Doggles

Surprisingly, I have not yet introduced my dog, Sarge. Which means I have yet to mention my husband’s and my “slight” obsession with Sarge. Almost two years ago, we adopted a bull mastiff-boxer mix puppy from a litter that was left on the side of the highway. As much as animal cruelty angers me, I’m so thankful that a heart-less person had no consideration for these animals, because without their neglect, we would never have had Sarge in our lives.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty more on Sarge in future posts, but today I wanted to share my latest purchase for our spoiled pup: Doggles.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband mentioned his concern about the safety of Sarge’s eyes when he has his head out the car window. Like I’m sure everyone who is reading this article is doing right now, I laughed at the absurdity, but the more I thought about it, the more worried I became. I had a new (but very real) fear of a rock, stick or bug getting into Sarge’s eye. One visit to Amazon.com and $20 later, Sarge had his very own pair of Doggles. Which he hates. Yes, I know it was logically a ridiculous purchase, but the Doggles have brought so much joy and laughter to our house. And when you see Sarge in them, it’s pretty easy to see why:

 
Sarge, wearing his new Doggles

We took him for a drive in them, and while he kept them on the entire time, he kept “accidentally” knocking them off-center every couple of minutes. We’re going to keep attempting to get him used to them, but even if he never wears them again, seeing him in them (and seeing the faces of the people in the cars next to us), made the Doggles worth every penny.

 
Oh, by the way, my Academy Awards losing streak is over: I guessed 9 Oscar winners correctly, while Ryan only guessed 3! I think our major downfall this year was not seeing either “Hugo” or “The Artist”. Anybody else guess better than 9?

Academy Awards

This time of year is really tough for work (hellllooooo, tax season!), but on the plus side, it’s also award season. I gleefully watch the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and the Grammy Awards, but those all pale in comparison to the Academy Awards. All the glamour, all the fashion…and in the Bowers’ house, all the competition. Since one of our favorite things to do together is watch movies, my husband, Ryan, and I like to pretend we can predict who will win an Oscar in each category. A couple of years ago, we decided to turn our predictions into a friendly competition. This is the first year we won’t be watching the Awards together, but Ryan filled out a ballot yesterday (to see who we had to pick from, click here). Even though I hate to admit it, I’ve never won; Ryan always picks more winners than I do. But I feel good about this year. I’ll let everyone know who won within a couple of days. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make myself a latte, get into some sweats and snuggle up with my puppy for the show. Happy Academy Awards night, everyone!

Fun For Friday: Doggie Mates

Ever heard of a doppelganger? According to Wikipedia, a doppelganger is German for “double walker” and is used to refer to a person’s exact double. I haven’t found my human doppelganger yet, but thanks to Doggelganger, I have now found my canine one. Originally developed to help homeless dogs in Australia get adopted, Doggelganger uses a person’s facial features (from an uploaded photo) to “match” them to a dog’s facial features. What is more fun (and cute) than that? I was matched with Beauty: dark hair, dark eyes, big smiles. I’d say we’re a good match (if the picture isn’t loading for you, click on that little red “X” below and it will pop up).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, time to go to work. These tax returns are not going to do themselves. Sigh. At least it’s Friday. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Social Bookworm

Book love

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles Williams Elliot, the 21st president of Harvard, had a good point: reading has been linked to improved memory, reduced levels of stress, and better relationships with others. And while just a few short years ago most book lovers were limited to paperback or hardcover, bookworms now have tons of audio and e-books to choose from. Plus, our beloved books have expanded into social networking.

This makes me very happy; I count reading as one of my favorite things to do in my spare time. In addition to getting a Kindle (thanks to my awesome husband), I’ve been getting into some book-related websites. I wanted to share some of these über cool websites I’ve found that really excite my inner bookworm.

1. Shelfari – On this “social cataloging” website, users create their own virtual bookshelf with books they have read, are currently reading and plan to read. Further, users can rate books and join discussion boards. For avid readers, Shelfari provides a global community of people passionate about books and lets them share that passion with others. My friend Shannon introduced me to this last spring, and I’ve been hooked ever since! I’ve set a goal to read 24 books this year; Shelfari lets me track the books I’m reading and the ones I’ve finished. If you join, search for me! I’d love to see what everyone is reading.

