that time I went vegetarian by eating a steak

I am an exercise in contradictions. I realize that.  I said in my 2013 goals post that I really wanted to focus on getting back to vegetarianism. Then I ate a steak for the first time in years last night.

 

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And it was, sadly, delicious.

Considering we just moved to a new apartment, put a big down payment on our car lease in order to transition to financing it, and booked a Jamaican vacation, Chris and I decided to keep Valentine’s Day low key this year.

I knew immediately what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the man some steak. He’s such a healthy eater, and he puts up with all my strange dietary impositions, but he really loves some red meat now and then. And, who doesn’t love a home cooked meal?

I briefly contemplated making him a steak and me something else a little more veg-friendly, but nothing kills a food buzz quicker than looking up from your dead animal to see someone eating a head of broccoli and becoming overwhelmed with guilt. We were either doing this or we weren’t.

If I was going to cook and eat a steak, I wanted it to be from a cow who had a really good life. Morally, I don’t have a problem with eating animals. I have a problem with the way animals raised for consumption are treated in this country. I do believe there are humane ways to raise animals who will eventually be slaughtered for food, and I don’t think it’s right or fair to eat animals raised any other way.

So, I turned to my food source, Fresh Direct (we order all of our groceries there and their quality and customer service never cease to amaze me; I will never go to the grocery store again), to see what my humane options were like. They have an amazing selection of local, organic food, so I was not surprised to find 100% grass fed, local, organically raised beef from a family farm on the menu.

Our steaks came from Hardwick Beef in Johnson, NY and our cows were raised on one of two local family farms. After reading about them, I do believe our cows were treated humanely. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s better than most, and it made me feel comfortable about my purchase.

For the record, two filet mignons (about a pound of beef) were $37. That’s what humanely raised cattle cost. That’s the cost of treating animals with respect. Sort of makes you wonder what happens to cows that turn into McDonald’s hamburgers that cost $1. That’s a story for another day though.

I shared the price because I think it’s really important to recognize the implications that come along with it. We live in a country where you can have meat as the centerpiece of every meal of every day, but that doesn’t mean you should. The drive to lower the cost of meat and make it more available to the masses has led to cost cutting in an industry that deals with animals with thoughts and feelings and souls. Measures to keep prices artificially low and profits high are the main cause of the horrible conditions in most of the farming industry. I also personally believe the abundance of cheap, low-quality meat has contributed significantly to the obesity epidemic.

If everyone paid the real cost of their meat, we’d eat less meat which would result in healthier lives for us and them. Ok, I really didn’t mean to rant here, but if you’re interested in learning more about this topic, check out this article by Mark Bittman.  And if you want to change the way you think about food forever, read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s in my top 5 favorite books of all time, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Moving on, we got our sustainable steaks, and I was so nervous to cook them! I looked up one million recipes, but ending up settling on pan searing the steaks and serving them with a red wine reduction (I added 2 tbsps of thyme along with the beef broth but otherwise followed this recipe exactly; it was amazing).

For the steaks, I rubbed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in a medium hot skillet. I seared each side for about 5 minutes a side then turned the heat down to low medium and cooked them through for about another 5 (we like them medium well; for rarer, 10 minutes is likely sufficient).

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Despite appearances, we do not live in an abandoned insane asylum. We have pictures up,  you just can’t see them from that angle. Also, our table is stuffed in a weird corner because we are working with 700 square feet, and we never use it. After this picture, I turned off the crazy bright light and we ate by candlelight. Just needed to clear that up.

 

For the sides, we had broccoli steamed in the microwave then drizzled with some balsamic vinegar, a salad, and garlic mashed potatoes using my girl Martha’s recipe. They were good, but missing a little something. Next time, I’d use red skin potatoes with the skin on.

After dinner, everyone passed on in a food coma.

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Except Miles because demons don’t need to sleep. They do need to hold hands though.

As for me, I got the luckiest of all.

