Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thanksgiving Traditions

Back when I worked for a newspaper, I never got to take any time off for the holidays. Technically I’d get the actual holiday off, but I’d still have to come in late in the evening and put together the paper for the next day. And answer calls on Black Friday from people who got to stay home from work, and therefore had nothing better to do than call and gripe about the paper being late. Oh, you had to read the paper 20 minutes later than usual on your paid day off? Please accept this formal invitation to suck it.

I’m still getting used to having time off around Thanksgiving and Christmas. My family has a lot of holiday traditions, and this year I’m looking forward to being around for them. Especially the “drink booze while cooking” tradition.

Thanksgiving Drinking

Thanksgiving 2010. Meme would want me to note that her glass is filled with Jesus-approved cranberry juice and not the nectar of the heathens.

We always barbecue our turkey to free up oven space, but also because it makes the skin extra delicious and crispy. I have a personal tradition of hanging around during the carving process and stealing all the extra crispy pieces of skin out of the pan before they make it to the platter:

Barbecued Turkey

This year, I’m thankful for volatile hydrocarbons and saturated fat.

Every year, my parents put up the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. And I should note that we’re not talking about a couple of strings of garland and a few wreaths. No, this is a two-day process that involves rummaging in the garage to locate the 20 plastic bins stuffed with Christmas decor, accusations of missing boxes, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth when broken knick-knacks are discovered, all set to a background of chipper holiday music. Hallelujah! Christ is born! Why are there goddamn stocking holders in the box marked “Precious Moments nativity set?”

Christmas Decor

Oh and sometimes we take a break and photograph my dad almost falling off the house to put up lights.

Perhaps my favorite Thanksgiving tradition is when we all gather around after dinner for our annual viewing of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”

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If this gif means nothing to you, please stream this movie on Netflix tomorrow.

This year my goal is to make it through the whole thing without falling asleep.

Anyway, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving however you choose to celebrate (or just a happy random Thursday if you’re not in the U.S.). Also, please tell me some of your family’s traditions in the comments so I don’t feel as weird when I put out the Popsicle stick napkin holder my 27-year-old brother made when he was in first grade because IT’S A TRADITION.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Weekend Photos

I was too busy eating all the things over the weekend to blog, so here are some pictures of things I enjoyed over the last few days:
Tarte

I had a piece of the most delicious vegan chocolate tart topped with raspberries at lunch on Friday. Because Fridays call for lunch dessert.

CiderOn Friday night I picked up some Square Mile Hopped Cider. I loved it, and Dave thought it tasted like cat piss. Clearly one of us has some messed up taste buds.

Treadmill

We got up early and hit the gym on Saturday. I had planned on running outside but when I saw that it was 19 degrees I aborted that plan and wound up running 4 miles on the treadmill instead. I’m thinking about signing up for another half marathon — anyone know of good races happening in Northern California or Oregon early next year?

Pasta

I saw this recipe for Rotini with Blue Cheese and Spinach on A Cup of Jo last week and made it for Dave on Saturday night. Because he loves him some blue cheese. I’m not the biggest fan of the stuff, but the half and half in the sauce really mellowed out the tanginess of the cheese and we both wound up loving it. (Also, I added chicken but it would be just as good without.) He made a fantastic pasta dish on Sunday night (we love our carbs) and promised he’d guest blog with the recipe this week.

Air FilterWe finally got around to replacing our air filter this weekend and when we were closing the grate, the two little clasps that hold it shut both broke. It looks like we’ll have to order the replacement pieces online, so we tried to hold it shut with duct tape in the meantime. That failed pretty quickly, so Dave MacGyvered this little number out of a block of wood and an old drawer pull. Do I even have to note that booze was involved? When I moved up here to the wilderness all my friends warned me that I’d turn into a redneck and I assured them that would never happen, but now I’m kind of afraid this is how it starts. One minute you’re duct taping your home together “just for a few days until you can get the part replaced” and the next day you’re roasting squirrels on coffee cans in the front yard. Send help.

High Five for Friday

This week was one of the best I’ve had in a while, and I have a feeling next week will be just as great — I only have to work three days, then it’s home for Thanksgiving (where I will eat about a million of my grandma’s homemade rolls and pass out on the couch at 6 p.m.). Here’s this week’s High Five:

On Wednesday night I wrapped my first gifts of the season for my city’s Adopt a Family program. The cat “helped” by unraveling the entire roll of ribbon when my back was turned.

