Friday, November 28, 2008

Dressing Our Nest...

Some fun purchases we have made over the last few weeks to make our home more 'homey', and get ready for the Christmas season! (More to come as we 'Dress Our Nest' holiday style!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beige - Never Before My Color of Choice. But Now...

Happy Turkey Day, Ya'll!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Monday Outfit Switch (a few days late :)

What I'm wearing:

What I wish I was wearing:

10 Random Things About Me. Why? Cause I'm Bored.

1. I loathe bananas, avocados, and jello. I think it's a textural issue.

2. I would live near the ocean in a lickety-split second. But for now, Texas is fab.

3. I think Sean Connery is, and will always be, the best James Bond ever.

4. I knew I would marry the man who is now my husband after our 2nd official date.

5. I have a lot of shoes. No, seriously - a whole lot.

6. I'm kind of paranoid about a lot of random things, and hate being home alone.

7. I drink several one glass of wine almost every night while I cook dinner.

8. I love decorating for Christmas.

9. I have zero talent when it comes to picking furniture. Thank god my husband has plenty.

10. I love anything with blueberries in it. Muffins, coffee cake, yogurt...

The First Sign of Winter is...


Thank you, sweet husband.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Idiot-Proof Recipe. (Or, my Aunt is a kitchen goddess).

My Aunt P. is pretty stinking awesome. Why, you say, is she so awesome? Let me just tell you why:

1. She can organize a baby shower, plan a Christmas party, and pick out tile for her new bathroom floor simultaneously.

2. She has her own sense of style. (which is very eerily similar to my own...patent leather, bright colors, animal ANYTHING...)

3. She and my uncle have been married for almost 40 years, and I can only hope my marriage will be as rock solid as theirs is when I am her age.

4. She gave me this recipe, which is fabulous to make when you don't want to cook, 99% of men love, and qualifies as comfort food:

The Lineup.
1 pound ground beef. Lean, sorta-lean, whatever.

2 cans of Cream-of-something-soup. I used celery, you can use mushroom, chicken....

2 cups of cheese. That's a bag, for those of you who don't want to do the math. You can buy it already shredded like I did. I'm lazy. It's ok.

About 1/2 cup of dry elbow noodles. You can empty out the kraft box and throw away the cheese packet. That's what I did.

2 TBSP of butter. Yup, good ol' artery clogging, pants-shrinking butter.

6 slices of cheddar cheese. Or american cheese. (This recipe is obviously easy).

About 1/2 cup of milk.

Let the fun begin!

First, pour yourself a big glass of wine. No, I don't care if it's red or white, or that sissy white zinfandel. It's non-essential to the recipe. You're going to drink it, not cook with it.

Good. Now throw the elbow noodles into a glass or ceramic bowl, add about 1 1/2 cups of water, and put it in the microwave for about 10 minutes. (You can cook it on the stove if you really want, but I prefer the speedy nuking method).

Now, put the ground beef into a large skillet on the stove, and brown it up. I'm paranoid of getting salmonella, so I always overcook my meat a little. Thankfully, my husband doesn't seem to notice. Add a little bit of salt and a LOT of black pepper to the meat while it is cooking.

Is the pasta cooked? If not, put it back in for a few minutes. If it is, then drain it, rinse it, and set aside. (refill your wine glass now, if it's getting a little low).

In another microwaveable bowl, add the butter, 1 1/2 c. shredded cheese, 1/2 cup of milk, and the 6 slices of cheddar (or american) cheese. Don't ask me why this recipe uses shredded AND sliced cheese, this is how my aunt told me to make it...and I don't argue with a bonified kitchen expert.

Microwave the butter/cheese/milk mixture until it's melted, stirring it a couple of times to keep it smooth.
Take the meat off of the stove (if you haven't already), add the cooked noodles, and the melted butter/cheese/milk mixture. Gently stir it to mix (unless you want mushed-up pasta, then by all means disregard the 'gently' in these instructions)... Add a little more milk if you want your casserole more on the creamy side. That's totally up to you.
Pour the whole mess into an 8x8 casserole dish, and stick it into the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Have another glass of wine, and check your e-mail, or check out the christmas decorating tips at Pottery Barn.
Pull the casserole out, top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese (you were wondering what that was for, weren't you?), and stick it back into the oven for 5 or 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
That's it! Plate it up, add a salad (have to have something healthy, right?), and enjoy!

The Homemade and Handpainted Post.

Head on over to Natalie's store and take a look at the cuteness that is to be had!

She is a friend of a friend...I've never met her personally...but her store is a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e!
How to get there? Click here.

The Red Shoes.

