happy halloween y'all!

we're celebrating with ghoulish cookies and plenty of sweets.
 we're surrounded by adorable frames (made by my sister) and even more adorable pictures*.
 we're carving pumpkins and lighting the way for trick-o-treaters.
we're roasting pumpkin seeds and enjoying them as a quick snack, on salads & in homemade granola.  
hope you're having as much fun as we are!  

*the glasses have a funny story behind them.  i gave a pair to my nephew for his very first halloween (as a joke) and needless to say, received a photo of a very unhappy pea pod as a thank you.  since then, i've received a photo of him in these glasses each halloween.  it's become a great tradition!


we survived new orleans!

well friends, we made it home in one piece with plenty of pictures and stories to tell of our new orleans escapades.  originally, this trip was intended for work but we booked a.'s ticket on a whim, turning the past week into a nice balance of work and play.

the conference went great.  one of the best yet.  and believe it or not, i can honestly say most of the stress and tears and late nights were worth it.  that's why i love events...the same breath that drains the last bit of life from you, revives you solely on the energy and excitement of a successful conference.

the nights we found the energy, we (as in my co-workers) made our way to the infamous bourbon street for the sights and sounds of nola.  on more than one of occasion, i danced my way onto the stage of the cat's meow (thank goodness the live web-feed is only up for 24 hours otherwise i think i'd have to live in the hills of timbuktu).  once the conference was over, that's when we really got to stop and see the city.
a. and i have such a fun time traveling together.  we're really low-key and never make any plans.  we prefer to wander and let the activities come to us.  turns out, that was the most perfect way to see the city.  we ate, drank and walked our way through the french quarter, where we spent most of our time.  we found the french market, an open-air shopping center boasting of locally made treats, coffees, local tummy pleasers and of course, in true new orleans fashion, plenty of beverages.
we enjoyed dinner at emeril's delmonico (thanks to a co-workers hook-up) where i had the blue crab gnocchi with grilled asparagus & goat cheese and dried tomatoes.  yum.  we later enjoyed a beer by candlelight at lafitte's black shop bar, a unique bar that boasts of no electricity and a very dark ambiance. we sat outside, enjoying the warm fall air, some great laughs & long talks of our future.

that's one thing that happens when you're finally reunited after a year hiatus, you can't stop talking about what's next.  sure we make it a point to live in the now and always enjoy each day, being very aware that we can't take this time for granted, but we also have never been in a place where a deployment isn't looming over our relationship.  so this is very new territory for us, and we feel a bit like newly-graduated college grads, trying to figure out our next move.
in an effort to help these upcoming questions and our unknown challenges ahead, i thought it might be fun to visit a voodoo shop, and possibly get our fortunes read.  a., to say the least, humored me throughout this endeavor and while we did visit both a voodoo shop and the grave of marie laveau, a renowned voodoo priestess, we never did get our fortunes read.instead we stumbled across cooking classes and signed up to participate.  it wasn't hands-on, but it sure was fun.  miss sandra filled us in on the history of new orleans as she demonstrated traditional recipes such as crawfish etouffee and coconut bread pudding.  we learned how each newcomer into the region affected food, language and the cities customs today.  a. and i loved it.
we later ventured down to frenchmans street.  a very eclectic (this should say a lot considering we were in new orleans) part of the city.  frenchmans is known for jazz and upcoming restaurants.  and we found both.  the stopped at three muses, a quaint jazz bar just in time to catch an fabulous trio, new orleans moonshine trio.  three muses had to die for cocktails (try the muse, dirty dan or the caipirinha) and we enjoyed the feta fries as well.  walking home, we were lucky enough to walk in on moonshine and caroline, another amazing jazz band, where we stayed until their gig ended.
the drinks, the art, the food, the architecture.  new orleans completely exceeded all my expectations.  we  had so much fun and the week before halloween, was a very cool time to be there.  the bright lights and spooky tales of the city only added to the mystique (not to mention all the crazy costumes).  there was so much to do that it was hard to fit it all in a few days, but in addition to the highlights listed above, we'd recommend dinner at the green goddess, bloody mary's at mothers, and both emeril's strawberry lemonade and drum fish from nola.
if you have the opportunity, go.  we had such a great time & while there's no plans for travel in our future, we'll hold this trip and the memories and conversations close to our hearts.  thank you new orleans for the southern hospitality and a wonderful stay.  we'll be humming your tunes always.



a. and i are living it up in new orleans.  great city, great food, great drink.  can't wait to share more with you soon.



