Life is a test. We are not present on earth to just exist; we are here to learn. Life is a lesson. Love one another unconditionally. Love thyself unconditionally. We spend our whole lives learning to do this. Some succeed and some never have a clue. I'm trying. Love my fellow man. Don't react and don't always have to be right. This is one I'll have to work on for the rest of my life. Appreciate each day and recognize positive and negative as a part of life's experiences. Look around me and see life at it's best. The joys of living come as you strive to achieve your dreams. Its the quality of each day that is important, not the distant dream once achieved. Teach and nurture my children. You can never give them too much love. -Randa Jex 1/1/94

Friday, December 24


I feel like I am overflowing with joy this year! God has blessed us in so many ways this year- Our family and friends are in good health, Cory married an amazing woman and mother and we now have 2 new nieces and 2 nephews, we get to see our sweet niece Julia Claire pretty often and love seeing her grow into a smart and adorable little girl, we have loving and supportive parents and siblings, we have great jobs and hobbies that are fulfilling, and we have been given a little miracle that we are continuously thankful for. We hope this finds each of you having a wonderful Christmas full of family, love, laughter, and your own little miracles...whatever they may be.

11 weeks
Our sweet little love bug...look at that sweet profile and perfect toes!

these are 4D pictures, really cool how the doc can probe in and show me the placenta and umbilical cord and how it all fits is amazing!

I'm 11 weeks! (1st Trimester)
How many weeks/days remaining: 29 weeks

Expected Due Date: July 15, 2011

Next Dr. Appointment: January 19

Size of baby: Baby Jex is the size of a large lime...2"

Baby Heartbeat: 180 BPM (right on target!)

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Lost 2 lbs. I was dumbfounded because I have been eating everything in site and the doctor said I need to gain 6 by the next visit..I need to be +4lbs from my beginning weight. How come when you try not to gain weight it packs right on and when you are actually trying to gain weight it just won't happen. Dr. said I am fine for now but to focus on eating more. Looks like I need to move back into the Phi Mu sorority house for a few weeks.

Maternity Clothes: Not yet

Gender: We will find out in 8 weeks

Sickness: I wish I could post the same thing I did 2 weeks ago but unfortunately I got my fair share of sickness...I have been flat on my back sick this week. Nauseated every evening around 8...then the past few days hourly sickness through the entire night accompanied that. Dr. prescribed Phenegran and that has helped the past 2 nights but I still feel very uneasy. Dr. said he thinks this will subside in Tri2...2 more weeks!

Workout: Working out 3-4 times a week with the exception of this week and being so sick.

Movement: Not that I can feel however during the sonogram Baby J started kicking its legs and moving its arms. Simply amazing!

Sleep: Really hard to fall asleep because of the nausea however most nights I sleep through the night.

Pregnancy Highlights: Genuine Sympathy-- when I was sick I got so many kind words and messages from other woman who had been there, encouraging me and letting me know about their pregnancies. One of my friends even brought me (all the way from TN when visiting for the holidays) a few boxes of nausea decreasing candy and chews that worked for her. Women, and MEN, have been so understanding and thoughtful.

What I miss: Still miss that clear skin...and fresh (raw) tuna. But that's about it.

Cravings/Aversions: I still crave Baked Potatoes and oranges or anything citrus. Sweets, ice cream, chicken, and fish don't look appetizing at all.

Symptoms: Sickness (boo!)

Best Moment this week: Seeing our sweet little baby on Wednesday complete with fingers and toes. When Baby J moved around right after I said "this little baby better have grown something amazing in the last few days for how sick it's made me"..I knew it had a great sense of humor. Seeing that tiny little miracle was the highlight of 2010, BY FAR!

Friday, December 17

2 Steps forward, one step back...

Zach's dad was in town for a few things today so I told him to bring his work clothes and I was gonna put him and Zach to work. It was such a nice surprise to come home at lunch to all the Jex men, including Kellen, awaiting their duties. Man I could get used to this whole "not lifting a finger" lifestyle that accompanies pregnancy. I was so proud of us for being proactive and moving furniture around between the rooms long before the baby gets here so we don't leave it till the last minute. The tasks at hand were:
1) Disassemble bunk beds in back bedroom
2) Disassemble queen bed in 3rd bedroom (aka nursery)
3) Put one of bunk beds in attic and reassemble the other one in the 3rd bedroom (aka nursery).
4) Reassemble queen bed in back bedroom
5) Get rocking horse out of attic that Zach's dad hand made in college

Well everything was going great and beds were getting moved, rocking horse came down (and may I say it is the cutest thing I have ever seen)....and then
... [insert Zach's scream].