Did my husband pick out, AND buy these fabulous shoes for yours truly?

Why yes he did!

Is my husband a total stud?

Why yes he is!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Soapbox.

Update: This blog was a little bit on the unpleasant bitchy side. That's not the kind of person I am, typically, so I chose to remove most of it. If you really want to read what was irritating me, go here.

The Decision.

My company Christmas party, (that I am co-planning) is coming up on December 13th. I work for a fairly small company, only about 40 people or so. We are having the party in one of our two buildings that has a large, very pretty gathering area...theme yet to be decided.

However, I am making the important decision first - what to wear!

Which dress? I own them both, so price is not a factor, and have not worn either yet.

Please help me by adding a comment - thanks :)

Dress #1

Dress #2

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Holiday Season is Here...

When Starbucks switches to their Christmas cups!

The Dinner. (or, how I learned to make fried rice).

Newlywed Husband is pretty easygoing when it comes to food. He's not a picky eater, usually goes back for seconds, and will freely share his favorite meal with you: Chili's Margarita Chicken with double rice, no veggies, and an iced tea.

He's never refused to eat any of the little messes I've cooked for him since we got married...even the fried eggs that were hard as rocks! (I'm allergic to egg yolks, so my egg-cooking experience was very limited until I met him).

Usually I stick to a pretty basic menu:

  • A green salad (I mix it up with different toppings/dressings)
  • Two veggies
  • A starch (oven fried potatoes, or sometimes just a little piece of french bread)
  • Grilled fish/chicken/turkey burgers

It make grocery shopping a whole lot easier (I've learned this the hard way), if you have a bunch of recipes that use similar ingredients as the base then created variety with the spices. I don't even take a list anymore unless I'm making something special...just stock up on the basics and get a little creative.

Monday night was one of those times that you just don't want to go out to eat...but there wasn't much in the house to cook. So...I got a little creative :)

The Cast of Characters:

  1. Frozen Salmon
  2. Rice (I use the kind you microwave for 90 seconds, but whatever is fine)
  3. Veggies (anything you have, I used frozen corn and some baby carrots)
  4. Two Eggs
  5. Soy sauce
  6. Sake (or any kind of rice wine)
  7. Brown Sugar
  8. Rice Wine Vinegar
  9. Salt and Pepper

First, defrost the salmon in the microwave. (whatever did we do without microwaves? Yes, I'm lazy. Hush.)

While the salmon is defrosting, stir together in a wide shallow pan equal parts soy sauce, brown sugar, and sake/rice wine (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of each is good...if you're into using measuring cups and such).

Place the defrosted salmon in the pan with the soy sauce mixture and stick it in the fridge to marinate for about 5 minutes.

If you're lucky enough to have gotten a rice steamer for a wedding present - hooray for you! Cook the rice. I have no idea how to use a rice steamer though, so you'll have to figure that out for yourself. I personally prefer the Uncle Ben's rice that comes in the microwaveable bag. Cut a slit in the corner of the bag, microwave for 90 seconds. Set this aside for now.

Flip the salmon over in the pan, and let the other side marinate for about 5 more minutes.

Take the veggies you are using, and defrost / chop / cook them if you need to. I used frozen corn (defrosted), and baby carrots (chopped/cooked).

Heat a large skillet with a little EVOO (sorry Rachael Ray, I totally ripped off your acronym there), or butter flavored pan spray. I personally despise the taste of olive oil (I know, weird, huh?), so I usually go with the spray. Throw in the veggies that you are using, and let them sautee a for a bit, stirring occasionally, until they are starting to get just a little browned.

Meanwhile, heat another pan (also with a teensy bit of oil/spray), and put the salmon (but NOT the marinade into it). Cook for about 4 minutes, then flip it over and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes - until it's almost done, but not quite done. Take it out of the pan and just let it rest for a few. Pour all of the soy sauce marinade into the pan just vacated by the salmon, and pour in about 2 Tbsp. (or two generous glugs), of rice wine vinegar. Let this come to a boil, and then simmer for a few minutes, until it thickens into more of a sauce.

Back to the fried rice: add the two eggs into the pan with the veggies, and stir them around so they scramble. Add the rice once the eggs are fully cooked (if you add it too soon it will clump), and let it heat all the way through. Drizzle in a little soy sauce, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Throw (not literally), the salmon back in the pan with the marinade/now sauce, and let it heat back up.

That's it. Plate that sucker up, pour a nice big glass of red wine (you totally deserve it), and EAT!

P.S. Newlywed Husband loved this!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Monday Outfit Switch.

I'm wearing this:

But wish I was wearing this:

The {Idiot's} Guide to Driving in Dallas.

