Sunday, December 30, 2007

A little sap for the holidays

Hubby and I went to see P.S. I love you last night. I know, I know... I drag him to chick flicks all the time, but this one started at 7 and that was really the time we wanted to go and Juno isn't on here yet. While it's a little predictable at times, it really was a sweet and charming movie. I may be a little emotional right now, but I did find myself tearing up from time to time.


I have also found a new guy to add to my list! Hubby told me that since I was now married, the list had to be closed for new additions, but anyway. Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Apparently, he's been on Grey's, but I've missed him. I don't use this term much, but he's hot.

So, if you're looking for a good cry or a good chick flick, go see it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ready for Spring

My little purchase at Williams-Sonoma has me ready for Spring! Well, crap. The ones I bought aren't available on their website. Any way, picture these pot holders, but in a bright yellow, green, and white stripe. I have old ones that have seen better days & I believe caught on fire once or twice. Also, if they are sampling their lemon poppy seed cake with lemon curd, try it. So yummy.

The holidays were busy - my parents leave tomorrow after a week long visit, we traveled to visit Hubby's family for Christmas, and have been enjoying some time off from work and much needed R&R. We had dinner at one of our favorite Italian places tonight - good bread with olive oil of course, and I enjoyed the smoked chicken ravioli with tomato cream sauce. Yum again.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!


The packages are wrapped, stockings are hung,and my family is here. We're off tomorrow for more family & holiday fun.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a New Year full of joy and happiness!

Love,
Susan, Hubby, Zeus & Zoe

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blogger hates me

I have a nice little holiday post to share, but I haven't been able to upload pictures. Hmmmmm.

So, I did remember milk for my cereal today.
I am on the major countdown of 3 days until vacation and I'm hoping that we leave early on Friday.
My parents arrive on Friday as well - first time to see the new house and then we will all travel together to my inlaws (first time we've all been together since the wedding).
Cards are mailed.
Some presents bought, but if I can ever post a picture of my tree, you will see that nothing is wrapped & underneath!
It's finally cold like it should be in December, but of course now it's fa-reezing and rainy outside.

Hopefully, a holiday post later today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I need a vacation

Blogger ate my last post, I sat down to eat my cereal & had forgotten to add the milk. I need a vacation and it can't get here soon enough!

Friday, December 14, 2007

White Elephant

Do you guys play White Elephant? Today is our holiday work luncheon and we have all been asked to bring a wrapped, untagged present. The gift should be something that we already own - nothing that you have to go out and buy. It's really fun - everyone chooses a number and that is the order in which you choose your gift. From there, you can steal a gift, pick a new present, etc. It makes for loads of entertainment and a few good laughs.

I decided that the wrapping should really look good, so people would really want to choose my present.
The actual gift is a regift... sorry Aunt M., if you're reading... It's a Santa shaped cookie jar. We didn't personally love it, but hopefully one of my co-workers will!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Menu ideas?

I'm throwing a little birthday party for Hubby this Saturday. Big 37! Whoo! I'm keeping it simple - heavy h'or dourves, wine, beer, etc. I feel like I need one more substantial dish & another vegetarian/light dish. (Clearly not for Hubby - he's anti-vegetarian, but for our friends).

Here's what I have so far...
Paula Deen's sausage cups - phyllo dough cups filled with a mixture of sausage, ranch dressing, cheese, olives, etc... baked in the oven. Yummy.
Paula Deen's cheesy shrimp on grit cakes - small grit cakes topped with shrimp, cheese & probably butter. Have never made them, but sound wonderful.
Meatballs - the not so secret, secret family recipe - the sauce is chili paste and grape jelly. Delish.
Crudites - or as my mama used to say, a relish tray
Red Velvet Cake from our favorite bakery
Crack rock aka Cookie candy, a favorite sweet with chocolate, toffee, butter, and sugar

Any ideas? I'm looking for relatively easy and yummy. Please post any of your ideas in the comments and I will happily share all recipes in one collective post. Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

This "winterlike" weather...

Isn't it wrong that my car thermometer read 80 degrees today? Hello!?! It's December 11 - it should be cold and crisp and I should be singing Christmas carols. Nope, I was driving around with my windows down hearing Sheryl Crow's "All I wanna do is have some fun."I realize it's North Carolina, but still. So, so wrong!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I'm becoming one of "those" moms...

Our Christmas card photo this year is just of the dogs. My mom told me that no one really wanted to see just a picture of just them, but I really don't think that anyone wants to see a picture of Hubby and I after he's had the marathon day of raking leaves and yard work, and I have had the marathon day of dropping off a rack full of clothes to the Bargain Box, shopping at Lowe's, the local nursery/garden store, a trip to two different Target's, and a visit to Michael's. Oh, and both of us sans shower!

I thought they both looked particularly handsome and posed very well, until our neighbors guests to a baby shower started leaving, but that's another story.

