Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October's Over!

So I have emerged from the craziness that was my month of October.  It began fantastically- an amazing weekend at the beach with my mom, aunt, cousin and sister.  I went back to work on Monday and then on Wednesday, I ran back to New Jersey to pick up my birthday present (the fancy-ass camera that took all of these pictures!) and then I had to go to the courthouse downtown, because I was called for Jury Duty on the 6th.  I sat there, confident, when the judge said that it was a three week case, because I knew I wouldn't be called. It would have been a financial hardship! My job doesn't pay for jury duty!  I was called up to the judge and told him that, and sat back down.   And then, at the end of the day, I was called up. Instead of being dismissed, I was put onto the jury. For three weeks.  And because I don't get paid for jury duty, I had to use my vacation time at work, and work on the days that I wasn't on jury duty. Which meant that yesterday was my last day off since October 6th.  It was glorious. 

So that debacle is over, thank goodness, and I can focus on the good things that are happening. 

For one, I got the TV that has been traveling around in my backseat for... a long time into my apartment! Check it out- it's so huge! 

Also on my day off, I put together these shelves, which house my kitchenaid, my "bar area" with my new bar stuff from my aunt, and other various and sundry kitchen things. 

Also: I've been dating a totally cute girl who is, to use my favorite adjective, quite awesome. 

And aside from the fact that I haven't been there that much, work has been great. 

Plus! I have had some time in the kitchen- I made a roast chicken, and my own stock, and chicken and dumplings... all fall flavors and deliciousness.  Now that I have some more time, I'm looking forward to having more time to play around. 

If I compare where I'm at this year to the same time last year, I think last year Val would be super impressed. It's been a long hard road, but I am finally happy. 

To end, some gratuitous Earl pictures: 

For real, he's super cute, right?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ten things that are making me happy right now

I haven't done this in a while!


Cousins, and the most wonderful birthday weekend ever. 

Duckpin bowling


4 My crazy cat, who is not currently biting my feet right now, but is looking at them hungrily. 

5 Temps dropping to the fifties

6 Glee Tuesdays

7 Picking up crocheting again

8 Spiced Apple Cider

9 Work is really, really good (if exhausting, at times)

10 My fancy-ass new camera that I love SO MUCH.

Monday, October 3, 2011

30/30th 50 Cheeses

When I was having Birthday At the Beach this past weekend, we had The Cheesing Hour on Saturday and Sunday. 

On Saturday, we had a selection of three cheeses: Stagnola Blu, Brie, Mini Brie Bites, and Cranberry Chevre. 

The brie that we had was 62% Brie, which was super creamy and buttery.  In the background, there are brie bites, which come five to a package and are really cool- I'm a fan of having them in the fridge in case I need a quick hit of brie and I don't want to buy a huge wedge. 

The Stagnola Blu is a cheese that Trader Joe's carries, but it is about to be discontinued- I'm not sure if you can get it other places, but it's a great blue- creamy, and has a real knockout flavor. 

Chevre and Cranberry are two of my favorite combinations, it's a really great combo in this cheese too. I think after the brie, this was my second favorite of the cheeses. 

Sunday night we had some harder cheeses, a Manchego, a Cinnamon Dusted Toscano, and I also wanted to try out a Hot and Sweet Pepper Jelly that I had gotten from Trader Joe's, so I served that over a brick of cream cheese. 

The pepper jelly was really good, except the "hot" part of the Hot and Sweet was.... missing.  It was tasty, though! It is definitely going on my next party menu. 

The Manchego was really nice- a milder cheese, salty in  a good way.  I didn't really prepare as well for this cheesing hour in terms of accompaniments, and I'm a little bummed out. I think it would have worked really well with some olives, or maybe a slice of apple. 

The Cinnamon Toscano was really different.  It is a really strong tasting cheese- and then to add a powerhouse spice like cinnamon ups the flavor to eleven.  I liked it a lot, even though it's definitely a "holiday" cheese- the cinnamon reminded me of Christmas.   My mom said that she thought that this cheese would go really well with apple pie, and I would have to agree. I think that would be awesome. 

So!  Six cheeses down, 44 to go! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

30 in the 30th

Without Further Ado.....

