Five for Friday

Yup. Jumped on the Five Things for Friday bandwagon. For those who aren’t familiar, these five things are a glimpse into my week as well as a few things I’m anticipating. Don’t hate. Participate 🙂

1. Food this week. With our plethora of leftover corn, the JA and I have been experimenting more than usual in the kitchen. Monday and Wednesday were old standbys (chicken and corn on Monday and fish tacos with corn on Wednesday), but Tuesday and Thursday we tried a quinoa & corn salad and a tomato & fresh corn quiche. Both were delicious and it’s certainly rekindled my goal to cook more.

quinoa-corn

2. Long weekends. We’re lucky enough to have today and Monday ‘off’ from work. Notice off is in quotes, because, well, both of us are going into the office today. The start of the school year is always a crazy time. This year was no different, and we plan on using today to catch up in order to truly enjoy the rest of our weekend.

3. Football. It’s crazy to me that college football starts tomorrow and pro football kicks off this week. (See what I did there? Oh yeah. So punny.) Where does the time go?

PSU v. Indiana

4. New Gear. Speaking of time, I broke down and got a GPS watch for running. I’d been on the fence about purchasing one due to the high cost, but when Holabird Sports had one for a daily deal I couldn’t resist. I tried it out yesterday, but want to get a few more runs in before writing a review.

click image for source

click image for source

5. Time with friends. Tonight, I’m going to visit Momma Loosh and my godson. Tomorrow, we’re having friends over. Sunday, I’m shopping with Mommy Janks. Monday, we’re having a cookout. There’s enough time between activities that it’ll still be relaxing but filled enough to feel productive.

Your turn! What are five things that you’re excited about this week?

Other Five for Fridays to check out:
Kerry at The Adventures of Z & K
Caitlyn at City & the Cubicle
Courtney at Eat Pray Run, DC

If you participate in Five for Friday, feel free to post a link in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for new blogs!

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Corny

I don’t know about you, but when I eat crabs, I’m not looking for anything else. Don’t mess around with sides unless it’s cold veggies. Nevertheless, this weekend for crab feast I picked up twelve ears – one for each person who was to eat crabs.

Can you guess how many ears were eaten?

NOT A ONE.

So we’re getting creative with meals this week. Monday for dinner we had chicken with corn on the cob. Yesterday afternoon, i had corn in a sandwich wrap. Last night, we had this creation.

quinoa-corn salad

Quinoa & Corn Salad (adapted from Black Bean and Corn Salad on Allrecipes.com)
2 ears of sweet corn, husked [can also be replaced with canned or frozen corn]
1/2 large tomato, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked per package instructions
Juice if 1/2 lime
1/2 c. olive oil
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 clove of garlic, minced

1. Add lime, olive oil, cayenne pepper, salt & garlic in a small container with a tight lid. Shake.

2. Combine corn, green pepper, black beans, tomato & quinoa in a medium bowl. Add lime dressing.

3. Consume.

I used the juice of 1 like instead of a half and there was a lot left over. However, if you up the amount of quinoa, feel free to increase the amount of lime, too.

We still have six ears left. Help! Anyone got a good corn recipe to share?

Pssst. If you like this recipe, you might also like my Tomato and Black Bean Quinoa. Similar to this, it’s also delicious and versatile. Enjoy!

Sweet Tooth

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have a serious sweet tooth.

I often end the evening with ice cream, a chocolate, or (on a very special occasion) cookies or cake.

As a housewarming present, our friend, Renee, brought us cupcakes from our local bakery, SugarBakers Cakes. They were so good that I might have to add neighborhood treats to the housewarming gift list!

This is not our first go-round with SugarBakers – they also made our wedding cake! They contracted with our caterer to make the cake, but we did taste quite a few flavors of cake before settling on a three-tier amaretto raspberry cake with buttercream icing. We chose our design from a book our caterer had on hand, and the flowers were provided by our florist, but placed on the cake by the artist who delivered the cake to our venue. Seeing that logo on our cupcakes made me excited to bust out our top layer. Good news – we celebrated our first anniversary this weekend and the cake was still good! (The icing, not so much. Eh, what can you do?)

SugarBakers cake has a great texture and consistency. The icing on the cupcakes was sweet but thick and filling. They had a light dusting of glitter (so subtle that the JA didn’t notice but I obviously picked up on it). Our wedding cake was one that we chose from an existing design list they have for wedding cakes but the company is also more than willing to design a custom cake for your special day.

All in all, I have to agree with the company’s slogan: ‘Too pretty to eat, too good not to!’

This is part of my Try It Tuesday series. I review a variety of products/services and use this series to recommend the best to you! I was not compensated for this review, I just love the product and want to spread the word!

Starting On the Right Foot

The weekend before school starts is a bittersweet one in our household. There’s anticipation and excitement as well as mourning and moping.

To combat the back-to-school blues, we hosted our first large event in our new home – a crab feast! Crabs are big deal here in MD, but the supply has been very low this year. I was lucky enough to reserve a bushel from Captain Harvey‘s in Reisterstown, and my parents were generous enough to pick them up and bring them to the party. We had about 15 people join us and spent the afternoon/early evening hanging out on the deck while enjoying the absolutely gorgeous weather.

crabs summer 2013

I’ve hosted this party on and off for a few years now. In my mind, it’s the perfect end to summer. A gathering of all my friends from high school, college and beyond all in one place. It’s not often anymore that we all get together, so it’s a special occasion for both my friends as well as my parents. My in-laws joined in on the fun this year and by the end of the night, everyone was laughing and cheering as the JA and his mother took on my and one of my friends in a riveting game of corn hole. (They ended up winning.)

