Saturday, January 14, 2012

Packing is for the birds

I've been truly spoiled with the amazing corporate move the last two times I've shuttled my stuff from home to home.  I just pack a bag for myself, handle the kitty (not a small feat, I might add, but still...), and let them do their thing.  It's SO amazing.  And SO expensive it would make your eyeballs pop out of your head if you ever wanted to actually pay for it.  Yeeps.

And yes, that's right - it's finally time to move into that beautiful house we bought a few months ago.  Hooray!!

So this time around, with a whole houseload of stuff that needs to move from one house to another, we're doing a lot of the heavy lifting.  Not the REALLY heavy lifting - that's what movers are for.  But I have to pack my own boxes now.  Oh, poor spoiled Erin.  And the dear animals are so confused - I think they're afraid they're going to be forgotten unless they jump into boxes as well.  It's ok, fur babies, we've got you!

But at least as of this afternoon, we have bare cabinets and a whole kitchen's worth of stuff allllll boxed up...

...and aren't friends wonderful??  Major, major props to Kami and Carolyn for a Saturday afternoon kitchen packing extravaganza.  I mean, I have a lot of stuff.  And Craig has a lot of stuff.  And so there's a lot of stuff.  And we both love to cook, so there is a LOT lot lot of kitchen stuff.  Much of it breakable and frah-gee-lay.  And these gals papered and wrapped and taped and organized and make it happen.  Love them.  Can't thank them enough.

We have an army of book boxes lining the living room.  Scattered packed things here and there.  And still quite a bit to go, which Craig delights in informing me is mostly mine.  I can handle it.  I have until Friday morning to make it all happen.  Yeeps again...

Can't wait to make you our own, lovely new home.  See you soon.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A swift punch in the face

Remember that cookbook I mentioned?  That just made my day?

Yes, that one.  I was so excited to receive this in the mail that I punched myself in the face.  Literally.  Ripped open that packaging so quickly that my hand flew back and connected with my face.  Which caused Craig to laugh and laugh and laugh at me, and I think I actually did something practical like ice my face.  Which was probably dramatic.  But so was the punch in the face, so it really all goes together.

I mean, this may be the only time my name makes it out in the world in print (unless you count any number of boring tax things I worked on while in DC, which I don't count since they were...boring tax things), so I overreacted.

There I am!  Woot woot!
My notes are responsible for things like pan de campo, ruby red sweet rolls, and coconut tres leches cake.  And I just had way too much fun testing recipes.  How to turn this into a job...

Go forth and make these things.  Check out the Homesick Texan blog.  Buy the book of deliciousness (Kindle edition, only $9.90!).  Make tasty food.

I heart the reading

Resolution win = book recs for you!  But first, the way I read books has changed a little bit because for my birthday, my husband went and got me one of those nifty tablet thingies...I'm assuming mostly because he saw how many books/magazines I hauled around the country during our extended Christmas 2010 travels, and I think he was very VERY concerned about what would happen on our Costa Rican honeymoon if my bag was overweight due to books.  Seriously.  So I'm now at least semi-on the e-reader bandwagon.

I will never, ever stop loving real books.  I love them.  But here are some good things about the e-reader...
  1. I can get new things to read RIGHT NOW.  You know, provided the tablet is charged and I have an internet connection.  But generally...RIGHT NOW.
  2. Portability, especially when traveling.  One tablet weighs way less than the hardcover set of Hunger Games, a back-up paperback, and four magazines.  Promise.
  3. Look up feature.  If I come across a word I don't know, I'll just highlight it and look it up in the dictionary.  Vocabulary win.
  4. I was having trouble thinking of pros, but Craig says: "duh, you can play games on it."  I said I have a computer for that.  Whatevs.
  5. Craig also says: "no paper cuts."  I'm not sure the last time a book gave me a paper cut, but I'll give him this one.
  6. Craig says: "a few raindrops hurt a book.  Tablet, just fine."  Actually what he really said was something about it being more impervious to water (impervious!), so I put it in Erin words.  I tried to counter this with "ok, but if you drop either one in the bathtub, they're both goners!" - he just sighed at me.
Not so great for the following things...
  1. Borrowing/sharing/lending/loaning.  It's just much easier to swap paper books with your friends.
  2. The aforementioned "needs to be charged" business - can be really inconvenient sometimes.  Craig has some nifty converter in his car that lets me plug it in, which saved me life during our Christmas driving.
  3. Screen glare - not usually a huge issue since I can adjust the brightness, but it's not perfect when I'm outdoors.
  4. Durability.  Paper books do perfectly fine when you drop them on the ground.  The tablet...well, there's now some boo-boos on it and a small scratch on the screen.
  5. Speaking of the's ALWAYS dirty in SOME way.  I can't wipe the fingerprints off a thousand times a day.  And that bothers the OCD in me.
  6. Minor, but you know how you have to shut off electronic devices for take-off and landing?  Yeah, you can keep reading a real book.
Doesn't cut straight pro or straight con, but worth mentioning:
  1. The shopping experience has really changed.  I love nothing more than going to Half Price Books for an hour and perusing the shelves, checking out back covers and finding bargains and things I might otherwise never have found.  It's a little more organized to shop on the tablet...but just not the same experience.
  2. The reader apps aren't quite the same, and I have to give NOOK a thumbs-up over the Kindle on this one...mostly for the nerdy feature than turning a page feels slightly more like actually turning a page.  Yup, that does it.
So now...I just read both kinds of books.  Paper and electronic.  And it works.

