Tuesday, January 31, 2012

open windows in January

Fun times in the beautiful weather this weekend hanging out with family and friends!


It was a doors and windows wide open kind of weekend and we soaked up every sweet second of it.


We chased some babies and snacked on shrimp at Merroir,
then hit up an oyster roast and enjoyed drinks out with our friends Sara and Taylor.













It's amazing how a few days of warm weather and sunshine can make you feel, especially right smack dab in the middle of winter. It's invigorating and (somewhat cruelly) makes you so anxious for Spring!

Some house cleaning, errands, good running, reading and some movie watching rounded out the fantastic weekend!

This week is a crazy one, as Ant is in Charlotte all week and I have work events left and right, but that means it'll go by fast!
(AND tomorrow is 70 degrees. hollaaa)

*Speaking of work events, I have to add that I spent the day/evening at Kings Mill yesterday for a work summit. Best. food. ever. Like better than any wedding I've been to. I wish all work events included coconut shrimp.*

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Visuals

I've been slacking big time on the pictures lately.

Some of it is lack of inspiration. So much time spent indoors in challenging lighting during this dark and gloomy time of year has left my camera collecting dust most weeks.

As the amount of daylight is increasing little by (very) little with each passing day, I hope that my inspiration and motivation too, will come creeping back to me.















Tuesday, January 24, 2012

quick catch up

Just checking in and saying a quick hi!

Jess scolded me last night for my drop off in posting-it's just been a crazy few weeks!

Big, exciting things happening at work that are keeping me busy, as well as a few fun and festive weekends!

Let's see, quick recap:

We've had some great dinners, both in and out, including a Sunday night take out/movie night/slumber party with Jessi, a weeknight date at Merroir, and a Friday night dinner out to a new place in town with 3 other fun and awesome couples followed by late night living room floor games at one of their houses hehe

The birthday party hop has continued with a fancy surprise soiree Whitney threw for Logan's 30th in Richmond. Beautiful party full of so many of our favorite friends!

We've also celebrated a big birthday for Donna with a great brunch party at my parents' house.

We didn't get to celebrate with him, but we do wish Ben a happy 25th birthday!! He told me his Thai family threw him a little surprise karaoke party. I told him we'd have to see him doing this to believe it.

Some cooking, good running, a little rainy day lounging on the couch with Ant, LOTS of reading- life is good as always!

I think that's all I've got for now.
Hopefully some pictures can make their way on here later!

Have a great week!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Friday!

 Beautiful sunset from last week, no editing.

What amazing colors, seen from my very own front porch.


Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Soup's On - Chili Spiced Chicken with Stoplight Peppers

It's soup season in our house!

We love trying out different soups -
so perfect for these cold winter nights.
Bonus: There are always leftovers for lunch the next day.

First up:





It was very good! Kind of a Mexican take on vegetable soup.

Instead of the large can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes, I used 1 smaller can of diced fire roasted tomatoes and 1 smaller can of crushed tomatoes because I like the chunks.
And obviously I had to substitute frozen corn.

We topped it with a little avocado one night just because we already had one, but I didn't buy the rest of the ingredients for the relish. I'm sure it's great, just trying to cut down on the shopping and ingredients.

I would have enjoyed it just as much without the chicken (and without having to cook and chop the chicken it'd be a breeze to make) so that's a possibility for the future.


We'll definitely be doing this one again!

Monday, January 9, 2012

the weekend rundown - faves, friends & French'ness

It was a great relaxing weekend full of all of my favorites: cozy movie nights, reading, good work outs, cooking, playing in the sunshine enjoying the nice weather, great food and a fun night out with friends.
Can't ask for anymore than that, right?

 Ant was out of town Thursday night so I got in a fun family dinner and hang out time at my parents'.
We snuggled up with Chinese take out and Colombiana (good movie!) Friday night, did house things and frolicked in the 67 degree sunshine Saturday, then headed to Richmond that night to attend Bernie's incredibly fun 30th birthday party. Jamie picked a great venue, awesome food and included lots of cute personal touches- it was a great time with so many friends we haven't seen in a while!

