Friday, September 29, 2006

Bonus Points wins my latest favorite for online shopping destination of the year. Since I have sincerely enjoyed working with them (and their vendors) on my latest purchase, I thought I should give them props so others can have the same experience.

Why have I had extensive dealings with I ordered a leather chair from them - my first big furniture purchase in my long 27-years. After being contacted to set up delivery (which was included in the already low price), my chair was quickly delivered, taking the place of my old roommate's (thanks, Megan!) rocking chair.

Sadly, I quickly noticed that there were a few scratches on my beautiful chair; so it was not 3-hours after taking ownership of my chair that I was on the phone with a friendly rep who told me exactly what to do and how the nice leather chair vendor would send me a touch-up kit first, but if I wasn't happy with that, they would ship out a new chair - simply exchanging it with my current one! YES Too good to be true?? Only time will tell... I still await the touch-up kit.

I would also like to say that Costco's "take home pizzas" are quite tasty - and you and your eighteen brothers and sisters can all enjoy pizza, hotdogs and cokes IN your neighborhood Costco for something around $5 total (cheapest way to feed a family, bar none).

And while I'm here, I might as well post a few pictures of my "new" living room. This includes the finally finished bookshelves and my new chair... and my not-so-new but still super cute accessory, Miss Annabelle Wallace.

Monday, September 25, 2006

How My Life Has Changed...

... since I've had a blog.

Observation #1: I take pictures of pretty much everything... single-handedly keeping the makers of digital memory cards in business (heck, I used to be in the storage business!).

Observation #2: Everytime I'm out with friends or making a meal, I wonder how I can incorporate it into my blog... or again, why I'd need to take a picture (see Ob. #1).

This past weekend I found a few reasons to take some pictures...

I have figured out that now as an "adult", Friday nights are very useful just to see how early you can get to sleep (I delayed sleep by an hour or two organizing and decorating my newly painted shelves).

However, it seems that just the opposite happens Saturday mornings; you jump out of bed as soon as possible to get the day started.

This Saturday, Andrea and I met to grab some coffee and then get manicures. A nice lady in the Modern Nails - Ballston Mall captured our weekend morning fun.

After running what seemed like a marathon of errands, I finally got to relax with my little Charlie. He, of course, was not relaxed, though he did manage to take numerous calls on his new cell phone - we still aren't sure what type of plan comes with his little tikes cellie.

We all were quite proud of his technological prowess! Watch out world - my nephew now has at least 8 teeth, and can walk and talk on a cell phone at 11 months. What's next!?!

After dinner and being introduced to my next non-Food Network TV show (The Office), we headed to Cold Stone for ice cream. Jacob and Robyn (parents of Charlie, Robyn above) are obsessed with "cake batter" ice cream so we really had no choice in the matter.

We were so fortunate to have such a big group including my brother and his family, Robyn's sister Emily and her husband, Greg, and Robyn and Emily's parents who were up from Winston for the weekend. Thankfully, adulthood has NOT meant seeing too much less of my family! The one thing we did miss was my parents... all the way down in Atlanta. Emily and Greg, and Robyn and Jacob at Cold Stone Creamery.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday Night Lights?

What's that old saying... that the score did not reflect how competitive the game was?

That just about says it all for my womens' team, Almost There. Our record (1-3) doesn't represent the actual amount of talent we have (you get the gist). We did bring in a "ringer" last night, though... Monica (above on 1st base) to save me from further embarrassing myself on the mound.

Here's our other pitcher, Hillary (at right), strategizing over the book, with Helen (in blue) and Lori, looking on.

Winning or losing, though, we find something to keep ourselves amused. Last season it was naming our gloves, though I think only Marie's "Denzel" stuck.

On a positive note... it can really only get better from here, right?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Something's Kookin!

BBQ Chicken Pizza!!
(Kara's 9.20.06 version)

This pizza has fast become a favorite, plus, it is my most clear example that recipes are made to be tampered with. After trying a couple versions of crusts, different ways of cooking the chicken and other toppings, varying the spices and cheeses, this is what I've come up with (and even at this point, it will surely continue to evolve)...

Crust. Trader Joe's. They have fresh dough in a variety of flavors just waiting future pizza-makers. I know this doesn't count as homemade but at $0.79 a pop, I'll take it. I highly recommend the whole wheat, but I've heard the herbed/garlic crust is tasty as well. Disregarding their instructions... I usually bake the crust with a drizzle of olive oil on a pizza stone for 6-8 minutes before topping her.

