Monday, November 30, 2009

Quote It

"There is something about words. In expert hands manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wine themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so entralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic."

From The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Little Turkey

I love Thanksgiving and absolutely everything about it (well, except clean up.) This year, like usual, Rambo and I are going up to my parents house for the holiday along with my Grandma, and brothers. Let me set the mood for you using all the senses.

(Sense of Smell) The house will smell heavenly all day because of the turkey that is being slow-roasted. (Sense of Sight) You’ll see mom and I in the kitchen and I’ll probably be the one stuck with peeling a million freaking potatoes as usual. David may make an appearance to mash the potatoes, but it sort of depends on if he is in the middle of some sort of video game or not. (Sense of Taste) Eventually someone will roam into the kitchen, stick his dirty little finger and taste-test something. I understand, Mom and I make the house smell amazing and you can’t resist, but I warn you (Sense of Touch) if I catch you I will smack you. Only those cooking can taste-test. (Sense of Sound) You’ll likely hear the sounds of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, a football game, and sibling rivalry and bickering at its finest (we have to get a few months of it into just a couple of days after all.)

This has been the norm for 19 years. Because 19 years ago, a fat little turkey named David came into our lives and completed our family on Thanksgiving Day.

Ian (left) and David (right) a couple of years ago. I wanted to put up a baby pic of David, but it would have required scavenging and scanning.

David’s actual birthday is the 22nd, but I’ll always think of him as the Turkey baby because he was the one who actually managed to be born on a holiday (I was one day off of Valentine’s Day and Ian was one day off St. Patty’s.)

I remember being dropped off at a family friend’s in the neighborhood with Ian and knowing that when my parents came back I would have a little brother or little sister. Naturally I had a request in for a little sister, but either I didn’t ask it loud enough or often enough because my parents came home with another little boy. Our Turkey baby.

Looking back it’s much better that David was a boy. Dressing a girl up as a girl, doing her hair and make-up and making her pose like a model for pictures is not nearly as fun as dressing a boy up as a girl, doing HIS hair and make-up and making him pose like a model for pictures (strangely, none of these photos can be found.) I then proceeded to order him up the stairs to show Dad, only to hear, “Get that Sh!t off of him right now!”

Cleary I was blessed to have another little brother. And even though David is now 19, and much taller than me, he will always be my little brother and Turkey baby.

Happy Birthday David, I love you!

And Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Peek at our Thanksgiving Table

Thursday is going to be amazing. Need proof? Take a look at a few of the things that will be making their way to our Thanksgiving table below. And feel free to use them yourself!

Appetizers:
Hot Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip
Found at Macheesmo
Cranberry Baked Brie
Also found at Macheesmo

Side Dishes:
Basil Mashed Potatoes- the recipe I'm using comes from HouseBeautiful magazine, courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa. But there are similar recipes all over the internet.
Sweet Potato Casserole- I rarely use an exact recipe when I make this. Just a little bit of this and that. This year there will be mashed bananas in there as well as pineapple juice.

Dessert:
Chocolate Harvest Cake- This chocolate cake has a pumpkin-cream cheese filling. The best of both worlds in my opinion. You can find the recipe at BHG!


Of course this list neglects a few more of the things we will be serving, like turkey, stuffing, etc. I'll do my best to get a tablescape photo of the food on the big day!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Hello, Thanksgiving!


This week is Thanksgiving. Which means this week is ENTIRELY about food. My blog will more than likely reflect this, so be ready.

I've been saving this recipe for you guys until it was closer to the holidays because it feeds a TON of people and it's perfect for breakfast or brunch when you have a bunch of people in your house.

I made it a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious, so the plan is to make it Thanksgiving morning, so no one (ahem any of the boys in my family) start whining at noon, "Whennnnn is it going to be ready? Four more hours!? How long can a turkey seriously take!?" There is a long baking time, but that means plenty of time for you to do all that fun stuff like peel potatoes. Enjoy it!

French Toast Bread Pudding courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa.

