12.30.2009

2009 Year in Review

2009 has been one amazing year!!

Looking back over it and re-reading my blog posts just makes me remember how truly blessed we really are. K and I have been so lucky over the past year with the state of the economy to get to continue to enjoy our life as we had in previous years.
I've been so lucky to share all of these amazing experiences with this wonderful blog community of friends I've made over the past year. You all continue to amaze me with all your wonderful thought provoking, funny, heart warming posts and your generous comments you bestow on me and my long, boring, silly and sometimes whiny stories!

I hope you all have an amazing New Years Eve.

We are going to a party at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. That is a fancy black tie optional party and I'm wearing the dress below.
This is very out of character for us as we're more dive bar jeans & t-shirt types but you only live once right, and what a better way to ring in a new decade.

Fun, isn't it?? I've never worn a one shoulder anything before!

Thankfully I scored the above dress for $43 thanks to sales and gift cards, which is a steal considering it was $152!!
So if any of you ladies need to borrow it just let me know. I'm all for sharing.


Here are some highlights of 2009 in pictures:

Trip to Rhode Island in May for a wedding



My 1st bridal shower






Our good friends L & L's wedding


Trip to OBX with K's family






My second bridal hosted by my MIL and SILs





Our good friends G & K's wedding



Our wedding day
August 29, 2009





Honeymoon in Aruba!!







Christmas 2009




our attempt at a timed family photo


New wool harbor Jcrew coats!!

Happy New Year!

Can't wait to see what 2010 holds for us!


12.24.2009

Merry Christmas!!

We wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas!!




Love,
Nat & K


12.20.2009

Let Snow, Snow, Snow

Well the weather man was right this time. When they predicted 15-20in and it said 100% chance they were 100% right.

We went into DC on Friday night to hang out with our friends and decided to stay the night since the snow was coming down so hard and we didn't want to drive in the dark.

Here is DC as we were leaving Saturday morning:

Trying to get out of our parking spot


Thomas Circle

The roads were awful and the snow was coming down really hard. It was a scary drive home at times. I never really think of Maryland as a Southern state as it seems more Northern until it snows and then we just prove that we are actually located below the Mason-Dixon line with the "Winter Wallop 2009" reports, the panic at the grocery stores, and the abandoned cars all over the highway.

On our way home we stopped at Safeway to get some food and below is what the egg aisle looked like. Seriously this is usually filled with eggs and it was completely empty!! I didn't know that you needed eggs to survive a snowstorm.



This is what it looked like out our front door at about 3pm on Saturday






Luckily we had some Crumbs Cupcakes courtesy of my sister in-laws parents!! I have a HUGE love for cupcakes and these do not disappoint, they are AMAZING!!!! We have almost tried every flavor and they are sooooo delicious. I think Caramel Apple is my favorite so far. I'll keep you updated on the other flavors.




Flavors from Left to Right
Top: Caramel Apple, Candy Signature, Red Velvet
Bottom: Chocolate Pecan Pie, Signature Vanilla/Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cup

Here is the snow at about 11pm Saturday night. It's estimated we got about 24in of snow which is a lot for us Marylanders!!




Luckily I did get a 2 hour delay for work tomorrow!! Yay!!

12.18.2009

Get to Know Nat: Christmas Edition

I've seen this on quite a few blogs so I thought I would play along. I love getting to learn more about you all so I thought it would be fun to learn more about me!


Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your blogger friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!

Just copy this entire post and paste into a new post on your blog and change all the answers so that they apply to you.


1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper!! Ripping open the paper is much more fun

2. Real tree or Artificial? Fake for now maybe a real one when we have kids

3. When do you put up the tree?
The Saturday after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down?
Weekend after NYE

5. Do you like eggnog?
YES!!!! I LOVE Eggnog ice cream

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My “life-like” doll that was supposed to be just like a “real baby” came with a birth certificate and all. I named her Amanda Tiffany. Don’t judge it was the 80’s

7. Hardest person to buy for? My mother- pickiest person ever, I’m pretty sure she returned almost every gift we’ve ever given her


8. Easiest person to buy for?
my sister- my intentions are usually selfish as I plan to use/borrow/steal what ever I’m giving her

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
No- but I want this one below and here but I feel it's a bit pricey, maybe find one onsale?


