Valentines Day Festivities

Hey There!

Guys, game changer for next year: Papa John’s and Domino’s both offer Valentine’s Day pizza specials! And they come heart shaped!!

For V-Day this year, I had a cute little surprise for the Fellow all planned out. I bought him a fancy, rocking pizza cutter he’d been wanting and planned to order him the heart-shaped Valentine’s pizza with a note that said, “You’ve got a pizza my heart!”

You know I love me some cheese, and not just on my pizza!

Unfortunately, with Amazon packages coming and going for both of us so frequently, . . . he accidentally opened the pizza cutter and ruined the surprise. But he still loved the gift.

The Fellow got me a Valentine’s gift as well, and he really picked out a neat one – a realistic heart key chain and a single red rose. So sweet!

We rarely get pizza, so it was a real treat to spend a night in snuggled up on the couch, watching a movie, and eating some yummy pizza!

What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

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Winter Storm Maya

Hey There!

Want to know a secret? I haven’t changed my mantle decorations over to Valentine’s Day yet! In fact, I think I’m going to skip it. I’ll switch to St. Patrick’s Day in March.

So right now my mantel is full of glitter-frost covered pine, rustic lanterns, a snowman lamp, and a small painting of snow-covered pine trees. Frankly, with the weather we’re having, I think it’s perfect! We’re toddling between rain and freezing rain with a potential for snow tomorrow.

As scary as it is to drive in, ice-covered trees are one of my favorite things! I’ve been enjoying all of the beautiful winter scenes.

I wandered out for a bit to snap a few pictures I thought I’d share with you.

What are your favorite bits about winter weather? Let me know!

Poorly Prepared

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Ooh, my, y’all. I try. I really try to keep it all together. I make lists on lists. I keep a blanket in my car and always have a toothbrush stashed “just in case,” and then sometimes I miss the mark entirely. Best of intentions, right?

As you know, each month we get together with our camping friends and have a potluck. We usually go out and sit around a campfire, hang out, sing, and generally have a good time.

Well, a year or so ago, the host got a propane fire pit, and we’ve been using it pretty heavily when the weather is icky.

Considering it had been snowing and raining and gross for weeks, I just figured that the back field would  be mush, the wood would be wet, and we’d stick to the fire pit when we met this month.

I was wrong.

So there I am in my little cloth flats, the Fellow in his crocs, all our friends outside and us stuck inside.

I decided that I wasn’t missing out on the fun, so we tied some Walmart bags over our shoes and off we shuffled!


They really did a good job of keeping us warm, but they were slick! I was a bit concerned I was going to fall one or twice.

What’s that saying? “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

What are your poorly prepared for the weather stories? Let me know!

My Grandmother, the Prankster

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Oh, friends. When will I ever learn?

As you know, the Fellow and I are working to get the house finished and organized. I’m also trying to get some routines established and incorporate some time-savers into my schedule to make the work week go a bit smoother.

Well, I heard the price of stamps was going up. I decided I would purchase two books of stamps before the price increase, so that I had them on hand especially since I never like to run to the post office and can never find a stamp when I need one.

The next day I’m in Costco, and I see a sign on the aisle that said they sold stamps. Perfect! That saved me a trip across town. I asked the cashier for two books, swiped my card, and headed out to the car.

When I got home, I looked at the receipt. The store was so loud on a Saturday afternoon that I guess I didn’t hear the total and was too preoccupied with getting the giant cart out of the way that I didn’t take notice to the screen. Come to find out, Costco doesn’t sell books of stamps. It sells packages of stamps – 100 to a package!

I had bought 200 stamps.

Of course, the Fellow teased me about it, and I had to tell on myself to my mother. She got a good chuckle and sweetly offered to buy half of the stamps.

Fast forward a few days, and this text message hits my phone:

Oh. My. Gosh. Now being a child of the days of chain mail and spam messages, I knew better than to believe it. The main give away was that the phone number was a PA area code. I did start to respond back with “Nice try, but this is not a DC number.” However, I decided it’s usually best not to engage with a spammer.

Despite not responding to the messenger, I couldn’t resist screenshotting it and sending it to my mother who was in a car with my father, aunt, and uncle on their way to the Groundhog’s Day festivities in Punxsutawney (that’s another story) and asked that she visit me in jail.

Apparently her reaction had them laughing for miles. (She gets a bit excited at things.) Despite my reassurances that it was just an incredibly coincidental hoax message, she was still a bit concerned she’d gotten me into trouble with the Feds.

I didn’t really give it much more thought until my grandmother called me and mentioned it. My mother and she talk every day so she had filled her in. She asked me if I thought it was funny, and I said that it was uncanny how well-timed the message was. Well, as it turns out, it was so well-timed because my grandmother was the prankster!

She thought up the prank and had her landlord send me the text from his PA number, so I wouldn’t recognize it!

