Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fun


I swore I wouldn't do it, but I'm doing it anyway: posting a pic of the royal couple. I haven't watched much of the footage yet, but I have it all recorded and I can't wait to watch it tonight. I know I've mentioned before that I work with a TON of English people, and I'm married to one as well, and for weeks now there has been mixed reactions by the English around me: those who care, those who don't care, those who say they don't care but do, those who wish they were home for it, those who are just annoyed we aren't getting a day off here in the USA like all of their fellow countrymen are in England - it truly runs the gamut.

I was sort-of somewhere in the middle of it all - not obsessed but certainly curious and excited to witness this pop culture moment of the highest level. However, I must say that when I woke up this morning and watched a few of the highlights, I felt really into it. If there is one thing that England truly knows how to do, it is put on a grand affair such as this. With every detail meticulously planned and her dress...oh my that dress - stunning, it is like nothing I have ever seen in my lifetime. All in all, it is a fun moment in time to get to experience and I think today at work will be a bit of a happier place because of it, which is always welcomed in my book.

In other news, I picked up a very tired husband-o-mine from the airport late last night as he returned after a week in England visiting his family. Before he left he asked me if I wanted him to bring anything back from Blightly, to which I replied, "Just bring me some of the tackiest Kate and William Royal Wedding stuff you can find." To my delight, he DELIVERED on that front. More on that to come...

And, lastly, Dan and I have an inspection tomorrow on a home that we are, I believe, very close to buying. I haven't said much about it b/c we have already lost 4 houses now and I don't want to jinx it, but I am truly excited. Hopefully it goes well and we can continue to move forward. Fingers crossed!!!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm Kinda Over Skinny Jeans


Skinny Jeans.

Skinny. Jeans.

I'm so over them. SO over them.

When these first started to hit the scene, I automatically thought to myself, "Pffffttt - great...as if finding jeans wasn't hard enough already, now I have to be mocked by what they're called."

Then, slowly, I came around to the trend and I bought myself a few pairs. Being a girl with a curve or two, I was pleased to find that even I could wear skinny jeans and I liked how they looked with my flats and heels.

Now, let's speed up to, well...to today, in fact. I stopped by Banana Republic on my way home from work to have a look at the jeans and all they had were skinny jeans. Bleh. I tried on a few pairs and they were okay, but I stood in the dressing room, looking at myself, and realized how incredibly and utterly bored I am of skinny jeans.

I miss flare legs. Wide legs. Boot cut.

I miss the look of really incredible heels framed perfectly by a bell of dark denim.

I miss throwing back to the 70's on a daily basis.

I miss being able to buy jeans that balance out the wideness that are my hips because, let's be honest, skinny jeans don't do us ladies with hips any favors in the world, do they?

The answer is no.

I don't know...perhaps I am totally uncool and old-fashioned but at the end of the day, I know what I like and I know what I feel good in and skinny jeans just aren't it.

Anyone else feeling me on this one? I suppose fashion always circles back around, so I have to believe the trend will swing back in my favor at some point.

Please swing back in my favor.

Tomorrow would be good.

Or today even. Whatever.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baby Watch 2011

No, I am not having a baby. Let's just clear that up right off the bat.

However - if you ask any member of my family, they would tell you that they are hoping, praying, and wishing for me to have a baby every single second of every single day.

Little did I know before I was married, that the minute you become betrothed, you suddenly enter into this new reality where your uterus is not only up for discussion, it is a valuable family commodity.

It comes from every angle. I can feel the laser hot glances if I only order water in a restaurant. If I ever don't feel well or have an upset stomach, surely I must be pregnant. God forbid I gain a few pounds or buy myself a padded bra...

The worst offenders? Ma Familia. Here's a little breakdown for you:

My Dad: After years of worrying about his two teenage daughters, my Dad has now been able to let go of the fear that I would one day come to him, unmarried and still in college, and tell him I was pregnant (I believe this to be the ultimate fear for all Fathers). However, this is one pendulum that has swung so far in the opposite direction that at times, I don't even recognize it. My strict, curfew-enforcing, tough love Dad has become a ball of mush. He wants a grandchild and reminds me of this constantly. To my surprise, he is one of the worst offenders.

