Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saint Augustine!

You'll have to excuse the radio silence the past couple of days; after the fun- and sugar-filled bachelorette weekend, I was knocked on my back by an awful cold, and spent my Saturday through Monday in Saint Augustine on a wedding mission.  The closer the wedding gets, the busier things become!  Posting may be sporadic, but will happen when it can.  Thanks for your patience!

So our mission in Saint Augustine was to finalize most of the big wedding details, including a menu tasting, cake tasting, florist meeting, getting our marriage license, and photographer meeting.  Here's a small sampling of hors d'evoures options: mini crab cake, brie and almond in phyllo, and bruschetta.  Yum!
During lotion application, I find it easiest to store my engagement ring on my pointer toe.  It just makes sense.
We got the license!  This small fact made me so incredibly giddy and brought things into focus.
There is an adorable store in Saint Augustine called Goldfinch, and they have goldfinches in the store!  They chirp merrily away while you shop; it's so lovely.
This wonderful woman made the trip down to Florida to help plan.  Thanks, Mom!  Not pictured, but I was also incredibly glad they were there, was my dad, Karen, and Patricia.  We were quite the entourage!
Also, new favorite place in Saint Augustine for a quick lunch: Casa Maya.  JP got shrimp tacos (Mom approved)...
...while I got tempeh tacos.  So light and delicious!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mani/Pedi Party!

Mom sent us an Edible Arrangement!  Many thanks for our tasty treat!

We spent our Saturday afternoon at Vicky's Nail Salon in Georgetown.  An amazing friend of mine set up a party for 11 of us to get our nails done; we came out looking extra glittery and cute!  Here, you can see Haley and Summer waiting patiently for their turn.

Jessilyn and Mary Charles enjoyed some lollipops and girl talk.

Now, notice all of the girls gathered around their nail stations for the beautification process.

Hi Katrina!

I got a dark teal with glittery purple tips; 6 days later, it's still looking good!
All in all, my bachelorette weekend was absolutely everything I wanted it to be and more.  No drama, just my best girlfriends hanging out in my home city and enjoying the fine things in life!  I wish I could do this every weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Girls' night on the Town

On Friday night, there was a lot of girl prepping in my apartment.  Thank goodness John Paul was down in ATL for the weekend!  We put on our tallest shoes (except for Summer, who very smartly wore boots) and walked down to BTS for some burgers before going out.  As you can see, we were a little overdressed for fries and onion rings, but damn did we look good!

 After a lot of soul searching, I and the party planning committee decided we should spend the evening at Town, a gay bar in DC that does a drag show on Friday nights.  Because we are super thrifty, we got there when the happy hour was still going on, and the girls gave me the accessories of the night: a bridal veil and bride-to-be sash.  I wore it all night!

It goes very nicely with a beverage in hand.

Oh lordy, we went wild for the girls!  We saw a Barbie Girl...

...and she had, seriously, the most fabulous eye makeup I've ever seen.  Scroll below for a closer look.

Adele showed up!  EVERYONE was singing "Rolling in the Deep"; it felt like such a communal moment.  Is there any song better to belt out?

 After the show, all of the performers stopped by our table and took pictures.  Let me say, each of them smelled amazing and had the best drinks!  We shared Froot Loop vodka.  It was a moment.

We danced the night away, and I honestly could not have had more fun or planned anything better!  Many, many thanks to the girls in DC who made it out; we'll have to do this again soon.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bachelorette Decorations

You'll have to excuse my absence last Thursday and Friday.  There was a lot going on, what with my BACHELORETTE WEEKEND being prepped.  When Friday finally rolled around, I was a bit busy.
I told Haley that I wanted a bachelorette weekend here in DC, so everyone could stay at my place and we could take public transit to and from our Friday night excursions.  
I am a superlucky girl, and was able to corral 6 girls up to DC to stay with me: my wonderful maid-of-honor, of-age cousins, and my best friend from 7th grade.  A party like that requires some pre-planning and special decorations.  
 First in line, we picked up a dozen Georgetown Cupcakes for the festivities.  They're well-known for their red velvet, but my favorites are chocolate ganache and coconut.  Yum yum!

 Haley and I blew up some balloons that Summer bought, and we created a little halo around the bar area.  You can tell where our priorities fall.

 John Paul bought two beautiful bouquets for Valentine's Day, and and we wanted to keep them looking good for the weekend. Pink and purple tulips were perfect for a girly couple of days!

 We also put together a little photo background with yellow and white crepe paper, plus Haley made a cute-as-a-button dotted garland with metallic gold, pink, ivory papers and excerpts from bodice rippers.

