let the reindeer games begin.

Well, after days of prepping and hours of cooking and cleaning, Thanksgiving is over. Time for the reindeer games to officially begin…

It was a good holiday, but my dad and I agree that next year, we’re going to have to set up things so there is less time on the prepping/cleaning, and more time on the enjoying. Beyond the prep work D & I (and everyone else) did the Tuesday and Wednesday before, I was literally in the kitchen at the stove in my pajamas from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and was back there again after taking a quick shower and dressing. Although the meal came together well, it didn’t feel like there was much time to enjoy it (at least for me), although I’m happy that everyone else seemed to enjoy the day. I think next year we’ll go with a buffet, smaller portions (ie, cooking one pan of stuffing vs. three), and maybe disposable plates (at least for dessert).

Friday was officially the first day of house hunting. And from that, I have determined I am not cut out for house hunting. Nothing bad happened– my parents were fine/everyone got along– I just realize what a arduous, frustrating process this will be. Everyone you talk to has their own “advice” about what is the best option (renting, buying), what type of home to buy (townhouse, single family, twin, condo), and various tips/thoughts/feedback on what to look for within those parameters (“don’t buy something old–it’s a money pit!” “new construction isn’t as well made as old construction!” “be sure you have off-street parking! Think of the snowstorms!”). My head was spinning after we wrapped up our first venture out. We mainly did a “drive by” of some homes for sale in Collingswood and then checked out a new construction for condos right next to the speedline. The building was beautiful, but SO expensive. We are determined to stay within an affordable price range, so we shall see…

Saturday D ended up getting called into work so I decided I’d drop him off and check out the weekend sales. I was in desperate need of winter clothes and hadn’t been shopping in forever. Well, I definitely made up for it yesterday! Donnie worked from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. and I literally spent that entire time out at the stores! I initially wasn’t having a whole lot of luck at the mall (although I did score some cute shoes on sale at Macy’s), but then I saw they opened a Francesca’s boutique there, a little shop that is also in the Marlton Promenade that my cousin Katie turned me on to. I nabbed three dresses from the sales rack and a purse that was 40% off AND a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law before I met D for his dinner break.

After that, I headed to Target. Oh, Target, my sweet, sweet mistress. Their clothing selection can often be a bit “hit or miss,” but yesterday, it was definitely a major hit. They had a ton of new sweaters/turtlenecks for $9 and an amazing selection on the clearance rack. I walked out of there with an obscene amount of clothes for a price that was nowhere near as obscene as I was expecting. Granted, I’m going to have to carefully budget myself until next paycheck, but it was well worth it…

Sunday, D and I did a “practice run” to my new job location, since I will be taking public transit to get there. I am very grateful we did this because there are 2 different stops on 2 different lines with the same exact name. And guess which one I thought it was supposed to be? Yeah… we definitely walked around a pretty sketchy area trying to find the skybridge that would take us to my office building. Fortunately, we found someone to direct us to the next station and then found another person who informed us I will have to take another train to connect to the station we need. Blergh. I was really frustrated/freaked out because based on the prices we were seeing for this additional rail line, it looked as though the cost of my commute would be WAY more than I expected (like, $350 more), but through some investigating and a help of our friend Tim, we learned that it’s only the difference of about $30, which isn’t so bad. This will mean I’m going to have to get up even earlier than I initially thought in order to catch not one, but 2 trains, although the difference is really only 15 minutes, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much… right?

After getting home, D and I ate some more Thanksgiving leftovers and watched the new Alice in Wonderland while I finally packed away my summer clothes to make way for my new winter digs and D wrapped the presents that we already bought. After I finished with the clothes, I finally cut up the t-shirts I’m hoping to use for the t-shirt blanket that I’ve been talking about making for about 2 years now (ever since visiting Kate & Scott in Scotland…). I still have a ways to go, but at least my closet is looking acceptable again and I finally have made some headway on a project I’ve been pushing to the top shelf of my closet for months.

And now I’m trying to bang out the blogs. I hate getting behind on this, but life keeps happening faster than I can write about. I’m hoping that soon, with the commute and the pay increase, I can buy a little laptop or maybe an ipad so I can update this more often and from the trenches, but we’ll see… right now I need to focus on paying off the things I’ve already bought and the one thing I have yet to buy that I need to: my plane ticket for my Euro trip this spring!!

New Jawrb

Change is a funny thing–I’ve been flip-flopping between extreme giddiness/excitement/elation and utter fear and terror the past couple of weeks, all reactions I find hilarious and frightening at the same time.

The other night I was talking to my friend about all these changes, all these feelings, and she made a brilliant point: “Enjoy them now, because you’ll soon hit about a 15-year stretch where all the moving and job changing and surprises stop happening and you’ll be wondering what happened to living during that lull.”

So, I’ve decided to just roll with all the uncertainty and just enjoy it. To be honest, this has been a philosophy I’ve adapted for the past few months, and it’s been suiting me well. I recently realized (after being asked in an interview…) that I no longer have “life goals” (actually, Kate, I blame/credit you for my blunt answer: “I think bucket lists are stupid,” haha); however, I don’t see that being a bad thing. In fact, letting go of my 5-, 10-, 15-year plan was probably the best thing I ever decided to do. No more expectations, no more disappointments, no more trying to steer the course of the unexpected (because, frankly, the unexpected has been OK for me so far…).

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Or maybe I’m getting to the point where I can explain what’s been going on the past month or so… Continue reading

Help a brotha out!