1 Write up my list and hang it somewhere in my apartment so I can be mindful of the list. 
2 Couch to 5K
3 Call G/Grandad at least once a week
4 Update my blog at least once a week
5 End the year ten pounds lighter than I start it. 
6 Go as many as I can of the restaurants in the CityPaper's Best of Baltimore List
8 Create 12 new Ice Cream flavors (or make a different ice cream each month. or sorbet)
9 NYC for the weekend!
10 Learn how to bake bread. 
11 DFTBA Tattoo 
12 Go to Rhode Island 
13 Make a concerted effort to schedule more 'sister' time with jack
14 Be better at keeping in touch with friends and family
15 Read books from five authors I have never read before
16 Try 12 different kinds of wine
17 Go to a Scotch tasting with Julie

18 Go on 30 dates. 
19 Go to Boordy for a wine tasting. 
20 Perform six random act of kindness
21 Create a Val's guide to Baltimore and write it up on my blog. 
22 Throw a party!
23 Try 50 different cheeses 
24  Take photo portraits of my family and friends 
25 Volunteer for a day somewhere: soup kitchen, City Year, something
26 Read five classic books:  Definitely on the list: Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, and A Tale of Two Cities
27 Try to maintain a more positive and less self defeating attitude. 
28 Take a photography class (or photoshop) With Katie.
29 Make ten cocktail's I've never made before using my new barware cocktail set (fancy!)
30  Write and mail actual, physical birthday cards to my friends, because it's awesome to get real mail. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

29 in the 29th- a Roundup.

With a week and a half of my twenties left to go, here's where the list stands: 

1) Go see a taping of Wait Wait Don't tell me. Nope! And they even came to Baltimore, which was SUCH A BUMMER to have missed. I was pretty broke at the time though, so no Wait Wait for me. 

2) Take advantage of a Southwest sale and go somewhere with Julie that we've both never been. Sadly, nope. 

3) Redesign my website. Buy a domain name and move the blog there.
 No, not this one. Maybe if I can be a little bit more disciplined about posting, I will think about it this year.

4) Enter a cooking contest. (a real one. not one at work. With real judges and everything) 
I entered one at my last workplace (which doesn't count... I know, but it was still a contest) and.... lost. Sad Clown.

5) Buy a video camera and make and edit more videos (even if it's just a flipcam)  
No, but I did put up more video content this year! This Video is the reason I get like, 90% of my google referrals. heh. 

6) Update my blog at least once a week. I was not so successful at this, but it's going on next year's list.  I need to remember that I can't abandon things when i'm sad (the cause for this year's earlier abandonment) or busy (the reason why I haven't been updating so much this recently)

7) Plan fun things to do to show Jackie Baltimore, now that she is living here. We've done a couple of good things, but we could definitely be doing more. 

8) Go to a restaurant for restaurant week. DONE! Went to Dogwood with Jackie this summer. It was AMAZING.  I am still thinking about the chevre that they served on the salad I had there. So creamy!

9) Go tubing down the river (I don't know which river. Any river. Preferably with Paul, who suggested this list item) 

10) Take more pictures, post more pictures. 
I think I've taken more pictures this  year.

11) Taste 20 types of beer.
 Eh, I've decided I'm not such a huge fan of beer. my tastes tend to go to Miller High life... classy, I know. but I couldn't justify the expense of trying all those beers when I know how delicious gin and tonics are. 

12) Continue my tradition of Top Chef Wednesdays and Glee Tuesdays. 
Glee tuesdays stuck it out for much of the year! And we've started up again now that the season has started. This is really, really one of my favorite things- I look forward to it every week. 

13) Donate money to causes I believe in. 
I have!

14) Go to NYC for a weekend. 
I have not!

15) Go somewhere where there is not much ambient light, and look at the stars. 
Chincoteague, 2011. So. Many. Stars.

16) Learn how to identify more constellations than just Orion. I found The Big Dipper and Cassiopeia

17) Master bread baking (this guy is also going to be baking bread this year, and I want to bake some with him!) 
Nope, sadly

18) Help someone else complete a List item on their list that isn't on my list.
   I feel like I've done this one, but I can't remember. If i helped you with a list item, would you let me know via comments? I know I've helped inspire some other people to make their lists, and that's quite awesome. 

