Friday, November 30, 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.

{image via}

this weekend marks our first holiday celebration of the season -- a yankee swap with my group of girlfriends and our handsome men.  call me crazy, but i look forward to our yankee swap all year!  despite our best efforts at getting together once a month for drinks, dinner, and maybe some pottery or crafts or a birthday party, there's something about truly letting loose with the whole crew for a night of fun at the holidays.

with lots of champagne.

and chroming.  (remember the girls cruise last march? check it out here, here, and here for our on-ship debauchery!)

and dancing.

and laughing.

god, i feel like a little kid all giddy looking forward to a sleepover.  but i really am giddy.  i so look forward to these times when we forget that we have responsibilities and kids (well, not all of us!) and lives outside the party...and just enjoy the time we have together.

because the time we spend together is special and precious.  and the gifts are generally hilarious.

i'm excited to kick off the holiday season with some bubbly and my girls.


=) andrea 

p.s.  i'm going to kdr fitness later today for a workout, but i'm also getting weighed and measured (since it's been 4 weeks -- oops.)  so hopefully i'll have a chance to give you an update on my progress!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

{artist feature} bethany and dan photography

remember a few weeks ago when i almost peed my pants when i got to meet john & sherry petersik of young house love?  that was such a fun evening with my two besties that was made all the better by our new friends we met in line at the book signing.

one of our new friends, bethany, and her husband dan, are photographers.  their company is called 'bethany and dan photography'.  they do a lot of weddings, but what struck a chord most with me was bethany's creation of 'welcome them home'.  it's a network of photographers who donate their time and photographic talents to capture those special homecoming moments for the people who sacrifice so much for our country.  and the best part, they do it free of charge!  (isn't that the loveliest thing you've ever heard?!  and bethany started that.  bam.  she rocks.  dontcha think?!)

recently bethany had the pleasure of capturing a 'welcome them home' reunion at logan airport in boston.  a mom and her four little girls were reunited with their husband and daddy returning home from an 8 month deployment the day before thanksgiving.  talk about something to be thankful for...

i absolutely love to see moments like reminds me that life itself is so precious and the things that matter most in life aren't things.

welcome home david.  thank you for your service to our country.  

i follow bethany on instagram (bethanyanddan) and once i saw this photo, i couldn't wait to see the rest...

{image via bethany and dan}

{image via bethany and dan}

go on over to bethany's blog to see the rest of her lovely photos.  they made me tear up a little, but it makes me so happy to know this family got to finally be together again. 

it was so fun to meet bethany at the yhl book signing and i love being able to follow her along on instagram, facebook, and see her (and dan's) amazing photos on their blog and website.  they're definitely worth following!

go on over and see their photos -- -- they're amazing!!!

=) andrea

p.s.  i wasn't paid or perked to write this post...i just think bethany is a lovely person who deserves all the attention she can get.  bethany and dan are located in boston, massachusetts.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

x-mas factory sneak peek

sorry for being out of touch, i really do have a lot to share with you! =)  but, i've been a super busy factory worker making my handmade christmas cards!  i'm well on my way to get them done on time, but it's still quite a time consuming process!

i did want to give you a little sneak peek at what my creation is!  (if you follow me on instagram, you may have already seen these pics... follow me! =)  i'm 'mykindaperfect' - shocker, i know!)

if you follow me on pinterest ('mykindaperfect' - what else?!), you may be able to figure out what i'm making, because this is definitely a 'pinspired' project! =)

can you guess what i'm making for my cards?  i'm also making a couple handmade gifts this year for friends and family.  one part is done...

