Archive for July, 2011

Ever since I discovered Pinterest a couple of months ago, I’ve been obsessed with pinning things like yummy recipes, ideas for parties, gorgeous photos of places I’d like to travel to, crafty things to make for the holidays, and so much more. I think I’m up to about 420 pins on 20 different “boards”, so a few weeks ago, I decided to stop pinning and start DOING! All of those recipes aren’t going to bake themselves, so I pulled up my recipes board and asked the hubs to pick something. The first thing he picked? Sopapilla cheesecake. It looked – and sounded – difficult just by glancing at the photo. But once I clicked the recipe, it was probably the easiest thing I’ve ever made. Also, the most delicious. I mean, how can you go wrong with sugar, bread, and cheese? Those are my three favorite food groups!

(Fresh out of the oven; makes enough for 12)

Next, I tried Bobby Flay’s Fish Tacos.

(I tried a couple of different sauces to see what worked best. I liked them both.)

Quickly followed by these key lime cupcakes. (Not pictured, but look like plain white cupcakes.)

Then, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these amazing Oreo cupcakes.

(One of my better pieces of work.)

Still apparently on a cupcake kick, I attempted Harry Potter themed butterbeer cupcakes. Instead of looking like the photo in the link, they turned out like this:

(When the recipe called for cream soda, I should’ve steered clear of the PINK cream soda. Lesson learned.)

Next I tried something non-edible when I made an inside-the-cabinet cork board to hold coupons, recipes, and all the miscellaneous paper items that seem to accumulate in the kitchen.

With a hankering for something lemony, I attempted this lemon pull apart bread, except I must’ve bought the wrong rolls so the result looked nothing like this photo. I’d show you, but imagine giant round rolls sliced in half with a lemony-sugar mixture poured on top. Because that’s essentially what they were. Still pretty tasty though!

Then tonight I made these zucchini cakes.

(My iPhone photos never look quite as good as the professional food photographer’s.)

So as you can see, I’ve been using Pinterest as my “pinspiration”** for some time now, so imagine my excitement when I saw that two of my favorite bloggers were putting on a Pinterest Challenge!

Check out Katie Bower at the Bower Power Blog to hear all about it.  Or I can just tell you. Instead of making mostly food items like me, each of the folks participating in this challenge are going to make something for their home, like a chandelier for a laundry room or a headboard piece for a bedroom – something crafty for the home. I really can’t wait to see what they end up doing.

Meanwhile, I’ll probably keep trying recipes that give a little extra jiggle to my thighs because I’m healthy like that.

**Term coined by other Pinterest Challenger and blogger, Sherry at Young House Love.

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The in-laws are coming in town on Friday with our 6-year-old nephew and I didn’t get nearly as much done this weekend as I would’ve hoped. Which means this week, between work and all that’s going on there, I have to do a ton of stuff around my house. Primarily, clean it. I’ve been really good at keeping it uncluttered lately but the whole “clean” part is alluding me. Of course, like everything else, I tend to get a littler overzealous about things and take it upon myself to do the most thorough cleaning job in the history of cleaning. At the onset, I look something like this, but with brown hair:

I fervently swoop into cleaning action, but by the time I finish dusting the ceiling fan and…actually that’s it. As soon as I finish dusting the ceiling fan*, I look something like this:

(Images politely borrowed from the funniest blogger I’ve ever read, Allie Brosh at Hyperbole & a Half)

And then I pour myself a glass of wine and check Facebook. Sadly, no one ever posts about how much they’re cleaning so as to somehow motivate me back into productive mode. Usually they’re off doing fun things, like eating something delicious or buying something expensive.  Sometimes they’re doing other things like working out or studying for some big test or getting a medical exam, which doesn’t sound fun until you realize it’s not cleaning so I’d much rather be doing it.

*There is a strategy to my cleaning. I start with the ceiling fan in my bedroom because it is, in my opinion, the highest point of my house and I tend to prefer to start high and clean my way down. I also like to dust, before cleaning the floors or changing the sheets because if dust from the ceiling fan falls on the bed or the floor, I’d much rather it fall on my dirty sheets and dirty floors. Logical, yes? This means, of course, that I have the cleanest ceiling fan of anyone you probably know, but my basement hasn’t been touched since 2003…when the previous owners still lived there.

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I failed to mention one of the other drawbacks to Boot-Saga-’11 and that is the subsequent weight gain that (I assume) is happening. Pair that with the fact that I am on constant “baby-watch” by friends, co-workers and family, and well, I feel the need to publicly state that no, I am not pregnant. I’m just a little squishier than I’d like to be. And it’s this damned boot’s fault.

