Friday, April 29, 2011

Five Question Friday.

It's been forever since I did this. I've only actually done one. But I keep meaning to do more! Let's try and do this again - regularly!

1. If you could buy any car, money not an option, what would it be?
A refurbished 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 in burnt orange, with a white canvas convertible top. Specific enough for you? I can't help it. The angles. The color combo. The one-of-a-kind year model. The song. It's an absolutely beautiful car. Can you blame me?

2. What was your worst first date ever?
Oi. It was a blind date. My friend Dawn set me up with her boyfriend's cousin. We were...from different parts of town is a good way to describe him. I don't think he showered, he was overweight, and his teeth were six different shades of yellow and crooked. He was a hick, which would be fine, but we had nothing in common. It. was. awful. 

3. How old were you when you fell in love for the first time?
I thought I was in love my freshman year of high school. Chris. It was my punk phase, and he was definitely part of it. He wore Vans and big baggy pants, always dressed in black. He could paint (yes paint) his nails better than I could, and (if it could get any crazier) he was a cutter. We met at a battle of the bands concert - but he lived in Saint Charles. As two freshmen, we couldn't see each other often. We broke up. It was a calm, cool one - it was quick. Until 3 months later (and 3 months after that, a few months after that, and finally again my junior year) when he would call me day and night for a week. Threatening harm to himself. *sigh* It was rough couple of years, which is why I never had a serious boyfriend after him until Sean. 

Sean though. This is real love. I knew it before we even started dating. I knew it when he knelt down in front of my 3 year old sister and had a 15 minute conversation about The Land Before Time. I knew it when my grandpa died the day before a band competition. I was sitting by a tree while everyone else hung out - everyone kept coming up, asking if I was okay (of course I'm not okay, but I'm not going to tell you that). Sean came up, sat down, and let me cry on his shoulder. Never said a word. He didn't need to. Perfection. 

4. When was the last time you reconciled your checkbook?
Honestly, I've never balanced a checkbook. Ever. That's what online banking is for. 

And let's face it - I only write checks for rent anyway. :p

5. If you were going to fashion a "Wanted" Ad for a best friend, how would you word it?
No idea. You can't request best friends.
But, the person would have to have a marching background. It's a brain thing - it's how mine works. I need someone who has kids or desperately wants them in the future. One who believes in the goodness of love somewhere. And one who is willing to make standing dates (because I won't call you "out of the blue" to "catch up"). 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


So I've spent the evening perusing Facebook. Stalking, if you will.

Checking out old grade school classmates, people I haven't spoken to in years.

And you know what? I don't care.

I love the people I've met, the friends I have, the husband I wed.

And truthfully, I'll never look back.

[but I kind of want to brag about how awesome I think my life is]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Latest Project (brought to you by wedding day left-overs)

Check it out!!

We had quite a few bits and pieces of wedding lying around, so I decided to use some of it to fill an empty poster frame. The ribbon on the top and bottom edges are actually the wraps from my bridesmaids' bouquets, and the paper is stuff I had lying around. That brings the total cost to this project to absolutely ZERO! Love it!

I'm still to this day in complete love with my invitation suite. I designed it myself, and Sean's cousin printed it up. I can't put together enough words to say how glad I am that I did this. It. was. worth. it. And now, these gorgeous invitations and programs will be proudly displayed in our home.

Friday, April 15, 2011


One of the worst parts about living away from our families is that we miss the holidays. I work on holidays too, so often times we celebrate them weird. We have so many holidays crammed into one day, trying to see everyone, and we have to drive 7 hours roundtrip for it. That leaves us cranky, annoyed, and probably not the best company.

This Easter, family is coming to us.

Sean's dad will be in South Korea (he's working on a new project there), so Sean's mom, grandma, brother, and sister-in-law will all be coming to see us here in KC!! We're super excited to host family. Sean's mom is the only one who's been to our new place, and Sean's grandma and sister-in-law haven't even been out here. We're really excited to host too. We can't wait to see everyone, and I'm having a blast prepping for it.

Today, I spent most of the day cleaning. I know this week is going to be really busy, so I want to get as much as I can done this weekend. I've done seven (!!!) loads of laundry, and cleaned the crap out of our bedroom, the kitchen, and the bathrooms. All that's left is the living room (which is mostly folded laundry), the office, and the floors.

I've also made a grocery list for our spectacular (and first) Easter dinner! We have to celebrate on Saturday, since I work Sunday (boo), but oh well. Since everyone will be in town, we're figuring we won't want to be in the kitchen all day. I've picked out super simple things we can make the day before!

Our main course will be a Parmesan-Sage pork loin, which is all crock pot, and has potatoes, carrots, and pears. We'll also have green bean casserole, which we prep the day before and just pop in the oven. Of course I'm going to make cheesy garlic rolls, but I'll just make them on Friday and pop them in the oven before dinner to warm them up! Hopefully we won't all be too full to drag ourselves to Easter Vigil mass at 8:30...we'll see though ;)

I still need to decide on a dessert though ;) I'm thinking of a pretty cake that can sit in my cake stand! Teehee.

