even though it was Fall, all of the flowers were still brightly in bloom and the grass was like lush green velvet. We got really lucky. Our plan had been that we'd come back there every year for our anniversary but it never happened because the rental company sold the house the very next year.
So, every time that we go back up there, we ride past and stalk the house. Very romantic. 

When our guests came in the night before, some of them stayed with us to save money. I made an enormous pot of soup and these monsters made out of biscuits. Or maybe they're snakes.

Which makes me laugh now. We had seen these guys in a recipe book on Halloween treats at the register as we were buying the supplies for our soup and just had to make them! When I watch that TLC show where brides rate each others' weddings, I often wonder what they'd think about the Biscuit Monsters. I'm sure they'd find them incredibly droll but in all actuality, they were delicious! Their innards were made of delicious cheddar cheese. Yum!

We had really great food at the wedding. We got a cafe up the road to cater lots of sandwiches and salads for us and had a picnic on the lawn of the house.

My Mom brought a bunch of her quilts from home in South Carolina. She also brought pretty much every vintage table cloth that you see in these photos. And she let me pick out a quilt to keep as our " wedding quilt ". Everything but the chairs at our wedding either came from my house or my Mom's house. Finally our vintage hoards came in handy!

She also made our wedding cake - a homemade coconut one.

I can't believe that I asked her to lug a cake up from South Carolina - but her coconut cakes are legendarily delicious!  She also made those truffles down front and my sister-in-law brought amazing red velvet cupcakes. My new mother-in-law made sugar cookies shaped like hearts and wedding bells from cookie cutters that had belonged to her Mom. She brought those all the way from Kansas by car.  I tell you, there is nothing like having great cooks in the family. We had food coming in from everywhere! The wedding topper was found on eBay. There are SO many on eBay. It's seriously hard to choose if you're in the market.

Since gnomes are a huge part of Rock City, the Mister and I personalized gnomes for each guest and also gave gifts of boxes of regional chocolates like goo-goo clusters and moon pies. Fancy! 

Did you know that Jones Soda will put any photo on bottles of soda for you? 
We saved a bottle to have with our anniversary wedding cake a year later.

Then we headed further up the hill to Rock City and took photos and explored the park. 
I love this shot from one of the caves. 

We had our friend, Libby take photos at the wedding and also brought our laptop and borrowed all of our guests' camera cards on that last night and stole their photos too. Talk about super cheap wedding pictures! -  and it was fun to see photos of the event from each guests' points of view. 

Rock City was actually where we fell in love way back in 2004 so we knew that we had to have our wedding up there. Here is a shot from that first day that we ever went there.  I think that was our third date. 

Look at those young punks!  

When we met, he had bleached his hair the color of a baby chick and gah, I can't even tell what color mine was. Something with "cherry" in the name, I'm sure. I remember that it was a ridiculously hot day in July and he had no air conditioning in his car. We got stuck for hours behind a wreck on the interstate and as it was the only way home and we were melting, he finally drove the wrong way up the exit ramp (I know, totally uncool...I told you - punks!) and we hung out at a Western Sizzlin' salad bar, bought tons of fireworks and sat in a field watching goats.  Oh, the heart wants what the heart wants. Our love potion was in part goat smell, croutons and those fireworks where flames shoot out of paper chickens' butts.

Anyway, I've overshared enough. I'm sure y'all feel like you're trapped in someone's living room and being forced to watch their vacation slides. Anyhoo, here's to my hubs! 

Who is quite obviously the one for me. 

I'll leave you with our wedding song as it should have been played.  This one goes out to my honey. And to all you young lovers and long-timed together couples out there. And heck, to those of you who are even moderately interested in pitchin' woo. This is the song for you.

Until next time,
x's and o's,