Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Year of Wedded Bliss... and a Gift for Us!

I almost forgot!

I was so excited to blog about this little baby, that it somehow fell off my radar in the last post. I was excited, yet I forgot... strange, I know.

I have this dreadful college- dorm-ish bulletin/cork board in our living room. I was inspired by the image from Ballard Designs below, and I wanted it to be a fun keepsake board  and look something like this:

...but it ended up looking disorganized and uninspired. Plus, it looked too "office like" for a living room. Probably why Ballard Designs had their cork board above a desk. Imagine that.

So... I am bagging the whole cork board in the living room idea, for something that represents a more mature style, and represents where we are as a couple.

Enter Etsy. One of my great, true loves.

I've always liked the "Family Established" signs, and I thought as a one year anniversary gift, I would give this little sign to us. I came across a great Etsy shop with some hand painted signs and decided to purchase one similar to this one:

I have some botantical art that has been tucked away for a year simply because I haven't found the right place to hang it that will compliment the sign quite well. We will see how it goes!

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Year of Wedded Bliss

Yesterday, September 26th, marked MrMarried and my 1st anniversary. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was writing a post for our six month anniversary!

We had a blast this weekend reminiscing about what we were doing one year ago, and I never seem to get sick of hearing our wedding story (even though I lived through it!) I love how MrMarried remembers little details that I can't recall, and it's just fun to remind each other of the magic of our day.

To celebrate, we headed downtown to the restaurant that catered the meal for the wedding, and we reserved a room in the hotel where we stayed after the wedding. Even though we were in our hometown, it still felt like a weekend getaway. 

MrMarried called the florist who did our wedding, and asked her to create something to greet us in the hotel room. She made a beautiful arrangement of long stem roses, and my blackberry's camera doesn't do them justice. Note to self: bring the nice camera to anniversary celebrations. 

Since my parents ate the top of our wedding cake (HA! I told them it was okay to do so since many of our friends have told us that year old cake tastes terrible), they dropped off a replacement fresh cake for us to enjoy. The cake was even better than I remember. Yum! There might only be a tiny, tiny sliver left this morning. Oops. 

I did want to share something I learned as I was planning our anniversary dinner. I had thought that the restaurant was in the Entertainment Book so I looked for a coupon, but when I discovered they weren't, I tried restaurant.com based on a suggestion from a friend and a few twitter people. My friend swears by the website, but I was a little leery at first. The website sells deeply discounted gift certificates ($10 for $25 worth or food, for $40 for $100 in food) to select restaurants.

When I was checking out on the website, I saw a very large area to enter a coupon code-- which is a dead giveaway that the website not only publishes coupon codes, but that they are usually easy find online. I checked out my favorite coupon site, and sure enough, found a code for 80% (!) off. I thought it was too good to be true, but the website took the code and charged me $3 for $25 in food.

I picked my chin up off my desk, printed out the paper gift certificate, and prayed it would work when we went to dinner on Saturday. Dinner went off without a hitch, and the waitress happily accepted our gift certificate. If you use the website though, read the fine print, because most restaurants only let you use one gift certificate at a time.

Have a great start your week! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Delicious Dinners: Penne with Ricotta and Bacon

I haven't been cooking much lately because it's just been too darn hot to be standing over a stove after work. To beat the heat, I've opted for grilling over inside cooking, and we can enjoy the few months where we don't have to pile on the layers to keep from freezing!

Now that the weather is finally cooling down, I have been transitioning into an inside cooking, decorating, and nesting mode and thought it was a perfect time to try a new recipe.

I subscribe to Rachael Ray's magazine and really like the section it each issue that she calls "Take 5." These are meals that include 5 ingredients or less, and I have found that even though they are short on ingredients, they aren't short on taste, and that's what I love about them! Plus, MrMarried has no idea if I used 50 ingredients or just 5, so on weeknights, I vote the simpler... the better! I leave the big, complicated dinners for the weekend when I actually have the time to cook.

