Saturday, December 31

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, everyone! Oh, what a year it has been.
I hope you're all bringing in 2012 with people you love and cherish!

Shawn and I have had the whole day off together, so we took a walk down to the liquor store and followed it up with some cocktails and candy. We've also got some friends heading up here tonight for some more celebration... not too much celebration though; we both have work in the morning!

Much love and happiness to all!

Monday, December 26

A Very Merry Jolly Christmas

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! We drove to my parents' house late Saturday night and had a delicious breakfast and lunch with my family before heading over to Shawn's mom's place for even more food and family time. The only thing that would have made the weekend better would have been a little bit of snow!

I only took a few pictures; family time takes precedence over immense documentation! Here's a taste of our weekend:

So many presents under the pretty tree! I think we all spoiled each other this year.

It's always a good day when you're greeted by this big fuzzball. I just want to fluff him up and curl up in a ball next to him.

Speaking of Kusko, look at him stealthily checking out the ham action going on. It's not the best photo of the ham, but I totally caught those hungry eyes without even meaning to.

Breakfast was croissants and jam, with freshly squeezed orange juice. Lunch was champagne and wine with a plate full of baked ham, mashed potatoes, spinach and sweet potato salad, and green beans. Dessert consisted of a pear and chocolate tart, key lime pie, and a buttermilk pear pie. We definitely did not go home hungry (especially since Shawn's mom made a whole Thanksgiving dinner too!)

I also wasn't kidding about the gifts; this year's bounty put smiles on our faces. A good mix of things we needed (gloves, wooden spoons, a quality chefs knife), things we wanted (all sorts of books, a video game, old navy gift cards, dinosaur related things), and things we never expected (a roku player, a quality chefs knife, and a mini cast-iron brownie pan) - yay!

My new iPhone cover didn't make it into the group picture. It's too cute not to share though!

We also did a gift exchange at work this year. My co-workers must know me well because I got some cashmere pocket hand warmers (perfect for our walks!), a book by one of my favorite authors, a recipe book for cat treats, a recipe box full of recipe cards, and this gnome statue (it even has a squirrel!!). Unfortunately it arrived with one broken bench leg, so we need to glue it back together before he can hang out with the other gnomies.

I'll leave you with a gratuitous 'stache shot. Shawn says I look like Frank Zappa, ha!

Friday, December 23

Fun Finds Friday

I have Five (ok, six) Fun Things for you this Friday! I'd love to make this a staple on the blog, maybe every few Fridays or so, but lets see how long I can keep this up first.

1. Dream Big - a mosaic of Martin Luther King Jr. created entirely out of Rubik's Cubes!

2. The greatest website ever created! Ok, maybe that's a stretch, but not really.

3. This custom Guess Who? game board featuring US Presidents is pretty awesome.

4. Who doesn't love The Count? ...ten apples... eleven apples... hahaha!

5. I've seen so many different takes on the "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters... this is one of my favorites.

I thought I'd throw this in too: I've been loving these yoga sequences by Bridget Lyons. I've been doing the 30-minutes sequences and they're just enough to get you heated and revitalized; she also has enough on there for variety throughout the week.

Happy holidays, everyone! Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, December 18

Two Squirrels For Your Sunday

I bought us an advent calendar from Trader Joe's this year, since it was only 99 cents. Every day there's a tiny piece of milk chocolate molded into something winter/holiday related. Of course there was a squirrel.

Last year we had a couple of different squirrel visitors at our sunny kitchen window. This year, we haven't had quite so many, and they're not as eager for close human interaction. Usually they stick to the branches of the tree right outside the window. Shawn caught this guy sunbathing on our windowsill this morning though!

Saturday, December 17

Eccentric Collections

I have a lot of little collections. I'm not really quite sure how they all started, but I'm pretty sure when other people in your life start buying you things because you "have a few similar ones already", that's considered having a collection...

What do I collect? Clocks, salt & pepper shakers, elephants, and gnomes. That's what I can think of off the top of my head, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm forgetting something.

Clocks! Lots of clocks. There are also a few small tabletop ones around the apartment, but I just photographed the wall clocks in the kitchen. I think I have 10 clocks in total!

