26 August 2015

What's Up Wednesday


I swore that I was going to blog more this month and it's already been 4 weeks!  Where did August go???  I promise I will do an additional post this week - I'm thinking a review of some of the Pinterest recipes I've made this summer.

What We're Eating This Week - Still on a health kick, we had Mexican lasagna for dinner Sunday night.  Last Thursday we had a break in the weather and it was unseasonably cool.  Cool enough to walk around the other side of the lake for dinner.  We ate at Underground, an Indian restaurant in Las Colinas and it was so delicious.  If you are looking for a place for good Indian food, look no further than Underground.

 

What I'm Reminiscing About - It's the start of a new school year and for me, January doesn't feel like the start of a new year.  Because I work in education, and have for my whole professional career, it feels like September is the start of a new school year.  I'm remembering years past - shopping for school supplies and new school clothes; wanting to wear my new fall clothes and sweating my tush off because it was still 80 degrees outside.

What I'm Loving - This kid.  She's sassy, funny, smart, and obsessed with My Little Pony at the moment.  


What We've Been Up To - This past weekend I got to hang out with Phillip's mom, sister, and sister-in-law.  We went to Painting with a Twist and had a really fun night out.  


I love the painting we signed up for.  It reminds me of home.  There's nothing like Fall in New England.  I've also had a little bit of down time and have been able to spend some time doing this:


I'm embarrassed to tell you how old some of the magazines in my stack are. I'm making some headway though.  It's the start of a new school year at work, so I've been doing some presenting and welcoming.  Last week we had orientation for our new international students.  It's one of my favorite things to do.

 
What I'm Dreading I'm dreading how much longer it's going to take for Fall to get here.  It is my favorite season and now is about the time of summer where everyone here in Texas decides they've had enough.  I've stocked up on my Fall scented candles and I can't wait to start wearing my boots and sweaters.  Have I mentioned October is my favorite month?

What I'm Working On Reading.  I'm almost caught up on magazines.  Phillip and I were in Barnes and Noble on Saturday and I was tempted by so many books, but I kept my hands in my pockets and just browsed.  I need to finish the books I have that are still unread before I go buying any more.


I've currently got a couple of books going - The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.  Both are excellent and about as far apart from each other in content as you could possibly get.

What I'm Excited About - My mom and stepfather are coming to visit!  Yay!!!



And Vegas is inching closer.  I cannot wait to go.  We're at the point now where we're setting our itinerary and getting reservations/tickets.  I cannot wait!

 
What I'm Watching/Reading - I'm ready for the Fall season to kick in.  Scandal, Grey's, Criminal Minds...

What I'm Listening To - Willie Nelson (courtesy of Phillip), Taylor Swift, NPR.  The usual.  I kind of want to go to the Taylor Swift concert in October.  Anyone want to gift me with some tickets???

What I'm Wearing - What I want to wear are my boots and sweaters.  What I am wearing are my suits and summer day dresses.  Weekends - jeans and tank tops or sundresses.  Occasionally shorts.  Mainly from my standbys - Loft and Banana Republic.

What I'm Doing This Weekend - Southlake to check out the new Kendra Scott store.  I want these earrings

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month - September - the official start of Fall!  I also have my first Apply Texas Advisory Committee meeting.  I know, it sounds boring, but I'm excited to learn more about it and the whole process.

What Else is New -  Running is making its way back onto the weekly schedule.  Toro Dash is November 7.  Maybe the Roller Coaster run in September and the Chocoholic Frolic in December.

 
What's Your Favorite Back to School Tradition - I don't have kids and I don't plan on having them, but I love seeing everyone's back to school pictures.  There is such hope and optimism on the first day of school.  New school supplies, new teacher, new grade, a whole new set of things to learn - everything is shiny and new and exciting.

What's new with you?

29 July 2015

What's Up Wednesday

I can't believe August is around the corner.  Praise be that we are back to normal work hours next week.

What We're Eating This Week -Phillip and I are generally healthy eaters.  Lots of grilled chicken and vegetables and occasionally rice.  We try to limit eating out to once a week.  One of our go-to dinners is turkey burgers and we discovered that this recipe from Mix and Match Mama is delicious.  I made the recipe as is, but instead of buns we used sandwich thins and added a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the finished product.  