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Chris snuck home during his lunch break to set up this lovely display of beautiful flowers and pictures! We’ve been talking about printing pictures for 100 years and have never done it, so he took initiative and printed and framed them! I love it. He printed a bunch of extras too, so I get to take some to work. How wonderful! I can’t even describe how sweet it was to come home to this. I was totally surprised!

I also got a sweet care package from my sister and chocolate covered pretzels from our building management. I just love Valentine’s Day!

 

 

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burning the candle

hi there. i miss you.

Seriously, life has been way too hectic lately. I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends, and just when I put out one fire, another one crops up. Now, I’m mixing metaphors. Look what lack of sleep has done to me!

 

Since my last post I’ve been focusing a lot of time and energy in many different directions.

My final CIA exam is a week from tomorrow Thursday, and I’m so nervous and upset with myself for not being more well prepared. It’s my last exam, and it would be amazing if I could pass and just be done with this certification, but I haven’t given it the time I need to pass, and if I fail, that’s three more months minimum of studying and stressing. I still have a week, but I’m scared.

I spent most of the last two weekends pouring my heart and soul into my advising efforts at Alpha Chi at Rutgers, and it wasn’t at all what any of us expected. It was formal recruitment, and if you know sororities, you know that is a BIG HUGE DEAL. The advisory board and national consultants spent a lot of time working with the women to make everything great. The ladies of Alpha Chi were amazing and put on the best recruitment I’ve ever seen, but it wasn’t enough.

When you give your absolute best (which we all did), you can’t blame yourself if you fail, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting. I know what happens is no one’s fault, but I really wanted this for the women. My heart breaks for them because now the future of their chapter is in peril, and there’s nothing we can do. I spent most of Sunday crying then picked myself up (well, Chris picked me up and dusted me off… several times) and decided there’s nothing to do but move forward. March on.

There are more aspects of my life that are facing big changes right now, but I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it just yet. Change, even good change, is hard.

Luckily, not all of my life is in flux. As I mentioned before, Chris, as always, has been my rock lately. It’s so cliche to say, but honestly how else do you describe someone who is literally your focal point of stability in a storm? He was up with me when I found out the bad Alpha Chi news in the middle of the night on Saturday. He talked to me for HOURS (tearful, sometimes misdirected rageful hours) on Sunday and made sure I didn’t go to bed upset. The most amazing part, is that it didn’t even surprise me. That’s just him. He’s the most reliable best friend and partner I could ever ask for, and I really spend every minute of every day thankful that I found him when I did and incredulous that I went so long without him.

Sorry, but we’re not done with the mush yet. I’m also thankful for my friends and family. Dinner Sunday night with our favorites Debbie and Mike was literally the high point of that entire weekend, and I don’t even think they know it! Just getting my mind off of the weekend’s events and laughing a little (a lot) made my night leaps and bounds better.

Last night, I got adorable Valentine’s Day cards in the mail from my mom and sister and Chris’ mom too. Valentine’s Day cards! How cute are they?

So, yeah. I haven’t been posting here a lot because I haven’t felt like there’s been a lot of good news to share, but then I realized that’s life. Life is the good and the bad and sometimes finding the good in the bad. Waiting for something wonderful to happen to post is like waiting for life to be perfect. I’d end up missing out on so much. I want to remember it all. The ups and the downs. I don’t want to miss anything.

 

Now, if you made it through this wall of text, you will be rewarded with silly pictures of my weird cats. I’m thankful for them too. I guess.

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After spending $8 on new hair ties, I found their stash under the couch.

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Miles has decided he now enjoys sleeping with two feet in a tissue box. Creep.

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Every morning we wake up to this. I’m taking it as a warning like “Mouse sleeps with the fish(flavored kibbl)es.”

That’s all. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll try not to be such a stranger.

Down on the farm

Hi again. It seems really silly to post New Year’s Eve pics on January 14, and there are fewer than I thought, so I’ll wait until the January wrap up to share those.

For now, let’s talk the weekend (sometimes it’s the only thing getting me through Mondays).

This weekend was supposed to be warm and sunny. It was warm, but most definitely not Sunny. That meant our plans for a date night in the city Friday and a Sunday afternoon hike had to be adjusted, but I’m kind of glad they were because this weekend turned out to be rather awesome.

