Life Gets Away.

Between moving, holidays, and wedding planning, life has taken me by storm. I can't believe that I have been too busy to blog! October 31st? C'mon! That's unacceptable. Some people have begun to think that I gave up on them and the blogosphere. Others were concerned that my blog was broken or thought that their computer broke. Fortunately, none are true. Just don't give up on me because I haven't given up on you! I will be back in full force in a few weeks! Maybe a month, if I'm more realistic. Andrew has already instituted the Stress-free Spring and I'm excited. That will mean lots of reading, lots of adventures, lots of days trips, and lots of blogging!

I don't think I was prepared for the whirlwind that was to come! Since I last posted so much has happened. I've been to Florida and back. Attended a wedding. Seen old friends. Enjoyed bridal showers, one of which was the biggest surprise (story to come). Taken on new projects at work. Turned one year older! Completed pre-marital counseling. Andrew and I took a 25-hour Amtrak train from Providence to Chicago. We spent a week visiting with family. My mom flew in and surprised me. We've received fun new presents like a Flip on which I can make an apartment tour for the blog! We've flown back to Rhode Island. He's gone back to work. I've been sick in bed.

Lot's of exciting things to update you on.

But unfortunately they will have to wait a little longer. Right now I have to go work on the ceremony program. Then the list for the DJ. The job of a wedding planner never ends;)

Be back soon! I promise.



Quick Update

No time to write but I wanted to update you and let you know that:

1) A lease was signed for a new apartment! Very exciting, but it was very unexpected and happened quickly. So this weekend is the final push for the big move.

And 2) Mouse poop. We have found mouse poop everywhere as we move things out. I would like to emphasize that this should not be interpreted as a reflection of my hygiene. There are just holes everywhere in this apartment. In cabinets, for heating pipes, under radiators, etc. That mouse (I like to tell myself it was only that ONE) was on my kitchen window sill, under my bed, in my spice drawer, everywhere. SO THANKFUL to be moving and to not know this until now. Yuck.

Okay, I have to go move some more boxes, but I'll be back soon!

Happy Halloween!!


Wicked Good Times

Hello again! Sorry I've been gone. I'm drowning in wedding planning stress & guilt. Please don't read that as progress; it's more of that hanging-over-your-head sensation where you feel guilty and overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, but never really make any progress. Yeah. That's where we're at.

Last weekend we set out to book the honeymoon. Dis-aster. We had plans and lofty goals and then they were all trampled on by our little friend, reality. So we are getting married on Saturday evening and were planning to leave Sunday for our honeymoon to maximize our time at our destination and account for traveling back to New England. Our plans may or may not have involved a little trip to a country we like to call, Costa Rica. However, to make a long story short our hopeful plans were thwarted by such details as a two hour post-reception drive to Orlando, an early morning flight Sunday, a full day of traveling both there and back, a 24-hour drive from Florida to Rhode Island, a rental car, a 4-hr drive out of the way from Orlando to Tampa and back through Orlando, and packing said rental car in between. So we're back at square one. Actually, it's a little worse. No one's stressed at square one, you're just uncertain. We're uncertain and stressed. Blah.

On a happier note I plan to figure out bridesmaids dresses this weekend. Finalize. Yes, it's less than 3 months away and I still haven't made the decision, but it's difficult. I'm not wearing the dress, I don't have to buy the dress, my girls may not like the style, and I don't like to make decisions. All of this has equated to another big wedding failure on my part! Ugh.

Rehearsal dinner, now that may be solved this weekend as well. Andrew's mom is headed to Tampa tonight to spend the weekend checking out the church, reception site, possible rehearsal dinner venues, meet the future in-laws, etc.

What else? We have invitations. Maybe a future apartment which will be incredibly wonderful. Hopefully. I always hate to say that when I know I could be looking back at this blog in 9 months cringing at my naivety because it actually turned out to be a terrible, horrible nightmare. Like mice or noisy neighbors or the fruition of my irrational fear of gas heating blowing up the apartment. It happens more than you'd believe up here. At least one a day Andrew insists.

Well the real intention of this update was to inform you of the wicked fun we're going to have this fall courtesy of Andrew's new employment. That's right, his connection to the happenings in and around Pawtucket are wicked awesome. I can say wicked, I've lived in New England for over a year. One of these is a Fall Foliage Train ride. The train will take us through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, stopping at a Fall Bazaar with antique shopping, crafts, food and fun! We're pretty pumped.