Zeus & Zoe wish everyone a Merry Christmas, in advance!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Channeling my inner Martha

I have this little craft project that I wanted to do last year, but never got around to it. So, this year, I've started collecting....



Can you guess what it will be? Obviously, I need to visit Starbucks more frequently if I want to finish. I feel a grande non-fat sugar free vanilla latte in my future!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tree & Weekend Update

Just to let y'all know, I've used 10 strands of lights and just sent Hubby to Target to buy 4 or 5 more. I like a lit tree - my mother was always the Christmas Tree nazi & would do a "squint test" on her trees. This was some kind of scientific method that she developed to determine if you had enough lights on your tree. I think when you squint and you don't have any holes aka dark spots, then you're OK. And, she never let us kids decorate the tree, but that's another session!

We had a good weekend - very nice to getaway and the place we stayed is gorgeous and crawling with history. We were lucky to have a room in the Main Inn that is also the original part. You take a elevator, complete with attendant, that is literally built inside of the grandiose 14-foot fireplaces. This was done to conceal noise and they are still used today.

Here were a few pictures of the room - love the little details. While not very large, the working windows are a plus. We loved all of the craftsman style furniture. The room picture really doesn't do it justice, but should give an idea.


On Saturday afternoon, we found this great little wine bar where I found a great Spanish wine called Heredad Sol i Terra and Hubby found a new Belgian beer called Leffe Blonde. Both were great and probably our new favorites.

It was a relaxing weekend - a little shopping, eating, drinking, and a pedicure to round things off.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Big A** Tree

Our friend's dad brought our Christmas tree back from Western NC last Sunday, but we finally had time to bring it in the house this afternoon. Oh. My. God. This tree is huge. Since we moved, we wanted to have a "larger" tree for our back den, but I think we overestimated a tad. Of course, my batteries died when I was trying to snap pictures of Hubby and Friend tackling this sucker, but I hope these capture the size a bit.

I think a trip to buy additional lights is in store, because I think what we have will only cover about half. Wish me luck that Hubby doesn't kill me over the course of this week when we actually decorate the thing!


Hubby is on the floor, while B holds her steady.




Without the tree mesh bag... waiting on the limbs to drop.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We're off...

The "Z" dogs are headed to doggie camp, and we're headed here in the moutains. Hubby has a conference and I'm going to play. Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Oh Saint Joseph, we love you.

We listed our house about two months ago and accepted an offer on Sunday. Whoo-hoo! When we first listed, I ordered a Saint Joseph statue on eBay and buried him like the instructions said. Now, I'm not Catholic, so I probably haven't said my prayer every day (forgive me, I'm Methodist - we do everything in moderation), but I guess it's been enough to work.

I hope Saint Joseph will see us through a clean inspection and our January closing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Le Mutt R.I.P.

I've had a Le Mutt dog since I was a little girl. He has survived many a hug, pre-teen tear, and several boxes that he was sequestered to when it wasn't "cool" to be seen with a floppy-eared stuffed dog.

This morning, I walked into a crime scene. Unfortunately, most of the scene was vacuumed before I had a chance to properly document it.

Exhibit A: An ear with stuffing strewn on the floor.

Exhibit B: Poor Le Mutt shows signs of attacks on both legs and also the missing ear.

The Accused: Zoe D., age 3.5, loves swimming, squirrel chasing, and napping on hvac vents.

The Accomplice: Zeus D., age 3.5, loves belly rubs, barking at innocent by passers, and sun baths.

The Verdict: While there has been no official confession from the accused, upon initial questioning, the accused actually took Le Mutt into her mouth again and returned to the crime scene. She was also found with stuffing in her fur. With this type of behavior, we have no doubt as to guilt of the accused. Showing little remorse for her victim, she has since taken a nap, eye-balled a turkey sandwich, and looked slightly guilty when receiving behind-the-ear scratches.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Why?

Why can I not find the picture that my mom took of Hubby & I after running the Half Marathon this April? Mom has not yet caught on to digital photography, so I'm actually looking for the sleeve of negatives! Our plan was to use the photo for our Christmas cards this year, so it would be most helpful if this picture and little plastic sleeve of negatives appeared.... I'm not sure if it could have anything to do with the fact that we packed, moved, and still have an assortment of boxes in various stages of unpacking that could be the reason. Hmmmmm. I'm off to search another drawer. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

My pies didn't turn out nearly this pretty, but hopefully will still taste yummy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Short week

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is my "Friday". We have a 1/2 day at work, followed by an office luncheon at a great Italian restaurant as a treat. Our boss figured that since most of us would have a traditional southern Thanksgiving, it would be a nice to have a little rigatoni before the annual Thursday feast.

