Friday, December 18, 2009

Photos of Southwest Kansas/Oklahoma Panhandle


There once was a time when newsrooms didn't have Mac's, digital Canon camera, voice recorders, email communication or scanners.

Instead...

Newsrooms had typewriters, dark rooms, note pads and pen, face to face communication and the only scanning done was with your eye.

My newspaper, The Southwest Times, has boxes upon boxes of old photographs that appeared in the paper decades ago. Old photographs? At one point it wasn't as easy of snap a shot on a digital camera and digitally input the photo on to the newspaper page on a Mac program like Quark.

What's to be done with all these photos? I don't know but they are sure fun to look through and post on the blog. Expect more in the coming months.


This would be from the Liberal High School Homecoming parade. Unsure of what year but the marching band is traveling down Kansas Ave. in Liberal the main street in town. If you look closely on the right hand side you'll see a sign labeled Bingo. It is still there today and I pass it daily.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stuff Under 20 : Glam Rock at the Office


Don't forget to check me out on the fashion blogsite, Stuff Under 20. Every Thursday I am a contributor to six great fashion finds for under $20. Above is the outfit creation I created for last Thursday. For links to purchase please click below...

{Post I}, {Post II}, {Post III}, {Post IV}, {Post V} and {Post VI}.

P.S. I love the shoes!

{Stay Tuned}

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Fish with Wheat Beer Sauce

Last Saturday I was busy in the kitchen trying out a new recipe. This one was mailed into the newspaper on a press release from the National Beer Wholesalers Association. You may think homemade beer recipe? Nope. Instead a press release was filled with recipes that include beer based sauce. Being the beer lover that I am and dating a beer lover, I thought why not try one of the recipes.

We did. It was a good call as it was delicious and easy to make. Pair with a bag salad and a Pasta Roni box and you've got dinner.

Roasted Fish with Wheat Beer Sauce

2 Halibut or Salmon Fillets (We used fresh Salmon...not canned)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 TBLS olive oil
t tsp butter
1 TBLS balsamic vinegar
1 bottle of Wheat Beer
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 TBLS tarragon leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place baking dish in oven (empty). Rinse fillets and dry thoroughly with a paper towel; season with salt and pepper.
  2. In large skillet over medium heat high, warm olive oil. When oil is hot, add butter. When melted, add vinegar and cook for 30 seconds. Add wheat beer and bring to a boil. Boil mixture until beer is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, cream, and tarragon, cook mixture 1 1/2 minutes longer.
  3. Place fish in baked dish in oven. Immediately after pour hot tomato mixture on top. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes until fish is firm to touch and flaky by fork. Serve with tomato mixture on top.
I also made a {Banana Cream Pie} for dessert. Recipe did not come from the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

{Stay Tuned}

Tip of the recipe: While standing at the grocery store fish counter, the cowboy distracted the women with talking about 'getting old'. The salmon was priced at $6.99/pound. The women entered into the system, $1.99/pound. Our 1.25 lbs. of salmon costs us $2.35. Hollar!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Lemony Salmon and Dill Toss

When I became the Lifestyles Editor I was given the lifestyles email account that subscribes to hundreds of list servers that contain possible content to be used on the Lifestyles page. I have to say I don't use 95% of what floods my email box but I have spent some time looking at quite a few potential articles sent my way. (4o of the Best Beers in the World...I had only tried about 15.)

A recipe last week from Prevention Magazine caught my eye. I made it last Thursday and I really enjoyed it. If you like salmon and dill, you'll love this. I did make some changes to the recipe and this is how I made the Lemony Salmon and Dill Toss:

Ingredients:

7 1/2 oz. can salmon, drained
1 1/2 cups of chopped asparagus pieces
4 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
1 tbsp dill
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
4 cups of cooked farfalle pasta
2/3 cups shredded parmesan

1. Cook the 4 cups of farfalle pasta as directed on the box.
2. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, cook the asparagus in the olive oil on medium heat.
3. In another sauce pan, cook the salmon on low heat.
4. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper, and parmesan.
5. Once pasta is done, combine the bowl mixture of lemon and dill, asparagus and salmon. Stir. Add more dill or salmon to taste. Ready to be served.

(I acknowledge I am not a recipe writer but that's what I did.) The recipe is not to difficult and is relatively easy. It was my first time eating fish from a can. I have to say not half bad. I warned the cowboy before he took a bite it was different and it would be okay if he told me he did not like it. He said it was good and if I made it again he would come over for dinner.

{Stay Tuned}

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The end of an era

I woke up this morning at 4 a.m.

I was unable to fall back asleep. However, I consider it a blessing in disguise. I've got some of those check marks now marked off on my to-do list. Of course one was to blog.

For those that know me well and others that might not, most know for the past six years I have driven a red VW Bug. On that red VW bug was the license plate of LOV BUG. As of the end of November I am no longer the plate owner in the state of Ohio for LOV BUG.

LOV BUG has been replaced with normal Ohio tags. Yup, still Ohio labeled. In order to register your car in Oklahoma you must have proof of Oklahoma drivers insurance. With my car registration being up in November and knowing it took me 4 weeks alone to get my internet set up, I figured renewing in the state of Ohio was the easiest.

Bye LOV BUG. Make your next driver happy and be a nickname among your friends.

{Stay Tuned}

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The flu, a broken digital camera, a country singer, an OK Thanksgiving and a smiling city girl

The flu, a broken digital camera, a country singer, an OK Thanksgiving and a smiling city girl...

