Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years' Resolution

Let there be more joy and laughter in your living.

~ Eileen Caddy

I've decided not to do an official New Year's resolution this year. Really, there's enough to do based on the 101 Things list on the second page of the blog. So no specific resolution was really necessary. Instead, I'll be looking to have more of what this quote mentions. More time doing the things that make me happy with the people that make me happy. I like that. We could all use more of that, don't you think?

For example, take a look at what happened the day of our first big snowfall in Indy. This is our backyard that morning. Our very own Winter Wonderland.

And I'm not the only one who loves the snow. Don't be surprised if this picture finds it's way onto next year's Christmas card!

That's all you need for a great day. Fresh snow, a giant stick to chase, and a comfy spot for a nap. Lots of joy, and plenty of laughter.

I hope 2011 brings more of both to all of us.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Mantle

As we express gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

This quote was perfect for Thanksgiving, which is right around when I found it. Yup, still getting caught up, and there's more to come! In the meantime, here's what our mantle looked like for Thanksgiving.

Almost everything for the holiday (all the white pieces) came from Z Gallerie. The mirrors are from CB2, and the candle holders are from Costco. Not everything in the house is as fancy as you think. But it sure is fun to think it!

A squash on both ends for balance next to the candle holders. And of course there had to be a place for the little turkey.

My favorite new addition was probably the pheasant. Loved his lines and the curve of his head. Just right for the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving mantle. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Completed Goal: Goal 46

Completed Goal: Goal 46 Go to a Purdue football game with the big guy
Date Completed: 11/27/2010

We went to a Purdue football game together, and not just any game, the Old Oaken Bucket game. This game is probably my favorite game of the season. For those of you not familiar with the game, it's the last game of the Purdue football season and it's the always against Indiana University (IU). It's the big rivalry game and the winner gets to put a "P" or an "I" on the chain attached to the bucket, and bragging rights for the rest of the year. Now, I will say, the bucket has significantly more "Ps" on the chain, which I'm sure helps with some added enjoyment for me.

The really fun part about this game- I went to Purdue and the big guy went to IU. Yup, we're a house divided when it comes to college sports. We decided that a friendly wager would be a great idea for the game. No money was involved, it was just for pride. We decided that Loki would wear a collar representing the winning school for a month. We figure the bet can be an annual event, and he can wear the collar for the whole month of December.

It sounded like a great idea at the time.

 Mommy lost the bet. Even Loki looks disappointed. It's like he understands.

I suppose he can have the win, it was his birthday after all. We'll meet on the field again next year. I've got Loki's Purdue collar ready.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Completed Goal: Goal 38

Goal 38: Go antiquing
Completed: 9/4/2010

I know what you're thinking, September was a really long time ago. It's true. I've been totally slacking in getting this post actually written out and posted. We went antiquing at the Noblesville Antique Market. It's three levels with tons of things to sift through. It's right on the town sqaure in downtown Noblesville.

We didn't really have anything in mind when we got there, so we started on the main level and just worked our way through all of the displays. Just as proof, here's a picture of the big guy at one point in the shopping trip. Isn't that the face of a man who loves antiquing? It actually is, we've been several times since that first trip.

We were able to find a few cute things to add to the house. The first being a lovely ash tray for the big guys cigars. It's outside in the picture because it was September, and a beautiful day in our backyard. Well, Loki's backyard, I suppose, if you want to believe the blog title.

The other piece that we were really excited about is the crystal decanter in the picture below. The big guy has decided that a small decanter collection would be a fun thing to have in the house. So we've started one near the bar. It looks great so far. We got one decanter as a gift for our wedding and have added another as an anniversary present. Our little collection is looking good! They're all different shapes and styles so there's a lot of visual interest to the sets.

All in all, our first antiquing trip was a success! We're still looking for more decanters, and I'm always on the lookout for books.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Design Sherpa Conest Entry

A while back, like back in June, I entered a contest with a chance to win a trip to Paris. My entry was chosen as one of the top 100 from the first round. This meant that I had the opportunity to submit another entry as part of the next round. I did, which you can read here. I'm a little disappointed to say that I wasn't chosen to progress to the third/final round of the contest.