Other than that, I am baking two pumpkin pies to take to the In laws for Thursday, cleaning the house for a visit from our friends tomorrow evening, possibly taking a walk in this crazy 70 degree weather we've been having, and hopefully getting a manicure. I've totally copied Giada and started wearing Bubble Bath by OPI. I love it. I used to be a Catch the Garter gal, but I think this one is more neutral. Yes, I had always wondered what color Giada's nails are painted, because they always look so good. I googled it and found a great blog where a girl had met her at a book signing & asked the shade. So smart!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why Hubby hearts Swoozie's

Our 2-year anniversary was last Monday and Hubby, being the ever so thoughtful Hubby that he is gave me a gift that I've been asking about for a while.... (oh, and he's a good listener) A stationery embosser, with our new name and most recently our new address.
When I opened my gift, I found an embosser and a nice note from the employee at Swoozie's explaining that my actual embosser was late - that they were sorry, but it would arrive shortly. Apparently, Hubby and strong-armed the employee, telling her that he couldn't show up gift less on his anniversary, so the employee wrapped up the store model & included a hand written note. A nice touch.
The embosser arrived on Friday, so Hubby stopped by and picked it up. Excited to try it out, I immediately found some scrap paper and began embossing... to find out that while our name was right, they also had our last name listed as our street address. Hmmmm.
Needless to say, Hubby paid another visit to Swoozie's on Saturday - again, more apologizing, and they said the new one (with the right address) should arrive next week. Let's hope. I will say with all of the mix-ups, they have been extremely apologetic and accommodating... I'm just glad it's not the week that I'm mailing out Christmas cards! This is what it will look like!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Organization

Just spent the last 2 hours putting away summer clothes, and separating the other clothes into throw-away, consignment store, and thrift store for the Junior League piles, oh and the pile to actually hang up in the closet or put into drawers. I really put a lot into the giveaway piles, which makes me feel good, but also feel like I need to shop! I did pick up a few things over the weekend...This outfit, but I won't tuck the turtleneck into the skirt (ewww) and I'll probably throw on a blue jean jacket as well. I also found another skirt and top from a little boutique without a website for photos.

Since Hubby and I moved into the new house, 2 months ago, I've kind of been living out of a clothes basket, a dresser that is downstairs and a few other stacks in between. Pain in the ass, so I finally decided to do something about it.

We have decided that while we have ample closet space in the two upstairs bedroom closets, the space is kind of awkward and really needs California Closets or some similar business to tell us what to do. Our house was built in '39, and our bedroom is in what used to be the attic, so about 1/2 the closet is at an angle. There is a long pole and one shelf, but nothing else. I think I failed the spatial relations portion on the ACT, so I really need someone else to figure out how to arrange it. Since we aren't using the other upstairs bedroom closet, I went ahead and set up my stuff in that one until we figure out the master. Fun & games, I tell you!

Friday, November 16, 2007

MyAgenda

With both my work and personal life, it seems like I have 3 calendars going at any given time. I haven't succumbed to a Blackberry and for some reason, I still like a paper calendar over my online calendar. I had heard of MomAgenda, but since I'm not yet a mom and aren't juggling children's schedules in addition to mine, I really didn't think it would work for me. I was surprised to find on their website, the MyAgenda, one designed in a similar format to the MomAgenda, but not designed specifically for a Mom.

Mine arrived yesterday, so I was able to go ahead and start scheduling dates and events for 2008! I bought the espresso color and it's really pretty. I love the fact that it comes with a month view & a weekly view with 2 ribbons for convenient place-keeping.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Maybe I was wrong...

I had wondered out loud to Hubby several times about our Japanese maple tree in the back yard. While other trees in the area were turning into brilliant yellows, oranges and reds, this particular tree - smack in the middle of our back yard - stayed green.

Other trees were losing their gorgeous leaves and this one stayed strong, full of leaves and still green.

Over the weekend, I noticed that it was finally turning a beautiful shade of reddish-orange.

While it still isn't the flame color of some that you see, I really happen to like it. Plus, I can see just the treetop out of our bathroom window when I'm getting ready in the morning. Whattya think?

And a close up...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two years ago...

Two years ago, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off taking vases to the florist, pictures to the reception, picking up friends from the airport, stressing about Martha Stewart sugar cookie favors flopping at the last minute, and writing large checks for a big party that was going to be thrown in a couple days.

Two years ago, I was remembering everything as my last time as a single girl - my last meeting, last day at work before the wedding, last grocery store visit, last workout at the gym, last drink with the girls...

Two years ago, I was standing in our church the night of the rehearsal dinner, nervous and realizing that this was about to really happen. We were surrounded by friends and family, I was holding a bouquet made of ribbons, and I really couldn't believe that the day that I had waited so long for was finally almost here.

Two years ago, I ate barbecue and the famous Starmount pie, drank wine and laughed at the toasts (and roasts) from friends, kissed my fiancee for the last time, said goodnight and went inside my apartment.