I commute about 27 miles each way to and from work three to five days a week. And the days I don't go to work, I'm in the car for 2-3 hours making sales calls. That commute may not sound like it's very far, but it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 25 minutes. Traffic in Dallas is crazy, and this small-town Missouri girl is Just.About.Fed.Up.

1. Please use your turn signal. Around here, so few people do, you tend to assume that if the car in front of you has their turn signal on, it must be a factory defect in the blinker...not the driver actually signaling their intentions.
2. Texting and driving is NOT OK! Please please please at least wait until you are at a red light to send that imperative text. (Newlywed Hubby is guilty of this. He's an exceptional driver though, so I let it slide).

3. I had a good friend in high school who drove an old manual transmission Jeep Cherokee. She could shift gears, change socks, eat a doughnut, talk on her cell phone, change the radio station, and drink a Coke ALL at the same time. I was terrified of getting in a car with her, or being anywhere within a 5 mile radius of her while she was behind the wheel. Please don't be like her.

4. Do not pull out in front of me and then s-l-o-w down. I will get pissed, bang on my steering wheel, and have to mash on the brakes because of your inconsiderate actions. My car's a lease, please don't force me to abuse it so.

5. If I can hear your music with my windows rolled up, you have it turned up too loud. I'm telling you this because I care about you and the fact that you will be deaf by the age of 30. And I really don't like your music anyway.

6. If you're in the fast lane going the speed limit or slower...move over!

7. BUCKLE YOUR KIDS UP! I don't care if you stupidly endanger your own life, but please care enough about your children to ensure their safety. If you don't know how to install a child's carseat, go here. I saw a lady in a minivan sitting at a red light the other day...with a toddler standing up between the two front seats! That's right, no seat belt, no car seat - she wasn't even holding on to the little guy! If I was a police officer (which I would never be, because I have such a grudge against them for giving me tickets for no reason), I would take her to jail immediately!

8. If there is an accident on the other side of the freeway, for heaven's sake, don't be one of those people who slow down to stare at it! You will just cause an accident on our side of the freeway, and then I'll be late. Instead, try saying a little prayer for the people on the other side of the freeway, and keep your eyes on the road!

By the way, I currently drive this:
But I'm {seriously, not kidding} considering this as my next vehicle.

The Season is Upon Us!

On my commute this morning (more about the commute later), I heard...

Christmas Music!

That's right fellow Dallas-ites - 103.7 is now the Christmas Music Station 24/7 from now through the end of the year! Hooray!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Wish...

Oh, to go back to my honeymoon...

The Rant Against Stupidity.

Roberta Ritter is suing Victoria's Secret, claiming that her VS bra gave her a rash that developed into welts over several days of wearing the bra. She is also alledging that the welts caused permanent scarring.

Read the whole story here.

Here's a thought: Maybe next time, STOP WEARING THE BRA!

FYI, I have worn a VS bra EVERY day since I was a teenager and have never had a problem. Not saying that the people who did get rashes and such are lying, but use common sense ya'll! If it doesn't feel good, don't wear it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The First Pilates Session.

I'm pretty flexible. I'd like to think I have pretty strong stomach muscles. My husband cycles like a madman. He also runs and does lots of weightlifting. Did any of this mean diddly-squat this morning?

Not when we saw this.

Meet the Pilates of many instruments of torture used in the Pilates Method to stretch, bend, and contort your body into a myriad of positions nature never intended for it to be in. Our sweet instructor kept encouraging Newlywed Husband and I to: "Lift your center, feel it in your core, maintain a 'C' curve!". Not only do I still not know what a 'C' curve is, but keep in mind these instructions were given while we were trying to balance in the most unnatural and precarious positions possible.

I now feel like this:

Excuse me, I'm off to take an asprin, and find a heating pad for the sore muscles.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The 36 Hours Without Newlywed Husband.

Newlywed Husband left yesterday morning to go to a business meeting in Georgia. He will be back in Dallas in about 3 hours. I miss him real, real, real bad.(I mean, real bad). Here's how I coped with his absence.

1. Got horrible mexican takeout food from this little local joint by the house. (yes, I did finish the entire order of queso by myself...what's it to ya?)

2. Watched Dancing With the Stars, Will & Grace, and What Not to Wear - chased down by a healthy episode or two of That 70's Show.

3. Fed the dog some most of my chicken chimichanga, which he loved. (I wasn't so crazy about it).

4. Got all of my winter clothes from the bestie's apartment, where they've been languishing since she illegally sublet kindly took over my lease in July.

