Monthly Archives: March 2011

get there…now

Have you heard of Francesca’s??

If you haven’t, you’re missing out.  I stumbled upon this store at the Mall of America a while back and fell in love with the clothes.  Then I heard some people talking about it…at the time I didn’t make the connection that it as the same store I had just been oogling over.
I can’t totally describe why I love this store so much.  I’m sure there are plenty of other stores just like it.  Except I haven’t found those stores yet, so this one seems to unique to me.  I think the best part about the store is that it doesn’t feel like you’re shopping at a “retail store”….it more feels like you are looking through clothes in your really rich friend’s gigantic walk in closet.  It’s just really laid back, and there isn’t a lot of “hype.”  I mean, I’m sure there is hype, but they make it seem like very subtle and good hype.  See…

 

Isn’t it just grand?!  Pictures really don’t do this place justice….you really gotta check it out for yourself.

But not only is the store incredibly comfortable and fun to walk into, the clothes are just fantastic!  I wish I had enough money to buy every single dress in that place.  If you have a addiction fascination with dresses like I do, you will go nuts when you see the dresses.  Oh my, oh my!  I can barely handle it.  And the prices aren’t that bad, either.  I mean it’s not as cheap as something like Target or Old Navy, but it’s definitely cheaper than J Crew or Banana….

Hello, ADORABLE dress!

Moral of the Francesca’s Story:  Get there….now!

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the power of suggestion…

I will admit it…I am hooked on most reality TV shows…and this does include MTV’s Real World:  Las Vegas.  There, I said it.

I was watching an episode a few weeks ago and one of the clips was with the cast sitting in the kitchen, hashing out the latest drama of the house….Billy hates Toby and Adwina is falling in love with Kenny.  You know, the usual for that kind of show.  Anyway, while all of the drama was unfolding, I noticed a brightly lit cooler in the corner of the kitchen.  It looked fully stocked with a soda that I didn’t totally recognize.  It looked like some sort of “citrus” soda because of the colors, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was exactly.  After the show went to commercial, I quickly forgot about the soda case that intrigued me so!

A few days ago when we were doing our grocery shopping, we walked by a huge display of soda….more specifically Sundrop.

The display caught my eye.  “Waiiiiiit” I squealed (I think it was loud enough that people probably turned to look at me and Greg was ready to hide).  I realized this was the soda that had been displayed in MTV’s The Real World.  How ironic….I just saw it on TV and now there’s a huge display in our grocery store.

I quickly explained to G, “I’ve been wanting to try this…”  And when I say “I’ve been wanting to try this…” I meant “I saw it on TV the other day and it caught my attention, now that I know what it is, I want to taste it…”  We were in luck because the store was selling Sundrop–2 for a dollar.  Can’t beat that.

We scooped up two in our carts and went home.  We tried small samples over the course of the next 2 days (you know, gotta savor something like that) and I am sold!  I love the taste.  Really, it’s not THAT different from other citrus-y sodas….but there’s something really great about it.  I think there’s more lemon, or something.  Or maybe it’s cause I saw it on TV so I’ve convinced myself I really love it.

Either way, the power of influence that MTV has had on me, has intrigued me.  If I hadn’t seen that display case in the kitchen, while the cast members were bickering, I probably would never have noticed the huge display in the grocery store….nor would I have ever been so excited to try it out.  I am 27 (and I know I’m not the typical 27 year old) and I was so influenced to by that soda….it made me realize how easily other people (my age, younger, and even older) can be influenced, too.  Huh…..something to ponder.

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just because…

At first I thought I had forgotten my own birthday….or maybe our anniversary….something.

I got home late from a concert on Friday night after Greg had been gone the whole week on a work trip.  I was greeted in the kitchen by these beautiful yellow tulips (my fave!)

Then on Saturday we were running some errands and stopped at Target.  As we were walking by the sock aisle, Greg spotted some slipper socks which made me instantly excited.  I mean, who doesn’t like slipper socks…especially stripped SPRINGY ones!?  Greg insisted that we get them….

I know the appear to be something you would find in a nursing home, but trust me, they are fab-o!

A few minutes later we were walking through the clothing department and Greg saw a t-shirt that he REALLY liked.  I was diggin the bright colors and the pattern, too.  We loved it so much that he suggested we get that too!  HOLY COW….this, coming from a guy, who can barely stand shopping to begin with!  So this went in the cart, too!

After we got home and I looked through all my unexpected goodies, I really was thinking I missed something.  But, nope!  That’s just how great my husband is!  He thought of these things not because he had to, or because he expected me to get something for him…it was simply “just because.”

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I’m not sure where the craving came from, but I really wanted to make some Monkey Bread for brunch this morning…I haven’t ever made it, but it didn’t seem like it would be that difficult.  I contacted two sources for recipes and actually combined parts from both to make the bread.

