Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Life Mission Statement

Our government has one, Stephen Covey has one, and after 3 hours and 29 crumpled pieces of pink paper, I do too. It still probably needs work, but for now it will do. 

To live a purposeful, principle-centered life guided by my Christian faith and articulated by clear goals. These goals will be accomplished through a well-thought out, running plan suited to my strengths and weaknesses.  The daily execution of this plan will allow me the freedom to live a content, healthy existence while passionately pursuing my dreams. I will gain an optimally functioning life and the capability to inspire, encourage, and energize those in my circle of influence, ultimately leaving a lasting and measurable positive impact on my community. 

Homeade Pizza

In my journey of learning to cook, I'm not sure anything I've made is quite as easy and satisfying as a homeade pizza. It takes around 5 minutes to craft your perfect pie, and not long to cook. I use pre-made Boboli pizza crusts, through on some toppings, bake, and presto! A perfectly delicious and fulfilling one dish wonder to impress your friends and family (or just yourself- making a personal pan pizza might just be one solution to that dreaded "cooking for one" problem I think we all experience at one time or another). 

My favorite pizzas include: 
Pepperoni with premade sauce and mozzarella cheese
BBQ chicken with bbq sauce and the addition of red onions and cilantro
Pesto sauce and banana peppers (inspired by my friend Kasey- she's a great cook)

Be sure to drizzle olive oil on your crusts and cheese before baking, and enhance the final product's flavor with some sprinkled parmesan. 

The Coolest 15 Year Old on the Block

Alright, George Sampson is officially my hero. This adorable mini Justin Timberlake danced his way right into Simon Cowell's heart last year on Britain's Got Talent, taking the top honor and becoming an unstoppable force ever since.

He literally made it rain on the during his "Singing in the Rain" routine with a creative idea to have a simulated rain storm onstage.  I have absolutely no idea how the designers did this, but it sure was neat! 
Once you hear his story, you just can't help but root for him.  Check him out if you haven't already! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I see the kids in the steet, without enough to eat. Who am I to be blind, pretending not to see their need?

What's worse than losing your job in the recession? 

Being an orphan in a third world country

In 2008, UNICEF reported that there are an estimated 132 million orphans in the world.  Most of us feel compassion for these children, but how can we make a difference? 

My freshman year in college, I volunteered at Bellewood Home in Lexington, Ky-- an emergency home for abused, at risk, and homeless youth in Kentucky. I'm not sure if anything has ever touched my heart quite like Michael, the young boy who befriended me that day, did.  Michael and I really connected when I first arrived, and throughout the rest of the day he was by my side, holding my hand. I could tell he was starved for affection.  At the end of the day, we were winding down our activities playing Bingo and Michael crawled up into my lap.  His big brown eyes looked at me and he said 'Kara, I wish you were my mom.'  I remember promising to myself that for the rest of my life, I would try to help children like Michael find hope and opportunities.  

The first step in helping another is to first identify a need, and sometimes this is the hardest part!  We do have shelters and orphanages in America (another great place I have worked at was the Monarch School in San Diego- its a school for homeless children and does amazing things in their lives), but I also feel a desire to help children outside of the United States.  Without government help like we have here, their needs feel even more desperate and more pronounced. The AIDS epidemic has claimed so many parents in Africa, leaving children without parents or homes.  

I recently went to an informational meeting for a mission trip to Niger through my church, Living Hope, in Bowling Green.  The trip would focus more on evangelism in Niger than helping orphans, but it is a worthy cause as well.  However, there aren't very many spots for the trip so I may not get to go... If I don't get to go on this trip, I'm going to try to go through another organization. If anyone who reads this can recommend a good organization or has experience with this, please let me know! I'd love to hear your stories.