19)  Go on a picnic. 
I went on a great picnic with my sister Jackie and my cousin Kate, and Jackie even did all the cooking for it! it was really awesome. 

20)  Figure out what I'm doing with my life professionally. 
This was my big one, this year- I was really really miserable and unhappy in my last job, and I made the move to a new one- which has its own challenges, but I am so much more happy professionally that on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is my old job, I'm about at a 15. 

21) Set one weekly excersise goal every week and then meet it. (even if it's small: i.e. 3 days of wii fit a week, two long walks around the ten hills neighborhood,  walking up the giant hill in front of my house)
Uh, no. but! with the new job comes a lot more activity, and i've gone down a few pants sizes!
22) Move to a new apartment when my lease is up, with the following requirements: decent size kitchen. hardwood floors, fun area of Baltimore. (optional but would be nice: washer/dryer combo)
23) Go to one of the City Year Events in DC (or philly, or NYC, or RI- Just do one event with them)
24) Decorate a cake with fondant. 

25)  Learn how to can things.  Seriously. Making this happen. For real this time. 
Seriously, I need to get this one together. it's going on next year's list. 
26)  Go to see a drive in movie. 

27) Do one social activity that is outside my comfort zone per month. 
No, not really. 

28) Go down to Florida to visit G; make it home to visit my Grandad more often. 
I didn't get down to Florida this year, sadly. 

29) Go to some kind of food festival. Whether it is barbeuce, or Garlic, or a Pickle festival. 
I went to the Baltimore Food Truck Rally but it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay too crowded, and the lines were insane, so we ended up going to Ze Mean Bean instead. Maybe the next time they have one, it'sll be in a little bit less claustrophobic space, and I can actually get something to eat. 

So all in all, not a great year, in terms of getting things done (all told, it was a pretty horrible year all around, actually).  The one important thing that I really needed to do, #20, got done so for that I'm considering this years' list a success. 

 but I'm working on the new stuff (and keeping some of this year's stuff) and will come out with my 30/30th list next Sunday! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cheese-a-day: Chevre with Honey

This is a picture of the view from the back of the house we're staying at- at five this morning.  I was up, so i went out to go watch the sunrise, which I tried to do, until the bugs were eating me alive, and I had to come back in and snuggle back into my bed for a few more hours. 

Anyway.... so the cheese yesterday was a Honey Chevre, which you can read about here

I served it with toasted Tuscan Pane bread, and apricot jam, and there was also a little container of dark chocolate almonds with turbinado sugar and sea salt to snack on at what we've dubbed "the cheese hour"

I thought it was REALLY good.  the honey adds a sweetness, and there isn't any of the chalkyness that you sometimes get with chevre, and I had let it sit out about an hour before serving, so it was room temp and really pliable.  I think the honey emulsifies the cheese a little- it was really spreadable and delicious, and you could taste the honey in it.  The family liked it too, even more than yesterday's brie, which I thought was surprising.

We still had some cheese left when we were running low of things to put it on, so my sister toasted some more bread, and let me tell you- when it's on warm toast, this cheese goes from a solid, standard cheese, to something amazing and wonderful.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cheese-a-day: Double Cream Brie

Because of my job, I've been recently very motivated to expand my cheese knowledge.  This week while we're in Virginia, I decided that to expand my palate (and the palates of my family) by trying some awesome cheeses that I haven't tried before (and a few, I must admit, I have, but wanted my family to try)

First up, was a double cream brie that I haven't tried.  It's French, and let me tell you, it is goooooooood.

I served it with fig butter and slices of granny smith apple.

My cousin Dan really liked it- he said it was creamy and smooth, and not too strong, and went really well with the sides- I agree with his assessment.

For me, brie is a "comfort food" kind of thing. It is meant to be mild, and unassuming, milky and buttery, and this one really was.  Delicious! Plus, the fig butter was really outstanding- it's one of my new favorite things.  I think it would go well with just about any cheese, but it really rocked out with the brie.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A preview of things to come:

Chincoteague Island

Next Week

Number 25 

Champagne Grapes

Ball Jars




Monday, August 15, 2011

Just some randomness

I have had an early morning. I opened at work, and now I'm killing time at Panera until my theater company meeting. I don't know if it is just my level of tiredness, or my need to stay awake, but these are the things that I am thinking right now.  It's a jumble.  Consider yourself warned.

