Friday, May 30, 2008

Fun Friday

I was off today, which is always nice. And I needed to do something to keep my mind off of something I'm waiting to hear back about (yeah, never heard anything, so it's good that I didn't keep myself glued to the internet), so I headed out in the late morning for some shopping and whatnot.

First stop, Century City mall to return a birthday gift the hubs wasn't wild about and a pair of shoes that didn't fit quite right. Maybe because it was Friday or maybe due to the beautiful weather, but everyone just seemed to be in such a great mood today. Totally great vibe from other shoppers and sales people. Love that! When I was returning my shoes, the guy happened to mention the Lakers, which started a whole long conversation about the team and Kobe and what it takes to be a champion. What should have been a 5 minute in-and-out return turned into a 15 minute chat session with several guys on the floor and the store manager. By the end, I had the original guy's card and a promise that he'd order in some shoes in my size so that I could come in and try them on without having to order everything online first. <3 Seriously made my day!


Next stop was J. Crew so I could order a swimsuit from their catalogue that I sorta fell in love with. Hopefully, it fits well, but I think it'll look adorable with my Juicy Couture tube dress cover-up that I bought last season. When I gave the girl my home address, she totally broke out of her customer service rep persona and exclaimed "OMG, I am just so excited, my team from LA won last night and I am still just so happy about it!" I'm telling you, everyone has Lakers fever! Love it!

My last stop was Border's to see if they had the Ben & Jerry's ice cream recipe book that Kay had suggested in my previous post. They did, and it was much less expensive that I had expected. Score! I briefly flipped through it in line and it looks great. Thanks for the suggestion Kay. :)

After finishing up at the mall, I swung by Williams Sonoma. There were a few sale items from their website that I wanted to see if they had in store, but sadly, it was a bust. I did take a closer look at the food processors and am a little closer to figuring out which one I want.

I finally made it home in the late afternoon and had a quick lunch and watched an episode of Top Chef and Step It Up and Dance. Then it was time for a short walk to the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner. Lately, when we've had dinner in on a Friday night, I've made either pub grub or takeout-type foods as it's a fun way to close out the week. And since we haven't had mexican food in, oh, at least a couple of days, I opted for chicken fajitas for dinner. Combine that with chips and salsa and margaritas and it was a great end to the week.
And oh yeah, GO LAKERS!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Too many thoughts in my head...

and no real place to let them run around and sort themselves out. I told Jim yesterday that I'm just agitated. For no real reason and at no one in particular, I'm just in an agitated state right now. Too many things to think about all of which require too much brain power. Blah!

I'd chat about my weekend, but really, it's just more of the headache-y craziness from above. Oh, but I did spend some time in the kitchen, which was fun. Let's talk about that shall we?

I read a post from Ruhlman's blog last week about homemade mayo. I've never really considered the substance to be all that inspiring, but well, take a look at the pictures from his post and you'll see where I became a bit enamored with the idea of making mayo from scratch. So, I tackled the project first thing when I got home Friday night. Like his recipe said, I started with an egg yolk, some salt, a little lemon juice and water. Simple, right? Well, yes, but after whisking those together, it was still pretty liquid-y, a bit creamy, but definitely not able to hold its shape. Poo.

I started again. Same ingredients, same liquid-y, vaguely creamy substance. At this point, I just kept going. If it broke, it broke. I'd just try it again. I dribbled in my vegetable oil - drip, drip, drip. And whisked the hell out of it. And it still didn't hold its shape. Ah, for the love of.... But, I kept at it. Drip. Drip. Drip. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. My arm was starting to burn, but I just kept going. And all of the sudden, it started to get thick. And wouldn't you know, by the time I had about a 1/4 cup of oil whisked in, it looked like mayonnaise! I started squealing like a little girl and Jim just looked at me like I was crazy. But, really, it was SO COOL! Okay, maybe I'm a big dork for being this excited about mayo, but oh well. It tasted great and I had a real sense of accomplishment by the time it was done. Yay!