Two years ago, I drank Dom Perignon with rollers in my hair while people fretted over my hair and makeup.

Two years ago, I enjoyed a perfect Indian summer day in November and walked down the aisle to the one man who "really got me" and I knew that he would be the one that I could count on, the one who would be my rock, the one who would be there for me.

Two years ago, I danced, laughed, ate cake, cried, hugged and smiled.


Two years ago, I tried not to embarrass myself by "slipping into something a little more comfortable."

Two years ago, all I could think about was getting on a plane to Antigua to relax with my husband.

I love you, C. Happy 2nd Anniversary!




Photo by Kellie Kano

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pleased to meet you

After seeing how much fun Magnolias, Marriage, and Manhattan had with her "getting to know you" post, I've decided to do the same...

I always check my sitemeter and wonder about all the people who stop by... I would love it if you left a comment of who you are, where you are from (please keep it general - no street addresses!) and your website if you have one, so I can return the favor one day.

Thanks!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A little art appreciation


I have always loved this painting and also the art of pointillism, which is easier said than done. One of my middle school art teachers made us try the technique and while I loved the way it looked, I had a hard time getting the teeny-tiny dots to look like much of anything.
What is your favorite painting?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Book Club

I'm currently reading gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson for my Book Club. We meet Tuesday and I'm not quite finished (and need to get with it), but I'm really enjoying the book so far. Since we live in the South, we always try to read some good southern writers every now and then and I think Jackson does a great job at capturing the places, dialects, and emotions of her characters. I really love the first line of her novel. "There are Gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus."

Growing up in a smallish southern town in Tennessee, I can firmly relate to this statement and while I somehow found my way into the popular crowd as a teenager, I started my high school years no where near that clique. Now, don't go reading into anything - I am far from the character named Arlene (as she's known in AL) and Lena (as she's presently known) in Jackson's book, but there are times that those "gods" in High School made me feel like the lowest of the low. But that's OK, J. Lorenzo, where ever you are with your high top red Reebok's, I hope karma has caught up with you.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Is it a sign?

How do I take the fact that my weightwatchers.com membership fee is being automatically drafted out of my account for another 3 months since I haven't used it at all during the last 3 months that I paid for it? Am I positive, and see it as a gentle reminder to start using the great online service to count "points" and lose weight or do I become negative and look at it as a blatant reminder that my pants have not become any looser while participating in the "let's eat whatever I want and sit on the sofa plan" that I've been doing as of late?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sick day

Aren't sick days supposed to actually be "hooky" days where one can spend their time reading magazines, napping, surfing JCrew.com and Potterybarn.com, taking a walk, watching Oprah, all the while, snacking? I didn't feel right when I woke up, but still proceeded to shower and get ready... then the whammy hit me and I got sick. Twice. Yuck. Hubby was sick on Monday and I thought I had avoided this little stomach bug, but I guess Karma's biting me in the ass.

My head is still hurting and I had a fever of 100.2 degrees when I last checked. I rested on the sofa all day, drinking 7UP, but I still feel like crap. I really need to go to work tomorrow. And the bigger thing that stinks is that all of the sales, marketing, and production people are going to a day spa for a treatment and lunch tomorrow. Guess where I'll be? You guessed it, in my cube working away. It just didn't feel right to try to go on the little trip since I had been out sick. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm not impressed

We live in a very family friendly, walkable neighborhood and I have to say that our trick-or-treat traffic is barely nothing. It's really sad, because I love this holiday and have actually said how happy I am to be living here, because I thought we would get loads of kids, all dressed up in their homemade costumes yelling in unison "trick or treat."

We have all of the lights on, a jack-o-lantern carved and lit, along with 3 other pumpkins, yellow mums, and a witch on our door! What gives? Maybe the family before us gave out raisins...

This is bad, because what this means is no dinner for me (again) and just lots of candy wrappers and boxes. Plus, loads of candy leftover.

You'd come here, right?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I have a problem...

It's not normal to come home from work and only eat Halloween candy, is it? I would take a picture of my trash, littered by miniature wrappers and boxes, but it would just humiliate me. Too many fun-size MnM's, hot tamales, Mike & Ikes, and Snickers. I can blame some of the Snickers wrappers on Hubby, but I really think most of them are mine. Thank God tomorrow is Halloween and I can get rid of this crap to deserving little goblins.

Monday, October 29, 2007

About My Man...

I've seen this around, so I decided to tag myself.. enjoy!
1. Who is your man? Hubby

2. How long have you been together? Married for 2 years on November 12, together since October 2003.

3. How long did you date? From Oct. 2003 and we got engaged 1-1-05

4. How old is your man? 36

5. Who eats more? He does, but we both love to eat. I think he's been known to tell me "back away from the (insert food name here), slowly, back away.