Friday night, Chris and I decided that since we weren’t going out, we’d cook something a little nicer than our typical weekday dinners. I got the foods he got the wine.

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That’s roasted chicken breasts and thighs over red potatoes in a garlic, rosemary, lemon and white wine sauce. And that’s also a reflection of my cutest boyfriend who said, “You’re not going to take a picture of this?? It looks amazing!” Then rearranged the food so it was at its best angle like a true food blogger. Thanks Chris!

For dessert we had gluten free brownies (the Bob’s Red Mill mix is awesome!) and wine and James Bond. Perfect night in.

Saturday I had my first meeting of the new year with the rest of my advisory  board for Alpha Chi, and I have to say that it got me really excited for the coming months. It’s going to be busy as all get out, but I’m really optimistic about this year!

Sunday our hiking plans got revised to pretty much the most amazing day of my life. Our city friends Debbie and Mike (they always think of the most fun excursions!) happen to have a family farm in central Jersey, and they offered to take us out there for the day! I nearly fainted telling Chris the news. I absolutely love farm animals despite occasionally eating them (sorry chickens. i feel really badly about that. i’m working on it), and I get so excited about meeting them it’s kind of ridiculous. Chris has seen me in action  before, so he made me promise I wouldn’t cry or try to steal any of them. It was tough.

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First I met these goats who were incredibly friendly despite the fact that I had no food to offer them. The brown one shaking his money maker for us is absolutely lovely.

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They were sweet and perfect and I loved them all so much, particularly the one with the spots.

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Next I met these sheep who were a bit more standoffish, but still incredibly friendly despite the fact that I confessed to them that their wool makes me itch.

I also met a baby goat, but I didn’t take a picture because Mrs. Goat was giving me crazy stink eye just for making a series of high pitched squeals upon seeing her adorable kids (it’s true! baby goats are kids!).

I just about died. Chris commented later on how I rushed headlong over (possibly snake filled) tall grass and almost into a fence to see those sheep. Apparently my deep love for adorable farm animals knows few bounds. Still, I did not adopt any creatures, and I did not cry, so I’m calling the outing a success.

After being forcibly removed from the farm (I would have moved in) we went to lunch in Princeton. Despite being a little car sick (there are some curvy roads in central Jersey) I was still ready for lunch, and Triumph did not disappoint. I don’t have any pictures because it was pretty dark in there, but I can tell you that I had a super yummy kale and white bean soup and a mushroom patty burger (not a portabello top, like ground up mushrooms fritter style) and you can imagine the deliciousness.

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We wandered around this adorable college town (though Chris and I could probably have our diplomas revoked if we said this to other Rutgers alumni) for a while after lunch and stopped in a cute consignment shop before hitting the road again. We’ll definitely be coming back to Princeton soon.

The rest of the weekend was very quiet which was totally perfect. I wanted to work on a scarf I’ve been crocheting (remember my New Year’s Resolutions??) so that I can actually wear it before winter ends, but someone had other plans.

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Miles is the most considerate cat in the world as he will only lay on fabric in the same color family as his hair. Saves us a ton in lint rollers.

So yeah. The weekend was perfect, and I didn’t want it to end, but it did. The good thing about weekends though is that the next one is never more than 5 days away. Until then… have a wonderful week!

 

 

Ted Corbitt 15k & a cookie swap!

This past Saturday I ran my first ever 15k! The thing I love most about any first ever distance… automatic PR. So, now I have a PR in the 15k of 1:31:48 or a pace of 9:53. Considering my pace for the half marathon in September was 11:17, I’m really happy with this.

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This is the closest I’ve ever gotten my Garmin to my actual race time. That’s a PR of sorts too.

The race was the Ted Corbitt 15k in Central Park, and it was a lot of fun. I’ve run a little in Central Park, but mostly I’ve just biked around, so it was exciting to see more of the park on foot. Waking up at 4:45 on a Saturday morning was significantly less exciting. The race started at 8:30, and it takes about 90 minutes to get from Jersey City to the UWS on the weekend. That combined with the fact that my stomach has been less than cooperative lately meant I wanted a lot of time to get up and moving before the race.

