Monday, March 22, 2010

i just can't get enough...

This is a bit of the music I can't get enough of lately. I've always considered music to be a big part in my life... But, I take breaks. I get really into music and then I just forget to listen (save for in my car, I always have some music in my car) for a while. I'd consider now to be one of the times when music plays a bigger role.

Lately I've been listening to a few of these songs. I love them all a whole lot. And I think you should too.

The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You.

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson: Relator (This is my current dance around foolishly song.)

Florence and the Machine: Dog Days are Over (Thought my mom would enjoy the rock and roll harp playing.)

Andrew Bird: Fake Palindromes (I will always love you Andrew Bird... even though you snubbed my favorite cousin when she asked for your photo.)

Fruit Bats: Ruminant Band (PS- I don't condone casket burning of any kind.)


Sunday, March 21, 2010

the bridal chronicles: chapter 4: for me?

There's this crazy phenomenon when it comes to weddings.

People start to give you stuff.

I don't quite know why. I've been told it's because they love you. But, I still don't get it!

Yesterday, some dear friends gave me my first shower. It was mostly made up of my old friends. So, my best friend Abby named it my "Protestant Shower." Since most of my old friends are from my days in the protestant world. Love it!

We had such fun! The food was incredible. And the girls literally showered me with gifts! My dear friend Claire told me about how humbling it is to sit in front of a mountain of gifts all for you... simply because people love you! She was totally right.

On to the photos...

Maid of honor/Best Friend Abby and Bridesmaid Michele. Together with our friend Melissa (who provided her ultra chic home for the event) hosted the shower.

My mom and sister with Meribeth, my Matron of Honor/Godmother/Sacramental Sponsor/beloved friend!

Please excuse my "I'm not really going to smile because I probably have food in my teeth" smile. I just wanted to show you the flowers. So elegant and chic. Seriously, these three have GREAT TASTE! You'd be lucky to have them throw a shower for you!

It was great to get to catch up with everyone! I hadn't seen most all of the girls since around Christmas!

Here's Meribeth with Brandon's mom and sisters. It was so fun to have my "almost family" there too!

Woah. I feel really spoiled.

You all know me, and you know I love anything domestic. I start geeking out big time when I open boxes full of things like kitchen scales and cake stands!

Thanks girls. I really couldn't ask for sweeter friends! xoxo

ps- Thanks to Melissa for photographing the day. My mom, sister, and I all forgot our cameras. But, sadly, I didn't get to get a photo with you, dear Melissa!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

eat, pray, love...

I love love love engagement photos. I follow quite a few photography blogs, and really appreciate unique photography. My best friend, Abby, let me know about one of her former classmates who was starting out in photography.

Her friend's name is Becka and she has named her business BlueGenes Photography.

Becka came up from Jackson, MS on Saturday and we did our session. This weekend my dear former roommate, Ashley, was in town. So, I had my own personal hairstylist for the weekend. Thanks Ashley!

I let Becka know a bit about us. I told her about how our conversion has played a big role in our relationship. How we love coffee, and cooking, reading, and my sweet little apartment! I think she did a great job of photographing us in our element.

Becka named the session "Eat, Pray, Love." Although, I think the story of Brandon and Caitlyn pales in comparison to the book of the same name! (I promise, that's the mushiest thing I'll say all day.)

It was a somewhat dreary day, but we were able to capture a few great pictures outside. I love this one. It's one of the most traditional photos of the day. I'm really happy how it turned out, and how sweet the church looks in the background.

We took some fun photos in my dining room. I love my colorful wall of Fiesta Ware. I'm so happy to have it documented.

We took quite a few in my precious china nook. I really don't think I'll ever want to leave this apartment... simply because of the china nook!

Brandon really liked this one.

Becka had the brilliant idea to have me stand on a stack of my cookbooks. So cute! I just thought it was such a fun play on our massive height difference!

I really love these red shoes.

What a gorgeous ring!

I think these three show us completely and totally relaxed.

We went over to Dino's and took a few while we ate our lunch.

Becka had the fun idea to do slurp the spaghetti "Lady and the Tramp" style. We turned it into a spaghetti tug-of-war.

We had such a fun time. Thanks for everything Becka!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

compulsive cookie baking (?)

Yep, I've been compulsively baking cookies lately.

I absolutely cannot stop.

I think I made 5 batches last week. (No, I didn't eat all of them. Just several.)

I have 3 good fasting chocolate chip cookie recipes. They're all appropriate for different moods. One is the "happy vegan" chocolate chip cookie, they're really simple and don't call for any vegan specialty ingredients. They also just use oil, so no need to wait for your fat source to get to room temp. I made these on a whim the other day. They call for cinnamon, and I sometimes include it. It makes them taste like Mexican hot chocolate, so great! But, for a regular day, you can leave it out. I made these on a whim a few weeks ago, and I made, baked, and cooled them all in under 45 minutes!

