Friday, March 29, 2013

New House: Master Bedroom

Back in November when we bought our house, I promised you I'd show you all photos. And I haven't done that yet. Mostly for two reasons: #1. It's taken a while to get it all together. #2. It's not necessarily always clean enough. But the other day I found myself in a clean bedroom, so I snapped a few photos to share with you. Enjoy!

master bedroom3


I love love LOVE our bed. I bought it from One Kings Lane, and waited for over a month to get it. The decorative pillows are from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Our nightstands are from wayfair.com, the lamps are from Target and the bedspread was from West Elm.


master bedroom1


I also LOVE that chair. It actually reclines, too. We got it in the clearance center at RC Willey. I've had my dresser forever. It's Ikea.


master bedroom2


The mirror is also Ikea. Katie decided she needed to get in on the action, so she poked her little head in the door.


I'd say our room isn't quite finished. I want to get something to put above our bed, I think. And eventually I'm going to make a necklace hanger out of that picture frame that's in the corner. And the bird cage is going to be hung about directly above where it's sitting. Also, just behind Katie we have a pretty big blank wall leading into the bathroom. I'm not sure if I'm okay with it or not. If I find the perfect thing to go there, I'll probably hang something on that wall too.


I think I may be almost ready to show you the living room, too, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The House at Riverton: Book Review

[caption id="attachment_1281" align="alignright" width="300"]house at riverton source[/caption]

I was excited when we picked this book for book club last month. We'd read Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden last year, and it was phenomenal. Couldn't put it down. I was expecting the same out of The House at Riverton, and while I enjoyed it, it didn't have that same amazingness that The Forgotten Garden had.

The story follows Grace, a house maid eventually turned ladies maid through the course of her tenure at Riverton. The story focuses on the suicide of a poet, an old family friend and years leading up to that point.

Things I liked about the book:

The setting. The old manor house filled with staff and surrounded by beautiful grounds. Not to mention I'm a sucker for anything that takes place in England.

The concept. A man dies mysteriously and everyone's lives change as a result.

The twists. But I won't tell you about them in case you haven't read the book.

Alfred.

Things I didn't like about the book:

The way you don't get back to the suicide until the very end.

The incredible amount of sadness. There were times I had to put this book down because it was getting so sad.

I know it was a different time, and people behaved differently, but I would have liked Grace to have confronted a few things that she just let lie, and then the people who they were relevant to died and she never got to say them or learn how the people felt about them. I know, I'm being vague, but read the book and you'll get it.

[caption id="attachment_1254" align="aligncenter" width="576"]The House at Riverton pairs well with a glass of champagne. The House at Riverton pairs well with a glass of champagne.[/caption]

Overall, I enjoyed The House at Riverton. It was entertaining enough, albeit a little too sad. Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it to a friend? I don't really know. Probably not. I'd recommend The Forgotten Garden first. In fact, I have recommended that one.

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Playing Catch Up

It's been over a week since I've posted. I know, I know. It's not that weird. It's sort of what I do. Erratic posting is what I'm all about. And I'm learning something: that's just who I am. I'm messy and uncoordinated, unorganized, and I'd rather spend my time playing that cleaning.

I'm not even going to apologize about it.

katie helping


Although I must do some cleaning, because here's an adorable photo of Katie "helping" me fold towels. The pink one is hers.

Anyway, we've got a lot of catching up to do, so I'm going to just get to it.

The past week has been amazingly busy, sort of intense and completely filled with fun.

I think I left you just before St. Patrick's day. Jim and I have a tradition of Irish Car Bombs. The drink AND the cupcakes. He makes the drinks; I make the cupcakes, and we enjoy too many of both.

st pattys day6


But we have a lot of fun. And somehow I managed to get plenty of photos of the drinks and none of the cupcakes. I guess that's why we should start with cupcakes?

st pattys day7


Sometimes I make him corned beef and cabbage. But not this year.

st pattys day3This year we had a "nosh" of shamrock shaped ravioli, tater tots with my special "tot sauce", jalapeno poppers, spinach dip and some sliced tomatoes....for good measure. And, of course, more Guinness.


And while eating this pile of fat, carbs and calories (except for the tomatoes, of course) , we watched a documentary. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Have you ever watched one of these food documentaries? They kind of make you feel terribly guilty about the way you eat. This one was about an Australian named Joe Cross who comes to the US to do a juice "reboot" for 60 days. Over the course of the movie, and under close monitoring by doctors, he looses close to 100 lbs from drinking just juice.


So as Jim and I sat there and ate our greasy feast, something clicked. We looked at our plates, listened to our bellies and decided maybe Joe had something. Of course, we weren't going to go 60 days on nothing but juice, but we decided to try a week. I may end up writing a separate post about our juice experience, so I won't tell too much about it right now, but I will say I was really happy with the way it turned out. Not just because I lost a few pounds, but because I feel so much better than I have in a long time.