But I did get to have my original entry published on the Design Sherpa website. You can read it there. It's pretty fun to see yourself published somewhere other than your own blog. But, I've also included it in this post. It's also fun to go back and take a look at something you've written to see how your perspective has changed. I still love the room in the picture below. I'd love to see our house have this much personality. Though somehow I doubt that turquoise lacquer walls and a gold leaf ceiling are really the big guy's thing.

There are a few things about this room that really stand out for me. I love the luxe feel of everything from the zebra rug on the floor to the turquoise finish on the walls. I tend to gravitate towards pieces that give the room a distinct feeling. I think that inspiring design elicits an emotional response and tells a story. There’s a character that comes together once the room is complete. There’s boldness in the room that comes from the combination of materials and colors. It’s adventurous and really speaks to the person/persons living in the space.

It would have been great to win that 10-day trip to Paris complete with tickets to an international design trade show, really great. But, it looks like it wasn't in the cards. C'est la vie. So now I'll just have to shift the focus of my Parisian daydreams to a different trip. One without the bragging rights of being a contest winner.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Survived Grad School Finals

I survived my very first set of finals in grad school. Was it easy? Nope. Not easy. Not exactly the way I wanted to spend a collective 32 hours a few weekends ago. That's right- 32 hours. As an undergraduate student, I used to enjoy the occasional take-home test. It meant more time to think through answers and access to course materials and other resources.

As a graduate student in an online program I now look at my take-home tests and quizzes and cringe a bit. They're all take-home, because the entire program is based on me being at home, or in some location other than a traditional classroom. Which means more time to think through answers, because they're significantly more detailed, and access to coursematerials and other resources, because you can't answer the question without them.

But this was only my first round. Both classes happened to be in fairly difficult subjects. Well, difficult for me at least. I highly recommend having some exposure to accounting prior to beginning an MBA program if you've not had any. If your first exposure is at the graduate level, it's tough. Trust me. Overall I'm happy with my grade, I think it's fair, and I think I actually showed some progress throughout the term. But I'm still not going to be a CPA. Like, ever.

The business strategy/economics class however, was much more my cup of tea. Psychology of consumer spending habits? Why, yes please. Analysis of competitor pricing habits to predict responses to new strategies? Don't mind if I do. Formulas to quantify price elasticity and probable return on investment? Uh... can we go back to the psychology stuff? Again, happy with my grade, and I know I showed progress in this one, as evidenced by the A I got on the final. Woo and hoo.

So now, it's time to relax, enjoy some time with friends and family, and celebrate the holidays. Of course, I've got loads of blogging to catch up on. Between the quizzes and tests and papers and team projects, there's been a lot going on around me!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quote of the Week

Someitmes, if not most of the time, you find out who you are by figuring out who & what you're not.

~ Kelly Cutrone

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quote of the Week

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

~ William Morris

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quote of the Week

Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.

~ Unknown

Happy Veteran's Day!

Today is one of those days where I find myself immeasurably humbled by all that others have done for me. My freedom shouldn't be something I take lightly. I take it for granted on a regular basis, and sometimes forget just how fortunate I am to live where I do. Regardless of your politics, and your feelings towards war and fighting, be grateful today. Take the time to say thank you. Take the time to really think about what you have. I'm willing to bet that you'll be surprised by just how lucky you really are, and that the people protecting what you have will mean a little bit more to you today because you've taken that time.

The fact that there are men and women fighting all across the globe  and at home to defend my rights, and keep my home safe from those who would take those freedoms away is almost beyond my comprehension. How can people be so selfless? How can people care so much as to risk their lives for someone, many someones, they've never met and never will? That's bravery and courage at it's finest.  

Freedom is a blessing, and I am truly grateful.

To all who have served, including my dad and my grandfathers, and to all currently serving- THANK YOU!