I met up with Debbie, Meg and Jenn, and we all got to head into the city together which made public transportation before sunrise a little more bearable. We got to the park with about an hour to spare which was the perfect amount of time to drop our bags, use the restrooms and line up.

The weather was chilly but beautiful.

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We didn’t run together for this race, so we parted ways at the starting line, and then we were off! Honestly, I probably should have been, but I wasn’t at all worried about the distance. I think I was so nervous that my stomach wouldn’t cooperate, that I didn’t even stop to think about the fact that I haven’t run further than 6 miles in months. Talk about your blessing in disguise. The course was two loops around most of Central Park excluding (thank goodness!) the Harlem Hills. Still, it was nowhere near as flat as my usual Jersey City runs. I actually think this helped distract me from the distance too. I was in my own head just strategizing and trying to figure out how best to tackle the rolling hills and completely ignored the distance.

My basic strategy was this: on the flat parts of the course I tried to keep my pace right around 9:30 for the first half. As I approached a hill, I’d aim to keep my pace under 10, and on the downhills I’d fly and try and make up some time. I figured I could always speed up if I had anything left in the tank during the second half. I was actually feeling really great until about mile 7. Then, my stomach reminded me why it’s my most unreliable organ (thank goodness?). I actually had to come to a full stop three times. I just felt all my stomach muscles lock up, so I stopped, pulled off to the side of the road (after nearly being killed by a bike) and breathed calmly until I could get my stomach to a more peaceful place.

After mile 7, I ran when I could and walked through the water stops. I finished strong, and felt really good that I was able to finish as fast as I did given all the stomach drama.

The rest of the ladies did awesome, and we congratulated ourselves with a little brunch by the park before heading home.

The rest of the weekend was pretty calm and lovely. Backing up a bit, Chris and I were supposed to see the tree in the city after work on Friday, but I cancelled our date because I was just too shaken up by the Connecticut tragedy to even want to be around other people. He eventually convinced me to leave the house and take a little walk around Jersey City that night, and I’m glad he did because I do think it lifted my spirits a bit. We walked through the downtown farmer’s market and stopped to browse some vintage… CDs? Yep, apparently CDs have replaced vinyl records as the hipster’s collectible of choice. Weird.

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I don’t think anyone is collecting Marilyn Manson CDs.

Saturday night, we went to dinner with Chris’ family to celebrate his mom’s birthday. It was actually Friday, and she’s a preschool teacher, so I know she felt the impact of the tragedy especially deeply. It was nice to be together and allow our hearts to be a little lighter for a few hours.

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I earned a stocking on the family mantle this year, which was really touching. Chris’ mom also sent us home with a little Christmas carousel that lit up and spun and absolutely made a certain blonde cat’s night.

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Sunday was rainy and cold. It was the perfect day for staying in PJs until noon, so we did.

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I spent a bit of the morning doing some baking for the evening’s cookie exchange hosted by my friend Cameron. A baker, I am not, but I gave it my best shot with a tried and true recipe for gluten free chocolate coconut macaroons.

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I follow this recipe exactly but I add half a bag of melted dark chocolate chips to the mix before folding in the egg whites. If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll also add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.

The don’t look pretty, but they taste lovely, and my favorite part is whipping the egg whites into a frenzy.

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Just kidding. That’s the worst part, but the rest of the recipe is a cakewalk (see what I did there?), so I shouldn’t complain.

The cookie exchange was lovely. There were about 20 girls there with the most amazing recipes, and I left with a giant container of treats for Chris and I to share. We’ve each been sampling between 2 and 3 a night.  It’s a pretty good way to get into the holiday spirit. It’s also a pretty good way to get into a larger pant size. So, there’s that too.