...the other will take some time, but i need to get on it!  time is flying!  at least i started my projects in november and didn't procrastinate until december!  we've got a busy month ahead of us, so i really needed to kick start my crafting.  our first holiday party is december 1st!  followed by our (fifth!) anniversary on the 2nd!  (and yes, i bought the'll have to wait to see which one i chose!)  and don't forget clara's dream on the 8th! =)

are you making any gifts this year?  i love getting and giving handmade gifts.  there's something extra sweet and special about them that i absolutely love.  knowing someone took the time to make something is very meaningful...definitely a lot more meaningful than just buying someone a sweater.  and handmade gifts don't have to be elaborate to be special -- my handmade cards are my gifts to about 95% of my friends and family.  i simply cannot afford to buy or make something for everyone (not that they expect it or get anything for me), i just find joy in making my cards (despite how time consuming they are) and knowing it puts a genuine smile on my family and friends' faces is rewarding.

i highly recommend making at least some of your gifts...especially if you have children.  kid's scribbles may seem like an every day thing at your house, but to receive a scribbled ornament to adorn my tree year after year, makes my heart melt.  i remember being so proud to bring home a lovely paper plate wreath with macaroni glued to it with lots of scribbles, glitter, and cupcake papers...and it still makes my my mom beam with pride almost 30 years later when she pulls it out with all of our christmas stuff.

it's about the memories...and handmade memories are just a little extra special.

happy holiday crafting, shopping, partying, memory-making, eating, etc!

=) andrea

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

happy thanksgiving!

sending you and your loved ones warm wishes for a wonderful thanksgiving.  i'm sure some of you are hosting your first thanksgiving at your home...and some of you are missing your loved ones...and some of you have to work...

no matter what your thanksgiving day looks like this year, remember there is always something to be thankful for.

{image via}

maybe you're thankful for your health...or your job... maybe it's your friends or family...or your neighbors...

whatever it is that you are thankful for - remember that while there are many things i am thankful for this year, i'm also very very thankful for you - my dear readers.  it is such a pleasure to share my life with you -- my projects, my recipes, my thoughts -- and i'm so grateful to have you guys following along!

i'll be spending thanksgiving day with mike at my parents house.  they will make a delicious meal and we'll watch football and be thankful for our relaxing day together...

that is after i drag bring mike to kdr fitness with me for a 9:15am thanksgiving bootcamp -- turkey torture!!!  we'll start our day with a great workout to prepare for a big day of eating...and we'll also be donating some food to a local charity, the haven.  on a day of being thankful for all that we have, it feels good to help provide for those who don't have as much.

how are you spending your thanksgiving?  whether you're traveling far or staying home...i'm sending best wishes for your kinda perfect day!

happy thanksgiving!

=) andrea

p.s.  if you have any great thanskgiving leftover recipes, send them my way! =)  i wanna do a leftover feature for sunday yumday!  email me at  thanks!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

sunday yumday!

when my friend sarah asked me if i'd want to do a sunday yumday recipe together, i couldn't wait to make something delicious.  then she said she'd been wanting to try a baked brie recipe and immediately my tummy started growling and i've been counting down since that conversation for today.

i love brie.  i've only had it a few times, and mostly prepared in similar ways, but i think it's delicious and couldn't wait to make something with my friend sarah.

and, as a bonus, mike likes it too!  he was hesitant the first time trying it, but smother anything with enough honey and pecans and it suddenly becomes hard to resist.

so, today sarah and i used a combination of a few recipes (you can find our inspirations here, here, and here) to make a yummy sunday treat.

honey and maple baked brie with pecans

here's what you need:

1 wheel of brie
1 sheet puff pastry
1/4 c chopped pecans
2T maple syrup
2T honey
1T brown sugar
1T butter, melted

here's what you'll do:

first, you'll want to thaw out your sheet of puff pastry since they come frozen.  you'll want to allow yourself about 40 minutes for it to thaw.  just place it on a lightly floured surface and when it's soft enough unfold it.

once the puff pastry is ready to be worked with you should preheat the oven to 375 and you'll want to roll out the puff pastry a bit.  it comes in a square piece, so just roll it out so it expands by about an inch on each side, like the picture above.
while i worked on the puff pastry, sarah sliced the wheel of brie in half, so we were left with two rounds.

