Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I love this bright summery shade because it looks more pink or red, depending on what you're wearing. It has become a staple in my summer nail polish arsenal because of this. Not sure what you're wearing (because you KNOW my nail polish has to appropriately coordinate with my outfit)? "Deer Valley Spice" is the perfect bright "goes with everything" color.
Happy Hump Day!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Saturday morning I was still dragging a bit but felt about 100 times better compared to the previous evening. The razor blade feeling was gone at least. I lounged around the house, gave myself a manicure, and headed out to my hair appointment. She actually cut off about 3 inches this time!! And, that's a lot from someone who never changes her hair.
I returned from my hair appointment at about 5:00 pm to find my husband lounging by his parents' pool. I gathered him up, and we headed home to change (and a shower for him) and grab some dinner. My craving for Mexican subsided, we headed out for a few drinks with my sister and sisters-in-law.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you Josh pimping out the "Lift Master".
So sexy Josh! Just hot! My husband is nothing if definitely NOT boring.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We have decided to serve heavy appetizers that will consist of:
1.) The usual chips and salsa/guacamole/queso.
3.) Jalapeno poppers
5.) Chicken nachos
Some I will make myself and others will be the frozen variety just heated in the oven (I don't want to spend all night hovering in front of the stove). Additionally, there will be cervesas and margaritas in abundance. My mother-in-law has quite a few chafing dishes that I will be borrowing to keep all of the food fresh, warm, and easily served all evening.
I just have a few details still to work out:
1.) Decorations - all necessary table covers, napkins, fiesta decor, tiki torches, etc.
2.) Dessert - Should I stick with the theme and offer something like tres leches? Or a cake with a picture of the happy couple? Their favorite desserts (strawberry pie for her and cheesecake for him)?
3.) Serving the margaritas - Do we offer on the rocks and/or frozen? Traditional flavor and/or strawberry? I want to have some options, but I don't want Josh or I to spend all night blending away. When hosting a party, I am all about doing everything prior to, allowing Josh and I to enjoy the night as well.
Anyone thrown a themed engagement party before? Suggestions? Ideas? Food or drink suggestions?
I don't know how much of it is even reality anymore, but I just can't tear myself away from it. The new trailer for Season 4 is as juicy as ever!
Monday, July 21, 2008
On a side note, has anyone else tried Papa John's new whole wheat crust?
Our hand-tossed, 100% whole wheat crust is made from the superior-quality ingredients you expect from Papa John's. It's prepared using 100% whole grains and clear-filtered water to create an authentic crust that's delivered to our stores fresh, never frozen. The result is a full-bodied crust that's a perfect balance of flavor and texture.
I had a salad for dinner, but I did try a piece of Josh's chicken tomato and onion with extra sauce and light cheese. Soo yummy and not near as many calories as the usual pizza. We even ordered it once without cheese, and I threw some shredded 2% milk mozzarella on it. It went in the oven for a couple of minutes, and we had a yummy and very healthy pizza for dinner.
Saturday started with morning coffee and a trip to the gym for my favorite step class. I ran some errands and returned home just in time to jump in the shower to get ready for our evening out.
Josh and I met up with our friends, Mike and Tara, for dinner at Revival. Apprarently, the winner of Hell's Kitchen Season 4, Christina Machamer, was a line cook at Revival. Who knew?? However, I guess that explains their very busy dining room and our rather long wait for food.
Revival doesn't do reservations unless you have a party of 8 or more, but they do offer call ahead seating. So, I phoned at around 7:15 to put our name on the list. We arrived about an hour later, ordered a drink at the bar, and were seated shortly after that.
After perusing the menu, we order appetizers of sweet breads (yes, those), steak tartare and the baked cheese grits, country ham and farm egg. Thankfully, we had great company because we waited 45 minutes for our appetizers. Yes, 45 minutes. Not ideal, but we are a pretty easy-going group so we didn't let the obvious delay get to us. But, how was the food you ask? Good, but not great.
The steak tartare was good, but somewhat mediocre without a lot of flavor. The shaved beef was a great consistency but could have used some more seasoning - "more tang" as my husband said. The grits, ham and egg was yummy and probably my favorite appetizer - very breakfast for dinner, but so good.