My friend Joe is currently #6 in a contest that he needs to be at least in the Top 5 of to advance. He’s hardworking and talented and he needs YOUR votes. Tell your friends, tell your family… no sign up necessary, just clicking the link below and then clicking “vote” (his entry is “My Voice is on TV because of Berklee”).

Berkleemusic: Live from Studio You Contest.

In other news, Thanksgiving preparations are underway. I cut up 4 loaves of bread for stuffing last night and began candying the yams. Today, after I clean up the apartment a bit (our vet is stopping in to check on Simon, our parents cat, who is staying with us until his leg heals–the benefit of the mobile vet is the convenience; the downside is having to clean so we I am not found out for the mess I am. It’s actually not too bad, but the bunnies definitely went rockstars in their crate last night).

Anyway, once that’s taken care of, it’s time to prep the apples for baking and to hopefully make the cornbread. I’m actually trying to mimic Silk City’s cornbread recipe (drizzling with a jalapeno honey sauce and grilling it for a few minutes before serving), so we’ll see how that shakes out. Then tomorrow at my parents, I’ll finish up the stuffing, throw everything that needs the oven in, and make the mashed potatoes. Fortunately, the turkey is on my brother, so I don’t have to worry about that (or think about cooking a giant bird carcass…), but I’m definitely having some anxiety over the stuffing! I feel like if that doesn’t pan out (pun only sort of intended…), then I will never be allowed such ultimate responsibility again (people love their stuffing).

So anyone out there prepping for Turkey day? If so, what are you making?

And with that, I’m off. The dustbuster calleth!

nobody knows, nobody sees… nobody knows but me.

A girl I grew up with died last weekend. I haven’t seen her in years, but we played on the same soccer team and I used to go to her house for sleepovers. I remember laying on her bed, watching Richie Rich on the TV in her room (being amazed her parents let her have her own TV), talking. Continue reading

catching up.

So I’ve been totally MIA on this blog for the past month, mainly because “real life” has kept me busy and off of the computer without enough time to properly finish a posting. A lot has been going on with me… A LOT…and I will try to actually finish the 3 blogs that I’ve been working on the past few weeks and give everyone a proper update soon. Just know all is well, lots of good things on the horizon, and hopefully more good news to come!

Hope all is well with you all, too! 🙂

mac-n-cheese, you-n-me

I have no recollection of ever having boxed macaroni and cheese growing up until I was about 13-years old. I probably had been introduced to it at a friend’s house, but I specifically remember starting to babysit and having to make it for the kids I was watching. Being that I had barely ever cooked on my own, I was initially fearful of the process, but once I was able to taste to fruit (or macaroni, as it were) of my efforts, the love affair with the blue box began. Throughout high school I tore through boxes of the stuff, my mom buying the economy packs from Sam’s Club & BJ’s.

As I got older, my tastes refined to the “creamy” style mac, which presented its “real cheese sauce” in a gelatinous tube-like package. A former boyfriend used to visit me at college and bring me containers of this in lieu of flowers or chocolates. Around this time, the world was introduced to Easy Mac and the drunk college kids (myself included), who were ill-equipped with the proper kitchen hook ups, rejoiced.

I “grew up” but did not grow out of my love for mac n’cheese. Now my husband and I make ourselves feel better for ingesting cheese from a pouch by purchasing the “all natural” Annie’s variety. That being said, the 44 cent store-brand box is oft still found in our cabinets when we are poor and in need of a semi-decent “comfort” meal.

When we’re feeling more refined (and have the money to splurge), we scour the internets, collecting wonderful, decadent mac n’cheese recipes. Many recommendations have also come from friends, who also share our love of the pasta-plus-dairy combo (most recently Elle–thanks, love!). Recently, we’ve tested recipes that have had me spend nearly $20 in fancy cheeses just to perfect a decadent dish of the comfort food that has tirelessly comforted. And in case you were wondering, yes, perfection was achieved.

Nationality, race, credo, gender… these are all the more likely attributes that come to mind when one reflects on what defines a person. But, after the many relationships and memories in my life that center around the love and indulgence of something as seemingly simple as melted cheese mixed with pasta, I’m beginning to think that little blue box holds more than dried macaroni and processed cheese powder.

their eyes got no soul

Last week was a busy one and I constantly felt like I was rushing to and from the apartment, 5-10 minutes behind where I wanted to be. My goal was to get through the hour, the day, the week and complete the many tasks that were looming on my “to do” list.

Although I was pretty focused, I couldn’t help but notice the large canvas tent that popped up across the street in the parking lot adjacent to the building, “Soul Circus” was painted across the big top, and the nomad structure swayed in the November breeze. Continue reading

sweet baby Jesus, I am tired.

I knew this week was going to be crazy before it even started, and it’s definitely living up to the hype.

I have many wonderful things to blog about (a long blog on the Rally to Restore Sanity is forthcoming), but I just haven’t had the time to properly finish anything. Instead I’ve been ping-ping-pinging along from one responsibility to the next, reminding myself that I just have a couple more days and then the busy will cease…at least for a couple more days.

I’m finding myself to be rather obnoxious about my busy right now. I think it’s just because I’m so tired and haven’t been able to get decent sleep in oh, forever, at this point that instead of just taking a breather or attempting to cross one more thing off the “to do” list, I want to instead whine to anyone within earshot. And when people are readily available, I’ve made phone calls, but ironically everyone is too busy to hear how busy I am. Donnie is at work, the bunnies don’t have to act interested… and then I realized I have a blog, which means I have an audience of 3 who might make it all the way through this post. Continue reading