Those would be the updates

  • Flu: I caught the flu the day before my birthday and it lasted for five days. Of course the day I had it the worst was my actually birthday. A birthday that was to be spent with my Cincinnati mom flying into Wichita for the weekend. Although it was the worst timing, the weekend didn't turn out that way. Got to go shopping and spend time with my amazing mom! (The best of both worlds.)
  • Digital Camera: When charging the camera on Thursday night before I was to leave for Wichita the lens jammed. My trusted digital camera that I have had for five years is beyond repair. How am I to take my Christmas Photo?
  • Country Singer: Jerrod Niemann is a country singer in Nashville that just had his first single of his country album released. He happens to have graduated from Liberal High School and I happened to interview him via phone on Tuesday. His story is running in this Sunday's newspaper. He was very awesome on the phone and I hope he makes it big. Check him out {here}.
  • OK Thanksgiving: My Oklahoma Thanksgiving was great. Met the cowboy's family. (Big family.) I had a nice time and I really think it went great. Something tells me, he thinks it went well too. Maybe I'll get invited to another family function...we will just have to see.
With no more flu, no major holiday and things going so well I hope to be blogging all week. Watch out bloggers I am a smiling city girl in the Southwest.

{Stay Tuned}

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wichita

I am off to Wichita for the weekend to meet my mom. She is flying in for the weekend and we are going to explore Wichita Saturday and Sunday for my 24th birthday weekend!

Basically, hitting up the Gap, local winery and Target! Love it.

Photos to follow next week.

{Stay Tuned}

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stuff Under 20 : What you are missing...


This is what you've been missing if you don't check out my under $20 finds on {Stuff Under 20}.
I am a contributer 0n Thursday's. (Boomerang Thursday's)

Here is last week's post:


Yup, I know this one is from over two weeks ago. I did the board between 'I mean business' and 'Come on over' on my work computer. The images were saved on that computer.

I was off the clock for those wondering.


Make sure to check me out today on {Stuff Under 20}.

{Stay Tuned}

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

At this desk...

At this desk...I wrote my most favorite story as a reporter for The Southwest Times, so far.

November is National Adoption month. My editor asked me to contact a local family who has adopted and compose a feature story. Through an organization, Youthville (Kan. non-profit children's welfare organization), I was put in contact with the Wood family.

I had a phenomenal time meeting the Wood's and Diamond and Jasmine. The two-biological sisters were actually first entered into the state as foster care children and placed in a foster care home, the Wood's foster care home.

You might see where this is going. Please check out the story on The Southwest Times website.

It is stories like this that made me want to be a reporter.

P.S. I would've of taken a better photo but I captured this one just as the battery ran dead.

P.S.S. Yes, that is a beautiful Mac desktop.

{Stay Tuned}

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recipe of the Week

I'm Back....

Well, let's hope. I woke up early to get a post together for today.

Boomerang Recipe of the Week:

Living in Oklahoma (in a small Oklahoma town), I've reconnected with my cooking side. Which is great because I love finding new recipes and trying them out. Now, I even have a taste tester. (Not Tiger Lilly but the Cowboy). So far no complaints.

I made this fall recipe last weekend.

Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (from October's Real Simple Magazine)

(1) 18.5 oz box of yellow cake mix (plus ingredients called for on box)
(1/2) teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
(1) 15 oz. can pumpkin pure (think Libby's)
(2) 8 oz. bars of cream cheese (at room temp)
(2) cups of confectioner's sugar
24 pieces of candy corn

Heat oven at 350 F. Line two (12 cup ) muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 -22 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.

Tip: I made the cupcakes and stored the icing in the fridge. I would ice the cupcake right before eating.

Boomerang review: Great but would of liked the cupcake to be more moist.
Cowboy's review: Cream cheese icing doesn't match the pumpkin flavor. Would of been better on carrot cake.
Upstairs neighbor: Good

(Apologize for no photo...left my camera at work)

One reason for sharing my recipe comes as I am invited to Thanksgiving with the Cowboy's family. I have not met his family, yet, and I was asked to bring a dessert. Not bringing Pumpkin Pie because that is a given as being already being prepared by someone else. I want to make a great impression and impress everyone with my cooking skills. This is a difficult task as I have never made a pecan pie or other Thanksgiving desserts. Anyone have any sure delicious recipes? Pleas leave a comment and we can connect and share. Thanks in advance for any tips or advice.

{Stay Tuned}

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bridget Jones and I were separated at birth


One of my favorite movies of all times is Bridget Jones' s Diary. I love Bridget. I can relate to her in so many ways and can quote more then half the movie to anyone.

But my favorite quote of all time is...

Bridget: It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.

If you follow me on Twitter then you know I've been known to quote this from a time or two.

If you also follow me on {Twitter}, read the blog or checked out my work on {Stuff Under 20} then you know I've been absent.

Here comes Bridget quotes...

Things are going great. Actually, in some ways more then great. I am enjoying my job. Finally feeling settled in Oklahoma. Dating a hot cowboy. Meeting people. Excited for each day.

But like Bridget says when one area is going right the other begins to fall apart.

For me that would be my connection with technology.

Over the weekend, I some how/my blackberry some how neglected to take in any emails, pic messages, can't get on the internet, Pandora ap doesn't work, I can't check the weather. It can make calls. That is it.

Taking it into Verizon on my lunch break produced nothing because I need my account information which I don't have. That has been really funny to deal with and as of right now it is not fixed.

Monday, I finally made the drive to Beaver, Oklahoma to set up my cable and internet. (Yes another utility in Oklahoma where you must go to the main office and fill out paper work. No online application. No approval over the phone.) I scheduled the installation for Wednesday morning. Wednesday morning came and after an hour service call I was hooked up.

So what am I hooked up with?

All the networks from the Oklahoma City affiliates and the Amarillo affiliates. I get the Weather Channel, CNN, AMC and the Hunting Channel. I kid you not. No Style Network. No Lifetime Movie Network. No Soap Net. But the Hunting Channel.

(Side note, I did get the most basic of cable).

But not until tonight have I really logged on to explore the internet, witnessed my Mac mail listing 334 unread emails or watch my cable TV.

Can I say it is good to be back!

However, say a prayer for my Blackberry. Saturday I will hopefully have time to visit the Verizon store and get that sorted out.

Hopefully, I will get back on schedule with blogging daily with updates on my life, fashion, movies, job and anything that makes me smile.

And last but not least I will not forget to guest blog for {Stuff Under 20} which I did today.

Got to go get a post together.

{Stay Tuned}

Back on schedule

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Updating the Boomerang Lady

It is no secret that I have been horrible at updating my tales.