I'm also traveling this week - Anaheim, CA to be exact.  I was here last year and that's when I discovered Roy's.  One of my all time favorite restaurants.  I got here and checked my schedule and immediately made a reservation.  If the food looks delicious, it's because it was delicious, even though I only had a few bites of the salad (the rest is lunch today), about a third of the pork and the prawns, and about half of the souffle.



What I'm Reminiscing About - My niece is the cutest thing ever.  Seriously, how can you not love that face?  She's almost 3 and there's very little "baby" left about her.  Actually, if you call her baby, she will immediately correct you and let you know that she is indeed a big girl.




What I'm Loving - My 21 Day Fix workouts.  I fit them in along with my running and I feel great.  It's a great workout that works the whole body and there are so many ways to change it up that I'm never bored.   If you're ever interested in trying these out, let me know and I can put you in touch with an awesome, amazing, inspiring coach. 

What We've Been Up To - Work has been crazy for both Phillip and I, and I don't see any indication of it slowing down. Last week, I looked at my schedule and saw a day I could take a vacation day.  I asked permission, it was granted, and I got to have lunch at Mellow Mushroom with these two.  By the way, if you've never had Mellow Mushroom pizza, I highly recommend it.  It was so good.


What I'm Dreading The next few weeks are going to be crazy at work as we get ready for the beginning of Fall semester.  Oh and we've finally hit that stretch of 100 degree weather.  Fall, please be right around the corner.  I'm ready for boots and sweaters.  Oh, and the flight home today.  Have I mentioned before how much I hate flying?  Even though I get views like this, I am a nervous wreck from takeoff to landing.


What I'm Working On Reading.  I'm trying to catch up on my magazines.  I've been a loyal InStyle subscriber since the first issue.


I'm also reading Home is Where My People Are, by Sophie Hudson.  AKA BooMama.  She has a great, conversational writing style.  Her first book, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet was excellent and so far I am really enjoying this follow-up.

What I'm Excited About - This skyline.  I love Dallas.  If you had asked me 10 years ago if I ever pictured myself living in Texas, I probably would have laughed.  Oh how wrong I was.  There is no place I would rather be and every time I catch a glimpse of this skyline, I am reminded of how much Dallas and Texas is my home.


What I'm Watching/Reading - True Detective!  Only 2 episodes left and I cannot wait to see how they wrap this all up.    


What I'm Listening To - Um, Taylor Swift?  I'm kind of addicted to 1989.  Especially Blank Space.

What I'm Wearing - Some cute summery skirts and dresses from the usual places, loft and banana republic.  The cardigan is from loft and the skirt and tank are from br. 



What I'm Doing This Weekend - Hitting up weight watchers (for focusing on nutrition, I have found that this is what works for me and keeps me on track), and relaxing and spending time with my guy.  I've been away since Sunday and won't really get to see him until the weekend, so I'm looking for a nice quiet weekend.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month - Auntie Lynn and Uncle Jim come to visit for Jackson and Lila's 7th birthday.  It'll be nice to get to see them.  I've also promised, said almost 7 year olds, a sleepover.  So that will be happening too.

What Else is New -  My mom and stepfather are coming to visit in September!!!  Yay!  On the agenda: the stockyards, dinner at Kosta's, and the Fair
  
What Will You Miss Most About Summer - I'm not quite sure how to answer this one.  Summer is not my favorite season.  I love getting to spend time in the pool, but I love running in the cooler weather and I hate being hot.  I do like the longer days where the sun doesn't set until 9pm, but that's about all I'll miss.  Bring on Fall and Winter!

What's new with you? 

17 July 2015

life lately

We are enjoying summer here in Texas.  They keep saying the 100 degree temperatures are coming, but we haven't experienced them yet.  I am perfectly content to have them stay at bay a little longer, especially since the humidity has abated a little bit.  





A few weeks ago it was my institution's "night at the ballgame".  A night game under a covered awning along with some peanuts and crackerjacks.  Okay, for us it was garlic fries and ice cream, but whatever.  It was fun and I have decided I prefer evening games to day games.  Oh, and the Rangers lost that night :(


I was asked by my doctor to get a mammogram.  She recommends her patients between the ages of 35 and 40 do a baseline mammogram so they have a comparison when it comes time for the yearlies.  So I did my due diligence and went.  I highly recommend Baylor Grapevine, it was like a spa y'all.  Tranquil music in your own private changing room, soft kimono robes, and an assortment of toiletries for after.  They thought of everything and my tech was amazing.




