Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three things Thursday...drug store beauty edition

Some days, I just feel like I need to share with the world my favorite products. Why? Because I can. And, let's be real, when you find that product, you know, the perfect one-cheap, awesome, and cheap-you feel like bragging about it. And the price. It's what women do.

So here's my top three drug store finds. Enjoy! No particular order, so let's do tha thing.

1) John Freida's full REPAIR line. I only have the conditioner and the root lift foam, but lemme tell ya something: THIS STUFF WORKS. As someone who has probably three times as much hair as any normal person, I'm always on the lookout for good conditioner. I grabbed this on a whim the last time I needed some, and it is absolute perfection. It really does repair your hair, making it smoother and softer. The instructions say for an "intense repair" leave in for 2-5 minutes...well, I always thought that's how long you were supposed to leave it in anyway, so I guess I get intense repair every time! I don't hate it. As far as the root lift foam, mine seems a bit watery, so I shake it up before I use it and blow dry my hair flipped over. It adds a lot of lift the day of, but falls when I sleep on it. But I guess that's to be expected! But at under $6 dollars a piece (I believe), you really can't go wrong with these!

2) Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner. I've never had intense, certifiable acne, but I have struggled the past few years with the more than occasional blemish. I think my skin became acclimated to my usual system that had worked high school through the majority of college (Proactiv), but it was time for a change. I'd tried almost every drug-store brand you can think of and nothing was working. Honestly, I grabbed this out of frustration; I was tired of the creams that proclaimed they worked miracles not working, so I decided to try a toner. Hello! Where has this stuff been all my life? It is absolutely amazing. I use it twice a day on my most problem areas and it is marvelous. During the winter I would recommend lightly swiping on moisturizer after, simply because it can dry out your skin. I believe this is under $6 as well! A steal, if you ask me.

3) Aquaphor Healing Ointment. Honestly, I can't ever remember not using this. My mom used to work as a nurse and would bring home samples from medical reps, and we ALWAYS had a constant supply of Aquaphor. It was like our Windex (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, anyone?), we'd use it on everything; chapped lips, dry skin, I said, everything. I began using it at night on my lips because they tend to dry out easily (fyi? My bad) and those flavored chapsticks just weren't cutting it. I would tell you how much it costs but, honestly, I haven't had to buy it in about 4 years, I think. I'm tellin' ya, a little bit goes a long way! I have the 1.75oz tube and am looking at needing a new one in a few months. So even if it's over $6, I can promise you it's worth it! Plus, it isn't scented or flavored, which I like. Doesn't make you smell like some kind of plastic fruit.

So those are just a few of my favorites, but I'll probably post soon! If you have any other drugstore recommendations (especially makeup! I'm always on the lookout for cheap makeup for experimenting!) let me know!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sneak peak. Eek!

These are just a few of the pictures the lovely Amanda Scott has posted of our wedding. You can see the rest here!

My girls. Don't know what I'd do without them.

Da boyz looking handsome.

All our hard work paid off! And of course, a gorgeous venue helps a little.

Fist pumpin' like a champ.

Best. Wedding. Party. Ever.

And of course, the best husband ever.

 Look at him. So cute.

It was the perfect day filled with the perfect people. It was fun and filled with love and, of course, food! What more could a girl ask for? Nothing.

Except maybe a perfect pregnancy. Or delivery. But you know what? I've got YEARS before I can even think of that.

So right now, I'll just reminisce and count my blessings that my life has been filled with love and the best friends and family. Y'all are the greatest.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Watches-a timeless accessory (ha...get it?)

Is it just me, or have watches suddenly made a comeback? It seems like they're popping up all over pinterest. And I can't get enough of them.

Here are my faves. Just in time for my birthday! Hint hint, haha. But srsly.

Watches 1

These classics can be worn with anything. From left to right:
-Horn Bangle watch from Nine West-- simple, and doubles as a gold bangle! Not crazy about the font on the face, but for the price, it would work!
-ROLEX "Stella"--I love the pop of color in the center! And the day at the top, perfect for someone who can't keep the days straight! (Hint: that's me.)
-Gotta throw some bling in there, and my girl Betsey knows how to do it in style. Her boyfriend watch would be the perfect addition to any outfit!

Next up, my new obsession: wrap watches. Ever since this girl wore one to my engagement session, I've been on the hunt. Thanks to the wide world of pinterest, I found them!
Watches 2

These are all from La Mer. Gorgeous, aren't they? I'm particularly fond of the coral one! AKA I look at it every day.

I'm considering investing in one "statement" watch (yes, the coral one) and then going thrifting for other ones. What do you think? Will one statement cut it, or should I go cheap for all?

(P.S. You're welcome for sparing you from all the watch puns...I was considering telling you about the watches in clockwise order, but I didn't want to waste your time. Bahaha! Okay, I'm done.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Growing up- a challenge to let go

I think there needs to be a manual about how to become a grown up. Or better yet, a class. One with homework and tutorials and instructional videos.

Because I am utterly lost. I guess I assumed once I got married it would all click. Magically, I'd know exactly what to do with my life, where I wanted to be in 10 years, my future career, and I would love doing the dishes. I dreamed of Husband coming home to me proclaiming, "I just got offered 15 jobs that I didn't even apply for! And look, clean dishes and a completely unpacked apartment! Yay for growing up!" Yeah...not so much.

Instead he comes home to me saying, "Well, I applied for jobs, again. I haven't heard back from anyone. I went out to visit places but no one's hiring. Still not sure what I want to do with my life yet. But I unloaded the dishwasher! Oh yeah, and I ate some chocolate chips. Yayyyy?" I feel useless, directionless, lost.

If you would've told me that I'd feel this way during high school, I'd laugh in your face. "Of course not!" I'd say, "I have a plan and God's going to help me." The problem? God's not a sidekick. He's the superhero. I spent practically my entire life planning and waiting, then re-planning when things didn't work out, then waiting, then more planning and...well, you get it. But I didn't.