To be honest I hate the neglect the blog has gotten since mid-October and promise to do better.

But here are the reasons why I haven't updated the blog ...

1. Moved to Oklahoma and have been working full time. Hard to set up internet and cable when you aren't home week days. Also, no roommates to split the cost. Also, found out where I live doesn't have wi-fi. I have to get dial up which means I have to get a phone line. Can you say 1997?

2. My job changed. The newspaper had some shifts in employment and I got switched to Lifestyles editor. What does this mean? I switched desks, have more on my plate on a daily basis and am in charge of wedding announcements. I thought I was taking a break from weddings? But I am still a news reporter all at the same time.

3. I met some one. And not just anyone but some one special. I met him exactly a week after living in Turpin. Three days later we watched a movie and ate pizza. Two days later we went to a haunted house and got Mexican for dinner. One day later we went to the Turpin High School football game. The day after that marked a week I had known him and I made him dinner. Yup, he is fantastic. But the best part is he is a cowboy. An actually cowboy. I'm going to need a whole post dedicated to explaining what a cowboy is. But ladies, YEEE-HAWWW.

What I am trying to say is stick with me. I PROMISE to be back up and running officially Monday.

{Stay Tuned}

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stuff Under 20 : What "to" Wear? This!


Check me out as a regular contributer on {Stuff Under 20} every Thursday.


{Stay Tuned}

Your opinion matters most. Set the bar high...

There is nothing worst then when you are disappointed in yourself.

You can make the situation better in your mind if you acknowledge your struggles and losses.

You can also make the situation better if you know how to change it in the future.

Like I said, I have been disappointed in myself. Myself or rather my writing and work for this week. The newspaper is printed three times a week and for each issue I am responsible for writing a story. Completely do able. On top of that I have other tasks but first and foremost I am a reporter. My job is to produce stories. Stories that are good. Stories that are thought provoking. Stories that go above and beyond.

My story for Wednesday's paper was not like that. My story for tomorrow's paper was not like that. I can only hope Sunday's story tells it different.

The truth is the stories weren't horrible. They both ran in the paper. No body told me they were terrible. But just reading them makes me cringe because I know they could be better.

Wednesday's story about the wedding planner and her business was just fluff. Although, interesting I only explored one angle. I didn't ask her questions about the first years of her business or struggles she may have seen in this economic time? Maybe couples in Southwest Kansas are holding back on certain wedding necessities to save money? I didn't ask those questions. I didn't think to.

Tomorrow's story is a numbers story about the births in Seward County (the county Liberal is in). Through research I found out that American's and Kansas' as a whole are reporting less births each year. Basically, couples and women are choosing to not have children. That is not the case in Seward County which has been welcoming more births each year. Interesting right? Not to mention over 52% of the mothers are out-of-wedlock. (I can tell you through looking into other counties and the state of Kansas that is really high. Most counties see 30% out-of-wedlock mothers). Naturally, I contacted the state public health PR person and she emailed me some additional facts, quotes. From there I contacted the only hospital in the county for comments. I called. I emailed. I went into see the PR women for the hospital. She couldn't talk to me. Too busy. I should of been more persistent. But there was a deadline.

The story was written but in my mind I saw holes where there should of been quotes from the hospital.

Which brings me to the story I am to turn in tomorrow for Sunday's paper. It has to be kick-a** and it can be. The Secretary of Transportation for the State of Kansas, Deb Miller, was in town and gave a presentation about plans. This is good and it has to be good for the newspaper.

I leave you now, as I will be transcribing over 50 minutes of tape from earlier today. Reading through government documents and laying out a story to write for tomorrow.

It is going to be kick-a**. Promises all around, I've set the bar high.

{Stay Tuned}


P.S. The Canadian television show, "Being Erica" was on Soap Net last Spring. (Pause for all laughter imagining me curdle up watching Soap Net next to my orange cat on Thursday nights. ) But in one episode someone tells Erica that when it comes down to it, it only really matters what their own opinion is. No body else's.

That stuck with me. I disagreed. I believe it does matter what my parents, family, friends and co-workers opinion's are about me. But thinking about it, what opinion will stick with one the most? Today, I agree it is my own. And while others will always matter and have an influence on my life. I am the only one who's opinion can change my actions. Think about it?

To See Beauty Even in the Common Things of Life

"To see beauty even in the common things of life"

Attempting to do that and be a real. strong. women.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I look at this daily

This ended up on my desk on Friday afternoon from my co-workers. Apparently it is a random trophy that no one can explain in the office. And humoring to all that it has found a home on my desk.

It's Tuesday night and I can attest that the trophy is still there. I am not sure what I should do with it. First of all it is rather dusty. Second of all it says "best in show". Third of all the trophy man has large hands. Look closely and you'll notice the hand is larger then the knee.

I am all up for awards on desks but I haven't even brought out the photo of Tiger Lily or my Ohio snowglobe. I wonder for others that don't work in the news room but pass through think the new girl must be full of herself to place a trophy on her desk week 2.

Hope that brings a laugh to you.


JCPenny I Love Your Style : 10/13

St. John's Bay Cashmere Blend Pea Coat
$89.99 - $99.99

It is cold here in Kansas. I am not joking. 29 degrees last Saturday. My advice, get a coat you love and in a color that's you. Check JCP collection online in a variety of sizes and colors. I like the gold. Think brown gloves, brown bucket hat and dark jeans. Perfect!



a.n.a Long Cardigan
$24.99 - $27.99


I love a good cardigan. They are great for layering and can easily match so many things in our wardrobes. This one is long. Go with long for being more young and trend this season.




{Stay Tuned} Next week Wal-Mart for a little look at Miley's line, Danskin and more.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

I moved to KS, met a munchkin, was invited to Church, became front page news, got lost twice and LOVED every minute of it

There is nothing like moving and starting a job all in the same week.

May I mention that the move happened to be over 1,000 miles away from everything I've ever known and the job was everything I'd ever wanted but never experienced. Yes, stress was on my side to say the least.

