Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New beginnings, New blog

I have started a new blog...


We are newly weds and newly expecting!

The new blog is going to follow us as we live our lives as newly weds and prepare for the arrival of our sweet baby girl in February.  She is a surprise of a lifetime and we couldn't be more excited to share our experience as new parents.

We hope you follow us at the new blog!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wedding updates

As previously discussed, life has been crazy.  Things are coming together and we are settling into our new "normal". 
As I type, I am sitting at home sick, with strep throat and a cold.  Yuck!  I was sick all Easter weekend and now two-days off work and I'm still not feeling 100%.  I can't wait to feel better.  I was just getting into a great routine of running and working out, now it will probably take me weeks to regain my strength and endurance because this cold is now in my chest too.
On to better news, we ordered our save the dates!
I found our save the dates on Etsy and by chance, the designers are local to Columbus, OH (even better). 
(Save the dates will be printed on brown craft paper and sent in a white envelope.)

The designers are Alaina and Joshua Cherup of Cheerupcherup on Etsy here.

We also purchased a custom stamp for our return address.  We plan to use it for our Save-the-dates, wedding invitations, and thank you's.  It was another Etsy find.  Seller is ampersandity available here on Etsy.  The item purchased is listed below and rather than try to fit our first and last name on the stamp, we kept it similar and are using just our first names (good for use before and after we are married).
We plan to use a brown ink pad for the address stamp.  I will also be attempting my best calligraphy to address each envelope, also in brown ink.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I love my life...

I was gone for a while.
What have I been doing?  I've been loving my life!

Family.  Drama got a little out of control and at 26 years old I've finally learned how to stand up for myself and the new little family I'm buildling.  I have had to keep a firm barrier up around me and so far that has been working.  I don't want to talk about the past and I don't want negative thoughts and people around me.  I think this rule is going to stay with me forever.  Life is too short to constantly live in the past. 

Work.  It has been busy, crazy, and rewarding.  My bosses see how hard I work and hopefully some day soon I'll be getting more responsibility.  I like my work life a little bit more when I feel like I am the master of my own universe.  (I never thought I'd want to be a boss, but maybe I would...  We'll see.)

Health.  I went on ProActiv and IT WORKS.  I'm not going to plug anything on my blog (unless the ProActiv folks wanna hook me up with free product).  All I have to say is that I finally have clear skin and I'm just sad it took me this long to figure out how to get it.  It was totally worth the cost. 

Fitness.  I have been running!  I went to our local running store and got fitted for proper running shoes.  I love running.  I'm not very good at it (yet), but I get to spend time by myself and really work on me.  I really love sweating (gross, I know) and pushing myself towards something.  I feel strong and capable and as a side benefit, I'm losing inches. 

Wedding.  Planning is going well.  We finally have a DJ, I bought wedding shoes.  Things are certainly under way.  I feel bad for Danial because he is having a hard time finding a suit that he likes.  It is even harder to find a suit in his size (36S) and in a vintage fit, that fits our price range.  Danial is currently refusing to pay J.Crew prices for a suit.  We will see if he comes to my side.  Honestly, it is a suit he'll have for a long time, why not shell out good money for a good suit?  We have finally narrowed down a honeymoon (more to come) and I'm getting really, really excited about it.


All-in-all, I've really been trying to focus on my relationship with Danial.  After my parents' divorce things were hard for me.  Its hard to take and deal with when you are planning on getting married.  It really forced me to deal with tough relationship stuff and I'm glad we got it out of the way.  Danial and I have had tons to talk about for wedding planning, how we want to raise our future babies (Danial has started talking about it openly now).  We are on the same page about life's most important things and that feels really really good. 
Our life isn't grand, but it is wonderful; it is ours.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Planning