What was I waiting on? A sign? A miracle? God to pop down and go to the Bux with me to share a Pumpkin Spice Latte (hey, He can indulge)? I'm still not sure, to be honest. But I know I was waiting for my life to start. Always, I thought "Okay, after this my life begins" or "Well, that wasn't planned but after this I'll definitely get the hang of things." And you know what? I haven't.

My whole life I've felt that I always had to have something planned. After high school was college. After college was marriage. After marriage was finding a career before having kids so that Husband and I wouldn't have the financial strain of school and kids. But now, it's after marriage and I've got nothing. And I think that's okay.

During the past few weeks while searching for jobs, I've let myself become enveloped by this feeling of confusion and failure. "How could you do this to yourself? To your marriage?" I was asking myself. And it wasn't until today that I acknowledged, it's okay.

It's okay to feel confused. It's okay to feel like you don't know what's coming next. But you know what it's not okay to feel? Alone. Because you're not. You are loved and cherished by God, the Creator. He's put passion and fire into your heart, acknowledge it. Does that mean He'll email you a map of how your life is supposed to go? Of course not. Does that mean we won't quit asking for exactly that? Nope. What it does mean is that He has made you for a purpose; He's got something in mind for just you. And me, too! Exciting, isn't it?

Because you know what? I'm going to embrace the fact that I'm lost. It's brought me back to who I was made to be...a child of God. And I'm going to search for myself with the innocence and wonder of a child. I'm going to giggle, cry, heck even eat a Popsicle when I'm mad. But I'm not going to stop searching and I pray you don't, either. He's made us for something, something BIG. We've just got to stop waiting, and go for it. 

So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to forget everything I've been taught about being a grown up. I'm going to ignore the fact that I "should" know what I want by now. I'm going to ignore what people say about how I "should" be acting. Because you know the only thing I "should" be doing? Fervently chasing after the One who made me, and you, and even Charlie Sheen, the kook that he is. I'm going to follow my passion, the one thing I know to be true about myself: I want to help people. I want to be able to pray over people. I want to be able to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I did good in the world. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know that through me, His will is being accomplished. I want to be living a life of passion. And, I want to acknowledge that these things take time and sweat and work, but I can do it. Why? Because I've got the Creator of the universe behind me. "BOOYA" doesn't even begin to describe my feelings.

So here's to a new life, starting today. What are you letting go of?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: The Postmistress

Image from here.

 A week after my wedding, I had the privilege of participating in one my dearest friends weddings in Lubbock. My mom picked me up to take me to the airport and about halfway there she asks, "So you've got your iPod, right?" To which I reply, "Oh crap. Yes, but it's not charged. And DANGIT I don't have headphones." She said, "That's okay. You always bring books anyway so you'll be fine." (Silence) "You didn't bring a book, did you?"

For most, this situation would be easily remedied: go to a bookstore in the airport. Simple. Easy. Wham bam thank ya ma'am. Not so much for me.

I'm that person you see in libraries sitting on the floor between the aisles, looking disheveled, distressed, and altogether on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I take book buying (and yes, even borrowing) very seriously. When reading, I invest in the characters, the plot, everything; emotionally, I begin relating to the characters, almost imagining them as good friends. In my mind, they exist. They are real people. That may sound strange, but that's how I operate. And so, you might understand now why buying a book is so difficult. I need to know that the experience will prove to be a good one because, once invested, I can't back out. I think in my entire life, I've only left three books unfinished (No, college reading doesn't count. I was forced to invest in those characters, which is another story entirely).

So while perusing the book store in the airport, I had two things in mind: 1) that the book had to be absolutely fabulous and "unputdownable" and 2) that it had to be relatively cheap. Hey, I'm a newlywed, okay? So after an hour of searching (I wish I was joking), I finally happened upon The Postmistress. It was in the "Most Popular" section and I was intrigued because Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, was quoted on the cover saying she recommended this book to all her friends. I was sold.

And let me tell you, I'm so glad I found that book. Sometimes I find myself in a rut, reading the same thing over and over. But this book was precisely what I needed.

The Postmistress, written by Sarah Blake, alternates between three women: a bold American reporter in London, a newlywed and, naturally, a postmistress. Set during World War II, the story alternates between these three women, intertwining their stories until they are seamlessly woven together. As a reader you're immediately invested in these women through Blake's rhetoric and beautiful and vivid use of imagery; you feel as if you're there.

Other readers debate the quality of the story, claiming there's no plot or character development and the end leaves you begging for more. Personally, I disagree; I found the story refreshing in its "untidiness" and lack of a fairytale ending. The details about American's view of the War are shocking, but true, and while there are some historical inaccuracies regarding technology, Blake is upfront about this and explains her reasoning.

Altogether, I loved this book and would highly recommend it. It's thought provoking, if anything else, and definitely deserves a chance.

Read it and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The hunt.

It's hunting season. And no, I don't mean animals. I'm not that kind of girl.

I'm talking about job hunting. It's cruel. It's harsh. And they don't even have pre-prescribed clothing. Rude.

Honestly, the hardest part is...I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I've checked a few things off my list, but that narrows it down to, oh...everything else.

Do I want to do something creative? Yes. Do I want to help people? Yes. Do I want a career path with flexibility knowing that I want children in the future? Yes. Do I want to have fun? Double yes.

After last year, I've learned that it's not worth it to cave and just start walking in to places that I assume will be an enjoyable workplace. I'm doing my research, but it's taking more time and my results have been less than satisfactory. I usually don't consider myself a proud person, but I'm learning that I do have pride in my work ethic and education; I'm a good employee, and I'm not going to settle for a job that does my hard work and degree injustice....I think. But I don't know. Some jobs I want just because they seem fun. Or, okay, they have a good in-store discount, but is it worth it? Given my past experiences, no. It's not. At all. But the job market is basically...well, to be blunt, horrible. At least for someone like me who has no idea what in the junk she wants to do.

Basically, no one's hiring. Unless you're a welder. Which I'm not.

But hey...maybe that's a sign, huh? Welding it is. I knew this blog was good for something.

Friday, September 16, 2011

a welcome note and our first adventures.

