Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weeknight Diversions and US Travel Destinations

Hey guys!  I'm happy to report that today is going better than yesterday in terms of health, and today's post is not a downer.  Sorry if yesterday's post was sad.  I did get a little teary writing it.

Anyway, back to this week.  So in the nights I wasn't staying in ill I had some fun things going on.  Tuesday night, Greg and I had dinner with Erin and her husband at a local Chinese place.  Erin and I were so gabby at dinner neither of us took any food pictures!  Bad I know.  We went back to my house for dessert and so the men could talk about their RC hobbies.

We had a great time with them!  It's rare to find another couple we both have so much in common with.  Fun!

Tonight, I met some of my girls out at The Wooden Vine for some food and vino.  We shared this bottle of Quattro Mani, an Italian red.  It was very good.

We also got five small plates to share:  white bean hummus, asparagus/procuitto salad, a cheese plate, corn/jalapeno dip, and herbed ricotta flat bread.  They were great, as evidenced by our empty plates.

It was a great week night diversion :)

So today's post for the 30 Day Challenge is: Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel.

I really should read ahead on these, since I'm finding that I've already posted something that could answer this...ooops!  Well, the good news is, there are LOTS of places I'd like to travel to that I haven't been to, and since my other list was all over seas locations, this time we'll go with places I would like to travel to in the US:

Seattle, WA:

Portland, OR




Of course, I'd pretty much go anywhere I haven't been, but these are some of the places I'm most curious about and would like to see.

Ok, I'm off to watch the musical Grey's episode.  Not sure I like the singing so far.  It's distracting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Letter

Today did not go as planned.  When I went to bed last night, my throat was feeling kind of scratchy, and I woke up tired with the throat still sore, so I decided to call in sick to work, not knowing if it was going to get progressively worse or not and wanting to err on the safe side.  I slept an extra 3 hours, which was really nice on such a rainy cold day.  It was also nice to be home for the day with Greg and Clyde.  Really, I didn't accomplish much today, it was one of those lazy, drink tea, and snuggle under a blanket kind of days.  And I thought it was great.  My throat is much better and it seems that the rest has done me good.

It's Day 19 of the 30 Day Challenge - A picture and a letter.  I had another hard time with this one.  I decided to write it to my grandmother, who passed away from pancreatic cancer a little over 5 years ago.  Like most people who get pancreatic cancer, she didn't have much time to live from the time she was diagnosed to when she died.  She was diagnosed in the spring and died in the fall of 2005.

Dear Mama,
I can't believe it's been 5 years since we lost you.  You were literally the sweetest person I've ever met.  I never saw you get angry with anyone and your heart was always warm and welcoming.  I think of that quality in you a lot and strive to be more like you.  I miss your voice on the phone saying "Hi Honey!" when I would call.  I miss your hand written letters and cards.  You had the most beautiful hand writing.  Sometimes when I wash my face at night with a very warm wash cloth, I think of the times I spent the night at your house and you washed my face for me with a warm wash cloth.  We all think of you every year on holidays when we make your macaroni and cheese, and though it's always really good, it never quite tastes as great as yours did.  I love that you used to save your stale bread and take me to Forest Park to feed the ducks when I was little.  I remember when I got my license and drove us to the mall and we ate Chinese food (which Papa won't eat) together at the food court.  Christmas always felt a little more magical when you were part of it.  I remember those really good Archway windmill cookies you always had at your house.  Sometimes when I look at my eye lids, I think they look like yours and that's where I got them.  I miss lunches and dinners with you at Red Rose and Lidos, still among my favorite restaurants even though I don't get to go very often.  The only reason I almost cried at my wedding was right before I walked down the aisle and I told Dad I was carrying your necklace attached to my bouquet and he looked like he might cry.  It was so hard to not have you there when I got married only 6 months after we lost you.  I think you would have really enjoyed the wedding.  I'm also sorry you never got to meet Clyde or visit me in Charlotte.  I'm sorry you'll never get to hold the baby I hope to have.  Life isn't the same without you and never will be the same and I remember thinking this when you passed away.  I miss you Mama, and love you always.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Ok, on to Day 18 of the 30 Day Challenge - A picture of your biggest insecurity.

Hmmm, this is a tough one.  I'm very much of the mindset that I am what I am and there's not much I can do to change that so I might as well embrace it.  I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on my physical imperfections and in terms of my personality, I try to be the best person I can be.  I know I'm not perfect, but I think I'm a good person and like who I am for the most part.