I ran into the hallway from the back bedroom and screamed up into the attic..."Zach are you okay" and then from the attic I hear Kellen say...."ohhhhhhhh s*it". I slowly walk into the nursery hoping not to see what I am expecting to see and sure enough...2 long legs hanging from the ceiling, braced only by one crossbeam that caught Zach at the knee and was preventing him from falling another 13 feet to the floor. I can't go into detail about the next few minutes because I think my body blocked it out for the babies sake. All I know is Kellen helped hoist him up from the hole without managing to fall through with him and I was so relieved. Zach came down with a sore neck but no scrapes or bruises (yet) and no broken bones...again all thanks to that one little crossbeam that prevented the major SPLAT. As soon as we realized he was okay I just wanted to punch him for being careless because I need him for a very long time and so does this is not the time to go hurting himself. But I realized it wasn't his fault...we was after all carrying a huge bed frame in a dark attic. So I guess you can say Zach escaped death yet again.... now we just have to get a sheetrocker over here the week of Christmas...right! I know it may seem silly but today made be so grateful it was not worse and it made me feel so thankful for a healthy husband to "carry" half of my load in life, I don't know what I would do without that guy!

Tuesday, December 14

Week 9 Bump Update

I will try and do these every few weeks and maybe more than that when I start getting really pregnant.

I'm 9 weeks, 4 days! (1st Trimester)

How many weeks/days remaining: 30 weeks, 3 days

Expected Due Date: July 15, 2011

Next Dr. Appointment: December 22...second sonogram!

Size of baby: Baby Jex is the size of a prune...1.5"

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Lost 1.5lbs but don't you worry I have been eating like a 300lb truck driver. My theory is this lil baby must be a Jex Boy and requires A LOT of nourishment just like his daddy.

Maternity Clothes: Not needed yet however I just grabbed a loot from the Gap on Cyber-Monday just in case the bump creeps up on me. Oh and I got a maternity swimsuit at Target because it was on sale and I fully intend to be a 8-9 mo. pregnant beached whale in a pool most of next summer. Also my friends Laura and Kim are loaning me some maternity clothes because they rock!

Gender: Won't know until February. A friend here is planning a gender-reveal party so you are all invited! We want to find out at the same time our family does! I think it's a boy but I am slightly hoping for a girl so she can borrow her cousin Elle's is slightly insane and fabulous! Lisha went from hoarding markers and paint pens in college to hoarding adorable baby girl clothes as a mom.
Sickness: None...yet. Thank God!!! I am a pitiful sick person! I don't always feel so fabulous right before I go to bed but wake up feeling normal. Zach said God gave me the short stick on vision and hearing so the least he could do is give me a great pregnancy.

Workout: Working out 3-4 times a week. Still doing Turbo Kick but at a much lower intensity than I used to. Would love to still be running but it is way too cold outside!

Movement: Won't have any for a while...Sweet Pea is too small.

Sleep: Like a log as always. I am grateful for every night it stays like this because I know the day is coming soon where sleep is hard to come by.

Pregnancy Highlights: It's been great so far, if all of my pregnancies are like this I might have 10 kids. Loving how quickly my hair is growing and it is thicker than usual! You have to understand, I was born with the thinnest, finest hair so this is a huge perk for me!
What I miss: Clear skin.
Sometimes I miss Dr. Pepper and Sweet Tea, I gave up caffeine altogether. The other night at a party someone brought milk favorite holiday adult beverage and it was killing me that I could not have it.

Cravings/Aversions: I crave Baked Potatoes- I literally could have them for every meal. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are always yummy in fact I have one every night as my second dinner. I cannot stand the sight of grilled chicken or fish. Ewww. It's crazy because we used to eat Chicken every other night. I have to eat every 2-3 hours, not because the Dr. told me it was healthy but because I literally will rip someones arm off or resort to dog food as soon as hunger hits. I can go straight from not hungry at all to insanely hungry in 2 seconds flat.

Symptoms: Hunger, Bust has grown a size-boooo! At this rate I am screwed!, Sleepiness- not during the day but around 9pm I feel like I have been drugged...I was a night owl, not anymore.

Best Moment this week: There are a few: Zach told me for once in our lives he can't keep up with me and my eating. Zach dreamed we had triplet girls....hahahah. The same night I dreamed that I was in labor and we had a healthy baby- and at birth HE had red hair and freckles and was so cute.

Saturday, December 11

Happy 30th Zach!

