Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekend Update 02-25-12

Hi everyone!

We kept the weekend pretty low key around here, since we were busy last weekend and will be again next weekend. I tried to get a lot done around the house, because I can't stand to come home from a trip to a dirty house.

I've started a pretty decent pile for a yard sale. Do you ever get to where you just feel like your stuff is crowding in on you? I just start itching to get it OUT! When I feel like I start to run out of space, and the space I have is even larger than the space I had before, it's time to purge. I think it was brought on by my closet getting a little tight. I like things organized. And you can't keep things organized when you don't have enough space. So, I'm hoping in a month or two (when my mom is in town) to have a big yard sale and free up some space in this house!

The big fun thing this weekend was John getting to drive a race car. For Christmas he got a Groupon to ride along for 4 laps at our local track. My mom graciously upgraded it to a 15 lap driving experience.
The day started out really nippy and windy. Of course being on a big open race track without wind breaks did not help. But I did get another chance to wear my warm wool coat.

John did just fine- no wrecks thank goodness. And he avoided his big fear of biffing when getting in or out of the car. All the car engines have been in a NASCAR cup race. We were worried because some of the possible car styles listed were not exactly what you would call "cool". But on our day they only had Monte Carlos.

John is the green car

Do you think I could be a good NASCAR wife? :)

The 2nd place winner of the Snowball Derby was the driver for ride along peeps

Getting out of the car. Successfully. :)
I'm looking forward to a short work week and I'll have lots of pics when we return from out trip!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekend Update 02-20-12 (A "Wicked" Good Time!)

Hi everyone!

So this weekend I finally discovered the surprise John had been taunting me with for several months.

All I knew until Friday was that we were going away for the weekend and that Saturday night we were staying in a hotel. I was told to bring one outfit each of "warm" "beach" "dressy" and "casual".
I deduced from the length we'd be gone that wherever we were going was in driving distance.

So Friday afternoon we headed out. Based on the route we traveled and the miles to our destination, I finally figured out we were going to Birmingham. I really enjoyed the scenery on the drive up as we traveled through the country a good bit.

We spent Friday evening with some wonderful friends of ours. Their son was John's best man and their granddaughter was our flower girl. We were unexpectedly treated to a great dinner in an area that reminded me of the little quaint mountain towns in Colorado.
Since I did not have a plan of the entire weekend as I packed, I managed to forget a very important item- jeans! My pants for the weekend. My only other options were shorts (too cold) and yoga pants (not appropriate). Well, I thought for sure I was about to have to buy another pair. But Mrs. "C" came through. I not only got some pants to wear, but about 10 other tops and bottoms along with 2 bracelets. Don't you just love getting new (to you) things for free? You know I do!
So once I had dinner-appropriate attire, we headed off to one of their favorite places, Stone's Throw.
Bleu cheese chips, steak, seafood pasta, burger

Banana pudding, bread pudding, creme brulee

We sat at the Chef's table- with a view into the kitchen

The only half-decent photo of the bunch. I promise we were all having a good time!

Everyone had a scrumptious dinner. I wimped out and had the burger. I just knew the steak would be too much food for me. Thankfully John had the steak and I did get to try it. Very very tasty! I do love a good steak.

Then we all had amazing dessert! I had banana pudding with a peanut butter crust. And the bananas were caramelized!

After getting home we were all full and tired, and headed off to bed. I still want to find out where Mrs "C" got her sheets. They were so so soft! I could not help but just skim my legs across them over and over.

Saturday morning we slept late, which was AMAZING. Then Mrs "C" made us all breakfast. We talked and caught up on life (over the last 2 years!) for several hours before finally getting out of our pajamas. I showered just in time for us to head over to the hotel (that was a fabulous, no "priceless" deal, thanks again to Mrs "C" the travel agent). We stayed at a Hyatt Place in Birmingham.

A lazy rainy Saturday. Love.

I told you all I did was shower. No makeup. Waiting in the hotel lobby.