We're also really excited about the restaurant tours/cooking lessons. Restaurants all over the state (we're a small state, don't make fun) offer evenings where they teach you how to prepare a meal and then feed it to you! We can't wait.

Okay, that's it for now. If any pictures turn out tomorrow you'll be the first to see them!! Enjoy your weekend!

Missin' you. No really, I miss writing.


Recipe of the Week

Meatball Casserole
from Taste of Home

2 Servings
Prep: 40 min. Bake: 20 min.

  • 3/4 cup uncooked penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons egg substitute
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • Dash salt
  • Dash garlic powder
  • 1/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce or meatless spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, egg substitute, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt and garlic powder. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well.
  2. Shape into 1/2-in. balls; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes or until no longer pink.
  3. Drain pasta and meatballs. In a small bowl, combine meatballs with marinara sauce. Spoon half of mixture into a 1-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of the pasta, cottage cheese and mozzarella; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers.
  4. Cover and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving equals
453 calories
12 g fat (5 g saturated fat)
66 mg cholesterol
804 mg sodium
55 g carbohydrate
5 g fiber
30 g protein.

For shorter prep time purchase pre-made meatballs.

It's cold and it's fall so start breaking out those casserole recipes! They'll warm your bellies and your heart:D



Worst. Weekend. Ever.

I was excited and prepared Friday to come home and write a nice happy post. Unfortunately, that has been postponed for a bit while I address more pressing issues, like traumatic life experiences.

After work on Friday Andrew and I had an appointment to check out an apartment. We viewed an incredibly awesome loft apartment (if I can persuade you, maybe you can persuade Andrew) and then walked back to my apartment to make dinner before heading out for our marriage study.

We were pretty hungry so Andrew walked straight into the kitchen while I put my jacket on the coat rack. We were not in my apartment for more than 15 seconds when Andrew shouts and leaps back.

"Oh boy," I thought, "not another one of those creepy-hairy-crawly things again." He had just killed one of those a week ago, but didn't react like that.

As if he's just seen a ghost he turns to me and says, "A mouse just ran across your counter." I think I stopped breathing at this point and was near fainting. De ja vu of last year's mouse fiasco.

I had heard voices in my neighbor's apartment as we walked up the stairs a few minutes earlier so I promptly recruited help. My downstairs neighbor was in the upstairs apartment so they both came to our rescue. They both non-nonchalantly said, "Yea, that mouse ran across both our counters this week too."

Um, What?! That is NOT okay!
1. Mice should not be running around rampant inside our apartments.
2. If mice do happen to romp around inside they should NOT be on the counter! They live in little holes in base boards and wander around the FLOOR! How do they get onto counters?

One neighbor said, "I have traps downstairs. Let's just take care of this." The other neighbor said, "There are humane traps you know. I'm outta here." And just like that, he left.

Andrew and the neighbor spent the next five minutes trying to figure out how to set the traps. Then they put peanut butter on them. "Peanut butter? I thought you were supposed to put cheese out for them," I said (obviously educated by cartoons). While they talked about their strategy for placing the traps that little rodent ran across the counter again. Again!! Ugh. Without getting to eat dinner Andrew and I dashed out to our study hoping for the best.

I could barely concentrate at the study. Between dreaming about future apartment possibilities and panicking about the thoughts of a mouse in my apartment, I was useless. And to top it off we shared mouse stories at the end, including ones about mice chewing off their legs to get out of the trap. Needless to say, we arrived back to my apartment with a plethora of situations to return to. Dead mouse. Mouse feet in the trap. A mouse hobbling around with a trap on it's leg. You name it, I was anticipating it. What I didn't anticipate was what actually happened. We returned 3 hours later and I waited in the car while Andrew went in to remove the dead mouse. Andrew walked upstairs and reappeared a few minutes later. But instead of going to the trash can he walked towards my car and says, "No mouse."

Great. I walked into my apartment, uncomfortable in my own haven. I stood on a chair while Andrew removed items on the counter one by one to look for the mouse. Why does this seem necessary? As foolish as it felt, standing on the chair just made me feel safer.

Saturday Andrew checked the trap. "Um..." he said, while staring in the corner with a flashlight.

