Updates

Leave a message at the flip flop

This is the kind of gold I get to deal with a couple times a day.

Needless to say, it is not a dull life I lead. Andy and I have been getting ready for the weddings we are attending this fall in the ways most do – buying presents, dresses (me, not Andy) and cards. It seems as though once you’ve reached age 25, you get invited to a couple weddings each year, minimum.  It’s a reason to get gussied up, which I’m not one to do very often. We’re attending a wedding this weekend at the New England Carousel Museum, and then I will be the Maid of Honor at my cousin’s wedding in October. Both should be lovely, and they make us (me) that much more excited for when we can begin to plan a wedding of our own.

I took a staycation last week while one of my oldest and dearest friends, Marsha, visited from Louisiana. We spent most of the week doing the things we usually do together – talking, eating, crocheting, swimming and watching movies. We did take an epic trip to the Book Barn, all three locations I might add, that resulted in each of us owning at least 10 more books than before. This place is incredible – I can’t stress that enough. They have over half a million books to browse through, both really new and really old, and more coming in every day. After we experienced book heaven, Mars & I had lunch near the Niantic Boardwalk and enjoyed the sights of the downtown.

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I really like the concept of a staycation because I was still able to get important things done, like laundry, and do silly relaxing things, like read a book and flop around in the pool. I do hope my next vacation takes me somewhere a little further away than Connecticut, but this particular week was just fine by me.

I would like to note that thanks to Andrew, the Book Barn and the fact that the weather has been gorgeous, I’ve been getting into reading like I’d always wished I could. I’m working on my 15th book this year – this from a girl who used to take a couple years to read one. Right now I’m speeding through Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and with each page I’m itching to read the next. She knows how to build an incredible, clever, witty thriller, that’s for damn sure.

That’s all for now, folks. Have a book recommendation? Find me on Goodreads or leave a comment.
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Updates

Holy Hiatus Batman!

My dear friends, it has been an inexcusable amount of time since I’ve updated the blog. For that, I apologize. I can assure you my time has been well spent outside of the blogosphere, though, and I’ve got plenty to report.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Andy and I started Weight Watchers in January. We’ve had a lot of successes with the program, having lost a collective 70lbs just by consciously trying to move more and eat better. And now that summer is here again and there’s no threat of face-planting on a patch of ice, we’ve started walking around the grounds of the complex we live in. Lucky for us, it’s actually appealing to walk around since the area is gorgeous, quiet and full of critters.

And in April, as most of you know by now, we got engaged! Andy’s Mom had bought us a Groupon for the Providence Biltmore Hotel in Rhode Island, so we set off to celebrate with a night of wandering around a seriously cool old hotel and exploring the city. The place is amazing and worth a visit. I admit I spent most of the time looking down at my left hand and giggling. (It’s SO shiny!) Needless to say, we’re very, very happy. No plans to set a date just yet – hoping to buy a house before we officially tie the knot. Andy keeps insisting that we Kickstart the wedding, and I keep responding with what kind of party we’d have to throw if we only ended up raising like $150. I’m guessing this kind:
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But where would we even get hats that cool?!

On Mother’s Day I took a surprise trip back home. Lucky for me, my Mom is very easy to surprise. She told me even though I drove up in my (fairly uncommon) car with Connecticut plates, and entered through the ‘family only’ door in the garage, she still assumed I was somebody else with poor manners entering her house. I had a wonderful time with my family and I even got to see a whole gaggle of my favorite people out in Clinton. You all make the nine hours I spend travelling worthwhile. *sniff sniff*

In late May, my brother Phil came to visit on his way to Maine from Virginia. We estimated that we hadn’t seen each other since 2007, so we had a lot of catching up to do. We went out for a burger and a beer at Plan B and then we took Phil and Lesley to Cabela’s for the first time. I didn’t think I would enjoy it in all honesty, but the place had a mini aquarium AND museum inside! It was HUGE! Granted, it’s no L.L. Bean, but it was still pretty cool. And of course, always great to see family.

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And that brings us to this past weekend, where Andy and I took a trip down to Bel Air, Maryland to see our friend Abby get hitched at the Lirioodendron Mansion. Our adventure begin at 11AM on Friday when we left Glastonbury. Due to New York and New Jersey being, well, New York and New Jersey, we didn’t arrive at our hotel in Maryland until 7PM that evening. We collapsed in a pizza and Food Network coma, but woke up early enough next morning to catch breakfast at the Cracker Barrel two seconds down the road. Andy says it was second only to Bob Evans (whatever that means), but the jury is still out for me on that one. In the evening we gussied up and headed to the Mansion, which felt like we were entering a private country club from the early 1900s. The wedding was in the backyard, Abby and Mike were hilarious and lovely to watch and the food was really delicious (Salmon and Chicken topped with Crab). And to top off the weekend, we made it home in the amount of time it SHOULD take someone to get from CT to MD. Ohthankgod.