2 posts in one day...can you tell I am procrastinating from getting into the art studio and doing a million things.
this is Uncle Zach "eating" Julia Claire's arm...she just loves him and giggles so much! Sorry it's fuzzy I am terrible with the fancy camera.

On December 8, we celebrated Zach's 30th birthday! The day started with a huge breakfast of eggs, bacon, buscuits, fruit (not sure who was happier me or Z...I love eating big breakfasts these days) Then that night Kellen and Becky came in town and we all went out to Pearl Street for dinner!! It was so yummy and Julia Claire was the happiest little munchkin at dinner! While we discussed everything you could imagine about babies, birth (according to Med-school Kellen), pregnancy, and everything else to expect... Jules sat there quietly eating her blueberries, ice cubes and clattering about animals and stars. I hate to be partial but I think she is so adorable and growing into the prettiest little girl!
Every time I see her I feel like she has grown so much I wish we could just freeze time but also it is so fun hearing her talk and learn and she is really taking in the world. Let's just hope she wasn't absorbing any of the dinner table convo! Then it was back to our house for ice cream cake! It was a wonderful night and I think Zach liked spending his big 30 having a low key night with a few of his favorite people! For his big 30, I bought Zach a couch for the study...we got a call the day it was supposed to be delivered saying we were entered into a drawing with all the purchasers from Thanksgiving weekend and we won a flat screen HDTV!! We never win anything and I was so excited. So now we have a new couch in the study and a flat screen in our bedroom!

Outpouring of Love!

Since we found out we are having a baby we have gotten so much support and love from family and friends and I had to share some of the cutest little "gender-neutral" gifts we have gotten for Baby J and other really great reading material. Thank you all for the sweet cards and messages. It has been so much fun and we are just 9 weeks into the adventure. 31 weeks to go!

Let's start with the first 2 little gifts for Baby Jex. I bought the Led Zeppelin Onesie online months ago as soon as Zach and I decided we were gonna "hava a baby". As you might know this is one of Zach's favorite bands of all time so we had to make sure our lil punkin' was rockin out too. Then if you are a Ross you know how we love sock monkeys. There has always been a special one named Ezra that dad gave mom when they were dating and then for Cory and Alicia's wedding mom and dad gave personalized monkeys to all the kids to signify that even though their last name is not Ross, they are still Ross we had to grab this sweet lil Sock monkey beanie from the Gap.

For thanksgiving, Mom and Dad aka...Papa and Gram (or whatever name they settle on) gave us these sweet little winter boots. I am just in love with them and how darn small they are. It is hard to image the "olive-sized baby" growing in my tummy will be able to fit into these in one year.

This week the sweetest ornament arrived from Aunt Franny and Uncle Tim and the kids. I remember when Franny got pregnant with JT, she had an ornament made by the same artist and it had stockings on a mantle and then an extra one for Baby W. She gave them for gifts and that is how she told the family. I was so excited to unwrap this because I know every year when I hang it I will remember how excited we were the Christmas of 2010.

Becky sent me this AWESOME skin care line called Belli! It smells so awesome and it came with lotion, exfoliater, stretch mark oil, and more! I have not had a need to use the oil yet however I have contemplated using it on another region that is growing by the hour :)

One of my favorite gifts we have gotten are helpful and hilarious books! Alicia and Cory sent Zach this book...I hope he finds a few helpful hints in it. I might even have to write in my own little additions!

Within days of telling McShane I was having a baby the most hilarious book showed up on my doorstep...the Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. I will refrain from quoting the book in case I have any readers with a weak stomach but this book keeps me laughing! Zach will look over at me in bed as I laugh out loud and I simply look at him and say "you don't want to know". Thank you so much Lauren, you know me too well! I have to give Lauren a HUGE shout out for the 8 page typed document she sent me. I actually told Lauren before we told our parents or anyone else because when she got pregnant she was a person trainer in NYC and I had a million questions for her and I didn't want to stop working out for the next 4 weeks until we told everyone. Questions like "Can I still work out?" "If so, is it safe to do the same workouts I am doing now" "Why do people say you can't do crunches" and on and on. So Mrs. Fabulous Over-achiever typed up a novel quoting statistics from medical boards and the American OBGYN association (or something to that effect) and laid to rest all the rumors and guided me in a safe direction with workout examples! How awesome is that...if only she lived about 14 states closer to drag me off of the couch and make me workout on my lazy days.

So like I said, thank you again for all the well wishes and love these last few weeks! We feel so blessed and know baby J is going to be so loved!

Saturday, December 4

It's Baby Time!