The air conditioning is a gentle breeze (or maybe I'm just under a fan), and I'm looking outside the window, it's grey, and a little windy, and all of the sudden, it feels like it could almost, almost be fall.

I know stepping outside will smash this fantasy, and the humidity will curl my hair (even more) and the warm rain will begin on my drive,  and that will be fine, but it's nice to hold onto the hope of fall, and cooler temperatures, for a little while. I love the fall. Sweaters, and a crispness in the air, crunching leaves under my feet, and stirring risotto on the stove. It's my favorite.

I've had Elizabeth Bishop's One Art in my head all day.   I wonder why that is?  I especially love this verse.  I think it is because I love the word lovely. Also, because it is beautifully written.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.


We are closing in on the end of my 29th year. I have... not done so well with this year's list, which, I'll expand more on, in a post later, but it's been a hard year- and I got some of the key items done, but I feel a general sense of frustration at how little of the list I've done this year.  Next year's list- I'm making it an achievable- I want my thirtieth year to be a success- unlike this one.


I think I want to go back to this haircut:

My Drunk Kitchen is still totally awesome.  


I just caught myself humming to my music (I have my headphones in)  I am totally one of Those Crazies at Panera, aren't I?

Pinterest is a thing.  I am on it. 


Coffee is awesome. 


I am probably going to regret this word-spew. 


I can't wait for vacation next week.  Getting through this week is going to be an EPIC CHALLENGE. 


Edie's music is beautiful. 


I'm really tired, you guys. 


Maybe I need another coffee. 


Maybe not. My eye is twitching. 


Ooooooh, iced tea. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

There is life outside my apartment

I work ten hour days.  Five of them, every week, at what is at times, a fairly physical job. Once I got over the initial time of just sleeping when I wasn't at work (which was about two months, give or take) I began to emerge and start living life outside my apartment again. When before I couldn't imagine doing anything after my workday, now I can take some time and hang out. (Unless I have to be in the next day at 3am)

This weekend, I was able to do two awesome things: a picnic with my sister and cousin at Druid Hill Park, which was wonderful and relaxing.  We ate, and laid on the grass and talked about lots of things, did a lot of "would you rather" questions, and generally had a good time. 

Then, on Sunday, I made plans to meet Jackie in Fell's Point to get gelato, (note: this is one of my favorite things to do ever)  I left work at three, ran some errands, grabbed dinner at Five Guys, and still had an hour before I was supposed to meet her.  I (miraculously) found parking in Fell's, and walked down to the end of the pier.  The weather was gorgeous, there was a light breeze, and I was just able to sit, and soak in the beautiful day, and the dwindling sunlight.  I could feel any remaining tension seeping from me- I feel like being that close to the a body of water gives me perspective, and I just hung out for awhile, thinking, and watching the families as they strolled up the pier, putting coins into the viewfinders to look at the ships and sailboats floating around.  I felt peace- something that, as unsettled as I've been, has not been easy to come by, lately.  I walked slowly back to the main promenade, and people watched (an always excellent activity) until it was time to meet Jackie. 

We hit Pitango, and I got the Grapefruit Sorbet and Coconut (the grapefruit tastes like you are biting into the most perfect piece of cool, slightly sweetened, tart grapefruit- so good. And the coconut is rich, and has an amazing pure coconut flavor.   We walked down to the edge of the pier, and sat, talking and eating our gelato.  We decided to walk for awhile, and took a large loop around Fell's. 

And now it's my weekend- Harry Potter tonight, dinner at Tim's tomorrow. 

Life is good. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Culinary disasters and successes

I decided to head to my parents' house in New Jersey for my days off this week, and a few days before, I found a recipe online for Peach Chipotle Gummy Candies.  After turning the idea over and over in my head, I decided that I really wanted to make my own, grown-up gummy candies. I had visions of strawberry balsamic, merlot, white grape and basil... chardonnay.... there were lots of ideas.  So I came home, hit the grocery store for ingredients, invited My cousins Kate and Potter over for dinner to taste the spoils, and got to work. 

