Thursday, December 02, 2010

Did I ever tell you about the time...

...I submitted a wedding announcement to the New York Times? It's true. And we almost made it.

Here was the submission:

The bride and groom met in high school and their romance blossomed at Arizona State University, where Lindsay briefly served as Tony’s editor at the State Press newspaper. She was a demanding boss, and Tony was always submitting his comics after deadline. She did, however, try to nominate him for “Staffer of the Week,” but was turned down on account of nepotism. The couple enjoys putting on lavish theme parties for their friends, including a murder mystery written by the couple called “Diamonds Aren’t Forever.”

Tony proposed to Lindsay on their ninth anniversary as a couple. He was three days away from closing on his first house in Mesa, Ariz., and set up a table with flowers and chocolates in the courtyard. He invited Lindsay to see the house, and when she arrived, she found him sitting at the table, dressed in a suit. He asked her to marry him and she accepted. Then she told him that technically they were trespassing, since the property did not yet belong to him. They packed up their table and went to share the news.

And here was the reply from the actual EDITOR of the society section:

Hi Lindsay,
Could you kindly shoot another copy of your wedding submission to my e-mail address?
Also please resend the photo and let us know if there's a professionalphotographer that must be credited.

Bob Woletz

Editor, Society News

The New York Times

Of course, I flipped out and started celebrating. The story never ran, for reasons I can only assume have to do with how funny our writeup was. They like things to be a little more snooty I guess, and trespassing doesn't quite fit that bill.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baking my way in the world today

I'm so looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. Not only does it provide a much-needed break from school, it gives me a chance to try to spend some time in the kitchen and try some new things.

This year I have on my list to try: chorizo stuffing, pumpkin trifle and apple donuts. I'm also looking forward to replicating my mom's famous sour cream apple pie and making a Southern pecan pie.

Not sure why baking makes me so happy. It's messy and time consuming. I could be painting my toenails, or, even better, attempting to scale Mount Laundry.

I guess I'd rather be fat and happy than focus on fancy frills like clean clothes. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I no longer have to hoard the gourd. The pumpkin shortage is over. What? What's that you say? You didn't know there was a pumpkin shortage? Well, there was. And it was pretty tragic. The only place I could find real canned pumpkin was at Sprouts, and if you didn't get there fast enough, someone else would snatch them all up.

The reason I was so deeply affected by this shortage is because I have recently developed an obsession with canned pumpkin. I want to put it in everything. So far, this is what I've made:
* chocolate cake/cupcakes (cake mix, pumpkin, 2/3 cups water)
* enchiladas (add pumpkin to the sauce for fiber and moist, thick goodness)
* oatmeal (just stir a couple spoonfuls in for fiber and delicious taste)
* pancakes (add a half cup with cinnamon)
* cookies

I've read that pumpkin is considered a super food: high fiber and vitamins, low in calories. Plus it's delicious. And, luckily, now available in hordes. Hordes of gourdes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm stressed out and I need a donut

The past couple weeks I've been a bit of a wreck. My finance class is really hard and it's not going well. I do not take bad grades lying down. I take bad grades lying awake at night with nightmares about the Weighted Average Cost of Capital.

It's been interesting to see how school has impacted my life. I now believe that there are different kinds of stress. I felt a specific stress while I planned my wedding. School stress leads me to have nightmares and be a little high-strung, where the only way to calm me down is a box of donut holes (thank you husband).

Mainly I complain a lot and want everyone's pity. I always think I will never survive, I will never sleep again, I will never be happy again. But the sun has start to come out, and I'm not worrying quite so much anymore. Now I just need to worry about losing that donut weight.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

House by Hoarders

Thanks to a new addiction to HGTV and Hoarders, J place has seen a little facelift.