This is my newest clock! I hadn't bought one in years so when I came across this one at Home Goods, it just had to come home with me. Unfortunately, it's too heavy to hang on the hooks we have (since our walls are impenetrable we've resorted to using dual-sided sticky tabs and hooks), so it's camping out on the living room floor until I can figure out what to do with it.

I spotted the frogs and the kissing fish shakers online around the same time - they're both vintage. Then for Christmas two years ago, Shawn got me the kissing hippie shakers. (Well, they're supposed to be kissing; I need to re-glue the magnet onto the hippie guy.) The hugging dog shakers are from my mom; she brought them all the way back from Thailand! I hope to one day have corner cabinet shelves in my kitchen so that I can display all of these properly!

Just like all of my collections, the elephants started randomly too. I have an elephant from Peru, one from Amsterdam, and one from France, the others were all acquired just as randomly. I suppose I like traveling elephants. The tray is from ikea; we put it to use as our 'catch-all' tray by the front door. I couldn't resist the pretty colors and patterns!

And like a jerk, I completely forgot to photograph the gnomes. But they've actually graced the blog with their presence before! Now I don't feel quite as bad.

There you have it! I'm now an eighth of the way to becoming a hoarder ;) What do you collect?

Wednesday, December 7

Here we go again... (Recap!)

I can't believe it's already December... where did the last month go?! November was a blur.
I'll just use these handy Instagram photos to recap!

1. Our Thanksgiving dinner (chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and beers). I also had the good fortune of eating Thanksgiving dinner with my family the day prior... lots to be thankful for this year!
2. An awesome thrifted Anthropologie sweater I found for a whopping $6!
3. Sugar cookies/failed snickerdoodles... I realized halfway through the recipe that I had no cinnamon.
4. Seven! One of our local friend's cat. We've known him since he was a wee little kitten.
5. Luna being a cutie on Thanksgiving at my family's house.
6. Chicken orzo soup we made back when the weather wasn't so unseasonably warm.

Other note-worthy things:

The biggest lemon I have ever seen. (shown with other lemons for comparison)

I twisted apart a Trader Joe's oreo and found a sweet looking Meatwad!

Oh, and I made a bunch of pies. Fourteen pies, to be exact. And six dozen cookies. All for holiday orders at the shop! And the feedback was delicious :)

And that about sums up November!
I have a few more posts up my sleeve for December, don't you worry.

Wednesday, November 2

October Comes to an End

I apologize for my absence from the blog lately... I've just been feeling more crafty than chatty these days. I've been keeping myself busy with various little crafts here and there. I always forget how satisfying it is to create things!

Cupcake craftery.

My mother bought this awesome cupcake wrapping paper just for me! I have two big squares of it from the last gifts I received, and I really wanted to find some way to re-use it. I have a few ideas for these cute little cupcakes, but so far I've only done one thing with them: turned them into magnets! I bought some card stock, glued the cupcakes on, cut around them, and stuck a small magnet on the back - easy fridge bling!

Can you find the cupcakes?

A-ha! There they are, those sneaky cupcakes!

How about food crafts? Does making chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies count as a craft? I believe it does. A girl's gotta eat while she crafts, don't you agree?

Headbands are cool, right? Either way, I've been making a bunch of them lately out of t-shirt scraps. What I'm most proud of on this one is the stitch work; I've been having fun trying out different hand-stitches on each headband.

I also made a skirt out of a hand-me-down dress, just in time to wear for my birthday!

A friend gave me this pretty dress over the summer; I loved the colors and the pattern but I was not a fan of the top half... the spaghetti straps and the cross-front style just weren't doing it for me, and I knew I would never wear it as a dress. So I turned it into a skirt!

It was a really simple re-fashion; I just cut the skirt part off and folded the cut end of the fabric down and sewed a straight line, making sure to leave enough room for my elastic. Then I just messed with the bunching a bit to make sure all the fabric was easily distributed, and voila! A much more wearable item for me.

Here are some other awesome/noteworthy things:

A pumpkin themed dinner with old (& new!) friends.

