Monthly Archives: September 2012

On Delegating

I’m not great at it. But I’m working on it! Dan has been so good about all of my “obsessive brain disorder” moments, giving me his honest opinion when I ask for and need it, and letting me go off to my own little world of research and planning without always filling him in on all the details. I’ve tried as best I can to keep him involved, as this is our wedding, not just mine, and I think (hope?) he appreciates it.

With that said, I haven’t done a ton of delegating thus far. I researched venues, photographers, and caterers (more on caterers later!), filled him in on the deets and we made a decision. While we always end up making the  final decision together, it’s always easier to have one point person in the beginning research stages, and usually, we’re both okay with that person being me.

I haven’t gotten overly stressed about anything so far (even though finding a venue was no walk in the park), and I know we have a whole year until the wedding. My logical side tells me that’s plenty of time, but the procrastinating bride in me is secretly freaking out that we don’t have all our ducks in a row already. (I know. I’m nuts.) So, last week, I decided to find an officiant. Yep, find. Not research. Not shop for. Find.

Well, spoiler alert, we still don’t have an officiant. Enter tiny stress feelings.

You see, D and I are not religious folk. We both come from Jewish backgrounds, and I come from a rather confused religious past. Therefore, we want little tid-bits of the Jewish culture (read: we’re jew… ish.) in our ceremony, but we don’t want the whole shebang. While there are plenty of “inter-faith” or “non-religious” officiants and celebrants out there, they almost all have the title “Reverend”, which may not fly so well with our Jewish families, nor is it really what we want.

So how does this tie into me being a control freak who doesn’t know how to delegate? Right. I delegated! After finding out that my first choice officiant is booked the day of our wedding (boo!), and researching a few more that were pretty awesome but quadruple our price range, I told the lucky groom that this could be his schtick. He is now in charge of officiant searching! As with everything else, we will make this very important decision together, but I’m trusting him to research and contact the front runners. Trust me, it’s not easy. I have already told him he needs to email back one Rabbi that called and emailed me this week because I don’t want him to think we are ignoring him, and I know it’ll be tough to not ask every day, “did you research/call/make appointments with any officiants today?!”

But I’ll try. I know he can do it 🙂

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The Best Weekend Part 2

After walking around Clifton for a while, we went home and took it easy. I finally watched the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance. While I’m totally not surprised at the results, I do wish my main man Cyrus had won. Because seriously people. If you haven’t seen him dance, you totally should. Watch this. And this. Actually just watch as much as you can because he is fantastic.

After a relaxing afternoon, the real party started! My wonderful sister threw me and Dan an engagement party! We had the chance to celebrate with our families at Old Ebbitt Grill after the engagement, and we wanted the chance to celebrate with our closest friends as well. Jennie was nice enough to throw us a shindig at her and Thomas’ house, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Unfortunately, I was way too excited and overwhelmed so I took zero pictures. Not a one. She, however, took a few. Thank goodness for sisters, amirite?

The house was beautifully decorated, and there was SO. MUCH. FOOD. She sure knows the way to this girl’s heart. The evening was spent eating, drinking, chatting, and playing an “almost newly wed game” that had hard but funny and really not typical questions. “Which cartoon character would your partner be?” Who knows. But fun! Thank you so much Jennie and Thomas, and everyone that came. It was great to see and celebrate with everyone!

After sleeping in just a little and grabbing some bagels with Katie and Patrick the next day, D and I were off to the National’s last weekend home game of the regular season! We tried to get tickets to a post season game, but, no dice. It was a beautiful day, and we really enjoyed just sitting in the sunshine watching the Nats dominate get dominated.(Also a great chance to test out my new panorama feature! Thanks iOS 6!)

It’s a good thing Dan and I showed up for the game, because the team sure didn’t. The sun was super intense and the outfielders couldn’t see a thing, so there were some silly plays. Win or lose, it’s still great to cheer the team on. Plus we pummeled the same team the day before and the day after, so, can’t win ’em all!

Sunday night consisted of watching Glee, not eating dinner, and going to bed early. It really doesn’t get any better.

Until next time!

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The Best Weekend Part 1

Yeah, I know it’s Tuesday. It has just taken me this long to get all the awesome wrapped up into words! I am actually going to split the weekend into two posts, because there are just too many words to describe how awesome it was. Let me start by saying I have the most amazing friends and family (and fiance) a girl could ask for. You may be hearing a lot of that on this blog in the next year (or forever). Sorry bout it.

Friday I decided to take it easy and just make an easy-ish dinner (a variation of this Brown Butter Garden Vegetable Pasta Skillet from my food blog crush) and catch up on some TV with D. We watched like, five episodes of Community as opposed to our normal two, because it was Friday and we could stay up past 10 if we felt like it, dammit!

Saturday was a busy but super fun day, kicked off by my horseback riding lesson bright and early. I hadn’t been in two weeks because of my hiking trip last weekend, and we were working on the equivalent of weight training as opposed to cardio, so… my legs were nice and tired after!

After a quick shower, D and I decided it was finally time to visit Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot in the super quaint and adorable Clifton, VA.