 

I can’t believe this weekend is already Christmas. I’m looking forward to a mini break and time with family. In light of everything that’s happened, I’m going to focus especially hard on soaking up every minute with the people I love. To you and yours, Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

On the Move

Happy Friday! I’m still fighting an ugly cold but feeling better every day. I’ve got some exciting plans (Pumpkin Picking!) on deck for this weekend, but honestly my mind is already on next weekend, and why?

Because… we’re moving to a deluxe apartment in the sky! True story. We’re moving out of our 3rd floor apartment, two blocks down and 14 floors up to the 17th floor of our new building! Moving is stressful and exciting and stressful. Just a quick count shows that I’ve moved at least 20 times in my life (lots and lots as a kid plus the usual college/newly graduated moves), so you’d think I’d be used to it, but it still manages to throw me for a loop.

{I love this city}

Actually, I haven’t even lived in this apartment for a full year! I moved in with Chris last November, but his lease expires at the end of October, so we found a place back in September, and off we go again.

I’m really excited because this is our first place together, but I’ll always have a soft spot for our old apartment.

{And I’ll miss this view}

Now, I am by no means an authority (on anything), but, as I said, I’ve moved A LOT, so I thought I’d lay out some tips for a successful move. Ready? Ok.

Clean everything. This may be just me because I’m a freak, but I cannot stand moving dirty clothes/towels/sheets to a new place, so I

  • Do lots of laundry in the days leading up to the big move
  • Wipe down and vacuum the old place and the new. It helps with getting back the security deposit and starts me off on a fresh, clean note in the new place.

Have a plan.

  • Do we need to rent a truck? Nah, we think our little Mazda hatchback has the right stuff.
  • Recruit some friends? You bet! Thank goodness for big, strong friends!
  • Reserve a freight elevator? Just did so for the new place (and as I typed that, I called the old place to do the same because I forgot about that)
  • Make a list of things that have to go and the order they have to go in. Like extra sheets and towels can go the night before, but we’re hanging on to two towels so we can shower in the old place the morning of the move. I love lists!

Purge! There is absolutely zero sense in bringing clothes you never wore/medicine that expired/food that you’ll never eat to a new home. It’s just clutter and it wastes time and space on moving day, so clean yo ish out before go time. Chris and I

  • Cleaned the closets and donated everything we hadn’t worn in a year or more
  • Threw out  magazines we were never going to read, junk mail and old medicine and cleaning supplies
  • Donated dishes and other kitchen utensils we honestly forgot we had and threw out food past it’s prime

source

Refrain from buying new things, yet. In the process of purging, we kept thinking, “we need more storage, new dishes, a new bathmat, etc.” But we’re holding ourselves back from making any purchases because

  • We still don’t know what will even fit in the new place
  • Lots of stuff gets repurposed in a new location
  • We just won’t know until we actually start living there

Change your address. Duh, but be sure to consider all the places that require an address on record.

  • Email family and friends
  • Go to the post office’s website. They charge a dollar to your credit card to verify that you are, in fact, you. Then, they set up mail forwarding for 6 months. This is so clutch because you will inevitably forget a bill or something, and getting it forwarded saves you hassle and late fees
  • Tell the DMV and your car insurance company. In New Jersey, you don’t even have to go to a motor vehicles center. They just mail you a sticker to affix to the back of your license
  • Change your records with your bank, your credit cards, and your cell phone
  • Tell your cable and utilities providers
  • Let your work know too so you don’t miss any important correspondence

{Miles volunteered to cancel the Comcast account. Spoiler: it’s not Comcastic}

If the new home is a short drive away, don’t bother with boxes. Now, this one may sound crazy, but all the moves in my life, save 2 or 3, have been within a 5 mile radius of each other. There were a few times that I bought or borrowed boxes, packed everything up, moved it in, then unpacked. This took forever, and ended up taking just as many trips. Now I

  • Fill every laundry basket, reusable shopping bag and suitcase with small items and tote those over. They had to be moved anyway, so why not make them useful?
  • Keep the hanging clothes on their hangers and lay them flat across the back seat of the car, so I can just take them out and pop them in the new closet.
  • Take dresser draws out of dressers to decrease the weight of bulky furniture, but leave the clothes folded inside and just reinsert the drawers in the new place.