5. Dumped all of the clothes in the middle of the living room in a giant, tangled heap. The dog was ever-so-slightly peeved that I took over his lounging area. He was placated with a bone.

6. Opened a bottle of champagne. That's a big pile of clothes.

7. Tried on every single piece of clothing (no lie, there had to be about 60 items), and sorted them into, (a). Keep it Pile; (b). Donate it Pile; (c). Throw it Away pile.

8. Attempted to find space for the Keep it Pile in the already stuffed closet. Spilled over into the guestroom closet. (ssshhhh, don't tell Newlywed Husband this)...

9. Collapsed, exhausted on the couch. Realize 3/4 of champagne is gone. Oops. The dog must have been boozing it up.

10. Paranoia sets in, as I am a HUGE fraidy-cat about sleeping in the house alone. Turn on all outside lights, triple-check that all the doors are locked.

11. Barricade self, dog, and newest issue of InStyle in the master bedroom. Wake up every hour thinking someone has broken in the house.

12. Run late for work, due to the fact that I don't usually do all the morning chores (make the bed, feed the dog, etc.) alone. Missing husband (and morning kisses).

13. Talk to newlywed husband on the way to work. Beg him to get an earlier flight. No dice.

14. Newlywed husband will be home in less than 3 hours - HOORAY!

I love you baby.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Monday Outfit Switch.

I'm currently wearing this...

But I wish I was wearing this!

The Newest Addition to my DVR Schedule...

I don't watch a whole lot of tv. In fact, I don't think our tv thinks that it has the ability to go to any channel but the Speed network (yes, that is my husband...I'm not the biggest fan of Pink's or Low Rider, althought I do like 101 Cars you must Drive).

However, I do have several shows that I DVR on a regular basis, so I have something to watch while I'm folding laundry. Somehow, watching some good tv makes an unpleasant task much more pleasant...or that could be the glasses if white wine that usually accompany laundry folding.

My newest show is a little unusual for me - I hate detective/lawyer shows on policy. Really, how many Law and Order variations can NBC come up with? Plus, they tend to freak me out a little bit, I try to maintain my rosy little view of the world as much as possible - in order to avoid feeding my paranoia that someone will break in or something.

Enter: THE MENTALIST! (yes, I think he's pretty darn handsome). (Don't lie, you thought it too.)

Yes, there are other people on the show. See?

The breakdown of the show:
"The Mentalist stars Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, a detective and independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. Within the Bureau, Jane is notorious for his blatant lack of protocol and his semi-celebrity past as a psychic medium, whose paranormal abilities he now admits he feigned. Jane's role in cracking a series of tough high-profile cases is greatly valued by his fellow agents. However, no-nonsense Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) openly resists having Jane in her unit and alternates between reluctantly acknowledging Jane's usefulness and blasting him for his theatrics, narcissism and dangerous lack of boundaries. "

Fascinating! Here's the definition of "mentalist" (brought to you courtesy of Wikipedia)
"The term mentalist refers to entertainers whose performance appears to be based on "psychic" abilities, featuring the ability to read minds, project the mind to alter the state of matter, foretell the future, and see distant and hidden objects. This branch of magic is referred to as "mentalism."[1]
There are analogues in the field of parapsychology, where a mentalist is defined as someone who is believed to read thoughts and place suggestions in people's minds. While a psychic may claim to observe a hidden spiritual reality and report on it, in a process known as "psychic reading" (see cold reading) a mentalist might claim the ability to manipulate and change that reality. The stage mentalist ostensibly mimics these supernatural behaviours by natural means."
Not only do I think the show is well-written and has a good amount of wit and humor in addition to the case to be solved in each's not overly creepy or gory like a lot of cop/detective shows out there. (Law & Order SVU, I'm talking to you!)
Plus, isn't this reason enough to watch the show...?????

Friday, November 7, 2008

The List about US!

10 things about Newlywed Husband and I...
1. We have been married for almost 2 months - definitely still newlyweds!

2. We look a lot like the couple in our blog header, notable exceptions being that Newlywed
Husband does not have quite such a square jaw, and Newlywed Wife (me) has much longer hair.

3. We both despise avocados and guacamole. Disgusting.

4. I love collecting shoes. He loves collecting guns. We respect each other's collections.

5. Our dog is our baby. Someday we will have a real baby. Or five.

6. He kisses me good morning, good night, hello, and goodbye. ALWAYS.

7. I have expanded my horizons since we got married. As in...learning to ride a dirtbike.

8. We can both eat our weight in chips and salsa. No question.

9. I'm disgustingly obsessed with Christmas, and he is sweet enough to indulge my need to plan tons of decorations, activities, and traditions.