We are so excited to finally be able to let the cat out of the bag and shout from the mountain tops...."WE'RE HAVING A BABY". I still can't believe it since I have not had too many symptoms (crossing my fingers and knocking on wood it stays that way), but it became a reality to us 2 weeks ago we had our first sonogram and the little bambino looks great. Heart beat was strong-117 BPM (I guess that is the reason I become winded just walking upstairs) and the little bean was measuring exactly (to the day) the estimated age. We are just over 8 weeks now and the sweet pea is due on July 15, 2011. So stay tuned for more exciting news as Baby J progresses and YES we are finding out the gender for all of my crazy family members who think we should wait and let it be a surprise...haha riggggght. In case you forgot, I am Mrs. Planner/decorator/mapper outter/ monogrammer/picture painter/nursery dreamer upper....I have a folder on my desktop full of nursery ideas I came across over the past year or so. There is no way this baby will enter this world with a bedroom that is anything less than inspiring, stimulating, and totally dreamlike...or at least that is what I am envisioning :)

Thank you to all of our family and friends that have been so wonderfully supportive and have shared in our joy. We have felt so surrounded by love and hope these last few weeks that I know Baby J will be coming into a blessed life with so many people that love him or her.

Tuesday, November 23

Ole Miss/LSU Weekend and more

Well this last weekend proved to be a heart breaker as Ole Miss played their little buns off but just couldn't come through with the win in the end. It was a hard loss but it really came down to whoever had scored last when the time ran out because it was so close the whole game. We had a fun weekend in Baton Rouge. It all started at Chimes for the launch of Tin Roof Beer. Two of Zach's good friends from home started a brewery in Baton Rouge and this week they launched their first 2 beers, Perfect Tin and VooDoo Bengal. Zach was so excited to get down there and show his support aka..drink a lot o' beer! We impatiently waited in an hour of traffic entering Baton Rouge to finally make it to the Launch Party and it was so worth it.
Zach and Charles (sorry for the terrible quality I forgot my camera so we took this on Zach's phone)

Then it was back in traffic to head to Lauren and Madison's Couples Shower! It was so nice to see the two love birds and I am so excited about seeing them get hitched in March I can't stand it. All the girls pitched in a got them a KitchenAid Mixer! They were both really excited- Lauren wanted to start baking and Madison wants the Sausage maker attachment. It was a great time and enjoyed seeing the girl, their boys, and Brooks!

The next day we tailgated with friends and then headed to Superior Grill to meet up with the entire Richardson clan and the Luphers. Elle had a ball showing off all her signs and tricks to Uncle Zach. She is a doll!!

Tuesday, November 9

Great minds think alike!

I just found this picture on one of my favorite blogs (thanks Lisha) and it jumped out at me. She used the same colors we, white, gray/blue, and mustard yellow!!

Master Re-Decorate

Well about a month ago I redecorated our master bedroom and I am just now getting around to posting pictures. I also have new bedding on order but I will have to show that after it arrives. The reason behind this redo is because 1) Zach said he felt like we lived in a cell block. The gray/blue color we loved a year and a half ago was just not exuding the warmth and charm you want in a sunny master bedroom. And 2) we had to get some Drapes, there is just too much sun pouring into those 10 ft windows on Saturday mornings when you are trying to sleep late.

So to combat dilemma #1 I asked Zach if he would bear with me on the color if I brought in accessories and drapes that livened it up. So as you can tell, I killed 2 birds with one stone...DRAPES!

The color pallet I used is navy, white, mustard yellow and gray/blue. The walls are much more gray and less blue in person. Some of these pictures make them look periwinkle but they are really more of a steel blue in person. The new bedding I ordered is all white with lots of different textures and quilting. I had to show off the Bolster pillow mom made me- gray/blue giraffe print with yellow piping to match the drapes. I sewed the drapes and all of the blue and white thick striped pillows. I love that nautical/beachy look of the blue and white stripes. Some mornings I pretend I am laying in a cabana in the Caribbean...haha just kidding but it sounds nice, right?

I was so nervous when I brought home 76 feet of bold mustard yellow damask fabric but I figured GO BOLD or GO HOME! So I did and we love the way it looks! In the mornings when the drapes are closed and the sun is hitting them it makes the room the most beautiful golden color. It is go cozy!!! I have a new design in the works (mentally) for one of our guest bedrooms and I am begging Zach to let me do it as my Christmas present (he is a smart man and I think he is starting to realize that although I am Frugal Francie it will be a more expensive endeavor than our usual Christmas gifts). The room has exposed brick on one wall and I thinking of doing a "New Orleans loft" design- very warm colors, textures, and urban elements! But until I get the green light I will just continue dreaming......