Hello, there. Welcome to my little blog. I have another one that I post on, but I decided I might try out a new one on for size. Le Husband has been encouraging me to write more often so I decided to push myself a little bit farther and start a new blog of, well, everything.

So. I'm glad you're here! And I hope you stick around for a while...

But onto the next topic of choice: the first weeks of being a newlywed. 

I think saying that the first few weeks of marriage are an adventure is, well, an understatement.

Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it's every bit as exciting and confusing as we were told. Living with a boy is not as gross as what I thought it would be (yayyy!) but we're definitely learning what it means to be together all the time.

Here's what we've learned so far:
  • Before you call maintenance for your AC, make sure you check your breaker. Sometimes turning it on helps. But only a little.
  • The pet and smoke smell in your apartment does NOT go away with time. Definitely invest in an AirWick.
  • Electric stoves are hot. Really hot. 
  • Unpacking takes time, patience, and even more time. 
  • Also, most of the stuff you packed....really? Why do you need that? Throw it away. 
  • Gift cards are a life saver.
So there they are, some of our first life lessons together. I know we have plenty more in store but, for now, I think we'll just get used to these.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Super Simple Pesto Sauce

Sorry for the neglect again! I think it's probably safe to say that blogging won't be a regular thing until Camp ends. Saddest day, right? Or somefing.

I thought I'd post really quickly, though, to share a recipe that I've used a few times in the past few weeks. Fiance approves, so that's how you know it's good....okay, not necessarily. Homeboy loves almost everything. But it's good, trust me.

I needed a new sauce recipe for a present I received: A PASTA ROLLER AND CUTTER ATTACHMENT FOR MY KITCHENAID! I know, right?! Fiance's parents are the best of the best. So, for homemade pasta, I knew I needed a sauce that wouldn't be too complicated so that I could focus on making the pasta itself. I adapted my recipe from none other than PW. Her Pesto Cream Sauce recipe looked so tasty, I knew I had to try it. But I didn't want to make the pesto. Lazy, right? You can judge. So here's what I came up with!

This recipe can be made per person, even for just one or two. You can make it and put it on low heat and you'll be good to go. In my eyes, it's the perfect go-to sauce!

Super Simple Pesto Sauce
Remember that this is per person, so adjust accordingly to how many you're feeding!
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon pesto (store bought or your own, up to you!)
  • 1 teaspoons cream cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese (not the green shake-y Kraft cheese, please! It's in your best interest, promise.)

In a saucepan on medium heat, add the cream and butter.  Stir until the butter is completely melted and incorporated. Add the pesto and stir. Honestly, on the cream cheese I guessed on the measurements. I just added what looked like it would work, and would add more as it melted to thicken the sauce. It's always easier to add more, not take it away! But let's be real, cream cheese is cream cheese; I welcome it at all times. Add the parmesan cheese and stir. I usually do a generous pinch, which normally ends up being around two teaspoons. It's salty, like the pesto, so taste after you add it to see what you think!
After the cheese is melted, turn your saucepan to low heat and stir occasionally. When your pasta (measured per person) is cooked and drained, add immediately to the saucepan and stir all the lovely goodness together.

And there you have it! Tasty and simple. I don't think you could ask for anything more.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Progress...and some mushiness.

Sorry for the lack of postage. After my dad and I's Aussie trip I had to hit the ground running. Camp started (yayyy!!!) and wedding planning began full force.  Here's what we've been working on:
  • Pennants pennants pennants! Shout out to my bestie Avery Sarah for helping me with all the sewing. Homegirl's got talent...and a new ruffle foot for her machine! (P.S. You should check out her etsy shop! She makes the cutest stadium dresses. Love love love them.)
  • Shoe shopping. I bought the expensive shoes, tried them on and they didn't look so good, sent them back, thought I found another pair only to discover that they'd already sold, found out they're not made anymore, emailed about 15 random fashion bloggers to ask if I could buy them, no such luck, panic, back up shoes, disaster, constant reminding that they're just shoes. Welcome to my brain, it's cozy here.
  • We found all the blue mason jars we need! Hallelujah.
  • The tea bar. Get ready for some amazing mixes. Think QT style. 
  • Guestbook. It's cuuute.
But I think the most exciting thing that we've finished is...REGISTERING. After hours (literally, like 7 hours on a Saturday. I know, Fiance's a trooper) and hours of researching and scanning and re-scanning and deleting, we're finally finished! You can check it out here, here, here, and even a little bit here.  We did our best to spread out items and pick things that I truly believe we'll use. But I had to constantly remind myself that not everything has to coordinate yet; we're young! We can get away with mismatched things for a while.

All in all, this past month's been a blur. But a recurring thought I've had is this: I am so, so blessed. Between my family, friends, and an amazing Fiance, I sure do have a good life. And I'm getting excited for the wedding, not stressed, which I take to be a good sign.

Speaking of my Fiance (if you don't like mushy things, now's the time to bow out), happy birthday a day early, love! This is the last birthday we'll spend as an unmarried couple...weird! So blessed to be marrying this hunk.

Look at that smile. I'm melting. Thanks for 4 amazing years! I'm so blessed to be marrying a man with a heart for God, children, and serving others. You're a daily source of encouragement and strength and I don't know where I'd be without you. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you. You da best.

There, I'm done. Wasn't too bad, was it?

I'll have some food posts soon. I think I've been slacking on that front. But as Fiance can attest, I think you'll like the recipes! They're focused on fresh, farmer's market ingredients. And it can't get better than that.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Intro to Marriage, Part I

    Me: "Well, I just don't know. I love the look of white bedspreads because they're so crisp and clean, but we probably won't be able to paint our apartment, ya know? And we have the time to play with colors and funky patterns before we have to be super grown-up. But for the plates, I mean, I just CAN'T BELIEVE that they would be double the price at another store! That just doesn't make sense. Why are they so much cheaper? Do they have a deal worked out? Or WHY are the other stores charging that much? It's just so strange, ya know? (long pause) Hey....are you there?"
    Fiance: "Oh, I thought you were just talking stuff out with yourself. What were you saying?"

