September 29, 2009

what can brown do for you?

My father-in-law works for UPS, so it's pretty much a marriage requirement that I be a fan of the good ol' Brown. However, before I even met my husband and discovered my United Parcel Service familial ties, I always chose UPS over its competitors for shipping needs, based solely on their great advertising. This latest campaign featuring animated corrugated cardboard characters (and scenery) is no exception.

Isn't that spectacular?

September 28, 2009

number 29: the kitchen workshop

We've been making lots of use of gift certificates lately! Particularly those that people have given to us for hands-on experiences.

A few weeks ago we took a cooking class at the Kitchen Workshop in Paoli, PA, thanks to a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law last year. (It allowed me to check number 29 off of my 101 in 1001 list... thanks, guys!) The class we took was called "Quick, Easy and Delicious Weeknight Meals" and was lead by Art, who runs the Kitchen Workshop. I didn't take any pictures as I was busy chopping and cooking up a storm, but we had a great time.

There were 8 students, including Nick and me, and we made 6 dishes in the 3 hour class. I learned some great tricks and basic skills (I was definitely the least experienced chef in the class), and ate some delicious food. It was great to get some guidance on a few meals that we can quickly whip together during the week, now that Nick is back to work and neither of us feels like spending too much time in the kitchen at the end of the day.

Our favorite recipe was the Garlic Shrimp. I've never loved shellfish, but I've been trying to branch out of my comfort zone and I thought this was super tasty. We've made it once since the class, and we tried it with chicken that we already had in the freezer instead of shrimp — equally yummy!

Garlic Shrimp over Pasta
(Serves 4)

8 ounces uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 small bay leaf
1 1-inch piece dried red chili pepper, seeded
Pasta of your choice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Place shrimp in bowl; sprinkle with coarse salt and toss. Let stand 15 minutes.

Heat oil in medium skillet over high heat. Add garlic, bay leaf and dried pepper and stir 1 minute. Add shrimp; stir until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add already cooked pasta of your choice and combine with shrimp to distribute garlic sauce. Transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with parsley.

September 27, 2009

number 98: glassblowing at Wheaton Arts

A good friend gave us a very thoughtful wedding gift last year, which we were finally able to put to use recently. Our friend Amy gave us gift certificates to take a glassblowing class at Wheaton Arts in Millville, New Jersey, where you can make your own glass paperweight. We each took a stab at making our own creation, and we had a blast. (It also allowed me to cross #98 off of my 101 in 1001 list.)

Our teacher, Max, taught us all the ropes together, and then we made our paperweights separately. I was a little nervous so I made Nick go first :-)

We were able to choose what colors, style, and shape we wanted. We both stuck with the standard sphere as opposed to an egg shape, and we went with different color schemes. Nick wanted his paperweight to have air bubbles in it, so he put his glass into a mold that creates air bubbles before putting it into the furnace again to coat it with another layer of glass. Here's what the glass looked like when it came out of the mold... it was sort of a reverse-pineapple looking thing:

We both had to wear long sleeves and sunglasses for protection... it was EXTREMELY hot, especially when we were standing directly in front of the furnace. I can only imagine how hot it feels in there in the dead heat of summer.

Below you can see me putting my glass into different colored glass crystals to add color to my design.

... And then shaping it with the wooden sphere mold. Isn't it awesome how it glows?

This is what my paperweight looked like before it was put into the kiln; it stays there for 24-hours, so our final pieces were shipped to us a few days later.

And now, the big reveal... our final paperweights!

Can you guess whose is whose?

The green and blue one is Nick's, and the red, purple and white is mine :-) See the cool air bubbles created in Nick's as a result of using that mold?

We had so much fun... we may go back another time to make a vase, which would be much more challenging but definitely awesome.

Have you ever taken a glassblowing class?

September 20, 2009

one year.

One year ago today, I married my best friend.

This first year of marriage has been simply wonderful. Perfect? Not at all. But wonderful? Yes, yes, yes.

