Thursday, January 31, 2013


Unexpectedly, I've ended up in Savannah, Georgia, for the weekend.
I've always wanted to visit this city and I'm pleased as punch to be here, though there won't be too much time for lurking around.
However, I did get in several solid hours of checking out some of the many little squares that the city is built around.
Think of a little city block that has a statue or monument in the middle and benches and grass surrounding it and many beautiful tall trees around it all.
And the Spanish moss.
Oh the Spanish moss. 
I'll have a post all about this beautiful place soon enough but I'm still including a few of the pictures I took today.
Have a fantabulous weekend y'all {I ate at The Lady and Sons tonight!!!}.
Aaaaaaaaaand...Go Niners!!!!
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


 xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We got a wonderful Christmas present this past December {thanks to those generous gifters!!!} : a reup of some Penzey's spices that seem to go way too quickly in our kitchen.
Lemon Pepper is my personal favorite.
Do you have any favorites?
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, January 28, 2013

Salt City.

Today's morning brought slushy, icy, freezing...RAIN. 
If it's that cold it should snow!
Being wiped off after a slushy time out in the yard before he could run around the apartment and HATINGEVERYMINUTEOFIT.
In other Good News...
1} We've officially experienced our First Snow of DC. The city overprepares/freaks out about weather so two weeks ago when snow was predicted but never came, city workers were busy throwing piles of industrial salt everywhere. There is so much large-grain roaming around our apartment now, thanks to them.

2} Mikey gave me a wonderful birthday celebration that even included home-made funfetti cake...delish!

3} There's a big game on this weekend!

4} Spring is coming! Spring is coming! It may still be about six weeks away, but that's not too shabby! I think that spring may just have become my favorite season. The green! The bulbs!

5} I've got up some Valentine's decorations; yea! A few more and we'll be positively FESTIVE around here.

How's your day Reader? Your week? Are you glad that the grodiest month of the year is almost over? {I try to like January because it's my birthday month but seriously, is there any worse month?}
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Funday.

Hello Reader, can you believe that January has seen its last Sunday? Sometimes it feels as though time is barreling along without a second thought.
And then other times move so slowly.
Funny things.
Pretty sun from last week. It's supposed to warm up for two days this week and then go back to 30s and 40s.
Today was a day of doing things and getting ready for work {!} and school {!} tomorrow. We ran and straightened up and I went to mass and then we saw "Zero Dark Thirty" and we had stir fry for dinner.
It was a Good Weekend and I hope that yours was as well!
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I got a new high score in bowling today; yea!
I also learned all about duckpin bowling and I think that's going to be on our next bowling agenda.
I hope you're having a good weekend!
xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, January 25, 2013

Yum - I hope!

Hey y'all, Happy Friday!

I had been planning a mac & cheese dinner for a while but when Becs recently mentioned she enjoyed THIS Bon Appetit recipe, I decided to go for it. It's different because the noodles aren't boiled ahead of time. My mother-in-law makes the best mac & cheese and I keep forgetting to ask her for the recipe but now maybe I'll have my own!

I had some Brie and tomatoes laying around, and the Old Bay Seasoning looked oddly delicious when I was fishing out my salt and pepper so I'm trying a little 3-in-1 thing; Old Bay on the left, tomatoes in the middle, and Brie on the right.
It's bubbling away in the oven as I write this and we'll see how my little additions pan out.

I hope that you're looking ahead to a nice weekend! After several hours of heavy fluff it's still snowing lightly a bit here but supposed to finish up by later tonight. I haven't stopped being tickled by the idea that we live in a place where it snows, though if we had a driveway and sidewalk to shovel I'm sure I'd feel otherwise!
xoxo, natty ♥ 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

First snow.

Today Guinness saw his first snow; he didn't like it! He sniffed and sniffed at it and seemed miffed that it didn't offer any olfactory satisfactions.
"It has NO SMELL!"
Is it cooooold where you are Reader? If so, we're in the same boat!
Check out the Watermelon House and the sun through the clouds.
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hippee biiiiiirthday!