10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail- it’s one of my most favorite things about the holidays!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Hmmmm…I don’t think I have any

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Love Actually or Elf



13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Let’s see like Dec 12…

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Only for a Yankee gift swap

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Monkey bread!! Best stuff ever.

16. Lights on the tree?
White

17. Favorite Christmas song?
All I want for Christmas is You version from Love Actually

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Home for Christmas Eve/Day then travel up to PA after Christmas

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudy

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
oops I still need a tree topper

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
As a kid Christmas day always! Now we usually open then on Christmas Eve at my parents so we can sleep in and enjoy brunch on Christmas day

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
PARKING LOTS AT THE MALL!! What is wrong with people??

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color?
My sisters ornament she made in Kindergarten and then kindly gifted to me last year- It’s a British solider made from a clothes pin (I used to make fun of it when we were little and say it looked like her)

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner?
I have no idea what we even eat for dinner, Ham maybe? Not a big dinner fan I prefer dessert

25. What do you want to do for Christmas this year?
Spending time with my family and friends and just relaxing and enjoying one another’s company

26. Favorite Christmas tradition growing up?
Church on Christmas Eve followed by a party at our family friends house- the party gets more fun the older we get because it’s a great way to catch up with all the people we grew up with

27. Favorite tradition now?
same as above Christmas Eve party


Christmas Eve party with my sis and 2 family best friends (and bridesmaids!)


28. Favorite Christmas Memory?
I love Christmas every year and I cherish all my memories but I’m also excited to create new memories with K as we get older and have our own family

12.16.2009

9 Days!

Only 9 days until Christmas!! I can't believe it!! As any good procrastinator can relate I am so not done my shopping yet but I am hoping (fingers crossed) I finish before the weekend.


So what have we been up to lately? Well when I'm not busy at work I am enjoying the below....



My new pink Snuggie!!

My wonderful husband stole the Snuggie for me in his Yankee gift swap at his work party. Yes my husband actually stole a pink Snuggie in a group of all men because he knew how much I would LOVE it, isn't he great?? And he was so right. I heart.my.Snuggie. If you don't have one run, don't walk to you local drug store and spend the $15 on one. (try to ignore bad/hair makeup in photo)


We have our Christmas decoration up but we don't have that many this year. I actually have quite a few of the Department 56 Christmas collectable houses but I don't have anywhere to put them this year so unfortunately they are in my parents basement :(

Just in case you're interested in our minimal decor....


Our stockings mine is on the left, K's on the right
(ignore mess on coffee table, thanks!)



Our little fake tree
(it photographs much better than it looks IRL)


Sooo I might have not finished Christmas shopping because I always get distracted with gifts for myself... hehe. Well today I could not resist, the deal was just tooo goood.

See all those pretty colors...



I got all five of those scarves for $20!!! That's $4 a piece!!!!!!! They are usually 3 for $20 at a kiosk in my mall but today was a mega sale so I decided to pick up some fun colors to spruce up my mostly black, white, and gray wardrobe.


Well I am off to bed BFFs... I cannot wait for Friday!

12.12.2009

Cookie Monster

My favorite thing about the holidays is baking cookies!!! As you can probably tell I have a bit of a sweet tooth, just a gigantic tiny one. I have a "signature" cookie which is Ginger Crinkles- I adore them way to much for being food. I discovered the Ginger Crinkle recipe in an old cookbook of my Mom's when I was in 6th grade and I had to make a recipe for class (why, I have no idea??) and they have been my favorite cookie ever since.

Every year when I bake cookies I always make Ginger Crinkles, No-Fail Chocolate Chips Cookies, Sugar, and Oatmeal Raisin. Well this year I honestly didn't have time to make 4 different kinds of cookies and I don't love my Sugar or Oatmeal Raisin recipes so I changed it up a little bit. I got rid of the Sugar cookies and Oatmeal Raisin and I made Mint Chocolate Delights instead. I actually found the recipe on the back of Nestle mint chips but they turned to be delicious (who doesn't love chocolate?!?) and everyone loved them!

So I figured I would share my recipes with all of you!

Ginger Crinkles

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

Combine sugar, oil and egg beating well at medium speed. Then add molasses beating well.

Combine flour and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, mix and then add to sugar mixture.

