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Foto Friday: A Last Minute Meetup

No matter the fact that we haven’t blogged in about 6 months, I felt compelled to contribute a little Foto Friday gem since I actually had something to post!

Two weekends ago Keith and I decided to drive down to visit my parents in Mississippi.  Dad had recently built a brand-new boat dock/house/over-the-water-structure and we thought that sounded like a perfect excuse to go visit.  As we were packing up to head South, Keith asked, “Hey….will Mary-Hall be home this weekend?”  I responded that I doubted it….it wasn’t a holiday and even though our parents still live only about 15 minutes apart, Mary-Hall lives about 3 hours from where we grew up.  Keith was undeterred by this logic and said I needed to text her.

My phone rang almost instantly.  She was driving to her parents’ house for the night last minute (and kid-free) and would love to stop by….proof that one should always always always get in touch even when it’s a long shot.  Grateful to have had even only a few minutes with this amazing girl.


So here we are….proof that yes, we’re still both alive and still very much friends.  🙂  Maybe one day life will slow down enough to resume regular blog-posting.  Or maybe we’ll at least be able to send you a photo every once in awhile.

Foto Friday: Camera “Friend”ly Chickens

Whenever I run into one of the 5 people that actually read our blog, everyone always seems to comment that they love Mary-Hall’s recipes and DIY projects and my chicken posts.  At a wedding a few weeks ago, one of Keith’s co-workers said, “please do another chicken post soon!” So to comply with that tidbit of free “market research,” I figured it was high time for another chicken post, since I haven’t done one since Sylvia died.  And it’s perfect timing too since we’ve been talking about the Not Wedding Dinner Party Styled shoot all week…

All the vendors absolutely cracked up when they found about the chickens and the coop and then became sort of obsessed with them.  We even incorporated the ladies into several of the shots…lured into doing pretty much anything with the help of a few dried worms.  Since the ladies have already had their portraits painted, and won a photo contest, it seemed only logical that being included in a high-fashion, wedding-themed, professional-level photo shoot was the next progression in their path to fame and fortune.  Our friend Hannah snapped some amazing photos that I thought I’d share with you here.  So just scroll away and check out the captions.

Louisa is our jumper...nothing is out of her reach.  She was determined to get to that jar of worms and Hannah's expert timing caught this great shot of her mid-air.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography  – Louisa is our jumper…nothing is out of her reach. She was determined to get to that jar of worms and Hannah’s expert timing caught this great shot of her mid-air.

Welcome to our humble abode.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Welcome to our humble abode.

Louisa was so curious about what was going on....

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Jane was so curious about what was going on….

...but Lousia was confused because everyone knows flowers don't grow in jars.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – …but Louisa was confused because everyone knows flowers don’t grow in jars.

Nothing sells bridesmaid dresses quite like a chicken themed ad....right?

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Erin, Keely and I “clucking away” in front of the coop while the girls forage for treats.

"You really have such a lovely home!  Thanks for inviting us over!"

Photo Credit Hannah Elaine Photography – “You really have such a lovely home! Thanks for inviting us over!”

Jane is jealous that she doesn't get a pretty frock to flaunt.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Jane is jealous that she doesn’t get a pretty frock to flaunt.

Enjoying a quiet snack together.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Enjoying a quiet snack together.

The dresses were "you break it, you buy it" which proved not conducive to chicken holding.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – The dresses were “you break it, you buy it” which proved not conducive to chicken holding.

Holding a chicken in a beautiful dress.  The irony was just too much.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Holding a chicken in a beautiful dress. The silliness of it all was just too much.

...aaaaaaand......i'm outta here!

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – …aaaaaaand……i’m outta here!

Beverly wasn't down with sitting at the table, either.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Beverly wasn’t down with sitting at the table, either…

but she let us get this one final "family portrait."

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – …but she let us get this one final “family portrait.”

Photo Credit: Julee Duwe Roark - Lousia is always on a mission with a story to tell...