To eat that delicious mayo, I made sliders for dinner using the "Nancy Silverton" buger blend I picked up at the Farmer's Market. The meat was delicious and made even better with some sharp cheddar, grilled maui onion and that lovely mayonnaise. So yummy.
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To keep the kitchen activities flowing, I also tackled a banana ice cream recipe that I've been meaning to try for at least the last couple of years. Why in the world it took me this long to christen the ice cream maker we got for the wedding (almost 3 years ago!) is beyond me. Anyways, Alton Brown's banana ice cream recipe has always looked delicious to me and I finally made it this weekend. The recipe itself is pretty good, although it is a very strong banana flavor and leaves a bit of an odd after-taste. I think next time I'm going to try adding mini chocolate chips and some chopped walnut, kind of an homage to Ben&Jerry's Chunky Monkey if you will. If you love banana, you'll love this recipe!

I also learned that I am in desperate need of a real, honest to god food processor. My little mini one is just not cutting it, like at all. It's on the top of my list for my next kitchen purchase.

And lastly, speaking of kitchen purchases, a couple of weeks ago, I bought a new cutting board. Not just any cutting board, mind you, a big, beautiful Boos board that takes up almost the entire width of my counter. It's absolutely gorgeous and beyond functional. I'm not sure how I made due without one quite frankly - it holds a ton of stuff, so you don't find yourself with items constantly rolling off the board. Yes it requires regular care, but so do good knives and pots and pans. If you're in the hunt for a new cutting board, I can't recommend the Boos boards highly enough.

Friday, May 23, 2008

SYTYCD... again

This blog post sums up my thoughts and feelings about the show so well! I really couldn't have said it better myself.

note: There are a few spoilers in there from last night's episode, so if you haven't seen it and want to be surprised, I'd advise waiting until later to read it.

Whole lotta ugly

This is one of my mom's favorite expressions for describing a day at the mall where everything is just crap. And it perfectly sums up my feelings towards clothes shopping over the past several months -- just a whole lotta ugly out there. :/

I am far from a fashionista, but I still like to dress cute and somewhat contemporary. My style is fairly tailored and maybe a little bit preppy with lots of neutrals and the occasional splash of color thrown in for good measure. Since my style translates well to the office I don't really keep a separate wardrobe for after-hours and weekend fun -- most of what I own easily transitions from work to play. However, I'm in dire need of new summery tops and cardigans for the office and I can't.find.a.darn.thing.

All my usual haunts are failing me - BR, J. Crew, AT, etc. For some reason, everyone is featuring the babydoll and empire waist silhouttes that I am so over. For a pear-shaped girl, that whole volume look is just awful. Terrible. Hideous. It hides everything I like (chest, waist, torso) while drawing massive attention to the parts I'd rather forget about (hips, bum, upper thighs). And yet, there aren't a lot of alternatives in the stores. Sure, I've found a few things here and there, but overall it's slim pickings. I had this same problem last spring, too, but figured I could make due until the following year, when the stores were bound to stock better styles. Um, wrong.

I've even tried to branch out and give stores that I usually breeze right by a chance. I know Miss Diabolina loves it (and lord knows I love the clothes on her), but Forever 21 just isn't doing it for me. I'm not nearly trendy enough for the store. H&M was a similar bust.

I mentioned the trouble I've been having to several co-workers and they echoed my dismay at what the stores are currently offering. While we share a smiliar style, these girls are not only a different body shape than me, but are also considerably thinner, so I feel like we aren't the problem here. Granted, the bouts of cool weather are helping things a bit, but at some point in the near future we're going to be back in the 80s and 90s and my fall/winter sweater collection just isn't going to cut it. Blah!

So dear readers, where do you get your cute and interesting work clothes? Is there some store out there that I'm missing? Or am I going to be forced to learn how to sew to ensure I actually have something to wear to the office this summer? Help!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SYTYCD!

