Project 12 // September 2015.

 *Project 12 – A photo on (or around) the first day of each month.*
{Idea credit & linking up with  The Lady Okie}


 IMG_1507 ^ A grainy nighttime selfie with the lunar eclipse moon in the far, far, far background. ^

Popular:  Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen – 3 stars
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – 4 stars
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – 3 stars

Travel Adventures:
Amy made a trip to Santa Fe for work on 9/29/2015.

Noteworthy Days & Events:
September 1 – Kevin’s last day at his old job.
September 8 – Kevin’s first day at his new job.
September 11 – Amy went to see Doug Stone perform at the State Fair with Lisa!  Great show for a couple of old souls who love them some 90’s country.
September 19 – Amy hosted a Favorite Things party.
September 19 – Kevin and Amy went to the State Fair and saw Clay Walker perform!
September 25 – Kevin completed the three week crossfit boot camp!
September 26 – Amy did the St. Jude’s Walk/Run with some friends.

Ate: (new recipes & restaurants)
We took this Better Than Thin Mints dessert a dinner at a friend’s house.  It was a hit!
These double chocolate cookies proved to be very tasty – and they include zucchini, which means they’re practically healthy.
This broccoli and ham pasta bake was dinner one night and we thought it was good.  Of course, it had lots of cheese and Ritz crackers as a topping, so what’s not to like?
Britt posted about a tasty treat and it looked irresistible.  The apple oat bread is delicious and smells heavenly!
We tried out a new-to-us restaurant – Pueblo Harvest Café – which is in the Indian Cultural Center.  Kevin’s Indian taco was really, really good, and my chicken blue corn enchiladas were good as well.  Next time though, I’ll be getting the Indian taco.
Made these and these – (no bake energy bites) tasty treats!

Tell me something about your September!

Coffee date with you II.

It’s been nearly a year since our last coffee date, so what do you say we catch up over a cup?  Truth be told, I’ll probably order a tea.  I only like the coffee drinks that are heavy on syrup and flavors – the gateway coffees, if you will – and I’ve managed to avoid those for the past eight months, so why break the trend now?  I’ll explain this as I dump sugar into my steaming cup of black tea and you’ll wonder at my rational (or lack thereof) train of thought.  But being the good friend that you are, you won’t judge.

Kevin’s football coaching season has begun which is really fun for him and I like the home games.  The field is in such a beautiful location on the school campus.  I look forward to the fall when the leaves change and the air is crisp.  I usually take a book, pull a blanket from the trunk of my car, and sit under a tree near the field.  This year I’ve been spoiled and had company at each game thus far – Leann met me for the first and Kevin’s best friend from high school was in town for the second.

Lisa came to town to accompany me to the State Fair and watch Doug Stone perform.  We had a great time walking around, reminiscing about our livestock showing days and waxing poetically about how much things have changed.  The concert was great.  It was not well attended, so it kind of felt like a private show.  Doug (after a practically private show, obviously we’re on a first name basis) sounded really good and he was hil-ar-ious.  Kind of self-deprecating and very engaging with the fans.  One of the best concerts I’ve ever gone to, and it was fun to share it with Lisa.  We love our 90’s country!


Last weekend I hosted a little Favorite Things party for a few work and Junior League friends.  It was so much fun!  Each gal brought one of their favorite things – times three and wrapped individually.  Each name was written three times and put into a bucket.  We took turns drawing three names apiece and handing out our favorite thing to each of the three recipients.  It was a great way to learn more about some of my favorite people and their loves.  I brought my current favorite lip balm by Pixi and I received such awesome stuff – Pineapple Kona tea and Perfectea Rock Sugar from Teavana and a Baby Lips gloss from Ashley, Thin Mints and a Starbucks gift card from Becca, and a pen and a Lush bath bomb from Heather.  Everyone in attendance seemed to have a great time and we all kept commenting that it was like a birthday!  Getting to open three presents – who doesn’t like that?  Toss in some tasty snacks (including Leann’s famous carrot and pineapple mini-muffins and the Trader Joes ginger snaps provided by Heather) and beverages (Ashley brought the supplies and expertise to whip up some Italian cream sodas) and it was a lovely morning.


