Thursday, May 22, 2014

Happy Thrilling Thursday!

Here we are on another thrilling Thursday! Extra thrilling as we are on the verge of a much-needed long weekend.

images via 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

1. We're loving: Summer freshness!

The gardens are beginning again after a long, LONG Syracuse winter! Coming soon, some recipes using these delicious herbs...hopefully starting with a cocktail recipe from our Memorial Day cookout. We have tons and tons of mint, so it's going to be a long summer of mojitos!

2. We're watching: Curb Your Enthusiasm

For anyone who didn't see this the first time around (and I don't think anyone did) - it's time! It is so sharp and funny. The star, Larry David, is the genius creator of Seinfeld, and the inspiration for George Costanza, which is all you really need to know to get on board. I was even more impressed to read that it is basically entirely improvised. Add it to your binge-watch to-do list.

3. We're reading: Grow, Cook, Eat

I'm not a lover of the act of gardening; I just like to reap the benefits. Phil is the one who enjoys the act, and knowing this, our pal MacKenzie lent him this book. Even I, a non-gardener, can get on board with this! It is FILLED with information, recipes, planting guides, uses, etc. etc. - a must-have for the growing season! Get it here.

4. We're laughing at: More Kindergarten cuteness.

This is my favorite time of year, when my students are becoming real readers & writers. You might remember this gem from around the same time with last year's class. Here's a few recent snippets:

^ How sweet is this little guy?!?!

B/D reversals always lighten up a Monday morning!

5. We're trying: The 6 tastes of Ayurveda

I went to a workshop last month taught by a yoga instructor who I want to be - she is in her 60's and looks about 16, and has the softest, kindest way. The workshop was on nutrition and she shared with us the 6 tastes of Ayurveda - sweet, salty, sour, bitter, astringent, and pungent. She said her yogi believes that if all 6 tastes are incorporated into each meal, it stabilizes cravings in addition to providing your body balanced nourishment.  Yes, all 6 in every meal, not every day. Read more here.

The whole time I was thinking how fabulous it would be to attempt the tastes for the blog - I think I could at least pull off a day or two. It's on my summer "bucket list."

Not remotely convinced it's going to do anything about my craving for soft ice cream - still my biggest summer thrill.

Happy holiday weekend!
With love,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Don't call it a comeback

Remember me?!

I have felt terribly about taking a hiatus from the blog, and found I missed it tons. I have several excuses: I was suffering from a case of winter crazies thanks to the never-ending cold and snow. I had writers' block. I was caught up in March Madness (until Syracuse broke my heart and Duke broke my bracket).

Have been on the upswing ever since a surprise cheer-up visit from my BFF a few weekends ago! Is there anything more therapeutic than laughs like this?!

SO happy to be back to the blog and even happier to see temperatures north of 50 in our local forecast!

We were so excited, in fact, that we hosted a "cookout" last night to celebrate the balmy 55 degrees that graced Syracuse. Meaning, the food was cooked outside. We were inside in sweaters. But it's progress!

Even though we had to eat inside, I thought the heat wave at least called for a spring table.

Phil thought it called for Rumchata cocktails. Can't disagree there.

I have a pretty strict policy about not cooking on Fridays, and Phil and AJ were off so they picked up the reins. The results were fab! Why does food always taste better when you're not the one cooking it?

Here's what was on their menu:

  • A Porterhouse to share, cooked with Phil's trademark method
  • Mac salad: 
    • Phil's childhood comfort food, this is a simple formula: a pound of elbows, tomatoes, cucumbers, a dozen hard boiled eggs, lots of smoked paprika, and Miracle Whip.  Phil insists it must be Miracle Whip, not mayo. A sure sign of warm weather is this salad in my refrigerator.      
  • Corn on the cob with chipotle lime butter
    • This was our group effort. When we decided on the faux "cookout" Friday, corn came to mind. Of course, it's far from being in season. We figured if we slathered it in enough butter and cheese, we could make it work. This turned out to be true, although the recipe will be even more delicious once it's in full season. Find the recipe below.
The whole evening was just what the doctor ordered for beating the winter blues. Icing on the cake (literally) were the "Blueberry Surprise" cupcakes that MacKenzie brought over - she is quite the little cupcake expert. 

And we ended with a rousing battle of Cards Against Humanity. That game is truly something else! Find time to play it if you haven't.

If a night like that can't lift your March spirits, nothing can! I woke up still smiling this morning. 

Bye for now....but promise to be back soon, and regularly!

With love, 

Mexican Style Corn with Chipotle Lime Butter

Corn on the cob, grilled in husk 
(^Note: With corn on the cob not in season, we had to improvise and boil the corn, then quickly throw on grill to char. A decent substitute, but in husk is best!) 
1 cup of Cotija cheese, shredded to a dust (per AJ)

For the butter: 
One stick butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon of the sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo
Juice of one lime

Blend all ingredients for the butter in a food processor. 

