Monday, July 19, 2010

A good week.

Last week?
Last was an excellent week. It moved quickly, there have been pleasant surprises and minimal drama. In addition to all this positivity, I have something to look forward to.

Pleasant Surprises
On Tuesday, I came home from work, and as usual I grabbed the mail. But this particular mail day had a SURPRISE INSIDE. There was an official looking government envelope, but I knew what it was - our $8,000 tax credit for buying the house! Holler.

So now, Mike and I have to figure out how we want to divide up this money. We've already resolved to replace the gross, stained, white carpet and gnarly, old, cracked, vinyl tile on the first floor. After that? Savings? Pay down the credit card? Rip out the deck and put in a stone patio and fence? New kitchen cabinets? New kitchen countertops? (The kitchen desperately needs help) Hire a professional to paint the vaulted living room?

On top of that, I have NO IDEA where to start when it comes to putting in a floor. We're planning to go with laminate flooring, or something similar. We've been TOLD that we can't put in actual hardwood because we have a slab foundation and the moisture will warp the wood, plus hardwood is expensive.

So, at the moment, I'm confused and excited and scared about what a commitment this floor will be.

I created this guy (above) a while ago, but I don't know if I'm feeling it anymore. I kind of like the color scheme from this Real Simple cover.
But, I feel like I need more neutrals in my house. My bedroom is blue, the office is blue-gray, and the guest room is almost a slate-blue. Do I need more blue?

Are you guys better at this than I am? Because, I. Am. Hopeless at decorating, color-coordinating and the like. Suggestions welcome, with open arms. In fact, I may even throw a parade for said suggestions.

I need help, and lots of it. Mike and I are starting a flooring search this weekend. I'm scared, hold me.

Moved Quickly
Every summer from the 4th of July, until Labor day, my office offers "Summer Hours", which means that if you work an extra 4 hours Monday through Thursday, you can leave the office at 12:30pm on Friday. Currently, I am staying 30 minutes late, and only taking half a lunch. And, even though I am working an extra hour each day, it makes the week go by a million times faster, because Friday looks that much better.

Consequently, my summer has just had the fast forward button pushed.
Next thing I know it's going to be September and my summer hours will be over, I'll need to assess my collection of tights, and Emily will be waiting at the airport for me to grab her and bring her to Hotel Blake, where Brittany will be eagerly awaiting our arrival. OMG.

Speaking of Emily
Have you voted yet? You can vote once per day, per email address. Right now, girlfriend has 51% of the vote. But there are still plenty of days left for the other girls to catch up. The bigger Emily's margin, the happier I'll be.
Vote, please? The prize is ridiculous, and I would love to see Emily and David have a beautiful honeymoon.

More recently...
Because I had a Half Day Friday, I went to see Toy Story 3 at 2:30 in 3-D. But, upon learning the PRICE to see a movie these days, my BFF and I decided that we would to sneak into Despicable Me at 4:30 and really get our money's worth. I'm a rule breaker, and a rebel.

In retrospect, we should have seen them in the opposite order, because after a Pixar movie, anything is a letdown.

Something to look forward to!
Mike and I have decided to visit one of our favorite people, Cam and his wonderful girlfriend Dawn (Hi Dawn! Hope Cam told you!) next summer.

It came about the other night because Mike and I were talking about how much we someday wanted to go to Comic-Con, which is held annually in San Diego - WHERE CAM and DAWN LIVE. So, we're going to start saving and make a journey of it. We haven't decided whether we'll make it a road trip, with stops along the way. Or if we'll fly, so we have more time to hang out in CA.
Though, after just Google Mapping the directions, I'm not sure I can handle 36 hours in the car. But if I do, I can cross two things off my 101 in 1001 list:
64) Visit Cam in San Diego
23) Take a road trip with Mike along Rte. 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles, camping along the way.
Which would be kind of awesome. We have plenty of time, just something to think about....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Best thing i've done this summer...

Frozen mango, blueberry, grapes, peach, blackberry and pineapple + Simply Lemonade = Amazing summer beverage and snack.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cabin Recap and Colors of the Wind Salsa (my first recipe!!)

This weekend was everything I dreamed of and more.

I ate my body weight in ice cream, hamburgers, baked beans, pasta salads, delicious Chex Mix, corn nuts, cucumber salads, and most importantly my Colors of the Wind salsa (recipe below!)

I literally spent every moment of the weekend eating something. It. Was. Awesome. Because, duh, I love food. SO MUCH.

I arrived Friday afternoon at about 4pm. We drank Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade. Like I said in my previous post - this is the perfect summer drink. The vodka is 35% alcohol by volume, when regular vodka is 40% - so you don't lose any of the kick. It's a little sweet and syrupy alone, but with the acidity of the lemonade, it's delightful. It tastes like juice, you guys!
Golf cart rides!

Sweet Tea Vodka!

Plaid shirts!

Saturday, we hung out by the pool and grilled and (most of us) hid from some short thunderstorms. Mike didn't, and consequently, he was damp for the remainder of the time we were there.
More plaid!

(I feel like they belong in Appalachia.)


For this glorious event, I made salsa. I've made salsa in the past, but it's always just been a simple tomato salsa, so I wanted to mix it up. I browsed through The Pioneer Woman, and, but nothing struck my fancy. I want this salsa to have beans (OMG, I am on a HUGE bean kick), so I did a little Googling, and came up with a Paula Deen recipe, and tweaked it a little. I have since re-named it: Color of the Wind Salsa, because once all the ingredients are added, it's a beautiful RAINBOWWWWWWWWW.............