I'm thankful each day for this amazing guy who puts up with me, takes care of me, makes me laugh, and even laughs at my terrible jokes.

Forever? Yes, please.

September 15, 2009

on the turntable: A Fine Frenzy

I've been going through a female singer-songwriter phase in terms of what I want to listen to lately. After adoring her songs time and time again on Pandora, I finally headed to iTunes last week to download One Cell in the Sea, the debut album from A Fine Frenzy.

Alison Sudol, the lead singer of A Fine Frenzy, has such a gorgeous voice and her songs are so fresh and pure. I love "You Picked Me" — the lyrics are so romantic (it would be a great first dance song at a wedding!) without sounding like your typical ballad.

A new Fine Frenzy album came out just last week... I'll give you one guess where my next $9.99 is going.

Number 40

It's been a while since I've talked about my 101 in 1,001 list. While I haven't kept up the same momentum I had at the beginning, I'm still working on checking some things off my list and I feel like I've been more likely to try new things based on fulfilling goals on the list. It has been quite a refreshing change and a nice reminder of things I could be doing when I get stuck in one of those "I'm bored" slumps. It is absolutely something I plan to keep up with in the future, even after this list's "deadline" in 2011.

Today, I checked off number 40, a large task on my list: finish wedding recaps on Weddingbee. I have written on for nearly two years now, and while I still have a few more posts up my sleeve before my official farewell, writing recaps of our wedding day was a huge undertaking which took me nearly seven months (with a bit of a hiatus somewhere in there). I definitely spent a lot of time on those posts, but it's something I'm really happy to have done and I know it will be an amazing thing to look back on when we're old and gray. (Do you think blogs will still be around then? If not, I plan to make a photo book comprised of all of my recaps for posterity :-) Weddingbee is the site that got me interested in blogging in the first place, so I feel as if I have come full circle now.

If you're interested, check out my posts on Weddingbee! And I'll do my best to keep you updated when I cross off some of the other items on my 101 in 1,001 list :-)

September 13, 2009

house husband, no more

Last week, Nick returned to work. After ten months of unemployment and endless job searching, he was positively thrilled to get back to a 9-to-5 routine (or, in his case, a 7:30-to-4:30 routine). He actually returned to his old job, since the company is getting back on its feet again and his boss asked him to come back.

It is really nice that he doesn't have to learn about new systems or meet new co-workers — he already knows the job and the people, so he got right back into the swing of things. It is a job that he was good at and passionate about before, and while it wasn't the change we were expecting, it is certainly a relief. I think the fact that he was asked to return also speaks volumes about how much his contributions at this company were/are valued.

I felt like I was seeing my child off to his first day of school when he gave me a kiss goodbye last Tuesday morning! I have to admit that I'm going to miss being able to have lunch together sometimes, spending more quality time together, and coming home to dinner on the table, a clean house, and a stocked fridge, but I'm glad my hubby is back to feeling like he has a purpose outside of our home.

September 6, 2009

awww, shucks.

Yesterday, after sharing a giggle at a private joke, Nick looked at me and said, "You know what's cool about being married? You get to do everything with your best friend."

September 5, 2009

Josette chair

How cute is this chair? Well, more the fabric on the chair, but it's still got good bones... and it's only $169.99 at Pier 1 Imports.

If only we had somewhere to put it. Someone buy it and then send me pictures of how cute it looks in your house, mm'kay?

September 2, 2009

jewelry stands

I am in a constant battle with my jewelry. I don't have a ton of jewelry, but I can never seem to find the best way to store what I do have and it always ends up being a cluttered mess. I bought myself a cheap-o jewelry box at Target a few years ago, but it is no longer doing the trick and I am on the hunt for a better (and prettier) storage solution. I am loving these jewelry stands that save space by taking advantage of height.

I don't love the price tag of that last one, but now that I think about it, it's something I could definitely replicate myself with a little creativity and some fun vintage dishes. Let me add that to my list of 472 DIY projects I plan to tacke soon! ;-)