"Um, what?!" I shrieked back.

"Um, worst possible scenario. The trap is gone."

"Um, what?! Where is the trap?!"

"Don't know."

I start having visions of a mouse that got snapped in the trap and is hobbling around trying to get through a crack with a big piece of wood following behind. Andrew moves a dresser and sees the trap underneath. He slowly moves the dresser to reveal the trap in its entirety. Entirely empty! The mouse ate all the peanut butter and got away!

"We just fed a mouse!" I yelled. "We just fed him and let him get away!"

Round two. Andrew decides that we'll put less peanut butter on the trap and we'll put it back out. We proceed to spend the rest of the day Saturday around the apartment making phone calls, emailing people, working on wedding details, etc. Mind you, in my studio we were never more than 8 feet from the trap. About 7:30PM Andrew decides to check the trap again. He'd been peaking throughout the day for a mouse near the trap and nothing. In fact, there are two traps. One on the counter behind the microwave where he was hiding last night. He checked both throughout the day.

Trap behind the microwave: Untouched. Trap on the floor 8 feet from Andrew: licked clean. Twice now, we've fed the mouse and let him get away!! Third time is a charm, right? Wrong! Sunday check-up. Clean. Not an trace of peanut butter and he got away. Obviously those traps were useless.

I happened to run into my neighbor in the parking lot and asked if they caught the mouse or if their traps were being licked clean as well. "No, our traps are out and untouched, he assured me. Before I could even walk back up stairs he emerged and said, "Scratch that. We've been robbed." At this point it was not as much of a surprise and almost funny. We'd all been duped by a mouse!

I went out Sunday afternoon and bought new package of traps. A different type of trap. One that assured victory. We set them out and to my disappointed they weren't touched at all Sunday night. It turns out the neighbors downstairs finally caught him on their kitchen counter Sunday evening.

A sad ending compensated only by that fact that the mouse had to have eaten twice his weight in peanut butter those last two days. RIP little guy.


PS The traps are still out in case he had any siblings or offspring. I'm sure you'll hear about it if he did.


This year it's MY fault

It's definitely fall.

It's so crisp out. Morning. Day. Night. I turned the heat on in my car for the first time last night. It smelled like winter. I can't believe fall is here already and winter is just around the corner. In fact, fall has already peaked in some places! Wow.

Oh, and my apartment is freezing. Now I remember why I spend so much of the winter months under my down comforter, with my computer on my lap, and just my little fingers sticking out. It's pretty much impossible to do anything that requires exposing appendages to the frigid air, which eliminates basically everything except watching the tv burrito-style and washing dishes in hot water. And who wants to do that 24-7?

Well, unfortunately, this year, it's my fault that I'm so cold. My landlord converted the building's heat from oil that he paid for to gas that individual tenants pay for. Simple enough, right? Wrong. You've probably learned by now that nothing is simple with me 0:)

Well, since Andrew is now employed there is a little glimmer of hope that the January wedding will bring with it a sparkling, new, spacious apartment instead of cramming in my little studio. The only problem is that I will have to sublet my apartment. Well, as dreamers do, we starting searching around a little on Craigslist and some other cool mapping websites that utilize Craigslist data. I'm such a mapper, aren't I? Even at home I can't quit mapping. As could be expected we found one we liked. Then another. Then another. Unfortunately, they're all available now. Hmmmm...no predicament is too big to overcome! Maybe I'll just move now.

We thought we'd test the waters to see how easy or arduous it would be to sublet my apartment so that we were prepared. Always planning, aren't we? As much as people want to deny it, Providence is basically a college town, so renting at the start of a semester is ideal. But if I could sublet sooner...I'd just move into the new apartment sooner:) Well, we didn't realize the hot ticket we were sitting on. We had over a dozen responses of people interested in subletting the little studio! BUT I don't have anywhere to go and people want to move in ASAP. Talk about unnecessary stress to add to my life.

For now we're showing the studio and making regular appointments to check out other places as well. We haven't found anything perfect yet, but we know we'll probably have to compromise on a few things. For example, one apartment had a great kitchen, dining room, location, and washer and dryer, but not great bedrooms and a tiny, unattractive bathroom. Another had a great bathroom, great kitchen, but no closet space, tiny bedrooms, and a worse location. For now, we're still looking. There is always the option to hold out, save money, and hope for the pieces to fall into place in January. It's quite the juggle trying to get someone into your apartment and get into another one at exactly the same time! Wheew.