Because there was no peach jello at the store, I improvised by making a peach juice reduction, and adding the chipotles. I set them up, and left them in the fridge to cool, and when they were done, tasted them. They were.... not good.  all I could taste was the overwhelming flavor of gelatin. (not tasty)  so round 2, was just straight peach juice.  Those didn't taste like anything at all (until you got to the piece of chipotle, and then it just tasted like... chipotle. 

Frustrated, I tried the strawberry balsamic. While they were tastier (I used an actual Jell-o packet) the balsamic did not set in the gelatin as well as I had hoped, which my aunt pointed out, may have something to do with the levels of acid in the vinegar. 


It was a good thing I was making dinner too, because I needed some culinary redemption.  We started out with my latest favorite thing to make: 

 photo credit: Walt Hewitt
It is toasted Tuscan bread, with a Greek feta salad dressing, and topped with thinly sliced Persian cucumbers.  So. good.

 photo credit: Walt Hewitt
Then I made a lot of kabobs. (this is actually about half of the ones I made) They are mushroom, orange and red bell peppers, chicken, red onion, pineapples and squash. I marinated them for a few hours in a jarred marinade from Trader Joe's (the Island Soyaki- it's really good)

This is what they looked like all cooked:

 photo credit: Walt Hewitt

And because I believe that no meal is complete without starch, I made my roasted potato salad.
 photo credit: Walt Hewitt

I drowned my gummy candy sorrows in a few glasses of wine, good dinner, and amusing conversation.  My mom reminded me about how when I was little, we had to have a "no jokes" rule at the dinner table because I would laugh so hard I would feel sick. (this was after I was laughing for a significant amount of time over a "that's what she said" setup that Potter did that was perfection. You just can't pass those opportunities up.)

It was great to be home. 

Friday, July 8, 2011


Before: Oh, the crazy. (sidenote: it is insanely humid today- it does not normally look quite this crazy)

I have a confession to make; unfortunately, it will not surprise many of my friends.  I have not had a haircut in over a year.  Part of the reason is that I have been wanting to grow my hair out, and my hair grows insanely slowly. 

Plus I'm lazy. 

So I've finally been pulling myself out of the funk I've been in lately, and I decided I needed to get a haircut to enhance the awesome upswing in my life. Flaunt has been an awesome supporter of my theater company, and my friend Bradley used to work there before he skipped town to go to Costa Rica (and then to Massachusetts)  So I made an appointment, and went over there today. 

Lindsay set me right at ease, and did not even comment on how insanely terrible my split ends were! (for the record: EPIC TERRIBLE. SEE ABOVE)  I was really relaxed and aside from a few directions (wanted to keep the length, need to be able to put it in a ponytail. nothing that requires a lot of futzing with)  I let her go to town, and I am so, so happy with the result: 

Ta Da! (still with the humidity, and I didn't get to take the picture until a few hours after the cut, and it had been subjected to both a long walk and some rain, so does not look like quite the awesomsauce it did immediately after my haircut)

I love it. It's shorter in the back, which you can't tell from this picture- but it has actual layers in it, and it feels so light and amazing. and I know that this probably is understood, but it is way, way, way better than the ten-dollar Supercuts experience that I usually do (I know! I know! Supercuts is terrible! I deserved all of those bad haircuts I got)

I feel like a whole new person!  Getting haircuts always makes me feel this way- small, but important changes that just make you feel better.

I also got some advice on how to style it, and what I was doing wrong ( putting it in a ponytail when wet, going for a year between haircuts.... you know... the usual)


Do haircuts make everyone happy? Or is it just me? It's an instant mood enhancer.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ten Things Thursday

(Why hello, Ten Things! It's been a long time since I've done this!)

Ten things that are making me happy RIGHT NOW

1 Lisa and Katie's wedding this weekend. It was such a fun, awesome party, and a beautiful day, in all senses of the word. I am so happy for them!

2. Getting to hang out with Tim.  We always have such an great time when we do- he totally gets my sense of humor, and is right there with me in the That's What She Said jokes.  Also, my cat loves him. or wants to bite him. One of these things is true.

