Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Americans will celebrate Labor Day this coming weekend. Do you know what we're actually celebrating? (without consulting your friends google or wikipedia, ahem) What's a project you're currently 'laboring' over?
I don't know how the holiday came about and nor do I particuarly care. I'll take a day off and a long weekend any time you want! As far as projects go, I'm wouldn't say I'm laboring over it but I do have a special something I'm working on for my sister.

2. Labor Day also signifies the unofficial end of summer for most of us...what summer food will you miss the most?
My roommate is already mourning the end of watermelon season. I love peaches and will miss those sweet fuzzy fruits in the colder days ahead but I'm really looking forward to pumpkin flavor season!

3. A well known proverb states, "It's easier to seek forgiveness than ask permission." Your thoughts?
One time in high school my friend's parents were going to be out of town for a weekend. She invited a bunch of people from our class to come over for a sleepover/party. Of course I left out the part about the party when I asked my parents to spend the night, said I was just going over to keep her company with another girlfriend. A few hours before I was about to head over I started feeling so guilty and so nervous about getting found out. So I caved and spilled the plan to my mom and ended up not going. We have a really honest and open relationship, they trust me and I don't like having things on my conscience, also I'm HORRIBLE at keeping secrets. While I've gotten older and don't need permission for much these days I still don't feel good about hiding things from my parents or from anyone and having a reason to ask forgiveness.

4. Food critic, film critic, art critic, book critic...which hat would you most like to wear?
Food. I love to eat and I love to try new foods. But if I couldn't do that I'd want to be a book critic, or really a book editor.

5. When you were a kid, (besides your parents) who was your favorite adult?
All my aunts, uncles and grandparents. I hardly got to see them more than a few times a year at holidays but I still just think they are the funnest people to be around. And as I've grown up they've become real friends and not just relatives. Oh, and my 5th grade teacher. My favorite teacher ever.

6. The astronaut Neil Armstrong passed away last week. He was regarded as a hero by many generations of people all around the world. Do we still have modern day heroes? What makes someone a hero?
Of course there are still heroes. Firemen, police officers, service men and women in the military whose lives are on the line everyday. Doctors who save lives and restore health. Missionaries and relief workers who bring hope and aid to the poor and needy. Moms and Dads who sacrifice everything for their families. I could go on and on.

Bravery, selflessness, a higher purpose to serve.

7. I never get tired of __________________.
hearing the words "I love you."

8. This weekend I am flying down to Greenville to visit Peter and my sister and I am taking Tuesday off as well!! I am so ready for this extended trip. I hate being long distance. It sucks and this month has been particularly trying and hard and I've been particularly emotional about it. I need face time and hand holding and forehead kisses and to talk to him without any form of phone or laptop in between us. What's going to make this trip even better is sister time!! Since Peter has to work some on the weekend I am planning to have major sister bonding time. She turns 22 in less than 2 weeks so we have some celebrating to do as well! Friday get here now!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Five Things

This weekend was just what I needed. Filled with absolutely nothing on the schedule. I have been on the go or out of town most weekends so a relaxing, totally lazy one at home, in my pj's most of the day was perfect.

I only did 5 things this weekend....

1. Went for a long walk with my roommate to Whole Foods.
2. Had lunch and gelato at Whole food before walking back.
3. Went grocery shopping for the week and bought all new shower stuff. (I love getting new shampoo and body wash and throwing out the old bottles).
4. Made two more recipes off Pinterest for Saturday night:

(salmon recipe)
**I baked it instead of grilling and used a red bell pepper instead of a hot pepper because that's what I had. I served it (to myself) with cous-cous on the side and it is a perfect light dinner dish.

(cake recipe)
**This cake is so rich and the coke adds a little spice to it. Best served with a big cold glass of milk.

5. Shamelessly watched both seasons of Downton Abbey. Only season 1 is on Netflix and Peter has an account that he lets me use. I of course then had to sign up for Hulu+ simply so I could watch season 2.

And that's it. I had to go to bed afterwards since I was so sad Downton Abbey had concluded. I guess I'll hang onto that Hulu+ subscription and wait for season 3.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Love Okra

#40 on my list- Try 10 recipes I've pinned.

I love okra, pickled, fried, stewed with tomatoes, you name it- but I've never actually cooked it myself.