This method is so much quicker and we don’t end up with 50 boxes all over the dang place.

{some stuff looks good in boxes}

{but baskets…}

{and bags work too}

Dress appropriately. I sound like a school marm now, but I’ve gotten enough black toenails and nasty scratches turned scars in my life to know that sneakers, long pants and a long sleeve shirt are the way to go no matter how hot it is.

{Don’t wear shorts; pastel fleeces are OK}

Install the AC first! Luckily this place has central air, but whenever I’ve moved window air conditioners, I install them first. When you’re 5 hours into a move and sweating your face off, you’ll be so much more willing to head to the new place if the AC is going.

Accept the unavoidable. It may rain. It may snow. Things may break. Stuff will disappear. Your stuff won’t fit or look as good in the new place. You’ll have less storage. You might not like it right away, but everything will find its place, and you’ll love your new home. I (almost) always have.

Well fed movers are happy movers (and booze doesn’t hurt either). Especially with friends, but even with hired movers, feeding people keeps them from plotting your demise as they’re lugging you laundry basket full of shoes up three flights of stairs (true story). This move, I plan on providing bagels, coffee, pizza and beer. Don’t you wanna come help now?

{I’d proably take candy over beer}

Be so, so kind and patient with the monsters. Moving is so scary for pets, and who can blame them? I know that our indoor cats don’t know much outside of our apartment, so when we start packing and hauling furniture, they think we’re abandoning them. Pets don’t have the added advantage of being able to communicate this to us, so sometimes they act out. Miles avoiding me and destroyed quite a few of my things when we moved in with Chris, and it was really, really frustrating, but I tried to remember that this was 1000 times harder on him than it was one me, and I just spoke to him calmly and waited for him to stop hating me and start trusting me again. This time around, we’re

  • Keeping the cats in the old apartment as long as possible on the day of the move because I think they’ll find more comfort there than in the new place
  • Talking to them and giving them as much love as they’ll let us while we’re packing
  • Putting them in their carriers once the move really gets going, so they don’t panic and try to escape
  • Showing them lots of love (and giving them lots of treats) when they get to the new apartment until they calm down

{Your pets may hide…}

{or give you the stink eye…}

{but just be patient, and you’ll be cuddling again in no time}

Be thankful. It’s so cheesy, I know, but I’m so grateful to have a roof over my head. I’m so glad to be living in a city I love with the man I adore. Yes, moving is stressful, but the opportunity to make a new house a home is a blessing.

{It’s family that makes a house a home anyway}

BBQ Fest and Exciting Upcomings!

I’m so excited for this week; I can’t stand it! Let’s back that thing up (I’m sorry for that) first though and recap the weekend.

Friday I had a hot date with my man at John’s Pizza. It’s quickly becoming our favorite spot. After our date, we came home and spent quality time with our little man. He’s got a catsitter when we’re off jetsetting (hah!), but he misses us just like we miss him, so we were all craving a little family time this weekend.

Mission Accomplished.

Saturday was supposed to begin with a tempo run, but instead began with some much needed sleeping in. I don’t regret that. After we dragged ourselves out of bed and made ourselves presentable (some of us more than others *cough my hair looked a hot mess cough*) we headed into the city via the PATH to 23rd street to meet up with some friends for The Big Apple BBQ Block Party in Madison Square Park. Our friend Val had scored us some sweet tickets to the shindig, which is just one of many reasons why she’s awesome!

Chris is a BBQ fanatic, so he was salavating as soon as we got off the train. The event did not disappoint. It was hot, and the lines were long, so we were so thankful for our passes that got us entrance to a tent which provided some much needed shade, and tons of food! I don’t eat pork and very rarely eat red meat, so I came prepared that there might not be a lot I’d want to eat, but I actually did ok. There was beef and pork aplenty (duh it’s a BBQ), but one of the vendors also provided roasted turkey, which was new and different. Plus there were like 47 different varieties of cole slaw to sample, so I actually left feeling quite full.

Turkey BBQ, Coleslaw and Pickles!!