6. Who said "I love you" first? He did

7. Who is taller? Uh, Hubby by a lot.

8. Who sings better? That's a toss up, but the question should be who is worse. Neither of us are going to win any awards.

9. Who is smarter? That's a hard one - he has a crazy almost photographic memory & remembers everything, can break down information well, etc. I probably test better, but not sure if that means anything.

10. Whose temper is worse? Mine.

11. Who does the laundry? Both of us - somehow we still both always do our own. Can you say independent and getting married after the age of 30?

12. Who takes out the garbage? He does, but I have been known to help on occasion.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? He does.

14. Who pays the bills? We both do, but I will probably assume that duty when we finally consolidate all of our bank accounts.

15. Who is better with the computer? Moi

16. Who mows the lawn? He does - he doesn't love it, but he does.

17. Who cooks dinner? Both of us

18. Who drives when you are together? Him, almost 100% because he hates my A4.

19. Who pays when you go out? Typically, he does.

20. Who is most stubborn? I think me, again.

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? I think he does, but because he really doesn't like to fight.

22. Whose parents do you see the most? His, they only live 2 hours away.

23. Who kissed who first? He kissed me.

24. Who asked who out? We were encouraged to meet by mutual friends. I think he asked, but I had the tickets to a play that we went to see.

25. Who proposed? Him... I wasn't buying my own ring!

26. Who is more sensitive? Me

27. Who has more friends? Actually, him. He's never met a stranger.

28. Who wears the pants in the family? While I do wear a lot of skirts, we are pretty equal on the decision making.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Our latest addition

Is the Crosby. Isn't she cute? My grandmother, affectionately known to me as Meme had this phone (but had the real-deal version). I wish we still had the old rotary dial one, but this will do.

And for just $25 and easy to find at my local Target, it was a steal.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back from the motherland

I am back and exhausted. Imagine being surrounded by 100 other vendors selling their wares, inside a coliseum where you cannot see outside light for 5 days... We were located on the arena floor, which is on top of the ice where the Hurricanes play. It's covered, but from time to time, it really got cold. We had a great show, but guess where we were located? By the flying monkey booth! Can you believe it? Cute purses, jewerly, pimento cheese, personalized everything, clothes and guess where we ended up?

You got it... right here by the vendor that sold these..
Yes, flying monkeys that would fly 50 feet in the air (by built-in sling shots).

But, aside from that, it was wonderful. I overheard one vendor describe it as sending an alcoholic to work at the ABC Store (for those of you outside of NC, that's a liquor store). It really was a non-stop shopping extravaganza and of course those of us who are trying to be good, did have to refrain a little!

Some of my favorites included this adorable shop for vintage aprons and these great bags. I bought two - one for me and one for a gift.

These purses were to die for... Plus, I loved the name!

For the cutest baby onesies around, go here. They were out of my size, so I had to order, but my cute and comfy PJ's should arrive in about 2 weeks. Their booth was great - all of the employees wore PJ's and robes all day.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On the road again...

I'm heading out of town for work for a few days, so no posting or commenting from me for several days. I will say that the event we are participating in involves shopping and thousands of women so can it really be that bad? Or, wait... I'll be surrounded by a retail smorgasbord all week, so that could be bad for the checking account! I also think that Preppy Potato has a booth, so I'll be stalking their booth, I mean visiting to see what fabulous belts she has!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A nice surprise

I received a nice surprise - a little "shout out" from Southern Somedays... be sure to stop by and say hello!

I appreciate your recognition!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Reader Question - Invisible Fence

As you may know, we have an abundance of dogs, 2 black labs to be specific, in our family. At the new house we are sans fence and that really needs to change. Zeus & Zoe are typically OK to wander around the yard, do their "business" and come when called, but we have had a few occasions of wandering next door to bark at the neighbor's dog, sniff out the construction at the other neighbors, etc.

We love all of the landscaping, trees, and shrubs that we have and hate to risk losing them with a traditional fence, so we are having a visit from Invisible Fence on Friday. My question(s) to all of you are, have you ever used Invisible Fence and how did you like it? Did you have any problems with your dogs running through or issues with other dogs coming in your yard?

Thanks for all of your help!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Yummy goodness, Banana Bread

I noticed that we had two overripe bananas this week and I finally had the chance to make a batch of banana bread this morning. I also wanted to try out the convection feature on our oven. Banana bread is a childhood favorite, so I was very excited about my baking adventure.

The recipe is from Joy of Cooking and is really simple and yummy.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease an 8.5x4.5 inch (6-cup) loaf pan.

Whisk together thoroughly:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

In large bowl, beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 2-3 minutes.
5 1/3 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar

Beat in the flour mixture until blended & the consistency of brown sugar. Gradually beat in:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Fold in just until combined:
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2)
1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (I omitted)

Scrape the batter & spread into pan, evenly. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (50-60 minutes). Let cool for 5-10 minutes on a rack... or not!