Here's what you'll need:
1 challah bread, sliced 3/4 inch thick (you can also use any kind of bakery egg bread or any good white bread you can find)
8 extra-large eggs
5 cups half and half
3 Tbsp Honey
1 Tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Confectioners' sugar and maple syrup for serving

Here's how you make it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the bread in two layers in a 9x13x2(ish) baking dish and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or half-and-half, honey, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread and press the bread down to soak completely.

4. Place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan. Add very hot tap water to come an inch up the side of the baking dish. Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting it so the foil doesn't touch the pudding. Make two slashes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, and back for another 40-45 minutes, until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

5. Sprinkle with confectioners and serve with maple syrup or honey.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

See what happens when I go out of town?

I was out of town last night and all day today working, and on my way home I called Rambo to see how his day went, and to check in on my baby, King.

After the initial, "Hey, how are ya, miss you, love you" etc. that should be expected from a loving couple such as we, I asked how King was.

"Well, babe, King caught his very first Muskie today." And I swear to you, I have never heard Mark sound more proud of anything-- including when he caught his first Muskie.

But what throws me off most about this story is that, based on my so-in-depth-it-should-be-illegal-for-a-female-in-her-twenties knowledge of Muskie fishing (which stems from being engaged to a man who spends every spare moment watching fishing on TV, reading fishing magazines, making lures, making sketches of lures and you guessed it-- actually fishing) I know that there are probably not Muskie in a river running through Indianapolis.*

"Oh, that is very exciting, clearly King is just as into fishing as his Dad!" I told Mark, "How did he catch him?"

"Well, the Muskie was actually dead- King just sniffed him out." Oh good. What an elegant palette my pup has. He loves everything from panties to muskies.

"And was his first Muskie as big as your first Muskie?"

"Oh no, this one is only about six inches."

"How do you know it's a Muskie if it's a baby?"

"Well it's too long for any kind of other fish, and I just really think it is."

Right. My fiancé is so addicted to fishing-- specifically muskie that he is now seeing them everywhere. This fact was further hammered home when I discovered that Mark TOOK THE DEAD AND ROTTING FISH HOME WITH HIM, took pictures of it and sent it to my Dad, his brother, and our friend Zac who only encourages Rambo's little hobby (the photo album is called "King's Catch".)* Here are a couple of the pictures, and if you could clear up for me that this isn't a Muskie please let me know. If it is a Muskie, don't tell me because Mark will find out and I will never see him again because he will spend the rest of his life down by the river fishing:

This one was entitled "teeth"
Yes, he is missing AN EYE.

But back to the conversation:

"So our porch sort of smells a little fishy."

"Ew! Well make sure you put it in the DUMPSTER and not in the trash, okay?"

"What do you mean PUT IT IN THE TRASH? I put it in the freezer for further investigation."

Further investigate? No more NCIS for you, Rambo, no more NCIS for you.

But I will admit it was really cute how Mark was beaming about King's first Muskie. But not cute enough that I will touch anything currently sitting in our freezer.

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*I really need to work on my run-on sentences.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thoughts for Tuesday

Another random thought post for you:

1. King just ate his way through a strap on one of my tank tops. I yelled at him and now he is truly following me around like a lost puppy looking all sorry and so stinking cute. How can I be mad at a face like that?

2. Mark came home the other night telling me that he bought soap that will make it so he doesn't smell human any more. He also bought a new detergent for the same reason. AND he was excited about it. I was completely confused as to why he wanted to stop smelling human. Who thinks of that? What a weirdo! Maybe I told him he stinks one time too many and I was really hurting his feelings? But I only tell him he smells when he really does smell. Like sweaty gross boy... which is not everyday or anything, just every now and then. He couldn't have taken offense, could he?

So finally I felt bad enough to say, "Mark, is this because sometimes I tell you that you stink? When I say that you smell it's usually on days when you have been fishing all day or working on something or running around with King. You don't stink all the time. I didn't mean go out and buy soap that makes you not smell human anymore."

And Mark says, "Oh, didn't I tell you I was going hunting this weekend? That's why I bought that stuff-- so the deer won't be able to smell me."

