Saturday, April 30, 2011

Home sweet home

Before actually moving into this rental house in February, I'd lived in apartments/dorms for the last...oh, ten and a half years or so.  So actually living in a HOUSE with SPACE and a BACKYARD is something of a revelation to me.

A few of these revelations and new experiences...

 - Constantly Swiffering hardwood floors.  Which was driving me crazy.  On a daily basis.  Sooooo...there's now this little robot roaming around our home on a daily basis around noon. Craig finally talked me into a Roomba.  We've named it know, because it's round.  And we love Mexican food.  It seemed semi-logical at the I think Craig thought I might love it even more if we gave it a name.
Craig said I wasn't allowed to put this picture on the blog because he basically hates all pictures of himself, which he is DEFINITELY going to have to get over (hello, have you met me and my camera??) I just did some strategic editing.  I promise he's smiling really big.  Next time I just won't ask him and post it anyway.
 - So many rooms I didn't know what to do with them...especially while I was waiting for the rest of the furniture (you know, that whole roommate bit) to show up.  Now, though...we've done a fairly excellent job of filling every nook and cranny to the max.  And there are even things on the walls!

 - Buying things in bulk.  Like paper towels.  I actually have somewhere to put them.  Oh, and there's this thing called a garage.  It's so cool.

 - Outdoor space!!  And the option to do things like plant herbs (I have some exploding basil going on, which I'm very excited about)...

...and enjoy a patio/deck (especially now that it's shaded due to this cool canopy thing Craig and Dad put together - good work, boys!)...

...and use real flames to transform normal food into grilltastic meals.  Boys come with some cool stuff.

Now, please excuse me while I go do things like learn how to steam mop and pull 3 foot weeds (eeekk!) from our flowerbeds.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let's get on this whole wedding thing

Did you know that getting engaged is a little overwhelming at first?  There's this great sense of euphoria that comes over you...and then everyone you know immediately asks what day you're getting married and where you're getting married and what your colors are and whether you've thought about using this person or that person for this or that and OH do you know what kind of dress you want, and it's enough to make someone contemplate getting married on the side of the road and just being done with it.

But then there are also really fun things like...

...going wedding dress shopping with your mom and one of your best friends and having a BLAST.  I think my mom was really worried that I was going to be stressed and indecisive and overwhelmed and basically freak out.  And don't get me wrong, I might have had those thoughts, too.  But we really had the BEST time, whether we were digging through piles of ugly dresses...

...or finding the winner and jumping up and down with joy.  Such a fun day!  Major props to the ladies at LuLu's in Uptown for embracing the fun and my ridiculousness.

...registering!!  Is there a little stress involved as you debate which flatware feels the best in your hand and which towels are going to claim a spot in your future life (I swear we touched every towel three times) and whether or not you really need this or that or this?  Yeah, a little bit.  But mostly it's crazy fun zapping things with a cool little gun and picking out things together.  We went to Bed Bath & Beyond on Friday afternoon (after having a couple of margaritas at lunch - my plan, as I figured Craig would be more amenable to my preferred options if I gave him a little booze, hehe) and spent about three and a half hours listening to the china spiel and making a lap of the store and heading back to the desk three times to get our gun fixed.  It was so much fun!! 

I think Craig started losing steam somewhere in the middle of towel selections...notice my beaming energy and his desire to just move on with the process.  Ahhh, memories and moments.

Scanny guns are extremely fun!!

And then we came home and promptly put together another registry on Amazon.  And next Sunday morning we're hitting up Crate & Barrel before the store opens for one of their special registry events.  A glass of champagne AND a scanny gun?  Don't mind if I do!

...planning the honeymoon.  We're going to Costa Rica!!  And staying at amazing places like the Xandari Resort and Spa and Arenal Nayara and Pranamar Villas and doing amazing things like zip-lining through the jungle and staying in an ocean-front villa and hiking around a volcano and just sitting in a hammock and reading and relaxing in hot springs and generally just enjoying life.  I can't wait for this part.

...figuring out fun little details instead of the big, budget-busting items.  Fun little details include paper products, which I'm totally obsessed with, as well as cool things like the wedding cake.

For everyone out there who wants to stay up to date with wedding news, I even busted out a wedding website.  Nothing crazy, I exercised some restraint - just some info for the curious types and out-of-towners.