My Mom: She is actually the least insane about the topic...I think. Maybe the fact that she actually carried me for 9 months and gave me life gives her a little bit in leniency in this department, but the pressure is still on from her as well. In fact, I do believe it was just yesterday she said to me, "Oh - Easter will be so much more fun when there are little ones around." Mmmmmkkaaaay...

My Step-Mom: She has two favorite tactics that she uses often. 1) "Oh Jocie - you're Dad is so excited to have a little grand baby," and 2) "I will be a full-time baby-sitter so you won't even have to worry about daycare!" Ah yes...the guise of caring, concern and DAYCARE promises! I'm on to you lady!!!

My sister: Okay...this one makes no attempt to hide her feelings on the topic: she wants me knocked up quicker than you can say "baby." As is the case with sisters, there is really no filter. No pretense. No secret messages...at least not with my sister and me. Nope - it is the whole truth and nothing by the truth. "Jocelyn - just have a baby! I will babysit! I want to be an Auntie! Why can't you just do it? I'm really good with kids! I will change the diapers!" Uh huh...

My Brother: Yes...that's right. My brother. My 20 year old, sophomore in college brother. Even he has hopped aboard the baby train. "My roommate is already an uncle and I want to be an uncle too! I will be such a good uncle!" Excuse me, young child, but aren't you supposed to be thinking about girls and cramming for finals and, and, and ANYTHING else besides babies!?!?! What is going ON!?!?!

Now - don't get me wrong - I plan on having kids. I have always known it was something I wanted and something that is in the plans. The FUTURE plans. Last time I checked, I've only been married for a year. Last time I checked, I've only been working on building my career for 6 years. Last time I checked, I remembered how much I love being able to sleep in on the weekends, travel, go for drinks with friends whenever I want to, see movies, stay up until the wee hours of the night drinking Pinot Noir and playing Nintendo Wii bowling with my husband just because we feel like it.

Why doesn't anyone ever tell you about this? It's like a secret society amongst married women - however it's operated more like the draft than the volunteer army.

So, dear family, just back it up a bit. This is not 1955 and there are just a few things I need to cross off my bucket list first.

Please and thank you.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cheese Straws




One of my favorite memories as a child is when my Mom would make cheese straws every Christmas. She would keep them in a tin on top of the fridge and my sister and I would beg for them each night; they were so delicious.



Recently I found a recipe for cheese straws on one of my favorite food blogs, smitten kitchen, and decided to give it a whirl. I am delighted to tell you that these taste almost exactly like the cheese straws my Mom used to make and this recipe it a total keeper. It is easy, fast and ridiculously yummy. I took a bunch of these over to my Dad's as an appetizer for Easter dinner and they were a hit. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!



1 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon half-and-half (although I ended up using about 1.5 tablespoons to get the dough to stick together)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt an red pepper flakes in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 20 seconds.

3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8-inch by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8 inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel) cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch wide. Gentry transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet (I lined mine with parchment), leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. The dough may sag or break occasionally in the transfer, but don't be concerned - just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.

4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

5. Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days.

Thank you Smitten Kitchen for this fantastic recipe! I recommend doubling the recipe as these literally go so quickly. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Slothfulness

This weekend, Dan is in England. He went home to surprise his Mom for her 60th birthday party, which is great and I am so happy he could be there with her. However, that means I am all on my own - left to entertain myself. I had a list of things to do today, but, well uhm...sometimes lists just need to be forgotten. Or ignored.

What I DIDN'T Do Today:

- Laundry

- Vacuum

- Take out recycling

- Make the bed

- Put away my shoes, which I have taken off in different places around our apartment

- Clean the shower (which I swore I would do today...LEAST favorite chore EV-ER!)


What I DID Do Today:

- Slept In

- Enjoyed my coffee, slowly

- Did some desperately needed clothes shopping

- Napped for about 2 hours

- Watched a boatload of DVR'd shows (See: Oprah, Glee and more Oprah)

- Made myself a really yummy dinner

- Read magazines


Today was the nicest day we have had here in Portland all year (72 degrees) and I know that I should have taken better advantage of it, but I didn't. I was so, so tired from this past week at work and just needed a day of letting my heart be my guide and doing as I pleased - which meant not a whole lot.

