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.


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


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.

03 May 2015

Life Lately

In my post from last Wednesday, I alluded to life in Texas being wonderful, crazy, and busy.  So what have I been up to?  I'll start back in December...

During winter break, P and I took a trip to the Bush Presidential Library at SMU.  It was definitely interesting.  Parts of the 9/11 portion of the exhibit were difficult, but overall we enjoyed going. 

Before we knew it, it was New Year's Eve.   P and I got dressed up and had a nice dinner at The Keg.  Please ignore the bandage on my toe - I had a run in with the couch...and the couch won.

And then my Buckeyes won.  THEY WON!  They won the College Football Championship.  Talk about a great way to start the new year.

February was supposed to be great.  I had a trip planned to go to Raleigh, NC for Valentine's weekend.  A few friends and I were going to run the Krispy Kreme Challenge.  My flight was supposed to leave early on Friday, and at 10am on Thursday all of a sudden I felt like a bus had hit me.  Yup, for the first time in my life, I had the flu.  Not how I envisioned spending Valentine's weekend.  P was great though.  He took care of me, picked up my prescriptions, and brought me orange juice.

March was non-stop.  That first week we went to the Fleetwood Mac concert at the AAC.  Our seats were super high, but fortunately at the AAC, there's no such thing as a bad seat.  I've seen them before, this was P's first time.  They put on a great show.

And then it snowed.  Seriously.  The morning after the FM concert there was 6 inches of snow on the ground.  Hmmm.  Not how we envisioned starting Spring Break.  Especially since we were on our way out of town.  Where to, you might ask?

We went to Fredericksburg, TX for the weekend.  It was a little chilly, but still fun.  We wandered around the downtown area, discovered some great restaurants (please please please try the chocolate pecan pie from the Fredericksburg Pie Company), and we hiked to the top of Enchanted Rock.  It was a fun and relaxing weekend and Fredericksburg is definitely a place I would go back to.

I love Texas, and I thought for Spring, my  decor needed a little punch.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new pillow from The Home T.  I also have a t-shirt but the t-shirt has my home state of Rhode Island on it.  And while Rhode Island will always be my home state, Texas is my home and it has my heart. 

We had big plans for April.  Y'all already saw the picture from the night at the opera.  P had wanted to go for his birthday.  I took him to dinner and the opera and we had a great night.  I had one more trick up my sleeve though - German Chocolate Cake.  It's his favorite and despite my utter loathing of coconut, I will admit that it was pretty tasty.  #caramelmakeseverythingtastegood

The Mavericks made the playoffs!  And then lost in the first round.  Boo!  Maybe next year.   #GoMavs

P moved from Dallas to Las Colinas and is right on Lake Carolyn.  We have a new favorite running route and enjoy strolling around the lake as well.   #favoriterunningroute

May means the Vineyard Run and this year P ran the race too.  It was fun.  Perfect weather - blue skies, a light wind, not too warm, not too large a crowd.  So how did I do?

I shaved almost 5 minutes off my time from last year.  This has been my best finish ever.  If I hadn't walked part of the last hill I think I could have finished under 30 minutes.

It's been almost 2 years since my weight loss surgery.  For my new readers, if you're interested, my surgery story is over here.  In May of 2013, I was ~280 pounds and approximately a size 18/20.  I'm now a size 10 (at Loft at least).  I've got about 10 more pounds to go and I'll be at my goal point.  

In a few short weeks, P and I will be in Rhode Island.  My baby brother is getting married!  Waaah!!!  I'm excited for him and his bride-to-be, but I can't believe he's old enough to get married.  #whendidhebecomeanadult #lifemovestoofast #iloveagoodwedding #mybigfatitalianfamily  

That's life in Texas in a nutshell.  #crazybusywonderful

01 May 2015

Friday Fun

Who doesn't love a good trivia game?  What, just me?  In honor of the release of the new Avengers movie this weekend, how many of these can you get?


My score: 22/28

How did you do?

30 April 2015

Thursday Recipe

Pinterest has  been my go-to site lately for meal inspirations.  I've found a few good ones.  I don't mind spending time on the weekend to prep and cook a dinner and have it take an hour or so.  During the week night?  No way.  Half an hour or less, please.  Here are a few dinner recipes I've made recently that have been Pinterest Wins.  So delicious, both P and I enjoyed these.  A word of note before I list the links for these recipes - a handful of them come from Shay at Mix and Match Mama.  If you haven't discovered her recipe blog yet, check it out.  She does Meal Planning Monday, and gives you meal inspirations for the week.  It takes a lot of the guess work out of dinner.