Anyway, all that to say, I've yet to set up a gas account in case I don't stay here too much longer. But at the same time, we've only looked at two apartments and neither were ideal. We'll see. In the mean time I'll keep my whining about freezing indoor temperatures to a minimum since it is my own fault. In fact, I'll probably brag this weekend about making my first fire of the season. I might even take a Christmas-card style picture of me sitting in front of it, in an ugly sweater, sipping hot cocoa. But don't get your hopes up.

I'll also keep you updated on the apartment hunt. The goal will be an apartment with decent size rooms (2--one for a guest bedroom. It'll have your name on it:)), an acceptable bathroom, and a better than average kitchen. A washer and dryer would be icing on the cake:D

That's it for now. Take care and stay warm!

Chillin' (literally),



Today's THE Day!!

Everybody stop what you're doing! Get ready to stand up and shout!

Andrew got a job!! It's true!! He made it through two rounds of interviews, surpassed all the other applicants, and was offered a position! He accepted the job and started TO-DAY!!

Okay, stop yelling and jumping and check out the website of Andrew's new employer.
Note: Whatever you do, do NOT click "Skip Intro", you will miss the harmonious, glorious, phenomenal song and be directed to more important, but less entertaining information.

(Turn your volume on). This is our new favorite song! We love it. It's music to our ears. Warmth in our hearts. And yes, it's money in the bank! I think my favorite musical genre is "Mens A Capella." Is that allowed? Cause I'm serious. (Remember this A Capella obsession?)

There are actually two organizations he'll be working for in Pawtucket, referred to by locals as, The Bucket. One is at the tourism council and the other is a community development corporation (CDC). He's not doing architecture per se, but he is at least using one of his two master's degrees, urban planning.

He'll be working to improve the neighborhoods, create safe affordable housing, revitalize the community, and promote economic development and tourism. It will be a great experience for Andrew and introduce him to lots of people. If you need to find Andrew over the next 10 months he'll be busy making the Bucket more walkable, attractive, and safe.

That's about all I know for now, I'll keep you updated as he figures out what his job entails. Maybe I'll even dedicate a week to highlighting great aspects of Pawtucket. I'll call it something like "The Best Kept Secrets of the Bucket." [Que Blackstone Valley quartet again.]

In the meantime, basically picture us doing...

A lot of this:

A little of this:


Some of this:Photobucket

Lots of this:Photobucket

A little more of this:Photobucket

All the time. This:Photobucket

And if we want to take a little jog down memory lane we'll remember this from last year. Some call it The Adventure of the Century, we simply call it, Fate.

This is Pawtucket, my friends. This is Andrew proudly embracing Pawtucket one year ago.

Thankful for the Bucket,



Recipe of the Week

Chili (Taco Soup)

  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 pkg ranch dressing
  • 1 lb ground beef (ground turkey)
  • 2 cups rice
  • Chicken bouillon to taste (2 tablespoons)
  • Tortilla chips

  1. Brown beef/turkey.
  2. Stir beans, corn, beef/turkey, taco seasoning, and ranch together in a large pot.
  3. Simmer 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed.
  4. Cook rice and bouillon as directed.
  5. Pour chili over some rice in a bowl. Eat with tortilla chips (and a spoon when necessary).
  6. Feel free to sprinkle cheese or sour cream on top.
It's one of my favorite dishes! Enjoy!



The End.

Amidst our usual dinner chatter Andrew and I discussed our days, talked about the crazy people he encountered on the bus, refined items for our registry, and shared in our dislike for endings. I had been thinking yesterday morning about how much I hate when things end. And Andrew had mentioned at dinner that he was coming to terms with the end of his youth with all this wedding planning. We then went on a depressing tirade about all the endings that we hate. I'm not sure at what point it sounded like a good idea to make a post out of it, but I plan to redeem it by promptly posting tomorrow so you don't have to see this everyday for the next two weeks as you check my blog for an update:) You can thank me later.

I don't like that time at the end of the day between 7:30 and bed time. It's as if night just haunts me and lies to me and makes me feel as though I'm already out of time to keep me from being productive with the numerous hours I actually have left.