If I'm going to nitpick, I guess physically I know that I have kind of a funny nose.  I definitely don't spend tons of time worrying about it or anything but I know it's a little beak-ish and out there ;)  The thought of a nose job is completely terrifying, and I don't want to change what I look like (Jennifer Gray anyone??), so it's not something I've ever really considered.  It's my nose and it makes me me.

It helps to hold a cute puppy to distract from the schnoz... ;)

I also have a nervous laugh, which is obviously not something I can take a picture of (I know, I really need to do a VLOG!), but it's something I can be a little self conscious about.  I tend to say something and then do a little "hehe" after I say them.  My friend Gibson does impressions of everyone and that was his impression of me- to basically say a sentence and then do the little laugh after.  It's really not even a conscious thing, I just do it without even thinking about it!

I'm also a little self conscious about my house.  I tend to really over think having people over because:
A) I'm messy and kind of disorganized, so I usually have to do A LOT of cleaning to make my house presentable.
B)  I don't think I'm that good at decorating.  I don't really have a creative eye and 95% of the walls in my house are still white.  I am missing the house decorating gene...

Along those lines, I guess I can be insecure about what I'm wearing sometimes.  I don't feel like I'm very trendy or stylish.  You know those friends you have that always look so great and put together every time you see them and you wish you were wearing what they have on?  That's not me!  Most of the time I just try to get out of the house and not look like a frumpy mess.  I think I usually fairly put together, but I'm kind of a boring dresser.  I stick to basics and don't take many fashion risks.  Put it this way, you would lose count if you tried to figure out the number of black and gray articles of clothing I own.

Ah yes, black and gray again, with a touch of pink this time!
One that I definitely don't have a picture of that I'm insecure about is public speaking.  I avoid doing it, and wouldn't want my picture taken if I were doing it.  Public speaking makes me break into a sweaty hot mess.  It is not my cup of tea.  I should probably face my fear and get over it, but the whole thing just makes me extremely nervous. 

So there you have it.  A list of some of my insecurities!  What are yours?

Dinners I've Eaten Lately And Other Fiascoes

Howdy blog world!  I've noticed lately I've been taking a bunch of pictures of stuff that I don't end up publishing because I am distracted by the 30 Day Challenge and life in general.  So this post is going to be a couple good dinners I've made and consumed recently.

First, a little story before I get to Sunday's dinner.  That night I arrived home after my 6 hour drive from DC.  I walked in the door of my house to ALL of the smoke detectors blaring!  Greg was gone (of course), and I have no idea how long they had been going off since I was gone about 3 days.  I also didn't know WHY they were going off!  I ran around the house checking for fire and burn marks, but found nothing.  I frantically called Greg and asked him what I should do.  This involved me cursing the fact that I'm a pilot's wife and my husband is never around when I need him to deal with stupid issues like this!  He patiently waited for me to stop flipping out and explained how to disarm the smoke alarm.  For those of you who don't know me, I'm only 5'3", kinda short.  I had to get up on a kitchen stool and try not to wipe out as I twisted and detached the damn smoke detector from the ceiling.  FINALLY, the thing stopped...  Greg's best guess was that due to the cold weather, one of the furnaces that we don't use much (we have 3 in our house) kicked on and the "burnt dust" in the vent set off the smoke detectors.  This made me totally freaked out to use the heat in the house while he wasn't home, so I turned ALL the heaters off and bundled up in about 10 layers of clothing til he got home later that night and could take a look.  Fun times!

After I settled down from my smoke detector fiasco, I was starving and decided to cook up some dinner.  I made a new version of Chicken Sausage Pasta.

I used:
  • 1 Tablespoon of EVOO
  • Two jalapeno chicken sausages
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/3 cup veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup Classico Four Cheese tomato sauce
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • About 2 cups of whole wheat penne and/or rotini pasta
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese on top

Directions:  Boil pasta according to package directions.
Saute the diced onions and peppers in a pan with the EVOO till softened.


Meanwhile, cut each chicken sausage lengthwise, and grill in a grill pan.

Add the tomatoes, stock, tomato sauce, and spinach to the pan and combine.  Chop up your grilled sausage and add that, along with the drained pasta to the sauce to combine everything.  Top with shredded parm.

Last night, Greg was actually home for dinner.  I brainstormed based on what I had in the house and came up with the idea for Veggie Philly Cheese steaks.  One thing about me?  I'm not really a fan of traditional Philly Cheese steaks.  Even though I do eat meat, I've always found them to be kind of gross.  I can't stand reheated red meat, and that's what they taste like to me.  I also am VERY picky about fat on meat and I always feel like there's lots of fatty bits on the meat in the Cheese steaks.  Enter, vegetarian cheese steaks.