While I was favorite things partying, Kevin took his truck with the car seat and base to a safety clinic for car seats.  He learned how to properly install the base, things to keep in mind as we grow and graduate to bigger car seats, and now we both feel really comfortable that we can safely haul around our little gal.

And that night we braved the looooong line of cars around the state fair grounds to go watch the PRCA rodeo and Clay Walker perform.  The rodeo was entertaining, as is the people watching at the fair forever and always.  Clay Walker put on a pretty good show too, and we had a nice night out.  (It started with Mexican food at my favorite Mexican food spot, which was perfect – even if it did mean ending the night with a little heartburn.)

It has been the year of the baby – not just for us but for many friends as well.  We’re toward the end of the batch of due dates and it has been so fun to see our friends become parents.  There have been lots of brunch and dinner double dates with the sweetest little fifth wheels and seeing our friends so in love with their bebes makes us even more excited to meet our own.  Of course we’re really treasuring the time we have to spoil ourselves and each other – sleeping in, changing our plans on a whim, leaving the house with minimal preparation or supplies…etc.  It’s an interesting time – so much is the same but so much has changed.

As usual, I’m rambling on and on, and the coffee mugs are empty.  Thanks – as always – for the time, friend.  And now please – talk my ear off.  What’s new with you? 

2015 Reading Challenge – check in numero tres.

I have made a little progress on the 2015 Reading Challenge since my last check in.  I’m currently reading The Art of Fielding (which is for the category “A book at the bottom of your to-read list”) and Gone With The Wind (haven’t read it in years so it has been fun to revisit – it is for the category “A book with bad reviews,” because it did have bad reviews back in the day but has obviously stood the test of time).  I have Brave New World waiting in the wings (or at the library) and will be reading it the last week of September for the category “A banned book” because – guess what – the last week of September is considered “Banned Book Week”.

Overall, this challenge has been great and I think I’m on track to finish it by December 31!


2015 Reading Challenge

1. A book with more than 500 pages
The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy – 5 stars

2. A classic romance
The Princess Bride by William Goldman – 4 stars

3. A book that became a movie

4. A book published this year
A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson – 3 stars

5. A book with a number in the title
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – 3 stars

6. A book written by someone under 30
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – 4 stars

7. A book with nonhuman characters
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – 3 stars

8. A funny book
The Rosie Effect by Graeme C. Simsion – 4 stars

9. A book by a female author
Anne of Ingleside by LM Montgomery – 4 stars

10. A mystery or thriller
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – 4 stars

11. A book set in a different country
Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell – 3 stars

12. A book with a one-word title
Son by Lois Lowry – 5 stars

13. A book of short stories
Single, Carefree, Mellow:  Stories by Katherine Heiny – 3 stars

14. A nonfiction book
Bringing Up Bebe:  One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman – 4 stars

15. A popular author’s first book
Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty – 4 stars

16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
Anne’s House of Dreams by LM Montgomery – 3 stars

17. A book a friend recommended
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – 3 stars

18. A Pulitzer Prize winning book
John Adams. by David McCullough – 5 stars

19. A book based on a true story
Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed – 3 stars

20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list

21. A book your mom loves
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples – 3 stars

22. A book that scares you
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 4 stars

23. A book more than 100 years old
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – 5 stars

24. A book based entirely on the cover
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – 5 stars

25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell – 4 stars

26. A memoir
Popular:  Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen – 3 stars

27. A book you can finish in a day
Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation – George Washington (Francis Hawkins’ translation) – 4 stars

28. A book with antonyms in the title
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – 3 stars

29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion – 5 stars

30. A book that came out the year you were born
Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart – 4 stars

31. A book with bad reviews

32. A trilogy
The Selection by Kiera Cass – 4 stars
The Elite by Kiera Cass – 4 stars
The One by Kiera Cass – 4 stars

33. A book from your childhood
Christy by Catherine Marshall – 4 stars

34. A book with a love triangle
Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella – 4 stars

35. A book set in the future

36. A book set in high school
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – 4 stars

37. A book with a color in the title
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – 4 stars

38. A book that made you cry
Before I Go by Colleen Oakley – 4 stars

39. A book with magic

40. A graphic novel
Emily the Strange by Cosmic Debris Etc. Inc. – 2 stars

41. A book by an author you’ve never read before
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – 3 stars

42. A book you own but have never read
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – 5 stars

43. A book that takes place in your hometown
No Life for a Lady by Agnes Morley Cleaveland – 4 stars

44. A book that was originally written in a different language
Sophie’s World by  Jostein Gaarder (translated by Paulette Moller) – 2 stars

45. A book set during Christmas

46. A book written by an author with the same initials as you
Simple Pleasures by Alfred Portale – 3 stars

47. A play
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog – 3 stars

48. A banned book

49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell – 3 stars

50. A book you started but never finished

Check in numero tres –
# of books read: 44
# of books remaining: 8

What are you reading?