3 The awesome, giggly fun brunch Tim and I had at Salainte on Sunday.  Full Irish Breakfast!

4  Seeing Edie play. (Also hanging out with her at the wedding) and not just because she's awesome (which she is). Hearing her play always makes me want to write more.  Her beautiful words make my heart stretch out and try to capture those feelings for myself, and I always have an itch to write after hearing her live.

5 I've kept a plant alive for four weeks! SUCK ON THAT, BLACK THUMB! (cue karma killing the plant..... now) it's a basil plant. So maybe.... I can keep delicious plants alive?

6 Having the most awesome Wedding Twin ever!

7  Actually getting into my kitchen to make things- I haven't really cooked in a long time, but I made Fruit Salsa, (my mom's recipe) and Lora Brody's Intense Chocolate cake. (and it was yay!)

8  Being really happy with something I wrote (a rarity)

9  Feeling pretty when I was all dressed up.

10  My Drunk Kitchen. Seriously. You should all watch this. I have... multiple times.

Monday, June 27, 2011

photo credit: Tim Bingaman    

Two of my best friends got married this weekend, and they asked me to write something to read at the wedding.  After I got over my initial terror of not writing something good (read: procrastinating like a mofo) I started to write. And everything I wrote came out like stupid, saccharine cliches about love. Which was kind of appropriate, because they have an epic, ridiculous amazing love, that they fit all of those cliches... but alas, I wrote several drafts, and wasn't happy with any of them.

Then, a few weeks ago, they got legally married in DC. (they couldn't get married in Maryland on their wedding day, because Maryland is dumb, and AGAINST BASIC CIVIL RIGHTS. ahem.) I saw, on that day, that even when things get a little crazy, and are not the way that they might have imagined (the ceremony room was tack-ay), in the end, it didn't matter, because all you could see is how much they love each other. 

So one night not long after that, I was driving home, and thinking about this thing that I was writing, and how much about life, and friendship and love, that I've learned from them, and then, miraculously, the words came very easily. 

This is what I said: 

When I had a question about friendship, 
I turned to you and you both showed me what an amazing friendship was; 
with caring, love, and honesty

When I had a question about strength, 
I saw how you lean on each other when things are hard
and cheer for each other when you need it 

When I had a question about loyalty
I was blown away by your fierce faith and devotion to the things that are important to you. 

When I had a question about trust, 
I could see it in the way that you are careful with each other's hearts. 

When I had a question about humor
I was gently and relentlessly mocked. 

When I had a question about family;
I saw how much you love yours, and how you've created a family of friends that I am honored to be included in. 

And when I had a question about love, I already had all of the answers, because I have been a witness to your love for each other for the last nine years.

L&K- I love you guys so much, and I'm so happy you asked me to be part of your day. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ten awesome things about my dad

1.  That he's always supported me, and is an excellent sounding board when I have problems that I need to work out.

2.  His sense of humor, even though it verges on the ridiculous at times.

3.  The way that he gets so excited about things- whether it be a french press and Bolivian coffee, or stepstools for his collection, or his "man cave"

4.  He never hesitates when asked to help someone. No matter if it's a friend needing help moving, or Guatemalan kids who need their teeth pulled (on the Mission Trips he takes; he's not some sort of whack job)

5.  The way he tells me the truth about things, even if it's not the answer I necessarily wanted to hear.

6.  That he can start up a conversation, with anyone, anywhere, about anything.

7.  The way that he looks at my mom, after thirty-plus years of marriage, like he is still so, so in love with her.

8.  That he's my biggest cheerleader, and so proud of everything I do. (to the point of embarrassment at times)

9.  His awesome waffles. (Even though he used to make us do push ups for them when we were little)

10.  His giant, huge heart, and the way that he loves his family and friends.

Happy father's day, dad. I love you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to cater a first communion party for a co-worker of my Dad . (It was Betty's daughter having the First Communion)  I took some time off work to get everything ready, and I hit the Jerz to make this stuff: 

Crudite! (With ranch dip)

Deviled Eggs with smoked paprika (I seriously will not use regular paprika on these again, the smoked is so good)

Roasted potato salad (an old standby)

Pasta Salad Caprese (tomato, fresh mozzerella and basil, topped with a white balsamic vinegar dressing)

Mini Ham sandwiches! On potato rolls- idea shamelessly stolen from my mom. 

