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Friday, June 29, 2012

friday philosophy


sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.  it's called 'friday philosophy' and i'm gonna keep it up weekly. (or try to!)

{image via}

if you read my earlier post, you know where this is coming from.  since completing the whole living challenge (my recap is here), i've been a little (as i said before) less-than-diligent about my habits.  so, this post is for me...just a little encouragement.

i'm reminding myself today that being active is simple...and simple changes can make all the difference.  sometimes i forget that a day without physical activity really shouldn't happen.  (not to say i'm completely inactive!)

but, the quote speaks for itself.  so, let's get up and go for a walk!  or vacuum the apartment!  or park far away from the entrance of the grocery store!  or take a bike ride!  or anything that's not sitting on the couch...

am i right?

this weekend i'm going to not only get out there, but i'm also going to make a list of goals and write them down. 

and then i'm going to post them on my blog.

which is on the internet.  that the whole world sees.  (potentially.)

see where i'm going with this?

for me, the hardest thing about maintaining an active lifestyle and having a well-balanced diet is holding myself accountable.  so, i'm gonna just do it.

if nike can, why can't i?

have a great weekend everyone!

=) andrea

adventures in browsing


i have a confession:  i don't really like shopping.  at least not on the regular.

(maybe if my bank account had a couple more zeros i'd be more into it! ha.)

so, after several months of really not "shopping" or browsing, my friend and i stopped into t.j.maxx to check out their deals.

i couldn't help but take a few pictures...some as reminders of things i want/need, some just because they're cute.  so, here's what's up at my local t.j.maxx in new hampshire!

where shall we start?  how about shoes!

i've been wanting a pair of simple flats for awhile.  i found two great pairs.  they were merrells, which is a brand i've always had great success with.  they were cute and very comfy!



however, their $49.99 price tag left a little something to be desired.  not only was this a strictly browsing trip (i left my wallet at home!), but i don't have $50 to spend on shoes right now.  (mike wouldn't understand my "need" for these anyway...despite their versatility...cuteness...and comfort!)

one thing i never look at when i'm at t.j.maxx is clothes...just because i'm a wierdo about clothes.  i love very simple things...like plain t's and cotton skirts.  (so old navy is just right up my alley with that stuff.)  

so, onto my favorite part of t.j.maxx...the home stuff!  (i do love the handbag section too...but that's in the same situation as shoes.  i have many and really don't need any more...)

off to the home stuff i went!


this was such a lovely cake stand...and i don't have one!  it was a pretty light blue color...not too aqua or too sky blue...it was just right.  and for $12.99, i think the price was right!

 
i love glass storage containers...of all shapes, sizes, and purposes.  these bottles were cute and there were many different sizes and styles.  {side note!}  since doing the whole living challenge back in february (which you can read all about here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) and now spending a few months being naughty less-than-diligent, i'd like to start it up again.  one thing i didn't try making, but want to try is almond milk.  i read about how easy it is on jora's blog, domestic reflections, and she used one of those cute 'le bon lait' bottles to put her almond milk in...so while browsing at t.j.maxx, i was also lusting over accessories to help me on my whole living challenge mission.  anything to keep me motivated and on track, right?

anyway, back to t.j.maxx!  i also liked these decor accessories...these "@" are perfect for an office!




who wouldn't want a giant hourglass??  it's just a little different and fun.

this little file cabinet caught my eye...it's shiny...has casters...the baskets are pretty too...




but for $99.99, i could wait.  i'd like to have more office-type storage for my crafts, and this would totally work...

and then i saw it in green...


and i couldn't help but love this little guy...


and by little, i mean like 30" tall!  wouldn't he make a great umbrella holder?  not that i have more than one umbrella...

but anyway...what i really really liked and spent several minutes oooh-ing and aaah-ing over was this chair:


i love the style...the size was great.  the material wouldn't collect cat hair like it was its job...but...