    I just have to laugh when that happens because you know what? I can't blame him. Half the time, I am calling to talk things out. And I can't help but smile and think, "So this is what marriage is like." Granted, I understand a year from now it won't make me so smiley but hey, I'll laugh while I can.

    Unfortunately I do this to him a lot. Especially right now during The Registration Period. It has capitalized letters because it's a pretty big deal...this is a big step towards the marriage. A stressful step. Like on a Stairmaster. Or on an escalator that's going too fast and you feel like you don't have enough time to step on AND maintain your balance (it happens to you, too, don't lie). Whatever, you understand.

    Because here's the problem...I'm planning for an apartment/living space I've never seen. We don't know what city we'll live in, let alone what apartment complex, which is daunting in and of itself. But planning the decor for an unknown space? Drivin' me crazy. Fiance and I had a "pre-registration" day on Monday where we visited stores to compare products and prices. I thought this would make me feel better, give me better direction for what I want. False. I'm more confused than ever.

    Normally, my problem lies in too many good options. 8 piece nuggets or char-grilled chicken sandwich? Pumps or wedges? Puppies or...fat puppies? All good options. But what if I don't like anything? That's the current situation. Not that I love it all, but that I'd rather not have any. I'm wondering (read: hoping) it's the current awkward-ness of the year. You know, not-quite-spring-but-not-summer-yet thing. Do new styles get released in June? If so, I'll wait until then.

    If not, well....we'll just see what we end up with. On the bright side, Fiance doesn't really care what it looks like. He keeps reminding me that it doesn't matter because we'll be married. I politely remind him that it would be nice to live in some semblance of decoration, but he's right, in the end it doesn't really matter...too much. Lesson learned.

    P.S. Remember this post about registering? I'm going for a Wii. Dream big, right?

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    A cry for help

    Okay, guys. I need some help here. I've fallen in love, and this love is definitely unrequited. Why? Because it's a pair of shoes.

    These, to be exact.
    Sigh. Aren't they lovely? Aren't they perfect? Aren't they just a littleeeee bit over my price range? Okay, a lot. I know it's my wedding day, but I just can't pay that much for shoes. Well that's a lie. Because I really want to, but I think I'd just feel bad...right? I would, wouldn't I?

    I know I have some expert shopper friends out there, so help a sister out, please? Here's what I'm looking for: cute, pretty, that's about it. Okay, not it's not. I'm looking for a thicker heel, but a cute thick heel. Conundrum, I know. I'm going to be walking on grass, so I need something that will prevent me from being wobbly or sinking in the grass. I'm clumsy enough as is, so I don't need my shoes to cause more problems. I've been looking at wedges, but they're borderline too casual. I love these because they're wedges, but dressy. And I love, love, love the chiffon flowers. I don't want ivory least, I don't think I do. I want something I can wear again. Not saying I won't wear ivory shoes again, but the likelihood is a lot smaller. And I do need heels...3 inches to be exact. Then I wouldn't have to hem my dress! I know, right? Perfection.

    So there it is. I've been searching day and night and I feel like I've exhausted all my options, but maybe you guys have seen something different! I'm welcome to any and all suggestions at this point.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Sydney so far

    So far I've loved Sydney! The jet lag's killer, but it's been great seeing seeeestorrr. And we're also here during Sydney's Fashion Week...AWESOME to see, but lotssssss of "I might as well not even try today" clothing experiences. But hey, they're doing their summer fashions and it's almost winter here, so I don't really look like the craziest person out here.

    Here are some pics so far!

    Day 1...ish (We arrived on Sunday but didn't start "sightseeing" until Monday...hence Day 1ish)
    Breakfast at The Coffee Club. Delicious! Dad was a little freaked out that a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato isn't, well....real. So he was very interested in his tiny cup.
    We did a beach walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach...chilly and rainy, but beautiful! Plus, we started it off with gelato covered in melted shame. Hey, we walked it off, so it's all good.

    And I think this is my dad's favorite picture from the trip, so I have to post it.
    Day 2
    Dad and I did a hop-on hop-off bus tour while Em was in class. Not many good pictures because it was cloudyyy. And we caved and had Starbucks. You can judge all you want, but I find Starbucks in other countries SO interesting. Also, America, we've been doing the scone ALL WRONG. The Aussies know what's up.

    BUT we did get to go see Much Ado About Nothing at the Sydney Operahouse! Let me tell was AMAZING. Ohmygoodness. So great. So great that I just need to stop trying to describe it lest I do it more injustice by rambling like I am now.'s a picture of Dad and Em outside!
    Day 3
    Best. Day. Ever.  Emily got out of class early, so we took a bus to Hyde Park (named after the one in London) and visited the Barracks Museum (we went to one in honor of you, Mom!). Sydney history is fascinating. Obviously, I couldn't take pictures in there, but here's one from the park!

    We're sisters, and I have an awkward claw-like hand.

    Then we went to Pie Face. Hello, wonderful. I've tried to be good on points while I'm here, but this was the only thing that I ate every. last. bit. I had the Chicken and Mushroom, Em had the Thai Chicken Curry, and Dad had the Steak and Peppercorn Stacked--stacked meaning that they put mashed peas (sounds weird, but so good!), mashed potatoes, and gravy on top of the pie. They were all deliciousss! And this is me being a super tourist. You can judge. But don't judge my lack of neck. Or my chipped nail polish...I forgot to take it off after my engagement shoot with the lovely Amanda Scott. So leave me alone.

    After lunch we went on a coffee cruise around Sydney. Great food and great commentary. I'm a sucker for informational things like that. I know I said this earlier, but I find Sydney history fascinating; it's such a young country, and yet was modernized in such a short period of time. The weather was perfect, so I got approximately eighty billion pictures of the Operahouse, give or take 79.9 billion. Here's the one I like the best!
    Wait, what's that you're saying? It looks like EVERY other picture you've seen of the Operahouse? I know, I know. But it's mine, so I like it.

    We followed the cruise with Em giving us a tour of University of New South Wales, where she's attending this semester, concluding with a visit to her house and meeting her lovely flat mates, then eating some amazing Thai food! Like I said, best day ever.