Turkey with American! ( I also had roast beef with cheddar and horseradish cream, and cucumber with dill and yogurt) 

The hot stuff was roasted cauliflower, and Chicken Marsala, and penne

Fruit Salsa!

Homemade cinnamon sugar tortilla chips to go with fruit salsa

Fruit plate!

Brown Butter Salted Rice Krispie Treats (cut into the shape of crosses)

What the whole setup looked like. 

I really had an awesome time doing this- and it was the first one I've done that was for a non-family member, and I think it went really, well! I had some awesome help (my cousins Kate and James) who were rockstars and helped me do everything I needed. I wish my current work schedule allowed me to do more of this kind of events, because it was pretty great.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ten Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now

1. Things are happening in my professional life that I am very VERY happy about. (and thus, have crossed off another item in my 29 in the 29th list) I can't talk about it yet, but expect more talking about this next week)

2. I have wonderful friends (and an awesome sister). With whom I had an amazing night with on Friday night, full of fun, laughter, rosemary garlic fries, tasty drinks, and Drag Queens. My friends are freaking awesome.
3.  Music: Adele.  Darren Criss. Glee. Sara Barreilles (lather, rinse repeat)

4. The chilli dog at Brewer's Art- I had it on Friday, I'm still thinking about it. So effing good.

5.  Going to the Jerz this weekend, where there will be some fun had with some cousins!

6. My friend Andrea, from high school, is coming to Baltimore to visit!  (this is super exciting, because she lives halfway accross the world in France) also, we've been friends for over fifteen years. How crazy is that? it's more than half my life!

7. The TV show Glee in general, and specifically, last week's episode where Kurt and Blaine kissed. I've watched this episode a couple of time since, and I can't get over how sweet and perfect and awesome it was. I also really appreciate the show for not punking out and doing a cop out of a kiss- this was a real, actual, passionate kiss between two boys, and nobody apologized afterward, and nobody freaked out.  And it was on network tv, at 8pm.   Makes me happy to see LGBT representation on TV, especially when it's done that well.

8. I had my first Tutti Fruitti of the season yesterday!  I stopped there after the laundromat, and it was great.  Now to hit Pitango Gelato!

9.  Crisp, clean white sheets and linens.

10.  My cousin Kate and my sister Jackie, because while they drive me up a freaking wall sometimes (especially last week) they are fantastic and supportive in the best way. (even when it includes me drinking a bottle of wine on a weeknight)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ten Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now

1.  My Theater Company had an awesome event this weekend- we did a staged reading of Steel Magnolias as a fundraiser, and it was an AWESOME event. Lots of fun had, lots of dollars raised!  I also got to act- I was Annelle. Plus, my parents came down to see the production, which was excellent.

2. I was a part of the Lobby Day for Same Sex Marriage with Equality Maryland in Annapolis yesterday- It was a good time, an excellent rally, and the news that there are two more yes votes for the bill just made it that much sweeter.  Plus, my friends Katie and Lisa made the news!

3.  It's Glee Tuesday!  (always a reason for celebration)  Plus, Julie's going to make it this week, after her moving/work craziness hiatus.

4.  I've been accomplishing things on my yearly list! (another entry about that this week)

5. New Music! I've been obsessively listening to The Plain White T's Rhythm of Love (thank you Katie Barth), the music of Charlene Kaye, and am having a re-emergence of Sara Barrielles love.  (and the music of Glee. but that's not new)

6. I've been exploring new places in Baltimore recently- and got a chance to go to Joe Squared.  If you're Baltimore local and haven't been there- get on it! The risotto is amazing.

7. I've got great friends. Who make me laugh, and understand when I'm down, and are wonderful sounding boards. I don't think I thank them enough- but they are wonderful

8. Pho.  I was feeling a sore throat/cold coming on yesterday, and I stopped on my way home to get pho, and it was the Best Call Ever.  I am firmly convinced that I would be much sicker right now had I not had any amazing Pho. (plus daytime theraflu that I took this morning)

9. Pretzels dipped in Nutella. Awesome.

10. Am looking forward to this weekend- the plan is going to find some Baltimore Centric things to do!