Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2013 in Review

Well, this is 3 months late, but better than never! 
2013 was a pretty good year -- full of change, new things, some of the same things, happiness, fun, family, friends, and lots of love. 

Here is my 2013 year in review:

  1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? Traveled on a tour bus. Visited England (London, Bristol, Bath, Stonehenge), Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Park City, Utah. Rode the Texas Star outside of the State Fair. Took an out-of-state road trip with friends.
  2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Eh - not so much, but that's ok! I definitely made resolutions for 2014, so here's to another year!
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not in 2013.
  4. Did anyone close to you die? Nope.
  5. What countries did you visit? England.
  6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? More stamps in my passport. Larger bank account. More property. Letters after my name. 
  7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? November 1 -- new roommate!
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Taking a partially solo trip to another country. 
  9. What was your biggest failure? I guess not achieving all of the goals I set for the year? 
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nope! I don't even remember having a cold?
  11. What was the best thing you bought? Plane ticket.
  12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My family and boyfriend. 
  13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? No one appalled me, but I was disappointed by several.
  14. Where did most of your money go? American Airlines. 
  15. What did you get really excited about? Visiting England. The State Fair. Making new friends. 30th Birthday trips. Beach trip.
  16. What song will always remind you of 2012? Circle of Friends.
  17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a)happier or sadder?  happier. b)thinner or fatter? fatter, for sure. c)richer or poorer? richer - although not monetarily.
  18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Days at the Lake. Exercise. Volunteer. Cook. Read.
  19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Stress. Cry. Worry. Watch TV. Eat Out.
  20. How did you spend Christmas? My brother hosted Christmas Eve for my Dad's family at his house. We served Greek food, played pool & cards, and enjoyed the nice weather. Dave, my brother, mom, and myself went out for a few drinks once the family left. Christmas Day, I was with Dave's family at his parent's house for the day and at the Arcade Bar that night.
  21. What was your favorite TV program? In no particular order: Homeland. Game of Thrones. Person of Interest. Anything on the travel channel or cooking channel. Workaholics. Law & Order: SVU. Suits. White Collar. God bless DVR. 
  22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No.
  23. What was the best book you read? Did I read any books in 2013??? I don't think so... 
  24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Lorde.
  25. What did you want and get? A stamp in my passport.
  26. What did you want and not get? A repeat from last year: six pack abs. I guess I didn't really want them that badly given the little time I spent in the gym. Oh well!
  27. What was your favorite film of this year? Dallas Buyer's Club. 
  28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 29 in 2013. I had a four-part birthday celebration - Dave took me to dinner at Cane Rosso, my Mom and I went to Terilli's with her friend and my brother, I had brunch and Sunday Funday with friends, and I had lunch with my aunts and grandmother. It was a good week!
  29. What would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Less stress. Fewer bills. More travel. I'm sure that's true for everyone.
  30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Leggings. Vests. Boots. 
  31. What kept you sane? My family. My boyfriend. New friends. 
  32. Who was the best new person you met? Christina, although, I think we technically met in 2012.
  33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. God doesn't give you more than you can handle.
  34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. That's so difficult! The only lyrics I have stuck in my head are "A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E"
What are your thoughts on 2013?
(Read what I said about 2012.)

Here's to 2014!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Social #80

Sunday Social

I'm linking up with Neely & Ashley for the Sunday Social!

1. What is your favorite Holiday Movies/TV Specials?
I always watch National Lampoon's Christmas VacationElf, and old school movies: Rudolph (with the Abominable Snowman) and Frosty the Snowman

2. Do you do any volunteering during the holidays?
I volunteer at the Dallas Arboretum through Junior League, so I'll be giving tours of the DeGolyer House this year. Come see the Angels

3. What is your favorite toy received as a child for the holidays?
Go-Kart! I wrecked it two months later, but it was fun while it lasted!

4. What was your must have item in high school for the holidays? 
My parents bought me a sound bar for my Jeep in high school. It was a "must have" for me, because without it, I couldn't hear the stereo when the top was off. First world problems.

5. What do you do on Christmas Eve?
We spend Christmas Eve at my grandmother's house with my Dad's side of the family. There is lots of food & champagne -- recently, we've been serving surf n' turf, rather than turkey/ham (I mean, who wouldn't rather have lobster?)! We have a gift exchange and play several rounds of Battle of the Sexes and Pass the Pigs too

Thursday, December 12, 2013

UK Adventure - Day 5 - Bristol

I visited England in October. 
Here's an overview of my fifth day!

We woke up early to take a train to Bristol to meet up with Dave and the Bowling for Soup tour.

Everyone had a Full English at The Hatchett Inn...
Still no blood sausage. :(

...found a few things by Banksy...

...walked around the town center, had a few pints...

