Category Archives: blogging

31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 28

Day 28: If someone gave you $1,000 to spend on YOURSELF, what would you buy?

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Sorry, that was my drool shorting out my laptop keyboard. One thousand dollars? To spend on myself? Lawdy, I have no idea. Last time I spent that kind of money on myself was when I saved up in 2009 for my solo vacation at the Toronto International Film Festival (I paid for everything for that trip with good old-fashioned cash). My most recent splurge? A Coach wallet to go with the Coach purse my parents gave me for Christmas; I paid nowhere near the $218 retail price thanks to the outlet store. But $1000? Maybe I’d take another solo vacation. More likely, though, I’d update the hell out of my wardrobe — I still have and wear pieces I’ve had since high school and college. I’d say I’m due for a complete wardrobe overhaul at this point, wouldn’t you?

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 27

Day 27: Your favorite meals or recipes.

My specialty is lasagna. My mom taught me how to make it ages ago, when I was in high school. I tweaked the recipe a bit in that I now make it with ground turkey instead of ground beef (since it’s leaner) and with Arrabbiata sauce instead of marinara for a spicy kick. In addition to those ingredients, I make it with mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta cheeses; I add mushrooms to about half the lasagna for Rich. It’s one of my favorite things to make, even though it takes a while (about an hour of prep time), because it’s beyond delicious and when I make it just for Rich and myself we have a bunch of leftovers for the next couple of days. It’s also a favorite of both my dad’s and my father-in-law’s, so it’s good for family dinners (the rest of the family likes it, too, but the dads really like it). Alas, like the best family recipes (I also make a fab beef stew, taught to me by Dad), this one’s not written down. It’s on a recipe card in ye olde noggin.

Mmm ... lasagna

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 25

Day 25: Something you are looking forward to.

In the near future, I’m looking forward to both a long weekend getaway with Rich and Miss Baby, maybe to Biltmore in Asheville (my strongest preference), or Charleston, Savannah, or Charlotte. Then later in the summer we’ll likely take a week-long vacation to the Virginia Beach area so we can visit friends we haven’t seen in years, introduce them to Coraline, and take her to the beach for the very first time.

Biltmore Estate (image from the official Biltmore Estate website,

What I’m most looking forward to in my immediate future is hopefully a night of much better sleep than I had last night. Lord knows I need the rest.

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 24

Day 24: Your favorite book or author.

I have to say, I really can’t pick just one author, so I’ll break it down a bit.

As a kid, I devoured books by Beverly Cleary. The Ramona Quimby series was my favorite. And when I read Ramona Forever and the Quimby family cat, Picky-Picky, died, I was devastated. I couldn’t believe their beloved cat died; I really thought he’d live forever. I think I was so upset in part because, if memory serves, Picky-Picky was an orange tabby, like my cat, Morris. So I projected a lot of what I felt about Morris onto Picky-Picky’s death. That was the first time a book made me cry.

As an adult, one of my favorite novelists is the late Sidney Sheldon. That man knew how to tell a story (Bloodline is my favorite). My autographed copy of Nothing Lasts Forever is one of my most cherished hardcovers; I only wish I’d been the one to meet him in person to get his autograph.

As a parent, I love all of the books I read to Coraline, even when I don’t actually love the book. Her love of books is just so wonderful to behold, so it makes every book enjoyable (she’s very into her Olivia books these days). That said, one book I really do love reading to her is No Matter What; I’m always disappointed when she shakes her head and says “no” when she’d rather hear another story. It’s just such a sweet, seemingly simple story about how even on our bad days or when we feel unlovable or when we want to be left alone, the people who matter most to us still love us — no matter what.

No Matter What

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 23

Day 23: How you came up with the name of your blog.

I originally started my blog while living in Virginia to keep our family here in Knoxville (and elsewhere) up to date on what was going on in our lives. I also started it at Rich’s behest to hone my writing skills. Ahem. It was originally named Pattie’s Rants because I started it on a day I was very cranky after driving in Hampton Roads traffic. Read: I was stuck in traffic for a ridiculous amount of time. Again. That blog name lasted about five minutes. I quickly decided a rant-centric blog was way too negative, even for me, so why not focus on pop culture instead? This was back when I had a lot more free time to watch TV and movies and read books at a far faster pace than I manage these days. Hence Pattie’s Pop Culture Paradise came about. When I made the leap to WordPress a while back I decided that was as good a time as any to rename my blog. While I still talk about pop culture here and there, it’s certainly not my focus anymore. I basically blog about my life now more than anything else. And yes, a certain curly-haired toddler is a huge component of my blogging. So I settled on iPattie.

Now all 26 of you (see what I did? I added a few) who read this blog know how it was named. Yay.  😉

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 22

Day 22: Your favorite holiday.