So Target had a shoe sale...by the time I got to check it out there were only a handful of size 11s left.  Which was probably a good thing. 




July 4th was a great day.  Phillip and I decided to check out the Las Colinas festivities.  We cooked and I made skillet brownies for dessert.  We wandered out to listen to the live music, see what food trucks were there, and watched the fireworks that night.  A very nice, low-key 4th.


On our first "official" date, Phillip and I had dinner at Mi Dia and it has quickly become one of our favorite restaurants.  If you haven't tried it yet, you should.  I always get the duck carnitas street tacos and we usually order the housemade guacamole that they make tableside.  




Have I mentioned that Phillip can cook?  He doesn't think he's good, but he is.  And last weekend he made brisket.  Brisket tacos anyone?  It was delicious, and I'm not usually a red meat eater. 




Everyone, meet Phoebe.  She's my cousin's dog and she is the sweetest little muffin of love.  You can't not love her, it's impossible.




Every summer there is a meeting of Admissions/Registrar types in Austin.  It's the same week every summer and I've been going now for the last 5 years. Day 1, ready to be inundated with all kinds of information.



And then it was sushi for dinner.  I take advantage of my travel opportunities to eat sushi.  Phillip doesn't care for it, so it's not part of our regular rotation when we decide to eat out.  I know he would say, if you really want to go I'm sure I could find something.  But I like so many other types of food, it's not like I'm missing out and I get my fill when I'm on the road.




Only a couple more weeks of summer hours and then it's back to 8-5.  I can't wait to get back to my normal schedule, although that means that fall semester is right around the corner.  Oh and only 164 days until our Vegas trip.  Let the countdown begin!
 

24 June 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Is it that time already?  I cannot believe it has been four weeks.  The time is just flying by.

What We're Eating This Week - We were at the ballpark last night for the Rangers game.  So we had garlic fries for dinner.  I think the garlic fries at Globe Life Park are the best thing on the menu.  Tonight we have one of our favorites, balsamic chicken with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.  We've intentionally been eating healthier so it's been a lot of grilled chicken and vegetables - zucchini, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli.  All are in rotation right now.

What I'm Reminiscing About - This peanut!  I feel so blessed to have been a part of her life for her whole first year on this planet.  She is such a joy.  Too smart for her own good.  This was from her first summer and we had such a blast with her.



What I'm Loving - Astronaut Wives Club on ABC.  Please check it out.  I read the book and could not put the book down.  It's now a short series on ABC for the summer.  60s costumes, make-up, and food?  Check.  Space program?  Check.  Love it.


What We've Been Up To - Work, work, and more work.  P has had a crazy, busy season at work and we've just started Fall registration where I work.  Add in more webinars and e-learning about International Admissions (I've been doing  A LOT of reading on the topic), and it's been a crazy couple of weeks.  We did take time this weekend to spend Father's Day with P's family and we took some time to hit the driving range.


Please note my shoes.  I was ill prepared for a stop at the driving range.  I also had never in my life swung a golf club as is also evidenced by my awkward stance.

What I'm Dreading Five more weeks of summer hours.  I know, I know - I get Fridays off.  And when we get to Friday I am always happy for the extra day in my weekend.  Monday through Thursday is tough though and it messes with my whole routine.  I don't like getting home at 6:30 and then working out and then making dinner and then trying to relax and spend time with P.  I want that extra hour back in my evenings. 

What I'm Working On Coloring.  No kidding.  I bought an adult coloring book.  Get your mind out of the gutter, ha ha.  It's supposed to help you relieve stress.  It can't hurt to try and I get to break out the colored pencils again.






What I'm Excited About - This.




I found these little cans at World Market.  Can't wait to try one this weekend.

Also - my diploma arrived!  My plan now is to have all three diplomas professionally matted in one frame instead of three large diploma frames.  I'm officially a doctor.  I still can't believe it sometimes.  If you had asked me 20 years ago when I was starting college (and holy cow I just realized that 20 years ago I was at Freshman Orientation) I would never have imagined I would have my doctorate.

What I'm Watching/Reading - We've already covered Astronaut Wives Club, but we also just started the new season of True Detective and we binge watched Daredevil on Netflix.  I'm still reading Missoula, hopefully I'll have that one completed by the next time I post one of these. 