Grill the corn until charred on the outside. Coat each ear with the butter mixture and dust with Cotija cheese. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dirty 30

I so loved Phil's surprise 30th birthday party last year, and it was pre-blog so I never got to write about it.

Phil is not one for fanfare on his birthday (or so he claims, anyway). His feelings about birthdays tend to fall more into the Ron Swanson category:

Really, the similarities between Phil and Ron Swanson never end. He is literally one moustache away.

Back to the party. I love birthdays, and regardless of Phil's feelings on the topic, I especially think that milestone ones should be celebrated big. He was overruled, and we threw a surprise party at the Dinosaur BBQ last February. As I was thinking back on our year and looking at photos, I remembered how nicely it all came together and thought some of the ideas we used could be adapted for celebrations of your own.

I knew we were off to a fabulous start with the invitations designed by my super talented cousin Carly. I loved them, and used the design in the other paper products I created for the event. Carly is incredible!!

 The event was held upstairs at the Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse, which has the perfect homestyle feel I wanted, delicious food, and several pictures of meat on the walls. It is a party for Phil, after all.

We went with the "Dirty 30" theme. The banner below is from this Etsy shop, and I loved it. On each table, I placed a childhood picture and a current picture of Phil (cheapie black frames from the Dollar Store).

Our favors were these bottles of wine that Phil & AJ made last year. I designed the label myself, primarily for the purpose of being able to use this fabulous childhood pic. Look at what a badass Phil thinks he is in acid-washed denim on acid-washed denim!

Below are photos of our "game table," where we had a few organized activities going (remember, I like parties with rules). In the middle of the table is the "30 sucks" lollipop tree that has been all over Pinterest, and two hurricanes with game instructions. We decorated the rest of the table space by scattering yet more amazing photos/blasts from the past. If you look closely, you'll spot Phil's dad in some epic 80's short shorts.

We had two games going. The first station had guests fill out their birthday wishes via Mad Libs. Because we are friends with dysfunctional people, this Mad Libs ended in absolute filth but the responses made for some interesting keepsakes from the big day! Here's a copy of the card that you can adapt to your own event! Fair warning: use these cards and your uncle may end up calling your husband the "most unselfish lover" he's ever known. Try getting that out of your head.

The second game was trivia from the year Phil was born - 1983. Here is the trivia card, for some inspiration for a game of your own. One of our friends adapted it for a retirement party - could be trivia from the year the person started working, etc. It could work for a bridal shower or rehearsal dinner - trivia from the year the couple met. Lots of possibilities!!

Because even the best laid plans are never 100% perfect, I foolishly forgot to bring along the answers to the trivia, which resulted in my brother-in-law and I feverishly Googling the answers at the party. Once we had the correct information, we collected the responses and read the correct answers. The person with the closest correct answer to each question earned a lollipop from the lollipop tree. The person with the most lollipops was the overall winner, and the prize was the top tier of Phil's cake, made by our talented friend Lacey:

Even a Birthday Grinch such as my husband couldn't help but enjoy this little shebang. 


For me, and all the other guests, it was a great way to celebrate a guy that anyone would be lucky to call their friend. Hope you can snag some ideas for a celebration of someone you love!

Happy partying. :)

With love,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year Thrills

We've made it a week into 2014, and already found a few thrills along the way.

Image credits: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

1. We're loving: This year's SU Basketball team

It's that time again, but it's somehow a little more exciting this time around. Some of our returning favorites, Trevor Cooney and Jerami Grant, have gotten considerably better, but the one to watch seems to be freshman Tyler Ennis! A calm, collected guard who is so much fun to see in action. Syracuse fans will like this ESPN blog post (that much sweeter coming from Dick Vitale), and will laugh at this tongue-in-cheek guide to Syracuse for ACC announcers.

2. We're watching: The Way Way Back

We had our annual New Years' Day movie marathon together last week, and one of our favorites was The Way Way Back. We didn't really know anything about the movie, but I tend to think Steve Carrell can do no wrong, particularly in dramatic roles. The movie turned out to be a wonderful surprise! Carrell is brilliant in it, but the other performers are top-notch as well. It is a bittersweet summer coming-of-age story, and well worth a rental. You can find it on Amazon Instant Video.

3. We're reading: This delicious wine list.

The New York Times published this list this week, 20 interesting wines, all priced around $20. Some great inspiration here for ways to stay warm on these cold January nights.

4. We're laughing at: Parks & Recreation's 100th episode. 

The 100th episode of this sitcom, one of our favorites, airs tonight. A series well worth watching if you've never caught the bug... it is the perfect balance of being really funny while also having a lot of heart. The first few seasons are on Netflix. In honor of episode 100, one of my favorite Andy moments.

5. We're trying: To build our own headboard!

We decided to mark our 10 year "anniversary" as a couple by getting some extra space from one another! ;) We bought a king-size Sleep Number bed, and Phil is designing a headboard for us. Plans are underway, and like anything else, it will have the extra bells&whistles that Phil loves to throw in there! We will update when complete.

Hope your Thursday is filled with thrills of its very own.

With love,

Phil & Jay


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