I also love the very first vegan cookie recipe I ever tried from "I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In the Kitchen With Your Favorite Bands." This was one of the first gifts Brandon gave me after we started dating. What's not to love about an indie rock cookbook!?

This recipe is from my beloved and often used "Vegan with a Vengeance" cookbook. I made these the other night and accidentally added an baking powder instead of the baking soda called for in the recipe. Some quick thinking reminded me that Debbie's Cookies call for both soda and powder. So, I also added the soda. It was a great mistake to make! It took the usually spread-y cookies and made them thicker and chewier. I'm very happy with the mistake!

Vegan with a Vengeance Chocolate Chip Cookies: (with Caitlyn's modification)

1 c. margarine, at room temperature
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 T. molasses
2 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the molasses and vanilla.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt into the margarine/ sugar mixture. (NOTE: this cookie recipe actually doesn't use the dry/ wet mixing method. I like not messing up an extra bowl!!!)

Add chocolate chips.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on the baking sheets, about an inch apart. I like to schmush them a bit, they won't flatten much by themselves.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly browned. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Then transfer to cooling racks.

PS- If you're feeling adventurous, try these Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Post Punk Kitchen. I also made these last week. They were great!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

a good routine...

I love a routine. As much as I didn't love working 8-5 in the corporate world, I did love having a good morning routine when I had to be somewhere by 8am. Knowing that things go the way they should each and every morning makes me smile. And, of course, my morning coffee makes the routine even better.

Here's how my typical morning looks: (Warning: this post is incredibly narcissistic. I just love my morning routine, and wanted to write about it.)

My morning routine actually starts the night before. I tidy up a bit before bedtime. I make sure the pillows are on the couch, many of the dishes are clean, and the clean ones are put away. (No dishwasher = Constant dishwashing struggle!) I make sure the television armoire is closed and the remote is put away. I plug in my laptop. I do all this so that I can wake up unencumbered by household messiness!

I wake up to the sound of two alarms. Yes, I need two. My cell phone and a traditional "brrring brrring" alarm. The combo of the two (usually set to go off within 5 minutes of one another) helps me tremendously. I think I set two because I fear one not working (I'm not completely unfounded in my fear, I've had some alarm clock mishaps) and because I learn to sleep through one constant sound. I actually like mornings ... Once I finally wake up.

Then, I make my bed. I used to NEVER make my bed when I lived at home. But, now I can't face my day knowing that my bed is disheveled. (It appears as though I only have monster sized throw pillows on my bed, but I actually have real pillows behind them. Weird camera angle.)

Then, ideally, I go pray in my prayer corner. I must confess. I don't do this first thing every morning. I'm working on it.

Next, I step into the kitchen. I love the bright morning light in my kitchen. (The photobooth doesn't really do my beautiful bright kitchen justice!) I am definitely affected by the sun. Something about the sun in the mornings makes me happy.

I plug in my hot water kettle and fill it with water and start heating the water for my coffee. I grind my coffee beans and get my French press prepped. Once the water is heated (rather quickly I might add, I just love my kettle) I make the coffee. I set the timer for 4 minutes and then make my breakfast.

I'm really liking quinoa lately. You probably know, but for those who don't, quinoa is a grain that's high in fiber AND protein. It provides all the amino acids found in meat. (Check out the 4 pound bag I got at Costco for only $9.99!) It's so super healthy. I probably negate the healthiness of it when I add smart balance and brown sugar. It's still healthier than lots of other things. Right?

I like to make up some quinoa or some Irish steel cut oats in advance and reheat it for breakfast. Then, I pour up a cup of coffee and head for the couch.

I know it's a bad habit to eat in front of the television. But, I must watch my Today Show. I also know that The Today Show is not a good hard news source, but I enjoy the fluff. Leave me alone, I just woke up!

So, that's my morning routine. My day goes tons better when I start my day like this.

In other news, our beautiful crowns came in on Monday. (See previous post.) They are even more beautiful in person!

My dear friend (and future neighbor in 2 days) Anne Katherine came to visit while she took her PT boards. She passed, and I'm so very happy for her!

Since AK was coming to visit, I got busy doing some major clean-out. Now, the bonus room is presentable. And, the guest room is cleared. Now I don't have to freak out if people accidentally open the door!

*OH, WHILE YOU'RE HERE: Does anyone have a queen sized mattress they're trying to get rid of? I have an extra bed frame that can be used in the guest room, but no mattress and box springs. I'm just not to keen on buying one from a stranger on Craigslist. (Because of cooties.)

I get to spend my weekend with sweet baby Zoe. I'm pretty thrilled about it. I love that kid!

Oh, I almost forgot, our sweet friends John and Liz had their baby yesterday! Welcome sweet baby Michael! Many years! (You'll be hearing a LOT about babies from me in the coming weeks, at least five friends are pregnant right now.)

Talk to you soon.