Oh, and in the interested of being an organized reader and keeping up with what my friends are reading and finding cool new books, I'm also now on goodreads, which is a fun website that lets you add books you've read and rate them and organize them on bookshelves and add a bookshelf of your "to-read" books and what you're currently reading and it's just cool.  Do it.  If you're a nerd like me.

Book notes from my 2011 reading list.  Here you go.

AWESOME, read these immediately if you haven't already:

The Passage (this one is a beast and kinda crazy/scary/weird, but I really got into it and blasted through it MUCH more quickly than I thought I would) by Justin Cronin
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

GOOD, put it on your list:

The Unnamed and Then We Came To The End, both by Joshua Ferris
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson

DAMN, THESE WERE LONG, but mostly I'm glad I made it through them in the end:

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose

FOODISH, and definitely good for my other foodie people out there:

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Leibovitz
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

NICE AND FLUFFY for the gals.  Or the guys.  No judgment:

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
Jill Mansell books:  Take a Chance on Me, Rumor Has It, Miranda's Big Mistake (probably never would have read these without their $1.99 price tags and prominent placement on NOOK list, so possibly score one more for the e-reader)


Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult.  Normally I really enjoy her books, but this one...nope.  One of her earlier books that you can definitely skip.

Go forth and read!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutions schmezolutions

Oh, January 2, 2011.  When I was apparently filled with great resolve and optimism.  Exactly one year later, let's just see how things turned out on the whole "here are my resolutions!" front...
  • Lose 25 pounds in 10 months.  FAIL.  I actually gained weight this year, quite the opposite of every other bride out there who manages to shrink herself for the big wedding day.  Anyone remember Weight Loss Challenge?  Yeah, that didn't exactly pan out the way either one of us intended.  Oops.  I continue to blame love...I wonder how long I can get away with that...
  • Hit 100 blog posts in 2011.  FAIL.  I couldn't even squeak out half that many.  49.  That's all.  But you know what?  In the middle of all the life insanity, the blog didn't completely die.  And I'm pretty dang happy about that.  Live on, blog!  And maybe in 2012 I can pick up NaBloPoMo again since November 2011 was just a teensy bit crazy.
  • Read at least 30 books for pleasure.  WIN.  32, actually.  Same as last year.  Phew.  Needed to throw a win in there.
  • Start volunteering on at least a monthly basis.  FAIL.  Selfish year for me.
  • Maintain sanity during wedding planning.  WIN.  AND FAIL.  I definitely had my moments along the way, some of which only my dear husband was witness to and I can therefore deny deny deny, but I think I did a decent job of remembering what the day was about - marrying Craig, not obsessing over tiny details that no one notices anyway.  Hey, and we're still married two months later and well on our way to outlasting that Kardashian business.
This year's resolution?  Not to make any resolutions.  I'm guessing that 2012 is going to be a little bonkers, too, what with the end of the world coming and all, so I'm just going to take it as it comes.
I'll just try to adopt Zach's happy-go-lucky attitude a little bit more...after all, he's (apparently) adopted some Texan attributes.  Smart puppy, learning how to say "y'all" - he's a winner.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Eleven for '11

Eleven pictures to oh so briefly sum up my 2011
I moved back to Dallas from the middle of a giant snowy disaster.  Which you'd really think would be much more likely to happen the other way around.  But I was home.
And not only did I move to Texas...but Zach did, too.  And his dad, of course.  And Harry thought this was pretty much the worst day ever.  I worried.  A lot.  And basically it's all ok now.

I bought a dress.  Not just any dress.  THE dress.  And they celebrated by attacking us with bubbles, which was fun and wonderful in every way.  I'm so glad my mom was there.

My sissy went and graduated from Duke Law School.  Kinda a big deal.  Just sayin.

So many wonderful times throughout the year with so many wonderful friends, and nothing says it better than four Fredericksburg pies.  Yes, four.  We needed alllll the flavors.  So grateful for these wonderful friends, and not just because they agree to four pies.

We celebrated this whole "we're engaged!!" business with some official photography moments.  And I've just never been happier.

I have two of the most amazing friends a girl could ask for in Carolyn and Kami, and our annual summer trip is always, always one of the highlights of my year.  And Beaver Creek in the summer is a TREAT with these ridiculous Texas summers.

Soooo....we bought a house.  A month before the wedding.  Much going on?  Nah.  Just the usual.  So we bought a giant, beautiful house to turn into a home and build our lives together.  Ok, maybe a touch more awesome than "the usual."

Last year I did some recipe testing for a cookbook...and the cookbook became real and a free copy was shipped to me and my name is in there and I think the whole thing is just generally cool because I absolutely loved the work and the whole experience.  I. love. food.  You know this.

Craig and I got married.  And we had a wonderful wedding.  Surrounded by family and friends.  And we had a FUN wedding.  One of the most amazing days of my life, really and truly.

And we followed up the wonderful, amazing wedding with a wonderful, amazing honeymoon to Costa Rica where we did ridiculous things like zipline through the rainforest.  Such an incredible trip, and really a very incredible year.