Man. I'm such a nerd.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dining "Area" Glory

Sean and I have one of those apartments with the "open" concept - we have a kitchen/living room/dining room area. A breakfast bar (and tiled floor) separates the kitchen, but our living room/dining area is all together. We usually just push our couch back to nearly where the table is, but Sean's mom is planning to come in for Easter, and we needed to do some sprucing.

I've been looking for a fun craft, and I came across the Etsy page of ItzFitz, and her gorgeous yarn wreaths.

Um, hello craftspiration! I've been looking for you lately :p

I found the perfect tutorial over at DanielleBurkleo, and with some left over yarn, I made a gorgeous wreath. For $6. Fan-freaking-tastic.

First, you'll need a foam wreath. I bought this one for $5 at Hobby Lobby. It doesn't matter if it has nicks or anything, because you'll be covering them. I wanted a multi-colored wreath, so I divided my circle into 10 parts - don't worry about measuring. In this, perfection isn't necessary.

I hot glued the first piece of yarn to the wreath. To prevent it from slipping around, I thumbtacked the first piece of yarn down. And then, you wrap. Here's what it looks like two sections in:

Pretty soon, you have a gorgeous wreath. I added a few felt flowers from the tutorial for good measure.

And then I hung it up on our wall using some ribbon that was hanging around

I love our little set up (please disregard the laundry). Thanks to our new table runner (which don't hang off the table like any other runner, because ours is so massive), it's really coming together! Now I just need to find something to go in that cake stand when there's not a cake. I'm also planning on adding a bit of lace or something to the votives. And maybe, you know, actually hang those pictures.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recipe Book Progress

Remember how I said one of my goals was to make a recipe book?

Well I've been working on it a lot here lately, and I have to say, it's made some pretty awesome progress.

A lot of the book itself is based off of TasteBook, which is essentially a recipe binder maker site. It does exactly what I'm doing - professionally. The reason I didn't go with them? I wanted to be able to print off copies of these recipes at any time. I have this fear of companies like this going out of business...yes, I can order 5 now, but in 20 years when my kids want one, will I be able to get it?

I'll always be able to open a Word Document.

So I opened up my handy Photoshop, made several banners (I color coordinated the sections of the book), imported them into a word document, and then turned that into a Word Template. That way, I could ensure every one of them is the same - and I can give each person a disk with the templates, and they can create their own additional pages.

I've created 10 categories for my recipe book (some of which are drastically empty, because I don't cook things out of them often):
Brunch and Breads
Appetizers and Drinks
Soups and Salads
Pasta, Rice, and Beans
Fish and Seafood (this would be an empty one, because Sean doesn't like them)
Meat and Poultry
Crock Pot
Everything Else

My Everything Else section has measure conversions, ingredient substitutions, and recipes for things like chili sauce. I'm trying to find a catchier name, mostly because I want it at the front of the book, but I can't figure one out :\

I've imported all of my standard, go-to recipes, and now I'm cruising the web for a few additional ones. Every time I see a good one - into the book it goes! Now if only I could get my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law to send me theirs...

Anyway. Want to see a page?
It's a bit shortened, cause the rest of the page is blank space. But that's the banner I'm using (ahem, and created myself). It's simple but adorable at the same time. It adds interest to the page too. Each section is color coded and desserts just happen to be bright purple :) 

We plan on getting personalized recipe binders from Zazzle - that way we can each have our own personal ones! I love that you can change the type, and so first names, last names, and clever recipe book titles are all possibilities. I haven't decided on which one I want - I like WAY too many of them. They're 1.5" binders too, so there's plenty of room for all the pages we could ever need. 

I'm super excited about how it's coming along...I can't wait until it's finished!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wanting to be Kitsch.

 Have you noticed that "kitsch" is the new thing? The fabric scraps, the yarn, the animal ceramics painted strange's all "in". Vintagy with a modern twist. Funky, but fresh.

I love it.

And I hate it.

It sounds bizarre doesn't it? I love things like:

The problem? It's really not me. I'd feel like I was trying to hard or something if I decorated my house like this...because it's not who I am. Sean defines it as "single me" - the way I would have decorated if I wasn't concerned about others. 

It's partially true. Maybe my style would have evolved to this if I didn't consider Sean's tastes (we do, after all, share a home). Maybe I just don't like the idea of spending money on things that will be out of style in a few years. Maybe I just can't help but think of the clutter in my grandma's home when I see photos like this. 

I think what it comes down to is that I like the idea of kitsch. I like that it's homemade. I like that it can be changed. I like that most of it is "upcycling". 