Today I turned...29!
And the temperature attempted to match my age but fell short about nine degrees.
Some highlights of my day:

* I started off the cold day with a wonderful breakfast of bagels and lox along with some tulips, thanks to my wonderful better half. 
* Mikey had some work to get done so I headed downtown to meander through one of the museum on my own, which, apart from having the company of a former student, is the best way. I can take as long as I want at each exhibit or I can breeze through what I don't love and not worry about leaving behind someone.

Another perk of living in DC is that since all of these museums are free, I can easily go whenever I please AND check out only one exhibit at a time. This is great because I can really get into the details of each exhibit and feel like I'm learning {& occasionally remembering} what the museum has to offer.

To celebrate beginning my 30th year on earth, I chose The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. I went there because I wanted to explore their exhibit "FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000" {I like food!}. It includes Julia Child's actual kitchen and some really interesting facts on American food, cooking, and culture.
Lunch in the museum cafeteria included something sweet.
A couple of other highlights of the visit: learning about the Peruvian woman who translated the Star Spangled Banner into Spanish, seeing the {massive} flag that inspired Francis Scott King to write the song itself, and seeing museum goer's answers to the questions "What female leaders have inspired you and how?".
Maybe this response was someone being facetious?
* I also did a birthday questionnaire. Hopefully I'll remember to do this next year. I've never paused much to consider the years behind and ahead of me on this day, maybe because New Year's Day is so fresh in my mind, and I'm glad I paused a bit today. I'll type this up and post it tomorrow or Thursday since this post is already gaining in length as it is.

* Screen shots of the newspapers I read, just to remember what's going on these days.
* My dear beautiful friend Ellie wrote a blog post about me that I'm saving to read when I open my gifts later tonight.

* I got a little something from my wonderful grandmother.
She is so good at little details like this mod-podged bird on the envelope.

* Mikey made me from-scratch pizza for dinner tonight and we're having a fantastic little evening in with some movie-theater-attending and bowling on the weekend horizon. I am happy and feel loved. And warm; thank goodness for central heating and air!

Thank you SO much Family and Friends for lovely birthday wishes but more importantly the love and support I get from you all.
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, January 21, 2013


What a day, folks, what a day.

We're still watching what's being covered on TV but fixing to get ready for bed at the same time; after last night's loss to the Patriots we're still tired.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
In other news.
1} Here it is again: longer days! 
2} Maybe someone has a birthday tomorrow!
3} Maybe there's some snow predicted later this week!
4} I made a new soup last week {Mulligatawny}; it was new and different and used up some left-over rice we had - score!
5} Two words: Google Hangout; I had some WONDERFUL time on the phone/computer tonight and I'm feeling ready for the week ahead after catching up with friends.

Make a career of humanity, commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.
Whattya up to Reader? Did you watch the Inauguration festivities today? Did you think about Martin Luther King Jr. for a bit?
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Good Inauguration Day to you!

We lazed around and watched football all day long; good times!
Until tomorrow!
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pumpkin soup.

Becs I hope it's ok I share this!!!!

Be forewarned: another recipe.

I'm being purely selfish when I write these down since it's because I want to remember what we're enjoying these days and how I made things.

I realize, also, that this little bevy of pumpkin recipes belongs {quite properly} about three months ago but these pumpkins last for a good long time, I had one in our fruit bowl {?}, and we had leftover black beans from the other night so mid-January turned into a good pumpkin cuisine time.

This soup is from Rebecca, but there are a couple of other parts to it.

First, the Pumpkin.

You can use canned pumpkin puree for this recipe quite handily, but I sometimes have sugar pumpkins laying around and this is how to use one of those instead.

- cut pumpkin in half and save the seeds.

- in a preheated 400 degree {F} oven, bake pumpkin, open-sides down, on a cookie sheet for about 40 to 50 minutes.

- once removed from oven, allow pumpkins to cool and then scoop out the innards from the shell. Be careful because they're hot and steamy at first.