These two ladies and I had been trying to plan a dinner gathering for at least two months before it finally happened this past weekend. All the boyfriends were in attendance too, except for Shawn, who was unfortunately stuck at work during the festivities :(

The menu consisted of butternut squash, bacon & onion soup, with a side of parsley chicken, beef bacon, honey butter cornbread, and spiced pumpkin cupcakes for dessert. It was delicious, to say the least, and time spent with good friends made it all the better. Also, I have to admit it's really pretty fun playing hostess!

Death By Chocolate Cupcakes

I know I said I wasn't going to make myself a cake for my birthday (after making Shawn's and my mom's recently) but I just couldn't resist these cupcakes. Is there anything better than chocolate? How about more chocolate? Chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache, chocolate buttercream, and more chocolate ganache... too much chocolate? Blasphemy! They only kill you if you don't eat them.

I think that's enough for now. Crafts, friends, family, food, (snow!)... October was a busy month. I felt so much love this October, and I'd like to thank everyone who made me smile - I love all of you!

Wednesday, October 19

Breakfast Platter

Having grown up in New Jersey, to me (and I'm sure Shawn would also agree) there's no better breakfast sandwich than a pork roll, egg & cheese on a kaiser bun (The band Ween even wrote a song about it!). Bacon is yummy as all hell, and so is sausage... but if you want a true breakfast sandwich, pork roll is where it's at! Unfortunately, pork roll seems to be primarily a Jersey thing- good luck trying to find some outside of the tri-state area. The packaged stuff is in most grocery stores, but finding a deli/restaurant that makes sandwiches with it is a whole other story. Lucky for us, there's a small deli only four miles away that serves up some of the best pork roll egg & cheese sandwiches I have ever tasted...

But that's not what this breakfast post is about, because I didn't get a pork roll egg & cheese this morning... I got a breakfast platter. Two eggs (over-easy for me!), with cheese, hash browns, and toast. With a side of pancakes. Yes, you read that right- I got the platter, plus three tasty fluffy round pancakes. (Because, you know, eggs and all that jazz just isn't enough for a grumbly Marine belly.) And as evidenced in the photo below, I devoured nearly everything.

Shush. I'll let you in on a secret... I actually ate more after the photo was taken. Oh, and that cheese danish off to the side there? That was Shawn's breakfast. Which he didn't even finish. This is why we rarely go out for breakfast together - I'm a monster in the morning! And now there's photographic evidence. I guess Shawn just isn't one of those people that wakes up with a grouchy stomach that won't stop yelling obscenities at you until you fill it with something. What? Your stomach doesn't do that to you? Well, maybe my appetite and I need to have a sit-down chat one of these days.... one that includes eggs, potatoes, and pancakes.

The best part is, when we went to pick up the order the woman at the register asked if we'd be paying for everything together, and then she threw in two sets of forks and knives. Heh! If only she knew. (Actually, it's probably better that she didn't.) I don't need the whole world knowing I'm secretly housing a monster in my belly. Don't worry, I charge him a hefty rent... and then I give him all the food he can eat.

Tuesday, October 11

A Tuesday Off

Shawn and I haven't had a single day off together since the mini vacation we took almost three weeks ago. (Our stay-cation consisted of three requested days off in a row together - it rained all of that week so instead of semi-planned activities around the city we ended up staying in the apartment and watched a bunch of movies and old tv shows. We took that trip to Longwood Gardens on the only day the sun came out.) Since then, we've seen each other briefly in the mornings and for a few hours in the evening when we each get back from our respective work places. It's pretty lame, I'll be honest, but I guess that's just how 'being an adult' goes. We gotta pay those bills, yo.

On my lonesome days off I'm always itching to find things to do, something to help pass the time. I'm not really much of a tv watcher - the computer/internet is my vice and if I'm not careful I can get sucked into the computer screen for a few hours. So to give my eyes a much needed break I'll usually go shopping for an hour or two. Shawn always shakes his head at me because he knows I have a tendency to go browse Target or Gap and inevitably I always come home with something. (Usually a highly discounted something, might I add...)