I used:  

1 Tablespoon EVOO
1/2 package of LightLife  Smart Ground Veggie Crumbles
1 yellow pepper
1/2 onion
A few splashes of veggie stock
A couple shakes of savory seasoning (I think you could use Thyme)
2 french bagette rolls
Enough muenster cheese to top the sandwiches.


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Julienne your pepper and onion and cook them in the EVOO along with the veggie crumbles.  Add splashes of veggie stock (not too much) and seasoning until onions and peppers are slightly soft and everything is cooked through.

Spoon mixture into rolls and top with strips of cheese.  Place in oven for about 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted/bubbly.

I also made oven potatoes, which I started before the cheese steaks.  I just washed and cut up 4 smallish potatoes and tossed them in a little EVOO, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper.  I spread them on a cookie sheet and cooked them for 20 minutes at 475 degrees.

I served the sandwiches and oven fries with sides of steamed broccoli.  

All together.

Let's see that again.

Mmmm, they were really good!  I will definitely be making these again. :)

The rest of our evening was spent doing a little house cleaning, baking a batch of Mama Pea's PB Dough Balls, and crashing, as seen below.

Well, that about sums up my last couple evenings! 
How are you guys doing?  Have you dealt with any smoke detector-like fiascoes lately?  Any fun new recipes I should know about??

Monday, March 28, 2011

Impact On My Life

Hey guys!  I'm behind in the 30 Day Challenge, I know.  The 30 Day Challenge is...challenging!  Going away for the weekend definitely threw me off as I had so much going on, and so much other stuff to blog about.  Anyway, today is Day 17 - A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently.

I know I've talked about this before, but I'm going to go with trying to conceive as my something that's made a huge impact on my life recently.

A couple months ago, I was deeply entrenched in marathon training and even though I knew trying to conceive was the next big thing I was going to do, I had no idea how it would change my life.  I basically went from having a mild interest in babies and pregnancy to it being like this huge thing I tapped into that I can't get enough information about.  Trying to take in all the information is like drinking from a fire hose.  There are so many aspects I'm interested in.
  • There's the actual TRYING part: getting the timing right, studying my cycle, figuring out what I should and shouldn't be doing to help things, testing for ovulation, etc...  (You can see from the collection of tests and stuff I have above!)
  • There's the two week wait part: in between ovulation and when I should get my period or find out if I'm pregnant, when I try to figure out if I have symptoms and might be pregnant or not.  Oooh, my boobs feel tender!  Hmmm, I think I'm kind of crampy...  Is that spotting?  Everything seems like it could be a symptom.
  • There's the actual pregnancy part: where I wonder what it will be like for me if/when I actually am pregnant.  Will I have tons of morning sickness?  Will I have cravings?  Will I be tired?  No symptoms at all? 
  • Then the actual baby stuff.  Will I have a boy or a girl?  What will I name the baby?  How will I decorate a nursery?  Is my car appropriate for a car seat?  What will he/she be like?

My mind just wanders so much around all the baby topics!  It's really been life changing, to suddenly go from barely having it on my radar at all a few months ago to it being the center of my thoughts most of the time.  I even bought a book the other day...

Yeah, it's safe to say this whole trying to conceive thing has had a huge impact on my life lately!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Social Blogger

Whew, this weekend is flying by!  Can't believe I'm headed back to Charlotte already today!  If you missed my first two posts about VA/DC, check them out.

Old Town Alexandria
Specating at the National Marathon

After all my spectating fun yesterday, Alison and I took Clyde for a walk around her neighborhood.

We didn't get far before we stumbled upon a loose dog wandering around.  We were able to get a hold of him and he had a name and phone number on his collar tag that we called.  The owner said they would be by to pick him up.  We attached Clyde's leash to him and I held Clyde, since he was a big dog and harder to control.  Then we went back to Alison's and she fashioned a leash (MacGuyver style) out of a belt and caribeaner so we could walk both dogs while waiting for Tiger's dog mom to come get him.

After about 15 minutes, Tiger was reunited with his owner.  Our good deed for the day was complete!
We finished our scenic walk around a nearby pond with a wooded trail surrounding it.

Then it was back to the house to get ready for our night out.

We met up with many of the bloggers in DC at Northside Social.

I had a glass of Argentinian Malbec (I'm so predictable) as I mingled with the bloggers.
Alison is a reader, but I'm not sure she was totally prepared for the chaos of a blogger meet-up!  She held her own ;)

Alison, Amanda, Megan
Me and Stephanie

It was fun seeing so many familiar faces.  After the place cleared out, Amanda, Lauren, Alison, and I walked a couple blocks over to a Thai place for dinner.