Sometimes I hate the end of a good book or a good movie. If it's good, I never want it to end. Especially when it's anticlimactic. I walk around feeling like there is something missing. Something unfinished. Incomplete.

Or there is the disdain for the end of life. I don't know if I will ever be able to accept death. It's so permanent and sad. That's the worst ending of them all.

There's the end of relationships--simple friendships or romantic ones. Sometimes it's an obvious, abrupt end. Other times a few weeks passed, then months, then years, and then at some point you realize that it's over. You are not friends anymore. And that's strange.

Then there's the end of life chapters. That's what I'm really disliking now. Putting everything into a mental box with a label, "Childhood," "High School," "College," "London," "Grad School," "Illinois," etc. It's silly really because let's face it, they've been over for a while. I haven't stepped onto the high school football field to cheer in seven years, but everything happened so slowly that it took me a long time to realize it's over. My next role in that type of setting will be as a parent.

There's the obvious, and much lighter: end of the weekend. No one likes to say goodbye to the days and nights of relaxing, socializing, and dreaming.

And what about the end of plant life? Flora, if you will. No one likes to see their bouquet of flowers wither and die. It always happens sooner than you'd like or expect.

Then there's the one most currently despised. Andrew's villain. The end of summer. Fall. The Sunday evening pit in his stomach when he realizes it's 4:30pm, pitch black out, and time for a new week to start. It's cram time. Squeeze in anything you didn't get to do yet. Fun is over. o-v-e-r.

The funniest thing about this fall-induced pity party is that I love change. Right after I thought about all the types of endings I hate, I remembered how much I love change. How is that? It seems paradoxical. Change is inevitably the ending of one thing and the starting of another, but I love it. I love it's newness, it's excitement, it's freedom from boredom. My only guess is that change can come in slowly so that I hardly realize one thing is ending and another is beginning. I guess that's why we get along so well--change and I. It dupes me.

So in honor of this week's big official ending--summer--and the start of his wonderful brother, the favorite child--fall--I'll be posting my favorite chili recipe tomorrow! It promises to keep you warm on a chilly, dark, fall evening!

Go embrace change. Maybe even an ending or two.



Pruning, Nurturing, & Enjoying

Andrew gardens at the summer cottage of a family who lives in Syracuse, NY.


He worked in landscaping for many summers in high school and college and has the knack for gardening. His mom gardens too and she taught him a lot. He's handy--he knows what to do and how to do it, but he didn't really want to revert back to his high school summer job. And who can blame him?

When the economy turned sour last year right before he was about to graduate early from grad school, he made lemonade with life's lemons. Determined to stay busy and productive while he waited to find a job, he began landscaping. He mows an elderly lady's lawn, gardens in Portsmouth, and even works on a millionaire's yard sometimes! [We think that is so cool]. He is such a disciplined person and a really hard worker--maybe it'll rub off on me someday. I'm proud of his motivation, determination, skill, and accomplishments. I'm a little jealous of his sun-kissed skin, lean muscle mass, and endless hours of pondering life while working in a garden. And I'm thankful for the perks he's gotten us:D


The owners of the Cottage by the Bay (I just named their house-it seems fitting) visit a few times in the spring and then spend the entire month of August at the cottage. On their visit in May they invited us over to meet us in person. Okay, let's be honest, I tagged along. They wanted to meet the gardener, Andrew.

Miss Helpful planting impatiens at the cottage:

The family visited again in July and they invited us back for a 4th of July party where they praised Andrew for his hard work, green thumb, and horticultural achievements in the garden. They also fed us the most incredible food--wild grilled salmon, delectable steaks (and I don't even like steak), amazing homemade salsa, and fancy wine. [Note: the wine probably wasn't even that fancy, but they taught us about sniffing and wafting and tasting and aerating and savoring and that felt pretty fancy.] We learned to play Bocce ball, ate way too much food, and enjoyed a wonderful evening of conversation.


Before they headed back to New York for the winter, they invited us to a final hurrah party in August. It was such a fun and relaxing evening hanging out in the garden and listening to "real adults" (we don't count yet) talk about fine wines, fancy foods, traveling, and other interesting facts. They all have such incredible stories. We all do. One lady was from England, another from France, a few were professors at Harvard or other nearby universities, one gentleman brought his French horn with him and played it for us after dinner. It seemed surreal; almost like a movie or Europe, at the very least. People in America rarely sit around after dinner, in a garden, listening to someone play the horn, and relax. If for only one night, life was slow-paced and allowed to linger.