I had 2 good helpers while I was getting everything ready...

Before:

And, after:

I think this will make a great addition for my Father-in-Law's birthday celebration later today, if I can restrain myself from slicing a big piece right now!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Our neighbor

We have been settling nicely into the new neighborhood - meeting neighbors, stopping to pet new dogs on our walks, saying hello, waving when you drive by... It's really nice, because we've met more people in the 2 weeks here than we met in 3+ years at the old location.

One neighbor that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting is a hawk. The house to the left of us is under renovations and the woman in charge of the work has seen him several times and thinks that he may live in the backyard, in one of the huge trees. Last week, apparently, he swooped down into our front yard and then perched on the roof long enough for her to grab a shot with her camera phone. She is supposed to send it to me, so as soon as I have it, I'll post it.

I do think hawks are magnificent, beautiful birds. Am I glad that Zeus & Zoe are 80+ pounds each? Yes. Hopefully nothing like this could ever happen... I do think there are a shortage of squirrels in our yard, but I'll try not to think about that!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Our 2nd home

Oh, I just like the way that sounds... if it were only true. Our 2nd home that we are desperately trying to sell is more like it. We did receive a nibble yesterday and found out that a realtor has a person interested in making an offer. Cross your fingers and say a prayer to St. Joseph for us.

I think the house looks great - my parents helped us do some last minute things this summer, Hubby (along with a couple of friends) updated the kitchen last spring, and we recently updated the bathrooms. All we need to find is the right buyer!

Let me throw in some realtor speak...nicely updated kitchen with neutral colors and new appliances...


New bathtub and surround and fresh paint make this house move in ready...


I think Zeus & Zoe do miss our backyard - full of trees, squirrels, and cats that they tormented on a daily basis. Spacious lot with mature trees (don't mind the race track left by previous dogs).


Sunday, September 30, 2007

a "blue" surprise

I had to stop by the old house last week to water plants, make sure that we didn't have any mail, and I noticed a small box on our porch. I checked the return address and it was from Hubby's company, so I figured that it was more crap for him to file away.

I brought the box back home and didn't really think about it for a couple of days. Hubby was at a conference in New Orleans last week, so I finally thought to mention it to him toward the end of the week. "Oh, it may be your bracelet" he said. "What?!" Now I can't get this package off my mind and couldn't open it soon enough.
For part of a sales competition, Hubby was able to choose a prize for all of his hard work. There were sunglasses, pens, cameras, tools, and a few items that came wrapped in a specific shade of blue.

Now, before you get in my business about why Hubby is giving me his present, since it was his sales competition... let's just say that I do believe I have married one of the kindest men that I have ever known. With that being said, I would just like to think that he enjoys making me happy. Thank you, Hubby. Did I mention, he was at a conference the week after we moved? And he got to see this band?





And now...



Friday, September 28, 2007

Is it just me?

Or does anyone out there have a thing for doorknobs? I have a friend who nearly caused a divorce over changing out every single knob in her home with $50 doorknobs. Ours don't match, but we have several that I think are original to the house. They just add charm.


So, some of the oldies look like this..


And our front door, like this...

We have a lot of these cool old keys that actually still work...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's not really inside the house

I love the many hydrangea bushes that have been planted at the new house. The landscaping that was done looks extremely natural, but so much work has been put into it. I can't wait until spring to enjoy the azaleas, camellia and gardenias that are also planted. One of our goals is to keep it up since at the old house, our backyard pretty much consisted of a race-track where Zeus & Zoe would run, oh and eat the hosta plants.

Even this late in the season, we still have a few good blooms on the hydrangea, so I decided to bring some inside to enjoy.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why I (heart) the new house

I thought I would try to share a few photos of the new house this week. Of course, I'll be sure to try not to get any half-empty boxes in the shots or the rooms where nothing has been unpacked!

Some of the details in this home really stood out to us, like the built in cutting boards in the kitchen. Not only one, but four cutting boards are located throughout.

So, this morning, when preparing to slice strawberries for my cereal, it was a breeze.

I just realized that this photo doesn't really do it justice, but the cutting boards are actually built in like a drawer, so all you do is slide it out to use.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Runnin' and Whinin'

I started training tonight for another half-marathon and I can honestly say, I sucked. I have been doing a run-walk training schedule called the Galloway method. Typically, I run for 10 minutes, then walk 2, run 8 and alternate between running & walking the rest of the way. It helps your knees, provides much needed mini-breaks and when you aren't an extremely fast runner (like myself), you don't really lose much time.

Tonight, it went like this:
Ran 10 minutes
Wheezed for about 3 minutes and decided to run again.
Ran for 1 minute
Walked for about 9 minutes.
Ran for 2 minutes and wheezed some more.
Walked for another 6 minutes.
Finally ran for another 3 and walked the rest.