American Flag Image from, via Google Images search

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quote of the Week

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Study Buddy

It's been quiet around here lately. I know. I appreciate you guys sticking around even while things are kind of on a break. (But not like a Ross and Rachael kind of a break. Nice Friends reference huh?) I'm on a study break. A 30-hour a week study break.

Fortunately, I'm not studying alone. This is what my studying eventually leads to.

He's cute. Not terribly helpful or conducive to me actually being productive. But cute.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quote of the Week

If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything.

~ Win Borden

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quote of the Week

It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.

~George William Curtis

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wedding Week Quote of the Week

It's not what we have in our life, but who we have in our life that counts.

~JM Laurence

Perfect timing for this quote. I found it back in August, but waited until now to post it. I think about this a lot, but especially around our anniversary. We're both so lucky to have our friends and family, we're truly blessed.

But even more than that, I'm awfully lucky to have the big guy. Love you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wedding Week- Day 4, Post 3

I'm trying to catch up a bit, can you tell? Note to self- next wedding week, have more posts ready in advance. I wasn't really interested in blogging on our actual anniversary. I was mostly interested in spending some quality time with the big guy.

Back to more of what we did for our wedding. We tried to make all of our decisions about the reception with our guests in mind.

Should we add the vegetarian option to the menu? Yes, and it was delicious!

Should we try to use the outdoor patio area if the weather allows? Yes, and the guys got a chance to enjoy some cigars and any of our guests who happened to be smokers had a much prettier place than the parking lot to look at while they were outside. And we found space for a second bar. It was a pretty big hit.

Should we let our guests submit suggestions for music? Yes, we set up a page on our wedding website that took suggestions and the DJ was able to accomodate almost all of them. He seemed pretty impressed with some of the suggestions. And on that note, he had something in his system that allowed him to record. At the end of the evening he gave us a CD that was our reception: all the songs, and even the speeches. Very cool.

But what about favors? Should we find a token or trinket that our guests could leave with? We didn't really see anything that we liked that we'd want to give out, and we figured we'd wind up with a lot of left overs. So we looked for alternate ways to spend that budget. Instead of favors, we made a donation to the local Humane Society with that money. It's a charity that I feel pretty strongly about, as you probably know by now, and it gave us a way to bring Loki into our big day.

We made signs with the table numbers and a little note to our guests so that they'd know what we'd decided. "In lieu of favors a donation has been made to the Humane Society to help dogs like our Loki find good homes."

Here are some of the pictures we used.

Just another way that we tried to make our wedding a little more personal. Plus if he'd been there in person, he would have eaten all the cake :-)

Wedding Week- Day 4, Post 2

One of my favorite things about our wedding, besides the wonderful man I married, was all of the paper stuff we had. For a lot of people, the paper stuff isn't a big deal, but being design-oriented at work, it was important to me that everything go together and look like a cohesive suite.

In order to do that, we branded our wedding. Everything we did had some version of this scroll pattern:

It was on our save the dates, our invitations, our programs, the cards at the tables, the seating chart, and our florist even found little ferns, finnial ferns is what she called them, to put in the arrangements and bouquets to further bring out our design.

I loved seeing everything come together, and I loved how many unexpected things tied in.

Another item we added was a map to our locations.

I put it together in Photoshop and we had it included with some text directions on one of the pages within our invitation. A little something to help everyone get around. Most of our guests were coming from somewhere other than Geneva, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible. I highlighted the three hotels where we had room blocks set up, the church, and the reception hall. I only did the main roads, just to keep it simple.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wedding Week- Day 1

This is the first time I've really done the whole wedding week thing, but it seems like a lot of fun. Tomorrow is our second anniversary. It's hard to believe that it's been that long, these past two years have gone by really fast. We've gone through the excitement of promotions at work, buying our first home, the big guy getting recognized as sales rep of the year (shameless bragging), and me starting a graduate degree.

I'll warn you now, this is a long one.