On the list for tomorrow? Easter dinner at my Dad's house and other than that - I'm not sure. The shower still needs to be cleaned and the apartment needs some major straightening up, but I'm not making any promises. Sometimes slowing down and letting yourself have a break is far more important than any to-do list.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Blabbering


Thaaaaaaank
goodness it's Friday!!!! This has been a long week with even longer hours at work. Does that even make sense? I don't know.

Anyway...

I need to ramble. It's about all I am capable of at this moment so, without further ado, I give you my rambles:


Have you ever heard the phrase, 'Thoughts Become Things, So Choose Them Wisely?' I think it is a really good phrase and something that I think I believe...at least something I would like to believe. The power of positive thinking. Faith. The Secret. Whatever you want to call it - I like it in it's various incarnations. However, as is the case with most things that matter in life, sometimes it is totally an easier said than done situation.


I am really hating that Oprah is about to end. I mean, really hating it. When I get home after a long day, there is nothing like clicking on the DVR and watching my recorded Oprah. It calms me down and usually teaches me something. However, I must admit the episodes this last week have been a bit lame. I am hoping that they are really going to start to step it up here, since the official countdown has begun. Oprah ends every episode now with saying, "There are only 28 more episodes left," etc. etc. It hurts my fragile heart.


I need some neutral heels. It's just not an option for me to not have them in my wardrobe, I have decided. I need some new black ones too as my current pair, that I adore, are seriously on their last leg...or should I say foot???

Why is it that sometimes, coming up with something to make for dinner is the HARDEST THING EVER!?!?! I swear that Dan and I are always at the grocery store yet we get home and stare blankly into the fridge and have conversations that go something like this:

Me: "What do you want for dinner?"

Dan: "Uh - I don't know, what do you want?"

Me: "I don't know, what do you want?"

Dan: " I don't know."

Riveting, isn't it?

I am sure it has to do with our increasing hours spent at work lately, but it's just HARD sometimes! I just want a chef. That is what this really boils down to. And this is coming from a girl who LOVES to cook.

How long do you think this owl trend will last? Not sure if you have noticed, but there are owls everywhere. I think they are really cute but is it going to be one of those things that is gone in 60 seconds?

Okay. That is all for now. Sorry for this unsightly glimpse into my tired brain. I need to get it on to the page and out of my brain, so to speak.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Skiing in April!


One of the things I love about living in Portland is that we have great skiing about an hour away and often, if the snow keeps falling, the ski season runs into late Spring.

My sister, Dad, husband and I all headed up there this past weekend to take advantage of what's left of the snow. It was a beautiful day with sunshine and some of the warmest temps I have ever skied in.

I took these pictures with my iPhone, so they are not amazing, but even still - there is something so breathtaking about looking up and seeing the top of a mountain.

This is one of my favorite spots. Every direction you look is beautiful and you do feel like you are on top of the world.


I do believe this was my last chance to experience this until Thanksgiving rolls around, and the mountain once again becomes a winter wonderland.

Aside from the ridiculous goggle sunburn marks I had the next day, it was a great time. Thanks to my sister and Dad for forcing me out of bed at 7am Sunday to go - I know that wasn't pleasant for them. And thank you to Mother Nature, for once again reminding me there is so much beauty around, if you just take a moment to realize it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The JELL-O Thing


I recently had to compile some of my favorite recipes for a cookbook being put together at work. It was a challenge to select only the recipes that I really loved and I truly had to stop myself from going overboard. However - there were a few that were absolutely, without question, some of my favorites...especially the pale pink, fluffy concoction above.

This, my friends, is what my family lovingly refers to as 'The JELL-O THING.' It's a classic in my family and we have it every Thanksgiving. Back in the 1950's, my Great-Grandma used to make it for my Dad, and for whatever reason, it stuck. Despite the fact that we endlessly make fun of this recipe, we all know the truth: never has JELL-O tasted so good!

Ingredients

1 large package of JELL-O (Your favorite flavor - I like strawberry)
1 package of Cool Whip or 2 cups prepared whipped cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or another nut of your choice
2 bananas, mashed
Vanilla and Almond extract to taste

Instructions


1) Prepare JELL-O using only half of the required water. Let chill until set.

2) Add the chopped nuts, mashed bananas and cool whip to the JELL-O and mix with an electric mixer until well blended and the JELL-O has integrated with the cool whip. Do not over mix.