since the cheese and the pastry were ready to go, all we had to do was mix our sweet filling.  mix together the pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, and honey until well combined.  i used dark brown sugar, but light would work fine as well.

once the sweet filling is all ready, just spoon a small amount in the middle of the puff pastry.

then put one of the brie rounds on top of the filling and then top that with the rest of the sweet filling and spread as needed.

then put the other brie round down.

and wrap it up with puff pastry!

we then flipped it over to place in a baking dish.  i used a pie plate.

then you brush the melted butter on it to encourage browning of the pastry.


now just bake for 15-25 minutes, or until the pastry is browned.

if you want, carefully remove the baked brie to serve on a dish that isn't fresh out of the oven.  i also opted to dump the extra buttery, sugary juices in the pie plate on top of the baked brie.  =)

then when you think it's cooled enough, take a slice right out of will be nice and ooey gooey!

we served it with sliced baguette, ritz crackers, and slices of apple.

i loved it with the apple slices!  the flavors were so delicious together, and the apple slice made a great vessel! =)  i love the tanginess of the brie with the sweetness of the filling and the tartness of the apple...just delish!

this would be a terrific appetizer to bring to thanksgiving dinner.  you could even change it up with the ingredients in the filling.  you could follow one of our inspirational recipes and use jam, or you could follow a more thanksgiving-y flavor with cranberries.  there are many delicious possibilities!

what are your plans for thanksgiving?  does your family have any traditions or recipes that are must-haves year after year?  do you have a great leftover recipe?  i'd love to get some input on some leftover ideas...just email me here to be featured on my kinda perfect! =)

thanks sarah for a fun day in the kitchen making a new favorite recipe!  i can't wait to make it again!

=) andrea

Friday, November 16, 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.

{image via}

confession:  eating right is hard.  and it's a lot harder when you don't plan your meals ahead of time and shop at the grocery store with a purpose.  and it's even harder when you don't write down every morstel that you put in your mouth.

the last couple weeks have been crazy busy for me, and while sometimes being busy actually makes me more organized (because i'm forced to be), it's been hard.  i got a little lazy about planning ahead...i got lazy about writing in my food journal (not that i was eating in a way i really wanted to write down)...and i haven't done a formal grocery shopping trip in two weeks.

but, with that said, i'm not going to keep kicking myself for my errors, i'm just going to get up and keep going, the right way.

so, this is my philosophy for today:  no matter how far you've come or how far you have to go in any journey, you're bound to have some slip-ups.  just remember, like i am reminding myself today, that no matter how many times you fall, you just need to get back up.

so, while i've been making great progress in my weight loss journey (a couple weeks ago when i got measured at the gym i had lost a few more inches over my belly, butt, and hips combined), i know i can do better.  

i'm starting to see some results, which feels great, but i know i can do better.  

i know i can commit myself to eating right consistently.  

i know i can commit to writing in my food journal.  

i know i can commit to working harder.

i know i can do better.

fall seven times, get up eight...

=) andrea

p.s.  don't forget about my giveaway!  check it out here!  there's two and a half days left!  i'll announce a winner on monday! =)

don't forget to 'like' my facebook page!
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

visions of sugarplums...

you may remember last year when i (highly) recommended a local ballet performanceclara's dream.  (if you don't remember or just joined us - welcome - and check it out here.)

well, it's that time of year again and i couldn't be more excited to once again tell you all about a show that is close to my heart.  i danced for 10 years while i was growing up with lebanon ballet school / city center ballet.  my dear friend jen's mom, linda, was (and still is) the artistic director/owner, and we had many friends that danced with us.  ballet was so much fun and we always looked forward to the fall - auditions and rehearsals for the nutcracker.  (kinda makes me look forward to having a daughter someday...)  

jump to today and city center ballet has their very own version of the production they call clara's dream, and my friend jen, who i am endlessly proud of, is the resident choreographer and has made her visions come to life with this ballet.  trust me when i tell you, it's beautiful.

