Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall Family Fun

This weekend S2H and I made the most of the long weekend and headed to the Triangle Area to visit Giselle and Isaac (S2H's awesome nephew who lives in NC). Our first stop was UNC for shopping, college Mexican, and some Carolina brews! We only got 24 hours in with Giselle but it was the best 24 hours!
{my beautiful sis treated me to a personal styling afternoon and lots of snuggling!}

{and S2H got his own treat at Carolina Brewery}
On Saturday we headed to Raleigh to hang out with Isaac. As luck would have it the Pittsburg Penguins were in town playing the Carolina Hurricanes. So we grabbed Isaac and headed to the game. We had an awesome dinner at Porters beforehand. They somehow magically combined artichokes and queso. Once got to the arena we were surprised with awesome seats. The game was really exciting. Lots of action around the goal and some hilarious arena antics. The Hurricanes have dancers in every corner and a crowd energizer named Big Mike. They have even adopted the home town hero Rick Flare's "woooooo" as their goal cheer. To sum it up it was a great night and an awesome treat to hang out with Isaac.  
{sporting yellow and black for the Pens!}
{Isaac, a happy Canes fan (5-3)!}

{last but certainly not least, Big Mike & Stormy, the ice hog}

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Best Summer Meal Ever...minus the side effects

S2H and I kicked off the work week on the right foot with a healthy dinner...grilled salmon with spicy peach salsa.  Usually, I am disappointed by at-home salmon recipes...too fishy, lacking flavor, you get the drift.  Not too mention I am a new seafood eater and the potential smell makes me squirm.  But everywhere I turn magazines and blogs are highlighting the benefits of eating salmon on a weekly basis.  So with new found resolve I decided it was time to go for it, especially after reading that it helps improve your skin-hello wedding glow!  I didn't have to look far for an appetizing recipe, to the rescue, Nina!  This recipe is from Cooking Light.  I prepped my salmon for the grill pan, Nina's way, with kosher salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice, and a couple cloves of minced garlic.  I made the salsa exactly like the Cooking Light recipe, but next time I would add another peach.  S2H and I were fighting over the peach chunks to create the perfect bite!  Here is our final product, on a bed of arugula (for a peppery bite) with a side of lemon green beans with toasted almonds. This meal was awesome!! Filling but in the healthiest of ways...and room for a 70 calorie Dove ice cream bar :).

Now this meal would have been absolute perfection if I hadn't made a huge mistake... I cut the jalapeno bare handed! And holy moly...this pepper was killer.  I rinse my hands about a dozen times while cooking, but no luck...I got a serious jalapeno burn!  I stuck my hand in cold water - no relief.  Hand INSIDE bag of frozen peas...a bit of relief.  Fresh lime juice...a few more temporary seconds of relief. And after Googling and finding this, I soaked my hand in milk.  But we only had skim milk, and the recommendations said the more milk fat the better, sour cream the best!  No sour cream, fat free creamer...I was dying!  Buried in the back of the fridge was a small carton of butter milk...with a July expiration date.  S2H raised his eye brow at me, but I was a woman in pain.  In went the hand into weeks old buttermilk.  To top it off I smeared low fat cream cheese all over.  Ahhh...soooo gross, but so much better.  Picture proof and a warning, beware of the burning peppers!

{wine helps too ;). did i mention this post was created a la one hand?!}

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Watermelon - Stawberry-Lemon Booze Coolers

I had some watermelon that was on the brink last week, so I cut it up and froze it for later.  And thank goodness I did, because S2H came up with an amazing booze-y creation to celebrate a great weekend with friends and our 3 year dating anniversary.  Here it goes...

Serving Size: 2
-2 cups of frozen watermelon chunks
-Juice of 2 lemons
-1/4 cup of simple syrup
-1/2 cup of vodka
-splash of strawberry flavored vodka
-1/2 cup of club soda (we used sodium free)

Blend the watermelon chunks with lemon juice.  Slowly add simple syrup.  Once everything is blended add the vodka(s).  Divide club soda among two iced filled glasses and pour watermelon mix to the brim!  Garnish with a fresh lemon or strawberry, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

frizz, photo shoot, & fun

S2H and I were lucky enough to snag a Sunday afternoon with Lindsay Alexander last month for our official engagement photos!  Luck would have it that Lindsay was in DC to capture the most amazing wedding of my work sister, Erin.  Lindsay is also going to capture our day and was sweet enough to spend some extra time in DC for an engagement photo session.  This was a great opportunity to get comfortable with each other and capture some images in the place where S2H and I met.  The day was great for the "lighting" but not so great for my hair...hello frizz city!  It was a hot and humid DC morning with a side of drizzle.  Lindsay was a trooper and I tried not to let my self conciousness get the best of me! Here are some of my favorites.  But be sure to check out Lindsay's blog to see us and all her amazing work!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hair Cult