- puree in a blender or food processor {or mash the heck out of them by hand, maybe} and then you're ready to use. You might need to add a bit of water {1 tablespoon} to ease along the pureeing process.

One medium sized sugar/baking {they're called both things} pumpkin yields about what a normal sized can of pumpkin will give you {15 ounces}. The can is way easier, obviously, but if you ever get one of these guys, give it a try!

Also, I imagine if you're keen to just have roast pumpkin for dinner, follow the above steps but maybe bake them a bit less {10 minutes less? 5?} and be sure to doctor them up with some good flavor {and a bit of olive oil [or whatever fat you choose]} before hand because plain old pumpkin ain't no flavor powerhouse. 

Then, the Seeds.

I found this recipe via Smitten Kitchen, which is where the pumpkin puree business came from as well. I've made some changes here.

- preheat oven to 400 degrees {F}.

- rinse seeds and separate them from the slimy pumpkin.

- for each 1/2 cup of seeds, place 2 cups of water into a small pot/saucepan.

- add the seeds and 1 tablespoon of salt.

- bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.

- drain seeds.

- return to pot/saucepan and add in about a tablespoon of olive oil { or whatever fat you choose though a fairly flavorless oil works best and NOT butter because it will scorch}. 

- for the sodium-minded: you may omit the salt entirely but the seeds might not come out as crunchy.

- add whatever seasoning you prefer. Avoid salt since the brining process {boiling in salt water} imparts a good amount of saltiness. I've done a combination or pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, and a bit of cumin. Make the total amount of seasoning about a teaspoon unless you have a ton of seeds, in which case seasons away!

- spread seeds on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the individual seeds {smaller seeds, less time}.

- put on a paper towel to drain when done and then enjoy.

- these make great garnishes.

Then, the Soup.
Rebecca gave me this recipe and Smitten Kitchen has one too.

- 1 chopped onion, about 1.5 cups
- 2 chopped carrots
- 4 garlic cloves, minced...jarred or fresh it matters not
- 1 16 ounce can of tomatoes in juice {I've used fresh cherry tomatoes and bit of extra broth}
- 1 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon curry {I've used turmeric instead...or just leave it out if that stuff isn't your bag}
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon {you could use garam masala instead which might be interesting}
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter {or whatever fat you choose, but butter gives great flavor} {if I have only salted butter for some reason, by the way, I'll use it with no qualms}
- 4 cups stock {chicken, beef, veggie...} {I use warm water and the bouillabaisse that comes in a jar}
- 1 16 ounce can pumpkin puree {or if you make it yourself [see above], about the same amount [1.5 cups?]}
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce

- In your large soup pot, cook onions, garlic, and carrots in the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the onions and carrots are softened and just barely beginning to brown.

- Stir in tomatoes and allow to cook for several minutes before adding the beans.

- Allow the mixture to cook a bit {3 minutes? No longer...} and then add your seasonings, making sure to stir every minute or so.

- Stir in stock and pumpkin until all combined and then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.

- Blend the soup however you'd like; I use an immersion blender. If you use a real blender, make sure to be careful and add the soup a cup at a time to avoid splash-back-burning.

- Good garnishes: sour cream {or plain yogurt}, roasted pumpkin seeds {see above}, salsa {see post from a few days ago}...I sometimes spoon the soup over rice and eat it like that.

Thanks Becs for such great inspiration and soup!!!
xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, January 18, 2013

Amaryllis by morning...

amaryllis on my mind.
Not a George Strait fan?
Well, you should be.

Moving on from the Country Western Music part of me.
Last year I wrote about how I love the Amaryllis.

And I still love it! No big surprise there.

At the beginning of December I was walking around Whole Foods {which I avoid like the plague because I always end up buying Stuff I Don't Need But That Looks Necessary but it is the closest grocery store within walking distance; womp womp} and I grabbed the cheaper of their Amaryllis options {take THAT man!}.

Then I got home and realized that I had to re-hydrate the soil, plant the bulb, and wait six to ten weeks {!}.

I was getting ready to go home to California/Arizona for three-plus weeks, though, so it didn't happen until yesterday.