“there was something 
about that city, 
though it didn't 
let me feel guilty 
that I had no feeling 
for the things so many others 
needed. it let me alone.” 
 Charles Bukowski

i'm off for a conference and a bit of r&r.  a. is meeting me in nola early next week and we're thrilled about exploring the city and eating & dancing our way through the streets of new orleans.  it'll be my first trip there, and i'm very much looking forward to the southern cuisine, beautiful homes, live music and ample people watching.  as they say in n'awlins, orevwa!


lovin' lately.

every now and again, i like to share things i've come across that i love, can't live without, and are just too pretty not to pass along.  these are those things:

a simple, sweet & spooky halloween treat.

a sweet little video showcasing what english sounds like to foreigners.

there's nothing more beautiful than a colorado wedding.

with fall here and winter right around the corner, 25 ways to wear a scarf is mandatory.

do you gojee?  i'm not sure what's better, the photos or recipes!

this book is going to help me with my november craft challenge.

still obsessed with pintrest.  yep, totally.  i think my to do list and wish list doubles every day.

signing up and getting motivated.  i'll know by the end of this month if i'm committing to 13.1 or 26.2.


vroom vroom.

as you may or may not have caught on sunday's post, a. and i got some new wheels this weekend.  after our deer incident and with our stupid truck falling apart before our eyes, we decided now was the time to trade in the money pit and get something reliable.  something we can run into the ground.  a vehicle that our children will some day own. 

enter the xterra.
doesn't this look like something you'd see in an advertisement?  i know.  i love her.  we decided to go with an xterra because they hold a special place in our hearts (it was actually the first car we bought after we were married...bright, bright yellow- we called it the highlighter...and we trust the brand.  the only reason we traded in our first one was because without 4-wheel drive, it was terrible in the snow.  i posted a picture of the highlighter below, braving her first new york winter & not looking too cheery or yellow.).
our new beast is a 4x4 and rather fancy at that.  it is blue tooth compatible (i love that the car can talk to me and i can talk to anyone i want while driving) and has a fancy radio that hooks up to an ipod.  normally, we're not all about the bells & whistles, but this xterra was in our price range, was in awesome shape and had everything (plus a whole lot more) that we wanted.  needless to say, it was a deal we couldn't pass up.  and luckily we didn't because we're officially in love (and fighting over who gets to drive).


carrot juice.

actually this is a take on carrot juice.  the more accurate name is: carrot-apple-ginger juice.  and man- is it good.  it's my favorite way to start the morning these days.  we've gotten in the habit of making a few pitchers of juice in the evening so we can grab-'n-go on those hectic mornings.  

this is one we made last night.

carrot-apple-ginger juice
serves 2

6-7 large, raw carrots cut per juicer specifications
4-5 whole, raw apples (green apples, mcintosh, northern spy); quartered
1-2 inches fresh ginger

wash all ingredients thoroughly.  once chopped and machine is on,* slowly add all ingredients into the juicer.  pour into cups and enjoy immediately or keep in fridge for up to 2 days.  

i tend to use organic & local fruits and veggies as much as possible.  in my one week of juicing i've found, the fresher the produce, the juicer it is.  also, i prefer my juice a bit on the tangier side so if you like sweeter juice, use apples such as gala, fuji or red delicious.