Season 4 starts tonight folks! Easily the best show of the summer. If you're not already an avid viewer, tonight's the night to become one. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Update

Thanks for everyone's good vibes and thoughts and prayers. The bad news is that the situation didn't quite work out the way we had hoped, but the good news is that in retrospect, it actually worked out for the best. For now, we're taking a bit of a break from the crazy, trying to just get back to normal life for a minute and then will dive back into everything again in a week or so. There is still lots of other fun stuff going on though, so it's still never a dull moment in our house. :)

Looks like this weekend might actually be somewhat calm... or at least calm for me. Ha! And tomorrow, I get to swing by a local bridal shop to get fitted for a bridesmaid dress for Vino's wedding. We all know bridesmaid dresses can be scary, but this one is a pretty style in a pretty color, so I'm really excited to wear it for the wedding and likely afterwards as well.

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Butterflies and another busy weekend

It's been an insane last few days. Can't really go into details right now, but suffice to say, our weekend took a very different shape than we had anticipated. Nothing bad, but your good vibes and prayers are appreciated. :)

In other news, the weekend was again, jam-packed! I swear, my weekends have got to start letting up soon, but I'm not really sure when that is going to happen. My brother-in-law graduated from USC on Friday morning and it decided to be one of the hottest days of the year so far. Lovely :/ Somehow we all managed not to melt into puddles on our seats and got to see him walk across the stage and hear his name announced. Congratulations to you, Herbie! That afternoon was a whirlwind, but we ended the evening noshing on pizza, sipping red wine and watching the Lakers tie up the 2nd round of the playoffs. We actually had tickets to Game 7 and are thrilled that we don't get to use them. Western Conference Finals, here we come!

Saturday morning I woke up before 7am to meet a friend at the Rose Bowl to go for a morning run/walk. Even with the heat and the fact that I was exhausted, it was such a great start to my day. We ran about 2.5 miles -- the longest run I've done so far -- and then did another 3 mile loop at a brisk walk. So much more fun than the treadmill not only because I had company, but because the scenery and number of people out just gave the place a great vibe. I can't wait to do it again!

That afternoon Jim and I ran around taking care of more craziness and then ended the evening with homemade greek salad and a bottle of pinot grigio -- light and cool and more than deserved after our long day.

We finally had a morning to sleep in today and enjoy breakfast and some TV at home before heading out for an afternoon appointment. And now we're back, trying to stay cool at the apartment and not let the butterflies in our stomach get the best of us. We're not doing well on either account. Wheeee!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What do you say

I had dinner Tuesday night with two co-workers that I also consider good friends. We try to have dinner together every few months to catch up with each other away from the office craziness and we'd been trying to schedule this last dinner since mid-March, but couldn't seem to get the timing right. I couldn't understand why the one girl was so insistent on making this dinner happen until a few weeks ago when we found ourselves in the lunchroom alone, finishing up our meals. And then she laid out what she has been going through the last few months. It wasn't good. After over 5years of marriage, she had filed for divorce in January. The rest of the story is full of details that I'm not comfortable sharing as it's not really my story to share. Suffice to say though, I was shocked and struggled to find something to say, as opposed my jaw hanging open and unintelligable sounds coming out of my mouth.

Once I found out what was going on, we got that dinner scheduled asap and I tried to get over feeling like a complete tool for letting it go so long in the first place. Thankfully, when our other friend heard the news over dinner the first words out of her mouth were succint and so true, "If that is what you've done, then obviously it's the right thing and we're here for you." If you knew this girl, you'd know that no better words could have summed up the situation.

My friend is very strong and someone who tried to work through the issues for years before realizing things weren't going to change. Even though she knows she is doing the right thing, there are still good days and bad days and happy days and stressful days. You'd never know she was going through her own personal hell if you saw her at the office though, aside from the fact that she has recently taken up running and has lost quite a bit of weight off her already tiny frame, she is the same hard-working, caring, fun-loving person that she has always been.