We actually looked into getting married in this awesome little town that’s like 20 minutes from our house, but sadly couldn’t find a venue that fit all of our criteria :(. Anyway, I digress. Peterson’s is ah.maze.ing. The menu is pretty much french fries,

hot dogs (and turkey dogs!!!),

and ice cream.

And yes, I did have some of each thank-you-very-much. It is just such a cute little shop and who doesn’t love french fries and hot dogs and ice cream?! It’s like going to a baseball game without all that baseball… 😀 More on baseball, and the rest of the weekend, coming soon!

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Wait. You’re Doing It Wrong!

Today’s post brought to you by the letter R… for Rant. I’m about to get up on my high horse – fair warning.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a religious person in any way. That being said, I have religious friends, I have non-religious friends, and I try my best not to be (overly) judgmental. I’ve spoken to a handful of my Christian friends about this today, and they all, unsurprisingly agree with me. Calling yourself a Christian, but adopting such a “holier than thou” attitude is probably one of my biggest issues with the church. Guys like this give Christians a bad name, which is really a shame, because many of them are really wonderful people.

That is why when I read this article, I got rubbed the wrong way (pun intended). (Granted, it came from foxnews.com, so, well, there’s that.) For someone who claims to be part of a judgment free organization, this douche has got things all mixed up in that little head of his.

I have a few bones (heh) to pick with this. Let’s get started:

  1. No one likes to be told they are wrong. To say that waiting until marriage is “doing it right”, implies that any other way is wrong. Wait, scratch that. He didn’t imply. He said, in so many words, “I’m right, you’re wrong, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Real mature. Based on the last paragraph of this article, I gather that the very loose (heh. Heh.) point he was trying to make was that it was worth it to wait. That is a respectable argument. There are many respectful and intelligent ways to share that sentiment. Pointing fingers and judgment are not at the top of the list.
  2. Judgmental Christians. Sound like an oxymoron? Again, I’m not a religious person, but I can point out quite a few Bible verses that state judging others is for God and Jesus alone. My favorite quote from this article is, “Feeling judged? I couldn’t care less. You know why? Because my wife and I were judged all throughout our relationship. People laughed, scoffed and poked fun at the young, celibate, naive Christian couple.” Translation? I was judged and it sucked so now I’m judging you. What happened to turn the other cheek? What happened to not paying attention to the speck in your brother’s eye while you have a plank in your own? What happened to being the bigger person? If you know how it feels to be judged, why would you pin that horrible feeling on someone else? So many questions for you, Christian douche.
  3. Derogatory terms towards women (and actually towards men, too). The terms floozies, promiscuous charlatans with pathetic world views, schmuck, live-in harlot, and mimbo were all mentioned. Respect goes both ways, and just because I choose to live my life in a way that doesn’t line up with your religious beliefs does NOT make me any of those things, which brings me to my next point.
  4. “It is very hard to argue in a world where we don’t agree on facts!” – Bill Maher. While this quote actually has nothing to do with religion in its original context (I actually think Bill was talking about Global Warming, which I’m sure this dude doesn’t believe in either), I think it still holds true here. We don’t have the same beliefs. Therefore what is “right” for you may not be “right” for me. I know many people may, but I would never say another couple is choosing to live WRONG. If you want to wait, you wait. If you don’t want to wait, don’t wait. If you want to get hammered and be “that guy at your own freaking wedding”, that’s between you and your partner and whatever God you believe in, if you choose to believe in one at all. Condemning the world to the black and white of right and wrong is so narrow minded and just plain idiotic.

“I think it’s important to write this column not to gloat (though I’ll be glad to), but to speak up for all of the young couples that have also done things the right way. When people do marriage right, they don’t complain so much, and so their voices are silenced by the rabble of promiscuous charlatans, peddling their pathetic world view as “progressive.”” (Is there a statistic anyone can share with me on this statement? I’d like to see the facts that say people who shack up before marriage complain more.)

This whole column sounds an awful lot like gloating to me. I’m actually okay with gloating. What bothers me is that he is trying to persuade other (probably younger) people to walk his walk. Calling people names, telling them they’re wrong, and being so narrow minded you couldn’t walk down that blessed hallway to the gates of Heaven is no way to convince others that what you are doing is “right.” I can think of many people I respect who have waited. I respect them all because they either didn’t talk about it at all, or they did a great job of explaining why it was important for them to wait. How it strengthened their relationship with each other and their God. Why they did it for themselves. Not so they could gloat and tell the rest of the world they are “doing it wrong.”

All I have to say is, good luck doing it at all, bud.

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The Great Outdoors

They really are great! Who knew?!

I spent Friday night through Monday afternoon in the Shenandoah Mountains, hiking rugged style – with a pack on my back with as much as I could carry.

It. Was. Awesome.

I went with a couple of good friends from college and some friends and family of theirs, and we have been planning the trip since last year’s Kayaking adventure. It was a test of strength and courage and will, and we all passed with flying colors!

(Not Pictured – Jim; Picture courtesy of Frances’ Facebook)

It’s so good to know that you’re capable of that kind of thing. Who knew that I could carry 30+ lbs (No Frances, I still didn’t weigh my pack!), hike up and down mountains, drink water purified by iodine, and sleep in a bear filled forest three nights in a row and live to tell the tale! And what’s more? I’ll probably do it again!