I have always been very particular about my hair.  Nina and I can have full page g-chat conversations about our hair routine, the current humidity level and how to combat it, and the newest product featured on the Today Show or our favorite blog.  It may seem silly to some but it is more about a comfort thing than anything else.  My hair is kind of like my security blanket, something I think I have control opposed to my hips! With the upcoming wedding I went into hair obsession over-drive!  And to top it off, I met Ruby.  Ruby is the hair goddess at Frizzles, my new salon!  Ruby has me on a "hair plan" and I am sharing this plan with everyone I know.  I have been on the hair plan for about 5 months and I am a believer! The plan is easy, actually less work...I have stopped washing my hair!  Well at least I have stopped washing my hair every day.  I now wash my hair every 3 days.  Crazy right?!  But it makes a HUGE difference.  My hair is fuller, vibrant, and more manageable.   I have followed this little routine through spring and summer - workouts and workout slumps.  Don't judge - sweat is good for your hair!

Day 1: Wash and blowout
Day 2: Little baby corn starch to absorb oils, pin hair back if it is looking a little limp
Day 3: More baby corn starch, some up-some down, pony tail or curl hair
Day 4: Wash and blowout - start all over!

Tools of the Trade:
Baby corn starch - helps absorb oils and comes scented to freshen things up
Natural Bristle Brush - natural bristles help distribute oils, brush every night
Moroccoan Oil - use on damp hair to protect hair from styling heat
Volumizing Spray - helps make the blowout last longer
Dry Shampoo - helps add texture for pony tails and curls

Only shampoo the crown of your head, that's where all the oil is.  Only conditioner your ends, that's the area lacking moisture. If you think about it this is how they wash your hair at the salon! If you are going to splurge go for the good shampoo.  Your hair naturally produces the best conditioner.  Stick with the hair plan!  It takes about two weeks to even out your "oil production." Before you know it you will be rocking 3-day old hair - to work and to party.  It's amazing!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Love, Family, & Friends

Ever since S2H and I got engaged we have been showered with love, kindness, and generosity.  We have had so much fun celebrating with our family and friends.  My sweet friends, Erin and Erin, officially kicked off the pre-wedding festivities with an engagement party.  All our family and friends joined us in Arlington, VA for drinks, yummy food, and the most amazing cupcakes.  This party also marked the first meeting of our parents!  And it was a huge success!  Erin and Erin handled every detail to perfection and our parents and siblings had an amazing time.  My dad came up from Charlotte, Giselle from UNC, S2H's family caravan-ed from PA, my mom's family from NY, and even sweet Nina came from the cornfields!! We are lucky kids!  It was truly a special moment full of all the important things, family, friends, and laughter!

{hosts and work sisters, Erin & Erin.  my person, nina! cupcakes courtesy of mama flo and kollene!}

{clockwise: S2H's fam, giselle & my dad, giselle, my mom's fam}

The fun continued this month with my first bridal shower hosted by my soon to be in-loves!  S2H's mom, sister (Erin), and sister-in-law (Jen) gave me the most beautiful shower!  These women amaze me with their generosity, talent, and love for family.  I could go on and on about all the special details they put into the shower - mason jars full of flowers, silverware tied with ribbon in our wedding colors, chocolate fondue, DELICIOUS food, and homemade hand decorated mini cakes for all the guests! There were games too!  I totally bombed on the "question game" and had to chew 11 pieces of Bubbalicious gum! :)   So we had full bellies and lots of giggles.  I had so much fun celebrating with everyone and felt truly loved.    The day was so special.  It took me a few days to process how wonderful everything was.  I was so spoiled and will be forever grateful for this bright spot and happy memory during all the wedding planning craziness!

{even S2H's dad helped out- check out that beautiful lawn & tent.  beautiful cakes by Jen!  the best food ever!  S2H's mom knows i have a thing for mason jars.}

{me & the girls!  so blessed to have these women in my life!}

Friday, July 22, 2011

Year 26 Bucket List

The summer has been flying by at lightening speed.  In between wedding festivities I celebrated my 26th birthday.  It's official, I am now closer to 30 than 20...scary.  This year S2H and I kept the birthday weekend very low key.  We drove out to the Shenandoah Valley and had an amazing 5 mile hike, complete with a yummy picnic. And we made a spontaneous stop at a Virginia Vineyard for a quick wine tasting.  We finished off the celebration with a few too many glasses of sangria and the great company of friends.  
During our hike S2H asked me what I wanted to do in my 26th year and so formed the bucket list.  This list is a little ambitious but it is nice to dream!