And yet, my heart can't help but feel so heavy and sad for her. You never want to see your friends hurting and this definitely qualifies as that. Besides being there for her and keeping things normal around the office, there isn't anything else I can really do for her, but that doesn't mean that she isn't constantly in my head and on my heart. I wish I could make it all better for her, but I know that I can't. I also know that while this is my first friend to experience something like this, it likely it won't be the last. And this makes my heart even heavier. :(

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weekend Rewind

Friday
My workday ended at 3:30pm (wheee!) and then I was off to run some menial errands (drycleaning, grocery store, etc) before meeting up with my trainer at 6pm. Fifteen minutes into the session and I asked him to remind me that the next time I wanted to reschedule our Wednesday session for a Friday night, to tell me it was a dumb idea and that he wouldn't do it. :/

After the brutal hour was up, I headed home, took a shower and changed into comfy clothes. Hubs had followed the directions I left for starting dinner to the letter, which left me with grilling the steak, dressing the baked potatoes and quickly making a salad. Add in a bottle of red wine and there you have it. Simple, but so good! I can't remember what we watched on TV, but I do know we turned in around 11pm. We're so old!

Saturday
Such an early morning. Ugh. We needed to be at the Rose Bowl by 9am so that we could participate in the new "select a seat" program for season ticket holders. It was gray and chilly outside, but the fans were all surprisingly chipper. Once our group was called in, we were ushered into the locker room to listen to a brief intro on how it was all going to work. The guy was funny and straight-forward and the locker room itself was just beautiful! Millions of dollars of renovations transformed it into a space where a board meeting would be just as at home there as a collegiate football team.

After the briefing, we were released onto the field to survey the available seats. We opted not to donate this year, but we were still able to move 1.5 sections closer to mid-field and move over into actual seats as opposed to the benches. Score!

At this point, it was only 10am, so we took the next few hours doing some house-hunting. We found a few neighborhoods that appear to be somewhat affordable and very cute. [Really the term "affordable" is all relative, we're still talking Los Angeles here folks.] There were a few houses in particular that we really liked from the street and planned to see the inside later in the week. Alas, we found out the next day they were already in escrow. Wah! :(

For lunch, I was craving the "after-school special" (cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese) from Doughboys and talked Jim out of visiting Phillipe's for it. Big mistake. Our lunch was just icky. My soup had a strange smoky flavor to it and the grilled cheese was basically flavorless. Jim's breakfast quesadilla should have been called a "grilled onion quesadilla" as that is the only thing you could taste in it. :/ Phillipe's would have been a muuuuch better choice.

To make up for lunch, we visited the Ice Pan, a new ice cream shop that makes your ice cream right in front of you. Jim had vanilla with berries and I had low-fat chocolate with strawberries. Both were tasty, but I think the whole concept is just a fad and won't last long. I'd still rather have Golden Spoon. [shrug]

We also quickly ran through Target so Jim could check out the latest Wii stuff and I could try and get some new sports bras. And wouldn't you know, it looked like they had just restocked their activewear section so they actually had ample sizes and colors. Yay! I picked up 4 of the seamless camisole sports bras from the C9 line. Jim tried to also convince me that we needed DWTS for the Wii, but I opted out, especially as we already have Rock Band on pre-order.

By the time we got home, we were both exhausted so we flipped on the NBA playoffs and Jim napped while I read a book and kept a half-eye on the game. I managed to not get up the rest of the evening though, as we ordered PF Changs for dinner and Jim was forced volunteered to go pick it up by himself. It was just okay, but it still meant I didn't have to cook. The rest of the night was spent watching Sports Center and our favorite show, 48 Hours Mystery.