Photo Credit: Julee Duwe Roark – Lousia is always on a mission with a story to tell…

The girls have also never met a stranger and love it when people stop by to see them which is a good thing because it seems to happen frequently.  But when it comes to holding still for a picture, Beverly is the most patient with those not used to holding hens.  Plus, she’s just so fluffy and yellow that it’s quite adorable.  My favorite quote of all time is when a business contact of mine said, in the most serious tone ever, “Do you think Beverly Clucky KNOWS she’s the prettiest of all the chickens?”  So here you go, just for fun, a few additional pictures of Beverly with the friends she’s made along the way.  Oh, and one of Louisa, just for good measure.

Elaine of "Events by Elaine" noted it was her first time having chickens as event props and decor.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Elaine of “Events by Elaine” noted it was her first time having chickens as event props and decor.

Keely wasn't so sure at first, but Beverly won her over.

Photo Credit: Hannah Elaine Photography – Keely wasn’t so sure at first, but Beverly won her over.

Hayley (Make Up Artist) posted this pic of her and Louisa to Instagram....Lousia wasn't feeling snuggly.

Photo Credit: Reuben Bidez – Hayley (Make Up Artist) posted this pic of her and Louisa to Instagram….Lousia wasn’t feeling it and jumped down shortly thereafter.

Reuben, the bartender behind "Peace In The Valley" clearly picked the wrong girl to snuggle with.  Love the live action shot as Louisa gets away, and how calmly Bevery looks on in the background.

Photo Credit: Hayley Bidez – Reuben, the bartender behind “Peace In The Valley” clearly picked the wrong girl to snuggle with. Love the live action shot as Louisa gets away, and how calmly Bevery looks on in the background.

My boss Kelly and her nephew Will came by a few weeks ago to see the chickens.  Will thought they were cool to watch, but when asked if he wanted to hold one, he wrinkled his nose and said, "Mmmmmm, no tanks."

I snapped this sweet moment on film when my boss Kelly and her nephew Will came by a few weeks ago to see the chickens. Will thought they were cool to watch, but when asked if he wanted to hold one, he wrinkled his nose and said, “Mmmmmm, no tanks.”

A Peek at Bethany’s Road Life

Last weekend Bethany’s boss Kelly Minter did a two-day women’s seminar right down here in Mississippi, in Starkville no less, where I went to college and not 30 minutes from our mutual hometown.  So, the Johnsons made a weekend visit to the Golden Triangle (For all you non-Mississippians, its basically just like the Bermuda triangle.) and I finally got to see a little window into Bethany’s wild weekend world. This is what she does most Fridays and Saturdays, except often they fly but being so close to Nashville, they got to drive down for this event.

I missed the first half of the seminar, but here are a few peeks at Bethany’s responsibilities on Saturday.  Actually there was a lot more going on, but these snaps are just from the times when I felt it was acceptable to take pictures.  You know, and not be ‘that’ person.  First, there’s t-shirt display.


That’s a JMA t-shirt, and they are super cute. Killin’ it.


Okay, then there’s the occasionally impromptu fiddle/guitar jam session.


Also, lots of generally knowing what’s going on and what needs to happen and when.


Let’s not forget about ‘boot wearing‘ either.IMG_2770


And finally, rocking the merch table.IMG_2771

Maybe someday we’ll have enough for a whole scrapbook of ‘behind the merch table selfies’. There’s just nothing like impromptu meetings with best friends.




In November of 2012, my dad turned 70.  Since it’s not often that one turns 70, I decided to throw him a big birthday bash and collect as many members of the family as I could.  About twenty of us gathered to eat and celebrate and generally have a good time.  Because my dad loves to fish, I decided I’d loosely theme the party around fishing.  For party snacks, I set out large bowls of Swedish fish candy and goldfish crackers and for the birthday cake, Elizabeth at the Puffy Muffin (who also did my wedding cake) did the most amazing fishing cake ever complete with realistic looking waves, fishing pole, bobber and lures.  We added a few extra guests at the last minute, so I grabbed a half dozen cupcakes while I was at the bakery and added Swedish fish as toppers.

Dad's fishing cake by Elizabeth at the Puffy Muffin.

Dad’s fishing cake by Elizabeth at the Puffy Muffin.  Call her for all your cake needs, big or small.  seriously.