The little compressed disc of soil was this size before.
And then it was filling a big mixing bowl.
And growing.
I had this flashback to an episode of "My Strange Addiction" where a woman is addicted to eating dirt. She'd go and buy bags of potting soil and pull the open bag up next to her as she'd watch TV {like a bag of chips} {gaggggggg}. 
Having a bowlful of dirt really grossed me out but I had no other vessel in which to do this because I needed the pot empty to begin with. And you can bet that thing went straight into the dishwasher after it served its purpose.
Then I buried the bulb and began the waiting process.
Please check back in six to ten weeks to hopefully find this.
Are you enjoying some indoor bulbs this winter Reader?
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I'm not sure if I've ever posted this recipe in its entirety but considering yesterday's post, I figured I'd like to get it written out here for perpetuity's sake.

I've been making this salsa for a few years. Mike loves salsa {he's from the Southwest} and I made it once for tacos or fajitas or something Tex-mex we were making and then I just never stopped. 

It is the Pioneer Woman's recipe, though I've seen it in other places.
Check out her recipe HERE.
Mine is a bit adapted from hers.

This makes enough for a moderately sized party and allows for left-overs. In other words, about six cups.


- 1 large can of diced tomatoes, 28 ounces...or whatever you might have laying around {a can of whole tomatoes...DO NOT use crushed because you'll probably end up with a Lati-spiced pizza sauce}.

- 2 cans of Rotel, 10 ounces...I use their regular but it also comes in mild or hot {find out about Rotel HERE}...I also will use the generic store brand because it's sometimes on sale for $1/can and I love a deal.

- 1/4 cup chopped onion...I use yellow because I always have that around but red probably wouldn't be a good choice.

- 1 clove minced garlic...jarred or fresh, it matters not.

- 1 whole jalapeño quartered and sliced...I leave in the seeds but if you're not into heat then take them out. And be very very careful not to rub your eyes after this part! For at least a day! If you're a contact lens wearer, remove them BEFORE this {because that's something a husband won't do}.

- 1/2 cup cilantro...I usually chop up half a bunch and throwing in the stems makes no difference because you're going to food process the heck out of the stuff. But, don't skimp here because I think this is where the good flavor comes from. If you don't like cilantro {some folks think it tastes like soap?}, then do what you will.

- juice of half a lime...or a whole if you feel like it.

Spices...I am lazy so sometimes I don't measure I just eye it, and the ones listed with an asterisk are my own personal additions, leave them out if you desire.

- 1/4 teaspoon cut the acidity of the tomatoes and lime so please don't freak out about "too much sugar in life" because a little goes a long way here...many tomato-based sauces have a pinch of sugar as well so it's OK.

- 1/4 teaspoon salt

- 1/4 teaspoon cumin

- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder *

- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder *

- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder *

-  scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne {go easy on this one} *

Ingredients without commentary

- 1 can of diced tomatoes, 28 ounces 
- 2 cans of Rotel, 10 ounces
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 whole jalapeño quartered and sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- juice of half a lime
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder *
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder *
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder *
- scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne {go easy on this one} *


- Food process or blend it all until it's the way you like it; in this house that means smooth with no visible bits of onion. I usually layer the cilantro first and then pour in everything else.

- Recycle your cans!

- Chill the stuff because it's no good at room-temperature.


- I've started to make several batches at once and just freeze each one in a big ziplock style freezer bag. They take about an overnight to thaw. This past time I skimped on the cilantro and it's blandsville so heed my advice, unless you think cilantro tastes like soap {?}.

- This goes quite nicely with tortilla chips {obviously}, into soups {black bean especially, though tortilla soup is divine as well}, and on top of cheese crisps. And nachos. And eggs. And anything. 

¡Buen provecho!
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Batches of salsa.

xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Without further ado...

I present to you: January's window, theme courtesy of a name-less-neighbor.

Of course.
Now can we get some actual snow here? {After writing that and the thought of "famous last words; yadda yadda yadda", I take no responsibility if we're bowled over by some mega-blizzard}. 