Sunday
We both, finally, got to sleep in for a bit. I doctored up some frozen Kashi waffles for breakfast and then we got ready and headed down to my ILs house for lunch. A quick stop at DSW and Bristol Farms provided gifts for the mommies. I ordered my own mommy a Sigg bottle earlier in the week and the silly company didn't send it until Saturday. Ah well, I called her to wish her a happy mother's day and say the gift was on its way.

We had a pretty large group (ILs, both BILs, MIL's bestie and her son, hubs grandma) and it was good to see everyone. One of Jim's brothers picked up El Burrito Jr. on his way to the house (my jr. super deluxe veggie burrito was delish!) and then we capped it off with strawberry shortcake for dessert. Mmmmm. I spent some time after dessert chatting with my MIL about her elbow (it's still a mess and they are considering a 2nd surgery to try and fix it; they've even told her she may never be able to pick up a bag of groceries with that arm again) and I could hear the ridiculousness that was the 4th quarter/OT of the Lakers game from the other room. The dejected look on everyone's faces said loud and clear that things hadn't gone well. Boooo!

Jim and I headed back to our apartment in the early evening so he could get some work done and I somehow managed to motivate enough to go for a short run (gotta make use of those new sports bras). When I got back, I was all energized and made quick work of 4 loads of laundry, cleaning the kitchen and getting my stuff ready for the next day. And again, yet another weekend that went by far too quickly!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

MVP! MVP! MVP!

That was the backdrop to last night's Lakers playoff game. From the free t-shirts, to the signs, to the chants of every fan in the packed arena, to the trophy being presented to Kobe Bryant before the game, a whooping 12 years after joining the league. MVP! It was loud and boisterous and crazy and so much fun! A wednesday night in Los Angeles people, and the lines to enter Staples Center were down the street when the doors opened. The energy was palpable even an hour before tip-off. You were hard-pressed to find someone not decked out in purple and gold. Hell, even some of the "suits" streaming in from offices just up the street put on the free t-shirts to get into the spirit of the night. Just before the trophy presentation? You could count on one hand the number of empty seats. In Los Angeles, on a wednesday night, folks. Unreal. Although, I guess it's fitting seeing as how that word also perfectly describes this entire Lakers season.

A card set-up for fans to sign for Kobe The official t-shirt for the evening Another MVP t-shirt we grabbed for free on the way into the stadium Showing off our Lakers pride! Sign says it all So many cameras to capture the trophy presentation on film Getting ready to present the award to Kobe The crowd loves it!

And on the energy from the MVP trophy presentation and Bryant's command to "...get this party started!", the Lakers came out swingin', jumping to an early lead and never really letting the Jazz get back into things. The team looks good. They look pumped. They look like they're out for blood. They look like they could be champions come June. 6 down, 10 to go!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's the little things

For the past several weeks, I haven't seen much of my husband. He's been crazy busy at work since we returned from Peru, but especially so recently. When he was home for dinner, he'd retreat into the office as soon as he finished eating and then I'd see him for a few minutes before I went to bed. I'm used to this. It happens regularly and quite frankly, is something that I will likely deal with until he retires. And I'm okay with it. I've gotten to a point where I accept it and don't bitch about it because well, it is what it is. And because of the hours he works and the time he puts into his job, it affords us the opportunity to do a lot of fun stuff that we wouldn't have the time or money to do without his crazy work schedule.

But, even though I'm really good at putting on a happy face and filling up my time with maintaining the house, hanging out with friends and participating in a list of hobbies, it doesn't mean that I don't miss him. I do. A lot. Although it's become so common a feeling that I almost don't notice it's there anymore. That is, until we spend some quality time together and it hits me like a brick. I miss him.

