Monthly Archives: May 2015

Operation: Deck Flowers

Thanks to everyone who offered advice on types of flowers that deer won’t eat! We’re likely going to go with a combination of marigolds, iris (Dave’s cousin is giving us a bunch from her house!), and peonies for the front of the house. I hadn’t really considered peonies until we were visiting Dave’s grandma last week and she had a bunch of them in full bloom. I asked about them, and she said they do really well in our climate and the deer don’t eat them. Plus, they’re pretty gorgeous:

Peony

Breaking blogger protocol by posting a picture of a peony that’s not sticking out of a $2,000 handbag.

On Saturday, we decided to go ahead and get some color on our deck since we don’t have much of a critter problem back there. I got a little too excited about all the pretty options at the store, and wound up spending close to $200 on flowers, planters, and soil. WHOOPS. It’s definitely looking better out there, though!

Deck

It took us two years to do this, so our dream deck should be ready just in time for us to retire.

Now I feel a little better about inviting people over to hang out back here, which we did on Friday night after the Rangers/Lightning game. We bought a few sourdough loaves, some delicious cheeses, and all of the wine, and had ourselves a little wine and grilled cheese party. This is pretty much how I want to spend my Friday nights for the rest of the summer.

Wine

We’ll have to invite everyone back over next weekend, since there’s no way they remember what the deck looked like after all that wine.

Up next is finding a couple of bigger plants to put in the corners of the deck (a potted lemon tree could be cool!) and figuring out some better lighting. This will probably consist of a combination of string lights (I like these, to string up the tree in the middle of our deck) and a better wall light than the one we’ve got now. I think a Lowe’s trip will have to happen next weekend.

And in case you’re thinking that that doesn’t look like $200 worth of flowers, you are correct: some of the plants we bought on Saturday went out front, but I’m going to wait to post photos until we’ve made some more progress out there. Step 1 is for Dave to spray spider poison under the lip on the siding of the house, since he has seen multiple black widows out there this spring and my hands will not go anywhere near the side of the house until it’s been thoroughly coated in lethal chemicals. And even then, I’ll be dressed like this:

kigvAnyway, that’s our progress so far. I leave tonight for a work trip, so we’ll see if they’re alive when I come back Tuesday night!

DIY Cake Stands (and some other stuff)

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Last weekend I made these cake stands out of thrift store/dollar store finds for an upcoming party. I was going to post a tutorial, but it turns out it’s super simple and I don’t want this to turn into one of those Pinterest-bait “how-to” posts about projects that could be carried out by a moderately bright tapeworm.  I swear I once saw an entire post devoted to a “recipe” for raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips.

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Anyway, if you want to make these cake stands just do this:

– Find some vases/wine glasses/other glass vessels of varying heights.

– Buy glass plates at the Dollar Store.

– Glue them together.

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We were out of super glue, so I bought a tube of this super mega industrial strength adhesive at Walmart. I noticed midway through my project that the packaging was covered in warnings about cancer and/or kidney failure. I wasn’t in a well-ventilated area and got it all over my hands, so who knows how long I’ve got left. If a day goes by and I haven’t Instagrammed a cat photo, send someone to check on me.

Other things of note:

– Something keeps eating the flowers in our front yard, which pisses me off because for the first time in my life I’ve actually been remembering to water them. I’m pretty sure the culprits are either deer or squirrels. If you have some suggestions for wildlife-resistant flowers, I’d love to hear them because I’m pretty close to becoming this guy:

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– Dave is making mini blackberry-lemon cheesecakes with lemon-infused crusts for the upcoming party mentioned above. I’ll try and talk him into guest-blogging the recipe, because he makes the greatest cheesecake ever and also he’s a funny writer. Feel free to peer pressure him in the comments.

– Ally McBeal is on Netflix Instant, and I’ve been bingeing on it regularly because IT IS SO FUNNY. I remember watching as a kid and thinking of them as “old people,” and I was kind of appalled to find out that they’re only supposed to be in their late 20s. I’M OLDER THAN RICHARD FISH, WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Bygones.

Bygones.

I’ll leave you with a pic of our sad flowers. RIP, PETUNIAS:

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Memorial Day Weekend: Three Words Per Photo

We had a fantastic three-day weekend over here – we managed to strike just the right balance of lying around doing nothing and spending time with friends. I’m posting a few photos of what we were up to, since I’m still in ultra-lazy mode and don’t feel like writing anything longer than a paragraph.