2. Bookperk – We know books make great gifts. But how about books that include promotional tie-ins? Those make excellent gifts. For books published by HarperCollins, Bookperk offers cool extra when you purchase a book through the website. For example, right after Christmas this past year, Bookperk offered a limited edition Harry Potter tote with the purchase of the hardcover edition of Harry Potter: Page to Screen (not to mention free shipping). In addition to promotional tie-ins, Bookperk also offers autograph copies of books and chances to win books for free. Extra bonus: when you sign up to the site, you get 20% off your first order.

3. Online book clubs – For the longest time, the book lovers in my life toyed with the idea of starting our own book club. However, because of crazy schedules and distance, the idea just wasn’t plausible. Enter Book Glutton. On this site, members create their own book club and invite friends to join. All members of your club read the same book and discuss it from any place, on their own time. Only catch: you can only add books from the site’s online e-book selection. But, there’s another option: Yahoo! offers thousands of book clubs and reading groups, ranging from general fiction groups to clubs focused on romance novels, nonfiction literature and many others. Still would rather only discuss books with people you know? Yahoo! also gives users the option to create their own group (which can be public or private). I’m currently a member of a public group with hundreds of people I don’t know, as well as one with one with my family and friends. If you’re interested in joining our “Busy Bookies” reading group, send me a message with your email address. I’ll send you an invite!

Happy social reading!

Courage…

Today I need a lot of courage, not only for myself, but for one of my loved ones. I rely heavily on my faith during times like this, so when I read this scripture on my “Bible Shaker” app last night before going to sleep, I instantly felt surrounded by a love bigger than anything I will ever be able to understand:

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

No, He won’t.

I heart {97 Calorie} Cupcakes!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether or not you recognize today as a “holiday”, I think we can all agree it provides a wonderful excuse to indulge in something sweet. I’m trying my best to skip the chocolates this year (family vacation, you are quickly approaching!), but I’ll be darned if I’m going to go the whole day without some sort of treat…

If you haven’t been introduced to the recipes from “Hungry Girl” Lisa Lillien, you should really make it a point to do so quickly (check out some of her books here). She’s amazing at slimming down the fat and calories in normally “naughty” recipes, while keeping every ounce of the YUM factor. Take for instance a recipe of hers I adapted into 97 calorie cupcakes. You read that correctly: 97 calorie cupcakes. AND the recipe only calls for two ingredients:

1 12 oz. can of diet soda
1 18.25 oz. box moist-style cake mix

The Hungry Girl recipe was a for a cake, but I always find cupcakes to be more my style: they travel well and are inherently portion-control size.

I added fat-free whipped cream as "icing", but they are just as good plain

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine cake mix with soda in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Transfer to cupcake tins, lined with paper liners. Follow the cake mix box for approximate bake time (mine took about 20 minutes).

I made 21 cupcakes, but it could easily be stretched to 24 by filling the cups with less mix. For 21 cupcakes, I calculated 97.7 calories per cupcake and 1.86 grams of fat.

White cake mix with diet cream soda

I used white cake mix with diet cream soda (so, so, so good!). I keep thinking of different combinations to try next (Vanilla Coke zero with chocolate cake, Sprite with a lemon cake, maybe even margarita mix with white cake…). I’d love to hear (and then taste) any combinations you try!

Welcome to my blog!

I feel equal parts nervousness and excitement as I post this: my first blog post on “True Whit.” I’ve been talking my family and friends’ ears off about starting a blog for almost a year, and while my drive was never lacking, my vision was. I’m very happy to say that I’ve gotten away from what I thought other people wanted to read and have instead decided to focus on what I want to write. I realize that comes with the (very real) possibility that I will be my only reader, but I’m willing to take that risk. The first step towards becoming better than you are is to be who you are. I really hope you enjoy my posts, and I look forward to your comments and suggestions!