    Overall the trip's been great, so I'm looking forward to the rest! Taronga Zoo tomorrow (KOALASSS! I finally get to meet one after years of "K is for koala and Kayla" in alphabet name games), SHOPPINGGGG on Friday, and more beach walks on Saturday! 

    Then, it's back to the real world. And wedding planning. Real wedding planning. Which I've neglected for a long time....but I'm choosing not to think about that right now.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Something old, something new...

    Something borrowed...well, that's kind of gross, isn't it?

    I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but I have a dress. A wedding dress. A dress for my wedding. Because I'm getting married.

    It's white and I love it. That's all I'm going to tell you. I like being mysterious. That and Le Fiance doesn't want to know ANYTHING about what I'm wearing that day. Nothing. Which is kind of okay with me, it just gets hard to keep my mouth shut. Oh, the things we do for love.

    But now that I have the dress, I'm running into problems. The old adage "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" is great and all, but what's old that I could wear on my wedding day? That kind of weirds me out. And I'd like to borrow something, but what? What do you borrow from people? Thinking about it kind of gives me the shivers. The new part is easy: dress, duh. And so is the blue. One of the first presents Fiance gave me was blue rope bracelet; it's plain, it's kind of camp-y, but I love it. When he gave it to me he said "Every time you look at this think of me" (cheesy, judge) and I do. And he has a "matching" yellow one, so somewhere on my person will be the blue bracelet. But can you double up on them? Can I get blue shoes, too? Then it would be "Something old, something new, something blue and another thing blue" right? Does that count? Or can I just change it altogether?

    I know that somehow, some way I will have all things "something." But what do I borrow? I want to borrow accessories (again, can't say much because of Fiance) but I'm kind of (okay, REALLY) picky. And can I buy shoes and wear them and count them as "old"? I just don't know these things.

    But the main thing is I have a dress. OH and a fiance. A wonderful one, at that.

    What did you borrow on your wedding day? Or did you opt out of that tradition?

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    The "I Dos"

    I think hands-down, one of the hardest things about wedding planning is remembering what comes after: the marriage. Don't get me wrong, I think about the marriage part all the time. We're going through premarital counseling right now, so we're DEFINITELY learning about how things "really" go (I know what you're thinking, "Wait, it's not all cuddles and romantic dinners?" I know, it surprised me too! Kiddingggggg.). But somewhere between the cake tasting, decoration making, and vendor confirming it's easy to lose sight of what the wedding means and symbolizes, the joining of two people. Forever.

    And maybe that's why I struggle so much with the vows. To me, the vows are what "make" the ceremony. The vows are, in essence, a snapshot of the couple; it's the part I wait for and look forward to at every ceremony. What are they promising to do? To have and to hold? Or to take out the trash every Tuesday and let her cook one chocolate dessert every week? I think traditional vows are perfect for some couples, repeating words that have been voiced for centuries and saying the same things your parents said is a powerful thing. I also like non-traditional vows, ones that are unique to the couple.

    But I see issues with both. The traditional vows are just that...traditional. I love them, I do, but Scott and I aren't exactly traditional people and our wedding will reflect that. I think the words are touching, but just not "us." Then there are non-traditional, which are cute, but sometimes leave people out of the loop and asking "Wait, what'd he just say?" or "Was that supposed to be funny? I don't get it." Granted, I know this is our ceremony, but it's still a day that we're sharing with people and I don't want to have to plant people in attendance to laugh at the right time. That's just awkward.

    So I think we'll combine both, traditional and non-traditional. Maybe we'll just re-word some things and make it more "us" or maybe we'll google "vows" and see what happens (Is that bad? Because that's probably what we'll be doing.).

    Either way, I can practically promise you that some of what this darling couple says will make it in there. Seriously. I cry every time I watch this.

    Gene + Jill // Two Pease in a Pod from capture studios on Vimeo.

    I mean, really? So adorable. I die.

    So what were your vows? Did you go the traditional route, or choose to write your own?

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

    Last week my family and I went to a Mexican restaurant here in town. For most people in our area, this is not uncommon (let's be real, most people have Bueno almost once a week); for me, though, well let's just say I'm not a big fan of Mexican food. It makes my tummy feel funny.

    So imagine my surprise when we ordered a dish that I LOVED. I mean, downright wanted to stop eating and take it home just so I knew I could have it the next day. I didn't, of course, because I wanted to eat it then, too. My mom and I looked at the menu online because I needed to decide what I wanted before we got there (I'm notorious for taking wayyyy too long to decide at the restaurant) and we saw on the appetizer list something intriguing: sweet corn tamale cakes. Hmm. I like corn, but I don't like tamales. But it was topped with avocado so of course I said, "Sign me up!"

    After dinner, I declared that I would recreate the dish at home. I had to. I needed to have a recipe like this in my life. I would say I came pretty close...of course I didn't get everything right, I knew I wouldn't. But that just gives me an excuse to go back, right? Perfect!

    Enjoy the recipe! If I had to do it over again, I would probably double the recipe. This cake wasn't dense necessarily, it just didn't rise like the cakes at the restaurant. I considered baking it in muffin tins, but was hesitant about the baking time. Let me know if you try it!

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    Sweet Corn Tamale Cake with Creamy Avocado Topping
    Adapted from Knead for Speed's recipe

    Corn Cake
    • 1 can (14-15ish oz) sweet corn, drained--YES, sweet corn. Nothing else. Hence the sweet corn cake.
    • 1/2 cup masa harina (you can find it at Wal-Mart in the Hispanic food section!)
    • 3 tablespoons yellow corn meal
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • a little over 1/4 cup honey--I just let it overflow for a second. I like sweet things, okay?
    • 3 tablespoons water
    • 2 tablespoons skim milk
    Creamy Avocado Topping
    • 1 avocado
    • 3 tablespoons whipped cream cheese--get it out of the fridge when you start making the cake. You'll want it to be a little bit soft.
    • a little bit of honey
    • one Roma tomato
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray.

