Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm setting goals

As we are rapidly approaching our third anniversary of dating (and the start of our first year of marriage) I thought I would set a few goals to be a better person:

1. Do some form of physical activity every day
2. Try two new recipes each month
3. Spend more time with the people I love
4. Spend less time complaining
5. Read the bible with JJ at least twice a week
6. Keep a houseplant alive
7. Write letters

And here are some goals I set for JJ that he is unaware of:
1. Get Elise flowers once a month
2. Clean up my dishes/messes
3. Bring home the bacon
4. Eat fast food less often
5. Learn how to cook
6. Read for pleasure
7. Not get mad when Elise spends hours on the phone or shops online

I've started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and really want to intentionally start to have a more positive outlook on my day. I want to sing in the mornings. Clean out my closets. Read Aristotle. Set montly goals. Go to be earlier.

Gretchen Rubin came up with her Secrets of Adulthood which I think are fabulous:
The best reading is re-reading.
Outer order contributes to inner calm.
The opposite of a great truth is also true.
You manage what you measure.
By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
People don’t notice your mistakes and flaws as much as you think.
It's nice to have plenty of money.
Most decisions don't require extensive research.
Try not to let yourself get too hungry.
Even if you think they're fake, it's nice to celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day.
If you can't find something, clean up.
The days are long, but the years are short.
Someplace, keep an empty shelf.
Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
It's okay to ask for help.
You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you LIKE to do.
Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy.
What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.
You don't have to be good at everything.
Soap and water removes most stains.
It's important to be nice to EVERYONE.
You know as much as most people.
Over-the-counter medicines are very effective.
Eat better, eat less, exercise more.
What's fun for other people may not be fun for you--and vice versa.
People actually prefer that you buy wedding gifts off their registry.
Houseplants and photo albums are a lot of trouble.
If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.
No deposit, no return.

Perhaps a lot of this is stemming from my excitement that the movie Eat, Pray, Love is about to come out?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Popularity Complaint

One of my dear friends got married over the weekend and it was just about as perfect as it could have been. There were only about 50 people at the ceremony, where she wore her mother's dress and walked back down the isle to her bridal party playing live folk music with banjos and tambourines. Her reception was held at a community arts center and guests were asked to bring cookies to share in lieu of a cake. Weddings come in all shapes and sizes. This was the PERFECT shape/size for my beautiful friend!
For some reason all of my photos are terrible quality. I apologize.

Within minutes of arriving at the reception, JJ had become best friends with a third of the people there. This is what he does in social gatherings, form immediate bonds with all the cool kids and leaves me to fend for myself. I should be glad that I don't ever have to worry about whether or not he'll have someone to talk to when we go places but sometimes I just want to be the popular one!

I bought some complaint sticky notes that I've been enjoying sticking to JJ's laptop and other places that he gives a lot of attention to. I think tonight I might write one that says "stop making so many friends...."

Friday, July 23, 2010

The End of History

Speaking of BAD IDEAS.....

The End of History has arrived, and it's in the form of a drunk squirrel.

BrewDog has released the world's strongest ale which is 55% alcohol and encased in a dead rodent. They've named this little beauty "the end of history." Oh yes.

It gets better. They also have outfits. Hooray?

Here's what the "bad idea men" have to say for themselves:
"This blond Belgian ale is infused with nettles from the Scottish Highlands and Fresh juniper berries. Only 12 bottles have been made and each comes with its own certificate and is presented in a stuffed stoat or grey squirrel. The striking packaging was created by a very talented taxidermist and all the animals used were road kill. The impact of The End of History is a perfect conceptual marriage between art, taxidermy and craft brewing. The bottles are at once beautiful and disturbing – they disrupt conventions and break taboos, just like the beer they hold within them."

Sadly, it seems all eleven bottles of the limited run are sold out now, even though they were going for over $750 a pop. Rats. I mean, squirrels.

Bad Idea Man

Why does it seem like there is always one "bad idea man" in every group of people when you're trying to get something done or some decision made. The one who wants to invite Oprah to the charity fundraiser in small town Missouri. Or maybe that is just my misfortune....

In terms of wedding planning I've had a lot of bad ideas:
Birdcage veil. Bad idea!
Trying to come up with my own playlist of music for the reception. Bad idea!
Thinking I'll last all night in 4.5" heels. Bad idea!
Considering skype-ing in a live performance of my cousin (who is in Wicked). Bad idea!
Believing I could get in supermodel shape before the wedding. Super bad idea!

Here is my solution to bad ideas. The "good idea cocktail." After the Oprah comment in our brainstorming session this morning I think I need one of these. Who's with me?


Target is having a Black Friday Sale online today. There are many Liberty of London items discounted 50% off!

Monday, July 19, 2010

On being Sweaty

It's nice to know I do still have a sliver of a social life left. Between planning a wedding, working full time, volunteering and trying to keep my apartment from looking like wolves live in it (thanks, JJ) my social life has been suffering. This past Saturday, however, was a different story. After relaxing by the pool all afternoon with some friends we decided to go to Les Bourgeois winery for a different type of relaxation.

Separate from their restaurant and vineyards, the winery has pavilion deck where you can sit at picnic tables, enjoy some wine, listen to live music and watch the sun set over the Missouri river. My friend make her famous vegan red velvet cupcakes for us to snack on and we had a perfect time.