Sucky. Tonight, I only had to do 35 minutes and I ended up going 44, due to where I had parked my car at the park, but still. It's sad that I finished Boot Camp not that long ago and I feel this out of shape.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What I've learned in the past 4 days...

Closing wasn't as bad as I expected... other than handing over a large sum of money and lots of signing, it was fine. I'm sure I should have been reading every line with extreme concentration, but that's why we have a good lawyer.

Professional packers and movers are the way to go. I think we've reached the age that we can no longer buy beer and pizza and expect a few friends to move us. The actual move was pretty stress free.

Until we realized that our queen box spring was not going to make it up our new flight of stairs. They are rather steep. So, Hubby & I have set up camp in a downstairs bedroom for now & lucky for us, we found out that queen box springs are available in a split option.

Zeus does not like the stairs either. After coming back from a few days of "doggie daycare", we were walking them around the house - letting them sniff and get accustomed to it - and we decided to take them upstairs. Zoe, the dog that has no fear quickly bounded up the stairs so she could continue her sniffing. Zeus, not so much. He would get about 2 steps up and freeze and revert to the landing. The steps do have a runner, so I thought he would have enough traction, but apparently not enough for his liking.

And, I never realized how much CRAP we have accumulated. Word of caution - when two independent thirty-somethings marry, they come with lots o' crap. I've been unpacking and quickly separating items into a keep, throw, or yard sale pile.



Sunday, September 16, 2007

Moving Announcements

It just wouldn't feel right if I didn't get excited about finding cute moving announcements to send to friends and family to let them know about our new address. I wanted something simple, cute, and let's face it, inexpensive. At this point, if I were to plop down several hundred for the adorable Kate Spade moving announcements, Hubby would kill me. Love, love, love these. But for $439 for 50 cards, it was just a tad too steep for our 3-days before closing budget.

So, for around $40, I found these online today.

So, it's not Kate, and it's not Crane, but honestly, don't these just get thrown in the trash after a couple of days? Sad, but true.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Countdown..

I will be out of commission for the next several days. We are counting down to closing and our move. And, in the meantime, we are:
  • having our current house inspected (just so we're aware of anything that may need to be fixed)
  • dealing with turning on utilities (Hubby is still bitter that we had to get a new phone number and I will note for the record that cable was 1st on the list)
  • still packing a few boxes of items that I don't trust the movers to take
  • picking up a washer, dryer, microwave, and I'm sure several boxes from my former landlord's house that he was nice enough to let me store for almost 2 years.
  • dealing with last minute things with the mortgage, insurance, ordering a house survey, etc.
  • being super busy with both of our jobs
It is so exciting even with all of the little details - we saw our new house yesterday for the re-inspection & everything turned out great. Can't wait to get there - it just feels like we have so much to do before that can happen! I'll try to post next week with exciting packing & moving pictures!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's a small world

I spent the day attending this seminar with three of my co-workers. While I appreciate the fact that they had volunteers directing us into the parking lot with their "two-fingered or full-handed" pointing gestures, mouse head-shaped balloons to make sure that we knew we were in the right place, and Disney music that played to cue us when it was time to take our seats, I'm still a little perplexed by the fact that the average family (all 3.3 of them) save for 2-3 YEARS to take a trip to Disney. Isn't that incredible? I bet that same family could travel to a wondrous place like Yellowstone National Park, or take in all the history, art, and culture they could want in D.C. for a lot longer and still come away with life-long memories and scrapbooks full of photos that they will enjoy for many years.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Why I (heart) my job

Yesterday afternoon, my editor and I went to meet the guy who started this movement in NC. We met at Carolina Brewery to enjoy a cold beverage and find out more about his plans, a little beer history, and discussion of beer and food pairing. It was so interesting and who wouldn't enjoy having this kind of meeting on a Friday afternoon? From there we hopped over to the welcome reception of this meeting. We really just went for a little networking, and what a fabulous opportunity. These people were all remarkable, knew their food, and have a passion for it. Lots of food writers and chefs were in attendance. We left with lots of great ideas and some great contacts.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Looking for Nashville-area voters

A good friend of mine from college is running for city council - District 11. Now, I won't air any skeletons or dirty laundry on him and I do wish I could give him my vote. Darren was such an inspiration to me on so many levels and he would hate me for saying that about him. He's humble, funny, smart, charming, has a great music selection, and was my best formal date ever. He was a great mentor to me as I tried to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Studying with Darren always revolved around Seinfeld episodes on Thursday nights and making sure that we had enough time to play our favorite CD's and participate in some crazy game that included trying to one-up the other person by picking a more obscure, even better tune.

