5 years, yo.

Elliott's April 2010

Today is the fifth anniversary of my first date with the most wonderful gent in the universe.  My last first date.  What better time would there be to share the story?  Answer:  there is no better time.  So here it is.  It’s a bit of a novel, so grab a cuppa something and a snack.

{Sidenote:  I have this nagging feeling that I’ve told this story before, but I’m too lazy to go search the archives for it.  If I can’t remember for certain that this epic story has been documented, I’m guessing you won’t remember either.  Alas, if you do, feel free to roll your eyes and read no further.}

I actually met Kevin years before our first date.  My best friend and college roommate, Tiffany, went to law school with him.  I first met him during their third (I think) year of law school when I went with Tiff to the law school Halloween party in 2008.  I was Holly Golightly.  The election year had inspired Kevin and a friend of his to team up on their costumes – his friend was Obama, Kevin was McCain.

Following that initial introduction, I saw Kevin out and about at a few other social shindigs that Tiff let me tag along on, but we probably only exchanged a dozen words in a few years time.  After one outing I added him as a friend on Facebook.  A few months later I was feeling ruthless about my friend count and did a Facebook friend list cleanse, deleting him because I didn’t really know him well.

Then on Friday, April 2, 2010, Tiff, Kevin, a law school friend of theirs, and myself went out to a bar to watch a band that we’d never heard of play.  None of us were/are “bar people” or the “going out” sort, so it really was a matter of stars aligning and so forth that this happened.  Kevin was just getting over a bad bout of spring allergies, he’d moved into a new house on March 20, and he’d been out of town all week with the judge that he was clerking for at the time.  He was tempted to stay home.  Fortunately, he didn’t.

We met up at Tiff’s house before going out and it was decided that Kevin and the other guy would drive together and Tiff and I would drive together.  As we were leaving Tiff’s house, I told her, “Kevin’s really cute!  You should go for him.”

At the bar we found a table, ordered some drinks, and started chatting.  Kevin and I just clicked.  Midway through the night, I told Tiff, “So…umm, Kevin’s really cute.  If you’re not going to go for him…can I?”

The four of us made a quick run through the McDonald’s drive-thru before splitting up for the night.  Later, Tiff sent Kevin a text with my phone number and the instructions to “use it.”

The following afternoon, Kevin shared his plans to break in his new grill with a steak, and Tiff and I crashed the party.  Don’t worry – we brought our own steaks.  It was very relaxed and Tiff proclaimed that we were destined for each other when she noticed that his spice drawer and his closet were each organized in a similar fashion to my spice drawer and my closet.

He called me the following night to ask me out.  We made plans for him to pick me up on Wednesday, April 7, and I wowed him with my driving-direction-giving-skills with this gem of a statement.  “So then you’ll come to a stop sign – just go through it.  Well, I mean, pause for three seconds and look in all directions, but then go straight.”  Safety first.

Follow up on Facebook – I added him back around this time and he said, “I thought we were already friends….”  And I had to sheepishly admit that he hadn’t made a previous cut.

He picked me up promptly on Wednesday and took me to my favorite Thai restaurant.  He ordered mango chicken (Tiff called and yelled at him about that – she said it was a sissy meal.) and I found out later that he’d deliberately scanned the menu for something that didn’t have garlic.  Because…first date and he’s considerate.  I, on the other hand, didn’t think twice about ordering the garlic and mushroom pork.  BUT I had gum in my purse and used it after the meal, so maybe I’m not a complete first date failure.

Isn’t it funny to think back on life changing events and remember how good it was without really remembering word-for-word conversation details?  I remember we talked and laughed and had an amazing time, but I can’t recall specifics.  I do remember knowing from the start that this guy was special and that I should hang on to him.  So I did, and fortunately, he hung on to me too.

Are you good at remembering details from big events?  What was your best first date?

Project 12 // March 2015.

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

March:

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Read:
Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis – 4 stars {Kevin}
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – 3 stars
Emily the Strange by Cosmic Debris Etc. Inc. – 2 stars
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – 4 stars
The Selection by Kiera Cass – 4 stars
John Adams. by David McCullough – 5 stars
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – 3 stars
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (translated by Paulette Moller) – 2 stars

Travel Adventures:
Day trip to Ruidoso and then Encino for Amy’s grandma’s memorial (read about it here)

Noteworthy Days & Events: 
March 3 – Kevin went to the eye doctor for the first time in 20 years and was diagnosed with 20/20 vision.  But since he reads so much at work, he was also prescribed a pair of reading glasses.  #smartandsexy
March 7 – Grandma Manon’s memorial
March 21 – T & B’s gender reveal party – it’s a girl!
March 22 – Amy met Derek and Lori at the local theatre for The King & I.  Excellent show!