    Using a blender or food processor, blend the sweet corn until it's smooth but still a little bit chunky. Set aside for later.

    In a small bowl, combine the masa harina, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Save for later.

    Beat the butter until fluffy using an electric mixer. Make sure you're using a bowl big enough for all the ingredients, but not so big that you feel like you're just chasing the butter around the bowl. I'm speaking from experience, here. Add the honey, corn mixture, water and milk to the butter. Mix to combine. Then add your masa harina mixture to the honey/corn/butter/etc mixture and mix to combine.

    Pour your batter into your baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

    While it's baking, you can whip up the avocado topping. Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, and cut the avocado into medium-sized squares. Place in a small bowl. For the cream cheese, I used whipped for two reasons: one, I felt like it would coat the avocado better and two, I'm on Weight Watchers and still really wanted cream cheese so this was my solution. Measure out the whipped cream cheese and add it to the avocados. Drizzle a little honey in, to taste. Using a rubber spatula, stir all ingredients together until the avocados are coated and it looks like the honey's been incorporated. Cover and put in the fridge until you serve the corn cake. Dice up the tomato and set aside.

    When you're ready to serve, cut the cake in squares (Knead for Speed even recommends using a cookie scoop! I think I should have done that) and top with avocado topping and diced tomato. Drizzle a little more honey on if you wish, and enjoy!

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    What not to wear

    Thanks for your comments regarding the arbor! I think I've come to a decision....I'm going to go with the fabric-draped arbor! Not sure if I'll use color fabric or not, but I just think it will be the right touch of whimsy. Or something like that.

    I thought that deciding upon the arbor would open the gates to decision-making across the wrong I was. I still have so, so many decisions to make. So. Many. Decisions. But I have been making some progress! The biggest accomplishment is purchasing bridesmaids dresses. They're CUTE, let me tell ya. Now all we have to decide is what the boys are wearing, what shoes I'm going to wear, what kind of veil I'm wearing, how to decorate the mantle in the lodge, what's going on the aisle for the ceremony, what our programs will look like.....okay, so we've still got a way to go.

    But the awesome news is...WE'RE GETTING OUR ENGAGEMENT PICTURES TAKEN SOON! I'm. so. excited. We're getting them taken at Camp, where we met. Now the most pressing decision for me is....what the junk do I wear? Seriously. I love fashion and styling, but I'm so lost. Do we "theme" the shoot? If so, I'm not really up for wearing our Camp gear; Chacos and Nike shorts aren't exactly the most "bride-like" attire. We're probably going to bring a quilt to the shoot (I know, kind of engagement-cliche but I like it) and Fiance's going to bring his ukulele, but other than that I really have no ideas.We've thought about doing a picnic-y type thing, with me baking some treats and what not, but I didn't know if that was too much. So, again, I'm asking for your help! I do have an idea on one outfit but still need help. I've been making some style boards on Polyvore but am still open to suggestions! I'm lookin' to this gal for style inspiration, too. Because she's adorable. And I love her.

    Also, do you think I should get my make-up done for this? Seriously. It's a pretty well-known fact that I'm, well, less than skilled with makeup. Also known as if I leave the house with anything more than mascara and blush it's a good day. I've been debating this for a while and didn't know if that was too much.

    So help a sista out. Let me know what I should wear! I know that you're not completely familiar with my closest (thank goodness) but generics work well, too! Looking forward to your opinions. I know I've got some super-stylish friends out there.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Help, prease?

    In my hunt for all things wedding, I've noticed that I gravitate towards decorations that could be considered "whimsical." The problem, however, is that they also could be considered "childish" or "trashy." There's a very, very fine line between these adjectives. And I feel like I'm gravitating towards the "trashy."


    A source of major concern is the arbor. Do I want to decorate with real flowers? Do I want to decorate with streamers? Pom pom streamers? Honeycomb balls hung on streamers? Chiffon draped over the arbor? The answer is yes. To all of them.

    Honestly, I think my main concern is this: I don't want people to think that I'm taking my marriage lightly. Believe me, I understand that marriage is a blessing, but I also acknowledge that it takes work. Lots of work. Fiance and I are under no illusions that marriage will always be hunky dory; it takes time to adapt to living with another person, and even 50 years down the line it will still be difficult.

    But does that mean I can't have loads of tissue paper and streamers everywhere? I honestly don't know. As a couple, fiance and I aren't exactly the most serious people. And by that, I mean we're goofy. All de timez lolz (Too much? Yeah, I figured.). So at the reception, I know we can get away with having some fun little decorations around. But is it pushing it to have them at the ceremony?

    Basically, I need your help. Do we go pseudo-traditional and have flowers on the arbor? Or do we go with the whimsical-ness of streamers and pom poms? Or do we combine a little of both, with chiffon-like fabric and some other decorations? I'm letting (read: begging) y'all help decide!

    So here's what the arbor looks like (it's from behind but you get the idea). It's kind of pixelated, but it can be found here:

    And here are the options (click on the links for bigger pictures!):
    This was my original idea for the arbor. Simple and sweet. I still love it. If you need picture inspiration, check her photos out. I LOVE them.

    These are some garlands made of dyed coffee filters. I love this. In different colors, I think it would be beautiful!

    Ohhh my dear, I love this, too. In shades of light pink and turquoise? Yes, please.

    Oh doilies. My weakness. So pretty. Can you picture garlands of these? I can.

    So I know these are on a car, but can I still think it would be super cute on an arbor!
    ...and then there's these. This one's the perfect color, and this one's just plain gorgeous.

    So what do you think? Which one do you think would look the best with my whimsical wedding? Looking forward to hearing your opinions!

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    diy? Try d-i-die.

    From the beginning of wedding planning, I have decided to make a lot of things for this wedding myself; not all, mind you, but a lot of things. I like knowing that the ceremony and reception will have personal touches, things that I made specifically for Fiance and I's special day. And, let's be real here, I did like (okay, love) the idea of having control over things. If I make them and mess them up, my fault, try again! If someone else makes them and messes them up...bad news. So, so bad. Plus, I had over a year to make everything, right?