Then John had us get in our nice clothes for dinner. We intended to eat at The Cheesecake Factory- but the wait was too long. Instead we went next door to California Pizza Kitchen. Also very tasty. We had some time to kill before the next surprise, so we walked around the shops that are in the same outdoor mall as the restaurant. The area is called "The Summit". It was on the peak of a hill and it was so nice. I did not realize how "happening" Birmingham is. There's lots of nice areas and fun things to do.
These always turn out as our best photos on vacay. Lol
Wearing the fishnets that were my later downfall

In the car headed off to dinner

Bham skyline

The kid who decided his arm should join us in our booth. John finally stretched his arm out and bumped his arm "accidentally". That was enough for him to get the message.

My favorite store we went in was Anthropologie. Oh my. We don't have those back home. I'd only peeked in once once before. I was so in love. I could decorate my whole house from there. I managed not to drool. However, I was not in love with their prices. But if I was rich- that would be my store. The candles there smelled amazing. But not $30 amazing.
Drool. I want the grey lamp shades. Too bad a pair would set me back $260.

We also stopped in for some froyo at Pinkberry. I had the caramel and it was really good.
As we made our way back to the car (in the wind and drizzle) I realized that I indeed wore the wrong shoes. The "hurts-so-bad-they-put-you-in-a-bad-mood" kind of wrong shoes. Good thing I had another half mile of walking ahead of me. I did manage not to cry. The pain was exacerbated by my fish net stockings that were making the balls of my feet burn with their web-like pattern. Two days later that area is still sensitive. But I digress.

We headed downtown as it was the reason for our trip. John bought us tickets to see "Wicked: A New Musical." !!!!!! He knows how much I love this show!  I've only seen one Broadway show, but I've now seen it six times! We've each seen it before, but never together. It was so nice to get all dressed up for a date. And even nicer to get away for the weekend.

The convention complex the theater was in was HUGE. And I don't know if closer parking was available, but we literally walked for 10-15 minutes to get to the theater from our car. I thought I was going to cry because of my feet. But John said "Please don't, or people will think this is a really bad date." Lol.

Once we finally made it to our seats, we were already huffing a bit. To make matters worse- it was like literally 75-80 degrees in our section. Mind you- it was like 40 degrees outside. So we were dressed warmly. Thank goodness for layers or I would have been sweating. Also, John thought we had floor seats, but as it turned out we were in the first balcony, about 4 rows from the top. So, a little further than he expected.

The show itself did not disappoint. I don't have any photos since any kind of recording is strictly prohibited. Since I've now seen about 5-6 different people play the leads, it's interesting to compare every actor's take on the character. Some really are better than others. Of course I've never seen the originals- Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.
At about midnight in the hotel lobby- just before finally taking off those wretched shoes!

Side note- while placing the links to the names above, I got sidetracked for about 30 minutes reading bios of several women who've played the lead in Wicked. Sad but true. Sometimes I get a little starry-eyed. I think being a Broadway star would be one of the coolest and must fun things to do in life!

Sunday morning I slept the latest I've slept in a very long time. John proclaims the latest since we've been married. 9:49 am. I guess going to bed at 1:20 am had something to do with it. Anyway, we managed to catch the last few bites of the free breakfast, but just by a hair. I felt exceedingly relaxed the rest of the day.

On our way home, John had one last surprise for me. As a mid-trip break, we stopped at a local place called Priester's Pecans. It had a Cracker Barrel like atmosphere. And of course lots of pecans. I had some really wonderful pistachio almond ice cream and John had a coffee drink.
And all of this weekend was possible because of my wonderful husband. I kept thinking all weekend how blessed I am. Not everyone is a "lucky" in love as we are. not everyone tries so hard to make it work. But mine does. Every once in a while- he goes BIG! :) And he does "little" things to make me smile all the time!

Once we arrived home and had our tongue-baths from the dogs, we settled in to watch another Harry Potter. Now we only have 1 left to go!

I hope you all had a good weekend too! But it being as exciting as mine is highly doubtful :)

If only I could get away like this once a month. Oh I do love traveling for pleasure!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend Update 02-11-12

Ok, this is more of all all-week update :)

Tuesday John's dad was in town and took us out for a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant with grits to die for. Smoked Gouda cheese grits to be exact. Oh my, they were out of this world. And, he came up on his motorcycle, so John took me around in our neighborhood for a bit. We only had one helmet so we could not go out on the main roads. Let me tell you, even in our one road neighborhood I was praying almost the whole time that we would not crash. I've been on motorcycles before but for some reason this time it made me very nervous. But all went well.