This meal took about 15-20 minutes, left plenty of left overs for lunch the next day, and even tasted better the 2nd day! What is it about pasta left overs that are that much better the 2nd time around? I think it has something to do with the chilling and the congealing of the ingredients. Anyway... I digress.

Onto the recipe!

1 pound penne
8 slices bacon, about 1/2 pound --I used turkey bacon
½ large onion, sliced
15 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature --I used low fat ricotta
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente. Reserve one ladle of cooking water, then drain the pasta and transfer to a serving bowl.

2. In a medium skillet, fry the bacon until crisp and transfer to a plate, leaving the bacon fat in the skillet.

3. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until golden, about 10 minutes.

4. Stir the onions and ricotta into the pasta along with the reserved pasta cooking water.

5. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it over the pasta along with the basil.

As I said, this was honestly better the second day! When I make it again, I may try to figure out a way to make it the night before and refrigerate it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Brain Dumps

I have seen a few brain dumps on blogs lately and I love the idea. Not only will it be a great post for me to look back on in a few months and remember what was going on in my life, but since I am an A++ personality, and therefore THRIVE on lists, this sort of modified list makes me feel like I have a grasp on what’s going on.

• Work trips, work trips, work trips. I'm leaving on the first of a series of work trips today. Usually, I don’t mind traveling for business, actually I usually enjoy it—I get to see new cities, interact with new colleagues, rack up frequent flier and frequent guest hotel points for free personal travel with MrMarried, etc--- but when all the trips tend to get crunched together… which they happen to be doing at the moment, it can be stressful. I get flustered that I will lose a receipt and not be able to get reimbursed or confuse a departure time or something along those lines. I hate worrying, and think it's such a wasted emotion, but for some reason business travel can bring out the worst of my worrying. I will get through it, and I will smile when we are using the points for an up coming vacation. Yes.... think silver lining.

•I’m going to be a sister-in-law! This is a big deal for me. I’m an only child, and though I had a fantastic childhood, I always wanted siblings. My BIL (my husband’s brother) has been dating his girlfriend for almost six years, and he came over to our house a few weeks ago to tell us that he had been ring shopping, and wanted me to come along to help. I was so thrilled to help with the process. He found a beautiful ring and is proposing in October. I can’t wait to celebrate. Keeping my mouth shut is killing me, but I owe it to my future sister-in-law because she knew all about my proposal and didn’t say a word. My lips are sealed.

•My undying love for audiobooks continues. I have been reading listening to books religiously on my commute and have been getting into biographies, political biographies in particular. And yes, I am listening to POV’s from both sides of the aisle. I certainly lean one way more than the other when it comes to political parties, but I still think it’s important to broaden your horizons and listen to both sides of the story, so I am doing just that. It's very enlightening!

•Eyes on the prize. MrMarried and I are taking a week of vacation right before Halloween to drive to upstate NY, Boston, and a few of the cape towns of New England. It is sort of a 1st anniversary trip, even though he will be taking it a month after our first anniversary. The timing just worked out better that way. We are wine tasting, whale watching, bed and breakfasting, history chasing, fall leaf looking, and NOT thinking about work. I can't wait. Get here. Please get here fast.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is always such a wonderful, yet sad time of year for me.

It's sad because it marks one of the last true weekends of summer and the shift towards shorter days with darker mornings--- sure makes it harder to get out of bed, doesn't it?

But, at the same time, it brings crisp cool air, light jackets, pumpkins, fall leaves, harvest festivals, and a cozy time before the bleh of northeaster winters.

So this past weekend I was determined to make the most of every possible second and spend time outside enjoying the cooler temps and sunny skies. MrMarried and I went for a 21 mile (!) bike ride on Sunday.... which is certainly the furthest I've ever gone on a bike, but I enjoyed every second of my time with him.

We saw some gorgeous sites along the ride, and it really put me in the mood for fall. Can't wait!