10. We pray before EVERY meal we eat together. And have done so since our 2nd date.

The Sad Post.

Izzy/Indy went home last night.

After digging in the muddy backyard all day yesterday, Izzy did a bit of paw-painting (similar to finger painting, but with mud...and she lacks the posable thumb) alllll over our back patio/patio furniture (luckily, the latter was covered). She then decided to take herself for a run, and somehow managed to first dig herself out of our backyard yesterday afternoon, then spent a (I'm sure fun for her) couple of hours barking at cars in the middle of our street. A nice lady driving by stopped and tied our wayward adoptee to our fence with HER dog's leash, leaving a sweet note saying that if we would please call her she would come and pick her leash up later.

My poor husband got home before I did, and spent a good hour blockading every possible gap between fence and ground with rocks (not sure where he got the rocks???), and windexing every surface of the porch.

Izzy had the look of a sullen teenager, no love for mommy when I got home. We soldiered on and put her on her leash, hoping that taking the doggies for a walk would restore the normal peace and joy in our little household...

It did...for about 30 minutes. Until we got home and Izzy VAULTED/CLIMBED the 10 foot tall fence in the yard for another freedom run. After seeing her almost get run over by a car - twice - we had a moment of deep thought. The thought went kind of like this: "Izzy doesn't love us, she has been completely devoid of affection or interest in us for the past 3 days. She is obviously trying to get back to the foster family she lived with for 5 months by escaping through the fence/over the fence/under the fence. The foster family wasn't sure they wanted to give her up anyway....they loved her, and wanted what was best for her."

The conclusion of all this deep thought was clear: Izzy's foster family was where she belonged. They thought they were doing the right thing by giving her up to a family with a bigger yard and another german shorthair. She clearly did not agree, and just wanted to be with the people who so kindly rescued her and bonded with her.

So, we took her back. And Winston is again a bachelor. (I think he's ok with it though, he got two milkbones this morning and it seemed to cheer him up significantly).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Name!

We decided to re-name the new doggie....drumroll please...IZZIE! No, this is not a tribute to one of my favorite shows ever Grey's Anatomy. We just like the name :)

Isn't she adorable?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election...

I am not in any way wanting to use this blog to voice my political views but...suffice it to say I'm disappointed this morning. And very apprehensive about what is to come in the next four years. That's all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Newest Addition...


We decided recently that our sweet boy Winston needed a girlfriend...and after much deliberation and research and 'friendly discussion' (I wanted a chihuahua at first), we settled on getting another german shorthair...after weighing the pros and cons...
GERMAN SHORTHAIRS are notorious for:
  • high energy
  • needing LOTS of exercise
  • being a little clingy
  • not responding to commands when distracted by a scent or sound
GERMAN SHORTHAIRS are famous for:
  • being extremely loving
  • loyalty/protectiveness of 'their' family
  • good with children (as long as they are taught not to jump)
  • very high intelligence
My sweet husband rescued Winston a little over a year ago from the local pet rescue society. He was underweight, had been abused (he still cringes when you get a belt out of the closet), and had heartworm. He is now the most loyal, sweet, loving big guy you could ever ask for:

After a trip to see a doggie for sale at a german shorthair breeder about an hour outside of Dallas, we decided that the right thing to do was to adopt. There are so many doggies out there who need homes, and we thought that if we were meant to have a companion for Winston...she would just fall in our laps.

Indy was rescued by a sweet lady and her husband in Ft. Worth after they found her and another dog abandoned by Lake Grapevine. She was skinny, had hookworm, and was (and still is) terrified of loud noises and new people. They fell in love with her sweet disposition and energetic enthusiasm, but have a small yard and not enough time to exercise her as much as a german shorthair they put her up for adoption. We brought her home yesterday, and she fell asleep in the car with her head resting on Winston's sweet :)

She has been slowly settling in, she and Winston ate like truck-drivers when we got them home last night and then tried to mooch off the sweet husband and I while we had dinner. Sleeping was a little tougher...she decided barking and not laying in her bed was a good plan - we were not on that bandwagon AT ALL!
This morning though, she ran around the house and played with Winston and her chew toy...she's a very happy doggie :)
Here is our dilemma: Indy does not respond to her name at all. We aren't the biggest fans of her name either. Should we re-name her? If so, what should the new name be? We thought about just changing it a little bit to 'Wendy', but are afraid that if we call Winston by his nickname 'Winnie' (which we often do), then they won't know who is being called.
Some of my ideas have been:
Elizabeth (both english go along with Winston :)
Whitney (just because it starts with a W like Winston, and it's a cute name)
What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment for us with your suggestions!