Lastly, the sweet breads. It was the first time any of us had tried the thymus gland delicacy, and I have to say they weren't too bad. It reminded me of a slightly rubberier version of the dark meat on a chicken. Josh thought they reminded him of chicken gizzards. I have no previous experience with gizzards or sweat breads so who knows...but they were okay. I can't say that I would ever be dying to go to a restaurant and order them again, but grotesque they were not.
For dinner, Josh and I ordered the pork loin and Mike and Tara each ordered the rabbit ravioli. Josh and Mike actually wanted to order the lamb, but they were out and Tara wanted to order the mussels, but they were out of those as well. Oh great, this doesn't appear to be getting much better.
Because our entrees took probably another 45 minutes from when we got our appetizers, the kitchen sent out two more complimentary ones - hush puppies and potato chips with cracked pepper and sour cream. Both were yummy!
When our entrees finally did come out, I'd have to say they were slightly above mediocre. My pork loin had a nice smoked flavor and was satisfactory, just no wow factor. I think Mike and Tara felt the same about their rabbit. The true standouts of the meal, however, were the sides. My baked macaroni and cheese was phenomenal!! I would have licked the bowl clean if at all possible. And, Josh's tri-colored corn on the cob with hot sauce and sour cream was delish.
Of course we had to order from the dessert menu, which is huge by the way. Mike and Tara shared the cookies and milk which were good, but couldn't compare to Josh's Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with Dr. Pepper Sauce. Simply orgasmic!!! Seriously, I would go back to Revival again, if only to have the bread pudding and the macaroni and cheese. And, I'm not even a big dessert person.
Another, high point to the evening was the bottle of 2005 Duckhorn Merlot that we had with dinner - very full-bodied but not overpowering. It was the perfect compliment to our entrees.
Unfortunately, the overall experience at Revival wasn't a home run, but I would definitely go back. Some things were mediocre, but others were phenomenal. I love that they use local ingredients to offer a twist on "comfort" food and the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed.
After our 3 hour dinner, we headed back to Washington Ave. (where Mike and Tara's loft is located) and hit a few hot spots for drinks. We tried to hit Flamingo Bowl, but you couldn't even sniff a lane. That place is busy! I at least remembered to grab a couple of pictures.
Hi boys!Funny story: Saturday night, I ended up wearing black shorts and a black top with gold jewelry and my red crocodile heels. Upon arriving to Mike and Tara's loft, Tara and I take one look at each other and burst into laughter. Great minds think alike...
Yes, Tara was wearing black shorts and a black top as well. We are the Bobbsy twins.
As always, we had a great time, and I can't wait to do it again.
Sunday involved some recovery time on the couch and a birthday party for Josh's grandma and great aunt. We were in bed by 10:00 pm and I got my required beauty sleep for a productive Monday.
Friday, July 18, 2008
We have a trip to Cancun in 5 weeks and I hope to lose another 5 to 7 by then.
Five days of working out this week, my muscles are sore, my eating is on point...
Thank God for the return of a healthy routine.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
SYTYCD from 7:00 to 9:00 pm and Project Runway at 8:00 pm?!? We don't have our DVR installed yet. What's a girl to do? How can I choose?!?!
Good thing I can count on Bravo replaying the new PR about 50 more times this week. I think it actually comes on again at 10:00 pm (if I'm not in snoozeland by then).
And, on a side note, I went to SYTYCD's home page and noticed that there was a picture of Comfort in the top ten, and Jessica's picture was missing??? Turns out, Jessica is pulling out of the competition due to some sort of injury and Comfort is taking her place! Check out the article here. I have not enjoyed Comfort's performances at all lately, but we'll see how she does tonight.
Things are really coming along. The new drywall is up, the new cabinets are up, the old ones have been sanded, and everything is primed for painting. Today should consist of lots of painting (cabinets and walls) and putting up the backsplash. The cabinet doors won't come in until next week, but our vision is starting to take shape.
And, what did Josh and I purchase last night? Well, in addition to the tile and paint... Our new oven and microwave!! Surprise, surprise...our original plan to keep the old microwave - out the window. We upgraded our oven choice as well. Go big or go home, folks.
Behold, our new 5-burner, convection oven.
And, our matching microwave.