Good luck, Darren and I hope the voters rally for you on the 11th! Now, when you run for President, don't forget about me and I'll serve on your campaign!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Anniversary

If Hubby reads this title, he may be confused. It is actually just a few days past my one-year blogging anniversary. Wow. I just looked back at my first post and it's amazing how some things have changed, but some are pretty much the same.

For the changed part:
  • I now have a job that I really love. Then, I was at a job that I wanted to love, but didn't.
  • I was training for my 1st half marathon. I've now done that one, plus another, and am currently contemplating another one for December.
  • While we are still living the bachelor pad, we are about 3 weeks away from buying and living in a home that we found together that gives us plenty of room to hopefully have and raise a family, entertain, and enjoy our "own" space without feeling like we are right on top of each other.

For the hasn't changed that much part:

  • Our 2 black labs are still a huge part of our life. One is currently snoring at my feet while I type this.
  • I'm still heavily involved in the Junior League, currently serving my 2nd year on our Executive Board.
  • I still hope that I can continue to keep blogging and use this as a journal of sorts in the future.

So here's to one year at Love, Life, and Labs. Hooray!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My updates have been a bit sporadic and this week, frankly has been a bit "off". My parents left on Sunday, so it's been nice for it just to be Hubby, myself, and the big black dogs. The dogs seem to have settled down, even though we are still in a bit of pack/clean/move/declutter mode. We have to make time to call realtors and list this house, but it just seems like the week has gotten away from us. I think I'm just anxious to list this house, knowing that in about 3 weeks, we are going to be the owners of a new house. While I'd like to think that one day, we may possibly have the luxury to own two homes, I didn't want them to be 10 minutes away from each other!

I was on one of our local morning news stations this morning to talk about the magazine. My editor and I went, while it's always nerve wracking, it's also kind of fun. They loved the latest issue, so it made it really easy. I felt like all we said was "thank you". I'm fairly used to being interviewed, but I had never been interviewed at the TV station set, so seeing the teleprompter, talking to the anchor (and noticing that he has a helluva lot of make up on), is just kind of surreal. We left, immediately called the office and husband's to make sure that we didn't sound or look like idiots, hit Starbucks for a much needed caffeine boost and headed back to work.

Hubby and I also thought that I might be expecting this week. From my calculations, I was about 3 days late, which is pretty late in my book. I bought my first EPT 3-pack ever, tested twice (both negative), and then had a visitor later that day. It's OK. I will admit, we were disappointed, but would have been shocked if we really were. But, as some of my friends have said, it only takes one time.

Not sure what Labor Day holds for us. I have a short day at work tomorrow and we may head to the lake, but we feel like we need to work on the house. Possibly a compromise, and we'll go up for a day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Plug it in, plug it in...


This is also a must have for the new home office. In black, I think. We can finally have the mobile phones, iPods, Garmin, and digital camera all in one place without cords plugged in everywhere. This make me so happy! From Pottery Barn, of course.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cake & such

After nearly two weeks of close quarters, we said goodbye to my parents this morning. They have done so much work that we could never begin to repay them. I should preface this by saying that my parents are 75 and 65, and are probably the hardest workers I have ever known. I wish I had their know-how and talent. They were at our current house, painting, cleaning, packing, sanding, giving Zeus and Zoe way more attention than they needed, and getting our house ready to go on the market. I hope we didn't guilt them, but now Hubby's dad is visiting on Tuesday to help us with a little landscaping and yard work. Hubby's dad owns several rental properties, so he's also a great guy to have around.

Since we were up early today, we made a 2nd pot of coffee and attacked our storage building in the back yard, emptied it, cleaned it, and reorganized it. Our plan is to call in three realtors this week and hopefully have it listed by the end of the week.

So, Hubby and I needed a little reward today, so we set off to our favorite bakery for a little yummy goodness. Red velvet cake for hubby and raspberry lady for me (vanilla cake with raspberry jam and cream cheese frosting). Yum. I couldn't even finish my piece, so I'm now debating if the rest can count as my dinner.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My "new" 1939 kitchen

In the new house, the kitchen has a cute, built-in plate rack. To go along with the year the house was built, I'm trying to find coordinating dishes. I'm considering Fiesta Ware, since it has been around since the 30's. I was also introduced to this wonderful site today by a co-worker. I am now so in love with the pantone plates. Apparently, these were used by salespeople in the 40's to show the pantone colors. I'm thinking that these could be really cute in the new kitchen. Our regular dishes are Emma by Pottery Barn in white, so I would want to use something that could possibly coordinate.



Of course, this part of the kitchen is actually new, but I still think it could work. I would love any retro ideas that may fit in.

Also, we have this cute little phone cubby. Hmmm, to use as a resting place for flowers in a vase, or this? Decisions, decisions...
I promise to post more photos soon, but probably not until we move in. I feel strange about showing photos while it's not yet our home.