Last night, to spice up my leftovers, I decided to make the Pan-Fried Okra recipe that I pinned a while back. My roommate has made it before and I've been craving it ever since. It amazes me how easy it actually is, and that it's pretty darn healthy.

I bought about a pound of okra, rinsed it lightly, then cut it into 1/2 inch rounds.
In a large ziploc bag toss the okra with buttermilk. Then in a seperate bag toss the okra with cornmeal until coated.
Meanwhile heat olive oil in a skillet, add okra to pan, reduce heat to medium and fry about 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned adding salt each time you flip.

How easy is that?! It makes a great side dish and the only hard part is sharing with my roommates.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Minor hiatus this week, no real reason just not feeling inspired by this work week. Thank goodness for weekends, or what would I write about?

Last Friday my sister and I were both travelling separately to NJ to visit the parents. Unfortunately for sister her flight got cancelled, fortunately for me she got on a different flight to DC and got to meet me for lunch! The annoying part of her day became the highlight of my day.
We grabbed lunch at one of my favorites, Nandos. We first had Nando's in England and it reminds us of so many good memories and Young Life dinners. sigh.

Anywho, after lunch I took her to my office and she got to meet my coworkers and some of the interesting characters I'm always talking about. My manager generously let me skip out of the office early and I was able to get us both onto earlier trains up to my parents so we could head out of town sooner. I could definitely not concentrate on work knowing sister was just around the corner waiting for me to get out.

Upon arrival we went straight to the diner, it's what you do in NJ. We spent the rest of the evening just relaxing as a family and watching the olympics- thank goodness for shark week or what would people watch now??

Saturday we packed up the car and the coolers and headed to tailgate for the Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw concert with some family friends.
We enjoyed bubba burgers, the yummiest mexican dip (must get the ingredients from my mom) and refreshing Pims Cup. I made this a few weeks ago for an Olympics/London themed event at work. It's a traditional British cocktail and perfect for sitting in your lounge chair outside on a hot summer day listening to country music.
Ingredients: 1 Part Pimms to 2 parts Sprite (or lemonade). Add sliced lemon, oranges, limes, strawberries and cucumbers and fresh mint. Enjoy!

Being that this was a country concert gave me an excuse to break out my favorite red cowboy boots! I was actually quite surprised with how many people I saw in cowboy boots and hats in New York. I guess it's true what Brantley Gilbert sings, country must be country wide. hehe
Besides, no one, at least no one with eyeballs, can resist the charms of Tim McGraw... those arms... oh boy.
Kenny and Tim sang every one of the songs I hoped they would, all my favorites, that's rare for a concert. Usually they try to force a bunch of new stuff on you. I sang my heart out and now I'm paying for it with a ridiculously sore throat and I haven't felt like talking much or writing this week.

Oh well, happy Thursday!! This coming weekend is looking pretty exciting as well, I'm planning to get my oil changed and supervise the house painters. umm...

Friday, August 10, 2012

What I Read in July

#76 on my big list was to read at least 1 book a month. I got a Nook for my birthday and a stack of paperbacks on my night stand to keep me busy. I want to keep a record of what I read each month.

This past July I read:
  • The LOTR: The Fellowship of the Rings- J.R.R. Tolkein
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo-Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire- Stieg Larsson
I read The Hobbit in June and then started working my way through The Lord of the Ring Series. I'm in love! I love the way J.R.R. Tolkein uses words and makes them magical. The amount of detail, the unique phrasing, the descriptions, the worlds he creates with words. I wish people still talked and wrote like that. I could it eat it up with a spoon, it nourishes my imagination, my soul. I can't wait to read The Two Towers and The Return of the King and check off #35 on my list.

With the other two books I was a little late jumping on the band wagon, in fact I hate band wagon jumping. But while at the beach with Peter and his family one weekend this movie came on TV. I have a strict policy of never seeing a movie before reading the book (with the exception of the LOTR, oops). So after pulling myself away from the movie after the first few gripping scenes I figured it was time to pick up the paperback copy I'd never got around to reading. I breezed through that (with some cringing and a few white knuckled moments- it's pretty intense y'all) and then I quickly downloaded the second installment onto my Nook.