Well, while I did indeed go to a few different stores today, I didn't come home with anything other than groceries (my #1 vice is and always will be FOOD). And- I came home $1 richer! While I was browsing the sales at J.Crew, I opened up a greatly discounted purse only to find a crumpled dollar bill in the inside pocket! I don't think I'm going to spend it though; I think I may hide it somewhere discreet for some other lucky person to find.

I made a quick stop into Trader Joe's to find something I could easily fix myself for lunch. I left with a mini frozen broccoli and cheddar quiche, a bag of mixed lettuce, and a box of Joe Joe's. The quiche and salad made for an easy filling lunch; I always forget how good a simple salad can be. And the cookies. Oh, the cookies. Lets just say I won't be buying Oreos any time soon. Joe Joe's taste real, and have ingredients you can pronounce, and vanilla bean filling you can see. Not to rub it in, but you are seriously missing out if you don't have a Trader Joe's near you.

And I made something today! I came across this tutorial earlier in the day and decided to give it a try. I'm always a fan of anything that keeps my hair out of my face, but for some reason I only own one headband. Well, now I own two! I also have a bunch of t-shirts I can't wear as t-shirts anymore so perhaps I'll be making a few more of these in various colors.


Monday, October 10

Time for a New Look!

I'm not the only one changing my appearance around here. As you may or may not have noticed, over the weekend got a whole new design! Gone are the days of grey and yellow with double sidebar action - it was time for a change... we had the old theme up for far too many months in a row. (Especially compared to how often we used to go through new themes!) So here's another simple design with some more exciting colors and a couple of new features.

First things first, we have a new tag line! Recollections of daily life: things we've seen, made, & done. When Shawn originally purchased a few years ago it was a little spot for him to post his photography. When we decided to use it as the domain for our blog in 2009 I struggled to find a tag line that properly encompassed what the blog was about while still tying in the name. It took me over a year but I think I finally accomplished that.

But back to the new look!

Up at the very top you'll find our menu for all the useful things: our about us page, the recipes page, the walk log, and a link back to the home page. There's more fun stuff in our sidebar - just click the tabs at the top of that first box for tags, archives, and the walk log.

Below all of that are links to various other places you can find us on the web, and links to our respective individual pursuits (comics and dog treats!). I also implemented a search feature if you're looking for something more specific than what you can find in the tags.

Also, since my birthday is coming up... I conveniently put a wishlist in the sidebar too :) But you know, no pressure or anything. I'll probably leave it up there even after my birthday passes since, you know, Christmas is right on our heels...

The only thing this layout is missing is a more recent photo of the two of us; we haven't taken any since the last one was taken months ago. It's about time for a new photo! Funny enough, for a blog that's all about us, there aren't a whole lot of photos of the two of us on here. Hey Shawn, lets get on that!

Saturday, October 8

A Week In October

I've been trying to be better about updating the blog on a more regular basis... but I must not be doing a very good job because this is another 'this week in photos' recap post. Eh, nothing wrong with those I guess!

On Sunday my family and I celebrated my mom's birthday with a lamb and potato dinner and a dark chocolate raspberry truffle cake that I made just for the occasion.

On Tuesday I made a vanilla pound cake that turned out beautifully - buttery and dense yet with a soft light crumb and crunchy exterior. The best part is, it gets even better as it sits!

On Wednesday I took that same pound cake and turned some of it into french toast. It was just as indulgent and satisfying as it sounds.

Later that day I also went to the farmer's market and brought home some of the last summer corn. The farmer threw in a few extra because these were much smaller than usual. We love sweet corn! (evidenced by a very similar meal just last week) There's just nothing like local corn on the cob.

On Thursday I had a fantastic dinner with my mom at the restaurant where I worked in their pastry department for 1.5 years prior. The dinner was three courses followed by a buffet of various intricately constructed desserts... so tasty! There are no pictures from that night but I thought it was still worth mentioning.

Oh, and at some point in the week I also finally uploaded the photos I took at Longwood Gardens. You can check them out on flickr if you'd like! Shawn still has to sort through his. Here are a few of my favorites:

And that pretty much sums up the week! Here's to the weekend.

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