Blueberry ale that left me craving a bit more blueberry, but was still refreshing.

This looks like a total mess but in actuality was the most delicious blueberry cobbler I have ever had in my life. It might be one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. It had an oatmeal crust that made it hearty and sweet and delicious. So good. I definitely went back for seconds on this one.

The company, of course, was wonderful too

(pics stolen from Val)

It was a blast, and I’m so glad that we had the opportunity to check it out with our friends.

Saturday’s relaxation was the perfect prep for Sunday’s insanity! Chris had to head back to Florida (Orlando this time) for a work convention. I can’t believe the poor guy had to get back on a plane less than a week after Miami. He wasn’t really too excited about it either, but he and his boss go to this convention every year, and they always have a great time, so as soon as he landed he was feeling a little bit better.

I miss him like crazy, but I’m keeping my eyes on the prize, which is … DISNEY WORLD! I’m so excited I could explode. Seriously. When we found out that the convention was in Orlando (it moves yearly) we joked about maybe going to Disney, then kind of forgot about it. Once we realized how busy it would be in the weeks leading up to the convention, we decided it would be great to have a future event to look forward too, so we committed to Disney!! His convention ends Thursday, so I’m flying out Friday to meet up with him and go to Disney! I haven’t been to Disney in years (more than 10!), so I’m so, so, so excited! I still miss Chris, but I’m just counting the seconds until our Florida reunion.

He left Sunday morning, so I was up and at ’em early taking him to the airport, and then, I was on the hunt for new bedding. I had an image in my mind that I wanted, and was desperately searching for the right stuff at the right price. My first stop was Bed Bath & Beyond, but I found their selection slim and their prices ridiculous ($100 for a duvet cover?? is that crazy or is that just me? I mean it’s a thin sheet of cotton!!). I had more luck in their Bath & Beyond sections and got a few cute upgrades for my bathroom. I had sort of given up on the bedding thing, but decided to check Target, just in case, and was so pleasantly surprised! Usually, I feel like their selection is too childish for me, but I guess I haven’t checked them out in a while. The final product (wrinkly, but you get the idea)

Gray and white striped duvet ($30 is much, much more reasonable) with light blue sheets and the cutest gray pillows. I love it! Originally, I was really feeling the gray and yellow look, but decided gray and blue was a bit more classic and more “a boy sleeps here too.”

Why am I sprucing my apartment up, you don’t ask? Well, before I leave for Florida, my Mama is coming to town (told you June was CRAZY)!! Not just my mama either. She and my littest sister are driving up from South Carolina today, and my middlest sister is flying in to meet all of us on Thursday!! I’m so excited to see my girls! Usually, I’m heading down to them, but last year, they came up here, and I guess they must have liked it because they’re coming back for more!

It works out perfectly too because the apartment will be a little crowded with all four of us here, so when I leave for Florida, they’re going to stay the weekend, explore the city and take care of Miles! It’s a win win.

This is their first time staying with me since I moved in with Chris, so I just wanted to make sure everything was in tip top shape. That meant almost 4 hours of cleaning today. We have a one bedroom apartment. That’s a lot of cleaning. I also clean pretty thoroughly every week, but this time I pulled out all the stops. I mean I dusted EVERYTHING. I washed EVERYTHING that could be washed (and some things that probably couldn’t), and I took 4 bags of garbage out. I am so impressed with how the apartment looks. Too bad it will only stay like this for oh… the next 20 minutes. Isn’t it crazy how quickly things get grubby? Oh well, all that matters is that my family is coming, and I can’t wait.

I’ve been looking forward to this week for months, and now that it’s finally here, well, I’m just thrilled!

I hope your weekend is fabulous too!

***

Have you been to Disney as an adult? Is it still a total blast??

Do you clean like crazy when your parents/in-laws are dropping by?

And we’re off!

Guess what… I’m going to Miami tonight! That’s right, I’ll be down in Florida this weekend celebrating the wedding of our friends Donny & Amy.

And just like that, wedding season begins.

Probably too soon to start patting myself on the back.