In the meantime, I really encourage everyone to find a way to make a difference with something they are passionate about. If you're looking for a way to help orphans in the state of Kentucky, the Bellewood home is an amazing place to start. Go to and click on 'Make a Gift'- you can help through volunteering your time, monetary donations, or helping 
with their wish list. Good luck! 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Favorite First Dogs

One of my favorite things about a new President is that usually with it comes the excitement of new White House pets. I can't wait to see the Obama's puppy, but for now lets take a stroll down memory lane with a few beloved First Dogs:

Who could forget Barney and Miss Beazley Bush and their Christmas WH videos? Each time I was in the White House while living in DC, I was on the lookout for this dynamic duo, but unfortunately I was never able to catch them.  Once while walking by the White House at night, I was so excited to see a shadow darting across the front lawn, then realized it was a police's german shephard. Bummer. 

But did you know that before Miss Beasley, Barney had another companion- Spot, a Springer Spaniel? The interesting thing about Spotty was that he was born in the White House to Millie, who was Bush Sr.'s dog. The photo to the left shows Millie with her litter of puppies. Spot is the only dog who was in the White House for two adminstrations and lived for 15 years. 

This is President Clinton's adorable chocolate lab Buddy, who helped Clinton pick up chicks.  


Franklin Roosevelt's Scottish Terrier, Fala, was his best friend and also one of the most iconic and celebrated White House Dogs. He even had his own Press Secretary!  Fala was also the first Presidential Dog to be memorialized with a statue. 

Perhaps the saddest story of a Presidential Dog is that of Feller, a cocker spaniel who was an unsolicited Christmas present to Harry Truman. President Truman is known for his famous quote "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog"- however ironically he was not a good friend to Feller.  He gave the dog to the White House Physician, and Feller in turn was passed around to 5 or 6 different families before finding a home. Forever in history as "The Unwanted Dog"- and Truman paid the price by having one of the lowest Presidential approval ratings in history. I'd like to think our friend Feller may have had a thing or two to do with that. 

Abraham Lincoln's dog was named Fido (a retriver/shephard mix)... President Lincoln had a soft spot in his heart for cats, but he loved all animals... In fact, the tradition of the Presidential Turkey Pardon began with him... His son Taddie befriended the White House Turkey and when Thanksgiving Day came, Lincoln couldn't bear to let Taddie lose his pet and gave him a pardon.  Fido actually never lived in the White House- he was very scared of the canon noises and of trains (part of Lincoln's election celebration) and Lincoln didn't think Fido'd make it on the long train ride to the White House... Reluctantly, he gave Fido to a local family with strict instructions that he would remain an inside dog, would always get treats from the dinner table when asked, and would never be scolded for muddy feet. Fido outlived Lincoln. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Try the grey stuff, its delicious- don't believe me? Ask the dishes! 

Recently I have been on a cupcake kick and my family have been the guinea pigs of this experiment.  At times I've felt sorry for them to have to try a recipe gone horribly wrong.... But this time I've come up with a recipe that I think I really like! 

I started out with a basic white velvet cupcake recipe, then spooned frozen balls of cookie dough on top of each cup of batter before placing it into the oven. I also sprinkled mini chocolate chip cookies around each cookie dough ball.... When the cookies came out, the dough inside the cupcakes tasted like refrigerated cookie dough!  
For the icing, I mixed cookie dough with store bought vanilla icing, and piped the dough/icing mixture with a pastry bag.  These are (weirdly) best served chilled, and you'll need to keep them in the refrigerator due to the raw cookie dough.  

                                         The end result: 

How do you want to be remembered?

A woman without perfume is a woman easily forgotten. 

Have you ever stumbled across a scent that reminded you of your first love, the house you grew up in, or the semester you spent in Italy? Besides completing a look and making you smell nice, perfumes also envoke powerful memories. So when you choose a new perfume, its also important to think about how you'd like to be remembered years from now because chances are- the perfume you are chosing today will create scent memories for years to come. 

Are you a light, airy, flowery girl- or do you prefer warmer musk tones? Your choice of scent could also depend on the seasons as well- some women prefer to have a few different scents for different times of the year. 

Here are a few of my favorite scents:

Givenchy's Hot Couture: 
This has been my signature scent since my Freshman year in college. There is really no other perfume that smells anything like Hot Couture, and I've only known of two other people to wear it (its hard to find and Givenchy's prone to 'discontinue' it for a few years every now and then--- but you can always find a bottle).  It's a delightful mix of both floral and musk at the same time-- with upper notes of vanilla and lower tones of amber and jasmine. Delicious! 