again, the price wasn't what i had in mind.  i guess $350 for a nice, modern-style chair may be reasonable to some...but to me, it just makes it eye candy.  very modern and comfy eye candy.

along the lines of the file cabinet...i'd also (eventually) like to have a desk chair...so that if i actually decide to use my laptop at my desk instead of, well, you know, my lap on the couch, then i'll have one!  i liked the look of this one...


but it wasn't a material like the other white chair...this one would collect the cat hair...and since leo is black and that chair is white...it's a definite no-go.  but it was a good reminder that i do want an office chair!

lastly, i saw these tropical looking director-style chairs with footrests!


on our porch we have a bistro table set with four chairs.  the table isn't big enough to seat more people, but if we were to ever have people over and spill out onto the porch, it would be nice to have some more seating.  i didn't check the price because we don't really need more chairs, or need to replace the ones we have...i just thought it was a nice idea.

(oh yeah, i still haven't done my project with my chairs and tables...so stay tuned, i promise i'll do it soon.  i just need a day when the it's not raining and it's not a perfect pool day!)

have you found anything fun and interesting lately?  or found any bargains?  how do you feel about shopping?  i love browsing at retail and thrift stores or markets and craft bazaars, especially since i do it so infrequently, because it inspires me to think creatively about the spaces i have and how i could potentially fill it.

you know, if all my spaces weren't full already. 

=) andrea

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

what do you want for dinner?


that's a question that happens a lot in our home.  we're not meal planners...we don't grocery shop for the whole week...and it's just the two of us.  so, sometimes dinner is challenging.

so, after asking mike, "what do you want for dinner?"

and getting his response, "i don't know."

i listed some options of things i knew we could whip together without a trip to the store:

quesadillas?  no.

chicken patties?  no.

tuna melts?  no.

ribs?  no.

chicken cordon bleu?  no.

salad?  no...why would i want that?!

well, i've listed several options, what do you want then?

i don't know.

aahhhh!

how about breakfast for dinner?  eggs, bacon, and toast?

sure!

so, we got to work!  (don't miss a great egg trick for you below!)

breakfast for dinner is one of my favorites because it's so quick, easy, and tasty!

mike cooked up some bacon and we scrambled 6 eggs, with a smidge of milk and cooked it up on the stovetop...


while i was tending to the eggs, mike worked on the toast.  we ended up with quite a yummy dinner...


well, i did.  =(  poor mike didn't get to enjoy our quick and yummy creation.  we ate in the living room...so he set down his plate on this ottoman we have and little franny jumped right up to check out daddy's food.  (she's a piglet.)



see?  she's very interested in what we're eating (especially chinese spare ribs)...but anyway...after removing franny from mike's dinner, mike got up to get a drink.  i saw leo coming, so i stood up to grab mike's plate, but before i could grab it, leo had tried to jump on the ottoman, but got scared changed his mind because i stood up, and the ottoman tipped...and mike's dinner went flying!  all his yummy eggs, bacon, and toast landed on the carpet.

womp womp...

but mike still had breakfast...but it was cereal.  even easier than eggs, bacon, and toast, but not quite as tasty.
 
do you ever make breakfast for dinner?  we love breakfast, but are rarely awake enough in the morning to make a real meal, so we do it for dinner more often.  we actually made a special breakfast for dinner for valentine's day one year...pancakes and bacon...in bed! =)

in bacon and eggs...

=) andrea 

p.s.  have you ever cracked open an egg only to find out it had gone bad?  luckily, it has never happened to me, because i hear it's totally gross...but i have a trick!  wanna know what my handy egg trick is???  put your egg (still in the shell) in a glass and fill it with water.


if it stays at the bottom, like my picture above, it's fine.

if it float to the top, it's bad.  you do not want to eat it.

if it hovers over the bottom, you better cook that egg now!

any fun kitchen tricks you have?



Monday, June 25, 2012

monday blues


after a weekend full of relaxing...