Friday, November 5

Meal 184.... Cajun Chicken Pasta (courtesy of the Square Table Cookbook...all recipes from Oxford, MS) In case you didn't read my post a few weeks ago, I am on a quest to cook for 200 out of the next 365 days. Counting backward from 200 I am currently on 184! This week consisted of Homemade Chili and Cornbread, Grilled Chicken with Broccoli and Edemame, King Ranch Chicken Casserole, Breakfast for Dinner, and Cajun Chicken Pasta! We were on a major comfort food kick since the weather has gotten pretty chilly!

Cajun Pasta is one of Zach's favorites so I changed it up a bit and instead of using shrimp since we didn't have any fresh shrimp I used chicken. It was an awesome dish...spicy enough for big Z but not too spicy for me. I also made some garlic flatbread with Olive Oil Dipping Sauces. My Aunt Lynette gave us a Olive Oil Dipping set from William Sonoma when she came and stayed with us in September. I have been dying to try it- Pesto and Parmesan...Pesto was our favorite! Thanks Nette! They were so yummy!

On another note, we had an awesome time on Oxford this past weekend. We got to spend a lot of time catching up with old friends on the square and it was fun watching the street of Oxford fill up the college kids sporting their creative Halloween get-ups. Most of the guys costumes were hilarious and the ladies costumes....well barely there! The Grove was more gorgeous than I remembered on the perfect fall afternoon and although we lost to Auburn we played a heck of a game! Zach almost lost his voice in the first 3 minutes of the game but at that point it looked hopeful for the Rebels. Jamie and Jarrod were awesome hosts as always and we look forward to our next Oxford weekend. As soon as I get my pictures uploaded I will post a few from the weekend. I have to say, we really missed our friends that could not be there!

I'm headed upstairs to the studio...Garland and Glitz is in less then 2 weeks and I have a lot of painting and creating to do! As you can tell by all of my supplies that will all be transformed into Christmas gifts by the 18th! Stay tuned...this weekend will consist of paint, sewing machine, embroidery machine, and a whole lotta red bull!

Friday, October 29

Fall has FINALLY begun!

I walked outside last night and the cool air and the "smell of fall" hit me like a ton of bricks! I love this weather and I love the way it makes you feel.... Like holidays are right around the corner and it inspires me to make yummy meal and snuggle up on the couch! This week to honor our Ole Miss Rebels ... we did a little pumpkin decorating! We are headed to Oxford in t-minus 5 hours to cheer on the REBELS as they take on the undefeated Auburn Tigers. Let's hope the scantily clad sorority-girl Halloween costumes are scarier than the way we play! Like we always say, we might not win every game (or any at all) but we never loose a party!

Here is last week's Pumpkin Chili...YUMMMMMY!!! (Compliments of the wonderful chef Regina Charboneau) We served it with a spread of Fajitas and all the fixings for our church small group gathering at our house Sunday and dinner was fabulous if I do say so myself. But then again who can mess up meat, tortillas, and a mother load of queso?!?!

Monday, October 11

Dinner Success!! Day 1 of 200...

So while living in Jackson over the past 3 months I decided I was really going to make an effort in the kitchen when I returned home. Zach and I love to cook together and we do so most weekdays but we pretty much rotate between about 10 'repeat meals'. So I am going to try and spice it up and I have promised Zach to cook 200 days out of the next year. So by October 11, 2011....we will have had 200 home-cooked meals. WHO ELSE IS UP FOR THE CHALLENGE??

I am looking for a good cookbook to "Cook through"...yup one page at a time until I have completed all of them! The Oxford Square cookbook seemed to be the front runner but I am scared to death we might die from high cholesterol in the next 200 days if I cook through that one. That Oxford food is deliciously sinful! So now I am searching for a cookbook with a nice combination of healthy meals and that good ole home cooking that makes your arteries burn!

So here is DAY 1: From scratch Chicken Pot Pie courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa
Review: HUGE SUCCESS- we will have it again...and again. Plus it makes a ton. We ate 3 servings and we have 6 servings left. Those went into the freezer for a chilly fall day!
Cooking Chicken, Boiling raw carrots, simmering Chicken Stock, and Simmering Onions

The end result in loaf pans (it made 4)

But after Zach dumped his on his plate we realized it was a ton of food so 1 dish=2 servings. I only ate half of mine and I was stuffed.

Zach on the other hand cleaned his plate! Yummy!!!