However, finding fishing themed party items that didn’t revolve around Finding Nemo or other characters only suitable for preschoolers, proved to be quite a challenge. (side note, if you ARE planning a kid party, here’s a great party snack from Mary-Hall from our archives).  I ended up going simple and making a happy birthday banner out of burlap and aqua colored felt, serving drinks in Mason jars (my dad’s name is Mason…..clever, huh?) and making two giant fluffy blue tissue paper flowers/orbs/decorative things to put on the food table.

Dad surveys all his Birthday decor and treats.

Dad surveys all his Birthday decor and treats.

And THEN…..I took a cue from Mary-Hall, or actually from her mom, from long ago.  1996, to be exact. Remember our crazy high-school social club experience?  Well, since I wasn’t inducted as a member until 10th grade, but Mary-Hall had been “kidnapped” in 8th grade, she got to participate in the 9th grade “presentation” while I sat at her “table” as a guest.  The “tables” were a big deal and many a Mama spent hours (and no doubt serious dollars!) decorating their daughters’ tables.  Mary-Hall’s craftiness was directly inherited from her Mom, who had put together a lovely table for MH….complete with vases of water containing live goldfish.  Well, they were live when the program started, anyway.  Apparently the event was more than the poor fish could handle and by the time the program ended, a few of them had gone-belly up.  Sadly, I can’t find the glorious photo of us, at this blessed event, but here’s a photo of Mary-Hall for your viewing pleasure.  I was so sad I didn’t get one of those green dresses.  Seriously.  So sad.  Now…….notsomuch.

Mary-Hall looking classy.

Mary-Hall looking classy.

Fast-forward 16 years and the possibility of decor-going-dead-in-the-water did not deter me from copying this brilliant decoration at my dad’s party.  My friend Amy and I headed over to the “PetSupermarket” (not making that up) about 20 minutes away and for a grand total of $2.14, purchased 20 goldfish.  “Such a Deal!” as my Mom would say.  (In fact, I’m pretty sure she did actually say those very words in conjunction with said goldfish later on that afternoon.)  I filled up several jars with water and goldfish and arranged them festively on the table as centerpieces.  It looked adorable.  People loved it.  At the end of the day, the fish no longer had a purpose, but I didn’t have the heart to just flush them, so my niece’s then-boyfriend took half home in one of the mason jars, and I took the other half, fully expecting them to all be lifeless by the time we arrived home.

Over the next few days, they went on to that great goldfish-pond in the sky at the rate of about one every 12 hours until it was down to one, lone fish.  But he made it through a whole day alone, and then another and another….in fact he sat in the mason jar on the counter for about a week before I moved him to a larger vase.  And then after about two months, I figured I might as well buy him some goldfish flakes and a real bowl and those little rocks you put in the bottom of the bowl.  Keith laughed at my investment, but since the whole deal only cost $5 at WalMart, I figured might as well.  I gave the fishbowl a home on the piano in my office.  We went out of town for a week and I forgot to tell the housesitter to feed the fish.  To my amazement, he was still kicking, er, swimming when we came home.  I gave him a generous helping of flakes and promised to be a better fish mom.  Finally, on when he turned a year old, I decided to name the darn thing.  Since I’m pretty sure no 11 cent goldfish has EVER lasted this long, I dubbed him Methuselah, after all, I think a year and a half (his current age) is probably equal to 969 goldfish years.

The cat occasionally will hop up on the piano and sniff the bowl and Methuselah always swims over to check him out, as he does when anyone approaches him, but no incident has ever occurred.  I think I’m actually going to be sad when the little guy does pass on.  He brings a smile to my face every time I glance over and see him hanging out in his bowl.  Just taking it all in.

Methuselah, the world's oldest goldfish (maybenot, but close).

Methuselah, the world’s oldest goldfish (maybenot, but close).

Christmas Reunion

The holidays have been downright crazy-town for both the Bordeaux and Johnson families this year, but we somehow managed to have the happy fortune to end up in the same town on the same day once again. This time we were both in Columbus visiting our parents for Christmas and managed to get a couple of hours this past rainy Saturday afternoon to catch up and do important things such as a grocery run, discount-store shopping and a cup of pay-by-the-ounce yogurt.