Whiskers{Furry alarm clock.}

Herbs

{So. Many. Herbs.}

Bears

{Crazy bear lady.}

Thai Food

{Shrimp panang curry.}

Cake stands

{Making cake stands.}

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{Jump squats. Ouch.}

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{SPF 30 sucks.}

Barbecue

{Monday night dinner.}

And now it’s back to work … I hope your weekend was as relaxing as ours was!

Healthy Quinoa Mac and Cheese (and a story about my neighbor)

Rain

It’s been raining off and on for the last week, which is awesome news since California is facing a pretty terrible drought right now. I was under the impression that everybody is aware of this fact, until I saw my neighbor down the street walk outside yesterday and turn his sprinklers on immediately following a massive downpour.

I wanted to shout at him, but he looks mean so instead I just glared at him from my driveway.

What I felt like:

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What I’m guessing I looked like:

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Anyway. All this rainy weather is making me crave comfort food. And for me, comfort food = carbs covered in cheese. Luckily, I’ve found a carb + cheese combo that is fairly healthy and doesn’t contain a ton of processed crap. I haven’t blogged much about it yet, but Dave and I have been making an effort to cut out processed foods. Mostly this involves me making batches of quinoa and whole wheat tortillas on Sundays while having daydreams about being alone with a big plate of fettuccine Alfredo.

Michael Fettuccine

My only thought right now is, “I wonder if there’s garlic bread in that bag?”

In an effort to satisfy my carby, cheesy cravings without consuming a ton of frankenfoods, I concocted this delicious lunch that I can heat up in the microwave at work because my life is sad and I eat at my desk almost every day. Womp.

Quinoa mac

Don’t judge, this was taken with my phone under fluorescent lighting.

Healthy Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked quinoa (about 1/4 cup dry)
Chopped veggies: mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, broccoli, really whatever strikes your fancy
1 wedge Pepperjack Laughing Cow (or any of the other flavors)
Salt + pepper, to taste

Season the quinoa with a little salt and pepper. Throw the quinoa and veggies into a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on high for a minute. Test the temperature, and heat more if necessary.

When the quinoa and veggies reach your desired temperature, remove from the microwave and mix in the wedge of Laughing Cow with a fork.

Yes, the Laughing Cow contains a few mystery ingredients, but you’re only using one wedge and you’re also getting a good amount of healthy grains and veggies. Plus, it’s really filling: eat a bowl of this for lunch, and I guarantee you won’t be pacing in front of the office vending machine at 3 p.m. facing the gut-wrenching decision of Cheetos vs. Doritos. (Cheetos, duh.)

Give it a try! And then go eat a plate of Alfredo for me.

Sparkling White Sangria Recipe + Deck Progress

I have a really good sangria recipe to tell you about, but first, an important announcement: WE HAVE DECK FURNITURE!

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We technically had deck furniture before, but it was plastic and old and every time we got a strong breeze the chairs would end up scattered all over the yard and then they’d stay there for weeks because we’re too lazy to go pick them up and I’ve watched enough reality TV to know that that a yard full of broken, plastic lawn furniture is the first step toward an appearance on “Hoarders.” So when my parents offered to give us their deck furniture when they moved to Hawaii, we were super excited to take it off their hands. In addition to being sturdy and wind-resistant, it also has an umbrella so I don’t have to reapply my SPF 110 three times during dinner. #melaninproblems

(BTW, SPF 110 is a real thing, and it is awesome.)

We don’t have a truck, so the furniture has spent the last two months at my aunt and uncles’ house. However, my mom was visiting last week, so she, my brother, and my grandma loaded it up and brought it up to us on Sunday. We thanked them by feeding them barbecue and this delicious sangria:

Sangria

The bad news: This is the only picture I took, because I was so busy hosting my guests refilling my glass. The good news: I wrote down the recipe before imbibing, so now I can give it to you:

Sparkling White Sangria
1 bottle sweet white wine (I used moscato, but a riesling would be good too!)
1 bottle Champagne or sparkling white wine, chilled (I used sparkling moscato, which made it extra sweet!)
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 orange, sliced
Handful of blackberries

Combine the wine and fruit at least 4 hours and as many as 24 hours before serving, and chill. Just before serving, add the sparkling white wine or Champagne and mix well. If you want, spoon out some of the fruit from inside the container and place in the glasses before filling. Pretty! Delicious! Makes you feel like Olivia Pope!

