Friday, August 27, 2010

being a one-car family

Around the beginning of this year Alex and I sold his beloved VW GTI. It was starting to have some mechanical issues and we owed a bunch of money on it. We just couldn't afford to keep it without going into some major debt. So we sold it, paid off our debt (hallelujah), and have been surviving on my trusty Honda Civic ever since. It really hasn't been so bad. In the beginning it was easy because the only places I ever had to go were school (which Alex could easily drop me off at) and work (I carpooled with a co-worker). I was happy with our decision.

Lately it's been getting tougher. The way our schedules have worked out I often have to drop off Alex at work and pick him up later. Let me tell you, after living without rush hour for two years it's tough being dropped back into the middle of it again. Spending so many hours in the car drives me crazy. And then there are days when we both need the car and one of us (usually me) is stranded. The other day I was so frustrated with our situation that I sent out a tweet into the twittersphere expressing my frustration. My amazing friend, Brigitte, responded with, "The inconvenience goes away eventually. We've been one year with one car! We love it. Waking up early and stopping what I'm doing to pick Tom up can get annoying, but we get a weekly date night with our savings!" And they live in Miami (in case you didn't know...living in Miami with one car is almost unheard of). I thought about it and she is so right. I realized I was being selfish and wanting everything to be easy. I wanted to commute five minutes to work and not a minute more. I wanted to be able to jump in the car whenever I wanted and go where ever I wanted without giving it a second thought. And yes, it's nice to be able to do those things. But it's also pretty nice that we no longer have $6,000 of debt looming over our heads. And it's nice to spend time in the car together on the long drive home...talking and listening to Mark Driscoll sermons (we're learning about Genesis right now). And it's nice to know that I have friends who are willing to give me a ride to work or the grocery store when they are able to. And sometimes it's nice being stranded at home. I get to cuddle with Jaxon and catch up on my house cleaning. 

So yes, the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences. And being a one-car family isn't so bad. 

(here's a shot of us in our wedding day car - love that MiniCooper)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Culinary Adventures

I don't like to cook. Everyone knows this. Growing up I spent very little time in the kitchen. When Alex and I met and started dating I was overjoyed that he enjoyed cooking and was actually good at it. I thought, "This is perfect, he can do all the cooking and I'll do the cleaning. I'll never have to step foot in our kitchen. Hoorah!"

Well, since we've been married and he's been working full time it's really not fair to have him come home after working all day to start cooking when I can easily do it since I'm already at home. And so my culinary adventures began. I started with some Kraft recipes. It was very helpful because I would use their '1 Bag, 5 Dinners' feature and their recipes were simple and easy to execute. If you're just getting started with this cooking stuff and need some help planning a weekly menu I say try this website to help you get the hang of it.

Eventually I became more comfortable in the kitchen. I don't need to read the recipes word for word. I can just walk into the kitchen and whip up some dinner. I still don't particularly enjoy it, but it's nice that I don't have to go hungry. Alex is still the best cook around here, he just has more creativity and can think of new flavors and recipes to try just by using whatever happens to be in the pantry. I definitely enjoy it when he cooks (which is still 2-3 times a week).

Lately I've really been wanting to do some more Latin cooking. I have a cookbook my mom gave me full of our family recipes...but I still haven't gotten around to trying it out. I'm intimidated by it because NO ONE can cook Nica food like my grandma can. Luckily my new boss is Puerto Rican and an amazing cook! She introduced me to sofrito (which she makes herself and freezes in ice cube trays...she gave me a tray-full and I love it) and saz√≥n (which I already knew about but hadn't bought any since moving up here). So I've been cooking up rice and beans (gallo pinto!) and all kinds of Latin-flavored goodies. I love this food. It tastes like home.



I've also tried some more difficult recipes (difficult for me). A couple days ago Lauren and I attempted to make beignets. (I had them for the first time a few weeks ago at Rue Cler in Durham...delicious!) I'd say we were pretty successful...but in the process my apartment filled up with smoke (blegh!).



 I don't think I'll be trying to make them again. I'll just make the drive to downtown Durham to enjoy the real thing. Oh, and hopefully Alex and I will stop in New Orleans on our way to Denver to have some at Cafe Du Monde. See...it's right on the way!:



Anyway...I still don't love cooking...but it's been fun having these culinary adventures. I'm still surprised that I am actually able to cook up some pretty tasty meals. I may not be a master chef, but I'm getting there.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jaxon!


Jaxon has only been a part of our lives for a few short months...and he's already captured our hearts. I couldn't ask for a better dog. He's sweet and cute and hopefully when we start those obedience classes in a couple of weeks he'll get along with other dogs too. ;-)

We got him a bully stick and some Frosty Paws to celebrate the big day. Later we'll sing him the happy birthday song along with some of our Soma friends.

Happy Sixth Birthday, Jaxon! We love you.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fall Collections

It's been unbearably hot around here the past few weeks. Temps have even reached triple digits. Putting clothes on, blow drying your hair, and putting make up on are just chores now. Even if I wear skirts and tank tops I still feel like I'm melting, but I can't very well walk around naked. I'm pretty sure there's a law against that.

And so I am looking ahead to a wonderful fall season. I think fall has really become my favorite. Ever since we experienced our first fall in 2008 I can't get enough of the crisp cool air, the colorful leaves, and the layers of clothes I get to wear.