When I went by to pick Mary-Hall up for our all-important errand excursion, Ransom, the cutest three year old on the planet, said my name which pretty much made me melt in to a puddle of joy. “Bethany….come over here and see my trains!” That sweet little chirpy voice. I can’t stand it. {also, when MH told him that we were going shopping and would be back later he said “ok. I’m gonna stay here with the boys. We’ll be working.” which also pretty much made me want to squeeze him.}

I know things have been quiet on the blog-front recently. We’ve been slammed with work and well, life. But we’re excited to kick of 2014 with some bloggy goodness….we each have big trips planned, MH had lots of baby crafts and nursery decorating escapades up her sleeve and I’m hoping to get a few DIY things done myself. So stay tuned because the girls are back. And to prove it, I bring you this quality photograph. We can’t wait to spend another year with you guys!


Foto Friday – Found It!

Back in the early days of this co-blogging adventure, every Friday we would share a photo of the two of us from one of our many joint adventures.  We kept that up for 30 weeks or so before exhausting the supply of “good ones”.  I covered our 9th grade year book already, but just 10th grade was lost until last weekend.  Joyous occasion!

In truth I think Bethany and I enjoy these posts more than anyone else, and I know she has had a really wild ride these last few weeks, so B – hope this makes your Friday better!

So, back in 1998, Bethany and I spent every morning in homeroom listening to announcements over the PA system.  Our names were actually in alphabetical order in both 9th and 10th.


Okay this year book was whacked, as you can see.  Bethany’s last name got an extra “s” added to it.  My hyphen is MIA.  And if you actually knew the rest of those people, you would see how terribly wrong this all is.  In fact, we’re lucky our names are even in the proximity of our photos.  There’s one guy in there who wasn’t even in our grade!

Big news! Bethany got her flowing locks chopped at some point that year.  Look how cute:

b&brooke   yearbook_0007

Meanwhile, my hair got harder and harder to manage.  Here we are in Drum Line and Jazz Band, respectively.


I really did kinda love band, although you may not be able to tell from this photo.


Bethany was not only cute, she was incredibly skinny, and also in the coolest extracurricular activity there was:  Show Choir. You think I’m kidding but I’m not.  In our weird high school, the ‘glee’ kids were the ones dumping the proverbial slushies on everyone else. Not Bethany, mind you.  She was just there because she could sing and dance and be cute all at the same time.


Look! She was so skinny, they put her at the top of the pyramid in the school musical!  This was a production of ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’ of which I have no recollection.


And here’s the only significant activity we both participated in that year: OM.  I would also like to point out that while we did come in 2nd place at State Finals, it was 2nd out of two.  Thank you very much.OM

Nice to see you, 10th grade!  Lots of fun times but I wouldn’t do it again for a gazillion bucks.

Addendum: Oh my stars. Proof that you really can find almost anything on youtube.

Hanson Lovers 4 Life!!!

Sometimes it takes 16 or 17 years for dreams to come true.  I’m talking about these dreams:


Bethany lives in this funny little bubble called Nashville and she knows somebody who knows somebody and long story short, she got asked to man the merchandise table at a Hanson concert this year. (second year in a row actually!)  When she asked me to come up and help out, it took me about 0.7 seconds to decide.  Uh yeah, how could I pass that randomness up?  The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sell hundreds of t-shirts for our old friends, the Hanson brothers.

Look who’s all grown up?

Photo from here

Probably the coolest part is that we got to see and hear a good hour of soundcheck whilst straightening piles of t-shirts.   They played through bits and pieces of several songs, asking for various adjustments to the sound system.  Then they worked on the old Turtles song ‘So Happy Together’ for what seemed like ages.  AGES, And then ps, they didn’t play it during the show.  Probably a good call b/c it didn’t sound awesome.  Here’s a shot of our private-concert-slash-sound-check

photo 2

When the doors opened, all the super hardcore Hanson fanatics came in first of course.  Some of them bought one of every t-shirt, some keychains, buttons, and matchbooks.  By 7:30 the house was packed, with a decently diverse crowd.  And by diverse, I mean 97% women in the 25-35 yrs old age bracket.  And a smattering of husbands and boyfriends.  Here’s our view from the t-shirt booth.

photo 3

The concert was really good.  Very high energy.  They played Mmmbop and a few other songs we know and love from that first mainstream album back in the day.  They did a few acoustic numbers that honestly were really good.  LIke, I would listen to that again.  It was non stop music for a good two hours. And one unexpected thing, the cheers did NOT get notably louder during those old songs, not even Mmmbop.