Our last juice day was Friday because Saturday we celebrated Jim's sister-in-law's 30th birthday in Napa. And there was no way we were sipping juice while everyone else sipped Pinot!


napa


Two of my sisters-in-law. Natalia, on the left and Stefanie, the birthday girl on the right.


napa


On the bus, getting the day started right! (Like my beautiful forehead in the bottom left?)




napa


Jim found the only lemon cupcake in the box. He's probably going to kill me for posting this photo.


napa


At one of the wineries.


napa


The whole group of us. They rented a party bus and we spent the day touring different wineries followed by dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant in downtown Napa. Overall it was a pretty amazing day. Jim and I even managed to sneak away for a little while to visit our favorite Napa winery, Gustavo Thrace. This is the one we did the grape stomping at back in October.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Remembering the Trip of a Lifetime

It's mid-March again. Three years ago today we were ten days away from hitting the open road in my little Toyota Corolla. It was the trip of a lifetime. A month and a half making our way from one side of the country to the other and back. We hit all 48 continental states, saw numerous US landmarks including Gettysburg, the USS New Jersey, the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Disney World, just to name a few.

[caption id="attachment_1248" align="aligncenter" width="614"]Jim and I at the Painted Desert in Arizona Jim and I at the Painted Desert in Arizona[/caption]

Every year in March (and countless times throughout the year, of course) I get to thinking about that trip. Jim and I were still dating. We'd been together for a year and a half by that time, and we'd been living with his parents for a year (I have to mention it here: his parents are awesome. I tell people I lived with my boyfriend's parents for a year and they can't believe it wasn't the worst year of my life). We decided we were young. We had no kids. No mortgage. No careers tying us down. Jim had been let go from his job a few months prior, and I was ready to get out of mine as well. Why not do something crazy? Something amazing that we may never get the opportunity to do again?

[caption id="attachment_1247" align="aligncenter" width="432"]carlsbad caverns One of my favorites from Carlsbad Caverns.[/caption]

So on March 26, 2010, we hit the road. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Not only did I get a glimpse of every state in our nation, but I learned a lot about myself and the person I realized, on that trip, that I could spent the rest of my life with.

[caption id="attachment_1249" align="aligncenter" width="442"]Maid of the mist On the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls[/caption]

We drove over 13,000 miles in that tiny little car with the back seat and trunk filled with camping gear, food and clothing, cameras, my laptop and various other necessities of life. We had hours worth of open road to talk, to joke and sing along with the radio, to ponder our surroundings and life in general. One thing that surprised me is that though we had our disagreements, we never fought. Not once. I never got to the point where I wanted to throw him out the window or turn around and just go home. If we had a difference of opinion, we talked it out, we figured it out and we moved on. We solved our problems without getting heated and irrational about it. By the time we'd gotten back I'd come to this conclusion: If we can survive a month and a half in a Toyota Corolla, there wasn't much we couldn't survive together. I knew when we got back from that trip that he was, without a sliver of doubt, the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

[caption id="attachment_1250" align="aligncenter" width="614"]At Bryce Canyon At Bryce Canyon[/caption]

If you want to read more about the trip, check out the blog I kept while we were on the road, The Road Ahead. Hopefully someday we'll be able to take another trip like that. And if not, we'll always have these memories.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Food Truckin!

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm lovin' the food truck craze that seems to be going around. Gone are the days where you can only find a hot dog or a burrito in a food truck. Now they come in all shapes, sizes and varieties of gourmet cuisine.

food trucks8


Every second Thursday of the month, Sacramento Mobile Food Events (SacToMoFo for short) comes to downtown Roseville and sets up shop on Vernon Street (Roseville's main drag) where people flock in for a delicious culinary treat. There are about thirty different trucks that make the rounds with SacToMoFo, and about seven of them were on Vernon last night. Jim and I and my good friend, Reanna, took to the streets in search of the perfect food truck dinner. Jim and I had never been to the event before, but they also go to Reanna's place of employment sometimes, so she was a seasoned pro. We had our choice from wood-fired pizza, tacos, southern BBQ, hot dogs, burgers and, of course the one we had to pick: gourmet grilled cheese.

food trucks6


Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen is famous for their "Hemi" sandwich. I did not get the hemi because, along with some delicious items like mac and cheese, grilled onions and cheddar, it also includes pulled pork. You can probably guess that Jim did order this one.

[caption id="attachment_1238" align="aligncenter" width="614"]Reanna ordering all expertly Reanna ordering all expertly[/caption]

I ordered the "Prius." Of course the veggie sandwich would be named after the "greenest" car known to man. It had green apples, smoked almonds, brie cheese and honey between two slices of wheat bread. And, of course, it was grilled.

I enjoyed it. I was half tempted to order the "Hemi" sans pulled pork, but I figured I'd give the offered veggie option a try first. It did sound good, after all.  Along with the sandwiches we got an order of tater tots. Yes, tater tots. Jim and I are, well, kind of tot crazed right now, so when we saw they had garlic rosemary tater tots, we had to try them. We had already made our way through half of them before I thought to take a photo. They were delicious, too, and I'm still tasting garlic this morning.