Chicken. It's taken me an embarrassingly long time to get where I am with the chicken, but so far, this is my favorite. Either skinless-boneless (approx 2.5) or bone-in chicken (probably 3) work. Thinly slice some green peppers and red (or white) onions and throw those in a big pot with the chicken breasts and a bit of olive oil or butter and let those brown up over medium to medium-high heat for a few (5 or so) minutes. Then add 1/2 a can of diced or whole peeled tomatoes with juices and some chicken broth (about a cup), any spices that you enjoy (try salt and pepper, cumin, and maybe some poultry seasoning), turn the heat down to low, and cover the pot - in about 30 minutes, check on the chicken and turn the breasts. After an hour (total) has elapsed, the chicken should shred easily... read: when you grab the chicken with tongs, it should just fall apart. Shred the chicken completely. If there's a little bit of broth left, that's great - add about 1/4 cup of your choice of honey barbeque sauce to the chicken making sure it's evenly coated.

Assembly. Coat the crust with about 3/4 cup of the same barbeque sauce and spread the shredded chicken over top of it. The veggies (peppers, onions, and tomatoes) should be well cooked and mixed throughout the chicken. Top the chicken-veggie mixture with your choice of cheese (mozzarella works well) and at the same temperature, bake for another 10 minutes max.

The pizza. Now she's ready. Slice it up and enjoy!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fun in Philly!

Alas, the aforementioned visit to the "city of brotherly love" has come and gone. Thanks to Carolyn and Troy Daniel for their hospitality once again!

We did a little of everything this weekend... after weathering what I now know as typical DC to Philly traffic, we headed to a trendy joint called "The Continental".

Complete with fun drinks and nerd-shaped chairs, we made the most of this Philly hot-spot.

Saturday morning, our resident MBA experts (Troy, full-time Wharton 1st year, and Chris, part-time Maryland 2nd year) headed to a Wharton-sponsored panel to "get smart". The girls feasted on a breakfast spread courtesy of Carolyn and then were out the door to the shops of City Center.

After laying low for the early afternoon, we headed off to a Wharton block party - only pausing to grab a Rita's.

What a gathering!!! On the steps of a historic brownstone just a few blocks from the Daniel residence...

It was so much fun that we stayed there well into the evening and only left when our stomachs reminded us that we hadn't eaten dinner. Troy talked our way into a tasty chicken pad thai from Pad Thai Shack which we enjoyed on their rooftop deck.

But Sunday morning was the real reason for the trip up... the Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon. My knee kept me out of the race but not from cheering Christy on.

We tracked her down at the start...
Again at miles 5 and 12... And of course, at the finish line, complete with her Liberty Bell medal! 13.1 was NOTHING to her!
Since no trip to Philly would be complete without a cheesesteak, we packed up our bags and headed to Jim's at 4th and South. The line wrapped around the side of the building told us the treats inside would be well worth the wait (my personal fave: provolone, mushrooms and onions).

What a great weekend!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thanks, Basil!

What they say is true... dogs really ARE man's best friend!

Too bad we don't have a picture of Basil, last night's real hero!

To thank us for pet-sitting their doggie... Drew and Amanda treated us to a fun and delicious dinner at Guapo's in Shirlington last night! YUM Though really, is it possible for me to have a bad meal that includes great friends, guac and margs?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Few Firsts

A number of "firsts" have happened over the past week or so... so I thought I'd take a moment to commemorate them...

First, my nephew, the aforementioned adorable, little, just over ten-month old Charlie, has taken his first steps!! And his most recent steps came in his first Hawaiian shirt - absolutely priceless! (yes, I gave him this outfit and his mom was sweet enough to dress him in it for my enjoyment)

Which is generally followed by this... (doesn't he look precious even after stumbling??)

And then this... (I promise he's laughing, not screaming his head off)

Everytime I have the opportunity to take pictures like this, I remember how thankful I am for having my brother and his family (Charlie!!) so close by! After over 9 years of having no family around, it's QUITE the treat - I highly recommend it.

Switching gears a bit but still another first... on Tuesday, August 29th, my friend, Andrea, was proposed to on a glacier in scenic Alaska. Now THAT's a first!

Congratulations, Andrea and Chris!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Why It's Called Labor Day...

Officially, you are not supposed to 'labor'. Annabelle had it figured out all along.

Friday, September 01, 2006

THIS is Wethersfield Moss

I needed all the help I could picking out a color - so I turned to three of the best decorators I "know"... Pottery Barn, Benjamin Moore, and my mom! (thanks to the constant stream of PB catalogs, my mom and I were able to virtually decorate over the phone together!)

SOOoooo... the work is coming along, or at least it feels like it. There is color on my bookshelves! And not only that, it's actually what I was expecting it to look like! The bookshelves now have two glorious coats of Wethersfield Moss on them, and I must say that it looks fantastic - minus the newspaper and blue tape. Now if the mess creeping further into my living area as a result of the shelves being empty would recede, we'd be in business!

I think, at this point, it's called the home stretch... Home Depot happens to have the other paint I need on sale this weekend so I'll pop in there, get some "Pot of Cream" and get to work covering up the awful, paste-white primer now gracing the rest of my shelves.

Is it called Labor Day because you DO labor or you DON'T??

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