Ate: (new recipes & restaurants)
We made a penne, shrimp, mushroom, and yellow squash dinner with this lemon garlic sauce.  So tasty!

Tell me something about your March!

2015 Reading Challenge – check in numero uno.

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Tiffany sent me the link to this reading challenge back in December and she practically double dog dared me to try it.  Well, not really.  I think her exact words were, “You should do this.”  Challenge accepted.

So basically I’ve been reading all the books.  This has really taken me outside my comfort zone (read: easy cheesy reads) and let me just tell you, living life in the fast library lane is a wild time.  Here are the challenge topics and the books I’ve read so far.

2015 Reading Challenge

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

2. A classic romance

3. A book that became a movie

4. A book published this year

5. A book with a number in the title

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
Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell – 3 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
Anne’s House of Dreams by LM Montgomery – 3 stars

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

13. A book of short stories

14. A nonfiction book

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

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

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

21. A book your mom loves

22. A book that scares you

23. A book more than 100 years old

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

26. A memoir

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

31. A book with bad reviews

32. A trilogy
The Selection 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

38. A book that made you cry

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

43. A book that takes place in your hometown

44. A book that was originally written in a different language

45. A book set during Christmas

46. A book written by an author with the same initials as you

47. A play

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 uno –
# of books read:  22
# of books remaining:  30

Whew.  I’m nearly half done with the challenge and the year is only a quarter complete.  Which makes me feel like I should explain myself (I’m a fast reader – I don’t watch much TV or garden or run or really do anything else outside of work that demands a lot of time – reading is my favorite and favorites are prioritized – more often than not there are dishes that need to be put away and mail that needs to be sorted and a thousand other things that are waiting patiently for completion so I certainly don’t choose housework over reading, etc.) which is silly.  But there are the excuses, for your reading pleasure, all the same.

What’s your favorite hobby?  Do you like to challenge yourself in that hobby (example:  reading challenges, running PR’s, etc.) or just relax into it? 

Current obsessions.

These are a few of my current obsessions.  (Bonus points if you sang-read that to the tune of “My Favorite Things.”  Also bonus points if you didn’t sing-read it to that tune the first time but after reading the previous sentence you went back and did just that.)

Clarisonic Mia 2.  Oh, I love her.  My mother-in-law bought me this little beauty for Christmas and I’m sold on the effectiveness.  My skin grows younger everyday.  Well, maybe not.  But it still feels oh-so-good.

Water.  I gave up all beverages except water for Lent.  I am pleased to announce that once the caffeine headache ended, water only has been a great decision.  Sure, I crave another drink every so often, but really it’s been quite liberating to not have to make any beverage decisions.  You know, one less thing to fret over.  Again, my skin grows younger everyday.  Again, maybe not.  But!  It still feels good.

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator.  The hydration is as intense as the product name.  Have I mentioned my skin grows younger everyday?

Enough about skin.  Much to your relief, I’m sure.

Spring!  Oh how I am obsessing over the warm weather and the little flowers popping up from the ground and on the trees.  Spring is like a big sigh of relief, isn’t it? IMG_9738

And with spring comes the desire to not subject my locks to the torture of heat tools.  I have been putting my Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls gel to good use and sporting loose waves on my noggin.

It’s March Madness and I’m a little obsessed with my basketball bracket.  Of the 63 decisions to be made, I went with the flip of a coin on 56 games, only vetoing the coin’s opinion on a 16 seed beating a 1 seed and that sort.

{This is not a sponsored post as none of the companies linked to above know I exist.  However if any decide they want to keep me in hair gel, face moisturizer, or exfoliating products, I’ll willingly accept.}

What are you obsessing over?  Did you complete a March Madness bracket? 

Makin’ truffles.

Ashley scored a great deal on Groupon (typical story, right?) – learn how to make truffles at La Joliesse Chocolates.  She invited Heather and me to tag along and it was a sweet adventure.  Choc-olate it up to a good time!  Sorry – I just cocoan’t resist.