Friday John called to tell me that he finally found an item I've been seeking at a yard sale- a rolling pin.
I had quite a good laugh when he showed me the pin with such triumph:

He honestly thought it was a rolling pin in a stand. Poor sweet guy. He just did not believe that it was a paper towel holder.

Friday night I was also taken on a surprise date! We just got a Brazilian BBQ restaurant and John took me to the grand opening! I ate way too much meat off of spits and too many carbs. And all while wearing some sexy heels!

Saturday we did our usual yard sales. I got a pair of black boots with ruffles down the side for $1. I think they are really cute.
When I went grocery shopping that evening, I saw a rather amusing sight. A lady was standing at the Redbox machine near the slot where you pickup and return your DVDs. I couldn't quite figure out what she was doing, until I realized she was trying to force a DVD into the slot. I politely informed her that she had to touch "Return" on the screen first. We both had a little chuckle over that one.

Monday night I tried out a new recipe from my fave site Skinnytaste. It was a Latin stew recipe, and it turned out remarkably well. John and I both had second helpings. I only wish I would have made enough for us to have lunch the next day. I recommend doubling the batch if you do make it.
Anyway, the recipe does call for 1/3 cup of light beer. This presented a problem, as we don't drink.

But, I'm not opposed to cooking with alcohol. So off to the gas station I went to purchase one light beer. Which I will now call, a trip to lose my youth.
You see, I was prepared. I had my ID at the ready. To my dismay, I was never asked for it. How devastating! Apparently, I now look much older than 21. Waaaaaaaaah!
I felt really conspicuous walking out with my brown paper bag

Well, I guess that's all there is to tell for now. Tomorrow we'll be celebrating Valentine's day by  making breakfast for dinner and watching Harry Potter :) We own all the collection but one and have been working our way through them again this week. It really is such a well-produced series. Someday I hope to read the books also.
We are keeping tomorrow low-key, because my really gift is coming this weekend. John is whisking me away to destinations unknown. I just love surprises!

I am making these pretties for work tomorrow:

Happy Valentine's!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Gratitude- Miss Manners

So I've been thinking quite a bit about social customs through reading blogs and personal experiences, especially as it relates to propriety.

Since I've got a couple areas I'd like to cover, I've decided on a new label, "Miss Manners". Where I'll post what the proper social rules are and my personal opinions and experiences. I've sort-of already covered RSVPs. I did not include a direct quote from Emily Post, but here's a great article on RSVPs as it pertains to weddings:Be a gracious wedding guest not a royal pain

Today we'll discuss obligations of the host or recipient, rather the the guest or giver, the infamous and mostly forgotten Thank You card. Remember this series is Miss Manners, not Miss Grammar. Please ignore my punctuation and capitalization issues.

In our "now" and "paperless" society, the art of delayed written communication is almost extinct. We love to design wonderful invitations and Christmas card, but forget the follow up of written thank you notes.

I myself lack in this. It really is polite to send thank you's even after something as small as a dinner, especially when the host invites you to their home. I have the best intentions of doing this, and almost always forget to actually do it.

But when is a simple thank you when receiving the gift appropriate, and when should you put pen to paper to show you are both thoughtful and grateful? You can never go wrong asking Emily Post.

The article confirmed just what I suspected- written thank you's are expected for any shower gift. And wedding gifts should be acknowledged within 3 months of receipt of the gift. That was a little different than my thought of 3 months from the wedding.

At showers- a popular trend has started to have envelopes on a table and to have the guests write their address on them to make things easier on the "thanker". While a highly practical idea, I can't shake the feeling of being a bit miffed. I think part of the expectation of a thank you is that, if I as the giver put for the effort, time and money to select, purchase, wrap and deliver a gift to you, the minimum expected in return is that you spend around a dollar and 5 minutes of time to write and address a card.