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Keep your eyes peeled for my next exciting post, Mug Cakes 2: Electric Boogaloo.
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Recipes

Spaetzle Schmaetzle

For those of you that don’t know, Andy and I started Weight Watchers in January. I had seen success with the program in the past, and after a delicious weight-gaining holiday in Maine, I decided it was time to start again. Lucky for me, Andy decided to join me.

We now cook delicious meals at home five to six days a week, and we even go out for Tacos. So far, we’re down a collective 45 lbs. Yay us!

I wanted to start sharing some of the recipes we’ve discovered that are both Weight Watchers friendly and delicious – two things that don’t always go together.

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Andy adapted this Spaetzle recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I think everything she does is amazing — but a lot of the recipes require extra time. Precious minutes of our lives that we must waste while something has to “chill” or “rest.” Rest on your own time, spaetzle! So here is Andy’s lazy man version, clocking in at 8 points plus per serving.

Spaetzle feat. The Holy Trio

Makes 5 servings

For the dumplings:
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 large eggs
1/4 cup milk

For the flavor explosion:
1/2 cup bacon crumbles
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt & pepper (to taste)

Combine the flour, eggs and milk in a large bowl. Mixture will be thick. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. If you’ve got a spaetzle maker, use it. You can find them pretty cheap on Amazon. See the Smitten Kitchen recipe for alternatives you might already own.

Place spaetzle maker over the top of your pot. You may want to use oven mitts – steam gets pretty uncomfortable on bare skin.

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Pour 1/4 of the batter into hopper and slide back and fourth across the steel grater until most of the batter has fallen into the pot. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon or a spider strainer to remove the dumplings. Drizzle with a little olive or canola oil to prevent sticking. Set aside. Repeat this process for the remaining 3/4 of the batter.

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Split the spaetzle into two batches. Heat a large skillet to medium. Add 1 tbsp olive or canola oil. Add half of the onion, bacon, and garlic. Once the onions begin to be translucent, add in one of the spaetzle batches. Add 1/2 tbsp basil and oregano. Add a little more oil if necessary. Repeat with the rest of the spaetzle. Enjoy as soon as possible.

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Updates

Making Blizzards Fun, Yeti Style

For those of you on the eastern seaboard that aren’t rock dwellers, you know that last night  Winter Storm Nemo took its toll. Some places got over 30” of snow in total. In same places, like here, it’s still falling.

After a huge weather event (and often after a minuscule one), social media crawls with a mixture of joy, fear, cynicism and photographic proof of the terror outdoors. I took pictures, too, but I thought it would be a good idea to create some good out of the waist-high snow. And so I give you…

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The above was taken Friday around 2PM.

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And this was out the same window at 9 AM this morning.

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Out the entrance to our building, heading toward where my car once was.

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The first closest lump to the left of the fenced in dumpster is my car.

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One of those lumps is Andy’s car.

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Sunday Sixah

Sunday Sixah feat. The Internet

I realize it’s Super Bowl Sunday, so I thought it’d be appropriate to give you all something to look at on the interwebs incase your team starts to play horribly or the commercials stink.

I haven’t done a good ol’ Sunday Sixah in a while, and today we’re talking about the internet, boys and girls. Below are not one, but TWO lists of things I enjoy when I’m not sick of my computer yet. If you check any of them out, please let me know what you think.

 

6 New-ish Web Things I Can’t Live Without

1) Sunrise. This service will send you a daily agenda straight from your inbox including Facebook birthdays, Google calendar events and LinkedIn information. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re bad at remembering birthdays.

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2) IFTTT. If This Than That uses connections from one web app to another, called ‘recipes,’ to make your life easier. For example, have IFTTT text you after your alarm goes off in the morning to give you the days weather before you’re out of bed. Have it back up all of your Instagram photos to your Dropbox account. I have a recipe that sends me a text reminder every time I put an important reminder on my GCal. You need better-than-average knowledge of how the internet works to use IFTTT, but it’s definitely worth using.

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3) Box. Cloud storage for easy access to your files from anywhere you can access the app or Box.com. Like Dropbox, but with larger starting space for free accounts. I personally prefer their web interface, too.

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4) Saymmm.com. Copy & paste recipes you’re making this week and Saymmm will give you a grocery list in an easy to read and check off format. You can save up to 100 recipes on the free account, and after that it’s still only $3/mo. The Saymmm Plus account gives you unlimited recipe storage and keeps track of both calories and cost of ingredients.