The rest of the weekend was low-key. I didn’t exercise a lot, ate poorly, didn’t take enough photos, and drank too much. I saw a lot of good friends and remembered how blessed I am to be surrounded by a fantastic group of people. My good friend from college traveled from Pittsburgh and our ‘third Musketeer’ joined us for brunch and a long hangout on Sunday.

I finished the weekend with a cupcake (because why not?) and an early bedtime. Today is the first day of school and I start the year off on the right foot (literally) with a 5K run. Weather was great, legs were rested and I began the year feeling refreshed!

Forgive me for my shaking running photo. I didn't want to stop, but love watching the sun rise on my early morning runs!

Forgive me for my shaking running photo. I didn’t want to stop, but love watching the sun rise on my early morning runs!

How was your weekend? Did you rest/relax or ramp up for the week? Either way, I hope it was a good one!

Stress Management

Oh, hey! Fancy seeing you here.

To be honest, this week kicked my butt. The freshmen arrived for orientation and even though my work hours got longer, I somehow felt there was less time for me to get everything done.

Did I mention we’re also throwing a party this weekend? Including overnight guests? Yeah. Fun times.

When I get stressed, there are a few go-to remedies: work out, eat, drink, get crafty, or burn myself out to the point of exhaustion. A little bit of everything happened this week, making me VERY happy that it’s Friday.

Let’s break it down:

Workouts: Ran twice, planked as shown in the plank challenge, and attended my beloved Barre Fusion class. I’m also including running around campus taking pictures (while in dress clothes). Trust me, it’s challenging to grab photos of events taking place all over campus!

Eats: Not the healthiest week. I took advantage of the free lunch provided by the cafeteria and while it wasn’t exactly BAD, my willpower when it came to cookies and birthday cake wasn’t as strong as I had hoped.

This did not help, either.

This did not help, either.

Drink: Been hydrating with a lot of water, but a cookout and the last Ravens preseason game added a few extra brews to the week.

Crafts: Not exactly ‘crafty’, but the home improvements continue! We did a first coat on our dining room. The color? A deep red (note: the color is much darker when on the wall). Second coat is getting applied tonight – just in time for one of our weekend guests!

DR red paint

Burning Out: I’ve napped after work almost every night this week. I guess it’s a consequence of not using caffeine, and you know what? I’m not sorry. Cat naps are awesome and help me recharge and be more productive.

I have a few posts in the pipeline (ones that I had planned for this week but didn’t get around to writing), so let’s hope next week is a bit more cohesive and a lot less scattered!

How do you respond to stress? Any suggestions to beat the back-to-school blues?

Home Improvement

First off, let’s take a moment to pay homage to the fantastically awesome, totally 90s, crush-inducing TV show after which this post is titled. Tool Time, anyone?

as always, click photo for source

as always, click photo for source

Second, let’s talk about our house. We’ve lived in the space for about a month and had yet to touch anything. We were pleased that there wasn’t anything that needed to be addressed immediately. Yet, it wasn’t exactly feeling like ‘ours’. So we did something about it. When, you ask? Oh, you know, the weekend before school starts. Not the best timing, but it certainly got out butts in gear!

Here’s what we did:
1. Stripped the flowery wallpaper in the upstairs bathroom. (Eesh.)
upstairs bath wallpaper before

upstairs bath wallpaper after

2. Painted the bookcase in the basement. (We’re doing all the trim in Ravens purple – what other color would you expect for our main football-watching space?)
basement bookshelf

3. Chose a color for our dining room. (Yes, it’s currently a vibrant yellow that doesn’t translate well in this photo. No, we did not pick one of the colors shown below.)
DR test colors

I’m loving that we’re putting work into making this house our home. Next steps: paint the rest of the trim downstairs, paint the dining room, and making a few more small changes. Stay tuned as we continue our adventures in DIY home improvements!

Anyone else out there majorly in love with 90s TV? Give a shout out to your favorite show!

On Unconditional Love

W puppy cuddles

I took this picture as a part of an inside joke to send to the JA. But after I posted it to Instagram, I had a few thoughts:

1. OMG. I’m that crazy woman who talks about/photographs her dog all the time. However, it seems to work for a few other bloggers (Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point, Tina at Carrots N Cake, Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers, and Gretchen from Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen come to mind) so I consider myself in good company. Dodged a bullet on that one!

2. Cherish this moment. (Here’s where I get sap-tastic, so consider yourself warned.) As this crossed my mind, my perspective changed. It went from ‘Aw, cute doggie cuddles’ to ‘Eventually, we will have to say goodbye.’ It made me sad, but also happy.

I was experiencing a clear moment of unconditional love. An overwhelming, gut-wrenching, don’t-leave, stop-time moment. A time where life slapped me in the face and made me acknowledge the fact that I am extremely lucky to have things and people in my life that entice these moments out from the everyday ones.

These moments of consuming love aren’t generally loud. They are quiet, and fleeting. Times when I look at my husband and know he wants me to be happy, even of I don’t know quite how to get there. Moments with my sister, when I realize just how much I like having her around because she ‘gets’ me. A random text from a friend, telling me of an instant that day where they were reminded of me. A story from my mother that makes me laugh at how alike we are (and how that’s not necessarily a bad thing). The silent second with my father right before we walked down the aisle on my wedding day that reinforced HIS unconditional love for me, his first ‘little girl.’

When these instances appear, stop. Relish them. Let them wash over you. Take a deep breath, because they will have taken yours away. Give thanks that they are provided to you. This is not just a reminder to you, but to me as well. Too often I get caught up in the minutiae and forget the big picture. But that’s the beauty in life, I guess – always keeps ya guessing 🙂