Thursday, October 25, 2012

an admission

so  i don't know if you've heard, but there is a very large, very inconvenient storm progressing up the east coast of the US as we sit.

and, if you remember from my constant reminders, we have a trip to europe to take.

i'm not liking the combination here.

i spent the majority of today checking noaa and the weather channel, and then being grumpy about what i read.  not cool.

i have spent soooo much time planning this trip, it's one week away! and then a somewhat-major hurricane?  not ok.

and you know: i'm not happy with how i'm dealing with things.  jordan is all "we don't know which way the storm will turn", and my mom says "stephanie: the airline will re-route you and everything will be ok"...and i'm still here, wearing my sassy pants and my sad hat thinking that somehow, because of a little rain, our trip is ruined.

ok, but here is where i get it together and grow up.

i am starting to notice an interesting pattern to our trips.

exhibit A:  february, 2010.  a little trip to lake tahoe to visit one of jordan's bff's.  to say that got off to a rocky start is being kind: our flight was cancelled because of too much snow/ ice on the runway and the plane itself {yes, in va we only have one de-icer at the airport...another issue for another day}...anyhoo on our way home from the airport, we hit some ice on the highway and totaled j's jeep.  not a good day.  so we came home, ordered papa john's, and re-booked our flights for the next week.  and?  it was the best.  the snow was perfect, we didn't break any bones skiing, we were able to hang with some really great friends, eat great food {note: lake tahoe has some banging breakfast places!  try them.  do it.}, and not once did it matter that we were there one week after we were "supposed to".  ah.  it was great.  so that was luck, right?

enter our honeymoon.  with me now?  and this too turned out to be marvelous.  and i tell you what: i am a prize packer now after that ordeal: i am carrying on 90% of what i need for this next trip {mainly to save room in my bag for all that spanish wine!  shhh, don't tell customs...}  this can't be a coincidence.

ok, so now with sandy bearing down on us, i kind of wonder: could we be so lucky?  3 times with trouble at the start only to lead to great results.  i don't know, and i won't know until next week, but having thought more about our history, i have a little bit better outlook about how next week might play out.

stay tuned! (:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

you know it's fall when...

the drop in temperature, the crunch of a leaf, pumpkins being spotted everywhere, and at least in our house, the oven becoming almost entirely used for making chex mix.  i don't know if you feel this way too, but for whatever reason, chex mix doesn't hold much appeal to me at any other time of the year, but come october i cannot get enough.  yes, it is fall.

well, you guys...chex mix got even better for me this year.  i know, it's a classic...and i had no qualms with the original recipe ...until i ran out of onion powder.  {ever start a recipe thinking you have everything until get to the part where you need what you actually don't have?  busted.}

enter penzeys to save the day.  remember my love affair with this company?  still going strong.  this salt combo hadn't seen much use in our kitchen other than a sprinkle on some popcorn, but figuring that garlic powder alone wouldn't do the trick, i added some 4/S {spicy!} to the batch and crossed my fingers.

you guys!  this. is. awesome!  i am so happy with how it turned out, i think this is my 'new original'.

here's how i made my mix...sorry these are not all accurate measurements, i don't really feel that chex mix is one of those things that needs to be all that precise.  {if you want more accuracy, the original recipe is always on the box (: }

chex mix remix

heat oven to 250 degrees

melt between 6-8 tablespoons of butter {use the real stuff} in a roasting pan in the oven...no problem if you don't have a roaster, you can use a disposable foil baking pan

when the butter is melted {about 5 minutes...keep an eye on it}, take the pan out of the oven and add a good few splashes of worcestershire sauce to the pan {about 3 tablespoons}

add a total of about 7-8 cups of: corn chex, rice chex, wheat chex, pretzels, nuts, goldfish, etc...{whatever you are into, and in whatever ratio you desire}...stir until this is pretty well coated with the butter-worcestershire combo

lightly sprinkle garlic powder over the entire pan, then follow with a light sprinkle of 4/S.  stir this up again and pop in the oven {still @ 250} for 1 hour, pulling the pan out every 15 minutes to stir...this is important to prevent the top layer from burning

i like chex mix to be extra-flavorful, so sometimes when i pull the pan out for a stir, i add a little extra dash of worcestershire sauce and a quick sprinkle of spices, but this is up to you (:

hope you like it, and happy eating!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


hey there!