Stitch Fix bliss part III.

As you know from this and this, I tend to gobble up everything that Stitch Fix sends my way.  BUT!  There’s a first time for exercising restraint and not keeping it all.  And that was this time.  Here’s the breakdown on my most recent Stitch Fix fix.


First – this coral tank top.  I didn’t keep it.  It was fine, but nothing special – especially for the price.


Now if you’ll look down with me – these maternity jeans.  I had specifically requested that a pair of maternity jeans be included in my box, and these were nice.  But I just couldn’t justify keeping them due to:  1) the price; 2) the limited amount of wear I’ll ultimately get out of them; and 3) they were a little tight and it stands to reason that they’re only going to get tighter as I get bigger.


I also didn’t keep this maternity top.  It was comfortable and I liked the color and pattern, but…  It’s just too tent-like.  This is a shirt that I would probably love on someone else, but it’s not for me.  I tend to prefer more fitted clothes on the upper half of my body since it started boasting a bump.


Now this shirt I loved.  It’s fitted, classic black and white stripes, and really high quality material.  Paired here with one of the two pair of jeans I own that currently fit with no outside assistance.  Sidenote:  I have one of those belly bands that is supposed to keep you in your old jeans right to the end and I just don’t like it.  Too constricting.


And finally, this imitation wrap dress, which I also kept.  I didn’t love the pattern when I first pulled it out of the box, but I do love the fit and the pattern started to grow on me when I tried the dress on.  It’s super comfortable and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it.  While it is officially labeled “maternity,” the style and material and fit will work for non-maternity as well.  I love that it’s basic black and white so it can be really dressed up or down with accessories, etc.

Have you tried Stitch Fix yet?  { <—- Referral link – full disclosure. }

First day.


^ Kevin’s First Day at SWFGC ^
Favorite color:  Blue
Favorite food:  Ice cream
Favorite beverage:  Coffee
Most excited about:  Lunch (and recess, naturally)

It’s a big day in our house!  Kevin starts work at his new job today. For the past five years he has worked at a law firm but he gave notice in the beginning of August and last week he said a final sayonara to billable hours…and discovery responses….and depositions…and billable hours…and the writing of briefs and memos…and billable hours.  {Can you tell what I’m most excited about FOR him?  He no longer needs to track his day in 6 minute increments!  The only good part about billable hours?  He let me build him a spreadsheet for easy tracking.  I do love a nice spreadsheet project with formulas.}  He worked with some really great people, learned so much while he was at the firm, and was on the shareholder track, so it was not a decision taken lightly to leave.  He’s not one to rush into anything and this career-course altering decision was no different.  I am so proud of Kevin and how carefully he considered all of his options – taking into account what was best for our family and what was going to make him feel happy…fulfilled…excited to go to work.

And today it’s official….  Yessiree, he’s out of civil litigation world and is joining the company that his dad started ten years ago.  A chance to work closely with his dad!  The opportunity to help sustain and even grow a family business!  Interesting business development projects to research, implement, and manage!  A bit of general counsel stuff, just to keep his big toe dipped in the law pond! Walking to and from work because we live so close to the office!  A more flexible schedule, which will be a tremendous blessing in November when the baby comes!  Did I mention no billable hours?  Let’s just say there’s a lot to be excited about and excited we are!

Gosh, I love him.  I can’t wait to see what awesome things he does in his new job.

What’s your dream come true job?  Have you ever made a big career change?

Because you asked.


^ Let’s fiesta… ^

After this post, several people were curious about the correct order to wash dishes, which my mom listed as one of my obsessions.  Well.  I’m here to tell you all about that and I’m sure you’ll be sorry you asked.