But I pushed through and the week went perfect. As I type, I glance over at the clock to see it has officially marked a week in Liberal.

Let me give you the highlights:

The Job: From my opinion, I am doing well. I did ask a ton of questions this week and had some glitches on the computer. But I am pretty sure I didn't mess anything up. I had a story for each paper and edited quite a lot of pages. Not to mention that I even built my first ever page. (Weird accomplishment if you have no idea what I am talking about.) Although, the first day was a little rough and well, Wednesday when I couldn't figure out how to work the camera. Oh and then there was Friday, when I had to call the office because I had gotten a bit lost while out on assignment. Other then those moments of feeling like an idiot and wondering if my co-workers were thinking "Why did they hire her?", I have to say the week went great. Plus I really like what I am doing and can't wait for more to come.

The Housing Crisis of 2009: For those that don't know I am currently living in a hotel. The newspaper has been nice enough to pay my stay at a hotel for up to 14 days. Although, I never imagined I would take them up on the whole 14 days it has since become that way. I spent much of my downtime this week looking at places, driving around and discussing my options with my parents. It came down to the townhouse that I really liked and a house that was just so-so. But there were problems with each. The townhouse was unavailable till November 1st. Then there was the landlord who quoted my mom on the phone at $525, quoted me in person at $595 and then, when I checked out his website it was listed at $575. I don't play numbers games. I asked him about it and he shut me down saying it was $595. I felt really uneasy signing a lease for it because I felt like I was getting ripped off. Who's to know what he might make me pay for later! My mom credits the fluctuating pricing based on how I was dressed when I met him. Perhaps if I had shown up in jeans and a Kansas City Chief's t-shirt it would have been $525. But my heels, dress pants, sweater set and nice sunglasses said $595. My dad said it was small town and that the landlord must figure he could get away with it. I just felt like it was a no win situation. Plus it was more then I had originally planed on spending.

On Thursday, I put the application in for the house which was available for move in. The house was older but it was nicely kept up inside. Outside, another story. But, I am not trying to be on the cover of Midwest Living. Friday, I called the office to check up on my application. I had figured 24 hours would be a sufficient time to do a credit check and call references. But the women went on to tell me that she should of told me the following: they had leased the house to someone else on Wednesday and it was no longer available. Should of told me? Heck yes, you should of. And the fact that I had to call. What if I had passed on something else for this house?

My head was spinning at work the rest of the day as I got off the phone with the relator for the house. What was I going to do? There was hardly anything available to rent in this town. There aren't too many apartment units. Liberal is mostly composed of neighborhoods with homeowners. I spoke with my parents on Friday evening and it was a tough conversation. They were upset to hear the house hadn't worked out and none of us were happy about the townhouse. But we did make a game plan. A listing to appear in the Sunday paper (thank God I have access to that stuff) was for a 2 bedroom, one bath, washer, dryer apartment for $475 and included water. I called Friday night. My mom called Friday night. Saturday morning he got back to me. 1 p.m. Saturday I saw it. PERFECT! Great sized bedrooms, nice kitchen, built 14 years ago, decent bathroom, large living room, available next Saturday and nice neighborhood. Although, it isn't official yet, this could be my new residence.

Keep your fingers crossed. Funny thing about it. It happens to be in Oklahoma. (Not too weird though because Liberal is 3 miles from the border and well, the apartment is in Turpin, Oklahoma, 13 miles from Liberal.)

As for the rest of it:
  • My first night in town I called Pizza Hut and asked for carry out. Got lost on the way there. Should of done delivery.
  • This weekend marked the 70th year of the movie, The Wizard of Oz. I am in the home of Dorothy and it was OZFEST this weekend. One of the movies munchkins was in town on Friday and I went and took photos for the newspaper.
  • I went to the local furniture store in Liberal looking to purchase a mattress. I found one and am having it delivered somewhere next weekend. The furniture sales people were very nice and got me free delivery. Of course, they did ask me if I had found a church community yet. This is funny to me because if you have scene the movie New in Town, Renee Zellweger's character gets asked the same thing shortly after moving to Minnesota. I said no but will keep that in mind.
  • I did make the front page with not only the byline but on the actual paper. Which lead me to get remarks by four different people in town that they knew who I was. Although the photo is horrible, the story is not. Please check out my links on the right hand side under The Southwest Times for all articles I write and any that might included me.
  • Stories from my week of work included prairie dogs, breast cancer awareness and 212 lbs. pumpkins. Ask me about any of those topics and I am an expert.
  • Had that first glimpse of true small town life. I went to the grocery store on Friday night. I was a bit upset about the housing issue of earlier in the day and had worked till 7 p.m. So I picked up some mac & cheese, a Milky Way candy bar and a 6 pack of Bud Light Lime. Only to approach the check lines to see a very prominent politician in town that I had met only a few hours earlier. Thinking this would look bad in the sense of possible unhealthy eater and boozer, I ducked into the Hallmark Card aisle. I don't think he saw me. And really the mac & cheese just sounded good and heats up in a hotel microwave well, the candy bar was for my chocolate craving and the beer was for a beverage celebration of finishing up a week of work. Kill me?
  • Saturday, I woke up early to cover the 5k Toto Trot. It was 29 degrees with ice all over my car and raining. I scrapped my VW Bug and spilled hot coffee on my right hand. I'm fine but thank you early season cold front. Can't wait to move next weekend.
If your still reading then your a very good friend, a very faithful blog reader, a bored individual with some kind of computer freeze going on, or a potential stalker. Thanks for reading. Thanks for the support. I've revamped the blog a bit for next week and have some new regular features beginning. As always...

{Stay Tuned}

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kansas' American Character

Want to know more about small town newspapers in the middle of America?

Then please watch the three minute video clip below from Tom Brokaw's "American Character" series that was aired on NBC Nightly News Wednesday night. The clip is about a certain Kansas newspaper. Although not The Southwest Times it does share a lot of similarities to the community I cover.

If you have trouble viewing the video please click {here} and scroll down for the "Small-town sensibility saves the daily newspaper" segment to watch it on NBC's website.