The Latest for Wyatt's Torch

I wanted to stop by and give you an update on Zach's LLC, Wyatt's Torch. A university near Natchez just got a new director for Advanced Technologies and they have been working with some people in Natchez to discuss setting up a technology incubator (they already have a grant from the government for it, but it has laid dormant) to counsel and help grow the economy in Southwest Mississippi, focused in the area of technology, and more specifically software and application development, by helping young tech businesses are entrepreneurs flourish. They asked Zach to come in and help get it off the ground. They have the space already chosen and they hope to furnish it with tech equipment by late November. Zach is so excited that he has been asked to sit on the committee and hopefully this technology incubator will be a starting point for some of Zach's future apps (he has come up with some great ones so stay tuned).

For those of you asking, why the name Wyatt's Torch? In Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged one of her heroes, Ellis Wyatt, defiantly blows up his oilfield rather than surrender his business to a government edict. One well couldn't be extinguished, creating Wyatt’s Torch that served as a symbol for the flame of individuality and reason. I think Zach chose wisely!

Also GameDay Map is moving right along. They submitted the app to Apple last week so they are waiting on approval and the app will most likely launch at the Auburn- Ole Miss Game on Halloween weekend!

Wednesday, September 29

Winner winner Chicken Dinner

As the temperatures cool off all I can think about is returning home to Natchez and snuggling up with dinner and a movie on the couch with my hubs! My good friend from home posted this recipe on her blog and I cannot wait to make it for my man who has worked so hard over the past 3 months while I have been away for work. He deserves some Comfort Food!!!

Chicken Pot Pie. My friend The Barefoot Contessa knows how to do it.


3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 Tbs olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock (she says make your own, I sure didn't)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup flour
1/4 heavy cream
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Cube the chicken breasts and cook in a skillet. Remove from heat.

Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan dissolving the bouillon cubes. Let simmer over medium heat. In a large pot melt the butter. When the butter is melted, add chopped onion and saute over med-low heat for 15 minutes or until translucent. Slowly add flour to the onions, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the onions and flour and stir until thick. Add 3/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoons pepper + heavy cream. Add your cubed chicken, peas, carrots and parsley. Remove from heat.

*I used carrots, corn, and green beans because that's what I had on hand. The more the merrier!
For the Pastry:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 lb cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs water for egg wash

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in stand mixer with paddle attachment. You can also use a food processor. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each pieces is coated with flour. Mix on low speed until the fat is the size of peas. With the mixer running, add the ice water. Only mix until the dough is moistened and just comes together. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling among 5 oven safe bowls. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle large enough to cover the top of one bowl. Place the dough over the bowl and press to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

*I don't have 5 oven safe bowls so I use a casserole dish and two mini loaf pans. Perfect to freeze and safe for the chilly days to come.

Wednesday, September 22

Cory and Alicia

Did you ever pray for something for so long that you can't really believe your eyes when it comes to fruition. Well for the last few years I have been praying for my amazing brother to meet a woman that would not only love him and treat him well but also allow him to be his adventurous self and encourage him to become the best man and marine he can be. There are so many important components to a relationship but in my last 2 years of marriage I have learned so much about love that I never knew before. I learned that for me, since I often lack confidence, having someone that is my biggest fan and is always pushing me to be better than I thought I could, stronger than I knew possible, dream bigger than my conservative mind allowed, achieve professional goals I never realized existed and someone that is constantly reminding me that I am loved, appreciated, and that I should love myself. Once I knew that feeling...I prayed for Cory to find it too. I wanted someone to come into his life and make him aware of the wonderful qualities we see in him....I wanted someone there everyday pushing him and enjoying life with him.

Well God (as always) answered my prayers in so many ways. Not only did Alicia walk into his life, but in a matter of one year she turned the world as he knew it upside-down. She is amazing and I am so excited that I get to call her a sister. Alicia has a calm and collected quality about her...she is a nurturer, an optimist, and her fun loving nature is the perfect compliment for Cory. We just got some great news that her kids were going to be able to come to the wedding after originally thinking this was not a possibility. But thanks to months of perseverance by Cory and Alicia, many prayers, and an awesome judge (to whom I want to send chocolates, cookies and heck maybe even my first born)...the kids are coming and we could not be more excited! Only a few more hours of work and then I am headed to Natchez and tonight I will be meeting my little nieces and nephews for the first time!