Last night I was whining about wanting chocolate (standard), so Dave made me homemade hot cocoa. Recipe: combine 1 cup half and half and 1 cup vanilla almond milk in a saucepan and warm over low heat. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips (we used dark chocolate) and stir until melted. Top with a truckload of Redi-Whip, obviously.

WhiskersWhiskers’ new thing is to surround himself with all his toys in the evenings.

Hedgehog Cheese BallWe had a baby shower for my sister when she was visiting, and my mom made this hedgehog cheese ball to go with the “woodland creature” theme. At first I was like, “I don’t know if I can cut into a cute little hedgehog with a knife” but then my brain was all, “MUST EAT ALL THE CHEESE” so I did. And it was good.

Amy-Grant-Home-for-ChristmasFinally, I broke out my ’90s Christmas music collection this week. (Not pictured: Mariah Carey, Wilson Phillips, Home Alone soundtrack.) I’m not ashamed.

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NaBloPoMo November 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 21: Describe an Outfit That Makes You Feel Good

Now that it’s cold outside, most days you will find me in some variation of dark wash jeans, boots, and a drapey cardigan. So when I first saw this prompt I was going to put together an outfit to show you involving tall boots, my trusty AE skinny jeans, and this fantastic sweater that I just got from Target.  But even though I love my standard fall outfit, it’s still not my favorite thing to wear. If I’m being honest, this is the type of outfit that makes me feel my best:

Running Clothes

My cat’s main purpose in life is to photobomb me.

Here is why I love my running clothes:

– I don’t have to match

– My ASICS GEL-Kayanos make me feel like I’m walking (and running!) on clouds

– Compression tights = instant 10-lb. weight loss

I recently took a little break from my running clothes, mostly for mental reasons (and partly because it’s pitch black when I leave work at 5 p.m. and DARK = TIME FOR BED). I’ve mentioned before that I read a lot of healthy living/running blogs, and sometimes I find myself a little too obsessed with the number on the scale or how my weekly mileage log measures up to my favorite bloggers. When that happens, I know it’s time to take a step back and have a little come-to-Jesus moment. To let myself know that it’s OK to take a break if I’m feeling burnt out. And that the producers of “My 600 Pound Life” probably won’t come calling because I didn’t run for 10 days and also ate a cinnamon roll. Or two. Or three BUT IN MY DEFENSE THEY HAD CREAM CHEESE ICING. So instead of pounding away on the treadmill, I spent my evenings for the last week and a half reading young adult fantasy novels and watching crime shows on Netflix. And not feeling even a little bit guilty about it.

Yesterday I woke up feeling like I wanted to go for a run, so after work I threw on my favorite running tights and geared up for what I figured would be a terrible three miles. Weirdly, I felt awesome and strong and basically what I’m saying is that when I’m not busy comparing myself to everyone else, that’s how my running clothes make me feel: Awesome. Strong. Invincible, even. Way better than wearing dumb old skinny jeans and counting calories.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

NaBloPoMo Day IS IT DECEMBER YET

A couple days ago, the NaBloPoMo prompt was, “Are you a morning person or a night owl?” I fell asleep on the couch at 8 p.m. in the middle of writing my post. I guess that answers that.

I’ve never been able to stay up late. As a kid I was always the first person to fall asleep at slumber parties, and I’d wake up the next morning hours before everyone else. At least it gave me time to retrieve my underwear from the freezer and thaw them in the microwave before everyone else woke up.

My inability to stay up late drives Dave crazy. He knows if we start a movie after 9 p.m. I’ll probably fall asleep, so he’ll make me a big mug of coffee and then poke me every 2 minutes and ask if I’m still awake. When I tell him I’m awake he doesn’t believe me, so I’ll recite the last few lines of dialogue to prove that I wasn’t sleeping, and then he gets mad at me because he can’t hear. Eventually I fall asleep, and he vows to never watch a movie with me again. WHO WANTS TO COME OVER AND WATCH A MOVIE WITH US?

My parents do the same thing, by the way. If you were to walk in on us halfway through a movie, you’d probably think you were uncovering a crime scene (if it weren’t for my dad’s snoring). After about half an hour the living room is covered with unconscious bodies flung over armchairs, facedown on the floor, strung out across the couch. And then we all wake up as the credits roll and pretend we didn’t just sleep through the whole thing. Is cinematic narcolepsy a thing? Because I think we have it.
NaBloPoMo November 2013

Ramble Ramble

BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo prompt for today involved admitting how many hours a day you spend online (answer: EMBARRASSING) so instead I’m going to ramble a bit and post some cute photos of my nephew from last weekend.