[caption id="attachment_1236" align="aligncenter" width="614"]Garlic Rosemary tots Garlic Rosemary tots..they look a little lacking in toppings in the photo, but trust me, there was PLENTY of garlicy goodness.[/caption]

Lastly, and probably my favorite part of the entire meal, we got the s'moreski. It's like a grilled s'mores sandwich. It was fantastic. Marshmallow fluff, nutella and graham crackers grilled between two slices of bread. I could have eaten three all by myself.

[caption id="attachment_1235" align="aligncenter" width="614"]mmmm.....s'moreski mmmm.....s'moreski...[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1234" align="aligncenter" width="614"]Don't you hate it when you have someone take a cell phone photo and it comes out all blurry? Evil s'moreski eaters![/caption]

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience...with the exception of the hoards of mosquitos that came out for the event. The food was delish, the weather was perfect, the atmosphere was great. I can't wait for next month!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Taking Time to Stop and Smell the...Cherry Blossoms

I've always read about how delicious cherry blossoms smell. Now I have my own tree, and it kind of reeks. Maybe I have the wrong kind of cherry tree. Who knows. But it's still pretty, right? I love the rising sun in the background, causing the petals to look translucent.
cherry blossoms

I'm trying to remember to take the time to enjoy life's little pleasures (even if they're kind of stinky) and not get so caught up in the craziness, the challenges, the little annoyances that seem so much bigger than the pretty flowers that balance it all out and make life just that much more wonderful.

Happy Tuesday, folks. We're 2/5 of the way to the weekend!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Officially Moved In

This weekend we finally had our yard sale, sold or donated the rest of the crap we didn't need or want and left a big, deliciously empty space in the garage. I figure that, even more than having our housewarming party, means we're moved in! Of course, now we have to finish organizing what's left in the garage. But that part's easy.

The yard sale took up most of our Saturday, and I even remembered to take some photos to post (which I still haven't really gotten used to doing), but my camera was going whacky on me yesterday (the reason why the rest of the photos in this post are of the lovely cell phone variety). But it's okay. So is life sometimes. But seriously. It feels SOOOOOO amazing to have all that junk gone. I hate clutter. I hate messes. I hate extra junk. I need to have clean and tidy and put away and that mound of junk was bringing me down.

Anyway, Saturday night we decided to go out to dinner instead of cooking. There was no way I was going to be able to come up with anything besides tater tots and frozen pizza, so we went to sushi instead.

[caption id="attachment_1226" align="aligncenter" width="368"]Popcorn Shrimp Temaki Popcorn Shrimp Temaki[/caption]

We have a new...I hate to use the word "favorite" because while their Popcorn Shrimp Temaki is probably my favorite hand roll of all time, the rest of their rolls are...well...eh. In fact I almost yacked on the spider roll we ordered. I had to spit it in my napkin. Gross, right? Jim told me to. I wasn't going to. It's kind of rude (but then again so is yacking at the table in  a restaurant, right?). Then he held up his left hand, palm toward him, wedding ring toward me, and said "and that's why it's okay." He's so funny. And he's right, of course.

Sunday we woke up a bit later than Saturday...and then an hour later than that because of the time change. Stupid time change. I made breakfast, which I usually do. But I have this problem. I can spend one day at home and then I nut up. So since we were home almost all day Saturday, Sunday morning came along and I had a serious itch to get the heck out of the house.

We have a favorite bike trail that we like to ride. It's about eleven and a half miles around Lake Natoma. There are usually a lot of people...joggers, walkers, people on strange contraptions (like the elliptical machine thing we saw one guy on...wish I'd taken a cell phone photo, but I was about to die about that time), horses along with the bikers?...cyclists? The folk who ride the bikes. Us.
Lake Natoma

However, we decided we wanted to bring Katie. And since she's not terribly fabulous on the leash yet, and she certainly has never done an 11 mile jaunt attached to a bike before, we chose to walk it instead. (This is the part of the weekend where my camera decided to stop reading the card that was in it and I almost threw it off the bridge into the lake).

[caption id="attachment_1213" align="aligncenter" width="406"]Can't believe I had to facebook jack my own photos Can't believe I had to facebook jack my own photos[/caption]

It was a beautiful day. About 70 degrees, warm, a little wind coming off the lake. The trees were green and those that bloom were doing their thing. It felt really good to be out there....until it didn't. Until we got almost halfway around the lake and realized, hey, walking might be a bigger pain in the ass that bike-riding, not to mention we're trying to train a dog to walk on the leash here. By the time we finished, four hours later, we were both so beat all we could do was fall into the car. Katie even slept the entire way home.

It was a good thing I already had dinner in the slow cooker (it's a Cuisinart, not a Crock Pot), or else we would have been going for those tater tots and frozen pizza.

We had a nice evening, though. We watched an episode of Property Wars (anyone else love that show?!) and an episode of...uh...can't remember the name....they fish for tuna? Jim? Are you reading this? What's that show called? Anyway, we watched, we ate, we had some ice cream in bed and then we were out.

Unfortunately a bird outside our bedroom window wasn't aware that the time change didn't mean he was supposed to sit and squawk at 2 am. Between him and the nice little sunburn I procured on our little walk, I probably didn't sleep more than three hours all night. And we went to bed early! Hopefully he gets with the program tonight!