Everything started out as planned, but about midway through, it went terrible, TERRIBLY wrong.  Here’s the recipe….

You’ll need:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cinnamon/sugar mix (I actually ended up using closer to 1 cup)
1 package of Grands refrigerator biscuits
BUNDT pan, greased

Here are the steps:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Combine sugar/cinnamon mixture in a bowl and keep separate.

3.  Melt butter in a bowl and keep separate.

4.  Cut the refrigerator biscuits into 1/4 pieces.

5.  Grease BUNDT pan…..SCREEEEEETCH.  This is where our morning treat went terribly wrong.  I pulled out this pan thinking it was a bundt pan….and it was not.  In my defense, I’ve never used it, it just happened to be on our registry and tucked away in the cupboard for months.  I was actually excited to use it when I heard the recipe called for a “Bundt Pan”.”  Too bad what I thought was a bundt pan was actually an angel food cake pan….totally different.

ANGEL FOOD CAKE PAN...ANGEL FOOD CAKE PAN...

6.  Dip the pieces of refrigerator rolls into the butter first, then coat in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Healthy, right?!  As you have them coated, place them into the BUNDT pan…not an Angel Food Cake pan….

Doesn't it look beautiful?! Unfortunately it wasn't in a bundt pan...bad mistake!

7.  Put in the oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes….unfortunately for us, after about 2 seconds in the oven I started hearing dripping and sizzle but was confused why.  I opened the oven and saw this….

Sugar and butter burning on our brand new oven....NOOOOO!

See, apparently Bundt and Angel Food Cake pans are totally different.  So different in fact, all of the extra “oooey gooey” (aka butter/sugar/cinnamon) that came off of the pieces of dough went straight out the bottom of the pan and fell into the oven.   Woopppps!

Greg quickly came to the resuce and got the pan out.  While I transfered it into a different pan (just a bread pan) he wiped out as much of the icky burning sugar and butter, and we were back in business.

It turned out ok in the end….but boy did I learn a bit lesson in bakeware pieces.  AND the Monkey Bread was to die for!  Yum!

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ideas are floating…

As we’ve had friends stop by over the last week, and we’ve given them the grand tour, I continue to find myself saying…”I’m itching to start painting and decorating…”  Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking to do those jobs now because I really lack the energy to dive into a project at the moment.  However, as I think about future projects, and the more I talk about the house, the more ideas float around in my mind…

My latest idea is to get a dark brown table and…..

YELLOW CHAIRS!

There is something about this color that just would just pop against the dark brown floors that fills our kitchen.  That makes me excited.   I have no idea what color I would paint with yellow chairs….but how adorable are those!  Too bad Walmart is selling them for $99 a pop.  That’s a bit too rich for my blood.

Either way, the ideas continue to float and most likely they will change….but the ideas themselves are fun.  Can’t wait to see progress in the home department….in time, in time!

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the first snow of the….SPRING

I know, I know…I live in Minnesota.

But a major snowfall….just two days after the official start of spring?!?!  Not cool, MN.

I think the snowfall was even more dreadful because of the circumstances….let me explain.

All winter we had people shoveling for us.  Living in the apartment complex allowed for us to get away with barely lifting a finger.  The most work that I did, involving snow, was trying to dig Greg’s car out one night after the first blizzard of the winter.  That was a lot of hard work but I honestly wasn’t even out there that long…Greg did most of the work.  And it was only one time.

On top of that, we’ve enjoyed beautiful, sunny, 50 degree days….for several days.  The snow was almost completely gone off the ground…I could see the grass….and the sidewalks….and it was just glorious.

So when I heard that we were expecting snow on Tuesday, I got mad…really mad.  I had convinced myself that we had seen the end of winter here in the ‘sota.  In fact, I tried to convince Greg we didn’t need a shovel on one of our Home Depot runs during move in weekend.  But he insisted on getting one, so I figured we could have one for next year.

Wrong.

Greg left for a trip on Tuesday morning, just in time for the snow clouds to roll in.  To make a long story short, we started getting rain, and hail on Tuesday evening….that coated the ground first and then the snow came.  Several inches.  Not as much as times before, but it was the wet, heavy kind of snow….on top of the wet, icy ground.

I didn’t have time to shovel on Wednesday morning when I woke up to the ground covered in white fluff.  Plus it was still snowing so I figured I should wait anyway.  It snowed the whole day on Wednesday and when I got home the driveway was covered.  I underestimated the amount of snow….I knew there was enough that I was going to have to gun it to get up the slope of our driveway, and over the pile of snow that the plows pushed up at the end.  I got up the driveway and then realized I had to put the car in park so I could go open the garage door (our opener isn’t working so I had to type in the code).  That was the wrong idea.  I got back in the car and was completely stuck.  Couldn’t go forward or backward.