Olivia Pope wine

P.S. – If you make it with both regular and sparkling moscato like I did, it’ll probably be sweet enough without adding any sugar. If you use a less sweet wine, give it a taste before serving to see if you need to add sweetener (I’d suggest honey, agave, or raw sugar).

May 2015 Playlist

I’ve got a new playlist to share with you, thanks in large part to a major accomplishment in my life: I recently discovered that you can shuffle different Pandora stations together.

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I’m sure I’m the last person in the world to know this, but whatever. I’m also not on Snapchat, and my Google search history may or may not include, “What is bae?” Anyway, a few weeks ago I was listening to what I thought was Avett Brothers radio, when suddenly I found myself listening to *NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.” I was kind of confused, and then I realized I had accidentally clicked a button to shuffle all of my stations, allowing me to enjoy some glorious 90s pop along with my indie rock/bluegrass. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THAT EXISTED? Anyway, I decided to shuffle my four favorite stations that day, and I haven’t skipped or thumbsed-down a song in weeks. WEEKS. Are you ready for this? Shuffle the following stations to have your mind blown:

– Of Monsters and Men
– The Avett Brothers
– Florence + the Machine
– 90s Pop

The hipster rock/bluegrass/acoustic guitar provides the perfect backdrop for getting shit done, and then bam! An old school 90s party ballad wakes you up and makes you want to get up and dance. Every time I hear Christina Aguilera or N*Sync I’m transported back to being a 14-year-old overall-short enthusiast with Tonya Harding bangs, and suddenly my grown up problems don’t seem so bad. My floors need to be mopped and I’m probably not saving enough for retirement, but my bangs do not resemble a trailer-park-figure-skater-murderess. I’ll take it.

So anyway, here’s a mishmash of what I’ve been listening to lately:

I hope you enjoy it. I’m off to watch Empire Records, because YAY 90s!

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Back in the swing of things

Thanks to a work training and a quick trip to visit my family, I’ve spent one night in my own bed in the past week. This morning it felt SO GOOD to wake up and get back to my normal routine. (Coffee. Blogs. Work. Exercise. Sleep. Repeat.) My training was held at a casino in Reno, so basically my nights from Tuesday-Friday looked like this: tumblr_lzpm6hmfkx1rpq0uwo1_500_zps8ebddcf2 Just kidding! I was in bed by 9 every night and the only thing I was grinding on was the world’s biggest piece of New York style cheesecake, which I discovered at one of the casino’s coffee shops:

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That big boy lasted through three nights of Forensic Files marathoning. MUCH WILD. VERY PARTY.

We had a lot of downtime in the evenings, and one night I decided to go swimsuit shopping at a nearby mall. NOTE TO SELF: scrutinizing your thighs under fluorescent lighting after eating 5,000 calories worth of cheesecake is not a good idea. And speaking of scrutinizing thighs, I watched my brother compete in his first fitness competition on Saturday night:

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Apparently that’s what 4% bodyfat looks like. I’m depressed, pass the cheesecake.

He competed in the physique division, and I’m not totally sure what that means aside from the fact that he got to wear board shorts. This was great news, since I can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable than sitting next to my parents and grandma while watching my little brother flex his muscles in a bedazzled scrote tote. I spent most of the bodybuilding portion worrying that somebody was either going to poop their pants and/or have an aneurysm from the sheer force of their flexing, and the highlight of the bikini competition was my grandma shouting, “How does she even stand up?” when a contestant with particularly large implants took the stage. my-reaction-when-I-get-into-an-argument-with-women-homer-simpson-hide-in-bush-disappears Anyway, I’m pretty much in awe of his dedication – he worked out six days a week and basically ate chicken, egg whites and vegetables for the last five months in order to look like that. I was starting to question whether we’re actually related, but when we met up after the show he said that all he wanted to do was drink a beer and eat a really big burger. We may have also driven to two grocery stores at midnight to find some ice cream. That sounds about right. The rest of the weekend was spent visiting with my parents, whom I haven’t seen since they moved to Hawaii back in March. It was awesome to spend some time with my mom on Mother’s Day, even though she’s a jerk and texts me pictures like this all the time while I’m at work: 11182185_10206379527706077_9014370125745713902_n Rude, right? It’s a good thing I love her, or I’d be irritated 🙂 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM!