Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmassy New York

New York was a b-last last week, but as soon as I said goodbye to D, I was ready to click my heels and return to DC, NOT spend a lonely night at my hotel. Also, sleeping on the 5th floor is not the best, and honking horns awakened me just five hours after going to bed.  This is why I waver on my feelings for that city.  One minute I am in love with her, and the next I am ready to go.

But back to my trip . .

The first order of business on a very cold Tuesday was to get a cup of hot cocoa in my hands.  I got off at Columbus Circle and enjoyed a teensy one from Grom.  It was super delicious, but I was a little disappointed they were out of dark chocolate. 


I wandered through the Holiday Market on the corner of Central Park and then headed to cookies. I mean, heading to lunch would’ve made more since, given the time of day, but this is me, you know.

The one reason I was glad to have booked a hotel in Upper West was Levain Bakery. I probably would not have made it had I been staying in another part of town.  It was a little awkward lugging my suitcase and tote and purse down those itty bitty steps into that teensy weensy bakery and back out again, but those cookies are worth all that trouble. Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever! And the Chocolate Peanut Butter is possibly even better.  I cannot – or will not - eat them without milk, however, so as I’ve done in the past, I saved them for home.  Warmed in the microwave with ice cold milk.  Perfection.


After checking into my room, it was time to get party-ready. Minus my hair. For that, I headed to the Flatiron District and pampered myself with a blowout at Drybar. While it was a fun experience, I wish my stylist had given a better scalp massage, and the Cosmopolitan style didn’t take very well with my hair – a shocker, since my hair holds curl extremely well. I love the vibe, the interior and the offering of champagne, and I would recommend it as a fun, inexpensive way to treat yourself sometime.


Let me now make a suggestion as to what NOT to do in NYC and that is walk a mile in 4 ½ inch heels that you have yet to break in, and you have wide feet. Oh wait, that’s me. Let’s just say that I wore flat boots to the Christmas party and didn’t care one bit that they weren’t so stylish. New shoes broken in, feet broken.

After said torturous walk, I was at the Empire State Building to meet my man.  He was working on the 38th floor for the day, and he came down to meet me, get me a building pass and escort me to the TOP. 


He flashed the office executive pass to every guard we met, and they replied “Excuse me, right this way”.  We even had our very own elevator for part of the ascent.  Perfect for making out in. Just kidding. Sort of. For those few minutes up, I was feelin’ like a Very Important Person.

It was insanely windy up there and coooold, which made taking eleventy pictures of a stranger feel like it took an hour.  But it was still romantic and such a cool experience.  I had never been to the top, but I would encourage anyone to pay the $22 it costs for a ticket. And go at night – although your pictures might not turn out very well.  And that is the basis upon which every decision should be made, am I right? 


Moving on. The holiday party was fun, and I was shocked by just how welcoming and friendly all of his colleagues were – New Yorkers and Charlotteans alike. We ate Italian food, drank wine, and watched as each person gave out a superlative award and gift.

D and I ended the night strolling down 5th Avenue past a couple of department store windows . . . 



. . ending up at Rock Center to see the tree, which was NOT LIT UP. How dare they? And before midnight? That makes twice we have seen the tree unlit. Ah well. Maybe next year?

 Rock Center

And that was the end of the trip. I might be leaving out the part where I cried dramatically when he dropped me off at my hotel, but I like to focus on the positive. And starting Friday, I will see him for eleven consecutive days! Wheee! And Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A NYC Reunion

- on the train en route to NYC -

It's been just over 2 weeks since I left D in Charlotte. There have been plenty of texts and lots of evening Skype chats, some in which he 'tucks me in', and he is the last person I talk to and pray with before turning over and going to sleep.

Today I'm taking the train up to New York City to attend his company's holiday party and hold his hand. It is an expensive 22 hour trip when you take the train and hotel room into consideration . . but it's already worth it. I just wish I didn't have to share him with all his colleagues, many of which he'll be meeting for the first time (as the company is based in NYC).

I plan to treat myself to my favorite cookies and a blowout before the party. Levain Bakery and Drybar, here I come. If you're going to New York, you've gotta do it right.

I don't think I've ever been so excited on a Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


*My Thanksgiving Meal with D's Family*

There is so much to say.

For starters, I will do a belated Thanksgiving shout-out (although giving thanks could never be belated).

I have a pretty sweet set-up in life right now, and I am thankful for it every day. It’s true that my fiancĂ© just moved about 350 miles away from me and my job has become so dull and boring, but in the midst of that, there is so much to be thankful for that I hardly notice the negative.

My boss has given me so much flexibility. He knows I’m looking for work in Charlotte. He’s cool with me tele-working whenever the need may arise. And he will look the other way if my resume happens to be up on my screen – or a wedding website, of course.  I do struggle with feeling guilty about this lack of work to do, but I’ve concluded that I have to consider it a blessing and enjoy it while it lasts.

I am only three days into this long distance thing, so I can’t give it a proper assessment, but I will say that it has already brought even more anticipation for the future.  I know the holidays will fly by, and then we will be left with only 100 days of waiting. I am thankful for Skype. And I am thankful for Priceline, through which I just I booked a hotel in New York.  In two weeks, D’s company is having their Christmas party there, and I get to go! I can't wait! Nevermind that seeing him for a whole 6 hours will be the biggest tease. At least I get to see him.

I am thankful for my future in-laws, and I am thankful for my own family and friends.  I am thankful my grandma’s chemo treatments are said to be working, and I am thankful that last week’s car repair cost me a few hundred less than expected (even if it was still a very painful bill).

This weekend, my cousin Erica is visiting, and I’m glad to have a guest for the first weekend away from D. We have some dinner reservations and a trip to Mount Vernon planned.  Hopefully I don’t wear her pregnant self out!
*Me and D at the Capitol on Thanksgiving Morning*

I am so very thankful for him. He is caring, patient, fun, godly, talented and hot! And he is my perfect complement. I love you, babe!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One Month

I've been engaged for a month now, and on top of productive, it has been a sweet and exciting month. I'm looking forward to our wedding day, but everyone was right about the engagement period - it is really special and a time to enjoy, not rush through. 

We've set our date for April 14th, 2012.  That is six months away from this Friday! Just enough time to plan the wedding and get pre-marital counseling. Why wait any longer?

This month, we . . booked our venues, had our first pre-marital counseling session, opened our registries (just), decided on colors, chose bridesmaid dresses, looked at invitations, and did lots of brainstorming.

And this past weekend, I found my dress!

Through all of these things, we are really just so excited to start our life together.

I feel so blessed that I get to marry my very best friend. He is perfect!!! (for me)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In case you care to see . .

My Ring and Other Happenings . .

Oh, LIFE. Life is good. And super busy these days.

After two trips to the jeweler, my ring finally fits!  It’s true what they say – having a ring on your finger really kills your productivity.  I’d rather wave it around and watch it sparkle than respond to emails.

I am so, so glad I didn’t pick it out or even tell him what I wanted.  D did an awesome job, and I love it.  It’s so much more special to me knowing that he didn’t just fulfill a request.  

It’s also been fun to have him involved in the planning process thus far, as he wants to discuss every part of it and share his opinions.  The opinion-sharing is valued, but I won’t say we agree on everything either. Let’s just say it’s facilitating some more discovery of who each of us are, haha.

The next month looks especially crazy for us, and we’re trying to take it all day by day.  Tonight we drive to Charlotte for an entire not-even-day to discover if the Queen City will be our future home.  On the one hand, it’s incredibly exciting, but I think we’re still in process mode wondering what it will be like leaving a city that has become my, and has always been his home.  I love it here so much . . but I love my fiancĂ© way more.

In other exciting news, my mom will be here in just one week to shop for my gown, and the following weekend I have the honor of being a bridesmaid in a dear friend’s wedding in Hilton Head.  I will most definitely need to post pictures of the event, along with my visit to HH and Savannah!

Let's get started, October! :)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Five Happy Things

I’m in the middle of an ‘end of summer’ post. Maybe it will make up for my delinquency these past few months?

In the meantime, here are some things bringing me a little happiness lately:

1. Peach fro-yo with coconut shavings. Oh, Yogen Fruz. (I am ordering everything peach these days, because the season is almost over - sob.)

2. My PNC Virtual Wallet bank account. You may question my sanity when I say I’ve spent a few hours this week ‘playing’ with my new bank account. But, this account set-up rocks. It gives me 3 accounts for spending, short-term savings (set-aside money), and long-term (no touch) savings. Instead of remembering how many withdrawals are pending or which bills are coming up, I can set money aside in advance and always know exactly how much I have to spend. It’s also an easy way to save more.

3. Allegra, Nasonex, and eye drops. My throat, eyes, nose, and ears are thanking me.

4. Pinterest. Oh my. I was slow in signing onto this new craze, but if you follow me, you know about my obsession these days. It’s a fun and easy way to catalogue pretty images that inspire me and help me to narrow down my style. I already had a gazillion posts starred on Google Reader, so now I can go back and pin the photos I love.

5. The upcoming 3-day weekend, of course. We’re spending a day in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I can’t wait to discover a new, pretty place and eat some good food.

Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back We Go

Here are a few pictures of my LAST trip to Nebraska before I leave for my NEXT trip to Nebraska tonight. {I have pictures with other family, but for some reason I can't get any more to load!}

This trip is my birthday present. And lucky D, his birthday present from my parents is also a plane ticket to Nebraska. It's the only thing that was on his list. ;)

D will have been to Nebraska 3 times in 8 months now, and hopefully he will continue discovering more of its positive attributes. :)

So yes, we are headed back to my home state only 5 weeks after we left. But this time I plan to waterski. The lake level was too high last time.

I am crossing my fingers for Grandma's angel food cake and some sweet corn, too.

Happy Weekend!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Almond-Crusted Salmon with Pico and Feta

Hello there!

I have a great, easy recipe for you all! Danny and I tried it last night and will definitely be making it again. The original recipe calls for homemade pico de gallo, but I took the cheaper/easier route and bought some pico-like salsa instead.

Almond-Crusted Salmon with Pico and Feta

Salmon fillets

Mixed greens

Pico de gallo-like salsa or homemade pico

Feta cheese

Red wine vinegar/olive oil

Salt and pepper

Almonds, finely chopped

First, salt and pepper your fillets. Then coat them with the finely chopped almonds. Heat a skillet to hot, with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Cook the fillets (about 2 minutes on each side). Remove pan from heat. (I chose to peel the skin off the bottom of the fillets after cooking.)

Toss the mixed greens in red wine vinegar and olive oil. Place fillets on top. Cover with pico de gallo-like salsa and top with feta cheese.

Easy and delicious!

{Thank you, House Beautiful magazine.}

Friday, July 29, 2011


It may be 102 degrees at 7pm, but I still notice the prettyness of D.C.
{Walking to dinner near the White House}

All I Need

I am in serious need of some fro yo (or sorbet like the above) and at least 7 hours of sleep. I haven't had a night like that all week.
I'm trying to maintain some focus at work (you can see it's working) before heading out for my 3rd delicious dinner of the week, this time at the historic Old Ebbitt's in D.C.
And then I will probably fall asleep to a movie with D. Per usual.
Happy Weekend to ya!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Chipotle-Peach Dressing

Here it is!

Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Chipotle-Peach Dressing Quick Recipes:

Very similar to another reader's Bon Apetit recipe involving peaches and BBQ sauce. See the comments in my last post!


Guess what, you guys – it is almost D’s birthday! Just a few more days ‘til I can make him a cake, give him his gift, and treat him to a delicious dinner and as many Belgian beers as his heart desires (which fortunately won’t be too many, since he’s not a big drinker). The one small downside to this birthday thing is that . . I’m feeling a little bit jealous. Not because I wish it were my birthday (that’s coming soon enough next month), but because of his age, his glorious age. A young 27, while I am weeks away from the big 3-0. Hold me.

Still, I'm glad I snagged a younger man . . just like I wanted. :)


More peaches!

After making a delicious summer salad with peaches the other day (mesclun, peaches, chicken, sunflower seeds, basil, champagne vinaigrette), I was craving peaches yet again. You've gotta love seasonal produce!

Lyn and I made this peach chipotle chicken dish on the grill last night, and it was quick, easy, and delicious. Despite the adobo sauce, it was not even spicy. Thanks, Bon Apetit!

I'll try to post the recipe soon!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pizza Night

Hello friends! I'm back, I'm fairly tan, and I've been too busy to blog about it. 
I've needed some catch-up time with the girls so Lauren invited us over to make pizzas and salads last night. Deeelish!
My sweet friend KC joined us via video chat from her new place in San Antonio. She was eating a burrito as usual.  We made "must-read" book lists and gabbed til Lauren's eyes got droopy and she kicked us out.
Now doesn't that sound more fun than blogging?