Colors of the Wind Salsa

2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced*
3 ears sweet corn, cut off the cob**
1 large avocado (not too ripe), peeled and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (Well, they look kind of blue)
1 red onion, diced
Juice of 2 limes
A splash red wine vinegar, to add more liquid
1 whole SALSA seasoning packet (found at most grocery stores, any will do)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Taste and add salt, pepper, lime juice, vinegar as necessary.
Cover and chill overnight, and make sure to taste again before serving, the flavors will have mated overnight.
Serve with tortilla chips!

This recipes was RIDICULOUSLY easy and can be adjusted based on your taste. I started feeling crazy and throwing pinches of different spices but, you couldn't taste them in the final product. It was delicious and we actually had to put it away after 10 minutes because it was almost gone.

*I didn't add an orange pepper this time, but I plan to based ENTIRELY on color.
**I regret this decision - Paula calls for frozen corn, and I absolutely will do this next time. Cutting fresh corn off the cob is a RIDICULOUS pain in the ass

It disappeared in 20 minutes...

Thursday, July 8, 2010


There is one event that I look forward to. Every. Single. Year.

Since I was 16 years old (or possibly younger), I've been spending at least one weekend per summer at the Rock River Leisure Estates in Edgerton, Wisconsin, with my nearest and dearest friends.

Rock River is like a gated vacation neighborhood. Most of the houses are trailers that sit on the land permanently, and have a deck, or porch built onto it.
This cabin actually resides on the same street I'll be staying! Vacation Blvd.

Basically, it's like camping - but not. Which, is exactly my type of camping.

The cabin we stay at is owned by my RL BFF and her entire extended family.
There's room to pitch a tent, a gravel lined fire pit, beds and plumbing inside the trailer. Down the road there's a general store, and a swimming pool with locker room and showers.
Best of all? There's a golf cart we can ride around the neighborhood at a neckbreaking 20 mph!

We go, we eat ridiculous amounts of processed meat, we stay up way too late, smoke too much, drink waaaay too much, drive the golf cart faster than it's built to go, and have an overall scream of a time.

And you guys!? I'm leaving tomorrow!



Best trip ever. It was Rachelle's 22nd birthday, and only girls went. It was also the night of the release of the last Harry Potter book. If you look closely, you can see the lightning bolt (permanent marker...) on my forehead.
We went to a bar down the road, and I wore the Harry Potter glasses the whole night. I also danced like a maniac. Trust me, I'm a riot when I'm dancing
(because I put my arms in the air, and wave them around like I just don't care...)

This was the year I decided that the plaid shirt I'm wearing was my "cabin shirt" - I wore it again last year, and I intend to bring it out again this year...along with two other plaid shirts.
Every camping adventure needs PLAID.
Before we were married

This was the most epic golf cart ride of my life.
I didn't win the lottery.
After we were married.

I am leaving tomorrow at 2pm - right as I get home from work. I have so many lists to make, and so many things to do! I need to be ready to walk out the door before bed.

I need to:
Make salsa
Make a sea salt texturizing spray for my hair
Pack for me and Mike
Finish laundry so I CAN pack
Pick up beer and Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka (try it with lemonade. It will change your life. Trust.)


Do you have a summer tradition that you're looking forward to!?

Friday, July 2, 2010


This was my afternoon:
I am happy.

Enjoy the weekend, friends!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Last night, I saw Eclipse. As we waited in line (after getting there an hour early...ugh) I realized that me, my two sisters and a friend, were the only people there that probably weren't dropped off by their moms. You know, because they were 12.

Before the movie started, I realized that, OMG, there was a very good chance I could see the Harry Potter trailer on the big screen! AND I DID. It was more epic than I could have imagined, and it made everything worth it.

My thoughts on Eclipse? It was better than the first two, and it kept me more entertained for the duration of the film. However, my unrelenting fury with the series remains. And I stand by the statement that Bella Swan is the least likable character ever. In a million, bazillion years.

But you know what? I'm a sucker for drama, and fantasy nonsense - so I'm going to read the books (and probably re-read them) and see the movies (and probably re-watch them on DVD) and power through. Because I've COMMITTED to this cause, and I need to see it to the end.

Things I could stand:

Taylor Lautner's bod that just. WON'T. QUIT.
I really don't feel like I need to elaborate on this.
Image via

Robert Pattinson
The more interviews he gives, the more likable and adorable I find him. Self-deprecation and charm wins my heart every time.
Image via

The Harry Potter trailer. More of this. Always and forever.

Things I COULD NOT handle

Edward Cullen
He has always infuriated me, and always will. I don't find him romantic, but I see how others could.

Bella Swan
I feel like it is commonly accepted that Bella is a ridiculous, co-dependent twit.

Especially on Rosalie. The character has WHITE BLONDE hair, WHY are her eyebrows BLACK? I found this very distracting, and continued to agonize over it for the duration of the film.

The awful makeup and terrible wigs.
I think this is attributed to the HD filming, but Ashley Greene's complexion looked terrible. You could see the makeup sitting on ALL of their faces.
And the WIGS. OH, sweet lord. Jackson Rathbone is KIND OF a hottie, but that AWFUL wig and those terrible pained expressions - he was difficult to watch.
Image via

I started giggling, uncontrollably in the first 5 minutes of the movie when Edward sparkled. I FORGOT that this was part of the movie, and I LOST MY SHIT. C'mon, Stephanie Meyer...he glitters?
Image via

My overall impressions? As much as I sound like a hater - I still get get excited when Twilight movies come out. I read all the articles about Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's relationship. It's fun. Lighthearted, fluffy fun.


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