3) Chill until set - usually about an hour. Enjoy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Garden Tea Party Loveliness



Every time I visit countyliving.com, I find something that grabs my attention and sparks my creativity. The latest post I found that has me swooning involves throwing a Garden Tea Party...on a roof top...in NYC. (!!)

The post highlights the work of Pamela Scurry, an entertaining expert, who loves to use everyday items in a dressed up manner - my kind of lady! In her own garden, she displays how to throw a lovely tea party, in her own NYC garden. I hope you enjoy this eye candy as much as I did.












Isn't it lovely? All of the fabulous spring colors! I want to have a tea party now.

**side story: Dan and I received a beautiful crystal Wedgwood bowl for our wedding, which I love. One day, Dan was looking at it, baffled and said, "What do you do with a bowl like that?" to which I replied, "You use it at tea parties and baby showers." He looked at me like I had three heads - but I think these pictures perfectly demonstrate that I am indeed, not crazy.**

For more information and to read some of Scurry's advice on throwing your own tea party, click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Darn You, J.CREW!


I've been eying this top for about a week now, trying to talk myself out of it because I already own a million (a.k.a. five) white and navy striped shirts, but I caved.

I told myself if I was still thinking about it in a few days, then I would get it. Well...it's been a few days and, there you have it. I got it shipped to work so that I can have something to look forward to. HA! That sounds so pathetic! I didn't mean it to - it's just that getting packages at work makes the whole day better.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pretty Bedrooms


Just a little bit of bedroom loveliness for your day...


This whimsical and charming bedroom is in a tree house! How fun is that??!?


I have long loved the idea of using old luggage as storage/furniture and I love this stack used as a nightstand. I think I can say with confidence that I will have this look in my home one day - I just need to find some great old luggage first.


WOW! Have you ever seen such gravitas in a bedroom? I know this may be too much for some, but I love it. What a grand place to wake up in each morning. Though, I bet I would still hate waking up early as much as I do now, but who knows.

Have a lovely Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Year Ago Today

I can't believe it's been a year...


...since I married my Daniel.


With our our friends and family by our sides, from many parts of the world...



...surrounded by beauty and love...


...we did it our way, together.


This past year has been the best year of my life.


My best friend, my heart...


...who makes me laugh every day and always reminds me that we are in all of this together.


Dan, my husband - Happy 1st Anniversary.


You are my world: today, tomorrow and forever. I love you.

Here's to many more to come!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Trying To Buy A House is Like Shopping For A Bathing Suit

I have decided that trying to buy a house is exactly like shopping for a bathing suit:

It starts out full of hope and promise.

You take a risk and look at all different kinds.

After looking awhile you take the plunge and "try it on" - meddle it over.

It's scary, nerve-wracking and you're not sure if you've made the right decision.

You look at your choice from all angles and sides, scrutinizing it up and down, left and right.

Finally, you become confident and decide to go for it. You make an offer.

Then comes the waiting and waiting and waiting.

It's going to be great. Summer plans are already being forged. It's going to look great!

Then the time comes to put it into action and you realize that it's just not what you thought it was.

Boo.

Stupid bathing suits house buying.

Long story short: we found out that the house we thought we were going to get has a crazy, massive lien from the State due to back taxes. Double boo.

Such an emotional roller coaster.

Okay - so, house #2 lost. In the words of Jay-Z, on to the next one...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today

Today...

My hair is doing it's own thang - I mean, like, seriously having a little field day. Whatever.

The temperature here in Portland is 48 degrees. It's bloody freezing!

PG Tips - An English classic that I have become obsessed with

I am going to drink tea instead of coffee.

We are supposed to hear back on an offer we put in on a house. Actually, it was the counter to the owner's counter. Counter, counter, counter.

I decided to really shellac on the mascara. I try to fight it, but I love stupidly shellacked lashes.

I am fighting the urge to be on craigslist every second for things to put in the new house we don't even have yet.


I am coveting these striped pillows, but I recently bought myself a sewing machine so I may have to make something similar as my first project.

And that's about it...

How is your day, today?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Food For Thought


I recently heard the great Maya Angelou quote the following:

Since I heard her say it, it has been pulsing around my mind.

We are all more alike than we are different. Everyone.

A little food for thought on this Tuesday, April 5th.
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