*at least this is how our machine works.



dinner with friends.  a new car.  rainy days and lots of errands.  hot cider and apple picking.  a beautiful hike with the little family.  all in all, a most-amazing weekend.


a washington wedding.

last weekend a. and i drove to dc for a wedding.  actually, it was more than a wedding.  it was the first time a. saw his family since he came home from afghanistan.

it was an amazing reunion.  we spent the better part of saturday walking the streets and spending time in museums.  then there was the wedding and what an affair that was.  the wedding was held in a stone church nestled in the streets of dc.  very quaint, very swanky, very elegant.  the bride and groom looked amazing (too bad our pictures didn't turn out) and jetted off to take pictures on the lincoln memorial before the reception.  the reception was held at the willard and my oh my- was that a party.  ah-mazing food, a live band and tons of dancing.  not a bad saturday night.

sunday was the perfect day in dc.  we had a nice breakfast and spent the better part of the morning exploring the monuments.  the leaves were starting to change and the weather was warm, so by the time we made our way to the fdr monument, the shade and man-made waterfalls were a welcome surprise.  once we decided it was time to eat, we headed back into the city to the taste of dc for a sampling of local food and drink.  it was a great way to spend the rest of the afternoon.  once we said our goodbyes to a.'s parents, we had dinner with his brother and sister-in-law and we then decided to walk the monuments at night.

and what a sight that was.  the monuments are quiet and serene under the moonlight.  very few people venture the parks after dark, so with the exception of a few locals and some die-hard tourists (ehem), we were the only ones out there.  we saw the washington, lincoln, korean and world war 2 monuments.  after a lot of walking and some achy feet, we headed back to the hotel for a much needed night of sleep.

monday consisted of breakfast, some more goodbyes and our road trip home.  since we only had one headlight (a huge shout out to maryland deer), we wanted to make it home before dark.  we drove home talking about everything we did and commented over and over again about how much fun we had.  it was an awesome weekend and it was so wonderful to see family.  i know everyone had a great time & we build some killer memories.


get juicy.

when i got home from california i seriously needed to detox.  after 4 days of travel, eating out, drinking at networking receptions and enjoying dessert a bit too much, i felt like crap.  it never fails to amaze me how much stress my body can take- but when i over-indulge in all things unhealthy, my body shuts down in a matter of days. 

before i left for california, a. and i watched a great movie about juicing, & we were amazed by what we saw.  generally i'm exactly what a marketer looks for in a customer (i fall for almost everything) whereas a., is usually a bit more skeptical.  however, after the way i felt when i got home and since we're always trying to eat as healthy as possible (please disregard the pizza boxes currently sitting on our kitchen counter), we broke down and bought a juicer.  & it's been amazing.

i've actually been looking at juicers for quite some time (although the impulsive story is a thousand times better) and after some research, we settled on the quasi-affordable yet reliable: breville juicer.  it's unbelievable and- let me tell you- can take down an entire bag of carrots in 3.2 seconds flat.  nice.

our first morning with it, we decided to make this green-machine-like-juice (we omitted the cucumber and added kiwi instead) and it was awesome.  seriously.  my hubby who thinks veggies are what food eats (thanks dad!) was smitten with this recipe and has been the household juicer* ever since.  it gives us an amazing amount of energy throughout the day, we feel great and the juice tastes even better.  we're completely hooked.

*if you happen to have any great juicing recipes or know of any great juicing books, please don't be shy!  we'd love to give them a try.


oh deer.

let's start with today and work our way backwards.

a. and i have two cars.  both of which, are currently in the shop & completely un-drivable.  sheesh.

for columbus day weekend, we hopped in our trusty corolla and made the six hour drive to washington dc for a friend's wedding.  before we left, we dropped off our truck for a brake inspection and planned to pick it up on the way home.  on the road, we drove through a ton of beautiful quaint countrysides and hit a bit of holiday traffic as we headed south.  we weren't in a rush, but the traffic definitely slowed us down more than we had hoped.

by the time we reached maryland, it was dark.  about 45 minutes from the hotel, on the i-83, a. started telling me of some of this experiences overseas.  he was getting animated as he drove and i was completely engaged in his stories.  suddenly, from the right side of the road, a deer ran out of the trees and beelined straight for our car.  a. swerved to miss the buck, but the deer kept running across the road & we hit the poor thing on the passenger side, at about 70 mph.