Speaking of Mmmbop:

Mmmbop was pretty much unchanged from its original radio version (whew!).  Maybe they sang it an octave lower?

Remarkably, I think the audience was filled with actual Hanson fans who do keep up with their new releases and so on.  I do think in general the crowd was still after Hanson as more of a ‘teen idol’ group. Taylor definitely got more screen time than the other two brothers although by now, I would offer that they are all grown up and basically equally attractive?  I guess young love dies hard and the other brothers are probably just fine with the arrangement.  And yes, there were some shrill, blow-your-eardrums, Beetles-on-Ed-Sullivan level screams for sure.

Meanwhile, the people working the t-shirt booth were really not up to speed on current Hanson offerings and were unable to answer any deep questions about any of the products.  Ahem. (Q: What’s on this DVD anyway? A: Why don’t you check out the description on the back?)  So to make up for it, we made this face the entire night.

photo 5

All told, we sold a BUNCH of t-shirts.  A ton of water bottles.  Several matchbooks.  Approximately 4 sets of Hansonopoly.  And at the end of the evening, the road manager announced that we were off by ZERO dollars. Because we are PERFECT merch girls obviously, highly competent at arithmetic.  So yeah, we did right by the Hanson boys.

Oh and guess what? We did get paid a small amount for our time, so you know what that makes us?  Hanson employees.  Blam.


Foto Friday: Epic Tour of Hinds County

One Happy Friday recently, Bethany and I had a mini-reunion, that I’m going to memorialize right now in its entirety. 

First Ransom and I met her at a coffee house near our old digs in the Fondren district of Jackson, MS.  Bethany got her old standard – a peach yogurt smoothie.  I got my fav ‘local honey iced coffee’.

Then we walked over to the “Rainbow Grocery”, a place that makes Whole Foods look like a Super-Walmart.  We oogled the castile soap, looked for organic chicken feed, and bought Ransom $2 worth of dried cherries.  Which he devoured.  Then we dropped that kiddo off with his daddy and headed off for more adventures.

Bethany wanted to see the new house, so we did a couple of drive-by’s.  (We’re still just under-contract, 2 more weeks to go! Or more, who knows.)  In lieu of touring the house, I offered to give her a tour of the city.  And by city, I mean “hamlet”.  Population 2,000.  But seriously, as you are about to see, our future hamlet city is the most adorable thing ever.

First off, like any self-respecting Southern city, it has a square.  But this little city kicks it up a notch by have a picture-perfect water tower right in the middle.


We *think* we saw a couple of film assistants walking around scouting locations, and I can’t say I blame them.  There are scene-worthy views around every corner.  How ’bout this courthouse?


How ’bout this adorable Catholic church?  I think it was built in 1880 or something.


We walked through the tiniest Sunflower on the planet.  Totally adorable.  Next up, dinner at the brand new Taco Del Mar.  Let me list the extent of dining option in the little town, besides Taco Del Mar:  To-go hibachi place, Sonic, Subway, a local greasy spoon, and Pizza Hut.  I believe the church-to-restaurant ratio may be slightly off.  There are a bunch of churches, so just where do these good folks eat for Sunday lunch?  Home? Heavens.

Okay.  We’re not done yet.

After dinner we drove back through the campus of Mississippi College, Bethany’s alma mater.  Driving past the science building, Bethany just couldn’t contain herself.  We had to go in.  Luckily a young lad in the lobby thought we looked trustworthy and let us in the building at 8pm on a Friday night.

As we wandered through the halls, who should pass but Bethany’s old advisor, working late obviously.  He was SUPER excited to see her and insisted on giving us a tour of the entire new biology building.

Oh yeah, ps, Bethany, the personal assistant by day and freelance violinist by night, has a B.S. in Biology.