No Mark. You didn't mention you were going hunting. You just came home and told me you wanted to stop smelling human and you bought soap and detergent to help you do so. So not only did I think you were weird for 10 minutes, I felt guilty for telling you that you smell sometimes. How do you walk in the door and of all the things you have to tell me (like you are going hunting for the first time, and could potentially kill Bambi's Dad, or "Gosh you look beautiful, have I told you how much I love you lately?") You choose, "Honey, guess what? I bought soap that won't make me smell human any more!"

3. I do not get video games. The last video game system I mastered was Nintendo 64, and even then I only liked to play the fun games like MarioKart and MarioParty. Mark has a PS2 (I think that's what it is) and doesn't usually play, but was all excited because this new game Modern Warfare just came out. So he bought it and is all "Babe you want to play with me?" No thanks. I can't quite master the concept of this joystick moves your head, and this joystick moves your body, and this button shoots, and this button reloads. Trust me I've tried and I just end up spinning in circles. And just walking around shooting people doesn't seem fun to me-- guess I'm weird or something. "It's okay, hun. You play... I'll just blog or something."

Five minutes later "OH MY GOD, BABE! DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID WITH THAT DRONE?! THIS IS AWESOME."

And I just found myself thinking that there clearly is a huge divider between men and women. Because I don't even know what a drone is, but even if I did, I would be willing to bet that what you did with it, in my opinion, was not cool.

4. Call me crazy, but maybe instead of playing video games, or putting extra time into trying to not smell human, there may be something a little more productive Mark could be doing. Like plan a wedding, perhaps? Now that is what I call fun.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote It

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."
-Chuck Palahniuk

(Did I mention he is one of my favorite authors?)

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Daily Find: Jetsetter

Please pardon the appearance of my blog! I am trying to give it another make-over but I haven't had the time to finish it up.

Anyways I wanted to share with you another fun website I found: Jetsetter. Remember when I told you about those other members-only flash-sale sites like OneKingsLane and Gilt? Well this is sort of like that except for travel-lovers.

So what is it? Okay for example, today two new "sales" went up. The first is just outside La Jolla, called the Lodge at Torrey Pines. And it is beautiful! Jetsetter
has this sale up until November 18th at Midnight. And for example, the Palisades Room which usually costs $495 is $295 through Jetsetter. Or, the Signature Room- usually $305 is $210 through Jetsetter. And you can book it pretty much anytime up through February.

The other sale that went up today is the James Hotel in Chicago. Rooms that usually go for $342 are going for $199, and rooms that usually go for $182 are $109 all through Jetsetter. And you can book the James Hotel through March. Not bad! Here are a couple of screenshots of the site:

Upcoming sales include:
The Parisian Grande Dame in Paris
The Surrey in Manhattan
Capella Pedregal in Cabo
Campton Place in San Fran

And in the past week I have seen sales for Costa Rica, Africa, Italy and Paris. So the possibilities are endless!

The site also outlines why you'd want to go there, if the hotel has any accolades or awards, and what there is to do surrounding the hotel.

How to Become a Jetsetter Member:
Basically you have to know someone who's already a member and have them sign you up, or you can be put on the waiting list to get in (rumor has it this takes less than a month.) If you sign more people up, when they make their first purchase you get $25 to spend on the site. I'm a member, so if you want to be a part of it just email me (Laurealism at gmail dot com!) Or if you are already a member of Gilt Groupe, you can use Jetsetter.

Leave any questions or comments you have below!

Bon Voyage!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Belated Halloween

So I know I'm officially late on this one... but I still wanted to share some pictures from Halloween.

Mark and I joined a group of our friends and headed down to Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee. We stayed at an old farmhouse with tons of land-- including a super-creepy graveyard with graves dating back to the 1800's. We carved pumpkins, had a costume contest and overall just had a really good time!

Here's the farmhouse:

First we started with a hike to a waterfall on the property. And when I say hike, I mean it-- there were no paths. King practically drug me down the hill until I took him off his leash.



Yep, Mark and King had matching shirts:


Here's the pumpkins before:


And after: (two winners on the left)
And Mark's:

Creepy Graveyard, notice the sunken graves!