Frances, Jim (my friends from college) and I camped out in a campground Friday night with Frances’s sisters, her brother-in-law, and her niece and nephew. We packed up the next morning and met up with a few more of their friends and hit the trails. The first day was a pretty easy hike, a little over four miles. We set up camp and hung out, made our awesome dehydrated dinner that Ashley made for us (Thanks Ashley!!), and sat up chatting into the night. A few deer stalked out campsite, but they left us alone for the most part.

The next morning was up early for a hike… straight… up… a mountain. While extremely physically and mentally exhausting, it was so awesome to reach the top!

We stopped for lunch and said goodbye to a few of our companions, and then we were four. The rest of the day was much easier, and very beautiful scenery. We hiked a few more miles, and set up camp for the night. That night, Jim and I swore up and down that we heard bears outside the tents all night, so neither of us got much sleep. I guess we are both crazy, because our campsite was untouched the next day. So, next day, up another mountain! And then Down. And we saw a bear! Here are some pictures!

And then we were done, just like that! I know I left out a bunch of awesome parts and pictures, but you get the gist. Thanks for planning and executing an awesome trip, Frances!

What’s the biggest adventure you’ve been on? Anything you thought you couldn’t do that you did?

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Fall Is Here

Fall is here and I could not be happier. It is time for jeans and boots, sweaters and scarves, and all things pumpkin. Pumpkin, and squash, and sweet potato, and… well, I think it’s clear that I love fall for its fashion statements, weather, and food. So let’s get right to it shall we?

Last night, something amazing happened.

You probably can’t tell how amazing, because the lighting in my kitchen sucks so my pictures usually do too.

But trust me. Pumpkin. Macaroni. And. Cheese.

You heard (read?) that right. There aren’t even enough words to describe how happy this made me, so I’ll just say I ate it for dinner, and then lunch, and then lunch the next day, too.

This recipe adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body.

Pumpkin Spinach Mac and Cheese

What You Need:

For the pasta:

  • 16 oz noodles (I used shells, you can really use whatever you want)
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin (If it’s not fall and the cans of pumpkin aren’t in the front of the store, they’re usually found in the baking aisle underneath the pre-made pie crusts with the cherry pie filling.)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 1/2 cups milk (I actually didn’t have enough milk, so I used about 2 cups milk and about a cup of chicken stock I had stored in ice cube form)
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Rinse and drain well.
  2. Heat the milk (or combination of milk and chicken stock) in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Add the mashed pumpkin and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring. Let cook until it starts to thicken a bit, about 5 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove the pot form the heat, add the cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar and spinach.

  1. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish or 2 8×8 inch baking dishes.

  1. Melt the 2 tbsp of butter and combine with the bread crumbs and brown sugar; sprinkle on the top.

  1. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is browned.

*Note: You can also freeze this dish before cooking*

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Spoiled

Spoiled. Lucky. A giant brat. Whatever you want to call it, that’s what I am.

Let’s back up about a week. D and I wake up last Sunday, and we’re just talking about what we want to do that day. Then, he whispers the sentence every girl wants to hear. I know what you’re thinking. “But, Lara! He already proposed! We already heard that story! What else could it be?!”

Dan said, “Let’s go buy you a MacBook Air today.”

Be still, my heart.

After many, “Are you sure?!”s and “I WANT one but I don’t know if I NEED one”s, he finally convinced me that yes, he was sure and yes, I do need one. For those of you who don’t know, I was currently using an old used MacBook from 2006 that Dan and all my friends pitched in to get for me when I graduated from college in 2009, after my Dell (the Devil incarnate) finally bit the dust.

So, we hopped in the car and, giddy as a kid on the first day of school, I all but RAN to the Apple store and almost tackled the first Genius I could find. We played with the 11 and 13 inch models (heh.) and I decided I liked the 13. We picked out all the add-ons I wanted, and then… then the stupid Genius who had been standing there the whole time told us they didn’t have what I wanted in the store, and we’d have to order it. So, we left empty handed. Except for that giant bag I somehow brought home from New York & Company. Oops.

Fast forward to today when I got home from work and it really was like Christmas morning. I ripped my treasure out of the box, and HERE I AM! Writing to you from my brand-spankin-new-MacBook-Air! It is beautiful! It is wonderful! I love everything about it! And let me tell you, after dealing with Dell for my whole college career and never having bought a new computer since, Apple really knows how to package and deliver. The computer came fully charged, so I could just turn it on and start using it. After putting in my Apple ID credentials, everything transferred over from my iCloud account, including my photos, contacts, email, reminders, notes, etc… There was essentially no setup required. So. Awesome. (Also please note, I am not being paid to shower this company with my praise. But if they wanted to pay me in products I’d be totally on board.)

I know many people aren’t on the Apple train (we talked about Bandwagons my last post!), and that’s totally fine. To each his own. But me. I am an Apple girl through and through.

And also a spoiled, rotten, lucky, brat of a fiancee.

 

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