{Stay Tuned}

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gee, I wonder how Laura is?

Find yourself wondering what Laura is up to these days? It is alright if you said no. But either way this post is filled with updates. So like it or not here are updates from my new career at {The Southwest Times}.

My first article was printed in Wednesday's paper and it was about Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. Interested? Well, if so you can check it out on the newspaper's website {here}.
Not interested in prairie dogs? Then here's something a bit more Laura for you. The newspaper apparently writes a story about their newest employee shortly after each new employee comes on board. So you guessed it. I made the front page. While the article probably includes many things you already know about me, the picture is a bit depressing. I usually can be found smiling or laughing but for this photo, I was told to look serious. (Personally, I always found serious photos of myself to translated as looking severally depressed and unhappy. I am just usually a smily individual and can take wonderful shots with my pearl whites showing.) Anyways click over to read about me {here}.
{Stay Tuned}

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Straight off the boat"

As I was driving back to my hotel room tonight I thought about today and summed it up in the words...I am "straight off the boat" and laughed a bit to myself.

If you've been around me you know I use the term "straight off the boat" here and there to describe people that act like they don't know. What I mean by "they don't know" is that they are new to our land and unfamiliar with our ways.

Well, I am new to this land and definitely unfamiliar in the ways of Liberal.

I went to my first day of work today to find my boss out on a sick day and the business manager to be not in. The typical fill out this paper work, sign an anti-sexual harassment form and be explained Human Resource required info did not happen. I was informed of a County Commissioners meeting I was suppose to cover in the evening and spent the morning reading the over 40 page agenda with proposals and documents. With main point of interest surrounding a black tailed prairie dog. An hour lunch led me to come back to gather more info for another possible story and to read through Kansas laws on open records and open meetings. So that's what I did at work today.

Later in the afternoon, I met with a relator that showed me a house for rent. As of right now it is my second choice and I told the relator I would touch base with her on Wednesday with my decision. I am viewing a townhouse tomorrow and am leaning towards it as of right now. (Townhouse has washer/dryer that I can walk to in housing area and no lawn care) Then I attended the County Commissioners meeting and went straight back to my hotel.

Can you say tired?

And that was when I chuckled and thought I have that "straight off the boat" look and feeling.

But the truth is "straight off the boat" is not bad. You have to have that "straight off the boat" experiences in order to become savvy, knowledgeable, trained, skilled and confident. At least that is how I see it. I have never gone into any job I've had before and left on the first day saying "piece of cake". It is challenges and something different each day that makes work teach us something and leads us to learn. I learned a lot today. I got a feeling for my new office environment, my possible stories for the next week and a flash of what my career here in Liberal will be like. I am ready for tomorrow where I will write the story of the black tail prairie dog. But first I need to get some sleep.

{Stay Tuned}

It took more then just clicking...


As one might guess it took more then just clicking my heels to get to Kansas!

It took hard work, hours on hours of driving, Pandora for Blackberry to bring the tunes, AAA trip tick, and fast food across America to get to Kansas. But I now can safely say myself and Tiger Lily are in Liberal, Kansas and ready to get this chapter of our lives going.

Last week, I did all the basics of getting ready for the move. I opened a new bank account, got a new cell phone, got my car checked out (oil changed), figured out travel, got my Nordstrom fix, spent time with family and friends, got my hair cut, called Realtors in Liberal, packed and well, the list could go on. Friday, I packed the car. But I should tell you I drive a VW New Beattle and well, packing that car can be a challenge. But I got all the things I wanted to get in. Clothing, shoes, handbags, cat, cat's stuff, comforter, limited dishes and drink ware, Mac Book, towels, sheets, little TV, DVD player, heater, my iPod stereo, books, a few DVD's, and a few other things. It was a tight squeeze but it all made it.

Friday, I spent the day making the 9 hour drive to Kansas City. I drove through Southern Indiana to Indianpolis, then on to Terra Haute to cross into Illinois. From Illinois, I followed I-70 to St. Louis. Once in St. Louis, at 5 o'clock, I hit traffic. But made it through to continue making the treck through the "Show Me State". Once crossing the border into Kansas, I spent the night at a La Quinta.

Saturday, I woke up to sunshine and in a very nice suburb of Kansas City. A stop at Panera insured good Hazelnut coffee and an egg and cheese sandwich. Thank God I filled up on gas because the once on I-35 to Wichita...there is nothing. Honestly, boring drive. No billboards, 30 miles to the next exit and just me and Tiger Lily thanking God for the invention of downloading Pandora on the Blackberry because there are no stations. (Actually we thank former roommate Courtney J for the text message explaining how awesome it is.) Once in Wichita I knew my way and got on Kansas State Route 54 all the way to Liberal. TL and I made it at 5 pm. Checking into out hotel room and calling it quits for the night.

Sunday, I drove around town and check out possibly living situations. I am currently in a hotel till I find something. The newspaper offered to bored me at a hotel for two weeks. I think I made the right call waiting and didn't line something up from over the phone. One house specifically today did not live up to potential. It desperately needed a new paint job and had yard work that yelled don't go to this house when trick or treating even if the porch light it on.

Today, I start work and well, that means I need to go.

{Stay Tuned}

Above are some pics from this past week. We begin with packing up my room, packing the car, the drive, a few highlights of Liberal and sleepy Tiger Lily. Click on image to get larger view.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Weekend Shout Out



I have to give a "shout" out and an "electronic" high-five to Kirstin!

Kirstin and I worked together for a year at Southern Weddings/Bliss Event Group. And what a year that was! With desks right next to each other, being the same age, traveling together and being roomies for a month in May, it was only natural that we became friends. Kirstin is an incredible person and is so talented with event design. (So ladies getting married call Kirstin for your event planner.) But about two weeks ago she became the newest employee of{Weddings Unveiled Magazine} as the chief blogger for their fantastic blogsite {Completely Unveiled by Weddings Unveiled Magazine}. She brings a lot to this blog site and I can't wait to see it take off. I anticipate amazing weddings covered.
{Stay Tuned}

P.S. Kirstin and I use to joke and look through Weddings Unveiled and be so jealous of their layout, advertisers, weddings and more.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mary Kate and Ashley Called

If Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen called me and asked me to get lunch this is what I would wear. I would attempt the whole bohemian look but this is as bohemian as I would get.