I got back from Sporty's shower Sunday night and almost fell asleep immediately. But, I still got to see him for a bit. Monday night he was home for dinner and for the rest of the night we just hung out on the couch and spent time together, no work to do, no distractions. Last night, he was home early. We ate dinner together, watched the Celtics-Cavs game and then went to bed at the same time (an anomaly as I have to be at work much earlier than him usually) and read and joked around together before falling sleep. This morning we carpooled since we're going to the Lakers game tonight and prefer having only one car at the game. We listened to sports radio and talked about the crazy topics they were discussing. And all these little things are the reason I'm so happy this morning. That I feel like I'm floating along. That I feel so complete and satisfied with everything.

I know that in a few weeks it'll be back to the grind as usual. I'll go back to my crazy schedule as he throws himself back into work. But it's these moments of normalcy, of time spent together just enjoying one another, that I live for.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sporty's Bridal Shower

Well, we survived and it turned out great! The "we" being Blondie and me. The "survived" part referring to the prep for and the actual bridal shower itself. On to the recap!

FRIDAY
I was lucky and had Friday as a normal day off, so I woke up early, got ready, finished packing up my car and headed to the nail salon for a pedicure around 10am. Such a relaxing way to start off the morning. And since it was the last bit of down time I expected until late Sunday night, I took full advantage of it by enjoying my cafe mocha and reading US Weekly.

After the nail salon, I swung by the tailors to pick up my dress for the party and then I was on the road to SD. Traffic was majorly crappy getting out of the Westside, but once I hit the southbay, things opened up and it was smooth sailing the whole way down. Yay!

By 3pm, I had arrived at Blondie's parents house, Blondie and I said our hellos, we wrote out a quick list of what needed to get accomplished over the next few hours and we were off again.

All of the food prep was happening at Sporty's new house in OC on Saturday. While the kitchen is a dream, it is basically empty, so we had to bring most of our equipment with us. I brought with me a lot of serving stuff, my stand mixer, etc, but we still needed to run by Blondie's in-laws to raid their kitchen for some other stuff. We also stopped by Target, Cost Plus and Party City for some last minute supplies as well.

By midnight that night, we had a final food list for Saturday, the m&m favors filled and most of our cars packed and ready to go for the next day. And we even managed to make it to bed by midnight!

SATURDAY
We woke up early and tried to start the morning off on a healthy foot by stopping at the gym for a quick run. I was quite proud of us for still making time to do that in the midst of a very busy weekend. Afterwards, we grabbed coffee, ran a few final errands and then headed back to her place to shower and get on the road up to Sporty's house. Oh, and we grabbed lunch and Golden Spoon in there somewhere, too.

We finally got to Sporty's house around 3pm and joined the rest of the crew. Sporty, her fiance InfoMan, her parents and brother were all there finalizing the landscaping on the front and side yards. Blondie and I unloaded our cars and then headed off again to Costco and Ralph's to buy all the food for the shower.

I think now is a good time to discuss the food with a bit of backstory. When Blondie got married last year, we threw a great bridal shower for her that was catered by Vino's sister, Dressing Queen, who was about to graduate from culinary school. She put together a beautiful spread of food -- salads, seafood tray, fruit --that was perfect for an afternoon shower. [Must blog the event sometime soon, as it was another hectic, but sucessful weekend] But, the kicker in all of this? Sporty, Vino and both of their moms have a gluten-allergy. Meaning, the entire lunch needed to be gluten-free, from the starters all the way to dessert. And where is gluten found? A LOT of places! Bread products are out as are regular cakes and pies. Throws a whole new spin on what is and isn't acceptable for party food.

Now, cut to the planning for Sporty's shower. Dressing Queen is currently a pastry chef in HI and couldn't get back for the shower. A few months ago Blondie was wondering out loud what she was going to do about food and I casually said "You know, I think we can handle it." And for some reason, she actually had enough faith in me that I wouldn't completely screw things up, that she annointed me the "caterer" for the event. Gulp. Talk about pressure!