Grammy said that she wished she could’ve timed it closer to April Fool’s Day, but she couldn’t keep it going that long.

What do you think about Gram’s trickery? Has anyone played an awesome prank on you? Let me know in the comments below!

Dinner Party Advice

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Oh, friends. As I write this, I am standing in my kitchen with two pots boiling behind me, sauce dripped across my sweater, a burn on my arm, and guests arriving for dinner in 10 minutes.

I know I should know this by now, but sometimes . . . Pinterest is. a. LIE.

It’s hard to entertain on the weekend. Sometimes we have so many plans, so some friends and I tend to gather on weekdays. This time it was my turn to host, so I turned to Pinterest – a quick and easy 3-cheese sausage toratlini in the crock pot. How perfect!

Except . . . 6 hours on low, and my sauce was still uncombined ingredients. No worries. I’ll transfer it to a pot and turn it to high and let it cook down. I reached over the crockpot to grab a ladle and burned my arm on its edge.

That’s OK. I can still make this work. I think I’ll put it into a pot and stir. Only the more I stirred, the more I realized my cream cheese was NOT incorporating (or cooperating)!

Frantic with only 40 minutes until my guests arrival, I thought, “I know! I’ll use the giant food processor that the Fellow insisted we needed!”

I tried to pour the sauce into the processor only to realize that it all wouldn’t fit. No worries – two batches! I went to dump the one batch into a holding pot, and the entire processor fell apart into the pot!

After fishing the pieces out of my sauce, I got it back into its pot and the dishes done.

However, the sauce still just wasn’t thickening! I tried adding cheese – no luck. A quick Google search told me to add cornstarch and that started to do the trick.

10 minutes till 7. I was going to make it!

Little J stirred the sauce, while I finished up last details, like the garlic bread. I opened the oven and stopped. I’d completely forgotten to make the asparagus!

What. A. Mess.

A comedy of errors in my kitchen.

At the end of it all, I’m sure we’ll have had a wonderful evening, but it did remind me of some sage advice I’d been given in the past: When you have company, make a comfortable favorite recipe you’re familiar with!

Bathroom Remodel Inspiration

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By the time we get the cottage settled, The Fellow is going to be a DIYer or dead. Not entirely sure which.

When we first moved in, we painted almost everything, but left the bathroom as it was. Since the color didn’t offend me too much, I figured we could let it go for a while.

The toilet and the tub, however, drive my husband INSANE. He’s hated them since day one and has lately started talking about switching them out. I figure if we’re doing that much, we may as well paint and fix a few other things as well.

Originally, my plan was to do a mermaid/nautical-themed bathroom, but I’ve been stepping away from that thought. I may add a few ocean-inspired pieces, but I don’t think I’m going to go as far with that theme as originally planned.

I like the idea of something like this along the top of the furniture board. Buy it here:https://pin.it/gsxvucj2dn3wyt

Instead, I’ve become obsessed with deep peacock teal and white bathrooms! My goal is to put up a furniture board with hooks for our towels along the large, blank wall opposite the vanity. The room will be white above the board and blue beneath it. Right now our fixtures are all silver, but I’d like to switch to gold, but that may be a later addition.

This photo has largely been my inspiration, only with the colors reversed. Check out the Elsie Marie’s bathroom remodel post here: https://pin.it/roa3h6zeargdld

We don’t have a firm date for this project yet, so for now I just get to plan and search for inspiration!

What do you think about such a vibrant color in a small space? Let me know in the comments below!

Frozen

Y’all. It. Is. COLD.

Like, beyond winter, like 8 degrees in my car in the morning. FROZEN.

This is my absolute least favorite type of weather, and it’s the reason I hate winter.

It’s dark. It’s grey. It’s cold, and just when you think you’re going to make it through, it’s BITTER.

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Muppet Christmas Carol (Shush! It’s amazing.). When it gets this cold and I still have to go to work, the only thing I can think of is the scene where Scrooge’s clerks are shivering, asking for another scoop of coal on the fire because their pens have turned to inkcicles!

Fortunately, I have a pair of USB heated gloves so things won’t get that bad at my desk, but still. I’m contemplating getting a heated car seat cushion. The ride to work is so short that my car never quite gets warm.

I’ve bought a few new skirts I’ve been itching to try and finally just broke down and bought fleece-lined pantyhose which have been kinda wonderful.

What are your tricks to beat a brutal winter cold snap?

Ladies Only

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Today’s post is going to be a little personal.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to go ahead and label it “Ladies Only.”

I’d like to talk you about that *ahem* time of the month that most guys (or family members and probably definitely male family members) probably don’t want to hear about!

Ok?  Head on out, fellows, and I’ll see you next week!
(Or hey, hang out if you’re comfy. You go, dude!)

Now, ladies (and brave men), maybe you were taught that some things were delicate and not to be discussed. Am I right? I know that I certainly was! ( I can just imagine my mother blushing as I’m typing!)