It definitely was NOT the Jilly’s cupcakes I ate this week. Nope, not those.

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This whole “foot-in-a-boot” thing is really starting to get annoying. Even more annoying is how many times I’ve had to say “stress fracture” to every single person I encounter. I appreciate everyone’s concern, it’s just…getting old. And for whatever reason, every woman I see has on the CUTEST SHOES! Ugh. Infuriating.

I want to wear cute shoes! I want to go running and not feel like a gimpy walrus. 

My ass hurts from sitting on it all the time. My hips hurt from walking funny. My knee hurts from the added stress. I’m starting to wonder if I was better off with a fractured foot. At least everything else was okay then.

Then again, I could just be cranky. I’m a little overwhelmed by all the little things I want/need to do. I’m drowning in to-do lists, even though the majority of the items on it are things I want to do just so I’m more organized. Or because I volunteered to do it. But when it comes down to it, the only thing I really feel like doing at the moment is reading Bossypants and going to bed.

So maybe I’ll do that.

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Lazy Summer

My New Mantra: If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry enough.

For the last several months, I’ve been experiencing some serious foot pain. I’m not really sure how it started, but I recall a night out in my killer blue heels that left my poor footsies incredibly sore the next morning. I was also trying to run a bit here and there last fall, and between my daily footwear of heels to the office and tennis shoes at home, I somehow developed what I can only assume to be a slight stress fracture under my big toe.  Months passed, seasons changed, and many, many flats were worn. Yet still, the pain was only getting worse. When I finally noticed that the ball of my right  foot was twice the size of the same spot on my left foot, I made an appointment with a podiatrist. And for the last almost week, I’ve been sporting this piece of sexiness.

Obviously, this has done quite a number on my exercise routine. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better for a few more weeks, at least. So instead, I’ve had to start watching my diet more closely. Wait, let me correct myself. So instead, I SHOULD be watching my diet more closely. I haven’t exactly done that as of late. And I’ve got at least 10 excuses for this, which I’m sure you wouldn’t like to hear. It’s always the same – busy, no time, sick, husband peer pressures me, coupons to use up at the cupcake bar, too many parties where cake is involved, it’s hot and only ice cream can cool me down (my favorite excuse), etc.

Then the other day, as I was battling yet another digestive issue situation (starts with a “C” and ends in “onstipation”) I realized the only fruit or vegetable I had consumed in the last few days was a tomato. In my pizza sauce.

So I’m going to be more cognizant of what I put into my body. I’m usually pretty good at taking vitamins, and when I’m working out I’m usually trying not to ruin it with poor food choices, but once summer hits and I enter “vacation mode” when I’m not at work, all hell breaks loose and no carb is safe.

Do you get lazy with your diet or workout routine in the summer? Any tips for how to stay active with only one good foot?

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Summer List

Even though I claim fall as my favorite season, summer is a close second. I just realized today that there are only 6 weeks until Labor Day, which means 6 more weeks of hot and humid days ahead. And I love every minute of it.

Since we typically take our big, week-long vacations in spring or fall, summer is all about having fun on the weekends in our hometown. Or taking short, weekend road-trips somewhere close. And because I don’t want a repeat of last year when we realized we hadn’t set foot in a pool all summer, or made it to one baseball game in town, I’ve made a list. A “Summer Fun” list, if you will. To make sure we jam-pack as much activity as possible before the weather turns colder and we’re forced to stay indoors, huddled under three layers of clothes and four blankets. (Have I mentioned how much I HATE winter? Oh, it appears I haveMultiple times.)

Late last month, I created a calendar that hangs on our fridge. It’s an easy way of keeping track of appointments and activities, since I’m usually pretty bad at reminding the hubs of upcoming obligations. It’s also a good way for us to plan things in advance, so we’re not sitting around on Saturday asking each other what we’re going to do tonight.

So far, we’ve made some progress on our Summer Fun list. Want to see?

  • Go to a baseball game (Twice!)
  • Go to the pool
  • U2 concert
  • Road-trip to visit the ‘Rents
  • Make iced tea  (Seems silly, but I love home-brewed iced tea in the summer)
  • Build a garden
  • Go to Ted Drewes for delicious frozen custard
  • Go to Six Flags (Still need to go two more times to make the Season Pass worth it.)
  • Go camping
  • Go to the horse track
  • Go golfing (hubs, not me)
  • Have a girls’ night (me, not hubs)
  • See HP72
  • Read a few books

Not too shabby, right? I still have several un-fun things I want to do too, like hang new blinds in our living room and kitchen, paint a dresser for the guest bedroom, re-stain the deck, landscape, etc. I keep track of all of those things in a task list in my Gmail. I love the satisfaction I get when I cross something off.