First came the curtains. It never occurred to me how ugly our sliding door had become (try to ignore all the junk on the table):

With some basic white curtains from Wal-Mart for less than $20, we still get light but no ugly tinting in view:

Next came a much-needed upgrade for our TV, DVD player, cable box and Tivo. Our old TV stand was a holdover from T's bachelor apt days:

$200 at Ikea later, our entertainment is a little more grown up:

And finally, we converted our old coat closet (aka junk closet) into a fully functional mail center. We no longer dump the mail on the kitchen counter or lose bills. We do need something in that little vacant space, so shoot me your ideas:

I'm thinking I need to take a break from all this TV, or I will 1) go broke 2) become some kind of crazy OCD lady who is terrified of becoming a Hoarder.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And now for something completely different

At long last, T and I have tackled the bedroom in our decorating derby. We saved it for last since it's a less-visible area of the house, which is sort of a silly strategy considering we probably hang out in here as much as we do the living room, and we don't have guests all that often. I digress.

Here is what the room looked like before the previous owners completely moved out. What you can't see in here are the giant holes on the wall from some failed project, and the phone jack that is currently duct-taped to the wall behind the bed.

I guess that doesn't really count as a "before" pic since it's not our stuff, but I like the contrast to our newer digs. What this post is really about is the new artwork furnished courtesy of my artist husband, who is amazing:

Materials included three canvases from Jerry's Artarama and paint from Michaels. Of course, the inspiration came from my favorite domestic bloggers: (scroll down to about the eighth picture).

Safe to say I love it and am so glad I married someone so talented.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Putting the FUN in FUrNiture!

This post is all about a labor of love called the Armoire For the Guest Room. I bought it for $50 on Craigslist. As usual, I forgot to take a "before" pic. But it kinda looked like this:

I armed myself with some Internet-based instructions and a dream to paint it white. The armoire was laminate pressboard, which I've always heard is difficult to paint. But after sanding and priming, the paint rolled on pretty easily. I was feeling great! So I followed my favorite bloggers' advice and moved on to the next step: coating it with a clear polyurethane. So easy! I left it alone to dry for extra awesomeness, and went out to the garage today to put it together and enjoy my new life as an armoire owner. But it soon became clear that the poly coat was not.

Can you tell how YELLOW it is? Can you tell how MAD I was by the use of these CAPITAL LETTERS? I ended up having to buy more paint and add two more coats. But I guess it was OK because it inspired me to repaint the dresser I've had since I was 5, which also lives in the guest room. (New knobs from Anthropologie made it even better!)

ANYWAY, after a long day and a slight setback thanks to some poorly timed sprinklers, I finally got the armoire into the guest room and started turning my life around:

Now, one more detail about this armoire. It came with a super lame feature designed to help you set up your TV:

At first I was just going to paint over it, but was inspired by a cool little product at Target -- a sticker made for college dorm rooms. With that and a roll of sticky white shelf paper, this is how it turned out:

I love it. I also need a break from painting furniture. Maybe my next piece will be purchased the way I actually want it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Camping Fail

Turns out camping is not always a paradaisical journey.

Saturday's list of failures:
* Missed turn to get to Prescott. Detour takes an hour.
* Finally get to camping spot. Seems a little hot. Seems a little sparse. Seems a little --- bee-swarmy! A giant cloud of bees heading our way prompts us to pack up.
* Next spot is full
* Find a spot. Nice and shady. Bee-free.
* Neighboring camper pulls up with a license plate reading "ANTHRAX" and proceeds to BLAST 80s crap rock until 1 a.m.

Sunday went great. Weather was beautiful and we got in plenty of reading and eating of Fat-Free Pringles...anthrax-free.

Not ready to give up on my quest to be the ultimate camper.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

That's how I Knoll

Over the 4th of July, we headed up to a campground near Knoll Lake. It takes a 45 minute drive in what basically amounts to piles of rocks, but the bumpy dirtiness was worth it! We got the last open space with a site near a trail leading to the lake.