What I'm Listening To - Lately it's been jazz.  And Willie Nelson.  Both due to P's influence and the fact that he drives most places and the driver controls the radio...not that I'm complaining.  I am learning to love Texas country music. 

What I'm Wearing - Some of my faves recently from Loft and BR. I call this one my Mad Men dress.  I think you can see why.


What I'm Doing This Weekend - P's parents are taking us out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate my birthday.  Other than that I don't think we have anything else planned.  Which is not a bad thing.  I am all for a lazy weekend once in awhile.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month - July 4th!  The new Terminator movie.  Traveling to Austin and Anaheim (both work trips).  A trip to Austin means catching up with my friend Shasta which means a long lunch and I am so excited to see her. 

What Else is New This gorgeous guy is 10 years old and this coming August will mark 10 years since I got him from Angell/SPCA in Boston.  He can be alternately grumpy and sweet and he prefers me to P, unlike that traitor Kate who has ditched me for P's affections.

 
What I'm Doing for July 4th - P lives on Lake Carolyn in Irving and that's where the city of Irving does their July 4th celebration.  I think we're going to lay low that day and just hang out and wait for the music and fireworks out his door that night.

What's new with you? 

11 June 2015

life lately


It had been raining for weeks here in Texas.  I was ready to build an ark.  I was downtown for a meeting and looked up and this brilliant blue sky greeted me.  The rain hasn't been back since.



For P's birthday, we went to the opera.  For my birthday, I asked to see my Red Sox play in Arlington against the Rangers.  Wish granted.  Although my team lost, we had a lot of fun at the game.


Oh and these two got married.  Congrats to the Mr. and Mrs.  That's my baby brother for those of you reading this who aren't related to me.  He and his lovely bride got married in Turks & Caicos in May.  Which meant P and I were about to get on a plane to head to Rhode Island for the wedding reception.  Oh and for P to meet my Big Fat Italian Family.



 A throwback from another wedding.  This is me and my dad at a wedding back when I was about 4 years old.  This gem recently made its way to me and I'm happy I have it in my photograph collection now.  My brother's wedding reception was so nice.  We had a lot of fun and it was great to see my brother and his wife so happy.


We were in town for the whole weekend and P had never been to Boston so on Saturday we drove into the city and had lunch and did a duck tour.  If you've never been to Boston, a duck tour is a great way to see a little bit of everything.  Next time we're in town we've already decided to have dinner in the North End.


What trip home would be complete without party pizza?  


I think Sunday was my favorite of the days we were there.  No offense to the newlyweds (the reception was awesome!), but on Sunday it was just P and I and the Atlantic Ocean.  We met a couple of my friends for brunch and then he and I drove to Newport for the day. We could not have asked for a better day.  Gorgeous skies, an ocean breeze, and some quiet time with just the two of us. 


 One of the most famous things to do in Newport is the Cliff Walk. Right along the coast with the mansions at your back.  It doesn't get more beautiful than this.


 Being an active, outdoors-loving, kind of guy, P really liked Newport.  We could have stayed longer and just watched the ocean.  There's nothing like the sound of the waves breaking and the feeling of the wind off the ocean as it plays with your hair.


It was nice, but I don't think it's big enough for us.  Just kidding, this is the Breakers - one of the mansions in Newport.  Once owned by the Vanderbilt family, it's 138,000 square feet.  Did I mention it has 20 bathrooms?   P and I are history buffs, so touring the breakers was right up our alley.


 Our final excursion, dinner at my mom's house.  I got to hang out with this kid.  If she's going to take a picture, she prefers a selfie thank-you-very-much.  And would also prefer if you make a silly face.  She is too much sometimes.  I'm lucky I get to be her auntie.

So what's on tap this summer?  Maybe a little pool time, another trip to the Rangers Ball Park, some relaxing weekends hopefully, July 4th fireworks, and who knows what else.  I do know that Fall will be here before we know it.

28 May 2015

Thursday Recipe

When I was growing up, one of the desserts we would have was poke cake.  You know, the kind of cake where you bake it then poke holes in it with the end of a wooden spoon and then pour jello or pudding over it and voila.  My favorites were white cake with strawberry jello and cool whip frosting.  Imagine my utter delight when I discovered this poke cake recipe on Pinterest for a Cannoli poke cake.  I made this and my staff was in love with it.  It was gone before lunchtime (which for me is the hallmark of a good dessert).  You can find the recipe at Life, Love, and Sugar.