I found the dress on J.C. Penny's website and thanks to Harper's Bazaar Magazine and their top 6 trends of fall, know that floral dresses are a must have. But if your like me (poor), snap one off the summer clearance rack that can be used in layering and it becomes a fall piece. Check out all the items above on {Stuff Under 20} as I was their guest blogger today!


{Stay Tuned}

P.S. Like Stuff Under 20? Me too! And guess what? They like me! So much that they asked me to be a permanent blogger on their site. More details to follow here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

How did I land a job?

I was fortunate to get a few snippets of why The Southwest Times hired me as their newest reporter during my interview process.  I want to take the time to share it because I think it might be helpful for others in future interview process.  
  1. Enthusiasm. They said I was the most enthusiastic person they interviewed during the phone interview process.  My reaction: I was nervous for the phone interview but I was excited I had an interview.  Plus they were asking me questions about my past experience and why I wanted to be a reporter. Hello,  I got to talk about myself. That was easy.  As silly as this next part is going to sound I am going to go ahead and type it.  When I worked at Target as the store operator, I was told to smile when I answered the phone.  They said the smile would come across into my voice. Try it sometime. It actually works. 
  2. Getting the Scoop. For the phone interview process, I was given a few examples of a possible story and was then told to explain what I would do to get "the scoop".  I said I would first do research and find out what the background of the incident was.  Then I would contact all parties involved for an interview and from there have the story.  Apparently, in one example that was given to all ten phone interview candidates I was the only one that said I would begin with research and speak to all parties involved.  Everyone else just said they would only contact the main influential player.  Elon taught me that a creditable story is one with multiple sources and research.  That was such a standard answer for me and one I thought everyone else would give as well.  
  3. Question Master. They said I asked questions and good ones.  I asked not only about the newspaper but about the community and the area. Well, considering I had never heard of Liberal till about a week ago that came natural for me.  And while, I guess asking if Liberal had been effected by H1N1 or the current economic downfall of this country sounded like I wanted to know about possible news stories, I actually just was curious if I needed to bring Purell and to brace myself for what kind of status this town was in.  
Bottom line, interview process was just very natural for me.  I answered truthfully and was myself the entire time.  I didn't try to be something I wasn't or present myself in a false light. And that's the best piece of advise I can pass on.  

{Stay Tuned} 

P.S. Only one reported case of H1N1 in the county and Liberal was not effected very heavily by economic hard times.  The main industry there is meat packing (think Kansas City Beef) and well, people aren't stopping to eat beef these days. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Leaving Kansas...for a week


I am leaving today to go back to Ohio.  How things have changed since last week.  I am leaving Kansas with a whole new plan for the next week, month and year of my life.  I am officially moving to Kansas the Weekend of October 2nd and begin work on Monday, October 5th.  Basically in a week I will be back in Kansas.  My goal today is to figure out and make a decision on housing before I head out of town for the drive to Wichita. Flying from Wichita to Ohio tonight.  I'll keep everyone posted.  I have a few options that I did research a bit on Thursday. But need to do further research and make sure Tiger Lilly can live with me.  

I want to thank all my friends, Twitter friends, and blog readers for all their on going support and encouraging comments this week.  I did get some questions and I'll go ahead and answer them at this time.  

Yes, I will continue to blog.  Hello, exciting things are on the horizon and I want you all to know. 

No, I will not be changing my blog name. People know me as the Boomerang Lady and well, you could say I am boomeranging to Kansas. 

Yes, my parents are completely on board.  They have been very supportive and they can tell how pumped and excited  I am.  I think that helped a lot. 

Yes, still be guest blogging for {Stuff Under Twenty}.

Probably be pulling back on The Examiner and I did officially call the Gap store in Cincinnati and quit.  I only held that job for one week! Felt bad about it but it was always a "something in the meantime". 

Anymore questions leave them here and I promise to answer.  Anyways got to get a move on.  

{Stay Tuned}

P.S. Photo above from the entrance of Dorothy's house and below is Munch-kin land. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And I Can't Get "Sequin Shoes" Out of My Mind


Leave it to Dorothy Gale of my new town, Liberal, Kansas to inspire this post.  Dorothy will always be known for Ruby Red Slippers.  Well, Dorothy red is great and all but I think it might be a little to "lady of the night" for my taste. Here's the deal I'll wear sequins on my feet but more along the lines of silver, gold and black colors.  Check these out. 
  1. Kansas born Kate Spade knows her roots with these sequin, satin and bow, 3 inch Sling back heels. {Carly} A steep $375
  2. I'll take some {Sequin Ribbon Booties} from Charlotte Russe.  At $29.99 I think these are perfect for a little night out on the town. 
  3. Not in the mood for a sparkly bootie, then {Peep Toe Sequin Heels} from Windsor might be your style.  Apparently these sequins change from silver to black.  Priced at $34.90. 
  4. Jones New York {My Hero Sequined Flat} comes with a mixture of silver and gold.  Therefore no worries on matching your jewelry.  Priced at $49.99 on DSW.com.
{Stay Tuned} I'll let you know if I get a sparkly pair of new shoes.

P.S. Photo above from inside Dorothy's house. That would be Dorothy's bedroom and notice her rudy red slippers. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Somewhere Over the Rainbow...


You know the song.  "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Well, that somewhere over the rainbow is Liberal, Kansas for me.  Today, in Liberal I interviewed for a reporter position with The Southwest Times.  And in Liberal, today, my somewhere over the rainbow, I got offered a job!

Newspaper reporter: covering specifically the county government meetings, the school board, the hospital and general assignments that come up with feature writing. Pay is good. Benefits, yes are available. The staff young.  The desk comes with a Mac with Adobe programs.  The newspaper is owned by a media company that most of their papers are in the South (which included papers in Georgia/Kentucky...so future newspapers jobs are looking my way).  It is perfect!  