Roll into 1 inch balls and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Cool on cookie sheet two minutes then move to wire rack to completely cool



No Fail Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) melted, cooled, butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside

Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar by hand in a large bowl until combined. Add egg and vanilla; beat until well blended.

Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate morsels.

Drop cookie dough by the rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet about 1-1 1/2 inches apart

Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are crisp but centers are still soft. Let stand 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing and cooling completely on wire racks



Mint Chocolate Delights

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups Nestle dark chocolate and mint morsels (one 10oz package)

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt in small bowl and set aside

Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.

Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition

Gradually bit in flour mixture.

Stir in morsels

Drop by well rounded tablespoon on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers set. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes then move to wire rack to completely cool



Do you have any holiday cookie recipes?

12.11.2009

If you love Jersey Shore...

Then you must click HERE.


Then you must report back and let me know what your nickname is.
My Jersey shore nickname is:

The Rack.

Nat "The Rack"


It has a nice classy Jersey ring to it.

12.10.2009

Happy 25th Birthday Baby Sis

We interrupt regularly scheduled blogging to say....

My wonderful, kind-hearted, gorgeous, smart, Birkenstock wearing, tree-hugging, maid of honor, best friend forever, and baby sister is turning 25 today!!!

You all might know her better as... Lovely Chaos.

So stop by and wish her a Happy Happy Birthday!!!


Just a few of her greatest moments through the years...


Carlos and Charlies in Mexico


Snorkeling in Cozumel


Celebrating my 25th birthday 2 yrs ago

12.06.2009

My Christmas Wish List


Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote in New Navy
source


Reebok Easy Tone Tennis Shoes
source


Cabinets above my washer and dryer so I can finally organize my laundry room!
source


And is money were no object...



Acura MDX
source

or



A lovely waterfront home
source

12.02.2009

The Holidays are HERE

We have been busy, busy, busy. As I mentioned in this post (which I swear I wrote just the other day, not a month ago) we are pretty non-stop this time of year. Here are some highlights of what we've been up to.

-We spent our Thanksgiving vacay in PA with K's family. It's always good to see them and catch up because we don't see them as often as we should. Thanksgiving at their house could feed a small army there are 2 types of turkey, 2 types of ham, 3 types of stuffing, waldorf salad, green been casserole, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, and I won't bore you with the rest. Moving on.

Did I ever tell you all that I hate Thanksgiving food?? Yes it is true. I know I've probably lost all my readers at this point BUT I have good reasoning, bear with me. I make a plate of food for show. While the rest of the group is being gluttonous over their baked turkey, fried turkey, pineapple stuffing, regular stuffing, or green bean casserole I am pushing turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes around to make it look like I ate at least a little bit of it.

Well are you ready for it...

You all clearly didn't see the DESSERT TABLE. It was screaming my name the minute I stepped into the dining room and I knew I couldn't neglect it. It was like "Nat! Look! Do you see all this deliciousness? Do not eat that turkey, drop the plate now!"

So needless to say I was gluttonous myself . Very gluttonous. I ate apple pie, pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, apple cider donuts, a gingerbread cupcake, and 7-up cake.
I'm not even joking. Yes I consumed at least one piece of each of those dessert. Let me tell you it was AMAZING. Thanksgiving dinner is so overrated. It's the dessert that does it for me.


-Work has been crazy lately. It's been busy and we are still short staffed. I'm currently working at 2 locations and feel like I'm losing my mind sometimes. On the days when I want to rip my hair out and just tell everyone to screw it I constantly remind myself, You are lucky to have a job, You are lucky to have a job. That and diet coke keep me going.

-Tomorrow night I am having my family over to celebrate my parent's 30th wedding anniversary and my grandmothers birthday. I'm very excited because my grandmother hasn't seen my house since before me moved in over a year ago! I baked cupcakes and cake tonight and tomorrow me, K, my sis, and her boyfriend will be whipping up a delicious dinner.

I just have one question for you all how in the H-E- double hocky sticks do you icing a cake??? I cannot doing it without getting little crumbs in my icing so instead of vanilla it's vanilla icing with chocolate cake specks. I even got one of those big fancy icing knife things that I registered for and that didn't help so I'm screwed.

- Saturday night is K's boss' holiday party that we attend every year. I have no idea what I'm going to wear this year!?! I want to look good because there is potential I might be mingling with some of the Real housewives of D.C. ...