I don't think I'll be able to buy anything new to wear for this fall (we're saving up for our move to Denver in January!) but I can get inspired by these amazing Fall Collections and do some wardrobe remixing to achieve similar looks. [By the way no one is better at wardrobe remixing than the Clothes Horse]

Here are a few of my favorite Fall 2010 Collections:

Kate Spade:

There's a reason I chose Kate Spade frames when I got new glasses. I love this label...even though I've never owned anything by Kate Spade (except my glasses of course). The colors are so fresh and fun. I love the idea of wearing bold colors in the fall.



Orla Kiely is the very definition of adorable. When they did a line for Target I snagged four cute plates and cups (husband would not allow me to buy more...which is for the best I suppose, I might have gone overboard). I think their Autumn/Winter collection is so refined and sophisticated. And the colors are definitely very autumn-y. 




Lauren Moffatt:

I'd never heard of Lauren Moffatt before but when I saw this collection I swooned. It's fashion perfection. I'm a sucker for the dresses and tights combo...and those little knit hats are adorable.



Suno:

This is another designer I had never heard of (I'm really not up to date on fashion designers...I kind of just like what I like). But I saw this collection and fell in love with all the colorful patterns. Patterns are a great way to make an otherwise boring outfit interesting.


Is anyone else looking forward to fall?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Switchfoot...finally!


Alex has been wanting to see Switchfoot for a long time. Any time they've played a show in town we haven't been able to go for various reasons. So when he heard they would be playing in Raleigh this month I finally decided to be a nice wife and get some tickets. Anything to make my husband smile. It is one of his favorite bands after all.

They opened up for the Goo Goo Dolls (I was less than enthused about this) at the new amphitheater in downtown Raleigh. First, let me say that I love this new venue. It's got a smaller more intimate feel to it. It seems that no matter where you're sitting you will have a great view of the band. We had seats in the first section to the right of the stage and I felt like I could see every sweat drop. I hope I get to see more shows at this venue.



Alex and I arrived just in time to see Switchfoot kick off their set. They did a great job. You could tell they were so excited to be there playing their music. They did a good mix of new and old songs. My only complaint is that the set was too short. But I guess that's what happens when you're not the headlining band. (By the way, WHY was Switchfoot opening for the Goo Goo Dolls??? I didn't even know the Goo Goo Dolls were still making music. And could there be a worse name for a band than Goo Goo Dolls?!)






After their set we headed to the back of the amphitheater since the band would be there to sign autographs and take pictures. It was really neat to meet them, even if it was a little rushed. All the guys were really nice and smile-y.



We stayed to hear the Goo Goo Dolls play three songs and then we were out of there.

It was a great little date night with the husband in downtown Raleigh and hopefully we'll get to see Switchfoot play again. Maybe at the Red Rocks in Denver???

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Hanson!

If you weren't already aware, I LOVED Hanson while I was growing up.
It all started in middle school for me. I just fell in love with the music and the boys (especially Zac).
I was a loyal fan. I had all the CD's, my walls were plastered with their posters, I never missed a television appearance... Okay, maybe I was just a little obsessed.
My dad even drove me and a couple of my friends to Ft. Lauderdale to one of their concerts. Pretty much one of the most exciting moments of my life...even if our seats were all the way in the back. I also went to another one of their concerts a couple years later with another friend. Again, very exciting!

Over the years I moved on, I didn't keep up with their new music. The posters came down, the t-shirts were given away, and I have no idea where all my CD's went. But then Alex and I were at an OK Go show a couple of months ago at the Lincoln Theater in downtown Raleigh and I saw a poster advertising an upcoming Hanson concert with opening band Rooney!
Well, I just HAD to get tickets. I called up m'girl, Kat and we were ready. My friend Megan Desko (who helped me with these cookies, remember?) also wanted to come (Hanson Lovers, Unite!). So last Saturday night we got in my car and headed to the grand Lincoln Theater.

[Side note: Poor Megan forgot her ticket at home, but my iPhone 4 saved the day...she was able to pull up the e-mail with the PDF of the ticket and show it at the door...another reason I love my iPhone 4!]

Rooney was a great opening act. I really enjoyed their set. I don't think they had a bad song in the bunch. Alex was bummed when he heard Rooney was the opening band because he really likes them. Ohhh well, sorry, babe!



Then Hanson came on and it really was so exciting! I couldn't believe how many people were there. As a Hanson fan you always feel like you're the only weirdo in the world that likes them...but there were a lot more people at the show than I expected there to be. And it really is too bad that they have such a bad rep. They get made fun of a lot and people think they're dumb...but they're honestly great musicians. I was impressed with their vocals and musicianship. They all have great sounding voices and have improved so much on their instruments. They've been in the game for 15 years now and they're still going strong. Impressive if you ask me. They really are more than just MmmBop. So maybe you should give 'em a listen. You may be pleasantly surprised. ;-)



The show was great and I realized I may not be crazy over them anymore (I've got my hot husband to go crazy over), but I still love the music and I will continue to be a fan. Who's coming to the next Hanson concert with me?!?



And here's a little MmmBop for you...because I don't care what anyone says, it's a great song. ;-)