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Archive for May, 2011

We had the best time this weekend with our besties, Ethan and Allison. The weekend started off with Ethan and Allison rolling up to their old townhome (now rental property) to discover that their small back yard had become a small jungle. So, we packed up the lunch I had prepared and brought it to them.

Sitting in their empty kitchen on their countertops cracking open some Coors Lights in the afternoon was actually a lot more fun than sitting around a table. We had sandwiches, fruit salad, five-cheese chips (the best!), and chocolate chip cookies. Yum!

Oh, and I made a little welcome basket for E&A to make them feel a little but more at home— since we have a one bedroom, anybody that stays over has to sleep in our living room (not the best accommodations). I packaged up some of the chocolate chip cookies I had made the day before, threw in some fresh towels and some soap (I always seem to forget soap/ body wash when traveling), and it seemed to make the living room a bit homier.

We had a fantastic time just shootin’ the breeze, sitting out on the porch under a fan for most of the afternoon. We eventually headed inside where we had dinner. Because it was graduation weekend at U.Va., we knew it would be virtually impossible to go anywhere without a reservation. And, the absolute, best place you could possibly want to go in Cville on graduation weekend would be C&O. And because there was no hope of us going to C&O, we decided to create a C&O menu inspired by their to-die-for steak chinoise. We had sesame-ginger grilled flank steak; basil mashed potatoes; roasted broccoli; and of course, chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I have to say, I don’t think anyone was missing C&O…. the dinner was bangin’!!!

This morning we just lounged, had brunch at Cafe Cubano, and strolled the mall— it just doesn’t get old for us. Then, we lounged some more and finally packed E&A up for their trip home. I thought I would use this time to exercise my new photography knowledge but I totally failed by forgetting the most important rule— if you’re lighting sucks, move your subjects! Unfortunately, this occurred to me as the Dodsons were pulling out of the drive way. Bummer. At least we got to capture a bit of the weekend. Hope everybody else’s weekends were filled with as much love and laughter.

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Wait… what’s going on? I don’t bake. Must be something big, something really special…. the DODSON’S are coming!!!

In their honor I baked some chocolate chip cookies (the good ol’ Nestle Toll House recipe never fails) and, boy, are they delicious.

You can probably expect some fun picture uploads on Monday, especially since I recently took a photography class. This past Sunday, I spent the afternoon with Jen Fariello and Robert Radifera and some other eager learners in a 3 hour class called “Take Better Pictures”— go figure. They went over the super, super basics— words I’d always heard but never knew what they meant like aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. It was exactly what I needed. Now that I know a little more, I feel like I will be able to get much more use out of my camera and use it for years to come, rather than get frustrated with it, forget about it and eventually buy a new camera (which is what has happened with every other camera I’ve ever owned).

After going over the basics, we spent a good portion of the class taking pictures. Some lovely couple was nice enough to lend their beautiful children to be our models. Some of the pics I took were bad. Really bad.

But then I got a little better.

And a little better.

And then I got some pretty good ones.

Looking forward to putting my skills to good use and showin’ ’em off on my blog! Have a good weekend!

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I had a great night last night at the MRC Battle of the Bands (check out this link if you want to see a news story done on the event). But, right now, that’s not what’s on my mind. Since I got home last night around 10, all I’ve been focused on is sinking into my couch and lounging around my house. So that’s what I’m gonna write about!

Let’s start with this.

That’s right. It’s banana, almond frozen goodness. This is gonna sound weird, but frozen bananas are amazing. A few years ago, I discovered that frozen bananas are the trick to good smoothies (because the banana’s frozen, it acts as a built in ice cube, so you get a cold, thick froth instead of bits and chunks of ice that ultimately water down the flavor). I even talked about frozen bananas in my Green Monster post. But, this frozen banana recipe might top them all.

I saw Claire Robinson make this peanut butter and banana ice cream (link lets you check out the full video of her making it). So I decided to give it a try this morning. She only uses peanut butter and banana but I substituted almond butter for peanut butter, and I used a splash of almond milk to thin it out (I found it wasn’t mixing enough in the food processor). Here’s what it looked like after I added a little milk.

It’s like eating ice cream for breakfast but in reality it’s a really healthy, protein packed breakfast. The only problem might be when you scarf it down in under a minute and want another!

We also finally put up some curtains! Remember me complaining about needing a little extra something in our our living room? Well, I finally decided to do some DIY curtains that I found instructions for here on younghouselove. I pondered different patterns, but I ultimately realized that the curtains in almost all of my inspiration pics were white (and most of the pics had white walls, too). Take this room for instance (that I spotted in Elle Decor) that has somewhat of a similar theme as mine: white(ish) sofa, big blue pillows, metallic lamp, white walls, camel-colored accents, and wicker chairs.

I love how the curtains help draw the eye up and fill in some of the vertical space without adding any heaviness or noise to the room. So, that’s what we went for. Also, please note, in the interest of keeping it real, I did not clean up before taking these pictures, so what you see if what our house looks like on a day-to-day basis. Complete with Ryan’s golf clubs in the foreground.

I don’t know if it’s the most dramatic change ever, but for under 100 bucks, it’s a nice improvement! I’m also looking at getting a big planter and little tree to go in the back right corner of the room.

And, I couldn’t end this post without showing a pic of the beautiful roses my sweet husband brought home for me! Have a great week everyone!

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Soon to be added to my “Women that Rock” page… I have to tell you about Gaby Moreno. I can’t take credit for discovering her in any unusual way, I just stumbled across this article on npr’s music site. After listening to the two free tracks, I was hooked. I love how Moreno, who is Guatemalan, incorporates both Spanish and English, blues and rock, and even a little jazz that borders on (what I imagine) a traditional Guatemalan ballad might sound like.

It’s true, I don’t know what she’s saying half the time, but I intend to pull out the ol’ spanish dictionary when I get a chance and see what I’ve been missing. But, you really don’t have to know spanish to like her music, and a lot of her songs are in english any way.

If you’re looking for some new, good, summer tunes, download the album. You can listen to the whole album for free on her website. Check out this video of her playing an acoustic version of her song “Mess a Good Thing” in a cab in NYC!

More music I’m currently obsessed with… coming soon!

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Yep. I’m back to talking about my plants. Ryan and I had a super productive weekend. We cleaned our house (majorly), rearranged his new office, and I even got around to re-potting my two orchids and buying some basil to try to grow in my kitchen.

There they are! We’ll see how long they last.

I went to Fifth Season Gardening on Preston Ave. to get my orchid soil. It was my first time going there and the people couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. The smallest bag of regular soil they sold was still way too huge for the little pot I needed to fill for my basil, so they just filled it up for me for free, nada!

And, miraculously, this weekend, I was able to convince Ryan to go see Water for Elephants with me. The movie was ok,  but Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon were both so gorgeous. All I could say after the movie was… they were so beautiful. Really, really beautiful.

Anybody else think that Robert Pattinson looks like Elvis?

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