    Oh, how wrong I was. Now, here we are, six months out from le wedding and what have I made? Uhmmm....nothing. I've purchased some things, but overall, the whole DIY thing isn't going too well.

    This is where the panic sets in. I know it's probably too soon, but it's happening just the same. Gone are the days that I could claim I had a year to make things. Sigh.

    So, my friends, if you get an invitation to a "super fun girl's night!" bring a glue gun, a paintbrush, some thread, and a good attitude. I'm putting you to work.

    The good news? I have a dress, a venue, a caterer, an officiant, a photographer, a bomb set of bridesmaids, and a smokin' hot fiance.

    Bring it on, September.

    And because I know you're dying to's a sneak peak of some centerpiece ideas we're working on! And some fabric to be used elsewhere. And flowers from Fiance because he's the best. And my kitchen table, but we're not bringing that to the wedding. That would be just plain weird.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Contradiction Cookies

    I've never claimed to be a simple person. As my Grandpa puts it, "Girl, you're what we call high maintenance." I think I'd have to agree.

    I'm a woman of many contradictions, especially when it comes to food. Oranges? No thanks. Orange juice and Pellegrino? Sign me up. (Like I said, high maintenance.) Ham? I'd really rather not. Ham and cheese quiche? Yes, please! (Secret's out, Mom! I really do like it.) Cheesecake? Not so much. Debbie Thomas's cheesecake for Tea? Ohhhhhh snapppp, I'm in. Mexican food? My stomach hurts thinking about it. Cafe Elote? Get in the car, we're leaving now. (I blame this girl for dragging me along..and by dragging I mean I prayed for a snow day so I didn't have to go to work and could tag along.)

    Well, my friends, I now present you with another food contradiction. I've never been a fan of anything mint flavored. To be honest, (nerd alert) it reminds me of asthma attacks. Anyone else have to suck a peppermint and drink warm water during an attack? Anyone? No. Moving on.

    As much as I hate mint flavored things, I borderline despise mint and chocolate. It just plain weirds me out; chocolate needs to be enhanced, not funkified.

    Here comes the contradiction: these cookies. Oh. My. Lanta. I first had these cookies about a year ago at Fiance's house. It's his Grandma's recipe, and his mom had made them for Christmas. The second I ate that cookie, I saw the chocolate and mint light: it all made sense.

    And so, I share them with you. It's only right. But don't worry, I'll spare you the recipe Fiance sent me; I'll put it this way, it took me a while to decode. Daises=flour, etc. He's a goob, that one. But I love him.
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    Andes Mint Cookies
    • 1 cup butter
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 Tbsp water
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3.5 cups flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • Andes mint baking chips or Andes mints
    Preheat oven to 375.

    Cream together butter, both sugars, and eggs. Add water and vanilla, stir to combine. Then add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix together well. Now, here's the part where you can get creative! I add in about 3/4 a bag of Andes mint baking chips and mix it all up and love my life. But, since I'm generous, I'll give you some options. Also known as what I think is the original way of making them. If you want to make things look a little fancy, you can wrap the dough around half an Andes mint and seal the seam with a pecan. Mmm.

    I used just scant of a cookie scoop and ended up with around 75 cookies. But don't worry, these things disappear like David Blaine. Okay, that's weird. Ignore that.

    Bake for 8-10 minutes and love your life. Make sure you keep a secret stash for yourself. You won't regret it.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Cake lust

    For some unknown reason, snow days always make me want to bake. A lot. More than usual, which is saying something because the "usual" for me is a borderline obsession. I got away this time with making Dulce de Leche Blondies (Heaven. In a pan. You'll get the recipe, don't you worry) but alas, my family does not appreciate the abundance of baked goods in a house we're forced to stay in. Weird, right? I know. Maybe I'll get to sneak some scones in later.

    Okay, no I won't. I already asked and Dad said no. Saddest day of all days.

    So instead of baking, I'm focusing all my energy onto looking at wedding cakes. This is something that I've struggled with. Mainly because I love cake. But wedding cakes are OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive. I mean really, over $900? For a cake without fondant? Ridiculous. But I digress. I struggle with this's cake.

    Basically, I love cake. Fondant is icky. It tastes gross and they peel it off before they serve it anyway, so why pay for it? Stick with buttercream; the words I could use to describe my love for buttercream are just plain wrong, so I won't.

    However, this is not to say that I don't enjoy and appreciate artisan decorated cakes. I do, I truly do. There's so much time and skill that go into them...I would never have the patience for it! I just think that for my own wedding cake, I would like something more...simple. And easily edible. I like cake too much to have one that's so gorgeous that I won't let anyone touch it.

    Sufficiently confused? Welcome to my life.

    Here are my top five favorite cakes so far. Let me know what you think!

    This cake kills me. I've seen a lot of them lately, but I don't care. The ruffles! Ohh...I die.

    And this cake....just. make. it. stop. So perfect. I want it in my life forever and always.

    I. Love. This. Cake. Simple and elegant. I'm a sucker for flowers on cakes. Think what you want.

    If I were having a candy bar, I'd be all over this one. Candy + cake= sheer brilliance.

    I think this one might be my favorite, though. I'm a sucker for peonies.

    So there you have it. The cakes I've been drooling over. And who knows, maybe I'll bake something within the next 24 hours to cure my affliction.

    You hear that, Dad? Can I can I?

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Just trust me on this one...

    Welcome to snowcation 2011!! I can't lie, I LOVE this weather. Being curled up with a book and some hot chocolate, sign me up!

    The recipe I'm sharing today comes from Sage Culinary Studio here in Tulsa. This was, hands down, the staff's favorite recipe! It's easy to make, and for the most part you'll have these ingredients on hand. We made this for classes, but also for birthday parties for the kiddos. It was always a hit! If you're in Tulsa, I highly recommend checking out Sage! They offer classes for kids, and the adult classes? Forget about it. De-lish-us.

    Now, when you see the title of this recipe, you might wince and shake your head in confusion. But listen, you have to trust me. This recipe is so simple and delicious, you might find yourself making it all the time! Okay, maybe not all the time, but pretty often. Enjoy!