Lately I've been wedding planning, future planning, design planning (office/craft space is finally coming together), and now...MEAL PLANNING.
Our schedules have been pretty crazy lately and I see mostly just see the back of Dan's head as he is headed out the door.  Good for the dog because someone is always at our house, but bad because I miss my man and also because sticking to a healthy diet is hard when we work opposite schedules.  Any meal that I cook needs to be healthy, veggie friendly, and when reheated still tastes good.  (This last one is important because Danny-Boy rarely gets it right off the stove.)
This week starts "21 GYM STREET".  I heard somewhere that it takes 21 days to start a habit and this week, I am starting my gym habit again.  I need to feel better about myself, build up endurance for those spring/summer bike rides, and looking hot as I can in my wedding dress won't hurt. 
So, to ensure I kick off this gym week right, I have planned a week of healthy meals, with a little help from blogland.  See what I'm having and cook along if you like:
Monday (courtesy of Emma of Red Velvet and her recipe journal From Scratch)
Black Bean Soup, recipe here
Jalapeno and Pepper Jack Scones, recipe here
Tuesday
Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas, Martha Stewart (I made these a few weeks ago and Dan really liked then.  A big plus, they were easy to make and fun too!)  I serve them with a side of sauce and a green salad.
Wednesday
Zucchini Garlic Soup, Apartment Therapy's the kitchn
No-Knead Bread, New York Times (Don't be afraid of making bread.  This is the easiest recipe ever and it is delicious.  I made it for my God parents Christmas Eve dinner and everyone loved it.)  PS.  Start making this a day or two in advance for a Wednesday meal. 
Thursday
Eggs in a Basket (Did you know some people call it Eggs in a Nest?)  Picture here, courtesy of Pinch by Salt.)  No recipe needed for this one, I sort of adapt the classic to how Dan and I like to eat our eggs: NOT RUNNY.  At the end of the day, my version of Eggs in a Basket should really be called "A Fried Egg in Bread", but that doesn't roll off the tounge now does it?  I Also like to serve mine with avacado sliced on top with a little melted baby swiss cheese.  I also used a mixed grain bread (rye, whole wheat, and oatmeal bread).  This one also does not fit the bill of a re-heat meal, but quite honestly, its not Dan's favorite so I'm sure he'll be okay to miss out on this one.)
Sweet Potato Hash, Bok Choy Bohemia
Friday
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie, Food Network's Aida
Everything's better with biscuits, Homesick Texan (Making it to spin class will justify a biscuit.)
Spiked Apple Pie Cocktail, recipe here (Because it's Friday and we need it.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dear Someday-Baby

Dear Someday-Baby,

Your Someday-Dad and I have been thinking and talking about babies a lot lately. We didn’t start talking about you all of the sudden one day, the idea of you and simply seeped into our lives. Over the past three years our friends and family have welcomed new, tiny members of their families into their lives (and ours) and it has been a joy to watch. After holding these new people, your Someday-Dad and I talk about what our Someday-Baby will look like. We’ve decided that you will probably have my eyes, his nose, and his lips. (Oh, Someday-Baby, you want his smile—it lights up the world.)
If you are a Someday-Baby-Boy, we already have a name picked out for you. We roll this name over our tongues and our hearts often. I’ve already practiced writing it, next to my Someday-Last Name. We will keep this name close in our hearts until “someday” becomes “today”. If you are a girl Someday-Baby, your name will be highly contested and debated. Your Someday-Dad says I like hippie and grandma names. But between you and me, Someday-Baby, I think he is afraid to have a Someday-Baby-Girl; protecting you would be a big someday-job.
Aside from your Someday-Name we talk about how we want to raise our Someday-Baby: cloth diapers, lots of music and art in your life (dirt too), adventures, wooden toys, and lots of love. We want a lot of things for you Someday-Baby, but more important than things we want you to grow up into a fantastic Someday-Person and that is a big responsibility.

It seems strange for me to have all this Someday-Baby talk in my life because before I met your Someday-Dad, I never wanted children. In college I always believed I would become a high-powered woman (whatever that means) and that I would travel and probably wouldn’t have time for a baby, or a husband for that matter. It all changed when I feel in love with your Someday-Dad: I knew I wanted to be a Someday-Mom with him. Your Someday-Dad has changed me and my life forever. Before I met him, I was shy and introverted—afraid. He made me slow down, and he showed me that you can make life-long friendships and you can trust people. He let me be me—and loved me just the way I am.