What do you have planned for the summer? Any fun activities I should add?

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Going to BlogHer!

After several YEARS of begging and pleading and coercing, I’ve finally managed to secure approval from the workplace to attend BlogHer, without using much of my own $$ or vacation days to do so!!! I’m thrilled. Ecstatic. Over-the-moon! Best of all, it’s taking place in San Diego this year and any state that borders an ocean is a state I’d like to be in.

Are you going to BlogHer? Do you want to meet up?! I promise not to come at you all intense-zombie-like yelling “FRIENDS!” (instead of “BRAINS!”)

Well, at least not the first time.

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Currently Loving: This fab new Coach purse. I’ve never owned a purse that cost me more than $30, so when my cute little black weekend purse broke in Maui, conveniently in front of the Coach store, the hubs took it as a sign that he needed to buy me a nice purse. Not one to argue with such a sensible solution, we came back the next day when I had more time to peruse. The helpful Coach saleslady noticed me eyeing up the mid-sized crossbody bags and told me she had just received a new shipment of colors that weren’t supposed to go on sale for another few days. If I saw one I liked, she’d sell it to me. She came back a few minutes later with this beauty.

Having never owned a crossbody purse before, I wasn’t very intrigued by the long strap and had planned to just take that off and carry it using the shoulder strap. But, helpful Coach lady convinced me of the convenient ways of the crossbody strap and I took her advice because, well, she’s dating a fire dancer, so she has to know what she’s talking about, right? Maybe not, but now I don’t know how I ever lived without a crossbody purse. It’s seriously made my life so much easier because I’m not carrying a purse in the crook of my elbow and have both hands and arms free to carry groceries or suitcases or whatever. Carrying a purse on my shoulder has now become some sort of annoyance, “like, OMG it’s so HEAVY! This purse is so STUPID and ANNOYING! HEAVY SIGH!” Yeah, I’ve become THAT person. Also, I finally understand why women spend upwards of $300 on a purse now. Not that there aren’t plenty of other similar purses that provide the same style and convenience, but walking around Maui with a brand new Coach purse that NO ONE ELSE HAD YET, well, I felt pretty dang special. And spoiled. And I liked it.

Sadly, I didn’t get to carry it around much when I first bought it. Since we were doing adventurous things like beach hopping and hiking to waterfalls and such, the hubs didn’t think I should leave “my precious” in the hot car all day, (It might get too hot!) so I locked it up safely in the hotel room until the last two days, when I could keep it on my person all day and not worry about hurting it or losing it. And I have to say, traveling through the airport was a much more pleasant experience with the crossbody bag.

This may sound silly, but I actually feel prettier when I wear it. Although the hubs had to put his foot down when I insisted on wearing it to bed over my PJs. Guess that was a little too far.

Disclaimer: I was not discounted or compensated in any way for this post. Although, if the lovely people at Coach would ever like to consider it, I’d gladly take them up on an offer. :)

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July 4th

I love the 4th of July. To me, it’s the epitome of summer. It’s usually so hot and humid that your body essentially becomes a weird version of fly paper. Every little bug, grass blade, or small woodland creature that comes in contact with you becomes stuck to your skin. At night, you take turns with your spouse peeling the clothing off of each other. Now that’s what I call bonding.  Anyway, despite all of that, I love the holiday. And almost every year, we spend it with my in-laws. You see, my FIL’s birthday falls on the 4th of July so it’s the perfect time for them to drive 8.5 hours and stay a few days with us. STL really knows how to celebrate Independence Day too. The city throws a three day fair complete with an air show, street vendors, concerts and nightly fireworks. This year though, they’re coming out at the end of the month to attend the American Idol concert. So instead, we made the trek to visit them, and surprised my FIL since we kept our visit a secret from him until he showed up for a small birthday party at my SIL’s house and saw our car. We had all the usual 4th of July fare – BBQ burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, birthday cake, and even some fresh, decorated strawberries designed by moi for the occasion.

I snagged the idea for these from Pinterest, and my 9 yr old niece helped me with the dipping.

We had a blast playing washers (apparently a Midwest thing as no one knew how to play except for us) and cornhole. The hubs played basketball with the nephews and his dad and I got to spend some time catching up with my two SILs. One just got back from her first trip to NYC and the other is pregnant with her FIFTH (!!!) baby.

We had a great time and even though the drive is difficult to manage in a short, three-day weekend, it was worth it.

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