{at my bff parent's pool}


i kinda wish we could do it all over again. (and again...and again...and again!)

what about you?  how was your weekend?  as always, mine wasn't long enough (seriously, two days?!)...but with rain on the forecast for the next couple days, i guess i'll just wait for another sunny weekend and day dream about my relaxing days by the pool.

so...sorry i have no sunday yumday post for ya.  sunday was too beautiful to spend the day in the kitchen.  it was more of a fresh fruit and riesling kind of day! =)

=) andrea 

Friday, June 22, 2012

friday philosophy


sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.  it's called 'friday philosophy' and i'm gonna keep it up weekly. (or try to!)


after returning home after visiting with family i haven't seen in 17 years...it made me think:  about keeping in touch and how i could be better at it.  which led me to think of my friends from college or those that have moved and how i could be better at keeping in touch with them too.

so that's what i'm going to do.  

but, in the meantime, i wanted to send a message that reflects my feelings on these people.

i love you guys.  my family, my college girlfriends, all the people i wish i could see more often...i may not talk to you often or write nearly enough, but i think about you all the time.

it may be a delicious ice cream cone or seeing a little girl playing with a doll...it may be a card game or a walk in the park...it may be a phrase or an accent...

and as i'm reminded of you and what you mean to me...

my heart smiles.  and i smile too.

you've brought me happiness and joy...we've been through sorrow and pain...we've celebrated and mourned...we've been chatty and silent...

and you mean the world to me.

truly.  from the bottom of my heart...you give me the warm fuzzies that my heart yearns from your absence in my daily life.

so that is my vow to you dear friends and family...that i will keep in better touch.  because i want it to reflect my love for you.  

and you too, dear readers.  i want to keep in better touch with you!  i've had an extremely busy schedule lately, but i want to share this blog with you.  i want to share my recipes, my projects, my adventures, my life...and i want you to be part of it!

so, let's stay connected, shall we?

if you get an email or a text or a message from me asking for your address, know your mailbox (actual, not virtual) will be getting some extra attention too.  =)

in cards, letters, and staying in touch...

=) andrea 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

wild, wild west


this past weekend, mike and i went on an adventure with my parents...to:

{image via}

wyoming?!  i know, i know...it sounds random...and who goes across the country for the weekend?

well, when my granny turns 89, it's time for a family reunion!  so that's exactly what we did.  mike had never been west of virginia, so this was quite an adventurous (and whirlwind) weekend!

mike and i live about an hour and a half from the airport...and since we had a wicked early flight, we decided to stay near the airport the night before.  the drive was nice and the sunset was lovely...






we arrived around 8:30pm and decided to grab some dinner.  neither of us had been to a longhorn steakhouse before, so that's where we went!  we were trying to prepare for our western adventure! =)






the only thing that we were (slightly) unhappy about at longhorn was the waitress forgot about our appetizer.  when she arrived at the table so greeted us and made sure we felt welcome.  she reviewed the menu ('bacon makes everything better!') and we told her we wanted to have the bacon-wrapped potato wedges and we even exchanged a giggle about how good they sounded.  then she brought our drinks and we reminded her about the appetizer.  then came my salad.  then came our meals.  no appetizer.  (strange, right?!)  we had plenty to eat, so we were only slightly unhappy we didn't get our appetizer...but it was an odd situation nevertheless.  she must have just totally spaced it!  at least it wasn't on our bill!  oh well, we were off to get some shut eye before our wicked early flight...

after a short night's sleep, we departed new hampshire at the crack of dawn bright and early on friday, had a short layover in detroit, and then landed in denver later that morning...

shortly before arriving in detroit


the tunnel in the detroit airport between concourses had this crazy visual light display
 

our plane to denver

denver international airport -- it looks like a bunch of tents!



yes, i'm that girl that takes pictures everywhere...too bad i didn't have a camera that caught more detail...someday...(sigh...)

this vw beetle is completely covered in beads!

you can see my mom through the front window! that's her in the brown flowered sleeveless top!

so much detail!