However, things are pretty open between my friends, and women are having some awesomely open conversations over the Internet as well. So after having several conversations around one topic, I can’t help but want to share something on a sensitive subject: periods.

There, I said it.

Way back when I was first learning to navigate this time of the month, there were really only two mainstream options presented – tampons or pads. Being into sports, active, and loving to swim, tampons were the natural choice. However, now that I’m older I’ve switched to two things that have absolutely changed my life – the Divacup and reusable panty liners.

Now when I  heard the first conversations about menstrual cups, I was not on board. It sounded gross, messy, and difficult to manage.

But after reading some articles and threads about the subject, I decided to give it a try.

What an AMAZING change!

I have had practically 0 cramps since switching, which makes no sense  to me, but is an awesome side effect a lot of women report. Even if that wasn’t a factor, it’s just been so much easier to deal with since making the switch! No more rushing out to the store, trying to do period math for how many tampons to take on a trip, or trying to manage a sneaky hand-off from a gal pal at work or school when you miscalculate. Since both the cup and the liners are reusable, I always have the necessary supplies on hand!

While I love it, I will say it’s not for everyone. My initial thought was right. It’s messy, but not difficult. You need to be comfortable with your body and blood. That’s about all I’m going to say on the matter, but I think you can kind of understand why those things need to be a consideration especially if you’re a bit squeamish.

You also only need to “change” the cup every 12 hours. I typically do it in the morning, after lunch (maybe), and before bed instead of every 4-6 hours like a tampon.

The cup also has no risk of TSS,  creates less landfill waste, and can be cheaper in the long-run than buying tampons or pads each month. There are a few different brands on the market to ensure a perfect fit for your body.

The panty liners took more getting used to than the cup because I never wore pads. I don’t like things to be bulky or feel like I’m wearing a diaper. I love these because they’re relatively thin and easy to care for. The ones I purchased come with a waterproof bag so if you did need to change throughout the day, you just wash, wring, and bring home in the bag, no worrying about carrying home a sopping mess. I’ve had no issues with overflow or staining. I discovered both of these while looking for ways to decrease out landfill footprint.

Along with both of these things, you guys should check out the Clue App! It’s a complete game changer. It tracks your cycle, PMS, mood, energy levels, exercise, weight , ailments, and fertility if you need it. It also sends reminders if you’re bad about remembering when to expect that visitor. And all that is on the free version! I LOVE this app!

Ok,  I feel better that I’ve shared an option that could benefit the women connected with me in my life. I hope I didn’t shock and scandalize you too badly!

Missing Wedding Dress!

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Oooh my, y’all.

Once upon a time, I thought that weird things happened to everyone, and I just had a knack for storytelling. Then more and more people told me, “Nope. This type of thing could only happen to you,” and I realized . . . they’re right!

Here’s a doozy for you!

Back in October if you remember, we did our wedding photo retakes which I LOVE. Since we were already out and about and had the dress in the car, I went ahead and dropped it off at a local dry cleaners to be cleaned and preserved. They go through and clean and presss each layer; then put it into a sealed box to preserve the dress and prevent discoloring.

There was a pretty long wait time, and the dress was supposed to be ready to be picked up in November.

Thanksgiving came and went. No call.

I checked in at one point in December, and they said that they were just running a bit behind but that they would call me when it was ready.

Last week we got the call, and I went to pick it up on Friday evening before running some other errands. It was in SUCH a huge box! The next day the Fellow helped me lug the giant box inside and down into the basement.

Now before I stashed it away in the basement for the next twenty years, I wanted to know what the interior box looked like. Was there a window so you could see the dress or not? I wanted to know just in case I wanted to show it to a child or grandchild or if I decided to sell the dress at some point and wanted to show a potential buyer.

I carefully peeled back the tape on the main box and slid the interior box out.

As I had hoped, there was a window. And inside there was a beautifully preserved wedding dress . . . just not MY dress!

Yupp.

Not.

My.

Dress.

My dress has white lace that has a leaf pattern to it with a rhinestone belt. This is a champagne dress with metallic flowers!

I put in a call to the dry cleaners  who were of course closed, and my mind began to race.

How many wedding dresses have they preserved since October? What if my dress isn’t even there? What if some other bride never checked her box? My beautiful hand-sewn lace wedding veil gone forever!

I won’t say which dry cleaners as I’ve used them before, and they’ve always done great work.

Monday morning I called them, and the phone call basically went like a scene from The Emperor’s New Groove.

It’s not my dress.
It’s not your dress?
Not my dress.
There’s a gown in the box, but it’s not your gown?
Correct.
It’s not your dress. The gown in the box is not your dress.
Correct.

They asked me to bring the incorrect dress back, and thankfully by the time I got there that evening, my dress was there to be picked up. I have no idea if it left the cleaners or was there the whole time, but thankfully it’s right where it belongs now!

What crazy things have you experienced with your wedding dresses? Share in the comments!