And in all reality, if you were able to attend a shower that you likely already received an invitation to, shouldn't someone already have your address? Shouldn't you be that close to the recipient of your gift?

Perhaps I'm sounding snotty with my reasoning, but even the simple reasoning of being a grateful gift-receiver is reason enough. Don't be so quick to take gifts for granted. Everyone appreciates being well-thanked.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weekend Update 02-04-12

We had a wonderful time this weekend, and the Superbowl was only a small part of it :)

My friend Elise, who I visited a couple weeks ago, returned the favor and visited us (along with her sarcastic yet adorable hubs Reuben).
Another mutual friend of ours, "M" had invited her to make the trip over for "M's" birthday party. So they came and stayed with us.

Friday night we had dinner and then fondue (at home). It was so tasty, and a good reason to use up the leftover chocolate still melted in the pot from the bridal shower. Then we did a little Dance Central with the Kinect to burn off some of those calories. Of course we stayed up way too late talking.

Saturday we got up much earlier than we would have liked to, but all for a good cause. We went out in search of great yard sale deals. It was looking pretty bleak for the first 90 minutes or so. Overcast skies, very few signs, and listings on my app that apparently decided to not have a sale after all.
But then, we pulled up to the World Series of yard sales. The best one I've ever been to. Seriously. It was just a single lady having a moving sale. Only it looked like World Market, Ross, Pottery Barn and Ikea had thrown up all in her house. She was getting rid of EVERYTHING. By the time we got there the sale had been going on an hour and several people already had MOUNDS of things set aside to buy. One older lady was fiercely guarding a big pile in the backyard and I overheard her say she was going to offer $200 for it. I wish we would have been there when it opened, but I probably would have been taking money out of savings to buy all the cool inexpensive stuff she had. We definitely would've needed to call John for the truck.
At first we were nervous because 99% of the items did not have prices. But once Reuben asked about a bathroom cabinet and she said $5 and he overheard her saying $1 for clothes, we too started a pile. We
probably spent 45 minutes in this lady's house. Then we spent another 15 minutes waiting in line to pay her. But in the end we came out with this:

Elise got:

All clothes, $1 each

Cabinet, $5, wall art  $5, pic frame $2, white bedspread and white duvet $10, candles, wall crosses, new chocolate fountain $10 and decorative pillows (a couple bucks)
Then my loot:
I spent $20 altogether and got 15 items. Thanks to Elise for modeling.

Woven square basket, black purse, 4 napkin rings, toss pillow, decorative plate, pewter bowl, 2 vinyl wall art (large flowers and "Always Kiss Me Goodnight), glass vase, star mirror and my fave deco- silver pear. You can put a votive candle under the pear and the light shines through the holes

Really nice shirt for John. The patio lights ($20) are for mom and the other two shirts ($3) are from another yard sale.

Included in my $20 haul from Pottery Barn lady was a pair of Toms "Vegan Wrap Boots" that I got just to sell. I think they are pretty darn ugly, but they're worth around $40-$60 bucks!
Later when John came homes (we went separately so we could take our time and not slow him down) he showed me what he bought:

A tandem bike! Or as I like to call it "a bicycle built for two." I have to admit I was nervous to ride it and when we first took off and stopped I shrieked a little. But once we got going it really was fun. And trust building. Lol.
We'll enjoy it while it lasts, cause this puppy is for sale.

Then Saturday night was "M's" party. I forgot my camera :( We ate and talked way too much. I made a recipe that caught my eye and reminded me of holidays meals as a child: Watergate Salad. Aka "fluff, green fluff," etc. Oh my did it hit the spot for me! So light, fluffy and sweet. After my fourth serving I finally got rid of my craving for it!

Sunday we took a little time after church to photograph our faces :) So I could prove Elise has a head, lol.

Showing Reuben the rapid fire capabilities of our camera

And then to top off the weekend, the Giants won. Not that either of "our" teams were playing at all, but the hubs wanted the Giants to win, so I was glad they did. And that we could witness it with gracious hosts and good friends, the Seymores. Who also grilled burgers and hot dogs for us.

Now back to healthy eating and exercise :)

Happy Monday