Not perfect is being so far away from my parents, sister, friends, and everything I know.  But this is just too good of an offer.  This is the opportunity.  This is where I need to be.  And that is why I am accepting the position tomorrow morning.  

Move over Dorothy, I am coming to Kansas and I am bring Tiger Lily.  So warn Totto she is a feisty little orange cat. Coming to begin my "Somewhere Over the Rainbow...skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream. Really do come true." 
"That's where you'll find me."

{Stay Tuned} Move is early October!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guest Blogging on Stuff Under 20 (Third Times A Charm)

If you happened to check out the very awesome fashion blog {Stuff Under 20} then you know...I was yet again N & S 's guest blogger today! Check me out!


{Post I}, {Post II}, {Post III}, {Post IV}, {Post V} and {Post VI}.

I wanted to create a look for getting drinks with friends on say a Thursday night. Thinking about the colder temperatures upon us, I went with dark denim, sleeveless top but paired with a cute cardigan to keep us warm. I had to thrown in a little detail and we all know I am a fan of the flower jewelry. Not to mention, I love this Target tote. Regretting I did not buy one over 2 weeks ago. Hope you like this look.

{Stay Tune}

P.S. I made it to Kansas! So far so good!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Little Hectic

The days before an interview is always a little hectic. 

You want to mentally prepare. Research the company. Have questions ready.  

You want to be interview ready. Simple jewelry. Professional suit or outfit. Nails done. Hair and make-up looking good.  

You want to know how to get there, confirm times and who is interviewing you.  

Well, when you do that for an "out of town" job and one that happens to be a plane ride away...it suddenly becomes a lot more hectic. Am I packing everything I might possibly need? 

As of right now the packing is half done. Got to iron a few items tonight and stick them in my bag along with toiletries in the morning.  So I am basically ready.  But the key word is "I". My parents on the other hand aren't exactly.   

Mom, Dad and I sat down for a talk today and let's just say they have quite a lot of concerns. 
  • The distance
  • I'll get paid peanuts
  • I'll hate it
  • After a few months I'll get laid off due to the economy
  • I wouldn't be home for the holidays
  • I'll be taken advantage of professionally
  • I wouldn't know anyone in a five hour radius
  • Adjusting to small town life 
The list could continue.  My parents have valid points and are being lets say "very protective".  But it is quite difficult to hear these things from my parents because I feel like they don't think I, myself, haven't already thought of them.  

I tossed and turned in bed on Thursday night thinking about it all.  I know what I am up against.  Pretty much all things mentioned above. I've thought about them.  But the truth is I've tackled many of these issues last year working in Chapel Hill.  I've know that this was a pretty likely picture of what my next career move would be. You have to start small.  Nothing in my situation is forever and I truly believe this opportunity wouldn't have come to me with out myself suppose to be getting something out of it.  Make sense? 

Tomorrow off to Kansas! Let's tackle the interview, have fun and really get to see all Liberal has to offer. Then I'll get to the very valid issues.  

{Stay Tune}

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hello, beautiful Nordstrom

Nordstrom comes to Cincinnati in one week! Hello, beautiful!

You may remember that I am a huge Nordstrom fan. Last weekend, I got a sneak peak look at the store as Nordstrom's Lingerie department opened their doors for a "Nordstrom Fits America" event.  I was fitted, got to taste coffee's from their little coffee shop, tasted some back goods from the restaurant and even purchased a bra with proceeds going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 
While we were only welcomed into the Lingerie department I did peak around.  Although not all departments have been set the store is looking beautiful and I can't wait for the doors to open on September 25th at 10 A.M. 

{Stay Tuned} Although, broke and living at home I might just make a fashion must have purchase at Nordstrom in the next few weeks. Besides the lovely violet bra. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Welcome to Hysteria! A Thursday in my life!

This is one of those where do I even begin kind of stories. 

But we could start here. A few weeks ago I read an article that said apply to all jobs (even the ones your not qualified for). Your odds become greater in achieving a position with the more positions you apply for.  

Or we could start here.  With President Obama's speech on Tuesday in Lordstown, Ohio...

My first reaction, was like "Okay Obama!" as I watched it on  {NBC Nightly News}.  But about an hour after got a phone call from Liberal, Kansas.  The Southwestern Times called to say they would like to schedule a phone interview for the following day.  Yes, I said.  I was literally flabbergasted. This was for a reporter position I had emailed and applied to less then 24 hours ago.  

Where is Liberal? I didn't even know!  It was just a job I applied for never thinking they would contact me or even if they did so soon.  But their ad on {JournalismJobs.Com} asked for everything I was.  And it was for everything I was looking for.  

But I soon found out where Liberal is.  It happens to be Western Kansas near Oklahoma, Colorado and closes major city is Amarillo, Texas.  It is also a 16 hour drive from Loveland, Ohio.  

My Mom had quite the reaction. But it is best if I save that for another blog post.  

The phone interview was Wednesday at Noon.  The news editor called me and asked me a variety of questions concerning past employment, my education and what I was interested to do.  He also gave me scenarios and asked about who I would interview first and what angle I would take to that particular story.  I felt so at ease and answered all the questions truthful. I just felt it went so well.  I was excited about this.  But the whole Kansas thing was a factor in the back of my mine.  As many of you know I had been in this same spot before and I mean earlier this summer. It could be I never hear from this particular newspaper again. Count it like the others as a learning process. I told myself let's just see what happens here. 

More happened.  

A bit before noon today, the publisher of the newspaper called me and invited me to Kansas personally for a in-person interview.  This phone call went very well in the sense that he explained the position a bit more to me.  I will be officially interviewing on Wednesday but arriving on Tuesday and having a follow-up interview on Thursday.  The newspaper is paying for my stay while in Liberal next week.  But if I get the position, they would pay for a  two weeks stay at a local hotel until I found housing.  And they would advance me first months rent and utilities until I got seattle.   Plus don't forget the salary is good for the location and I get full benefits.  