Sunday brought... THEME NIGHT! When we lived in the Outer Banks, we often had theme night, where we coordinated our drinks, menu and sometimes music or movie around a designated theme. Gives a little festive party-like feel to things : )  

Last night we went French.
*Anne Sophie if you still read this, don't call me out on how not-French these things are, we can stereotype if we want : ) *
We loaded up our new favorite toy- our cheese board, enjoyed wine and an easy version of Coq Au Vin which was delicious if I do say so myself (I didn't follow this recipe exactly, I used a combination of like 3 recipes and added other ingredients but the link gives you the basic idea of what we did), and sipped champagne with our Apple Tarte Tatin while watching Midnight in Paris.


(That's right.. I didn't take a single picture of all that food. Talk about a lazy weekend...)

Perfect ending to a great weekend.
Now it's back to the grind...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ridiculously funny stuff...

This is way too freaking funny to not share.

I'm not gonna ask Anthony how he came across this, well actually I probably will- start trying to explain that one babe- but holy cow this is on the list of the funniest things I've ever seen.

What were these people thinking?!?!

Prepare yourself. It's that good.

(and there's a part 2)

The pictures are good. The captions are amazing.

******

20 minutes later, I'm updating this post.
I've changed my mind.

These are even funnier.

I've had to close my office door til I can stop crying from laughing so hard at these.

Research Shows Reading is Linked to Weight Loss

Well not official research. Just my experiences of late. I'll explain.


You know when you get good and into a book and just can't bear to put it down? 

That's how I've felt about the Hunger Games series. I just finished the 3rd and final book and feel lost not knowing what to read next, and sadly confident that whatever it is- it won't hold a candle to what I just read.

 These books are truly awesome.
Don't let the Children/Young Adults categorization throw you- seriously great reading.

Anyways, the best part about my infatuation with these books (other than the fact that they were free kindle loans- Sarah, you can let Justin know he got a shout out-I'm sure he'll be excited... not : ) ) is that they got me back in running shape.

The easiest, guilt-free reading time for me is when I'm on the treadmill at the gym. Reading on the iPad is so easy when running- large font, effortless page turning- way easier than a regular book. So when I hop on and get totally engrossed in my reading, the miles fly by without my realizing it.  
Trust me, I am NOT saying I got skinny. But when I went to the doctor last week, smack dab in the middle of the stuff-my-face-holiday-eating-season, and was a few pounds lighter than earlier in the month, well, I'll take it.

So thanks Hunger Games, for helping me through the holiday season, relatively unscathed in the how-my clothes-fit department.

Recommendations for awesome page turners that will continue to keep me on the treadmill for long periods of time welcome,
please and thank you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Riding the wave of momentum

It's that time. A new year. A clean slate.
Time for fresh starts. To make changes. To improve. 

I've entered into this new year with the burning desire
to PURGE and DECLUTTER!

I have so much "stuff" - Anthony and I have a running joke about my "stuff". And yes, you have to put emphasis on the word and draw out the "eff" sound when you say it. That's part of the joke.

It's a joke because I'm a total pack rat. I hate throwing things away, what if I need them later?!?

It doesn't help that I like to bring home junk "stuff" that is outdated/beat up/old/broken/in need of repairs and paint. And then I have all the tools/paint/ribbon/craft supplies necessary to resuscitate these pieces.
This is a dangerous hobby when you don't have
a garage/tool shed/basement.

I also like to shop. And never seem to get rid of clothes I'm no longer wearing. So that's a problem.

You can see how this can get a little overwhelming and cause me to snap and start tossing everything in sight in garbage bags (I did this yesterday for an hour or so. Felt really good. I'll inevitably experience regret over something that I've tossed. Give it time.)
I've been here before. I know how this goes.