Ingredients

1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients on box
1 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

1. Bake cake according to directions on box for a 9x13 pan.
2. Allow cake to cool completely.
3. Poke holes all over the top of the cake. (I used a straw)
4. Reserve half a cup of sweetened condensed milk and pour the rest of the sweetened condensed milk over the cake.
5. Put cake in refrigerator for about an hour to absorb milk.
6. Combine ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract in a mixer bowl. Beat until smooth.
7. Add powdered sugar and cinnamon, if using and mix until combined.
8. Add reserved sweetened condensed milk and mix until combined.
9. Once cake has absorbed milk, spread cannoli topping evenly over cake.
10. Top with mini chocolate chips and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
11. Cover cake and allow to set in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Cake should keep for 4-5 days.

NOTE: Do consider straining the ricotta before using, especially if it's a particularly watery brand.

27 May 2015

What's Up Wednesday

What We're Eating This Week - Last night it was grilled chicken with corn and broccoli.  Sunday night I made sloppy joe's (check out my Pinterest Dinnertime board).  Tongiht, I'm not sure, but if the weather hold's out we might hit up Chicken Scratch and The FOundry Friday night (in case y'all were wondering, The Foundry is where P and I met for the first time).  

What I'm Reminiscing About - My grandparents - Grandma and Grandpa Mancone.  Grandpa passed away in 2004 and Grandma passed away in 2007.  The magic of technology however has allowed me to add pictures of them to my collection. I've been reliving a little bit of my childhood lately.  Especially as we ease into summer - frozen Saugy's anybody?



What I'm Loving - Work!  Seriously.  Work has never been busier but I've gotten a little deeper into the International Admissions aspect of my job and I'm really enjoying it.  I'm trying to get as current as possible with all of the procedures, processes, and regulations, which means a lot of webinars and online learning.  My desk looks like this a lot of the time:

 

What We've Been Up To - Bubble Run!  Not my favorite run, it wasn't as well organized as other's I've participated in.  I ran only part of it.  The trail was too congested and narrow to do much more than walk with the masses.  But this cutie pie popped up:


Miss Lottie had her goggles on and was ready to tackle the bubbles.  Nolan was there too, but he was not so inclined to take a picture.

What I'm Dreading - More rain...


Waterlogged does not even begin to describe it.  There is light at the end of this tunnel however, next week is looking like it's going to clear up a bit.

What I'm Working On Getting back into the swing of things at work.  For the last few weeks this has taken over everything:





It's over now though and with another Commencement behind us (1630+ participants!) I can move on to other things that are needing my attention,
 
What I'm Excited About - Eight Days!  I'll be home for a visit in 8 days.  I'm excited.  I'm excited to be bringing P with me so he can meet my family and see where I grew up.  Not to mention my brother's wedding reception.  If there's one thing my family loves, it's a wedding.

Also - tomorrow night, Pinterest Told Me To (aka Shaeffer) is hosting an Accessory Concierge event.  I am irrationally excited about this.

What I'm Watching/Reading - I'm reading Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by John Krakauer.  It's not for the faint of heart.  I'm about halfway through with it now and I need to stop every so often and walk away because I get so rage-y about it all. 

What I'm Listening To - More NPR, but I've got Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Britney Spears on my playlist.  

What I'm Wearing - Hooray for summer dresses!  Some of my faves recently from Old Navy, Loft, and BR.  Also, since it's commencement season and all, my polo shirt has made it into rotation. 

What I'm Doing This Weekend - P and I have a graduation party on Saturday afternoon for his niece and then Sunday we are off to the Red Sox/Rangers game.  We'll be on the third base side.  Look for us on tv.  I'll be the one in the Red Sox hat next to the tall guy in the Rangers hat.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month - Going home!  My birthday!  And some really great movies coming:  the new Terminator, Jurassic World...it is a summer of blockbusters. 

What Else is New - We are on Summer Hours now, 10 hour days Monday-Thursday, and I fully intend on taking advantage of my three day weekends from now until the end of July.  Last week I had lunch with Billie-Jo, this week it's lunch with Carey.  

What I'm Grilling This Month - Chicken, of course.  We did turkey burgers last week.  Mix and Match Mama has some burger recipes I'd like to try, so this one might make it into rotation in the near future.