  • Travel more!  This includes more trips to my dad's beach house as well as taking S2H abroad! I also want to visit Savannah, GA and New England.
  • Go to a UNC Basketball Game.  Giselle is going to be a junior at Chapel Hill this fall and we have yet to make it to a game, this is a must!
  • Learn to crochet. 
  • Take a class.  I still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up, but it is time to figure it out. So I am thinking that if I take some classes it might help me.  Top runners are, graphic design, photography, ceramics, or pastry.
  • Explore DC.  I have now lived in the DC suburbs for 4 years and still have not visited all the museums, monuments, food spots, and hidden gems of the area.
  • Take more pictures.
  • Plan a reunion with my high school girlfriends and their significant others.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm back...with BIG news!

So...S2H and I are engaged!  Or have been engaged is more accurate.  I am so mad at myself for not writing this post 54 days ago when he popped the magical, life changing question.  But I got so wrapped up in the air like feeling I had and the whirlwind of excitement that I completely neglected to write everything down.  Which is a bummer since that initial magic and beauty is so hard to capture 54 days later.  But all those warm and fuzzy feelings are still with me, and better late than never (at least that is my mantra when it comes to blogging and shipping birthday gifts)!
Let me start off this little story by saying S2H is way sneakier than I give him credit for.  I am a control freak and like to have a plan and be in charge of the plan.  But I LOVE to be surprised, which is almost impossible due to the prior statement.  I knew S2H had spoken with my dad and asked for his blessing, I also knew that S2H had gotten my mom's engagement ring from my dad...I knew all this because I am a spaz and wanted to be involved and make sure my dad and S2H had a good love convo and that the ring was safe at all times.  I also went jeweler shopping with S2H because I was nervous that some mobster jeweler would (a) ruin the precious ring (b) steal the precious ring (c) swap out my mom's stone for something that she had never touched or worn...I watch too much Dateline NBC!  After finding the perfect family owned (non-mobster family) jeweler S2H and I designed the new setting really was a joint effort.  He wanted me to love the ring I would wear the rest of my life, and I wanted him to be proud to place it on my finger one day. After this I was no longer to be involved with engagement stuff...which I wanted but was really hard!  I tried to put the engagement out of my mind but that is virtually impossible...don't let anybody tell you otherwise!  I was however very mellow around Christmas...this was because I had told S2H that I did not want to get engaged at Christmas...just not my style.  So the whole month of December I thought I was in control and worried more about getting a puppy with a big red bow and making the perfect Christmas cookies.  Alas, sneaky S2H knew this was the perfect time to strike!
We spent the day packing for a Christmas visit with S2H's family in PA. The day was filled with laundry and last minute gift wrapping.  I was kind of grouchy since I hate packing, was feeling weird about my first Christmas away from home, and I had my mom on my mind since it would have been her 50th birthday.  S2H kind of did his own thing most of the day...he was out and about "buying last minute gifts".  We opened our stockings by our Christmas tree before we left.  We had the car all packed and were almost out the door when S2H started "putzing."  You know, moving things around, going to the restroom, taking out the trash.  I was ready to go people...I had on my yoga pants, uggs, pillow in hand, and scarf to snuggle with.  Then S2H tells me to grab my bathing suit so we can use the hot tub at his parent's house. way, I am not wearing a bathing suit in December...they don't call 'em chunky knit sweaters for nothing!  After much prodding he finally got me to go into the bedroom.  He followed me in and asked me if he could say a few things about my mom on her birthday.  I was totally confused at this point, but he convinced me to sit on the bed.  He was standing but I made him sit next to me because it felt awkward - see control freak.  He started saying these wonderful things about my mom, how he felt like he knew her because of the way I loved him and the time he has spent with my brother and sister.  This is when I just closed my eyes and let the tears fall while he said all these amazing things about our relationship.  I finally opened my eyes when he took a brief  pause.  S2H was down on one knee telling me he couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my mom than asking me to marry him on her birthday!!  I was is the craziest feeling, I can't even describe it.  It's like all the worry and sadness you ever felt leaves your body and you are filled with hope.  Between a teary kiss I of course said "yes"!  Or something along those lines. And then he put the most beautiful, sparkly ring on my hand...a ring that was half my mom's and half something we created together. Something that reminds me every day that she is on our side and part of our love.  And that was my most perfect engagement (on December 23rd) to the most perfect man for me. He obviously knows me better than I know myself, has the kindest spirit, and always goes above and beyond. It was a  moment I dreamed about but the reality was far better than the dream!

p.s. Happy Valentine's Day! xo