Your Someday-Dad and I will celebrate six years together next week and I couldn’t be happier. Our relationship has evolved into this unbelievable friendship and love, filled with respect, admiration, and need. As each day goes by, I become closer and closer to becoming his wife. I know this will be one of the proudest days of my life. (I know most people say that their wedding day was “The happiest day of my life.” It hasn’t happened yet, but I doubt this. I think the day we meet you, Someday-Baby, that will be our happiest day.) I say my wedding day will be my proudest day because I will be proud to call your Someday-Dad my husband. He is the best man I know—he is honest, caring, trustworthy, funny, unique, and my best friend. I like to say that he knows no strangers and that everyone who meets him, likes him. There have been many times when we’ve been out to dinner or at a baseball game, where he has started conversations with strangers and walked away with a friend. Depending on the situation, this can be annoying or inconvenient; but I know that they see what I see—joy, kindness, and a friend—and how can you be mad at that?

Many people wait until they know they are pregnant to write down their thoughts and feelings to their Someday-Baby, but it feels good to write to you now. I like the idea of sharing our lives before you with you, to show that you are an idea and a dream of ours, long before you come along, someday…

Monday, January 31, 2011

Delicious Dinner Party

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Danial and I were planning a dinner party.  The party got pushed back because of some tough stuff and it quite honestly couldn't have come at a better time.  During the holidays everyone is rushing from here and there and it was great to have everyone together for a causal dinner.