Creepy Fog:
Creepy Costumes:

Vampiress drinking her Blood(y Mary):
Costume Winner:
Thing 1 and Thing 2 with Cat in the Hat (we were warm and toasty all night!):
There were about 11 dogs on the trip, this is probably the only time King was laying down:


I hope everyone had a great Halloween!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Marine

It's Veteran's Day, and while I've always appreciated the men and women who have served our country through thick and thin, I have developed a deeper appreciation since meeting Mark and listening to him talk about his time overseas.

Mark is a Marine, and has served three tours in Iraq. I didn't know him when he served, but I know (and love) the man he is because of it. And while it's hard for me to imagine everything he had to do, and the way he lived during his active duty, I'm grateful for every minute, and thankful he came home safely. Plus, where else do you think he learned his Rambo moves?
Thank you to all the Vets out there. Especially my Marine. I love you all.

And if you read my blog at all, you know I'm incapable of being serious all the time. So do you want to know another reason I'm thankful Mark is a Marine?

He still fits into his Dress Blues. HELLO man in uniform :)

*Also! If you are a Veteran... Applebee's is treating you to a free meal today as a thank you! Go enjoy one-- you deserve it!

Live & Love,
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yoo-hoo

Up until maybe a month ago I had never had a Yoo-hoo in my life. I don't know why, because I see people drink them all the time. Somehow I had it in my head that they were gross, even though I had never tasted one.

Mark gets them all the time. Basically whenever we stop at a gas station on trips or something. So one time I tried it. Pretty tasty! But then I sort of forgot about them. I think it's the packaging that throws me off. This just doesn't look like it would be tasty:

That is until I came home from vegas and found twelve of them in my fridge. Mark explained that he went to Sam's Club (true manly grocery shopping you know) and bought a whole case. "That's ridiculous," I told him. "There is absolutely no reason why two people need 24 Yoo-hoo's."

(Please note: Half of them were already gone. In less than four days. Twelve Yoohoo's in four days! This man is crazy.)

That was Saturday night. It is Tuesday morning and guess how many Yoohoo's we have left? Not many. Like less than two and more than zero. And who drank most of them?

This girl.

Don't tell Rambo that I'm in love with the Yoohoo's, alright? Because that would be admitting defeat because I'm actually grateful for his economy-sized Yoohoo purchase. We are getting married in a year. I'm trying to maintain alpha-dog status here folks.

Oh, and don't tell him I drank the last one. Okay?

Live & Love!

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Monday, November 9, 2009

I Have No Words

I have a lot to catching up to do. I need to update you on our Tennessee trip over Halloween and my work trip to Vegas for the SEMA show.

But King just presented me with a situation that far overshadows both. And usually when I tell stories I use a lot of detail and take a lot of time to lead up to the punch line. But I am actually speechless because:

King just threw up a pair of panties.

Really King? I knew you liked to chew on them but how did I completely miss the moment when you SWALLOWED A WHOLE PAIR!?

All I hear is Mark saying "What the heck is that? What did you feed him today?"

Me: "Um nothing out of the ordinary except for a little piece of bread."

Mark: "Well what is this green thing in here?"

Me (too curious not to look--gagging) "Ew! What is that!?"

Gag. Gag. Gag. Go in to the other room and try not to think about the vision of puppy puke burned into my mind with some strange green mass. Gag more.

Mark: "We need to inspect it. Find something I can use to probe it with."

Me: "Um. What?"

Then I go hide on the couch and pretend not to hear him digging through it. Gagging.

Then I hear him say "Here's a tag! It says love and pink. Hey, aren't these a pair of Victoria Secret panties?" (I will give Mark a little credit here on correctly identifying the mass from a "Love Pink" tag.)

So I just can't believe he actually swallowed them... pretty much whole.

And as I type this Mark is training King to NOT go after panties. He is sitting on the floor facing King with a pair of my panties in the middle. And when he King tries to go after them he yells "No," takes them away a puts the back in the middle.

I just can't believe he ate a whole pair of panties.

Live & Love,

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009