Our evenings at the Cottage on the Bay proved to be some of our summer highlights. I don't have much more of a story than that, but maybe that is the story. Maybe the story is not a funny moment or a harrowing event, but simply remembering that it's the simple, ordinary things in life that are life. That make up our stories; our life story. The food. The conversations. The gentle glances. The subtle laughter. The relationships. The thousands of little blessings each day. The small moments that often go overlooked are actually the memories. These are the things to file in your vault. And that should be enough.


And if that's not enough, maybe this is: A hibiscus the size of your head. The culmination of working hard and playing hard--pruning in spring, nurturing it throughout the summer, a little water, a little sun, and sit back and watch it blossom. Not even growing up in Florida have I seen a hibiscus so large! Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Stopping to smell the hibiscus,


We All Forget Things Sometimes

I received a text yesterday from my favorite dramatic counterpart. We like to exaggerate and be extra dramatic with each other sometimes. It just makes for a little added excitement or at the least, provides ammunition to tease each other.

"Arm...so...tired. Still...no...peaks. Not...gonna...make...it." the text read. I paused, "Huh? What is he talking about?" Then I realized that he was making the whipped cream frosting for a cake for that evening's potluck, by hand.

[Light bulb] "Wait!" I chuckled and immediately responded: "Hand. Mixer. Use it or lose it, baby."

Now I realize that six months ago this would have been completely acceptable behavior. However, we made a trip to Target specifically to find a cheap temporary hand mixer just for this type of use.

No response.

He assures me that he remembered about the hand mixer the whole time, but I have my doubts ;)

In his defense, we are all forgetful sometimes. For instance, I like to send myself email reminders throughout the day of things to do or read later in the evening when I get off of work. Somehow, in the 3 seconds delay between hitting send from one email account and seeing the little Gmail envelope pop up on my browser window I forget that I emailed myself. That's right. My short-term memory is not so good, apparently. A little piece of my heart gets excited and then promptly dies when I feel the shame of realizing that I emailed myself. Sometimes I forget things too.



Sunflower Festival

Where does the time go? Honestly. I'm not sure how it happens. In fact, I'm not sure what happens. I finish work around 5pm. I never manage to get in bed before midnight, yet somehow, somehow, the evenings fly by and I get nothing accomplished that I wanted to. Such as blogging. Well, without further excuses: the sunflower post. Better late than never, right?!


As I had previously mentioned (over a month ago--so sorry!), Andrew and I embarked on an adventure to Griswold, Connecticut to visit the sunflower festival. I had never seen a sunflower field in person and Andrew loves all things sunflower.

Also, I should mention that I absolutely love photography. Andrew enjoys it too. For Christmas last year he got me an advanced digital camera. It's still a point and shoot, but it has some manual features available too. We thought it would be a good stepping stone to prepare for getting an SLR someday. So before we went to the sunflower festival we studied all day to learn about camera settings. We even quizzed each other.

"Okay. So imagine that there isn't much light and the objects aren't in motion, what would you do?" I inquired. "Well, we'd want to slow down the shutter speed and lower the ISO," he responded. "Okay, good. Now tell me what happens if you increase the aperture..."

You get the drift--two nerdy kids who like to learn, want to understand photography, and are not ashamed to act like they're back in high school and doing some last minute cramming before a pop quiz. We were loving it. We had high hopes of refining our photography skills and thought the sunflower field would be the perfect laboratory. We even searched how to use aperture on our quest to capture the elusive "bokeh". Or some other amazing photograph.

Here are some of the sites we studied from:
MckMama's Tutorial
The Pioneer Woman's Tips
A little help from Lolli

We don't mess around. We're talking studied! We didn't get the dream shot we were hoping for, or really anything that amazing, but as they say, "Rome was not built in a day." However, we did enjoy an incredibly scenic drive through western Rhode Island and a little of Connecticut, we saw acres of sunflowers, went on a hay ride past pigs and free range grass fed cows, we supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we played with the camera, and we ate locally made ice cream! What more could you ask for?

Here is our day in pictures:

Dressed for a hayride, obviously.