But two years ago right about now, I was sitting in a room with some of the most important people in our world (some really important people weren't able to be there in person, but we knew that they were thinking about us, and they were part of the celebration in spirit). I was getting about a million kinds of antsy and excited and nervous about what the next day would bring. It was a whirlwind kind of a day. It all started at 5am that morning, with my dad and I getting ready to hop on the commuter train from La Fox to Chicago. An odd trip for the day before a wedding, but one that was very necessary. Here's the story if you haven't already heard it. (Or in my dad's case, lived through it with me.)

Wednesday before we got married, we packed up and got ready to drive from Indianapolis to Geneva. I had everything but one important piece- my passport. I had previously given the big guy a lot of grief for not putting his passport in a safe place. Apparently mine was so safe, I couldn't find it. Massive amounts of panic ensued, and we tore our apartment apart trying to find it. No luck. Which was totally scary, because we had an international honeymoon planned. I was not going to be able to go to Aruba sans passport.

So then we found out a very helpful piece of information. There are places across the country where passports are physically made. If you make an appointment and go in person with all the right forms, you can get your passport the same day. One of these places is the Federal Building in downtown Chicago.

So back to my story. We call on the way to my parents' house and make an appointment for me to go and get another passport. But I'm not quite as familiar with Chicago as I pretend to be, and I was nervous about going alone. Enter my dad.

Here's the thing about my dad- he's the best. I know a lot of people say that, but when I say it, it's actually true. He got up crazy early on a day when he should have been able to sleep in and relax, and he hopped on a commuter train like it was no big deal. Trust me, it was a really big deal. We walked from the train station to the Federal Building, navigated the gauntlet of security, and got in line with all the forms and paperwork.

Then I get up to the window, like the DMV, but with glass separating us from the federal employees. People were shouting, people were angry, and people were not happy. The guy behind the glass turns to me, already bored at 9:00am, and we have this conversation:

Federal Employee Guy: Do you have your forms?
Me: Yes, sir. I have them here. (pushes paperwork through the hole under the glass)
Fed: I have to ask this, is it absolutely necessary that you get a new passport today? What's so important that we have to rush it?
Me: (bottom lip begins to quiver, big sniff) Well, sir, you see... (cue uncontrollable sobbing) I'm getting married tomorrow (hiccup) and I lost my passport, but I didn't know it (hiccup) and my dad came out all this way with me (hiccup) and my fiance is the best man in the whole world  (hiccup, sniff) and he's planned this great honeymoon in Aruba (hiccup) and now I can't go with him (hiccup) and it's almost my wedding day ... I may have said more, but there were no dogs around to translate the high-pitched ball of emotions I had become.

At this point he reaches his hand under the glass, pats my hand, and says "Honey, you're passport will be done by noon."

Well at this point, I feel like this man has single-handedly saved my honeymoon. And if you think about it, he kinda did.

So I go back over to where my dad is waiting, and tell him the good news. He looks at his watch and says "It's only 9:15. What do you think about some breakfast and a walk around the city?"

That's what we did. We went to the Marriott on the river and had breakfast. We walked through Millennium Park and went through the exhibit hall of a technology conference. We walked, we talked, and I had the best unplanned morning a girl could have the day before her wedding. I didn't get a lot of time just me and Dad leading up to the wedding. Napkin colors and centerpieces just aren't his thing. This random morning was exactly what I needed. Unplanned though it was, I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

For the record- never found the original passport. Totally lost. I think our apartment ate it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quote of the Week

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.

~Henry Ward Beecher

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quote of the Week

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

~ T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

90 Day Challenge: Weigh In

I missed last week's weigh-in. So I wanted to be sure that I didn't miss this week's too. Good news is that even with the craziness that is my schedule, I've been able to stay relatively on track. I haven't hit the gym as much as I wanted to, but I have been able to get some studying done. There was even one night that I took my Economics text book to the gym with me. Yup, I was that girl walking on the treadmill reading a book, highlighter in hand. Not my favorite, but it did knock two things off my to-do list for the day.

Some of that hard work has paid off, I'm down another pound.