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5) We Are Hunted / Spotify. Those of you that are regular readers know that I love me some Spotify. But what I may not have mentioned before are the apps that Spotify integrates into their desktop application. One of my favorites is a music discovery app called We Are Hunted. It will just take you through playlists of up and coming artists and tunes to give you a unique view into the non-radio music scene. Don’t have/want Spotify? No worries, We Are Hunted has a web app too.

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6) Fab. Curated toys, trinkets, games, clothes and household goods. All beautiful and some hand-made by designers around the globe. I bought at least 5 of my Christmas presents from Fab in 2012, and I’ve purchased a few things for myself that I was very pleased with. On top of it all, the customer service has been stellar thus far.

Interested in checking it out? Join for free here.

Fab

 

6 Awesome & Hilarious Tumblr Blogs To Check Out

1) Your L.L. Bean Boyfriend. Every gal from the Northeast dreams of an L.L. Bean boyfriend. This blog brings your fantasies to life. Oh Patrick, you handsome devil.

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2) Bad Kids Jokes. Think of all of these being said by the cutest 4-6 year olds you know. The one below is likely wearing dress-up clothes, costume jewelry and Mom’s shoes.

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3) Get Out Of There Cat. Cats where they do not belong. In your bananas, for instance.

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4) Hungover Owls. Hehehe.

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5) Texts From Bennett. WARNING: Not for the under age, the easily offended or the delicate flowers of the world. Bennett says the craziest stuff. If you’ll permit him, he’ll wax poetic on the lines at public restrooms, autocorrect and unenthusiastic strippers.

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6) Menswear Dog. “The best menswear blog in existence,” says Andrew Paulo.

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Happy Sunday!

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Recipes

3 Minute Mug Cakes

Here it is my friends, just what you’ve been waiting for… Andy’s Mug Cake recipe! Are you in the mood for something sweet? Feeling far too lazy to separate cupcake papers or grease your 13″ x 9″ pan? Never fear! Follow these simple instructions and you’ll have delicious cake in under three minutes!

Andy’s Mug Cakes

Ingredients:
1 Mug Cake Mix*
2 ½ Tbsp Milk

Optional Fillings: 
Peanut Butter
Sprinkles
Nutella
Biscoff

Instructions

To make the mix*, combine one box Duncan Hines Angel Food Cake and one box of flavored cake mix in a large Ziplock bag. Measure 1/3 cup of the mixture and place into a wide-mouthed coffee mug. Add 2 ½ tablespoons of milk and stir vigorously with a fork until the contents have a whipped consistency. (Optional) Add 1 tbsp  peanut butter, Nutella, Biscoff or 2 tsp sprinkles. Try to get thick fillings in the center of the mix so that the cake will rise around it.

Microwave for 1 minute 10 seconds (you may need to adjust the time depending on how powerful your microwave is). Slide a knife between the cake and the walls of the mug to loosen. Flip over onto a plate or eat right out of the mug. Enjoy!

So there you have it. Try it out and let me what flavors and combinations you try.

 

Updates

Be good… Bandit’s watching.

Hello my friends. It’s been a while – longer than I’d planned, but I’m happy to return. Since we last talked, a lot has happened. The holidays came and went, winter is in full swing and I got to go home to Vacationland to see my family and friends. While it was a bittersweet trip knowing it wouldn’t last, I enjoyed it very much. I got to see a lot of faces I missed dearly, and I got to congratulate a few friends on their engagements in person. Six of my friends have gotten engaged in the last few months. SIX! ‘Tis the season. Love is in the air…. cue Barry White!

This week we’re house-sitting for Andy’s parents. It’s been fun living in their beautiful home and getting to hang out with Andy’s sister more is always fun. And Bandit the cat has been ever present and keeping us in line. He’s the man of the house while the adults are away.

I admit I’m excited to get back home, though. I’ve really in love with our place – strange neighbors, Chinese urn curtains and all. Back in November, I got to share my home with some of my favorite people for a very merry Friendsgiving! We made hand turkeys:

We posed for awkward family photos:

And we had an amazing meal at Asian Café Fusion!

I loved having visitors, and if any of you out there are interested in joining the ranks of those that have visited me, I would love to have you. Connecticut has some beautiful parks, waterfronts and a couple seriously fun casinos, in case you needed any convincing.

It’s time for me to go – season three of Downton Abbey is on, and as much as I love you guys… well, you either get it or you don’t.

TTFN!

Andyisms

On The Holidays

“Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
How lovely are your branches
You give me gifts and shiny things
When all I want are chicken wings
Oh Christmas Tree, I can’t eat thee
And so I’m getting take-out”