But it doesn't belong in my life. It doesn't belong in my home. I'm much more of a "classy" and "modern" person. 

But that doesn't mean I can't swoon every time I see a felt-covered, ribbon-wrapped, thrift-store saved pretty thing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Baked Mac n Cheese

Last week, in the effort of finding a home-cooked, Lenten meal that wasn't grilled cheese and tomato soup, I ventured into an unknown world. The world of baked mac n cheese. And, if I do say so myself, I came out on top.

I grew up in a world without baked mac n cheese. So did Sean. To be honest, it didn't even occur to me that mac n cheese even existed before Kraft until, oh, maybe a year ago. Here I was, a grown adult, wandering through life thinking Kraft invented the cheesy goodness.

Right. Sheltered. Check.

Anyway. On a forum I follow, there was thread of people practically begging for good mac n cheese recipes. I mentally filed it away, vowing that I would make this homemade goodness someday.


While I'm biased (because this is the only baked mac n cheese I've ever had), this is the most amazing recipe ever. I started out with an Alton Brown recipe, and seeing as he holds the rank of god in the cooking world, one can't go wrong. I modified it slightly - half out of laziness, half because we didn't have some ingredients. The biggest problem with this recipe? Not eating the entire batch at once.

Baked Mac N Cheese

1/2 lb elbow macaroni noodles
3 tbsp of butter
3 tbsp of flour
3 cups of milk
3 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Lowery salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
12 oz of shredded cheese (I used Colby-Jack, but Sharp Cheddar would be awesome too!)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp butter
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers (I added 2 tbsps of Italian breadcrumbs too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 qt casserole dish (or an 8 x 8 baking dish).

In a pot of boiling water, cook the pasta to al dente - about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a separate pot (no smaller than 1 1/2 qts!), melt the butter. Whisk in flour, continuously stirring for about 5 minutes. It'll be dry and crumbly, like this:

Stir in the milk, bay leaf, and seasonings. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then remove bay leaf.

Stir in 2/3 of the cheese, then fold in the macaroni. Pour into casserole pan and top with remaining cheese. In this step, it looks super goopy - but that leads it to be amazingly cheesy after baking!

Melt the topping butter in another saucepan. Stir in the cracker crumbs or bread crumbs until coated. Spread on top of macaroni mixture.

Bake in over for about 30 minutes, then let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Eye on the Prize.

This morning (oh wait, it's already afternoon), I'm sitting on my couch enjoying my coffee, and watching 30 Rock on Netflix with my husband.

My couch from college. My couch that was bought for $30 from our youth group garage sale at my parents' church. The couch that had been in the old convent for who knows how long - and has had generations of yg kids, quilting ladies, and other various church groups sit on it. It's had a great life. But it's also been a long one. This couch is easily from the 70s, if not before. It's bright blue. The stuffing is falling out, and now that it no longer sits against a wall, the back is bowed.

It's kind of frightening to sit in.

And so we're looking at a new couch. It really makes me sad, cause I looove my blue couch. I want to keep it. I'm gonna try my hardest to keep it in the office (so that one day it can make it into a basement). As much as I love it though, one thing is for certain - it is no longer fit to be our primary, living room, company-seeing couch. It is nearing retirement.

But being the poor college grads that we are, we don't really have the money. Scratch that actually. We have the money in a saving account, but we're saving that in case something comes up (like Sean's loan situation. Ugh.). However, I'm on the job hunt. If I can get something that covers our bills, we'll be buying a new couch the day I sign that contract! lol.

Anyway. Now that we live in KC, we're privy to one of the most awesome furniture stores ever - Nebraska Furniture Mart. Our friends Beth and Dan get major discounts there (maybe cause they bought nearly their entire house from there :p), and offered to let us use one if we choose - and getting a credit card there would knock the price further. We're considering a sectional, but we'd be okay with a regular couch too - it depends on what we end up liking best I suppose. So what are we leaning towards?

In sectional world, we like this:

This sectional is a little pricey at $669, but we love the look of leather on bottom and microfiber on top. It's classy AND comfy, in our opinions. It's what we'll be looking for in most of our options. A lot of people don't like the separate pillows from the back, but it's what we have now, and we really enjoy it. It's a couch that can be instantly widened for afternoon naps by tossing a pillow over the back. And it's easily cleaned and changed up. Love all around.

On the less pricey, sofa side of the spectrum, we have options like this:
This sofa is only $349, and much more affordable. And essentially the mini me of the above sectional.

There's also this baby

And contrary to the picture above, it's actually more of a light tan, cream colored couch. Here's a photo of the entire set, which clearly would never fit into our tiny living room. This one's $389. 

Of course, there are plenty of options other than NFM, so it's possible we'll be looking elsewhere too. But we have a great idea of what we want. Provided of course, that I get a new job. 

::sigh:: Oh contingencies.