Now, without further ado, some winning recipes that we've enjoyed these last few weeks:

Chipotle Chicken Tostadas - Holy cow these were so so delicious and super easy.  You basically dump chicken and chipotle salsa in the slow cooker and let the slow cooker do the rest.  The shredded chicken from this recipe would make delicious filling for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc.

Sloppy Joes - Again, a huge surprise since I spent a large portion of my childhood thumbing my nose at sloppy joes.  Well, P happens to love them so I thought I would give them a chance.  These were oh so tasty.

Oven Chicken Risotto - Any recipe that calls for rotisserie chicken from the supermarket is A-OK in my book.  This recipe takes 30 minutes to make and satisfies that home cooked, Italian, comfort food craving.

Maple Dijon Chicken - I always keep the ingredients for this on hand.  Note - you have to use real maple syrup, otherwise the sauce won't set up properly.  Trust me, I learned this the hard way.

Try one of them, try all of them.  All of these have made it into permanent rotation in my house.  I hope you enjoy them too.

29 April 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Oh it's been forever - I know.  I know!  I'm sorry all.  Life in Texas has just been crazy, wonderful, busy, and I've just not really sat down to blog in so long.  So I thought with Shay and Shaeffer's What's Up Wednesday posts, I'd get back into the swing of things and start writing again.  So here goes...

What We're Eating This Week - Sunday I made buffalo chicken in the crockpot and last night P grilled some chicken and roasted sweet potatoes.  Tonight?  Hmmm, maybe leftover buffalo chicken.  Not sure about Thursday or Friday yet, but Saturday night we're hitting up Studio Movie Grill, so I know I'll be having the chicken nachos.   

What I'm Reminiscing About - I saw a TimeHop post yesterday about going on a first date and I remember that so clearly.  It wasn't with P, in case you're curious.  I remember the guy I dated.  He was smart and nice and we had fun together, but I knew he wasn't the one.  

What I'm Loving - I am over the moon at the thought that the Patriots are playing the Cowboys here in Dallas in October.  So excited.  Oh and it's baseball season again.  #GoRedSox

What We've Been Up To - Moving.  P moved to a new place last weekend.  It's really nice, better layout, bigger bathroom.  We spent the weekend moving and getting him all settled in.  We picked up our running routine again and have tried a couple of different routes around Lake Carolyn.  We've also been exploring the Las Colinas area too.  We also went to the opera.  We saw Iolanta.  It was great and in Russian.  P had never been and he really enjoyed it too.  Here we are all dressed up for a night at the opera:

What I'm Dreading - Not so much dreading, because it's one of my favorite events, but Commencement is in 2 weeks and it's a crazy, busy, hectic time.  It always ends up being a great ceremony, but it's a ton of work.

What I'm Working On - Blogging again.  Ha ha.  No seriously, in all honesty, just trying to eat better.   My weight has plateaued again.  I'm happy with my progress and where I'm at, but I'd like to lose 10-15 more pounds.  

What I'm Excited About - Oh so  many things.  Life is pretty great these days.  If I had to pick one thing it would be spending New Year's Eve in Las Vegas with P.

What I'm Watching/Reading - I need a new book to read.  I just finished Secret Lives of the Tsars and I'm about to wrap up Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking.  Maybe The Girl on the Train, I've heard really good things about that one.

What I'm Listening To - A lot of NPR on the way to and from work.  

What I'm Wearing - Specifically, today I'm wearing a navy blue Tahari dress and tan Bandolino heels.  Off work hours, it's jeans and tees or tanks.  Most are from Banana Republic.  We're also int Spring/Summer dress season so I've started to break out the pretty summer dresses and the sandals.

What I'm Doing This Weekend - P and I are doing the Vineyard Run on Saturday morning and we're seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron Saturday night.  Other than that we're looking forward to a low key weekend.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month - My brother's wedding reception.  If there's one thing my family does well, it's a wedding. P is coming and he's never been to New England so I'm excited to show him the area.  And he gets to meet my crazy family.

What Else is New - In a few short weeks I will officially be a doctor.  I technically finished in December, but the degree will be awarded in May!