Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who loves America?

This guy does....

Jock's new God Bless America Collar {and some other pictures of Jock just being cute...}

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am officially a PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

I am so excited that I can officially announce my publication! This has been in the works for a couple of months now, but I have only told my close friends and family until the publication was officially released. So here's a little background on my article...

I originally wrote this article in order to satisfy my Rigorous Writing Requirement for law school {otherwise known as a thesis or disertation almost for any other doctoral degree}. To fulfill this requirement, you can choose to take any class that offers to allow you to write your paper. I chose the Freedom of Expression class taught by Professor Andy Olree which focused on nothing but First Amendment issues.

I entered the class with more dread than anything knowing I was about to be enslaved for the next few months by this paper I was about to have to write. However, all my anxiety turned into pure excitement after the first day of class. We were prompted to start thinking about what we wanted to write our paper's on. After a couple of failed attempts of generating any ideas for a topic, I decided to watch a little TV. MTV was running this show about online bullying. I remember watching this segment and reflecting on on my own life experiences with mean girls, bullies and the like. As my mind traveled through the years of high school to college, I started to realize how the internet truly has changed the dynamic of the way people bully, intimidate, spread rumors, and otherwise just be mean to others. Specifically, I remembered my senior year in college there being this website called "Juicy Campus." It no longer exists, but it allowed people to post anonymously ANYTHING {and I mean ANYTHING} they wanted about anyone else on Auburn's Campus and many other campuses alike. It called people out by name and said horrible things. I have to admit, the website became quite addicting to read until one day I read something about a close friend of mine that I knew was untrue. After speaking with her, my heart broke for her. She had tried everything in her power, including meeting with Auburn University's President to try to have the post removed. Nothing worked. She received no response from the website operator and of course trying to rebut the statement on the website fueled the "mean girls" and prompted them to say even more things.

It was this memory which started the writing process. I wanted to know why nothing could be done, why this type of speech was allowed, and what I could do to prevent others from being hurt and left hopeless from the internet age edition of mean girls. After TONS of guidance from Prof. Olree and hours and hours and days of writing and editing, the paper was complete. I received an A in the class and an offer to have my paper published. American Univeristy is a top 50 law school with an outstanding reputation. It is also very exciting to have my paper published with them because not only will it be available in print {which is typical in the legal community}, but it is also available online for viewing; thus, it will be able to be found and cited through and online search.

Here is an excerpt from my abstract:
Anonymous gossip websites, blogs, social networking websites, online bulletin boards, and other similar types of Internet forums allow people to speak their minds and exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and expression; however, these online forums can be abused when people use the sites to defame others.  When a defamatory statement is posted on the Internet, it is often times difficult to locate the individual responsible because most of the defamers are given anonymity by their Internet service provider (“ISP”). Plaintiffs in Internet defamation suits are unable to easily name their defamers since usually only the defamer’s screen name is available.  Furthermore, most courts interpret the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (“CDA”) to give ISPs complete immunity from liability for the defamatory posts of third parties, even if notified that certain statements are defamatory.  Thus, ISPs have no civil liability to remove defamatory material, and the defamed plaintiffs are left with little recourse.  This judicial interpretation of the CDA is significantly different from the well-established common law of defamation, as well as the very purpose for the enactment of the CDA. Internet defamation is an increasing problem, leaving the defamed helpless and the defamers believing they have a First Amendment right to post defamatory content.  This Article will reemphasize the notion that the First Amendment does not protect defamatory speech on the Internet.  Part I of this Article will discuss defamation law as part of common law, as applied to the Internet before the passage of the CDA, while Part II will discuss the judicial interpretation of the CDA in defamation cases.  Part III of this Article will address the problems with the CDA as currently interpreted by the judicial system.  Finally, Part IV will propose amendments to the CDA, which are intended to clarify the statute in order to give more legal options to defamed victims.  Furthermore, Part IV will explain how the proposed amendments would not violate the First Amendment.
To view my article through the American University's website, click Here. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Our Wedding Website

I wanted to post the link to Gantt and mine's wedding website. We have recently updated the hotel information for our guests. To visit our site, click Here. Enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

If you need a good laugh...