Most people would say Christmas, or maybe their birthday. I’m going to go with Thanksgiving, because that’s when I get a chance to shine (food-wise, anyway) in that I eat my own weight in turkey. I’m almost always the last person left at the table because our family gets tired of waiting for me to fill up. And you know how tryptophan in turkey is supposed to make you sleepy? I’m convinced it’s an urban legend. Either that, or I’m completely immune to it. Which, come to think of it, is probably the case since medications known for causing drowsiness don’t work on me (Benadryl, Ambien). But where was I? Oh, yeah: turkey. Since my family is Puerto Rican, we usually celebrate holidays like Easter and Christmas with a pernil, or roast pork shoulder, which, while absolutely delicious (my dad can prepare and cook them in his sleep), is most decidedly not a turkey. So I have to get my fill at Thanksgiving, or find/fabricate a reason to make a turkey on another occasion during the year. This past Thanksgiving was probably my favorite in that Coraline was old enough to really get to try the food. And boy, did she love eating everything — especially the turkey.

The bad boy I prepped and roasted for Thanksgiving 2011


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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 21

Day 21: Something you love about yourself.

My warped sense of humor. It comes through better in person than it does in my writing, believe me. A lot of telling believable stories has to do with delivery. Which is why I have friends who believe Rich and I met in a police lineup, that Rich is my fifth husband, that I’ve been arrested, that I really did need my resume updated for a new career in “circus trapezery,” and so on. I also enjoy engaging in silly physical comedy when the mood strikes me, like the night I happened to find these very long ribbons and wordlessly did a goofy ribbon dance around the living room, much to Rich’s surprise. Being able to still surprise Rich like that after all these years is a badge of honor for me. Well, that and when he lovingly calls me “so weird.” Gotta keep the spouse on his toes, you know.

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 20

Day 20: Your biggest insecurity.

Being a good mom and parent. Coraline is my first (and likely only) child. I freely admit: I was virtually clueless going in. The most consistent contact I had with babies up until then was hanging out with or babysitting my nephews. Now, if I’d been about to adopt a puppy or a kitten, I would’ve known what to do with my eyes closed. But a baby? My baby? Talk about being terrified you’re not doing something right before you even start.

I skimmed through but didn’t actually finish reading most of the parenting books I bought or was given — there are so many books out there, and a lot of them give completely contradictory advice. Instead I Google things all the time (symptoms, milestones, etc.); I told Mom a while back I have no idea how she or anyone else parented without the Internet there to provide answers or support 24/7. I (and Rich) have learned a lot along the way, and continue to do so. We’ve turned to our family and friends who are parents whenever we’ve had questions or needed advice; thankfully, that hasn’t been a frequent or regular thing. Oh, and I call the pediatrician about the seemingly most trivial things. They’ve got a great nurse line, and I’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to something I never have to think about for myself (is it OK to use Neosporin on a cut? How much allergy medicine since she’s under 2? Is it OK to have peanut butter in the house?).

I’m doing the best I can to be a great mom to Coraline, and I will continue to do the best I can for her. She and I (and Rich) have gotten very good at learning as we go. I will say I truly believe I am mom enough for her. She’s happy, she’s smart, she’s healthy (save for those blasted allergies), she’s kind, she’s sweet, she’s confident, she’s fearless. I’ve had a hand in a lot of that, you know.

Walking hand in hand (5/7/12)

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 19

Day 19: A skill you’d like to learn.

As much as I want to learn how to stunt drive, I’m going to say archery (that sound you just heard was Rich breathing a sigh of relief. Also, my lead foot just detached from my leg, looked back with disgust, and left me). And, yes, it’s partly due to Katniss Everdeen’s kickassery with a bow and arrow in The Hunger Games. But I did learn archery many moons ago, at Casa Mare Girl Scout Camp in Galveston, albeit for the short time I was there. And given that I was pretty young, I wasn’t that bad. I say that since I never hit a living target. Over the years, I’ve been reminded by this or that that archery was something I really enjoyed, and the desire to take lessons would once again pop up. Surely there’s a place in Knoxville that offers classes; someday I might even find the time to take some.

In the meantime, I’ll order the Katniss Everdeen Barbie doll. She can join all the other collectible Barbies I have high on a shelf where Coraline can’t reach. For now, anyway.

Kickass Katniss Barbie

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 18

Day 18: Something you are afraid of.

I’m not going to say what my biggest/worst fears are, because I’m an incredibly superstitious dork who fears that articulating those things out loud (or writing them out loud here on my blog) will make them come true. Ridiculous, I know, but that’s how superstitious I am.

So what’s something I’m afraid of? I actually went to Rich and asked him to name something I was afraid of. After a moment’s thought, his answer: “Success.” He is of course referring to my endless of supply of excuses for why I can’t find the time to write (vs. me making the time). Because if i write then someday I might get an agent and/or get published. It’s baggage like this that keeps therapists in business. I’d be a cash cow on this issue alone. And honestly, if books like this can get published and become best sellers, surely there’s hope for the rest of us, right?

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