The menu I created was very similar to what Dressing Queen did for Blondie's shower -- light, simple food that was relatively easy to keep gluten-free. Dressing Queen made everything from scratch for the shower, which helped to keep things gluten-free, but I'm also convinced this was just habit for her that stemmed from her culinary school training. I picked up on this and tried to emulate her high standards, meaning everything, except for the gluten-free cake mix, which I "doctored up", was homemade.

Starters
* Crab cake bites (made with GF bread crumbs) with red-pepper aioli
* Stuffed mushrooms
Main course
* Greek salad with chicken and greek dressing
* Strawberry-spinach salad with toasted pecans, goat cheese and balsamic dressing
* Crudite with lemon-herb dip
* Assorted fruit
Dessert
* Banana spice mini-cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
* Strawberry mini-cupcakes with pink buttercream frosting
* Mocha mini-cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Okay, back to the food shopping. Thank god for the detailed list because it made getting in and out of both Costco and Ralph's very easy. Kristin pushed the cart, while I zoomed up and down aisles grabbing what we needed. By 6pm, we were back to the house, the food was in the kitchen and it was time to get crackin'!

I've mentioned how gorgeous Sporty's kitchen is, right? Seriously, if I lived closer, I'd volunteer to go over and cook for them at least once a week just to be able to take advantage of the space (well, after they get it stocked with equipment, that is.) No joke! The ample amount of space came in quite handy with the amount of tasks that had to be accomplished over the next 18 hours. And the 2 ovens were a lifesaver! Although, with any sort of prep work before a big event, things always take longer than they should. There was at least one point on Saturday night that I thought I'd never get all the food done in time. Granted, I didn't share this with Blondie until after the shower, but she agreed with me that it got a little tense at several points that night.

The kitchen (aka, the war zone)

After each batch of cupcakes, Blondie, Sporty, InfoMan and I all tried one to make sure they were good. With one of the cupcakes Sporty and InfoMan thought it'd be a good idea to feed each other to practice for the big day. Hilarious!

And it's not a party without at least one snafu, no? After making the buttercream frosting, I wanted to color it light pink. Well, silly me bought the food coloring bottle without a drip top. You can see where this is going.... I thought I added a drop or two, obviously it was way more than that because the frosting resembled pepto-bismol. :/ It was after 1am, I was exhausted and I adamantly refused to serve cupcakes that color. Thankfully, Blondie volunteered to run to the store in the AM for more supplies and we were able to remake it the next day. <3 her.

For the most part though, I just tried to keep my head down and tackle one thing at a time. Blondie and I finally called it a "night" around 3am Sunday morning. By that time, we'd made 12 dozen mini-cupcakes and frosted 8 dozen of them, marinated and broiled the chicken, made the lemon-herb dip and the red-pepper aioli, and had a list of everything that needed to get done the next morning, which was really really LONG. Eek!

SUNDAY
After 3.5 hours of sleep, I sprung out of bed, got ready for the day (including full hair and makeup because I knew I wouldn't have time later) and was back in the kitchen by 8am. And then the real work started. I had a list of stuff that needed to be washed and chopped, 2 dressings that needed to be made, a replacement batch of frosting that needed to be whipped up and put on the cupcakes, etc etc. Ugh. So.much.to.do. I was feeling good until we hit 10am and it looked like the list hadn't been touched and I had been hauling ass to get things done. Using a term from the cooking world, I was in the weeds. :/ And then, like magic, several folks showed up to help and suddenly I had extra hands that were just itching to be put to work! Hallelujah!! Sporty's sister-in-law and her cousin were a huge help to me. They'd no more finish one task than they were asking for something, anything else to do. <3 <3 <3

By noon, Blondie and I looked at each other, smiled and knew that it was all going to be okay. Better than okay really. It was going to be fantastic! The kitchen was humming along with people tying up loose ends, the extra crap had been stashed in the laundry room and the 2 bridesmaids in charge of decor were doing a beautiful job of adding lovely pink and brown touches all over the house. Yay!
Blondie and I