-I have to dedicate a whole post to season finale of The Hills and The City and what I fear to be my newest guilty pleasure: Jersey Shore. MTV how do you do it??? You're shows are like bad train wrecks they are so awful but for some reason I just keep watching.


Despite how busy we've been we did manage to get our tree up and decorated (its fake) and I managed to get out my Christmas decorations (which are very minimal) and I bought some poinsettias to help brighten up our space.
Oh and I downloaded about bunch of Christmas music, you must download Michael Buble he does the best rendition of Let it Snow. I love it!

It is officially way past my bedtime, good night!

11.24.2009

Last Christmas

Not Mine.

Wham's.



I have officially been listening to Christmas music for 2 days on the radio and I have already heard Wham's Last Christmas 3 times. You're guaranteed to hear this song in every store in the Mall. Don't get me wrong, I love me some George Michael but it is probably also my least favorite Christmas song as it is WAY overplayed. I prefer Mariah Carey All I want for Christmas is You.

So this year I am starting an official tally to see how many times I hear this song between now and the 25th of December.

Anyone else want to play?

I realized we are majorly lacking holiday music in Casa H so I will be downloading some this weekend when I return. What is my favorite Christmas CD?

I love and always will love Amy Grant's Home for Christmas.



I believe it came out in the early 1990's and we were HUGE Amy Grant fans around our house (I made a music video of Baby, Baby in 3rd grade for music class- so cool I know) and it makes me think of my childhood and all our wonderful holiday memories.

So bffs what is your favorite holiday CD?

What's your favorite Christmas/holiday song?

I love me some Amy Grant but I still think Mariah takes the cake with my most favorite song.

11.20.2009

The Boss





Tonight I am taking my husband to see Bruce Springsteen for his birthday with my sis and boyfriend!!
Apparently we are seeing the Born to Run Show. Be Jealous.
It's going to be better than New Moon. (hehe)

11.18.2009

Vampires?

Ok don't hate me, I know I'm like the only one left out in blogville.

I don't get the vampire thing.

At all.

I'm not going to lie I've never been a big fan of fantasy, it's just not my thing. I never got into Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. I've never even seen Star Wars.

But...

I have to admit that New Moon movie does look good, I think it might be the underlying sexual tension that draws me in.

ALL of my friends are Twi-hards, is that what you call them? And they all make fun of me for missing out on what are apparently THE BEST BOOKS AND MOVIES EVER.

I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I'm going to give them a read or just a watch if I get lazy.

But today we did have a client come into to plan a party for his wife and his name is Edward Cullen... umm seriously my co-worker almost flipped out on him but she realized she didn't want to scare him away... apparently he is the super hot vampire otherwise known in real life as Robert Pattison.


So fellow Bffs tell me why you love Twilight and tell me why I should love it to?

11.17.2009

I clearly can't keep promises

Wow- I always promise to come back with long witty picture filled posts and I never deliver and I'm so sorry! Unfortunately real life always gets in the way of blogging, but no more excuses!

Our "friends thanksgiving" was a blast! The food was amazing!! I think everyone was pretty surprised at just how good it turned out. It was a great practice for one day when we're "real grown-ups" hosting holidays! I of course barely took any pictures but from the ones I did you can kind of see my new hair cut and of course K's birthday cake.


Me getting the cake ready- look at my short hair!


Singing happy birthday


Showing K his cake before he blew out the candles


The Cake


Yes those are 2-7 candles- I failed and thought I had candles but I didn't so we had to use last years ! Oops!

I had the cake made by the bakery I work with for events. I made a collage of photos of K, us, and our friends from the past 6 years on Picasa (my new obsession!) and had them silkscreen the image on the cake. It's totally edible and was a huge hit and of course the cake was red velvet and absolutely delicious!

I'm still adjusting to having short hair- I feel very strange at the gym because I either have to do half up do or a mini pony tail which looks weird. It's probably just my crazy paranoia that people actually are judging my looks at 5:30am but then again I wear mascara to the gym so I'm probably the one with the problems.

I have also failed on my no caffeine mission. It lasted a whole 2 days, yes pathetic, but I have cut down to one drink a day instead of my normal 3. Which I think is a vast improvement and I think I can see a difference.

So happy tomorrow is Wednesday!
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