I cannot wait to see the finished product!! Pictures to come.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
My uncle is actually doing all of the work for us. He does it for a living - as sort of a one man show "jack of all trades" carpenter. He's family so we can trust him in our house alone for days on end, reasonably priced, and his work speaks for itself.
About a year ago, he tackled another big project for us and totally rehabbed both of our bathrooms. They were completely gutted. There is not one thing remaining that is original. I, unfortunately, did not correctly document the process by taking some "before" pictures. I missed capturing blue shower tile and linoleum floors in all their glory. Alas, "after" pictures will have to do. Our bathrooms aren't huge, so I did my best to get some decent photos
First, our guest bathroom.
We went with a granite countertop, tub and clear glass shower doors, and all dark copper details and fixtures. The toilet, tub, vanity, lighting, mirror - everything is new.
Second, our master bathroom. You wouldn't know it since both bathrooms are the exact same size, but it is directly off our bedroom.
We used the same granite countertop and paint color, but we went with a slightly different color tile (a little bit lighter tan) and all brushed nickel accessories. As in our guest bathroom, everything is new, and we decided to extend the tile in the shower all the way up to the ceiling. Once again, we did the clear glass shower doors.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
So...here is my retrospective on some of my favorite dances from previous years. (Note: Strangely, a ton of SYTYCD videos have recently disappeared from You Tube, so who knows how long these will remain).
Season 2: Allison and Ivan dance a contemporary routine to Annie Lenox's "Why". Simply beautiful.
Season 2: Heidi and Travis dance a contemporary number to Celine Dion's "Calling You". I don't know how anyone could not be moved by this.
Season 2: Another Ivan and Allison routine. This time it's a hip hop number to Neo's "Sexy Love".
Season 2: Benji (winner that year) and Heidi (who is actually his cousin) dance a mambo which can only be described as the fastest ballroom number I have ever seen.
Season 3: Neil and Sabra do a jazz dance to Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams". This is the epitome of cool.
Season 3: Danny and Lacy dance a Samba to "Hip Hip, Chin Chin". This is beyond hot, hot, hot!!!
Season 3: Neil and Sarah dance a disco routine to "Knock on Wood". Most fun ever!!
I could go on and on (oh wait, I already did), but I'll think I'll force myself to stop. If you have just discovered SYTYCD this season, I definitely encourage you to check out some of the past performances.
- I don't spend a ton of money on clothes. Meaning, I'm not in Bebe every week. I don't need the latest $80 trendy top (I buy a version of it at Forever for $20.00).
- I buy somewhat frequently (a top here, a purse there), but don't often have large sum purchases.
- I'm not obsessed with name brands. I buy what I like regardless of where I find it. Target? Nordstrom's? Doesn't matter to me.
- I will spend a lot of money on certain key wardrobe items - jeans, the perfect black dress, fabulous shoes.
- I love accessories, but in moderation. As Coco Chanel said, "take off one accessory before leaving the house". I like one stand-out item whether it be a great bangle, necklace, bold shoes or a bright clutch and tend to go more minimalist on everthing else.
So what did I buy for myself this time?
This Maxi dress in teal. I cannot normally wear long dresses because of my height, but this comes in a longer length at 50 inches. So cute and comfy.This purple jersey dress. I have a lot of dresses, but not many of casual ones. This would be cute with flip flops or to throw on over my swimsuit.
Which brings me to the items I didn't purchase ($100 was plenty). There were a few things I eliminated for my own reasons, but I think they're so fabulous someone just has to get them.This satin halter dress SO reminds me of the DVF dress that was in the SATC movie (and that Mary happens to own).
This awesome green clutch (that also comes in Navy). I just don't know if the green is me, but I am so in love with this purse. Someone buy it so I can live vicariously through you.
I think this top would like great with black shorts or capris and heels. A little red purse or shoes would be an awesome addition as well.
I would have bought everything, but a girl's got to have some restraint. And, we're in the process of re-doing our kitchen for goodness sake. Not exactly the time to go on a shopping spree.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
And, a closer look at our countertops and tile floor, both of which we are keeping.