Now before you get all (Charlottesville area Virginia) on me.  I know this is a complete leap of faith.  But I have to say, the publisher said to me on the phone today that they don't invite people to interview in-person without seriously considering the candidate.  He said he felt this was more for my benefit with confirming that I could like living in Liberal and was at ease with working with the staff already on board. The truth is that I might be offered the position if all goes well next week.  I can determine how well it goes. 

My head was completely spinning at Noon.  It has been spinning all day since.  I am not even sure if this blog post is going to come out coherent.  But that is the back story of today.  The rest of the day has been trying to figure out how to be in Liberal next week and what to do about the Gap (my part-time job that I started on Sunday).  

Figuring out how to get there was the easy part.  

Tuesday:  Fly from Dayton, Ohio to Wichita, Kansas on AirTran Airways.  Arrive in Wichita at 12:30 P.M. and rent a car with Avis.  Drive the 3 hours from Wichita to Liberal and be there by 4 P.M. 
And then on Friday (reverse it). 

The Gap = Hard Part. I just started (this past Sunday) and am scheduled next Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday! But I did the right thing and called the store's General Manager and completely told her the truth.  I explained it all.  She was so great about it and we ended on the lines of if the position in Kansas doesn't work out to call and I would be placed on the schedule.  I just felt horrible about it but I can't not go to Kansas. This could be the break I have been waiting for.  

With that said...I am taking a leap of faith and going for it all.  I am feeling so good about this.  I am excited and want this to happen.  Everything happens for a reason. I promise to keep all my readers, friends, family and more posted on everything next week.  I promise stories, photos of Liberal and more.  

{Stay Tuned} 

P.S. I told you the life of a Boomerang Lady is never boring.  Am I right?

P.S.S. Think you have heard of Liberal? Well, it is the official home of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Not even kidding! 

And I Can't Get "Chain Strap Handbags" Out of My Mind


Oh la la....I love these!

I cannot get the chain styled handbag strap out of my mine!  I have been seeing it everywhere and from every designer to every Mall styled store.  But here are my six picks!

  1. Who doesn't love a little color? Obviously not Michael Kors and his Jamesport Small Shoulder Bag in Marigold Yellow.  Priced at $174. 
  2. Animal print anyone?  New York and Company have created this City Style Chain Strap Zebra Satchel at $39.50.
  3. Tory Burch knows how to make a bag to go out on the town with and in real leather.  Check out this Leather Reva Clutch at a steep $350 from Sak's but the leather is super soft and has Tory's traditional trademark symbol on the front flap. 
  4. For those who like a lot of color in their handbags take a look at the MAXX New York Small Chain Shoulder Bag from Nordstrom at $43.90. 
  5. BCBG did it with not only a chain like style shoulder strap but with a braided style also.  This BCBGeneration Shoulder Bag is available on Overstock.Com for $34.99.
  6. There are handbags and then there are Kate's handbags.  I love this Kate Spade Bon Vivant Lilia Patent Leather Tote from Sak's at $425. It might be the color, the size, the shinny patent leather or maybe the sweet little bow that ties it all together. 
  7. I see this as the ultimate club bag this fall.  The shoulder strap can go across the body...great for dancing.  And it is ultra cool and you can tell all your friends it was made from recycled leather jackets! Leave it to Urban Outfitters to be that cool.  Urban Renewal Leather Chain Strap Bag at $38. 
  8. For those that want a bag they can carry all the time then take a look at Nine West Ranya Medium Satchel at $61.99.  It comes in black, tan and a nice light blue.  The shape is very classic and has nice side compartments. 
(Stay Tuned)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let me paint you a picture of my generation...

While career searching online I found an article with some results I think we all might be a little bit interested in.

The article "1 in 3 Young Workers Live With Their Parents" by Ellie Behling was quite interesting and entertaining with stats like the following:

  • Thirty-one percent of surveyed young workers reported being uninsured, up from 24% 10 years ago (almost half cited the reason as being unable to afford it). (Guilty)
  • Twenty-four percent make less than they need just to pay their monthly bills, up from 10% in 1999 (only 31% make enough to pay bills and put money aside—down 22 percentage points from 1999). (True a year ago...or basically what I brought in went to supporting myself)
  • More than one in three young workers live with their parents. (True since August)
  • More than half (51%) of young workers do not have a retirement plan, up from 41% in 1999. (Retirement? I am just trying to get through 2009!)
Does anyone feel like Bridget Jones in the scene at a dinner party when she begins to be harped on for being single. Bridget asks "Is it 1 in 4 marriages or 1 in 3 marriages that ends in divorce?" When Mark answers, "1 in 3". I feel like my next outing with people my own age may now go similarly.

{Stay Tuned} as I attempt to fly the coup.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I am Back...at the Gap

I decided to let God play this one out.  On September 1st, 2009 I applied to work at a Gap store in Cincinnati.  I previously worked at the store at Southpoint in Durham.  Although, I am trying to get a "real" job I needed something in the mean time.  Labor Day I got the call to set up an interview.  Wednesday I interviewed and left thinking the interview had been horrible.  (It ended up being a group interview with myself always answering the questions second.  I felt like I kept agreeing and had no great answers from the other interviewee.) But somehow I must have done decent because Saturday they called offering me a position and Sunday I started! Quick, ehh?

I have to say I was surprisingly chipper as I got ready for work on Sunday.  I was not nervous but excited to start and get back in the groove of working.  I really had enjoyed my past experience at the Gap Durham.  I made great friends, had fun at work, loved the discount and enjoyed my job.  I especially love helping older women who say they could never fit into Gap Jeans and then I bring them a few to try and they fall in love with one pair!  Those were my favorite customers!  

I am back...at the Gap!  If your in the Cincinnati area stop by the Rookwood store and say, Hi! 

But for those that might ask the question about the job search, Examiner, Guest Blogging, Blogging in general, I plan on continuing to do all the above.  I am just going to have some extra cash, meet people, have some 1969 denim and feel like apart of society again. 

{Stay Tuned}