Adorable Calves and Cows

Feeding the Bovine

Sunflowers As Big As Your Head

Acres and Acres of Sunflowers

So excited to see the sunflowers, even if they were end-of-the-season-wilty. Look at those pitiful things. It's like they knew they were about to be ground up for cattle feed.

Farm Fresh Ice Cream

Farm Fresh Consumer

City Girl Lovin' The Farm

That's all for now. I promise not to be gone so long next time! I promise.



Food, Inc.

Andrew and I saw the most interesting movie last week. I noticed when I was walking past a local theater that there was a movie showing called Food, Inc. I watched the trailer when I got home and I had to see it.

We love to cook, we're kind of foodies, we're interested in environmental issues, we like animals, we eat meat, etc. This was basically the perfect movie for us, sorta. When you leave you want to become a vegan, which means I thought of my sweet friend Caroline the entire time I was there. It took everything in me (mostly a dark theater and strangers sitting close by) not to text her every five minutes about the movie. But I also knew that if she hadn't seen/heard of the movie, she'd probably think I was just crazy.

Did I mention that we saw this documentary at a local movie theater/coffee shop called Cable Car Cinema? It's a really cute little place with coffee, sandwiches, an old fashion popcorn machine, ice cream and a one screen theater in the back! AND the theater is comprised of all leather couches and fancy reclining theater chairs! We love it. It's so unique. So local.

The movie was very interesting. It related to issues I deal with at work with the Department of Health, socio-economic issues such as "why can people get more for their money by purchasing a burger and fries off the dollar menu, than fruits or vegetables?", and it related to me as a consumer and citizen.

It addresses various food issues in the US including meat packing factories, the abundant usage of corn by-products, "intellectual" ownership over food sources, etc. The movie really caused us to stop and think about where our food comes from. We have no idea. We rarely stop to think about what the animals ate, where the plants grew, what's actually in season, etc. The movie totally grossed us out at times and deeply saddened us at others. But as much as we enjoyed the thought-provoking film we are keenly aware that we only saw one side of the issue. We're eager to learn more about what the other side (big producers, large companies, etc.) would say as well. Nevertheless, we enjoyed a little glimpse into the US food industry.

I would definitely recommend checking it out. Although it was a documentary, there were some "characters" that we fell in love with. Two farmer's in particular. It's not playing everywhere, but it is playing all over the US. Check out the list to see if it's playing near you:)

Eat up! Wait. Check the label first, then, eat up:D



Recipe of the Week

Recipe of the Week: Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn

A nice light dish for a hot summer evening!

  • 1 package (9 oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1 package (16 oz) frozen corn, thawed or 3-1/3 cups fresh corn
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook tortellini according to package directions, adding the corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse in cold water.

In a large serving bowl, combine tortellini mixture and remaining ingredients; toss to coat.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts

One serving: 1-3/4 cups
Calories: 366
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 30 mg
Sodium: 286 mg
Carbohydrate: 57 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 14 g




A Dangerous Good Time

Yesterday's church bulletin announced that people would be heading to the beach in the evening to grill out and all were encouraged to join. Since we've had a pretty cold summer, I have yet to make my first appearance at the beach. What? A Florida girl who hasn't been to the beach by August?! I decided that I really wanted to go, but there were a few errands/chores to do in the mean time. One of these was working out.

I've been a total slacker in the "get fit for the big day" department and I had no excuse to not work out yesterday. We planned to head to the gym, but I threw an audible at the last minute with an ingenious plan: "Why don't I go rollerblading? In fact, you could sit in the park and read and I'll rollerblade around on the trail and sidewalk!" This was a brilliant plan, obviously. Andrew would be able to rest and do no physical activity while I get exercise. FYI: He's working too hard landscaping and is getting ubber toned and lean. So an opportunity for me to work out and him not to is the perfect medicine (just like my plan called Andrew Eat's A Snack/Mini Dinner Before I Get Home From Work So He Can Consume Enough Calories).

Seemed like the perfect idea. In fact the park is probably less than a mile from my apartment so I said, "Let's not drive." Well Genius (me), decides that I don't want to get my socks dirty so I put my roller blades on inside [upstairs]. Andrew had to help me down the interior and exterior stairs only for me to realize that the slope of my street is basically a black diamond to roller blades. Let's not be dramatic, I don't live in San Francisco, but yesterday, it might as well have been! After a good chuckle, some white knuckles, and a death gripe on Andrew's shoulders I said, "You might want to run upstairs and grab my shoes and car keys. We should probably drive."