here's a little more info (and pictures) about the performance from city center ballet's website:  "the performance is based on the classic ballet story 'the nutcracker', clara’s dream was created especially for our dedicated upper valley audience. for our 3rd annual production of clara’s dream, we've added an exciting new beginning, delightful costumes and stunning sets. make clara’s dream part of your seasonal traditions. it's the perfect holiday entertainment for adults and children alike."

pretty incredible costumes, right?  they're all...(wait for it)....made by hand!!!!! =)

a little special shout-out must go to linda copp (artistic director and jen's mom) and elizabeth lurie.  they, along with some parent volunteers, design and sew each and every costume themselves.  totally amazing! 


i'm looking foward to see how the genius behind their set design, carl sprague, puts the ballet to life this year.  his designs are incredible.  check out his website for more stuff (including movies!) that he has designed for.

the big highlight this year is that jen has choreographed a new battle scene which includes a 17 foot tall tree (which there's a bit more info about below), as well as some of the classic nutcracker characters - the mice and soldiers!  i can't wait to see the mice costumes - designed by a local artist:  gabriel q.  (check out his website - his masks are amazing!!)

i love that this production has evolved so much in such a short time...and there's still opportunity for more!  this is the 3rd year of clara's dream...and it really is so magical for people of all ages.  you should definitely consider making this one of your holiday season traditions!

and to sweeten the deal, especially if you have little girls, you should totally check out clara's tea.  sit down for a lite bite before the 1:00 or 4:00 performance of clara’s dream.  sample some of the many treats contributed by local bakers and other new hampshire and vermont-based food suppliers, including hot tea and delicious punch—all graciously served by members of the lebanon woman's club and the city center ballet pastry chefs.  there will be visits from dancers in their costumes from clara’s dream. then, head over to the lebanon opera house for the performance immediately following your tea time, where a preferred section of seats will be held for all clara’s tea ticket holders. the opera house is only a short walk from the ballet studio.

so, when is clara's dream?  saturday, december 8th, 2012 at 1:00, 4:00 & 7:00 pm

combined seating for clara’s tea and clara’s dream:
tickets: senior/child: $20 • adult: $25
tickets are only available through their website, and only available until Friday December 7,
or until sold out.  (currently the 11:00am tea is 61% sold out and the 2:30pm tea is 25% sold out.)

tickets for clara's dream:
advance pricing: $15 adults ● $10 seniors and children 12 & under
at the door: $20 adults ● $15 seniors and children
tickets for clara's dream are only available from lebanon opera house box office
at 603-448-0400 or  


not only am i extremely proud to have such a talented friend who choreographed an entire show, but i'm pleased to say that i contributed to this year's performance through a kickstarter fundraiser.  (kickstarter is a way for non-profits to raise funds online for projects with contributions starting at just $1.)  

while i helped city center ballet reach their goal of $3,500 to build the famous growing christmas tree (which is 17 feet tall!), all the generous donors actually surpassed that goal (all the way to $4,257!!!) which made the company able to create even more excitement through costumes and displays.  i shared info about this on my facebook page and will definitely be doing it again next go there to follow me and keep up with what awesome organizations i like to support.

sounds like a fun show and a great organization, dontcha think?!  i may be biased, but i highly recommend going to this...bring your mom or a friend, or drag your husband or boyfriend if you have to, trust me, they'll enjoy's that good!

in nutcrackers and pirouettes,

=) andrea

don't forget to go over to city center ballet's facebook page and 'like' it!

and here's a quick link to mine...go on over and 'like' know you want to! =)

my kinda perfect (blog) | Promote Your Page Too

p.s.  all photos were from city center ballet's facebook page or provided to me to city center ballet.  i was not paid or perked to write this, they are my personal feelings and i wanted to share one of my favorite holiday traditions with you dear readers!

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