it's getting down to the wire for our trip to spain...we leave in 24 days -woop- !

i'm working on our itinerary and i want to know if there are any don't-miss places you've been to in spain...or any travel tips in general?  i know i'm always looking for a way to make travel more smooth and comfortable. let me know your thoughts!!

in the meantime, i'll leave you with some pictures from my very first trip to barcelona {2004- yikes!}


barcelona harbor, view from a rock pier


parc guell

{all taken on my Nikon 35mm...my first photography love}

Saturday, October 6, 2012

on manners

 on our trip to new england last weekend, we stopped in ny to visit with j's cousin and his sweet family.

these kids are the cutest.
jake & pig

while we were catching up, liz jumped on a teachable moment with jake when the issue of manners came up.

"jake, what are manners?"

"manners are when you're nice to other people."
sweet elsa

i couldn't sum it up better myself, and this tiny episode stuck with me.  manners are crucial to life.  respect, care, consideration, love: in my mind, all of these are key to becoming a well rounded person.

i know we all slip, and for those to whom manners are important, we try to regain our footing and try again.  and again.  b/c we're human.  we're not perfect.  but we have more chances.

however, this doesn't mean that we don't all need reminding.  personally, i have two sisters who rarely miss an opportunity to tell me when i'm off base: being rude, judgemental, jealous, etc.  for that and many other reasons, i am immensely grateful to have been one of three.  but i know that not everyone is so lucky, and truth be told, i know we're not always open to hearing about our own failings. 

so here are a few gentle reminders i've gathered...take them for what they're worth, and at the end of the day, remember jake's analysis and just be nice.  we will be a happier planet for it.

the basics

'please' & 'thank you' are never out of place

respect: your elders, your family, your neighbors, yourself

learn to disagree graciously

you are not always right.  be open to suggestion

actions speak volumes: be mindful of what exactly you are 'saying' 

a smile never hurts a situation   

we can all use a reminder (:  happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


so back to that to-do list i made a while ago...happy to say i actually did stuff!

this is a project which has been on my mind for some time, but i knew i wanted to to it "right" aka not spend big bucks and make it unique, so it's taken me some time.

i had to hunt down the materials first, and i scored big with a yard sale 2 saturdays ago.  done.  then i needed a quick run to home depot which is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots {they seriously have everything...} and i was good to go!

so here you are: my chalkboard menu!

what you will need:
DSC_0113the actual "menu"- any smooth surface will work, so i wasn't necessarily looking for a mirror - an old window or a large picture frame {glass still in} would work just as well...or you could paint a wall, but that wasn't the look we were going for

a can of chalkboard spray paint {i did not use a primer, and i'm happy with the results, but that's up to you}

mask for fumes

sandpaper {if your surface is really super glossy or needs a little smoothing}

how to:

prep your surface with sandpaper if necessary.  following the instructions on the can of paint, apply slowly and evenly to your surface, covering entirely.  let this dry for 1 hour.

{while my first coat was drying i made this little bag for chalk}

after 1 hour, come back and spray the whole surface again.  let this dry for at least another hour before touching, but preferably 24 hours.  now, if you're like me and sought a cheap-o option, your mirror probably doesn't have hooks on it.  no problem {especially if your husband is as handy as mine (: }  go pick up some mirror clips and you're in business.   make sure everything is anchored properly, screwed in tight, etc and here you have it!


ah.  i'm really happy with how it turned out...and also happy that tonight is black beans & rice night!!

*note: my spray paint said to rub the side of chalk over the whole board once dry then erase before use...i did not like this suggestion b/c the board was so nice and black before i did that, and now it's a little cloudy.  oh well, it would've ended up like that anyway, but fyi in case you try this!