Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One Day I Want to be JUST Like You...

Dear LC,

Wishing you a super wonderful birthday! Every day I count my lucky stars that YOU'RE my twin sister.  I love our jokes. I love that we can have an entire conversation with one glance. I love our long runs together when we talk about everything, anything, or nothing. Those are some of the best times of my life. I love the memories of our adventures together and the dreams of milestones yet to come. I love knowing that you'll be by my side...no matter what. Even when we have our little fights. Even when I lose my cool digging fondue pots out of a closet.

You are my rock. My huckleberry. My saving grace. I love you to outer space and back.



Friday, May 27, 2011


Kate (L) & LC (R)

This weekend, I get to spend hours upon hours this my sweet twin sister! Uninterrupted hours. Just the two of us and I can't wait.

In the words of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde "This is going to be just like senior year, except for funner."

See you soon, huckleberry,


Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Girl Oughta Have A Sense of Humor...

I started writing a post about how crazy my life has been the past few years and how this is NOT how I imagined things going, but really no one wants to hear about that. We all have parts of our lives that we would change if we could, but so many things are out of our control that there really isn’t any point in dwelling on them. Everyday I do my best to be grateful for the things I have and laugh at all the things that have gone wrong. Still, every now and then I need inspiration to keep things in perspective. Having experienced several “Liz Lemon” moments this past week, I decided to pick up a copy of Tina Fey’s book Bossypants. Best Decision EVER! This book has been better than any form of therapy I could have tried, and it was only $16.43 with my Barnes & Noble discount. Her writing is excellent and her stories are HILARIOUS but meaningful. The chapter about her dad was the best part for me, as he is exactly like my own father was. I highly recommend this book- it’s a really quick read so even you, LC, could finish it J

*Post title from "Funny Girl" by Barbara Streisand"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Can we eat dessert for dinner?

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I got to go to NYC for a few days for a conference.  One night my husband asked me what I wanted to do that evening. Being an avid blog reader of various baking blogs (ahh, Picky Palate, Let's Dish, Bakerella and sooooooo many more!), I had several dessert shops that I desperately wanted to visit.  Three of the stores happened to be within about five blocks of our hotel...perfect!

Our first stop was Crumbs. We got the Dulce de Leche and the Raspberry Swirl cupcakes.  These were absolutely delicious. I have been slightly disappointed with the cupcake shops in Raleigh but this one gave me hope that there are amazing cupcake stores out there. I would go back in a heartbeat!

Dulce de Leche from Crumbs

Raspberry Swirl from Crumbs
Our next stop was the Macaron Cafe. I had heard that this was a great place. I hadn't had a French macaron before so we had to give it a shot.  We got a box of six flavors. Maybe we were being too adventurous for our first try but I was not a fan of these. I'm not sure why...if it was the texture or just the flavor.  My husband, who likes different things, wasn't a fan either.  Anyone else have this problem with macarons before? We got the rose flavor (tasted like perfume), white chocolate, mango, strawberry, caramel and passion fruit (the only one I somewhat liked).  They weren't awful (except for the Rose) but also didn't want another bite.

Passion Fruit  from Macaron Cafe

Rose from Macaron Cafe
 Our last stop was for Baked by Melissa. While the cupcakes from Crumbs were dee-licious, the cute little mini cupcakes from Baked by Melissa were just adorable. I LOVE the concept of these bite size cupcakes. You truly get to have a guilt free experience. The price was right for trying a bunch without hurting your wallet. What a great gift idea! I wish there was one closer to me. I am now on the hunt for the pan (or method) of how she makes these. I need to figure it out.
Image from Baked by Melissa

This is just a piece of our little trip to NYC. More posts on what we did and saw coming soon!


Project Purge

Recently, as in the last few months, I feel like I'm outgrowing my space. The closets are so tiny and my stuff seems to be growing...expanding...taking over my once cute little apartment. I can't live like this anymore and so I'm dedicating myself to a project this next week. My goal is to PURGE...

Oh, but purging is so hard. What if one day square toe, chunky heeled shoes come back in style? What if I need that hideous stained sweatshirt for a Halloween costume? Or my holey jeans? I'm saving those gems for when I repaint...or figure out how to look good in home-made cut-offs. You can see my dilemma.

I've heard the "one year, trash it" rule. But for three plus years, I have a growing stack of clothes in my "Possibilities! Opportunities! Comeback!" pile. And you know what? I still go back to it and find that one item that works perfectly with a new purchase. Champagne problems, right?

One day, in my dream home, I'll have a dream closet. And that closet will look something like this...