I have had a scent crush on Lolita Lempicka for as long as I can remember, but I've never bought a bottle. The packaging is so sweet and feminine, and the perfume is a blend of ivy leaves, delicate violet, and iris root with a hint of vanilla and musk. It's very flirty and light, and reminds me of something Betsey Johnson might wear while vacationing at her beach house, Betseyville- (

Valentino's Rock n Rose
 would have been perfect for female
 guests of Michael Saylor's Washington DC's Rocktoberfest blowout, where guests were dressed as rockers, roadies, and "band-aids."  This scent always reminds me of my best friend Jenny- who always knows of the hottest off the radar bands. Try it- maybe it will bring out the rocker in you! 


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our faithful White House friend Socks passed away yesterday after a long struggle with cancer. He was with us for 20 good years, and was a wonderful animal ambassador to us during the Clinton era. Please keep Socks and his family in your thoughts this weekend. 

Chandra Levy arrest imminent

Remember Chandra Levy- the former DC intern who went missing and was later found murdered? CNN is reporting that a new development has been made and an arrest is finally on the horizon for this long cold case. Will Gary Condit finally see the inside of a jail cell? 

Edit: Looks like Gary Condit is in the clear.  WRC-TV in Washington is reporting that police are pursuing an arrest warrant for a prison inmate named Ingmar Guandique. Apparently he confessed to the crime while in prison for another offense. 

115 Rumsey Court

Up until January of this year, I lived in a charming little carriage house in Washington DC on Capitol Hill that was located in an alley behind the Capitol Hill Club and the Republican National Committee, and across the street from the Library of Congress. It was as close to the action as you could get! I really miss it- but for now I'll reminisce by posting pictures of my beloved, at times falling apart, 1889 cottage. 

Bond no. 9

    I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume- Jacques Guerlain

Bond no. 9 is the most imaginative, inspiring perfume line I've ever come across.  I almost hestiate to post about it, loving that it is still a decently well kept secret, but its a secret too good to share. The thought behind Bond no. 9 is to capture the spirit of New York City- each fragrance embodies a certain part of New York. For example- sitting on my dresser now are samples of Bond no. 9 entitled Park Avenue, Nuits de NoHo, Coney Island, and Chinatown. 

For Christmas this year, my sister surprised me with Andy Warhol Union Square:
Its a lovely blend of Lily of the valley, green stem, blue freesia, white birchwood, amber, a
nd musk. Apparently it was inspired by Warhol's art studio in Union Square.  I love the bottle too, such a fun shade of pink! 

It's so hard to decide on a favorite, but I definitely love Coney Island (fun in a bottle!), The Scent of Peace (to commemorate 9/11 and the space where the towers were), and bestseller Chinatown (who could resist this super girly bottle and scent?). 

If you're visiting New York anytime soon and want to feel like a princess, you simply must make a visit to the perfume's flagship boutique, located at 9 Bond Street (hence the perfume's name).  I paid a visit in October while I was in town, and was pleasantly surprised at the adorableness and ambiance and what a unique, memorable experience it was. I was immediately given a tour by a friendly saleslady, then offered a cup of flavored tea as I flipped through oversized glossy books on tea and perfume fashion while relaxing on an oversized couch (Bond no. 9 originated selling teas and still offers an impressive selection). There were huge artsy atomizers filled with perfume for refills, and pretty antique one-of-a-kind bottles you could buy and fill.  It was a grown up playground (of scents).  I was Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, delirious over each new delightful discovery.  I was probably in the "library" for over an hour while contemplating over which perfume would be my first purchase! Afterwards, I was placed on a mailing list and now receive handwritten cards and samples of new perfumes as they hit the market. Bond no. 9 sure knows how to treat their customers well! 


Welcome to my blog!

with 9 week old Lucy Grace

I've never had an overwhelming desire to publicize my life in an online format such as on a blog, but lately with an overabundant time on my hands it seems to be a perfect outlet. I hope to find something interesting to fill the pages with!