2.277 million beads?!  yikes!




...after we got our luggage and picked up the rental car (a brand new chevy malibu with 2 miles on it!)...we drove four hours to rawlins, wyoming...




windmills!  there's definitely plenty of wind to capture that energy!


we rolled through a couple rain storms...








rawlins, wyoming, is a small town that makes anywhere in new hampshire seem like a metropolis.  there's only one grocery store, two stores that i compare to ocean state job lot back home, a thift store, a hospital, a penitentiary, a bunch of fast food places, a couple oil-related companies, a post office, a bunch of hotels, and not much else.  the nearest walmart is about 80 miles away.  i can't even count how many walmarts (or kmarts or targets etc.) there are in an 80 mile radius in new england!  or grocery stores!  there's at least 7 grocery stores i can get to within five to ten minutes of my apartment in my town...and only one in rawlins!  it's crazy.

there are so many hotels because of the oil industry and the fact that you have to drive through most of wyoming to get to yellowstone national park or the grand tetons...and i don't know anyone who wants to drive allllll daaaaay just to get to your destination.  it's a long ride of nothing.

in rawlins, we stayed at the holiday inn express...right next to burger king.  it's funny...for a tiny little wyoming town, there's plenty of national food chains:  mcdonald's, burger king, subway, pizza hut, taco bell, kfc, etc.  there's also taco john's, which they dub a 'west-mex' restaurant...but i didn't try it.

so...what was our wild wyoming weekend like?  on friday we arrived mid-afternoon, met up with some family (my dad's sister, her husband, one of her sons, his wife, and their son), and relaxed at our hotel for a bit.  then we went to my uncle's (dad's brother tim) house to meet up with the rest of the crew that had arrived.

there was my dad, mom, mike and i (4)...my aunt joanne (dad's sister), uncle larry, two cousins jason and john, their wives sarah and lacey, and their three kids (one cousin has one son, laurence, and the other brought one of his sons, devin - shay stayed home - and his daughter, eve) (9)...my uncle tim (dad's brother), aunt katherine, my cousin monique and her boyfriend preston, my cousin chris and his two kids brinley and connor, and chris' girlfriend christa and her two daughters (10)...and my dad's cousin gary (1).  all 24 of us (plus 5 dogs) were there to surprise my granny for "dessert"!  (plus, more were on the way!)  granny got a little suspicious though because uncle tim had never invited her over for dessert.  but she was thrilled with the surprise and more than a few tears were shed.  it was quite a little reunion for my 89 year old granny!

the last time everyone was together was after my grandfather died 17 years ago.  there have been a couple of smaller get-togethers, but i haven't seen my aunts, uncles, or cousins in all those years...and hadn't met any of my second cousins.

we had a nice evening visiting and having dinner and playing with the kids and dogs.  we made it a pretty early night because we were exhausted...and we were up and at 'em the next morning!

mike and my dad went off with the boys...prairie dog shooting!  here's a picture my dad got of mike with my cousin jason:



but i guess the prairie dogs weren't as prevalent as usual because it was so dry.  but mike got to enjoy time with the men of the family and shoot a few times.

mom and i went over to granny's apartment where (most of) the rest of the family (that came from texas) was.  my uncle mike, aunt dawn, cousin michelle and her four boys (tyler, anthony, matthew, and wyatt) had trekked up to wyoming hauling a fifth wheel camper.  they thought they would arrive on friday afternoon, but after two (!!!) flat tire incidents on the fifth wheel, they were delayed and didn't arrive in rawlins until the wee hours of saturday morning.  needless to say, they were exhausted and needed some rest.