Total Weight Loss: 6.8 lbs

That's pretty darn good. It's right at the pace my trainer recommended, which is slow and steady. Another nice moment this week; one of my coworkers asked if I'd been losing weight. It's nice when other people notice the change. It helps keep the motivation going!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quote of the Week

I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.

~ Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tea for Two (Just Me?)

I don't drink coffee. I know that comes as a shock, it usually does. I'm weird I guess. I get funny looks, and I can sometimes tell that the person on the other side of the conversation actually feels bad for me. The look gets even more pitying when I tell them that I drink tea.

Here's the thing. I like tea. Tea is tasty. Take today's drink for example.

You can see the label, and yes it's true. Chocolate Hazelnut. It's sweet, it's rich, and downright cozy on a dreary-rainy day like today. I actually didn't need to add any sweetener. (This is my desk at work in case you were curious. I'd like to tell you that the rest of it is really glam and exciting, but it's not. It's mostly covered with papers and files. That's because I actually do work. And I'm just a little bit scattered in my approach to said work. Our desk at home is equally unglamorous, again, we're actually working on it. Perhaps that could be a new project, making the desk space glam and workable. Hmmmm...)

The word you're thinking of by now is "anyway." I'm pretty happy with this tea. I tend to gravitate towards the traditional black teas, although lately I've been doing more red tea (rooibos). Green tea is a little light for me, although nice in summer.

With the weather getting cooler, what will you be reaching for in the morning (or late afternoon)?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quote of the Week

Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.

~Gore Vidal

Quote of the Week

There is no remedy but to love more.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clean & Green: Microwave Cleaner

Microwave Cleaner

1/2 cup vinegar
2 cups water

Combine inside microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 3-4 minutes. Remove bowl and wipe down inside of microwave.

Monday, September 13, 2010

90 Day Challenge: Day 38

Another week into the challenge. After last week's weigh in I was a little disappointed. This week, I missed my regular Saturday morning weigh-in, so I hopped on the scale this morning. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I wanted to at least have a starting point for the week.

This Week:
Weight Loss: 1lb
BMI Percentage Change: 0.2%

Overall Progress:
Weight Loss: 5.8 lbs
BMI Percentage Change: 1.1%

I'm pretty happy about that. I'm back to where I was two weeks ago, and hopefully this week we'll continue to go in this direction. We've got a new meal plan from our nutritionist that feels like we're constantly eating, but it seems to be adding a nice boost to the workouts. We've gone to more weight training than cardio, so we'll see how that continues to change things. It's turning into quite the wait and see process, but ultimately I know that a slow & steady change is best. But man am I getting impatient!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quote of the Week

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

90 Day Challenge- Day 31

I'm a little bit (or a lotta bit) behind posting the results from this week's weigh-in. That's probably because I'm not very happy with myself. I indulged a little too much, and definitely saw the impact it had on my progress.

This week (Weigh-in happened on schedule on Day 28)
Weight lost: -1 (Yup, I actually gained a pound. Ugh)

Weight lost: 4.8 lbs
BMI percentage change: .9%

So overall, still going in the right direction. Just with a slight detour. It's going to happen every now and then, so I'm trying to keep it in perspective. As long as the progress stays consistent, that's what will bring about a lasting change. And that's really what I'm working towards.

A big plus for this week was getting a new weight lifting routine. I'm spending more and more time in the part of the gym that I find most intimidating. But it's not as bad as I thought, mostly because of something our trainer said that really put things into perspective.

When I mentioned that this particular area is a little scary for me, he said  that was fine and nothing to worry about. I expected the standard "nobody's paying any attention, they're not going to be staring at you and judging response." Instead he asked me to look around the gym and just observe people, specifically to look at body compositions that were most common in each activity area. Then he asked me which group I want to be in. Gave me some things to think about.

Clean & Green: Laundry Settings

Laundry Settings

Set your washer to cold/cold for the most eco-friendly laundry settings.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Completed Goal: Goal 97

Three days in and I already have a completed goal. It wasn't hard, but it was a lot of fun.