And, here is a picture of the wall that sits behind out kitchen table. On a side note, I am in love with our new print that the in-laws brought back for us from Australia. It is from the Two Hands Winery, our absolute favorite Australian wine.You have a general idea of the layout? Fabulous. Now, onto the good stuff. We're keeping the countertops, sink, and tile floor...but, what are we changing? Well, pretty much everything else.
The top row of cabinets are being ripped down completely, for installation of new custom-built cabinets. The new cabinets will extend to the ceiling and have crown molding at the top. And, we are extending the cabinetry slightly with the addition of a corner cabinet and one smaller long cabinet to the right of the window.
Here are our new cabinets, still under construction in the garage :).
What about our pimptastic faux brick, you ask?? Oh yeah, that's going too! Praise Jesus! All of that is being ripped down and will be replaced with new drywall and fresh paint.
Additionally, we will be installing a brand new tumbled marble backsplash, under cabinet lighting, and new fixtures for the sink (brushed nickel rather than the current chrome). Oh how excited I am to see the finished product.
Which brings me to the last lingering question... Paint colors... We are considering something similar to the comination below. We are thinking of the darker color (on the left) for the cabinets (it is actually just a little bit lighter than the wall behind the kitchen table) and the lighter taupe shade (on the right) for the walls.
I know that white, cream, and/or light cabinets are more of a safe choice, but I'm just not sure I'm feeling it. Josh and I are more contemporary/traditional, and white cabinets can sometimes feel a little country to me - at lease with our countertops and tile on the light side.
That brings us to our "kitchen table wall". Should we paint it the same color as the rest of the kitchen? Leave it as is, so it can be our accent wall? Go with the accent wall idea, but paint it a different color? Decisions, decisions...
Lucky for us, one of our best friends is a phenomenal interior designer. She agrees with us on the darker shade for the cabinets (thank goodness), and said once we have them painted she will swing by to discuss our remaining color choices. Man, we have great friends!
Oh, and I almost forgot... Our latest addition to the kitchen remodel project (as in we decided this in the last two days), we are going to replace the oven as well. You know how it is once you get going...10 things become 15.
I hate do it because it still runs like a champ. Honestly, no issues whatsoever. But, a new stainless steel range will just add so much to the overall look of our kitchen. We are going to leave the black microwave for now (our only remaining appliance not stainless steel) with plans to replace it in the future. We just didn't see an immediate concern for it, because the stainless steel stoves have black tops that will blend quite nicely with the microwave (for now, at least).
We are looking into something like this:
We have just over a month to get all of these completed (which I don't foresee being a problem as we were smart and hired someone to do it), just in time for a big engagement party shindig that we are throwing for my best friend and her fiance. Can't wait for that!
And, can you believe we are thinking about moving in the next year or two!! I swear, as soon as you get your house exactly the way you want it, it's time to move on the next home with a whole new list of improvements. I think the investment will be well worth it, though.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
4 cans Bush's baked beans
2 lbs. hamburger
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 cup bbq sauce
1 cup mustard
1 cup brown sugar
Brown the hamburger in the skillet with the chopped onion and green pepper. Combine all remaining ingredients in the crock pot and mix well. Drain the hamburger and combine into the baked beans mixture. Serve once heated through (1 to 2 hours).
These are so easy and so yummy! I'm not normally a baked beans person, but even I eat these.
Friday morning, Josh rallied for a 9:00 tee time with my relatives. I, on the otherhand, made it home for a long nap before heading over to my parents for the 4th of July festivies. They have a pool party every year for the 4th, and this year was no different.
The kids enjoying the pool.The guys partaking in some washers. Some of the guys decided it was time to break out the cigars, however, as evidenced here my husband did not let it interfere with his washer game. Note: Hands free, cigar in mouth.
And, just because I'm sneaky like that... Check out this picture of my 15-year-old cousin's boyfriend. Are you kidding me?!? I don't remember boys looking like this when I was 15. Could he have some more abs?
We finished up the weekend with two more pool parties/barbecues on Saturday and Sunday (and a second round of golf for Josh). Saturday was spent with friends and Sunday with Josh's family. Unfortunately, I was obviously getting worn out as the weekend wore on, because I have no further pictures to share (not that this post could handle anymore). However, I can assure that more of the same was involved - eating, drinking and swimming.
Happy Tuesday everyone!! Hopefully, the weekend hangover has finally dissipated.