I must say that we did SO WELL this time around:
  • Brought the air mattress.
  • Remembered the pump.
  • Got brave and brought a propane stove (I have this little fear of things blowing up...hehe nervous laughter).
  • Cooked eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, sausage and hot dogs.
  • Read two books that I've read before
  • Had plenty of cold drinks
The weather was gorgeous and even though the campground was full, they were spread far enough apart that we couldn't hear much and only had to spy on the neighbors a little bit. AND we saw an actual deer! He was beautiful. And very tall - I'd say 7 feet. Amazing. His name was Dennis.

This camping trip was fab. Of course I want to go again, but I know I always say that and then it never happens. If we do go again, I am going to advocate for bringing some kind of boat or floatation device. We always stay by lakes but never really benefit. I was thinking maybe an inflatable kayak? Or can we just use the air mattress?

Upside Down!

Tonight I reached the height of procrastination when I baked a pineapple upside down cake instead of studying for my accounting class tomorrow.

I always assumed those were difficult, but you basically steep the pineapple in a mixture of 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1T water and 2T butter, then pour the cake batter on top. I made the Better Homes and Gardens recipe, which calls for the cake made from scratch. But I'm sure a cake mix would work just as well. Then bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Super tasty and quick. I didn't actually turn the thing upside down, but I did add ice cream, so hopefully no one will notice.

I wonder if you could make other fruits upside down? Is there something really special about pineapple? I bet blueberries or raspberries would work, too.

I've had a week off school, so how do I celebrate? I've been reveling in house projects of course!

I would call it DIY, but usually T helps me, so it's more like DIO. The first project was an answer to a growing pile of snarled necklaces and less space to store them. So we turned an otherwise blank space into a lovely piece of jewelry art. The necklaces are hanging on flat-head screws, which, if you look closely, are topped with some little colored gems we got at Michaels. The little rhinestones dress up the screws a little bit and play into the whole bejeweled theme. And there's always more wall space as I add to my collection.
The next is one of my favorite projects we've ever done! For over a year, our shoes have lived in a little stinky pile at the bottom of our closet. But thanks to some supplies picked up at Home Depot, I can find my shoes quicker and have more open space in the closet. Of course, the only downside is that the stinky pile is now up at nose level. Any suggestions for neutralizing shoe odor? Maybe some bowling alley spray? :) You'll also notice the cute bin at the bottom for flip flops.

Other projects include hanging a few shelves (my favorite activity and T's least favorite), creating an actual broom closet, cleaning out some very messy closets and starting an office supply closet. That latest project involves removing all the ne'er used coats from our front closet and adding some cubbies for mail, scissors, pens, stamps, etc. I'll post more details as it evolves, but I'm super stoked because our mail 1) always ends up in a massive pile on the kitchen counter and 2) sometimes gets lost, which is a bummer if you lose a paycheck! I also just bought a little armoire on Craigslist, which will prove to be a lesson in painting laminate furniture....should be fun!

Any house projects going on out there? I love to copy people!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pancake Experiment

U.S. Egg, one of our favorite breakfast restaurants, serves a delicious dish called "protein pancakes." It lists it under a low-carb menu, though from what I can tell, nearly all the ingredients are carb heavy (pancake batter, oatmeal, etc). Oh well. They are delicious so I tried my own version this morning:

Oatmeal and Pecan Pancakes

- two packets of "cinnamon roll" flavored instant oatmeal
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 tbs brown sugar

Saute in a pan on medium heat until mixture is coated. Add to regular pancake batter and cook as usual.

They did come out very thick, so the next time around I will probably thin out the batter with more water. I also wonder if it would help to throw the oatmeal and pecans in the food processor beforehand. I'm guessing this idea would also work with homemade granola.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Catching my Breath

Just got back from a whirlwind trip to NYC, with a brief stop in Amish Country, PA. 


* bought homemade jam from the Amish. It is delicious. Their way of life is a little weird and seems to be "off the grid" only when it is convenient. (They can have cell phones but not house phones. Wha?)

* visited the Hershey factory and got intoxicated off the smell. Also tried chocolate-drizzled popcorn, which was amazing.

* took the train to NYC and saw the Pennsylvania countryside, which is very green and gorgeous. Who knew?

* Stayed in New Jersey. No one is nice in Jersey.

* Went to the museum of Natural History to see dinosaur bones and the like. My favorite section was the gems and minerals. Truly like seeing another planet.

* played in Central Park (see pic above) and had a chocolate malted milkshake. mmmm

* Got lost on the subway and ended up in Brooklyn. Exciting!

* Paid $80 for a cab ride. On accident.

* Bought a purse in Chinatown and haggled the price down. Not by much, though. I lack the patience to be a really good haggler.

* Ate pizza, Indian food, brunch, ice cream, hot dogs, burgers and more. Liquid diet is going well.

One last highlight was actually kinda scary. I have inherited my mother's habit of choking on nearly, drink...air. At one point on this trip I swallowed down the wrong pipe as they say, and started coughing. But it wasn't helping. I felt like I couldn't breathe. And I wasn't eating, so it wasn't food. Just couldn't get any air. Scary. Obviously I'm OK. But I was pretty terrified for a minute.

Anyway, we were gone for a whole week, which was great. And it made the return home that much sweeter. There's something so comforting about your own crappy sheets and dusty nightstand.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Where's the beef?

This weekend, T and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We got a room at the hotel where we married, and actually had time to use the amenities! Last time, we had to rush out, go home and get ready to go on a cruise. I remember scrubbing the bathtub the night before we left for our honeymoon.

This time, we hung out on Mill Ave, watched the Suns game and got 9 hours of sleep. We also laid by the pool, saw "Iron Man 2" and watched our new favorite series, "Breaking Bad." (Sidenote - that show is SO INTENSE and well-written. Highly recommend.)

Two interesting traditions: We drove several miles to buy a mini version of our wedding cake. When we got to the bakery, we were informed that they had sold out of ALL cakes thanks to Mother's Day. For some reason, this really bummed me out. I had waited until the last minute and it was my fault we didn't have a cake to eat on our first anniversary.I cried.

But it did set the stage for our second tradition: the hotel hamburger. Last year, as we prepared to leave the party and head up to the honeymoon suite, I leaned over to the banquet captain and begged him to send cake to our room because we were starving! He did us one better and sent a burger with fries. After a long day with little eating and lotsa stress, that burger was the most delicious thing we had ever tasted! Fast forward to this year...we had just arrived back to our room, and I was still sad. The night was on the verge of ruin. But we ordered the burger, and, lo and behold, it tasted just as delicious as it had last year. Not sure if it was the stress or just the fact that we got one tradition to work, but it totally saved the night.

I'd still like to get a little cake just to have a taste, but I'm thinking next year will be less about adhering to traditions, and more about doing what makes us happy.

Happy anniversary to my perfect match!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The art of procrastination

I'm supposed to be writing a paper right now. It's about how the theories of organizational behavior are applied at Google, W.L. Gore and Whole Foods. Hey, wake up! I'm talking here!

I finished my second paragraph, so I'm celebrating by blogging. I wanted to introduce you to my new favorite guilty pleasure: I admit that I've been looking at it when I'm supposed to be doing any number of other things, including learning about forecasting in Statistics class.

I cannot get enough of this blog. I love what this couple has done to their house, and I am giddy thinking about how I could incorporate some of their ideas into mine. So far I plan to buy a chandelier for my little master bathroom and change up the colors in the guest bathroom. In that bathroom, the current color scheme is brown, black and maroon, which has never felt right to me.

Future projects include:
  • painting the kitchen cabinets back to white (sorry former owners, I can tell you recently painted them from white to this ugly brown/pink color)
  • adding ceiling lights to the hallway
  • painting a mural in our bedroom
  • buying a new desk/sewing table for the guest room
  • adding cabinets to the laundry room
  • buying a secretary's desk for the living room
OK so I just realized that I could have written another paragraph in the time it took to write this post. Guess it's back to the grind stone. Don't be surprised if I'm back in another 20 minutes to take a break.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

mmmm vacation

I need a vacation! I have a wicked statistics mid-term this week that is hurting my brain. And my next break isn't until the end of May. :(

But what a break! We're headed to Manhattan to attend the National Cartoonist Society convention, and I am soooo excited. (Also way stoked to see my sister's beautiful house in Pennsylvania and her even more beautiful boys.)

This vacation is also special because it will be a 2-in-1 celebration or our first wedding anniversary (May 8) and my 27th birthday (June 2).

I can't believe it has been a year since the wedding. That is both a relief and a disbelief. I still think of ways I could have done the wedding or the photos better. I hope that feeling goes away with time. Being married is way easier than getting married, that's for sure!

And as for my birthday, I feel ambivalent at the moment. It's farther away from 25...I think I'm squarely in late-20s land. But I'm happy. Nothing else I'd rather be doing with my life at 27.

Possible exception: studying statistics.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Nuts for coconut!

Ah the power of advertising. A few weeks ago I saw an ad in a magazine for coconut cake, and have been obsessed with making one ever since.

For this one, I chose strawberry cake made with applesauce instead of oil (you can substitute it directly -- 1:1). That turned out fine.

The filling, however, did not. I found a recipe online (btw I would avoid -- the recipes there don't have enough info and don't always work right) that included cream of coconut, milk, sugar and butter. Sounds easy enough, like frosting, right? No. It sat on my stove for 40 minutes and never thickened, even after I desperately started throwing cornstarch in. I had to DUMP IT DOWN THE DRAIN.

This is my first time baking where I had to completely toss something because it wasn't turning out. Frown!

So I found a more traditional coconut cream cheese filling recipe that I figured couldn't fail. I taste-tested it just to be sure. Smile!

I also tried my hand at multiple layers:

We'll see how that goes. Layer cakes like this usually get all crumbly when you try to frost them, so I sprayed a light layer of PAM before frosting and it seemed to work OK.

Topped it off with a low-sugar frosting and fresh Peeps. Hoppy Easter!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Well, I love school.

Granted, I'm less than three months in. But going to class is fun. Talking with the other students is fun. Heck, even getting stressed out about class is fun.

I like having something besides work to think about. A tangible goal that has a definite end and a highly probable payoff.

Plus, sometimes they have free food.

cold sore crisis

I could feel it happening yesterday morning. A cold sore. Growing right under my nose. Literally.

You know that tingly feeling that not all is right with your body? Well it reared its ugly head and by the middle of the day, I was in full blown cold sore crisis, made worse when my friend told me it looked like a harelip. Awesome.

Well I made the mistake of frantically looking up some home remedies online. The one I chose involved poking yourself with needles and dousing the area in alcohol. Note: Do not do this. It will not help. And then you're the person who poked her face with needles.

I have since found a much better solution: over the counter cold sore medication. Now, why didn't I think of that? Of course it's VERY SLOWLY going away, but I really only have myself to blame, since I went the "believe everything you read online" route.

You know, it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so ugly. I found myself asking, "Which is uglier, a cold sore or a band-aid covering up a cold sore? One makes you look like you have a harelip and the other looks like a moustache." I decided against the band-aid. I think people actually look at you more when you have a visible band-aid. They are just dying to know what you are hiding.

Either way, I feel a little bit like a leper. Or is it a leopard? Well, something with spots that is also an outcast.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I love a good fad diet

This one's from Cosmo. It's not too terrible. I included the ones I liked and made a few edits here and there.

1. Drink mainly water. Hard for me because I drink mainly diet coke.
2. Ban white bread and pasta.
3. Do 30 minutes of cardio a day.
4. Drink caffeine an hour before working out.
5. Do 36 pushups/squats every other day.
6. Sleep an extra 30 minutes a night. Not hard - I get obscene amounts of sleep.
7. Cut out one indulgence. Hmmm....cheese or chocolate?
8. Do 36 squats and situps

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Luck be a Lady

Just returned from a fun trip to Vegas with T's parents and his brother/wife.

We stayed in the Bellagio, which is my favorite hotel on the strip. It seems a little less chintzy than some of the other places (hello - a Hooters hotel? seriously?) and the fountain shows are captivating.

There is so much to see on the strip. And once you get over the initial shock of being handed a prostitution flier, Vegas is a pretty nice place. Parking is free. There are skywalks that allow you to avoid getting creamed by a taxi on the street. And the food! I ate three weeks worth of wonderful meals.

Neither T nor I gamble, but we decided to play $5 on video poker just for fun. At one point we were up 25 cents, but we pretty much paid to have an hour of fun. It's true. It took us an HOUR to lose $5. I can only imagine if we had played more money or more often. No wonder people spend hours sitting at those machines. The smoke alone would kill me in less than a day.

While I enjoyed the fancy bed and bathtub offered by the Bellagio, I am looking forward to sleeping in our mismatched sheets. As long as the housekeepers refrain from knocking at 7 a.m. like they did this morning.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

School Daze!

I'm in a school daze...and a school craze! Taze, blaze, malaise, killer gaze...

I went to orientation for my MBA program and met 85 of my new best friends. I also picked up a big stack o books, one of which I began reading tonight.

Looking at a syllabus again is daunting, and I'm hoping it's not too overwhelming.

But I'm also pretty excited. I genuinely liked my first reading assignment, which was about how good bosses lead with emotional intelligence (read: spend less time loving yourself, more time understanding your employees).

Haven't attended a class yet. Check back in with me in a month and see if I'm still a-MAZED by this experience.

Date Night

Sometimes T and I hang out in the bedroom and listen to music on iTunes or YouTube.

I would imagine it's akin to the old days of hanging out and listening to records.

Last night we started looking up songs we liked as kids -- and, naturally, they were both Huey Lewis Songs. I'm "Power of Love" while T is "Heart of Rock n Roll." The evening went down an interesting road from there and included Boyz II Men, Vanilla Ice, Kris Kross, Tenacious D and Flight of the Conchords.

I love our music nights. What can I say? I'm a cheap date.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cake from Scratch

Over the weekend I made my first cake from scratch. I usually have the opinion that cakes from scratch are dry and not as sweet as a mix. And I was right, to an extent. The chocolate taste was really good, but it was a little dry. It's possible if I had used actual frosting it would have worked better. Anyhow. Enjoy!

Chocolate Layer Cake from the "Bitten" blog on NY Times.


* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened; more for greasing pans
* 2 cups (9 ounces) cake or all-purpose flour; more for dusting pans
* 3 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 eggs, separated
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/4 cups milk
* 2 cups sweetened whipped cream


* 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of two 9-inch layer-cake pans. Cut rounds of parchment or waxed paper to fit bottom of pans. Butter paper, and dust flour over pans; invert to remove excess.
* 2. Melt chocolate in saucepan or double boiler, stirring occasionally. When just about melted, remove from heat; stir until smooth.
* 3. In mixer, cream butter until smooth, gradually adding sugar. Beat until fluffy, 3 or 4 minutes. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then vanilla and chocolate. In a bowl, mix 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to chocolate mixture a little at a time, alternating with milk. Stir until smooth.
* 4. Beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. With rubber spatula, fold them gently into batter. Turn batter into cake pans, and bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack 5 minutes, invert and complete cooling.
* 5. Put one layer on a platter, rounded side down. Spread with whipped cream. Top with second layer, flat side down. Spread cream over top and sides. Serve in an hour or two.

I added a layer of raspberry jam

This is homemade whipped cream. Heavy and Heavenly.

I used a vegetable peeler on some chocolate to dust the top of the cake.

Oh, and don't forget the most important ingredient :)