...and rocked out with Patent Pending & Bowling for Soup!
Displaying photo.JPG
Patent Pending
Displaying photo.JPG

Displaying photo.JPG

Displaying photo.JPG Displaying photo.JPG
Displaying photo.JPG

We hung out on the bus after the show...
Displaying photo.JPG

...and headed back to our hotel.

Read about the rest of the trip here:

UK Adventure - Day 2 - London

40 Things Only American Expats In London Will Understand

I visited England in October. 
Here's an overview of my second day!

...stopped by the Southwark Cathedral...

...visited Shakespeare's Globe Theater...
Sadly, I JUST missed theater season, so I didn't get to see a play at the Globe - but, it was still fun to visit!

...visited St. Paul's Cathedral...

...and climbed 527 steps to the top of the dome!
Totally worth it for the views & fresh air! I do this in every city there is a dome - Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, etc.

I found a dragon boundary marker...

...looked around the Somerset House...
Displaying photo.JPG

...and visited the Courtauld Gallery.
Displaying photo 2.JPG

I went through the London Transport Museum...

...and caught a Paul McCartney concert in Covent Garden!

I stumbled across Neal's Yard...

...had my first official fish n' chips...
Displaying photo.JPG
I know it was a chain pub, but still so good.

I hung out in Trafalgar Square...

...climbed the lions, watched street performers, found a Texas flag, saw the Fourth Plinthand browsed around the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.

I went to "Friday Late" at the Victoria & Albert Museum...

...and ended my day on the patio with a crepe & cider!

Here's the rest of my day --

 Read about the rest of the trip here:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Kitchen Chronicles: Buffalo Chicken Casserole

We're still iced over in Dallas - I don't want to go to the store (they're out of everything anyway), but we were craving something besides chili... So, I made Buffalo Chicken Casserole ("Mac n' Cheese") using only ingredients we had on hand.

Here's what I did:

Gathered all my ingredients:

- 2 cups grated white cheddar
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- half box on angel hair pasta
- half box of Farfalle pasta (bow tie)
- 1 package of Cracker Barrel Mediterranean herb cheddar, grated
- half bag of pre-cooked frozen chicken breast strips
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup Frank's Red Hot
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 2 table spoons flour
- Parmesan cheese (used to top casserole)
- Panko bread crumbs
- salt & pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

If you're using pre-cooked chicken, re-heat following the cooking instructions listed on the package. Once thawed, I seasoned with salt & pepper and finished heating.

Cook the pasta using directions on the package. I used two types of pasta, so two pans & two cook times. Fun!

Meanwhile, grate the cheese and mince the garlic:

Then shred the chicken once it has re-heated:

Make the cheesy mixture. (1 - sauté garlic; 2 - turn heat down and add milk & flour, let thicken; 3 - add cheese & yogurt, stir until thoroughly melted; 4 - add Frank's Red Hot, stir to combine all ingredients; 5 - add pasta, toss until evenly coated.)

Sprinkled shredded chicken into a lightly greased casserole dish.

Pour the cheesy mixture over the chicken and stir together.

Top with Panko bread crumbs & Parmesan cheese.

Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm!

I stepped out of the kitchen for two seconds and my boyfriend and brother ate half the casserole before I could snap a picture. 


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Social - Week 79

This week I'm linking up with Neely and Ashley for the...

Sunday Social

1. What is the wallpaper on your cell phone?
The sunset from my parent's house:
Displaying photo.PNG

2. What do you keep beside your bed?
Cell phone & charger, "catch-all" basket for loose change & other random stuff, iPad, book (if I'm reading one) -- pretty normal stuff

3. What is your least favorite chore?
Dusting. probably why it doesn't get done at our house!
4. If you could eliminate one thing from your daily routine, what would it be?
I like working in the sense that I'm contributing to society, I'm earning money, I'm loosely using my college degrees, and I can afford my lifestyle.... but it would be a lot cooler if I didn't have to work, could still earn money, and be able to do what I want - like travel, volunteer, craft, etc., etc.

5. What do you do to vent anger?
The three C's: Cook, clean, and cry! Sometimes I go for a walk/run too.
6. What is your favorite holiday of the year and why?
Memorial Day -- sounds random, but it's "opening" weekend for two of my favorite things: summer & the lake!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Kitchen Chronicles: Chili (for Frito Pie)

It's cold here, people. I wanted to fire up the crock pot, so I made a batch of chili -- because who doesn't love a Frito Pie when it's cold outside (or anytime, really)??

Here's my chili recipe:

- 1 pound cooked & seasoned ground beef
- 1 can of chili beans (undrained)
- 1 large can of tomato sauce 
- 1 large can of petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 1 white onion, diced
- 10 garlic cloves, 5 whole, 5 chopped
- 3 scoops of grape jelly
- lots of cumin, pepper, & chili powder
- a little bit of salt

I put everything in the crock pot for 5 hours on low (before I had the first bowl). 

Serve over Fritos and add a healthy dose of grated cheddar cheese (and I usually add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt too).