I tell you what, that is the best part of having a Nook. Instant literary gratification!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bridesmaid Pt.2

(Part 1 here) We walked over to the anxious bride's house with our dresses and shoes in tow early Saturday morning to begin the process of getting ready for a wedding. It's an all day sort of thing. Hair and make up was set up outside on the porch with everyone sitting in rocking chairs, enjoying mimosas waiting for their turn to get done up.
The sweet bride gifted each of her maids with the oh so fun Jcrew bubble necklace and pretty Kate Spade studs. Who loves getting all dressed up? This girl!
Finally it was time to fawn over the bride as she dressed in the prettiest gown she'll probably ever put on. And subsequently take a dozen photos.
We took a bus to the church, left the bride to be alone with her dad, and wished the groom good luck. Not that he needed it. He's basically been waiting for this day since orientation week, freshmen year.
I obviously don't have any pics from the alter, partly because the bride wouldn't let me carry a bouquet and a camera and partly because my happy tears would have made it hard to focus. I can tell you it was simple and beautiful and perfect, complete with a surprise singing of The Prayer by the maid of honor (more tears ensued).

We threw bird seed on the happy couple as they left the church (a decision they immediately regretted since bird seed gets into everything) and then piled back onto the bus to pop champagne and head to the reception.
The reception was held outside under a tent at Snow Moon Ranch with a view of the lake in the distance, a cigar roller on the lawn and signature cocktails with the cutest names like "The Mason Dixon" (he's from Georgia and she's from Michigan).
Dinner was punctuated with the speeches from the father of the bride (who channelled Steve Martin) and the best man. Both gentlemen had me laughing and then crying. That's how you give a toast! The dark clouds held off the whole evening and we danced the night away (again).
Finally the Mr. and Mrs. were able to sneak out, you can see the groom below is holding her purse...
The wedding (that my friends and I have been waiting for a whole year+ to attend) flew by in a flash. All too soon I was saying goodbye to them at the airport (we happened to be on the same flight out the next day- me back to D.C, them to Bermuda)
And now, sadly the nicest wedding I'll probably ever attend has come and gone. I had so much fun watching these two tie the knot and couldn't be happier to share in their love. Now, when's the next wedding?? hehe.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

#78- Be A Bridesmaid Pt.1

This was definitely one of the funnest things I'll get to check off my list (and was kind of a freebie). I'm breaking it up into two parts because it was just too much fun and I took way too many pictures for one post.

This past weekend, in the beautiful Glen Arbor, MI, I got to stand next to one of my best friend's/old roommate/ forever sorority sister and watch her marry the sweetest guy who loves her so.

I took two days off work and the weekend for me started on Thursday. I arrived in Michigan on the same flight with half the bridal party and the festivities began right away!

The bride's family has a cottage on Glen Lake and they graciously provided the bridesmaids and the groomsmen with their own cottages down the road from them, complete with beach access to the clearest bluest lake I've ever seen! If only I could have stayed a week! Thursday evening we dressed and walked over to the bride's house for a casual cook out. We sat on adirondacks with our toes in the sand, drank wine and watched fireworks over the lake, soaking up being all together again for such a wonderful occasion.
Friday the girls woke up and enjoyed coffee cake and coffee on the patio before hot rolling a lot of hair and hence blowing a lot of fuses (a dozen times in one weekend...) and then dressing like desperate housewives and heading to the bridal luncheon.
The luncheon took place at the most charming inn, we dined on Coronation Chicken Salad (what the Queen enjoyed on the day of her coronation 60 years ago) and shared memories and funny stories of the sweet bride to be.
Following the luncheon and a quick wardrobe change we headed to the church for the rehearsal. Things are starting to get real, real quick. This is happening, five years and a million memories later, they are finally about to say I do!
The celebration continued at the yacht club, the perfect evening for them to say goodbye to their single days.
After dinner, dessert and toasts they had a DJ and we danced like we were back in college and a little too hard considering hair and makeup was scheduled to start bright and early in the morning.
The sweet couple took one last walk on the dock and said their goodnights before heading home to attempt to calm down and get a decent night's sleep, easier said than done or so I've heard.

Part 2, the Big day, will be posted tomorrow. Thanks for bearing with me. Not sure how interested you are in reading about my friends you don't even know but, oh well, I want to remember it all.