So we are ducking in and out of fancy new labs, checking out the fan-tabulous light switches, and so forth, when we finally reach the pinnacle of the tour.  Good thing Bethany took a photo because there are no words:

cadaversOkay, some words.  Bethany and Dr Advisor are having this really excited discussion of how awesome all this is.  I’m having an internal dialog that goes something like:

“Did they just bring me in a room with a bunch of dead bodies?”

“Could there be any other logical explanation for why those white bags are shaped like bodies?”

“What just happened here?”

The answer are: Yes, they did.  No there isn’t.  And I have no idea.  The END.

Not really, we went back to the original coffee shop to brainstorm on blog stuff and take pictures of our bangs.  Bethany had another peach yogurt smoothie (badly made this time) and I had a hot tea. A full day. HAPPY WEEKEND Y’ALL!


The Bangles: A FotoFriday with a Trim

Bethany says:

Just like one should never go to the grocery store hungry, or to Target with money in one’s pocket, I learned today that it’s also not wise to go to the hairdresser discontent with one’s current haircut.  Or maybe that’s exactly the state one should go in….

I’ve been thinking about getting bangs for about ten years now.  I even claimed to have gotten bangs last June….but lets face it….I still looked the same.  (A childhood friend claimed I still looked the same as when I was 10.  So. Yeah.  Mission NOT accomplished.) But every time I go to the hairdresser, I chicken out.  I get all timid the minute my butt hits that pleather chair, and I walk out looking the same as I did walking in…minus the dead ends.  I’ve changed hairdressers about 10 times thinking that’s what I needed.  A new stylist would surely do the trick.  But then I give each one the same set of parameters and thus, I look the same Every. Time. For. Years.

I’ll spare the the details of the morning, but suffice to say I marched in to the The Green Pea salon and plopped down in Erika’s chair and basically said, “I-think-I-want-bangs-cut-them-now-before-I-change-my-mind.”  And cut them she did.  And I loved them.


hair credit: Erika Wright @ Green Pea Salon.

And then I got home and husband and I had a mild freak-out and decided neither of us were sure we liked them.  And then I cried.  And then I did what every wise girl does in situations of glamour-gone-awry…..I took an iPhone self portrait and texted it to the besties….who both gave the instant stamp of approval involving kind words, comparisons to Alexa Chung, and other forms of encouragement.  And then I loved them again.  And then husband decided HE loved them.  And then in a weird twist of same-wavelength-blogger/bestie-happenstance, I got a text from Mary-Hall and this joint post was born……


from Mary-Hall:

I promise we don’t plan this stuff or even talk to each other that often.  So when I got Bethany’s photo and text, I felt a shudder of both excitement and terror, for I had my own hair appointment in 5 hours and similarly crazy plans.  If B did it, then well so could I, right?  But hair terror? Yes, that is a real thing.  For me though, the terror faded quickly.

Bethany’s gorgeous NATURALLY highlighted brown locks have been always been long and have always looked beautiful, even when she hasn’t even brushed it in 4 days.  I, however, have had the blessing of experiencing many many different hair phases – long, short, curly, frizzy, straight, horribly hacked by a barber in China, been there done that.  Moral of that story: bad haircuts are really no biggie.  They always grow out.

So I also marched into the salon and gave the stylist full control.  I guess it was “big-chunky-bangs” day for stylists across the Southern US, ’cause that’s what I got!  I like them a lot.  I’m not super stoked about the rest of the haircut {yet} besides the bangs, but you know what?  That problem is easily solved – ponytail!


So BLAM.  Mark it down in history.  March 7, 2013.  The day we both got bangs. For the first time ever (Bethany) and for the first time since.. oh, 1987-ish (me).

Foto Friday Surprise

Guess who I had a random and nearly spontaneous lunch with yesterday?

Yep, a mini co-blogger reunion.  Only the second time I’ve seen Bethany this whole year I think.  You kinda lose track of that sort of thing when you blog together, however sparingly.

Bethany was passing through Mississippi en route to a far flung music gig in Houston, so I got to hang out with the whole band.  She wants a disclaimer on the following photo that she had been up since 3am and driving a fifteen passenger van with a trailer on the back (skillz!!) since 4am.   I told her that was silly because she looks great – must be all that healthy eating.

And yes, there was some scheming going on.  More on that later!

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