after greeting the texas clan (minus the three that were still on their way), mom and i went "shopping" with my aunt joanne and my cousin jason's wife, sarah.  here's "downtown" rawlins:


i use the term "shopping" loosely because we went to the thrift store, the two job lot type stores, and there was only one place that was right up mine and my mom's alley.  it was called 'the windy corner' and it was a cute little shop recommended by granny!  we got a couple nice things for my friend/hairdresser who just had a baby and i took a picture of this faucet hook i liked:


here's one of the 'ocean state job lot'-type stores:


and here's a product i've never seen before:


larry the cable guy tater chips?!  too funny.

we also visited the grocery store, city market, where i got the fixings to make pizza dip for the night's festivities.  (you can click through that link to get the recipe i posted awhile back.  this time i used ham instead of hamburg because i didn't have a way to cook it in our hotel room...i wanted it to all be prepared so i could just heat it up in uncle tim's oven.  it worked like a charm!)  we went back to our hotel room and relaxed (and made my dip!) before going back to uncle tim's for the night.

after my cousin bryan, his wife chris, and their daughter cameron arrived, it was photo opportunity time!

the whole gang...


mike and i with my parents...


and my daddy with his mum...


i call dad's mother 'mum' because my granny came from england, and my dad was actually born there too.  it's cute to hear my granny's english accent come out now and then.  (i won't share the rest of the family pictures because, well, my family is probably not that interesting to you!)

we had a really fun evening enjoying each other's company...reminiscing and getting to know each other.  i had a great time meeting my cousins' spouses and children.  if i could've gotten a video of little eve and her brother devin doing a little dance routine they showed us, i would've shared it.  they were so cute and enthusiastic to show their great granny their little routine!  my favorite line of eve's was:  "watch me everybody!"  seriously?  i could watch her for hours.  she's hilarious!

that evening we also celebrated granny's 89th birthday!  jason ordered this terrific cake with everyone in the family's name on it...






only one mis-spelling on the whole cake: my dad's name is glyn, not glenn.  oh well! =)


i shared this photo on instagram of granny with her family tree birthday cake!  (follow me on instagram -- mykindaperfect!)


it was fun being able to celebrate granny's birthday with her.  it's been a long time since we have!

on sunday, uncle tim took my parents and mike and i on a little sightseeing adventure through medicine bow national park.  although it was another long day in a car, actually, uncle tim's van, it was nice to get out and take in some of the scenery.  (don't mind my bad cell phone pics...fyi: there are also a couple duplicates from mike's better cell phone camera!)










 










mike's iphone takes way better pictures than my droid!





beautiful, huh?  wyoming is definitely a great place to visit...at least once!
 
after returning to rawlins, the plan was to have tacos at uncle tim's, but my parents had another idea.  because uncle tim and aunt katherine had spent so much time and energy (and money!) on hosting our family, mom and dad decided we'd go out to dinner at granny's favorite restaurant, cappy's.

 
it was terrific!  (and cheap! $104 for 7 people?!)  mike had a cheeseburger, i had steak fajitas, mom got a philly cheesesteak sandwich, gary had a steak, dad had chicken fried steak, uncle tim had chicken fried chicken, and aunt katherine and granny shared chicken fried chicken.  i should've taken a picture of all that food!  the menu items varied from salads, sandwiches, and burgers to full entrees of steaks or chicken to a variety of mexican items as well.  and, it was all homemade!  excellent.  i can see why granny and uncle tim go there every friday.  (plus friday is clam chowda day, which is uncle tim's favorite!)






after dinner we went our separate ways so we could get a good night's sleep.  we had another early morning and a long drive back to denver.


i told you it was a whirlwind weekend!  have you ever had a short trip like that?  next time, i want to spend more time with granny and less in the car.  but it was a successful surprise and family reunion, nonetheless.  and i'm glad to be back on the east coast.  it's too dry in wyoming!

have you ever been to wyoming?  or been to a remote town like that?  when was the last time your family had a reunion?

in surprises and smiles...

=) andrea
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