Danial and I were lucky enough to win and host an Annie Chun's dinner party.  When we first found out about the party we were really excited and I'll be honest, we were a little nervous.  Danial and I had never thrown a dinner party before.  I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to pull it off or it was going to be out of our budget to host a party. 
I know a lot of people probably spent quiet a bit of money getting everything together for the party: decorations, invitations, favors, etc.  It was important for us to cook great food, have great conversation, and prove that you can pull of a great party without a lot of money.  (Have a huge box free Annie Chun's didn't hurt. Haha)
We did put up some decorations.  These were Chinese lanterns I had from college.  I had planned to go all out for decorations, but it really wasn't in the budget and to be quite honest, I'm glad we didn't put up any more (because you have to taken them down at the end of the night).  :-)
We had a great goup of friends stop by and Danial's family even made it over.  It is always great when a big group of friends can get together and have great conversation.  It was especially nice because all of the people that were at the party will be a part of the wedding, so it was a great opportunity for Danial's family to meet our friends.  When the wedding rolls around, everyone will recognize a friendly face.
This Gochujang Sauce Korean Sweet & Spicy sauce is the best!!!  It is spicy but not overwhelming.  During the dinner party guests used it with spring rolls, but since the party I have been using it on scrambled eggs and veggie burgers.  If you are a meat eater, there is a recipe on the bottle tag to make burgers with the sauce mixed in. 
On to the important stuff....THE FOOD.
First off, I was so impressed at how easy the recipes were.  I was a little overwhelmed due to the mass of food we made.  We had about 12-14 guests throughout the night and we cooked two entrees: Chicken Chow Mein and Vegetable Pad Thai.  Aside from the large amount of food we had to cook, the recipes were really easy to make.  It is easy to get intimated by the amount of ingredients some recipes call for and I was pleasantly surprised that there weren't too many ingredients for any of the recipes.  Note to anyone else planning a party: chopping and prepping ingredients before you start cooking is key if you are cooking for a large group.)
Another thing I really appreciated about Annie Chun's product is their recipes are on the back of their packaging.  Nothing is more frustrating when making a meal that to hunt down a recipe when you are just ready to eat dinner.  The recipes on the back of the boxes were simple, easy to read, and included ingredient lists.  The website also has additional recipes sorts by diet type, occasion, and time. 
Secondly, the recipes were very easy to alter.  Our group of friends are split pretty evenly between vegetarian and meat eaters.  The Pad Thai recipe on the box of rice noodles was really easy to alter by leaving out the animal ingredients.  I substituted bok choy in the recipe and it was great.  Hindsight being what it is, I wish I would have picked up some firm tofu and added that to the mix as well.  (I wish they had some vegetarian appetizer options.  Since we live close to an Asian market, we picked up some spring rolls to use as additional appetizers.)
Good food fast!  I know I keep saying how surprised I was as I was cooking this meal, but it is true.  The recipes cooked really quickly (even for the large amount of food we cooked).  The thing I liked most about the food was it tasted healthy!  I have made stir fry in the past at home and I have always been knocked out by the sodium content in other brand's sauces.  The Annie Chun's sauces were great because they tasted amazing without being overloaded with salt. 
Annie Chun's = AFFORDABLE!  Very rarely can you afford to make a restaurant quality meal at home, but this Asian cuisine is the exception!  Even if we hadn't received the bulk of our food for free it still would have been an affordable option for a dinner party.  I know without a doubt Annie Chun's will be in our dinner rotation.  The noodles, sauces, and appetizers were all great prices.  We had to go to the store to pick up the appetizers (found in the frozen section) and we were pleasantly surprised at how affordable everything was: sauces, appetizers, noodles, and rice.  Next time we go to Whole Foods I am going to pick up some Seaweed Snacks to try.
While we didn't have the funds to throw an extravagant affair (we are trying to plan a wedding remember?), we did want to send our guests home with a little something....
During our trip to the local Asian Market we picked up some goodies: Haw fruit candy and melon gum.  (If you have ethnic markets in your city, I suggest you go!  It was such a fun afternoon for Danial and I.  We touched everything in the store, smelled things we have never smelled before and bought food we have never tried before.  We will definetly be going back.)  Haw fruit candy is a natual candy made from the Hawthorn fruit.  It was interesting and refreshing after a savory meal.  The melon gum reminded me of Chicklets but was AMAZING!  I may go back to the market just for the gum alone!  We also placed the coupons that Annie Chun's provided us in our guests' mini-takeout boxes.  While you weren't at the party to get a coupon, you can visit the Annie Chun's website to download your own $1 off coupon here when you sign up for their newsletter.
While I hope we win the contest, it really isn't about that.  It was great to be in the kitchen with Danial working on creating a great meal and an overall great evening for our friends and family.  It was also great to cook recipes we normally go out for.  At the end of the night we had already started planning our next party.  Thanks Annie Chun's!  It was a great night!
Enjoy the video.  Danial is narrating and it is hilarious to listen to.  I love the comments of "love" in the background. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Best lunch ever

The best lunch ever has nothing to do with food.  (If you must know, I ate left over Pad Thai from our dinner party over the weekend.  I ate this on my morning break.)
The best lunch ever involves a shop to DSW for a new pair of shoes.

I went to the store looking for something like this:
These are Steve Madden "Docile"
(I bought a pair of Bandolino shoes similar to these in black and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them.)

I ended up walking about with these bad boys (in brown, the same brown as above):

The shoes were 40% off!!!
Now...these shoes on my feet say Steve Madden, the box says Steve Madden, but I can't find them anywhere online, except listed as Aldo shoes.  While this confuses me, I don't really care that much because these shoes are so cute!  I tried them on with tights and they are adorable and I think they will look equally cute with bare legs in the spring/summer.  I'm excited to wear them this weekend for our friend's birthday dinner (weather permitting).


On a side note, as I was looking for pictures of these shoes, I discovered something that really freaks me out: HAUL VIDEOS.  I had to "google it" because I had no idea what these girls were talking about.  Bascially tweens and teens post videos about all the stuff they buy while shopping. 
Watch this video and you'll understand why I'm weirded out (PS. she says "funner" in this video and I almost screamed because she said it 3-4 times).  I think these videos goes way beyond someone saying "hey, check out this really cool thing I got" (Like I have done above).  I think it is promoting the wrong message about shopping and materialistic items. (This is the reason I pray that Danial and I have boys someday.) 
Anything thoughts?  NPR did a story about it and you can read that here.
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