...then check out this blog. I randomly stumbled across this blog Hyperbole and a Half. A brief run-over seemed to be just pictures, but then i saw that this blog has over 53,000 followers!!! That is the most I have ever seen in the blogging world and immediately I knew this had to be something interesting. And was it ever!

This girl is absolutely hilarious! I could not stop laughing! Her witty sense of humor and ability to illustrate stories with such details makes this one of my new top blogs. My favorite stories so far are Wolves, The God of Cake, and The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas. Check her out!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day! Let's eat cake!

This father's day, I wanted to make some thing really personalized for my dad. My dad and I joke that he has weekend custody of Jock. Jock absolutley loves to go do "man things" with my dad. They ride through the woods with the windows down, get really dirty, and even get to go fishing! This is one of Jock's favorite things to do because he gets to go swimming while Dad attempts to fish. I found this to be the inspiration for Dad's cake! And here it is!

All of the cake was edible except for the fishing pole and fish, which I found in the doll house section of Hobby Lobby, or as I know it: Hobby Heaven. This cake took a couple of days because I used gumpaste to model most of the cake. For the fondant, I made a marshmallow fondant which was sooooo much better than regular fondant.

I started by coloring the Gumpaste and starting the body

Making a swimming Jock!

For the cake base, I used a 12" round cake board, used a piece of scrapbooking paper, some cardboard scrapbooking letters and covered it with clear contact paper. Some buttercream to stick the cake to the board!

Some of the other decorations include: rocks made of gumpaste, sugar flowers, reeds made from gumpaste and spaghetti, and grass from marshmallow fondant. Put it all together and here it is! 

Happy Dad's Day! Me, my dad, and Jock with the cake.

Love my daddy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Man Cookies & Their Tutorial

Last weekend, Gantt went with some of his buddies to Destin for his friend's bachelor's party. Of course I wanted to make some sweet snacks for the trip. I decided I wanted to make some manly bachelor cookies. What could be more manly than an ice cold mug of beer? After a long hard search for a beer shaped mug, bottle, anything cookie cutter and not finding anything, I decided I would just have to make my own cookie cutter. {For those of you who know me well know that once I get some project in my head, I can't just let it go so easily!} To do this, I drug Gantt to Home Depot in search of the materials. Here's what you need:
  • aluminum flashing: you can buy this in a roll, but for one cookie cutter, that would have been expensive, so I just bought the $0.64 corner piece
  • gorilla glue
  • either some metal cutting scissors or some dull scissors you'll never use again
  • some twine
  • some clips
  • and a print out picture of the shape you want

Step 1: First, take a long piece of twine and measure all the way around your picture. And yes, that means even the little frothy bubbles. You need to do this in order to see how long your flashing needs to be. If you are using the roll flashing, you can skip the next step, but if not then move on down!

Step 2: Take whatever measurement you had around your picture and add about two inches. This will give you some wiggle room for shaping and gluing the pieces together.

Step 3: Measure out the width you want your cutter to be. I opted for about 1" thick.

Step 4: Cut the flashing. If you did the strip method like me, then make sure you cut enough strips to go the length of the design plus the two inches. If you are using a flashing roll, then you should have one long piece. WARNING!!!!! Cutting the flashing is dangerous! The edges are very sharp so be extra careful!

Step 5: Start forming your shape. This will take a little time and patience. I used pencils and other utencils to help me shape the beer mug. If you used the strips like I did, Just form the mug in sections. While trying to form the shape, clip the edges of the strips together to get a better idea of what it will look like. Keep playing with it until you get it just right. I would occasionally outline the shape to see if when I iced it, if would or could turn out like I wanted it.

Step 6: Once you have the shape like you want it, it's gorilla glue time. For those of you who have never used gorilla glue, it's pretty powerful stuff so be careful not to get it on anything other than the cookie cutter. I used gorilla glue specifically because after a little reserach I found that it was safe to use on eating utensils. {I didn't want to make the boys any cookies that could potentially be poisonous!} Using just a little glue, glue the edges together and secure with a clip. Let it dry overnight.

Step 7: Bake some cookies!

I used my favorite roll out cookie recipe and royal icing recipe to bake and decorate the cookies. I used a technique called "flooding" which is so much fun!