One of the owners of the shop taught the class and his passion for chocolate was clear.  It’s so fun to learn from someone who is passionate about their work, right?  He gave us a history of chocolate and we did a tasting.  Within the first 30 minutes of class I was well on my way to becoming a chocolate snob and never buying Hershey’s again.

Then we hit the kitchen.  Each participant got to spend some time tempering chocolate (bringing it to right temperature so the best sugar crystals can form) and then we each made a butter ganache.

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The most fun part followed…our instructor turned us loose on a table full of flavorings.  Herbs, sea salt, cream of tartar, different liqueurs, balsamic vinegar (shockingly good with chocolate!), and lots more.  We could try a little sample with our ganache and once a winning combination was discovered, we mixed it into the full bowl.  I went pretty plain-Jane with sea salt and cream of tartar (it added a citrus punch to the chocolate).  Ashley and Heather were more creative. The ganache went into the freezer to cool for a few minutes and then we rolled spoonfuls into little truffles.  The truffles could be coated with powdered sugar, cocoa, crushed almonds, red pepper flakes…whatever we wanted.

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It was messy but so fun!  We each left with around 20 homemade truffles.

And a bit of a sugar high.

Have you ever made truffles?  What is your favorite kind of chocolate?

Going home.

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My stepdad is one of five boys.  They were raised in a then-small, now-smaller, rural town.  When they describe their years there, work and sports are recurring themes.  There were a lot of ranches to work at and a lot of sports to play. Baseball was a family favorite and everyone played their position well.  After high school, each boy drifted away from the town and onto the next stop in their lives.  Granddad – their father – passed away in the early 1980’s, and Grandma – their mother – joined him a few weeks ago.

Last weekend Kevin and I met up with that side of the family to honor that very special lady.  She had a tremendous impact many lives and her legacy lives on in her sons and their children and their children’s children.

After her ashes were laid to rest in the small, country cemetery, we all caravanned to the beautiful brick building that was formerly the school my stepdad and all of his siblings attended.  In around 1981 the numbers were too low to keep the school open, and now the building serves as Village Hall.  As the pack of us explored and listened to the yesteryear memories shared by Dale and his brothers {“This wall is new – the entire breezeway used to be open,” and “The baseball field was out past that barbed wire fence.”}, it was easy to imagine what once was.   The senior class photos still hang on the walls, the trophies stand proud in a glass case, and sports photos show pride in the hometown team.

The school thoroughly explored, we drove a few blocks west to the house that the boys were raised in, now deserted.  Such nostalgia – even for those of us who haven’t stepped foot across the threshold!

Seeing the school and home and listening to Dale and my uncles share their memories is a special moment in time that I’ll always treasure.  Aunts, uncles, and cousins on that side of the family are scattered across multiple states and we don’t often see one another.  It was wonderful to reconnect and remember the importance of going home – wherever home may be – to share the past with the present.

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Where’s your hometown? 

We be Jam{berry}in’.

My friend Danielle has raved about Jamberry Nails for awhile now.  She likes them so much that she became an official consultant for the product!  Recently she asked me if I wanted to try them out and I jumped at the chance.  The sample kit arrived in the mail and I made good use of that snow day last weekend to have a little Jamberry party.

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Look at those fun patterns and colors!  That’s just the tip of the fingernail iceberg, my friends.  The catalog is full of options, suitable for any holiday or occasion.  My personal favorite?  This classy rose gold.

There are step-by-step instructions for application and the process was easy to follow.  All you need is a hair dryer or some other method of heat to flex up the nail wrap and some scissors to trim the excess wrap.  I found a pair of nail clippers to be very helpful to the final trim process.  In less than half the time I would have spent in the salon for a manicure, I had fun nails.

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Scanning the website, a set of wraps is around $15.00 so I also scored these fun nails for half the price of a professional manicure.  The wraps hold up well to everyday life and last around two weeks.  I do tend to pick at my cuticles (terrible habit, I know) so I found myself fighting the temptation to pull at the wraps the following day…maybe regular use will save my cuticles from abuse?

I definitely recommend checking out the product!  Danielle’s Jamberry Nail consultant page can be found here – she’s a great resource if you have questions!  There are wonderful deals, like order three sets and get one free, host a party to score free wraps, etc.

I received this sample kit for free from my friend but am not being compensated in any other way for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Do you like to have pretty nails?  Are you a manicure person?  What is your favorite wrap on the Jamberry website