Goal 97: Define our (me & the big guy) design style

Here's how I checked this one off the list. I was one of many people watching and waiting to see who would win HGTV's Design Star. I love everything about the competition and this season did not disappoint. I was especially happy when they announced the winner and it was Emily. I love the way she combines finishes and time periods with colors and patterns to really give a lot of character to a room. I also love her blog. She's funny and kinda goofy and totally the type of person I'd want to hang out with.

So naturally when the first episode of her new show, Secrets from a Stylist, came on this past weekend, I was there. And by there I mean on my couch, remote in hand ready to watch something awesome happen. One of the things I really like about her approach is the combination of styles. By defining three styles that really work individually for the person, you get a lot more to look for and combine to really get a personalized design for the home.

After watching the show we talked a little bit and picked three styles that we really like and that we want to pull from as we continue to decorate and finish getting our home the way we want it to be. I say we, but really I mean me. The big guy is interested, but I won't push him too far. Here's a peek at what we decided we like. (All images found via Google Images.)

1. Modern: clean lines, geometric patterns, chrome/steel, bright colors, minimalist style, think CB2

2. English Manor House: traditional pub style, worn leather, chesterfield sofas, dark wood tones, books/libraries, crystal

3. Hollywood Regency: metallic/mirrored finishes, high end fabrics, light & airy colors, black & white, feminine lines

Now that we've defined our style, the easy part is done. The hard part will be figuring out where & how to mix them. But it'll be fun too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quote of the Week

Find life experiences and swallow them whole. Travel. Meet many people. Go Down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. Try everything. Exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life.

~Lawrence K. Fish

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's like the ultimate To-Do List

I've seen this around the blog world many times, and I've always been intrigued. It's 101 in 1001 list. You pick 101 goals and give yourself 1,001 days to complete them. They can be big or small, expensive or free, silly or serious. They just have to be something clearly defined and easily trackable/measurable. And it's really a good amount of time, just about 2.75 years to get everything done. Sounds reasonable, especially since a few of mine are already in progress. Maybe that's cheating a little, but I think it counts as long as it hasn't already been finished.

So what does my list have on it? Some house projects. Some items about getting healthier, because really couldn't we all make some healthier choices? Some entertaining stuff. Some work and school stuff. Some spiritual stuff. Some financial stuff. Some time with friends and family, especially the big guy and Loki.

The list has been added as it's own page, here. This will make it easier to keep track of what's done and what's not. I'll do a separate blog post about each goal as it gets crossed off the list, and I do like to cross things off lists.

So when does it all start? Today. Nothing like the first day of a new month to get you inspired about taking on a new challenge. Apparently Fall 2010 is all about challenges. I've got the 90 Day Challenge at the gym, I've got this 101 in 1001 challenge, and I've got the challenges that come with a Big 10 MBA program.

Maybe the first thing on the list should have been a vacation!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Clean & Green: Make a Little More

Make a Little More

Premix large batches of cleaning formulas so they're always on hand and you're not tempted to buy store formulas.

Monday, August 30, 2010

90 Day Challenge- Day 21

Ok, so technically as this posts it's Day 24 of the Challenge, but the weigh in actually happened on Day 21. I've just been behind in getting it posted.

This Week:
Weight lost: 2 lbs
BMI percentage change: 0.2%

Weight lost: 6 lbs
BMI percentage change: 1.1%

Pretty good so far! We've got another session with our trainer this week, mostly because we missed the first one. Totally our fault. So we'll get a new workout and hopefully have some time to go over our meal plans.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Textbooks, & CDs, & Tests- Oh My!

Some of you may have noticed the giant stack of books sitting on our kitchen table as I was eating my yummy soup the other day. If the title of this post is any indication, school is about to start! There are 2 weeks and 3 days until the first day of classes. Not that I'm counting down or anything ;-)

I'm just about done with my first week of the three week orientation. I've met my team, I'm figuring out the online course environment, and I've even turned in a few assignments. My inner nerd is oh-so-very-excited right now.

And then this arives...