Roll Out Cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cup of butter, room temp
  • 2 cups of white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Cream sugar and butter together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla until mixed in. Add in dry ingredients. Cover dough and chill for at least an hour if you are going to roll out without cling wrap. {I find it easier to roll things out in between a piece of wax paper and cling wrap! It's not so sticky and you don't have to chill before hand in order to roll out!}
Roll dough out to about 1/8" thick and cut with cookie cutter.
Bake for 6-8 minutes or until you see the edges start to brown. Let them cool before icing.

Tip: Sugar cookies and roll out cookies are not the same. When using a cookie cutter to make cookies and you want them to keep their shape, use a roll out sugar cookie recipe. Also, After you cut the cookies out, stick them back in the fridge right before putting them in the oven. This will also, help them keep their shape when baking.

And here are the man cookies throught the icing process:

Update: none of the cookies survived the weekend.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sweet Southern Charm {formally the Southern Socialite}

Welcome to {the now} Sweet Southern Charm! I recently decided to change the name of my blog because, as some of you have pointed out, there just so happens to be another southern socialite who is also a law student and who also {creepily} is named Nikki {two ks, not one}. So my blog will now formally be Sweet Southern Charm. the URL is Hopefully this will clear up any google search issues. Thank you for reading! Please feel free to comment!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monogram Heaven

Oh...My...Goodness...Look what I found.

For those of you who know me, I have a slight obsession with monograms. I love them. I want everything to be monogrammed. I can't help it. This obsession has become full blown with the wedding registring. Gantt finally had to step in a perform an intervention when he realized I was trying to register for his grilling tools to be monogrammed from Williams & Sonoma. He asked in a not so slight manner, "Do you want to get the walls monogrammed too?" I responded, "Well the good news is if anyone breaks into our house, they won't be able to still anything because it'll have our name all over it." So....back to my finding... LUXURY MONOGRAMS
This website is full of things i need want. I shall restrain from purchasing, but I won't stop from lusting. I can't help it, I love monograms!

 I can just imagine having a dinner party with my monogrammed place setting and my formal china. My formal china is Pickard Signature Gold in the script style. {Monogram NPG...ladies first}. It's absolutely gorgeous. I fell in love with it in the Southern Living December 2010 edition. It is pretty pricey, but I wouldn't settle. This is something that I absolutely love and would use for years. Plus, it will make gift buying for Gantt pretty easy since he can always buy me a place setting!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Photo Phailure...

So I tried to post some more pictures from graduation but that post officially became a "photo phailure," In order to rectify my mishap, I tried to create a mini movie using all of the pictures from our graduation along with a little song from The Who. Hopefully, everyone will be able to see these high resolution pictures this way. Fingers crossed....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mini Cheesecakes!

With my easy cheesecake recipe, you'll never want to buy a cheesecake again! I take this a step further and make them mini! Using either a muffin pans with cute liners or mini muffin pans {or if you're like me, use both!} these will be a big hit. I have also made this recipe "low fat" by substituting the real {and delicious} ingredients with fat free or reduced fat and it turns out just as good! Top these off with chopped blueberries or strawberries or even chocolate chips and nuts and you have the perfect dessert or treat!

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoon sweet cream butter, melted
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 eggs
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries or strawberries 
Preheat the oven to 325°. Place 12 baking cups in a muffin pan.
Put the crumbs into a medium bowl and stir in the butter. Spoon tablespoons of the crumb mixture into the cups, pressing firmly into the bottom. Chill until set.
In a large bowl, beat the ricotta until smooth. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar, blending until smooth. Slowly add the eggs, blending well. You will notice that the batter has tiny lumps like the ricotta, this is ok because it will melt when baked.
Spoon the mixture into the cups almost to the top of the liner. Bake for 25 minutes.
At this time, I like to chopped up my strawberries and wim with Splenda or Powdered Sugar (just enough to cover the berries) to make them a little sweeter and makes almost like a syrup with the berries.
Remove pan from oven and cool for 5 minutes then remove little cheesecakes and cool on a rack. Chill until time to serve. Serve topped with fruit. Let's eat!