So the shoveling process began.  I thought I was going to die.  It was so heavy.  I could barely lift the shovel full of snow….in fact I had to use all the weight of my body to push the shovel across the driveway.  I shoveled around my car and tried to move it, but it didn’t budge.  The wheels just kept spinning.  So I shoveled some more.  In the meantime, Mr. Neighbor man was effortlessly removing the snow with his trusty snow blower.  I figured it would be a great way to meet the neighbors because he would offer to help me….nope, that didn’t happen.  All that happened was the snow from his driveway was blowing in my face and the gas fumes from his snow blowers were making me ill.

At least an hour later, I had shoveled the whole driveway (including the bottom which is the worst part), backed my car out of the driveway, and gunned it again to get it into the garage.  Success!

As you can see, the shoveling job was pretty pitiful…so much snow is still left on the driveway.  But at least I can get in and out of the driveway….

Silly, Spring Snowfall….please don’t ever come again!

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so…tired…can barely…type

It’s been a while!

Lots has happened in a few short days.  I wanted to post a quick update since it’s been a while.  I’m hoping this weekend I’ll get back to regularly scheduled posts.

A few highlights…

….the week of Trader Joe’s Day 3 and 4:  Day 3 we had tortellini and chicken with red pepper infused sauce.  I can’t remember the exact name of it but that’s mostly because it was nothing to write home about.  I didn’t MIND it, I just didn’t exactly love it.  It was just kind of “mehhh.”  The chicken seemed rather dry which I think was the part that made it hard for me to be wowed.  The pasta and sauce (that we added) were delightful.  Still, the overall consensus was that we probably wouldn’t buy it again.  You live and you learn, right?!  Day 4 on the other hand was much better.  Again, I’m too foggy to remember what it was called, but it was some sort of Penne Pasta with red, yellow, and orange peppers in a tomato sauce….and Greg threw in some chicken for kicks.  That was good.  In fact I just had the left overs tonight.  It was quick and easy and really required very little prep.  All in all, we were pretty please with how our easy meal prep/no leftovers week went.  It was cheap, and fun to try foods we wouldn’t normally buy.

….we closed on our house!!!  We had our closing planned for Friday, the 18th at 10 am and all went smoothly and according to plan…maybe even better than planned.  Greg was originally going to be out of town on a work trip through Friday afternoon, so we had pulled together all the paperwork so that I had could have the rights to sign for him.  He left for Memphis only to find out upon his arrival that the client he was supposed to meet was not going to be able to meet afterall.  That means he took a flight for no reason.  The good news is that he was able to hop on the 6 am flight on Friday morning and get back just in time to be at the closing with me!  It was the best news of the weekend because, while it would have been ok to go by myself, I was really bummed I was going to have to go alone.  It’s just one of those monumental moments and I wanted us to go together.  It worked out in the end!  Everything went well, and my hand didn’t even cramp up from all the signing.

….we finished packing and moved!!!  We had lots packed before moving day (the 19th) thanks to my obsessive planning.  I don’t like leaving things till the last minute, so I had been packing for like 2 weeks before the move….when I say that it doesn’t sound to ridiculous, but then when I lived with it, it really was a little bit premature.  We had boxes surrounding our living space for far too long that it drove me nuts.  I actually couldn’t figure out if it would have been worse to just leave the packing for the day before the move, in order to live in peace up until then….or pack days and weeks in advance as to not feel crazy stressed packing everything in a day’s time.  Anyway, I still don’t know the best solution, but I do know I’m happy that we’re done with that process!

….we have clocks on the wall and a washer and dryer that are not connected!!!  This is big progress, people.  I was anticipating chaos in the house for quite a while, especially after seeing it on Saturday when boxes were being dropped off here and there, and it felt like nothing would ever get into a “place.”  Luckily my parents were here to help and were overly enthusiastic about getting things done.  I was so tired I was ready to fall over, and they were organizing and cleaning, and getting things a-movin’.  In the process we were able to get curtains hung (just in our room and in the family room….enough to feel like we aren’t fish in a bowl), the kitchen completely organized, and the bedroom furniture set up.  Once my parents left Greg and I continued to work and we got some things hung up on the wall….clocks and a decorative item or two, plus our washer/dryer have been delivered (more on that later….that’s a post in itself….a good post….I’m so excited about these appliances), and we bought a shovel for our lovely new driveway.

As you can see, life has been moving at the speed of light and I’m so exhausted I think I’ve fallen asleep around 9 the last few nights.  We’re super happy to be done with the move, and to begin the “settling in” process….however long that should take.  I’d love to do some hardcore decorating, but for now….I think we’ll just live in the house for a bit and get a feel for what we’d like to do….there will be plenty of time to paint and decorate and make it our own.  For now…..I think I’ll sleep.

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