Weddings are 100% absolutely crazy.  But also kinda fun.  Plus there's that whole "I do...for life" bit, which seems pretty awesome to me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Delicious snacking opportunities

I really love desserts.  And baking.  And sharing excessive amounts of butter with other people in order to get these dangerous baked goods out of my house where they won't directly apply themselves to my hips/waistline/arm flab deposits.  Which is why over the past couple months at work when we've been...well, busy, to say the least...we try to encourage each other along with the promise of treats around 2:30 in the afternoon.  Snack attack!!  Crazy me, who loves kitchen adventures, signed up for three go-rounds.

First there were homemade Oreos.  Which were sooooo good.  And also took absolutely forever to make.  Although I kinda love going into a Zen mode of rolling out 150ish balls of cookie dough.

Then there were the butterscotch bourbon bars, which I rebranded as butterscotch bourbon cake when I quadrupled the recipe for everything except the brown sugar.  Oops.  Fortunately, it was fantastically delicious and no one knew they were a semi-screw up until I shared my original plan.  Baking adventures are fun!

And finally, rocky road brownies.  Which if you don't pay very close attention to when under the broiler for a little marshmallow toasting action...ummm...there could be something along the lines of actual flames and some shrieking and a finished product that looks something like this:

Fortunately, you can just scrape off the blackened goo (while standing in a faintly campfire-s'mores scented kitchen, I might add), pile some fresh marshmallows on top, and give it another shot.  And then you'll end up with something like this, which is much pleasing to the eye...and the smoke alarm.

Yup, that's a triple batch of brownies.  At least on this one I got the math right.

Oh, and for Easter tomorrow I'll be contributing blueberry crumb bars (already tested and approved) and caprese pasta salad to the spread.

Anyone out there have some start-up capital for the bakery? 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chocolate + beer = awesome

Not the most timely blog post ever (you might even call it un-timely or completely irrelevant given that some of my upcoming exclamations are seasonally inappropriate), but how do I, of all people, get away WITHOUT telling you about something that intentionally pairs one of my most favorite things ever (chocolate!!) with one of Craig's most favorite things ever (beer!!).  Yes.  You just had to know.  Beer and Chocolate Tasting at the Ginger Man.  YES.  Good times with Carolyn and Justin and assorted other friendly faces.

Untimely item #1 - this relates to Valentine's Day.  Today is April 10th.  You do the math.  But really, is there any other day of the year that lends itself to pairing chocolate and beer?  I'm sure we could come up with one, but Valentine's Day just screams YES to this.

We won glassware!!  Temporarily filled with chocolates wrapped in cheery Valentine's Day wrapping, now residing in our freezer awaiting a frosty brew.
Untimely item #2 - I'm going to refer to Craig "being in town" when Craig now...lives here.  But it was really nice that he was here so we could have a low-key Valentine's Day together and actually see each other during that whole living-in-different-parts-of-the-country bit.  Besides, could anyone else have modeled the paper accompaniment to our event with such pizazz?  Oh, wait...this is how he usually operates when I ask for a picture.  Covers his face.  I'll put together a collage of those shots one day.

We worked our way through seven-ish beers of varying strengths and chocolatey-ness, paired with the likes of chocolate-covered strawberries and straight-up milk and dark chocolate.  And while I didn't necessarily think that beer and chocolate would really go together at the start of the thing...some of them surprised me.  In a good, tasty way.  Fun!  Please see the aftermath below.

Go to the Ginger Man and  some love - a lot of people find it awesome.  Especially when you can enjoy an amazing patio in the middle of February.  And maybe even the middle of April.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Where do you get your news?

Katie Couric is apparently throwing in the towel on this whole "hosting the evening news" gig...but I don't care.  Well, and you probably don't either.  And based on her ratings, neither do a whole lot of other people.  But I really don't care because I don't get my news from the evening news.  I'm rarely home in time to watch it anyway, and even if I am...I'd rather watch a rerun of Scrubs and then catch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert a few hours later in the night to fill me in on what's really going on.

If I watch TV "news" at all.  Isn't that really what the interwebs are for?  I spend my day in front of a computer, and why would I want to watch the news when I can selectively scroll through and pick the headlines I'm interested in?

I'm afraid the days of Tom Brokaw (or, for an earlier generation, Walter Cronkite) may be over.  Those dramatic "breaking news" moments are a little less dramatic when Twitter exploded twenty minutes earlier with all the "news" you need to know. 

I'd rather just read The Onion