...until then, my pack-rat habits have got to go. So maybe I'll roll around in the memories of my old ratty t-shirts one last time and work up the nerve to say goodbye to the stack of old cotton collecting dust under my bed.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fa-yeh! Yogurt

Photo found here
I've recently discovered Fage Greek Yogurt (as the container instructs, it is pronounced Fa-yeh!).  I've seen it (and passed it by) in the grocery store often.  It is expensive, but I found it on sale last week.  It is DELICIOUS, totally worth the extra money and I highly recommend it.  There are two compartments in the yogurt container.  One larger compartment for plain, smooth, non-overpowering, Greek yogurt, and a smaller compartment filled with heavenly, sweet, fruit puree/jam.  The flavors (cherry-pomegranate, blueberry-acai, honey, mango-guanabana, and strawberry-goji) remind me of the fruit (and fun!) in the Dominican Republic.  At about 120 calories per serving, it is a perfect afternoon (or late-night) snack. 

Hugs to our followers,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Take That, Rapture Day

I wasn't a believer in all the hocus pocus of "Rapture Day" but come Sunday morning, I went for a nice jog and kept thinking about how happy I was to be alive on such a beautiful day. And I started a mental list of all the things I want to do while I'm still on this great Earth.

I'd like to become a better person. Somehow. And inspire others to be better people too. I want to have a Travels With Charlie adventure, and make Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon. I will go sky diving, experience Italy, drink beer at Oktoberfest, and read all the classic books I can find. I would like to visit Iowa...Or Nebraska or some other place in the middle of nowhere. Just for kicks. I have a goal of finishing a marathon in under four hours and 30 minutes. One day, I'll go wedding dress shopping with my mom and own a house with a yard. The list of things I want to do will do is endless but I think that's the fun of living. In your face, Rapture Day...I've still got a lot of living to do.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Conversation Starter

I scored a super awesome Groupon to get a manicure and pedicure for seventeen bucks! I highly recommend Present Nail Spa to all you NoVA-ers out there. Although they were a little speedy with my pampering, it was clean and relaxing which made me quite happy.

I opted for the unusual pale hue (Essie's Da Bush) and ever since my Tuesday appointment, my little green phalanges have prompted many conversation with strangers...all ending with the same sentiment: Totally. Pulling. It. Off.

Give it a try. Spark a conversation.



Monday, May 16, 2011

To Longer Days

For the past five summers, I had a job that kept me so busy from May until August that come Labor Day, I was lucky just to stay awake, let alone absorb the last few sweet days of my favorite season. I went to work in the dark hours of morning and returned home well after the sun had hit its REM cycle. I went weeks without having a single free second to call my family or friends and, try as I might, I found it impossible to get a tan from the hologen lights in my office.
Oh, how things will be different this year. I will call it the Summer of Kate and my biggest decisions will be which books to read and ice cream to try and how many beers I want to drink. It's going to be wonderful! Stay tuned for all the fun.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lesson Learned

A toddler who has free rein of her yogurt will not finish as neatly as she starts. 

Eventually, eating turned into finger painting.  Lunch was officially over.  Bath time began.

Hugs to our followers,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm writing 'bout the book I read...

Time for another nerdy book update! I just finished “Dead Reckoning” from the Sookie Stackhouse series (a very guilty pleasure). For those of you not familiar with these books, they are the ones that the TV show “True Blood” is based off of. My sister Chris introduced me to the books before the television series started and they have become quite addicting. This is the 11th book in the series, although they are pretty short books. Very quick reads- easy to fit in to a busy schedule like mine (only took me 1 night to read it), but they are DEFINITELY not for kids or young adult readers. I have to say I was a tiny bit disappointed in this one (I feel slightly ashamed even saying that, seeing as they are vampire fantasy novels, am I truly becoming a weird single cat lady????). Hopefully she’ll publish the next one soon to move the story along better. True Blood will be starting again in June- can’t wait!!!

photo here
Hope things are sunny where you are!
*post title from "The Book I read" by the Talking Heads

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Country folk in the city

I am very excited. I recently got approved to go to a conference in NYC in a few weeks.  Even better, my husband will be joining me. 

I've been to NYC quite a bit but it's been so long that most of those visits are just faint memories. My husband has never been there so he's looking forward to it.

Since it's a quick trip and I'll be busy during the day, what should we do? What restaurants can't be missed? What sites must be seen?  Any advice for some southern country folks going to the Big Apple?


Monday, May 9, 2011

Great Falls, MD

I went for a nice little hike last week. The Potomac was wild and rough and beautiful.  

I wanted to dig for Salamanders but got distracted by some swimming turtles. Lucky little amphibians.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Im glad whenever I can share her laughter...