Friday, July 01, 2011

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July weekend, Everyone!!


It’s been 6 months, and I’m flying home to Nebraska for my favorite holiday. The Biscuit is coming along, and I’m excited for him to experience the festivities with me.


I am praying constantly that a) our flights would be on time, especially since we’re on different ones and b) the water level at the lake would go down, so I can actually ski – it will be my only chance this summer!


In addition to fireworks, food, and {potential} boating, we’ll be celebrating this lady’s 80th birthday with a surprise family dinner and time of blessing. I have my note all written up, and I hopefully I won’t break into tears when sharing it with her. She is such an awesome grandma.


Have a wonderful, warm weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spontaneous Flowers

I had a great weekend with the guy who gave me this lovely orchid.  Maybe I'll write about it later. :) . .

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Friday!

I took a spontaneous day off today to watch my wonderful friend graduate from her residency program at Walter Reed Army Hospital / Bethesda Naval Hospital. Yay for Dr. Katie (KC)!

We had lunch at Chef Geoff's with friends and some family and then . . cupcakes, what else?

Which should I try first? Coconut, white raspberry, chocolate peanut butter chip, lemon blossom, hazelnut, or milk chocolate?

These are the kind of fun decisions everyone should have on a Friday. Decisions with a side of milk. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I'm typing my first post from my smartphone, so fingers crossed that it works!

I thought I hated this magnolia tree, which houses a million birds that love to go on my car when I'm parked in the driveway. . BUT I took a moment to admire the blooms today and now I want to cut one down and drink in the lovely scent.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Florida Weekend

D and I spent a long weekend in Florida last month, and despite a brief rainstorm and a gnarly sunburn {I got FRIED}, we had a wonderful time.

Our primary reason for taking the trip was The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach. TPC Sawgrass was a gorgeous course to say the least, and I loved seeing new and familiar pro golfers teeing off up close. Although not as skilled or knowledgeable as D, I love to golf and even watch it on occasion. The Golf Channel just so happens to be a client of D's, so they supplied us with some free tix for the last two days of the event.




We spent a fair amount of time at the 17th hole, a tough one in which the golfers needed to hit their drive out to the island green. Here is a glimpse of the gallery looking on.


During a three hour rainstorm, we took cover at Urban Flatbread and indulged in the s'mores/peanut butter cup dessert.


We also swung by the beach to dip our toes in the water.



In addition to the tournament, we stayed with my cousins in Celebration one night, grilling out burgers and watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the nearby Polynesian Resort.


We also spent an evening with my D.C. friend Lauren at her family's home. You can see why I never wanted to leave. ;)


Lauren's friend was able to get us into Magic Kingdom for FREE the next day, a special treat since I had never been to that park. A Monday in May meant short or no lines for all the rides, too!


All in all, a too short but lovely trip south!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Brunch at a Brewery

On my list of Favorite Things In the Whole World is definitely Having Brunch with my Boyfriend.

This typically happens every Sunday after church, and lately it has involved patios and adult beverages.



Mad Fox Brewing Company is one of my preferred places to dine these days, and we experienced their brunch for the first time this past weekend.

It started with three flavors of donuts . . one being caramel bacon. Insert drooling here.


And it ended with an egg and brisket burrito.

{Picture a huge burrito.}

Um, yes.

It's a good thing we've done P90X a couple of times this week. That's all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Memorial Day Pie

One of my favorite things about this past weekend was the small BBQ we had at D's place. We were invited to another cookout, but were set on having our own . . even if it meant it was just the two of us.

Fortunately, we ended up with five guests for some yummy food, nice conversation and a little game of cornhole.

I referred to the grilling edition of Food Network Magazine (I love it!) for a few recipes, including dessert:


While beginning to bake, I had a few moments of panic when I realized that D did not own the following necessary items called for in the recipe:

1. a food processor
2. a fine mesh sieve
3. vanilla extract

Baking should not be done at a boy's house. Duh.

I began referring to the dessert as "Banana Cream Crunch" with the expectation that the sugar cone crust I had crumbled with my own two hands was not going to be much of a firm crust.

But! I was proven wrong, and the PIE was liked by all. A successful BBQ, I'd say!

Memorial Day Ending

All I will say about this weekend is that a) it was perfect and b) it ended with this:


. . . and the Cosby Show on Netflix.

Aaaaah . . .