These are the textbooks I'll be using in my first term classes.Which makes the intensity of the program all so very real. It's been mentioned several times in the orientation webinars- this is a Big 10 MBA program, and just because it's delivered online doesn't make it any less demanding. So the first term is designed to challenge all of us. Not a surprise, but still a little nerve-wracking. It's all finance. It's accounting. Any guesses what I've never taken a class in before? You're right! Finance and/or accounting.

Fortunately I have amazing team members. We're getting along great, there's already a sense that we're in this together and we're going to help each other a lot over the next two years. These guys are great. It's going to be quite the adventure. And I have some big plans to take the accountants from work out to lunch. A lot.

Quote of the Week

True generosity must benefit both parties. No woman can control her destiny of she doesn't give to herself as much as she gives of herself.

~Suze Orman

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sweet Mint Pea Soup

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small sweet onion, chopped
two 10-ounce packages frozen peas
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup fesh mint, minced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
plain yogurt

In a stock pot over medium heat, melt butter.

Add onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add peas, broth, and mint. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 20 minutes.

Stir in lemon zest, salt, and pepper. (This was especially fun because I got to use my lemon zester for the first time. Apparently I've not been very zesty before now.)

Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender, I love mine) and puree until smooth.

Return to pot and stir in heavy cream.

Cook on low for 10 minutes. Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt and a small mint leaf.

Even Loki was excited by how the soup was smelling as it cooked. It's hard to see, but there's just a little bit of his tongue sticking out because he was licking his lips. He knew how awesome it was going to be.

Here's my final product. In a little soup bowl that used to be my parents. I have a set of two. There's something very comforting about having soup in the bowls that I used to use when I was a kid.

But the important part, it tasted amazing! I also made some baked chicken with garlic powder and rosemary. Simple clean flavors that paired well with the soup. I didn't take a picture of that though, I was halfway done with it before I remembered that I should take an after shot.

He's still interested. That's really how I know that a recipe is a keeper.

Yield: 6 servings (6 cups)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes

Recipe from Katie Lee, Lonny Magazine, June/July 2010 issue

More on the giant stack of books later...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Clean & Green: Get Rid of Sponges

Get Rid of Sponges

Replace sponges with washable and reusable items like microfiber cloths and dish rags.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Loki's Backyard: Adding Flowers

It's been a while since we did this, but I'm just getting around to putting up the pictures. I should clean my camera's memory more often. Note to self.
Anyway- after the fence and patio were finished, it was time to add some more fun things to the backyard and give it a little more personality. The big guy and some friends cut some flower beds on either side of the patio. Pretty grueling work, especially in the hot summer sun. Once the beds were cut and ready, we went shopping for flowers and plants.

A quick trip to Lowe's and soem discussion over color scheme and annuals vs. perennials, we were on our way home. We decided to start with some perennials and had 3 hydrangeas, one Japanese lilac tree, one Japanese blood maple, 3 arbor vitae, and an elderberry balck lace bush. I may have gotten some of the names wrong, but I think that's everything.

All will get much bigger with proper tending, and build up a little more privacy around the patio, and especially the area where we plan to put the hot tub.

This spot will hold the Japanese blood maple.

Our Japanese lilac.

We found these solar lights at Wal-Mart. They've got a clean modern feel to them, and I love the way the coppery finish plays against the grays in the patio. You can see a little bit of one of the chairs in our patio set. More about that later.

Loki does an excellent job supervising whenever there's work going on. He's very particular about what we do with his backyard. Perhaps the blog has gone to his head.

The black lace edlerberry bush

Our supplies. Lots and lots of potting soil to add the dirt we already had. We've got clay about two feet down, so we're hoping this will help give the plants more of what they need. We may to incorporate some Miracle Grow as well, but we'll see.
One of our hydrangeas waiting to be planted and some very dirty gardening gloves.

This is the Japanese blood maple waiting to be planted. The bucket it's in actually served dual purpose that day and helped to haul some of the dirt/grass away while the beds were being cut. A pretty far departure from holding kegs, which incidently is what we originally bought it for.

Look at us turning into grown ups.