Staches

11.19.13 JoshI had the best time with my family, and was really sad when we had to drop them off at the airport yesterday. I’m not a kid person AT ALL, but I could hang out with that little guy forever.

The good news is that rained all day today and is supposed to rain all day tomorrow. Gloomy weather always puts me in the best mood — all I ask is that it not dump snow on me next week when I drive down to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here already. I’m in charge of cocktails, because of course I am. So far, I’m considering mulled cider, this apple cider sangria, and a jam and gin cocktail. I plan on testing out a bunch of different options this week (sorry, liver), so if you have any tried-and-true concoctions I need to try, please let me know!

High Five for Friday!

1. My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew flew out to my parents’ house from Colorado, so I’m taking Monday off work and heading down for a nice long weekend. Spending time with them usually includes hiking, good food, and copious amounts of craft beer. Also, I get to squeeze this face:

J-ManSo obviously, I’m excited.

2. There is snow included in the weather.com 10-day forecast. Every year I get all excited for the first snow, and then hit hits and I remember that snow is the worst (unless you can spend the day next to a warm fire and not drive anywhere).

3. We hung out at the Elk’s Lodge on Wednesday night. There are … a lot of elk on the walls.

Elk

4. We’re having pizza for dinner tonight.

zero-calorie-pizza

5. I get really snacky in the afteroons at work, and I recently discovered these “Snakaroons” in the organic section of the grocery store:

getimage

They’re all natural and raw, they taste really good, AND I feel much more energetic when I hit the gym after work. I’ve tried the vanilla almond and banana coconut flavors, but they also come in chocolate, lemon, pineapple, and a few others.

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NaBloPoMo November 2013

Christmas Decor! In November! (Please Don’t Hate Me)

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but I’m trying really hard not to buy All! The! Christmas! Things! right now. Maybe it’s because this is the first year I’ve owned my own house, but I can’t wait to decorate.

It kind of all started in Walmart last week, when I saw this flocked tree and decided I need to own it. I’ve never in my life wanted a flocked tree before this and I have no idea where my obsession came from, but I’m just going with it. Dave is … less than enthused about the idea of a flocked tree, but he gave up fighting when I lovingly encouraged him to cram it up his cramhole. I think a flocked tree would really pop against our dark gray walls, and after searching around on Pinterest, I think I’m going to go for a predominantly gold/silver/white theme with lots of sparkle and lights:

Flocked tree

Ahhhh no source – let me know if you know where this is from!

I’ve been doing a little online window shopping to see what I might want to buy, so I made a little collage of some of my favorite things I’ve found.

Silver and Gold

Glitter Deer | Ivory Knitted Throw | Beaded Pillow | Gold Accents Garland

Beaded Garland | Mercury Glass Candle Holder | Silver Sparkle Tree Skirt

When do you usually decorate for Christmas? I’m a weekend-after-Thanksgiving decorator myself. Which means I only have a little over two weeks to buy All! The! Christmas! Things! so now I don’t feel so bad about this post.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 12: What’s in my Fridge

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is: “Name five things inside your refrigerator right now and how you feel about them.” I had to wait until tonight to write this post, on account of there weren’t five things TO write about in my refrigerator until about an hour ago. What can I say, when it comes to down to grocery shopping vs. watching Norman Reedus kill zombies for 12 hours straight on a Sunday afternoon, Norman always wins.

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Daryl approves.

Last night I had soup and a cookie for dinner, so I decided to skip the gym after work tonight and hit the grocery store for some actual food. Here are five things I bought that are now in my refrigerator:

Peppermint Mocha Creamer. I normally measure two tablespoons of creamer into my morning coffee (hi, I’m neurotic), but this stuff is so good that I allow myself to glug it into the mug until my coffee is so pale it’s about to crawl out of my cup and do the white man’s overbite.

Source Harry Burns FOREVER.

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Harry Burns FOREVER.

Tomato Basil Laughing Cow. We go through quite a bit of this now that I’ve gotten Dave hooked on this sandwich. I also use it to make turkey wraps for lunch – just spread some on a tortilla and top with turkey, spinach, avocado, and anything else that strikes your fancy.

Unsweetened Almond Milk. It makes me feel healthier when I eat my Count Chocula.

Spinach. We put it on/in everything – sandwiches, wraps, eggs, burgers, smoothies. I tell myself that its superfood powers are magically undoing any damage caused by my love of beer/fried foods. That’s science, right?

A six pack of Long Hammer IPA. This has actually been in our fridge since Friday night, which is an absurdly long shelf-life for beer in these parts. I may need to re-think my weeknight drinking ban.

NaBloPoMo November 2013