I’m just finishing up a lovely mother’s day with one of the very BEST people in the world- my mom. As our regular readers know, I live with my mom in the house I grew up in, her roomie since my dad passed away in August 2006. Mother’s Day was always a great big holiday in our family, almost bigger than Easter! My dad took the entire family out to brunch at this wonderful restaurant called Groff’s Farm in Mt. Joy, PA. We would get dressed up and take photos together and just enjoy the leisurely drive through the Pennsylvania country side. Unfortunately, Groff’s closed a couple of years before my dad died, but he always put in extra effort to let my mom know just how much he appreciated her giving him the gift of four children and taking care of our family. We’ve kept up the tradition to the best of our ability- this year I had lunch with my mom, sister Chris, brother Jim and nephew Ryan. It’s an extra tough weekend for my mom and me because yesterday would have been my dad’s 65th birthday, the golden age to enter retirement. Although he’s not here to celebrate with us, I know he is looking down with pride. My mom is the most giving person I’ve ever met, she is always there when I need her (even to pick through the trash, just like Kate’s mom, haha) and she has such a great sense of humor! She is just as beautiful inside as she is on the outside, and I could never be making the changes in my life that I have the past two years without her love and support.

Thank you mom for all that you do for me. Even when I act REALLY mad at you when you let your car run out of gas and I have to rescue you AGAIN, I’m actually glad for the opportunity to give back just a tiny bit of help to the woman who’s gone above and beyond the call of duty for 28 years. Love you mom- I want to be just like you when I grow up J
Dancing at a wedding

Dinner on vacation in Mexico

On a boat on vacation

Happy Mother's Day to all those we need to celebrate!
*post title from "slipping through my fingers" by ABBA

Saturday, May 7, 2011

To my best friend

I’m a very lucky person.  I’m reminded of that in little ways every day.

I am very fortunate to be able to say that my mom is my best friend.  I know my mom is always there for me.  I’m lucky that I look forward to her visits. I’m lucky that I want her opinion.  I’m lucky that she cares. I’m lucky that she listens.

Last weekend she drove all the way from PA to NC so we could watch the Royal Wedding together.  My husband rolled his eyes as we spent the night before decorating our regal hats that we’d wear while watching.  We woke up at 4 am the next day and sat in our hats and pjs while eating scones and English muffins. (Yes, there are pictures but they will forever remain locked away from public view).

Mom, thank you for listening to me cry, vent, laugh, complain and talk (and I talk a lot)!

I love you more than all the cupcakes in the world.

Strawberry cupcakes and strawberry cream cheese frosting
I hope all the mothers out there have a wonderful weekend!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Moms Rock

This is a special shout out to my special mom.


I'm convinced you are the most selfless human on the planet. You are a culinary goddess and you're the most naturally beautiful person I've ever seen (Seriously, in her fifties and she doesn't wear a bit of make up!)  You love us a lot in spite of all our flaws and I know that I would not be the person I am today without your influence, time, and love.

Remember that time I was in fifth grade and you helped me dig through six bags of trash to find a piece of my homework? Thank you for that. And thank you for driving to DC in the middle of the night that one time I was all alone and super sick with a kidney infection. And thank you for all the millions of things you do for me and our family that go unnoticed.

You taught me how to cook, to live within my means, be independent, put family first, talk and share feelings and stories. I love you, my dear mom, and I appreciate you SO much.

Being a mom is HARD work (or so I can imagine). To all the moms out there, Happy Mother's Day!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Green Hornet

Photo and Recipe found here

This would be my go-to Cinco de Mayo drink.  I have a slight obsession with tequila, and this drink is one of the top three best drinks I've ever had.  Ever.  Its right behind water and tied with The Brewer's Art Resurrection Beer.  For those people celebrating today, this drink is totally worth the effort (side note: I make two minor changes to this drink.  I steep jalapeno slices in the water/sugar mixture.  I also top with half a SPLASH of seltzer water instead of ginger beer). 


Hugs to our followers,

And if we go to Mexico, will it get better?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!! I’ve been to Mexico 4 times on vacation, once earlier this year in January. It’s a lovely country that has brought us some great people, like my good friend Lori Dean, so I am all about celebrating today. Unfortunately, I won’t be doing too much celebrating since tonight is preview night at the theatre. I’m just going to meet up with my friend Megan for some good Mexican food and a margarita (or two, or three, or… what’s the legal limit in PA?) before heading over for tonight’s performance.

As for all you blog readers, please enjoy this moment of zen from my trip to Mexico in 2008.

Teeny, Tiny Superguys=Hilarious.
*Post title from "Mexico" by Mundy

Cinco de Mayo!

I'm counting down the hours until I get to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with one of these bad boys:


And maybe one of these.

Que tenga un buen dia!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Afternoon Bliss

Giada de Laurentiis is as annoying to me as the child repeatedly kicking the back of my chair on my return flight last week..for three hours. But that girl can cook. And she makes some mighty tasty dishes.

During one of her shows, Giada said her favorite snack was a ripe avacado with a sprinkling of salt. How come I didn't think of that first? I tried it and it was pure heaven on a plate. It's been my 4:30 pm pick-me-up during a stressful week. What's your favorite snack to beat the afternoon slump?