i won't go into the details, but it was bad.  and i was scared and a. was obviously shaken up as well.  we pulled over and luckily one of the cars behind us stopped to make sure we were okay.  which we were.  i wish i could say the same for mr. bambi.  the man that pulled over was a huge relief because i was on the verge of tears- heartbroken for the deer.  after verifying we were okay and our car had suffered mostly cosmetic damage, he said, "i wish i could go back an' grab the deer, but it ain't huntin' season so it's illegal to pick 'em up this time of year."  i totally had to laugh and the tears never did come.

we rummaged through our car and luckily had a ratchet strap that we used to keep the wheel well from dragging against the tire.  once we macgyvered the car, we hit the road and thankfully had no more surprises for the rest of the drive.  

once we reached the hotel roundabout, we threw the valet the keys to our newly remodeled car and told him not to scratch our baby*.
after two days in dc we hit the road heading north.  the drive home was dull in comparison (thank goodness) and on our way to our house, we picked up the truck from the shop and set about the rest of our night as normally planned.  seeing that we only had one car, a. dropped me off at work the next morning.  as he was heading to pick me up, the truck made a loud noise (like an engine being dragged from the belly of the beast) and as it turns out, the calipers were loose and fell off.  so...long story long...we had to call the tow truck to pick us up and drop us back off at the car shop.  whew.                        

as of today, the truck is now being fixed and we'll be picking up our rental car this afternoon.  needless to say, it's been quite a hectic couple days car-wise and we are both completely ready to be done with any and all things related to the automobile.

*totally kidding.  we just handed him the keys.


ten days later.

apparently i was on a unintentional blog hiatus.  life, as always, kinda got in the way.

i've spent the last 10 days traveling to california for a conference (i didn't think to bring my camera- boo, and our point n' shoot is out of commission- double boo) and washington dc for a wedding (pictures to follow!).  between the bi-coastal adventures, we've been dealing with car nightmares, crazy work schedules and trying to eek a few minutes of free time to spend with one another.  

i'll recap the past week and a half over the next couple days.  you know what they say, when it rains it pours!

oh, and sometime between the end of september and today, the leaves changed colors.  fall is totally and awesomely in full swing. 


september recap.

at the beginning of the month, i made a list of goals i was hoping to accomplish over the past 30 days.  i didn't get to everything, but i sure as heck did a lot.  
  • get the house "couple-ized."  after living apart for a year, i've took the liberty of making everything mine.  his desk?  mine.  his side of the bed?  mine.  his shower products?...what shower products?  you get the picture.  the time has come for sharing.
  • rock out my upcoming conference.  in case you didn't know (or i neglected to inform you), i work for a company that produces conferences.  i'm in charge of the exhibit floor and all sponsorship components.  this conference is the biggest one of the year (aka. the doozie) and i'm determined to rock it.
  • find some time to take care of the garden.  considering 3 out of my 4 weekends this month involve traveling, this one could be tough.  but i'm gonna give it my all.
  • continue with my monday night improv classes.  that's right, i said it.  i do improv!
  • start swimming twice a week.  it's time.  it really is.
  • keep learning photoshop (like my "hello september"?).  that is a huge accomplishment for me!  gotta keep it up.
  • go backpacking.  (this is already planned- it's what a. and i are doing our first weekend together- but since it'll be an easy and fun thing, i figured why not add it to the list?!?
this september, i made it home to san diego for a wedding and had a great conference in san antonio.  a. and i are finally united after a year-long deployment and to honor his homecoming, we've been eating a lot of guacamole.  my garden is rockin' some serious zucchini & tomatoes.  improv and swim have taken the back burner despite my best attempts & backpacking fell through since many of the trails in high peaks were washed out due to heavy rain.  however, a. and i have spent a ton of time together and between dinners for two, concerts and a dishwasher fiasco (note to self, never put dish soap in the dishwasher), i've managed to teach myself a bit more about photoshop.

all in all, september rocked.  and i'm crazy-excited to see what october has in store.