I know I only tend to get on here and blog when we are going on vacation and my friend Laura recently told me I'm gonna lose my blogging privileges if I don't blog here you go! You asked for is a recap of my boring weekend:

I think I have slowly forgotten the meaning of a weekend. To relax, be lazy, only move when you have to, see how long you can stay in your PJs without taking a shower, etc. Two days when sometimes the most productive thing you do is brush your teeth or feed the dog. Well ever since I moved to Jackson I feel like my weekends have been dictated by an hour-to-hour to do list. This past weekend was a workathon and I found myself driving to Jackson Monday morning thinking, "Ahhhhhh now that it is the work week I get to breath and slow down". WHAT???? Snap out of it Shannon, that is so backwards! Three weeks ago I was so busy at work that I could barely find time for lunch or a phone call to Zach and now I am considering that to be my less busy time of the week even though work is still crazy, I guess my personal life caught up. Two thumbs down!
So here I am, trying to find time to relax on the bridge between weekends.
In retrospect, although I am basically running on fumes at this point, I am really proud of everything I completed this weekend. I got a WILD sewing hair and set up my machine in one of the guestrooms. I strategically positioned the table to face the tv so my marathon sewing would be accompanied by college football, Lifetime movies, HGTV, or whatever other mindless show came on to distract me from realizing just how long I had been sitting there.
And "SEW" it begins....
8 Ten foot curtain panels for the master bedroom (mustard and white damask)
2 large pillows for the bed (navy and white bold stripes)
1 coordinating navy and white striped pillow for the rocking chair (couldn't let a yard of fabric go to waste)
4 black and white damask table runners for the wedding
then I got artsy and made 2 special surprises for Cory and Alicia's wedding (both very time consuming but will be worth the work) and I finished painting the kitchen window that was still natural wood color from the renovation. (yes I know that was almost 1 year ago...I have been busy people!) I also painted a pretty cool abstract piece for above our bed...I call it "White Noise". I think it is so calming but also adds the perfect design element to our newly decorated bedroom. Here is a picture of it drying in my hotel room but I will post pics of it in the bedroom soon. This is about 5 feet wide.

Then, I topped off the weekend by completely reorganizing the pantry. Let me fill you in on how this chore came about. I was on a stool in the pantry grabbing some serving dishes for next weekend brunch and I thought to myself....this pantry is nuts. (anyone standing within an ear shot might say the same about me) I decided to stop what I was doing to reorganize it. Do you ever do that? Do you go in a room to get something and then an hour later you find yourself still in that room addressing an issue that has been bothering you for months??
So art projects are done, sewing projects complete, window is painted, and pantry is newly organized. A few last errands need to be run and then we are ready to have another wedding!

Thursday, August 12

The. contract. is. signed.

The. contract. is. signed.

Yes, you heard it right, I signed on the dotted line Thursday and sold GamedayMap to a conglomeration of players who got together specifically for this project.

I gave up all ownership rights for a perpetual (for all you non-lawyers, that means "forever") royalty based on gross revenues. They have already begun transferring the source code, have an investor and advertisers lined up, and are meeting with new groups about new technological ideas (360 degree cameras, cell phone boosters in the grove, something to do with Google Earth, etc). I feel relatively confident that GamedayMap is gong to be pretty successful. They want to have a beta iPhone app out much sooner than originally anticipated (think late Sept/early October).

All in all, pretty sweet!


Friday, August 6

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger

12 days down, and 59 to go! And somehow I have managed not to royally mess anything up.

Well living/working in Jackson during the weeks has not been all that bad but then again I am only 1/6 of the way done so ask me again in about 35 days. There are some perks of being back in Jack-town like seeing all my good friends and work buddies, getting to see Baby Jackson quite often, Renaissance shopping isn't too shabby, i heart target & hobby lobby, I have had a lot of quality art time in the hotel at night, and the omelet man is my saving grace in the morning (the hotel breakfast is super fabulous). But work is tough. I'm not gonna lie, after a few skipped lunches and a few 11 hour workdays I was ready to throw in the towel but I think I might be getting acclimated to the workload and the insane amount of email...the key to it all- prioritizing! For those that aren't familiar it means finding the important items and pretty much ignoring the rest. Needle in a haystack!

Here is a picture of me leaving 12 days ago followed by one when I got home today- still positive and not showing any effects of the stress!
12 days ago


Enough about me, let's talk about something fun! Like Gameday Map! Zach is still working with the developers to finalize the terms of the contract and the ink should be hitting the paper pretty soon. The pro forma is complete and they are just waiting to receive the licensing agreement from the lawyers. And then we are officially licensed! Oh happy day (and our happy dance ensues)

Wednesday, July 14

It's not a phase, it's a lifestyle....