I thought we were busy this summer when I found out we’d be attending 3 weddings until I spoke to a girl who will be attending 7 this summer! 7!! That’s crazy. Our wedding schedule is a bit more hectic because Chris is in 2 of the weddings and we’ll also be traveling to those 2. I’m a couple years younger than Chris, so I wasn’t really prepared for the wedding bonanza that occurs as you venture deeper into your twenties, but, I gotta say, it’s not bad. I like weddings. I love love and cocktail hours and food and dancing. But mostly food. And love. And food.

Chris is the best man ever in this wedding, which means he’ll be giving the toast! I’ve proof-read his speech, and it’s really good, so I think the bride and groom will be very pleased. I’m not sure how much time we’ll get to spend together (best men have a lot to do!), but I made sure to reserve one dance with my hot date.

I’ve spent the week cleaning and packing because I love coming home to a clean house, and I take forever to pack because I’m super meticulous about it- shocking, I know. We  scheduled the cat sitter, Miles’ girlfriend, to come hang out with him while we’re gone, and that makes me feel much more at ease about leaving him at home. Yes, cats can survive on their own for a few days, but when you have a very social cat (like we do) they get lonely and they’ll do stuff like not eat or poop on your floor. Both of those situations are no good, so it’s better for everyone if he has a buddy.

That lump under the blanket (the blanket we use to keep cat hair off the couch) is Miles. He know when we’re leaving and get’s very sad. That there is a very sad lump of cat. 

I  fly out tonight, but Chris has been there since yesterday afternoon taking care of best man duties. I had to stay and work (boo being an adult),  so I’ll be joining him when I land around 10 this evening. I am so flippin’ excited to see him! It’s pretty rare that we spend a night apart, and I am missing my main squeeze hardcore. I really feel for people who’s partners have to travel often for work. I’d manage, but I’d be pretty sad.

Also, I hate flying.

I wish we had gotten to fly together, but sometimes it is easier to deal with my airplane induced panic when it’s just me. I can sort of crawl inside my own head and zone out. I’m debating whether to go the “take Dramamine to ward off nausea and get that loopy fatigued feeling so I can maybe sleep through my nerves” or the “have a huge glass of wine at the airport, take my chances with nausea, but get that awesome I don’t really care at all feeling” route. Any thoughts?

I’ve got snacks for the flight, and I’m hoping to pick up something vaguely healthy and delicious at the airport for dinner because I imagine this will be a go-go-go type of weekend, and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for silly things like meals or sleep. I also plan to finish The Night Circus (so on the fence with this book) on the plane so that I can start on Love the One You’re With (my book-club’s June selection) during any vacation downtime or as soon as I get back.

I packed my running stuff and my official goal is to hit the gym for a run once while I’m there, but ideally, I’ll make it more than once.  I really hope there’s a gym because Miami in June means I’d have to run before 7 am if I have to be outside. How do you do it, Floridians? It might be tough, but I’m a big time early bird, so I’m hoping to get some miles under my feet before the rest of the crew gets up and going every morning. It’s good for my sanity, which is good for everyone really.

yeah, not so much.

Truly, I’m not crazy excited for Miami itself. Places like Miami or Vegas or the like (big party cities) don’t really do it for me. I’m not a partier. If  you see me in a club, call the police because it’d be a case of the body snatchers. Don’t get me wrong, I like bars (to an extent) but clubs give me the willies. When I travel, I like to go to interesting places where I can see the sights, do some exploring and learn more about an area. The insides of clubs look the same everywhere. Still, it’s been years since I visited Miami, so I’m willing to give it a chance to surprise me, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to take a little vacation. That’s not something anyone should ever complain about, so I’ll stop!

The days leading up to a trip, including the travel, are the most stressful for me (and I have definitely been feeling it this week), which maybe explains my sort of downer mood today. I”m sure I’ll be in a better mental place when I touch down in Miami. I’m already looking forward to palm trees, good friends and of course the wedding! That’s really what this trip is about, and when I remember that, I start to feel better. In fact, I think I can hear the ocean already…

 

Have a beautiful weekend!