Between that and these heart-shaped sunglasses, we were in business for some fun times!  
Tomorrow I'll post a few pictures from our Friday night excitement- we had quite the evening with lots of sequins and eyeliner.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Early this week, I mentioned that JP and I hosted a pair of Catholic priests for dinner last week.  When JP originally mentioned this was a possibility, I thought, "What could be better than a mostly-vegan, non-practicing Lutheran serving steak to a Catholic priest?"  This whole process of getting prepped for our wedding and marriage has opened a box of religion on me, and I thought I would use this blog as my little platform for non-believers.
My family is Lutheran, as in, we went to a Luthern church and I was baptized into that faith.  I think going to church and being part of that community was a great thing, and I love the people I met through my church at home (I'm looking at you, McVeighs!).  However, as I grew up, I grew away from Christianity; this isn't anything against Christian faith, I just found myself grappling with the administrative aspects of the church.  These days I find myself believing in people more than a greater power.  I do think that we put our own energies out into the universe (um, hello hippie part of myself), and we get out of other people what we put into them.  This isn't to say I believe in auras or anything, just that I don't subscribe to a certain religion or church.
JP and I are getting married in the Catholic church, and I've really wrestled with this.  I work at a Catholic university, and am surrounded by a lot of the positive aspects of the faith on a daily basis, but it's incredibly different from how I was raised and what I live by.  I approached the idea of hosting this little dinner party (with one of the priests who is marrying us and his friend at a parish in DC) with more than a smidge of apprehension.
Well, I shouldn't have been concerned.  JP made a wonderful tortilla de patata and flank steak, while I did a green salad and apple pie, and the priests couldn't have been happier.  They were completely lovely, chatting about their travels, sports, and other non-religious topics.  Before leaving, "our" priest blessed our house and, rather than be turned off by the act, I found myself appreciative that they wanted our home to be a happy, well-looked-after place. 
This has been a bit rambling, but I guess I just want to say that we should all live and let live.  There are a lot of people who are all about pushing their beliefs on people, and it's not okay to think everyone should abide by the same religious principles as everyone else.  We're each different, and that's the beauty of churches and ideologies: in a perfect world, there's something out there for everyone.  Be open to new ideas, but don't be afraid to stick with your beliefs if they work for you.  Just smile, pass the priests their steak, and keep munching on your salad.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Too Much Happiness

Here's a little Valentine's Day poem from Elizabeth Bishop.  Enjoy this lovely February 14!

Close, close all night the lovers keep.
They turn together in their sleep,
Close as two pages in a book
That read each other in the dark.
Each knows all the other knows,
Learned by heart, from head to toe.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My life in photos

Delicious vegan jam-swirled pancakes from Joy the Baker.  I used blackberry jam for the first batch, but the second batch with pumpkin butter was actually farrrr more tasty!

Another use for roasted vegetables: top some homemade pizza crust with tomato sauce and veggies.  Sooo wonderfully filling!

We had two priests over for dinner last week, and we had a lot of mess left over!  I'll spill the details on that later this week.

Last Thursday, I was at my wit's end at work and ended up going home at lunch.  My cure for beating stress?  Blood orange/lime/pink grapefruit juice, raw brownies and my new Anthology magazine.  I was better in no time.

The Diegos were in town this weekend, and we went to dinner at a wonderful restaurant in Dupont Cirle (Cafe Dupont- excellent service and super tasty food with some amazing vegetarian options).  Dessert was  chocolate-filled beginets with gold leaf, roasted pineapple, and raspberries.  I'd have it every night if I could!

I can't wait to marry this man.  We're less than 6 weeks away, and it can't come soon enough. 
P.S. How handsome does JP look in this photo?  I couldn't be luckier in love.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle


You  may have noticed a serious absence of book reviews here over the past month.  This book, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, took an embarrassingly long time for me to read.  To be fair, it've about 600 pages long, but that's no excuse!  Please accept my sincere apologies, and read on for the scoop on this Hamlet-esque novel.
David Wroblewski's first novel was chosen for the Oprah Book Club, but don't hold that against him.  Edgar Sawtelle tells the story of a boy, born mute, in rural Wisconsin.  Edgar is the presumed heir to a kingdom of meticulously trained dogs, with his father Gar and mother Trudy acting as the rulers of the Sawtelle land.  He's grown up with a nearly telepathic dog, Almondine, keeping track of him when his parents aren't around.  The family leads a sheltered, not especially exciting, life until Gar's brother Claude shows up.  Soon after Claude enters the picture, Gar dies and Trudy begins taking up with his brother; this, obviously, leaves Edgar feeling frustrated, angry, and out of touch with his mother.  He spends more and more time with Almondine and the other dogs, substituting their animal affection for human companionship.  When a freak accident forces Edgar away from the farm, Almondine, and his mother, he's forced to take care of himself in the wild and depend on the kindness of strangers to survive. 
I enjoyed portions of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, especially the second half.  It's difficult to get into, as the beginning of the book is so much exposition, with very little action and dialogue.  As Edgar doesn't speak, much of the "dialogue" is short and signed; it would be a stretch to assume that he and his mother are having hours-long discussions in sign on the death of Gar.  Once Edgar leaves the farm and there is action (Edgar traveling by foot for days at a time, breaking into houses to sneak food, etc.), it picked right up.
Wroblewski does an expert job of weaving Shakespeare's more famous tragedy into the novel without it being a complete re-telling.  Claude=Claudius, Trudy=Gertrude, is a bit outright, but using a dog breed endeavor for a country is genius, and keeping Edgar/Hamlet mute does make him seem less emo.  I don't know that I can recommend this book 100%, but the majority of it is a pleasant read. 
Keep in mind, though, that this is based on Hamlet, which does not have a happy ending.  It's best to expect that as you near the last pages.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Easy Citrus Juice

Things that made me smile this week:
-hearing John Paul singing pop songs in the shower
-warm days in the middle of winter (no UnderArmor during my morning runs!)
-ordering this sign for wedding stuff (it's so fancy and I love the sentiment)
-chatting with my wonderful DC cousin over a big glass of red wine
-swapping weekly recipes with my mom over the phone (my homemade raw brownies, her mystery soup...)
-the color of this simple juice.
I went a little crazy with the citrus this week at the grocery store, and had to use some up before they go bad!  Thus, this wonderfully bright juice was born.  Simply squeeze the juice of 2 blood oranges, 1 pummelo and 1 lime into a glass, chill, and serve.  The lime helps cut some of the acidity and tartness of the pummelo, and it's a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  It would also be a perfect companion to vodka or tequila... I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What makes my life easier

John Paul and I have lived in three homes together, and each one has had its own personality and layout.  We've kept some of the same pieces of furniture (my beloved Heywood Wakefield dresser, school desk nightstand, our bar cabinet), but the way we arrange our stuff behind the scenes has drastically changed at each place.  John Paul does not like outer clutter, whereas I like a little bit of stuff showing to keep our home from looking sterile.  We've compromised by having little things like umbrellas out in the open, but put most of our stuff behind doors.  Literally.
Our broom, mop, aprons, and Mia's leashes are hanging on this little device from Container Store on the door that hides our washer and dryer.  There are four hooks and 4 spaces where you can just jam a handle in there and it stays in place.  So much nicer than just throwing it into our hall closet, which is currently holding...
... all of our gloves, hats and scarves!  My mom turned me on to the idea of using an over-the-door shoe holder for winter essentials, and this has truly been a lifesaver in the morning.  Rather than rifle through my box of stuff, I can see what matches my outfit and quickly pull it out for the day.  This is from The Container Store and was all of $25.  Great, great purchase.
I bought an iron this weekend!  Although I hate to iron, it's kind of a must for JP, as he wears lots of suits and button-downs.  To save space, we bought this over-the-door kit for $11 for the board and iron, and it's awesome.  Cheap, easy to put together, and slim (less than 7 inches deep with everyone on it).
If you live someplace where it gets cold in the winter, you probably live in fuzzy-ish sweaters.  They're superwarm and cozy, but pill like crazy!  I bought a handy little comb with a rough sandpapery material on the end that pulls all of those little fuzzies off the sweater and helps it look like new.  It cost about $6 from my dry cleaners, and I've used it for months.
Trays like this black leather one help clutter look purposeful.  Currently, this tray is being put to use holding all of our clear liquors, wine (dark liquors should be kept out of the light!  Apparently liqueurs like Bailey's and Disaronno are okay.  Whew.), and bar accessories.  The corkboard is JP's concession to my need to informally display art like a homemade postcard from Haley and screenprint from my Anthropologie days.
I had a hard time getting a picture of this, but it's also really helpful to keep my tablecloths on hangers in my closet; they don't get wrinkled, and I don't have to fold them to perfectly fit our narrow shelves.  Try it!
What are your tips for keeping life somewhat organized and sane?

P.S. I'm realizing now that I'm coming off like a Container Store spokesperson.  I just happen to buy a lot of stuff from their stores.