First off I would like to apologize for being quite possibly the worlds worst blogger. I decide to post as many big events as I could so Lauren DeFrehn will stop harassing me :) Let me start by at least trying to offer up some type of an excuse...I am a sucker for over-committing myself. And it only took me 28 years to realize this. I found myself always saying..."wow this is a busy month" and about 8 months ago I realized that it was not a phase but instead, it has become my lifestyle. 90 to nothing, full throttle, chicken with it's head cut it what you want but I have started to just call it my life.

This past weekend we were in Oxford for a wedding and while I was there we met with the owner of Miss Punkins Gift Shop- they will be the first official retailer of the Shannon Jex artwork line! It was the neatest store carrying everything from pottery, wedding registries, baby gifts, Ole Miss name it. I am now in the process of building up inventory and getting stuff ready to retail. This coming Monday is the beginning of a 3 month work assignment where I will be living in Jackson 4-5 days a week and I will commute to Natchez for the weekends. I know it is not the ideal situation but Zach and I did it once when he was commuting to Houston so being just 2 hours away should be a breeze. I am looking forward to having more time to work on artwork in the evening and seeing all my Jackson friends.

And on to some big news!!! Zach had an in-person meeting here in Natchez with one of the Directors for the Mississippi Technology Alliance and a conference call with their Entrepreneurial Team in Jackson about Gameday Map. They have been helping him flesh out options regarding further development and most importantly deciding on a revenue model. The MTA then put him in touch with Dream Logic, a young company in Jackson, MS who develops web applications along with iPhone and Droid applications. They are experienced enough to work with large companies in Jackson but young enough to know what Gameday Map needs. Then they pitched it to another company in Jackson and received and unbelievable response. They want to partner with Wyatt's Torch, Zach's LLC, and aid in development and marketing of the product! They plan to come to Natchez to present Zach with the plans and if we decide to move forward they would like to have something to market by Football season...WHOA! We were elated to hear it could be a real possibility to see it become an iPhone app and android app sometime this year. All this good news came to us last week on our way to Oxford, ironically enough.

I hope this is somewhat of an excuse or explanation as to why I had such a long blog-cation. I remember the days when summer meant sleeping late, relaxing, swimming, and occasional errand here or there. Instead, our days seem to be go-go-go from the moment our head leaves the pillow until the moment it returns.

One final note: While we were in Oxford this weekend for a wedding, a law school friend of Zach's told me she keeps up with us on facebook and was wondering exactly how many businesses we work for and/or have started between the two of us. So I counted them up and the answer.....7.

Wedding Planning!

us having a blast at the florist of all places! She is fun anywhere!

Wedding planning is underway for my brother and my awesome new sister-in-law. Alicia and her mom came down to Natchez in June to visit and we had the best time getting to know them better! After the visit I am even more excited that she will be joining the family! We had such a productive weekend and nailed down the dress, band, venue, menu, flowers, cake, rehearsal dinner, bridal brunch, and all the little details in between. I was so proud of my dad for tagging along and being such a good sport even during all the girly stuff! We are so excited to have Country Fried out of New Orleans coming to play for the reception. They cover Johnny cash, Willie, etc...could there be a better fit for my brother?

We couldn't let them leave without a trip to Mammy's Cupboard for a yummy lunch and Pig Out Inn for some southern BBQ!

Jackson's Arrival, June 16, 2010

You are probably thinking right about now that I am numerically challenged and cannot count. Although I am challenged by many things in life, counting is not one of them...I count how many minutes are left until 5pm on almost a daily basis!

Let me fill you in on my numbers
One best friend is in a serious relationship
Two best friends are engaged
Four best friends are married
Three best friends now have babies! And may I say Elle, Hunter, and Jackson are the cutest babies ever..besides my niece of course!! (can't deny those Jexes have good genes!)
Seven best friends are about 7 times more blessings than I girl could ever ask for

So congratulations to Laura and Matt on the arrival of Jackson on 6-16-10. As soon as I heard Laura had him I jumped into the car and headed to Jackson to see Jackson. He is so teeny tiny. I guess I am not around babies enough to appreciate how small and perfect every little detail is from their tiny little fingernails to the legs the size of a single Twix. He is so cute and I have actually had the pleasure of meeting him on his birthday and a few weeks later. He looked a tad bigger but his legs were still the cutest little Twix bars I have ever seen. I am really looking forward to living in Jackson for the next 3 months so that I can get to know little peanut even better! Although I think he has already warmed up to Aunt Shay because the 2nd time I visited, he blew out his diaper right in front of me like I was part of the family!