The only thing that could have made this better would have been if it wasn't 95 degrees. We were all a big sweaty mess by the time we left.


Let it all hang out

News flash: I LOVE etsy. Recently Apartment Therapy posted a list of their favorite esty sellers. It is definatley worth checking out.

Here is my favorite as of late:

Lilafrances makes these adorable personalized hangers. Hello, perfect wedding shower gift! She has been recently featured in Martha Stewart Weddings and in Victoria Secret.

One of my best friends got engaged yesterday. I'm pretty sure she needs this.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekend Round-Up

This weekend I will...

Use this sweet deal to get a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens for only $2.99

Attend the Columbia Farmer's Market to pick up some veggies and flowers for next week

Work on a little surprise for JJ since he'll be at a bachelor party in Chicago all weekend

Get caught up on my latest television series obsession: Big Love

Finally get caught up on cleaning and laundry that's been piling up

Use this recipe to make some Oatmeal Banana Bread with the old bananas on my counter

Try to catch a few rays of sunshine so I look less like a ghost before my next wedding dress alteration appointment

What are YOU up to?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Knowing that a new apartment is in my future has started the massive distraction of decorating rooms in my head. Despite my love for all things beautiful, I do not have any design experience unless you count obsessive blog stalking. I've been saving lots of inspiration pictures so that once we move I can email my favorite bloggers for help.

But there are two small problems.
1. I do not yet have a new apartment
2. I do not have any money with which to buy all of the beautiful things I want to decorate my home with

In the mean time, here are a few of said pictures....
(this is very similar to my new bed and I am a sucker for monograms)

(I love the idea of hiding my printer and other unsightly appliances under a beautiful skirted desk)

Wishful thinking.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Today I am thankful for my kids.

Not my real kids (because I don't have any) but the little girls I work with every day at my job. I have the honor of working for a non-profit that provides a home, therapy, vocational skills and many other benefits to severely abused and neglected girls from every county in the State.

I just stepped outside to get some air and this is what I saw.....

Unprompted, this is what the kids have on their mind. I think there are many things I can learn from them!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bye Bye John

While I was enjoying myself at my Bachelorette Party this weekend, this man-candy was getting married...

I guess I'll stick with the John I'm already engaged to! Bye Bye John Krasinski!

My "last hoorah" as a single woman was a blast- thanks to my wonderful sister and friends. There are few opportunities a girl has to frolic around town in a sash and fake veil!


Friday, July 9, 2010

A taste of Jerusalem

This time last week I was having my first alterations appointment for my wedding dress. Since I gave up long ago at losing weight before the wedding, I met a good friend for dinner the night before at this cute middle eastern restaurant in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood. We ordered lots of falafel and hummus...and flamming cheese! Today I am really craving some more of that falafel so I did a little researching (and by that I mean Googling) and found celebrity chef Bobby Flay's Falafel recipe. I think this is what I'll make for dinner tonight.
2 cups soaked chickpeas (chickpeas need to be soaked in cold water for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours)
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 or 2 serrano chiles, chopped
2 green onions (white and green part) finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
3 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and ground
Scant 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Piquillo Pepper Yogurt Sauce:
2 cups thick Greek yogurt
3 piquillo or 2 roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions For the Falafel:
Drain the chickpeas through a colander then place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Chickpeas should be totally dry.
Heat 4-inches peanut or vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 330 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer.
While the oil is heating, heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and serrano chiles and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor, add the garlic mixture, green onions, parsley, mint, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, baking powder, salt and pepper and process until the mixture is finely ground, stopping to scrape the bowl every 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Form the mixture into balls the size of ping pong balls and place on a plate. Fry in batches at 330 degrees F until a pale blonde color, about 45 seconds, spooning oil over the falafel constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon to the baking sheet. Increase the heat of the oil to 350 degrees F. Return the falafel to the oil, in batches, cover the pan with a lid for 30 seconds and fry until a deep brown color, spooning the oil over the falafel constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon to baking sheet lined with paper towels, and immediately season with salt.

Directions For the yogurt sauce:
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, covered, to allow the flavors to meld. Variation: Substitute 2 cups feta cheese for the yogurt, and add 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley.

Bobby Flay also gives a Hummus recipe too but it looks hard and store bought hummus is delish!

Have a happy (calorie-filled) weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Finally Back!

Sorry I've been M.I.A. the past week. I took a wonderful vacation to Estes Park, Colorado with my family for the holiday weekend, like we've done each year since I was a baby. When I came back to work I had nearly 600 emails and crashed my computer trying to download them. So, now it's Thursday and I'm finally able to be productive.

My new bedroom furniture was delivered on Monday and by the time I got back to my apartment after a long day of traveling JJ had it all put together! I spent a long time cleaning up (the mess I've made in that room since my roommate moved out) so I'll take a few pictures tonight. I have definitely moved into a more mature stage of my decorating style...

On a different note- If you have not discovered Catalog Living then I've got a real treat for you. What could be better than witty captions for all of my favorite catalogs? I've noticed myself evaluating catalog photos with much more scrutiny lately.

"Elaine was not amused by Gary’s passive-aggressive response to her request to “garnish the cocktails.”

"Gary, I can't believe that after months of research that's the chair you choose."

"Secretly, Gary had always wondered if all these children were indeed his."

I'll warn you though- the Catalog Living blog becomes very addicting!