    Melting Tuna Calzone
    Adapted from the recipe found here, on Sage's website. Scroll down to the bottom for a list of recipes. Check out the Chicken-Ooh-La-La. DIVINE. Seriously. Spring for the Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese and you won't regret it.
    • 1 can tuna in water, drained and flaked
    • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
    • 3 tbsp. mayo
    • 2 tbsp. sliced green onions
    • 1/2 teas. lemon juice
    • 1/4 teas. dried dill weed
    • 1/8 teas. pepper
    • 1 package Pillsbury Crescent Creation (have you tried this stuff? Brilliant, I say.)
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until well mixed. Press out the crescent dough on a well-floured surface until it is roughly 16x11. Cut the dough into six squares and spoon the tuna mixture into the middle. Spread out the mixture slightly, but not to the edges; it will spread as it cooks, but you want to make sure that you don't get lots of dough on the edges. Fold the squares in half diagonally and use a fork to crimp the edges to seal. Once the edges are sealed, do not press the tuna mixture. Don't want it coming out the sides! Bake 12-14 minutes until deliciously golden brown. Serve with a veggie-loaded salad. Yum!

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Chocolate Lovin'

    If you're anything like me (and let's just hope you aren't), sometimes you just need chocolate. And you need it in a hurry. You don't want to mess around with making anything, so maybe you eat a small candy bar, pop a few chocolate chips in your mouth, or eat a spoonful of frosting (What? No one else does that? Awkwardddd).

    Well, let me introduce to you the perfect mini dessert to fix your chocolate wants and needs. 3 ingredient brownies...what more could you ask for? Okay, there's a lot of things you could, but you shouldn't. Dip the brownies in a simple ganache and you, my friend, have the ideal snack. The best part is, you probably won't have to go grocery shopping! I know, right? You're welcome.

    When I found this recipe the other day I knew I had to try it, and after I tried it I knew I had to share. Enjoy!

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    Nutella Brownies
    Recipe adapted from I'll Have What She's Having
    • 1/2 cup of Nutella
    • 1 egg
    • 5 tablespoons of flour
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    Mix your Nutella with the egg, stirring until smooth. I used a fork for this part, just to whisk up the egg a bit before combining it with the Nutella. Add the flour, and stir until everything is incorporated. The consistency will be strange (at least, it was to me) so don't get worried. It's all good! Literally.

    Grease a mini muffin tin and fill the cups about 3/4 full. I used a rounded 1/2 tablespoon, and that was perfect. Bake the brownies for about 10-12 minutes. The original recipe for the brownies calls for dusting them with sugar, but I went a different direction. A chocolate direction. I took the road less traveled, if you will. And it HAS made all the difference. Too much? Yeah, I figured.

    Easy Chocolate Ganache
    Proportions and recipe adjusted from the lovely Bakerella's recipe
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 2 oz chocolate chips
    Bakerella's recipe calls for heating the butter and cream in a saucepan until just before the boiling stage. You can do that! Or if you're super anxious like me, you can microwave it for about 45 seconds. Just make sure you watch it so that it doesn't boil. Add in the chocolate chips and let it sit for a few seconds, then stir until everything is smooth and glossy and loveable. Dip your mini brownies into the ganache, twisting as you pull up so that the strings of ganache break. And there you go! You can eat immediately or let the ganache harden a little. Up to you. The choice is yours.

    And there ya go! See? I told you it was easy.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    The only frosting recipe you'll ever need

    This year, like it was for many others, was a whirlwind year for me. Constant changes and excitement, I feel like the best way to sum up my year comes in one word: transition.

    I had to transition from the role of pupil to teacher during my semester of student teaching. That in and of itself was a learning experience in so many ways. I had to transition from college life to the "real world"--complete with all the excitement and disappointment that brings. Shifting from a girlfriend to a fiance, well, I couldn't have asked for a better transition!

    And now, in 2011, I'm preparing for another year of transitions. New job, wedding planning, the actual wedding...and more things that I'm sure I just don't know of yet! And I can't wait.

    I don't have many resolutions for this year, aside from just remembering the most important part of the wedding (my dress, duh. No, just keedinggg, the marriage!). But one that I plan on keeping is to blog more. For real this time.

    So, in order to keep up with my resolution, I'll leave you with this, the only frosting recipe you'll ever need. Trust. Me. If you've never tried Swiss Meringue Buttercream (also referred to as SMBC on some blogs. I don't feel like I've gained to experience to use such acronyms) you must. You have to. Brave through whatever fears you have, and you won't regret it. I promise. It will sound weird, using egg whites and what not, but you just have to trust me. This frosting is so versatile. I've made caramel, chai spice, and peanut butter flavors! And I can't wait to try more.

    Swiss Meringue Buttercream
    This recipe is a combination of a million different recipes, but here's the basic recipe that I've found works best. I did, however, use this list of specific ways to improve the frosting. It really helps!
    • 2 large egg whites
    • 1/2 cup of sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 sticks of salted butter, cut into pieces
    • any flavors you wish, to taste
    Combine the egg whites and sugar in a bowl. If you have a stand mixer, go ahead and use that bowl. I don't like dirtying more dishes than necessary! Place the bowl over a pot/pan of boiling water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the egg whites constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Then, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture until white and glossy. This might take a while, about 3 minutes, but the key is that the mixture must be cool. Seriously, it has to be room temperature before adding the butter. Switch to the paddle attachment on your mixer, add your butter 2 tablespoons at a time. Mix on medium speed, making sure to mix well after each addition of butter (about 10 seconds). After adding all the butter, turn your mixer on the high setting, and let it go. It will take a while, it will look curdled and nasty, but just let it happen. At about 5 minutes, your frosting will begin to come together. After your frosting is complete, add your vanilla extract and whatever flavors you wish! Set the mixer on low, make sure it's all mixed up, and you're good to go! Frost cupcakes, cakes, spoons that you plan on licking later...what? You don't do that, too? I never said my resolution was to eat better. =) Enjoy!