For the majority of my life I have not had a dishwasher.  I don’t really remember that we had one for the bulk of my time at home with my parents, Tiffany and I did not have one in our college apartments, I didn’t have one in China (of course I also didn’t really cook in China – preferring to order in fried rice approximately six days a week…no wonder I hauled a few extra pounds home on my person.), and my first house that I bought didn’t have one.  Really, it wasn’t until I moved in with Kevin that I began living the life of luxury and that was at age 26 (27?).  So, in all those years without the option to choose a light-normal-pots&pans cycle, I came up with a system for washing dishes.

First you have to organize the dishes.  Stack the plates according to size, keep all the silverware together, line up the glasses, etc.  Then you put hot water and dish soap in the sink and add the silverware, then the plates, then the bowls, then the glasses.  Wash the glasses first, rinse and line up to dry.  Then wash the bowls and the plates.  Rinse and stack in an organized criss-cross fashion to allow for proper air circulation while drying.  Then do the silverware, which has been soaking in the hot, soapy water and is therefore mostly free of the built up food gunk that clings to silverware.  Rinse and leave to dry.  Finally you can move on to pots, pans, bigger stuff, adding more hot water and/or soap if needed.  Rinse and strategically place around the other drying items so as to best prevent an avalanche of dishes.  And that’s that.

But that was then.  Now that I’m all spoiled and #classy, it’s pure chaos at dishwashing time.  I mean, it gets downright wild as I carelessly prepare the dishes for bath time – top rack, top rack, bottom rack, top rack, silverware tray, bottom rack, bottom rack.  Look out!

Do you have a system that you passionately follow for any household chores?  How do you wash dishes? 

Project 12 // August 2015.

 *Project 12 – A photo on (or around) the first day of each month.*
{Idea credit & linking up with  The Lady Okie}


IMG_1327^ Backyard selfie.  Attempt #45. ^ 

Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell – 4 stars
Bringing Up Bebe:  One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman – 4 stars
Simple Pleasures by Alfred Portale – 3 stars

Travel Adventures:
It was a month for staying home.  We didn’t leave the metro area in August!

Noteworthy Days & Events:
August 7 – Kevin gave notice at his job!  He’ll be embarking on a new work adventure beginning September 8.
August 15 – Baby shower tea with some of my favorite Junior League ladies.  We felt very spoiled and loved, and had the added benefit of celebrating another mama who is expecting a girl in October.
August 29 – Inaugural football game for the team that Kevin helps coach!  This is his thirteenth season to serve in an assistant coach role for high school football teams (12 of those 13 years have had him working with the school and coach that he played for through high school!) and I love how excited he gets each year for the new season.

Ate: (new recipes & restaurants)
—I made bread using this recipe one Sunday afternoon.  I halved the recipe and added a bit of cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter before rolling it up to put in the bread pan.  It turned out really well and was very quick – only around an hour of total rise time versus the usual 2+ that bread recipes require.
—We tried this Brussels sprouts recipe one night.  It was quite tasty!
—We hosted Kevin’s mom for dinner one night when his dad was out of town and made this shrimp stir fry.  The Pioneer Woman really can do no wrong.  Our version included eggplant fresh from my cousin’s garden and some red cherry tomatoes from our own garden.  We liked the shrimp stir fry so much that we had it at least once more in August!
—It was a last minute decision to make this oven baked pork chop and rice dish – and it proved to be an excellent one.  This will definitely make regular appearances at our casa during the cooler months.
—We did a ground beef and rice dinner that was very loosely based on this recipe.  We didn’t use tomato sauce or sour cream, and I did toss in some frozen corn along with the frozen peas.  We also kept it as a skillet meal rather than putting it in a casserole dish to heat in the oven.  It was a really easy dinner and I thought it was even better as leftovers at lunch the next day.
—Kevin made this cod recipe while I was at yoga one evening and we agreed that the flavor was awesome.  Really, I liked the dish in its entirety but Kevin was not impressed with the breading “crust” which he thought was far too mushy.  We’re thinking we’d do the lemon/butter/paprika combo again and just sprinkle some panko bread crumbs on top of the cod rather than using flour.
—Tiffany posted this recipe for a chicken/pasta/green chile dinner and I knew we had to try it.  Oh my goodness, it was so good.  We’ll definitely do this one again!

Tell me something about your August!