Step 1.  I start out on fire, throwing things away left and right, my need to clean and declutter blocking out any emotions or attachments I may feel about the things I'm tossing. I'm a machine, ruthlessly expunging keepsakes and momentos that at some point I had thought I needed to cherish forever.

Step 2.  As time goes on, doubt begins to creep in and my mindset changes to: "Will I be sorry later that I'm getting rid of all of this? It's not really hurting anyone to keep just some of this, is it? What if this comes back in style? What if we're invited to a theme specific dress up party and I'll have thrown away our awesome outfits/accessories? What if my hypothetical future kids want to see this/play with this/put this in their dress up box?"  Yes, these thoughts actually enter my head. The purging slows.

Step 3.  After a while of these thoughts of doubt, my motivation dwindles and I think, "Meh, I have better things to do with my time and this stuff isn't hurting anyone." And I shove things in my closets and in drawers and close them up and move on.

So this is why I have to move quickly and efficiently.
Ride the wave of momentum that the new year brings to get things done and better myself, before my fire fizzles out and I'm back to propping heavy things in front of closet doors to wedge them shut.

Yesterday I filled a trash bag with things from bathroom cabinets, make up drawers, etc..
Closet is up next.

Wish me luck on this venture!
Anthony would be ever so grateful for my success : )

Little Pinterest inspiration for motivation.





Monday, January 2, 2012

Fun Endings & Great Beginnings

Happy New Year family and friends!


We've had a blast the past few days celebrating the end of 2011 and ringing in 2012 with fun, family, friends and FOOD! (ugh... seriously, all we've done the past few days is EAT).

There were celebrations and festivities every night last week including a visit from Jakie and Kristen, with whom we loved spending time before they head south
(Jake moved down to Florida to live with Kristen TODAY!!)


We had drinks and snacks at Merroir, then went home to celebrate their engagement with champagne and dinner.


Next up was a trip to Northern Virginia to celebrate Carter's 30th birthday!

No pictures from the night out, but it was such a great time with friends we don't get to see often!

There is however a picture of poor Calvin, who broke his toe last week and has to wear a cast and a cone for 8 long weeks.


Poor little man. It's heartbreaking (and the tiniest bit funny) to watch his little cone get stuck while we tries to walk in between coffee tables and couches in the apartment.


FINALLY got to check out Bayou Bakery the next morning- delicious!

Then a stop to my faaaavvorite on the way home : ) hehe


New Year's Eve was the first night we've spent at home in about 2 weeks, and we loved every minute of it. We did some target practice with my new gun and it turns out I'm not terrible at all. Dad and Jack must have been making me nervous that first day. Ant will vouch for me, I was pretty darn good this go round : )

Then we champagned, wined and dined and cheered on Virginia in the bowl game.


Bummer they lost, but still a fun night to end one year and begin the next!

The menu for the evening consisted of small plates, including a lovely little cheese display on my sweet new slate cheese board I got for Christmas!


Seared ahi tuna over a bed of seaweed salad with wasabi and spicy aioli



Mussels steamed in a garlic herb white wine sauce with crusty baguettes


and roasted butternut squash



Hungry yet?

There's more.

So that was NYE. New Years Day, we did major house clean/Christmas clean up/laundry/etc. All those things that make you feel so good about starting fresh in the new year. Lots of productivity, little more shooting practice (hehe), good outdoor runs to enjoy the 65 degree weather- then it was time for more eating.

We feasted on filet mignon (thanks Aunt Margaret for the Omaha steaks for Christmas : ) We're loving them!) with shiitake and shallot red wine sauce, roasted garlic and rosemary purple potatoes and sauteed white asparagus. And a few black eyed peas, of course. 






Yes, I'm going to the gym today to try to undo some of this damage.


Officially my office is closed today, but I'm going in for a few hours to write a few articles
and saving my day off for a sunny June boat ride : )