At this point, Andrew is slightly concerned, but still confident. I'd expect nothing less, you know? I had told him numerous times about how I roller bladed in undergrad through Winter Park on the Cady Way Trail. And that I even roller bladed in grad school in Meadowbrook Park in Urbana numerous times. Well a few things escaped me. 1) We're not in Kansas anymore 2) I'm not as young as I used to be.

We made it safely to the park (via automobile), I got all laced up and then I was "off." Sort of. What looks "flat" on foot is not actually flat when rolling on 8 wheels! Warming up looked more like learning to skate for the first time. It was pa-thetic! I looked like a kid on Christmas trying their skates out for the first time, still trying to get that whole balance thing down. Andrew found a nice bench to sit on with his book and said, "Skate around. I'll be watching you."

"Awesome," I thought, and skated away. About 20 seconds into my "workout" I was skating on the trail, up a little incline and realized I was about to go down at a dangerously high speed. I had no idea how steep it would be or how much difficulty I would have stopping. I diverted into the grass and thought it would absorb nicely like a sand pit (it didn't) and I'd make a crash landing (I did). I looked up and saw Andrew sprinting towards me. He couldn't tell that I was laughing and proceeded to sprint the length of the park to check on me. So much for him not exercising. The park continued to be "hilly" and an utter disaster of a trip. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say it involved many panicked detours into the grass, shoulder grabbing saves, and hand-holding down ramps while clutching on the the hand rails. Needless to say, I won't be planning rollerblading as a primary form of exercise in this state. In fact, I was pretty certain that the day would end ugly; with a scraped up Kim sporting scabs or bruises for the engagement shoot in Chicago! Classy.

All in all, it ended well. Except for Andrew. His relaxing day in the park turned into a multi-mile trek with the additional weight of roly-poly-fiance leaning and pulling on him for safety.


Post-edit: I am okay. I actually didn't fall "accidentally" once! Intentionally, yes, but unintended, no:D


Another Weekend, Another Trip

I hate to put up yet another post about how I've failed again to catch up on my blog and that I'm going out of town again, but it's true. Andrew has a cousin getting married this weekend in Illinois, so we are off to the Midwest!

We are pretty excited about the trip. Andrew hasn't been home in a while, we haven't seen his family since getting engaged and I'm always excited to get a little break from work! Monday is a "holiday," you know. I always feel a little strange telling people, especially Japanese friends like Emy, that I'm off for Victory Day--the day Japan surrendered in WWII. Only two states still celebrate it as an official holiday, Rhode Island and Hawaii; go figure.

On a happier note, things I'm excited about: I get to... make a pit stop in Chicago (on State Street, that great street...). Ride the El. See Emy. Eat deep dish pizza. Raid Andrew's storage unit for lost items. Go out for Indian food. Get dressed up for a wedding. Dance. Laugh. Relax. Sleep. See the new fam. Watch cable (hopefully the Planet Green channel or some other home renovation type). Eat yummy homemade food. Listen to grandparent stories. Talk about wedding planning. And most of all, I get to be on vacation.

I'm also hoping to catch a few rays of sunshine at the pool this weekend. I would love nothing more than a few hours on a lounge chair, a little water on my toes, a frozen drink, and a good book (probably on my iPod 'cause I'm lazy like that). We'll see if the weather and the plans cooperate:) Mostly, I'm just excited for a break from work and a little social interaction with family.

Well, with that being said, my lunch break is winding to an end and I'll be signing off for a few days. I'm overwhelmed by the stories and randomness I want to share with you, but haven't found the time to!! Someday. Until then, I'll leave you in eager anticipation of the sunflower post that I'm looking forward to writing.

Lovin' Pandora,


It's Been A Year

It's hard to believe, but I've been in New England for over a year! I've survived the transition from school to work, a year in the real world, and even another cold winter. This also means I've seen all 4 seasons come full circle in Rhode Island!

I was so captivated by the view of my daily walk to work that I took a picture when I first moved here to show family and friends back home how beautiful downcity is. Then, as I stood in awe of the changing seasons, I snapped a few more. So, here is a little taste of the beauty I enjoyed over the past year:








Much love from the pretty city, in the tiniest state,