By the time the first guests started arriving just before 1pm, we were ready to rock and roll. From there, the rest of the shower flowed so well. And now, I think it's time for some pictures!
Appetizer Set-up
Crab-cake bites Stuffed mushrooms Drinks: champagne, water and iced tea
Favor table Close-up of the floral arrangement Main dining table Cutlery basket
Lunch spread Crudite with lemon-herb dip Greek salad with chicken on the side Strawberry-spinach salad

Blondie had arranged for a couple of games to be played at the shower. My favorite is one that we also played at my shower as well as Blondie's. You ask the groom a list of questions, get his answers and ask the bride-to-be the same questions. She then has to correctly answer them based on what she thinks the groom said. For each incorrect answer, the bride has to put a piece of bubblegum in her mouth. It can get very messy, very quickly. The twist for this time around though, was Blondie actually videotaped InfoMan answering the questions, so instead of reading his answers to the group, we got to hear directly from the man himself. Too freaking funny!

Deep in thought InfoMan is deep in thought, too! First piece of gum
After the games, Sporty settled in to open the presents. I heard lots of oohing and aahing, but I was running around clearing lunch and setting up dessert so I didn't get any pics of the bride. However, I did get one of Vino's mom, Crafty, making the ribbon bouquet. I don't think she loves doing it, but she is a pro, making both mine and Blondie's at our showers. And really, a party isn't a party without dessert! I used Pamela's gluten-free cake mix to make the mini-cupcakes and then added some stuff to it to make them a bit more fun. I've been told that most gluten-free baked goods turn out very dense and heavy due to the combination of flours used, but everyone said these were so delicious because they were so light and so reminiscent of a "real" cupcake. I was really pleased they turned out so well and the big grins on the faces of Sporty, her mom and Crafty were all the feedback I needed. In fact, we had a lot of leftovers, so Sporty's mom and Crafty happily took home the extras. :)

Dessert table Mocha cupcakes Banana-spice and Strawberry cupcakes

All in all it was a great shower! Sporty looked so happy the entire time and that is really all that matters. Everyone was exhausted by the end, but it was well-worth the effort. I don't think catering is ever something I'd want to do for a living (too much pressure!), but I'd be happy to do it again for friends or family. Sure, it was stressful and a bit hairy in parts, but ultimately I had a great time doing it!

Blondie, thanks for having faith in me that I wouldn't totally screw things up. It was another fun weekend hanging out with you, but next time we get together, let's schedule a bit more down time, 'kay? ;) And Sporty, I'm so happy for you and wish you and InfoMan all the best. It's going to be a beautiful wedding and I can't wait to witness it!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Go, go, go

I've got so many blog posts floating around in my head, but no time to sit down and actually write them out. And I still need to finish blogging about our Peru trip. I'm sure many people are over reading the recaps, but I want to have my thoughts down somewhere so I don't forget details about the trip. So really, it's just as much for me as it is for others to read (or not).

This week I've tried to get back on the eating right/working out train and it's going well. But by the time I'm done with dinner, I'm just beat. This is exacerbated by the fact that my husband hasn't been home for dinner since Saturday night due to craziness at work, so it's just me and the DVR in the evenings. Thus, my motivation for being less of a lazy ass is just not there. Meh. I'm also sorta trying to conserve a bit of energy this week so I'm ready for this weekend. Sporty's bridal shower is on Sunday, but I'm playing a bigger role than just attending. More about that, complete with pictures, next week.

Last night, I was so worried about forgetting do something over the next couple of days, that I wrote out my to-do list for the next 48 hours before bed so it wouldn't keep me up at night thinking about it. The upside - it worked and I slept like a baby. The downside - that list covers a full page and a half :/ Strangely, I'm not flustered, just anxious to get started already!

I do have some fun evening plans though tonight and both hubs and I have to pack for our trips tomorrow (mine to SD and his to AZ for a work conference), so I might actually get to exchange a few words with him in person, while we're both awake! Yay!