I have a hard time keeping my eyes open in pictures...

I ordered the vegetarian Thai Ginger.  It was great :)

These girls were so much fun!  We had a blast talking blog gossip, work, TV, and making fun of the weird clubby house music the restaurant was playing.  Made me wanna fist pump!

Amanda and I have been "friends" through blogging for a while, so it was great to finally meet her in person.  She's a sweetheart, just as I suspected, and a fellow former UNH student, so we also caught up about that.

Well, I'm off to wrap up my DC visit!

Spectating At The National Marathon

So this worked out good.  Day 16 of the 30 Day Challenge is - A picture of someone who inspires you.

Guess who inspires me?  Runners and bloggers!  Who did I see yesterday?  Runners and bloggers!

My day started at the early hour of around 5am.  I was up and bundling up in warmish clothing to go stand outside in the cold and be a spectator (for the first time ever!) at the National Marathon!

One trip to Starbucks (I had my usual Skinny Vanilla Latte, and a raspberry scone), and we were on our way to downtown DC.  The plan was to meet Caitlin and Emily around mile 3.  We quickly found the approximate location and soon after, the elite runners came barreling through!

En fuego!!

Soon we found Emily and Caitlin who were hard to miss with their enthusiasm brimming over.

It's fun spectating with blogger celebrities, people were constantly yelling to them that they read their blogs and one lady even stopped and came over to hug Caitlin!

We hung out at mile 3 til we saw a lot of our blogger friends and Casey (Emily's husband) run by, then headed to mile 10 for our next glimpse.  En route, Alison remembered she had a huge bag of Swedish Fish in the car and also a box of tissues.  We bee-lined to her car to get those for mile 10.

The Swedish Fish were a pretty big hit and so were the tissues!  We kept screaming, "Swedish Fish!  Tissues!" at everyone running by.  People were either oblivious/not interested, or mowed down people to get to us and grab a tissue or some fish.

We saw more of our friends run by and Nicole stopped to talk to us for a second.

Eventually we packed up and headed to the finish line at RFK, which required a cab and metro ride.

We found some of the finishers.

Everyone liked the course and said it was a fun race.  I might have to do this one myself someday!  The whole time I lived in DC I never did any races!

Post race, Alison and I headed back into the heart of DC to retrieve our car.  We ended up walking through the city for a bit and I got some pictures of the scenery.

Also, the cherry blossoms and flowers are out in DC! 

I have seen the cherry blossoms quite a few times and actually have an entire folder of pictures of them on my hard drive, but it really never gets old, they are gorgeous :)

At this point it was pushing 11am and we were pretty famished.  We went to La Madeleine for brunch, which is a french bakery/restaurant with multiple locations around DC.  Fun fact- I went on my second date with my husband at a La Madeleine!

I had an omelet with spinach, chedder, and mushrooms, which came with a crossaint.

It hit the spot after all that walking and cheering!

I had a great time watching all the runners and seeing so many bloggers that I know in real life and from the web.  It was definitely inspiring.  I think we bloggers inspire each other, which is awesome!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Old Town With An Old Friend

Greetings from Virginia!  I finally found a spare moment to blog!  It's been pretty much non-stop since I got here yesterday!  I left home pretty early and headed up on the 6 hour drive to DC. 

I got to my friend Alison's around 3pm and we wasted no time heading out into Old Town Alexandria with Clyde to walk around.  During my 6 years living in DC I spent many days and nights visiting Old Town.  It's a great area to explore on foot and I still enjoy coming back, even though I've been many times before.



The waterfront in Alexandria

King Street

We walked around and it was pretty chilly out.  We found a couple doggie stores to go in with Clyde and Alison and Clyde got to know one another.

She's a natural, right??

Because of the cold, things didn't work out quite as great as planned.  We were hoping to enjoy more of the dog-friendliness of Old Town, but it was so chilly we couldn't do much outside.  Eating outside definitely wasn't an option.  We ended up picking up pizza and cupcakes to take back to Alison's house for dinner.

We got two small pies at Pizza Paradisio.

An Atomica, which had Tomato, Salami, Black Olives, Hot Pepper Flakes, Mozzarella, except we opted for artichoke hearts instead of the salami.

And a traditional margherita pizza.

Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuum :)

The cupcake place.

The cupcakes!

I had a chocolate raspberry one.

It was VERY dense and rich.  I liked it, but I'm kind of used to a lighter, fluffier kind of cupcake.  I finished off my evening with a nice warm mug of ginger tea.  Spicy baby!

We finished our evening by plotting out our plan for the National Marathon: getting there, course map, where to spectate, etc...  More on our spectating, up next!

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