Read about this window setting HERE.
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, January 14, 2013

La la la.

Before I get into anything about what life is like here today/this week, I need to react to Rebecca's blog post about dog smiles. Maybe she gets a lot of those. I'll have to enjoy from afar because this seems to be the best old Guinness can muster up for us.
But he still acts really excited each time I get home so that means he likes that I feed him me, right?

To me it feels like there's not much going on presently, being home and doing some job searching and whatnot, though there actually is it's good. There are some suitcases languishing and a ton of laundry yelling out for attention and the dog keeps walking around the apartment, stopping, looking at something, and then repeating the process { I think he's still weirded-out from being abandoned for three weeks} but I'm still really glad and let's think about why...

1} Again, we had fabulous quality time with both families over the holidays. Not everyone can pull off this feat but we did and for that, we're grateful.

2} We're back home; our time with family was WONDERFUL but there's something about being in our own bed and getting back to a routine.

3} This is one that will make an appearance each week I'm sure; the days are getting longer! The days are getting longer!

4} I get to be witness to my first Inauguration this week. We're not going to any actual events or sitting in any bleachers, which is good knowing me and my antsyness about being confined/in large crowds/around extreme noise, but we're going to lurk/creep around and see as much as we can see.

5} In celebration of the Inauguration {at least I'm guessing so?}, Costco is selling solid chocolate {in dark [for the health-minded], milk, and white varieties} Pentagons and Capital Buildings {did they run out of White Houses?}.
We didn't snatch one up {not in budget}.
But I kind of wish we had.

What's going on in your neck of the woods this week reader? Is it fog-ville where you are {it IS here!}? Snowing? Unseasonably warm? How do you feel about this upcoming weekend's match-ups? I'm a bit bummed about the Packers because I just like them and though I'm a Bay Area girl and I secretly like Jim Harbaugh and I legitimately like the 49ers, I really don't like their new quarterback. But we're also a Patriot's household so all in all we're feeling excited.

Good week to YOU!
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Are you ready?

For some football?!?!?!?!
Today's agenda includes some major cleaning/organizing and then some football, though I missed the first game I really wanted to see yesterday during the movie situation, the Patriots' game is #2 on my list so I'm excited for later this afternoon!
Tom Brady?
Are you following the playoffs this year Reader?
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, January 12, 2013


After a thwarted attempt to see the Django movie we walked home and settled for another Tarantino movie {Jackie Brown}. Now I'm trying to recover from the violence {even in his older movies!} and get ready for bed.
Happy weekend!
xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tired kitty.

Last Saturday, as I mentioned somewhere on this blog, we went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona. It was Right Up My Alley.

Moving on to today, I finally plugged my little camera-phone into my computer and got a glimpse of the pictures from that trip and this one caught my eye.
This guy was conked out in the partial sun and doesn't everyone love how good that feels?

On that note, Good Friday to You!
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oh to have a garden!

I love the New Year. Even though it's chilly and the days are short, it just feels SO good to get back to normal life and routines after the hullabaloo of the holidays. Getting things de-cluttered and a bit more organized is one of my favorite things to do and in that vein I'm looking forward to getting our apartment clean and in order in the next few days.

Something else I think about, even though we live in an apartment, is what I would like to plant this spring. I know that it's really and truly hard {and sore-muscle-inducing!} work but also that it's rewarding to have a few rows of vegetables to brighten my day and the idea of our very own garden gets more and more ideal to me each year.

I think my garden style would be fairly clean-cut and organized {think: rows of vegetables that have labels [♥!] in a dedicated corner of the yard} but I saw something this past fall that I would love to add to any yard we might have.
A tree face! A dash of whimsy! That and a few hummingbird feeders, bird baths, and an owl box {if any ever decide to come to our place}. I think it'd also be nice to have another little corner where I can let some plants run wild and that's where I'd like to put a butterfly garden, one that has blooms and blossoms that attract those winged creatures.

Do you have any garden dreams Reader? I know some of you HAVE your own; are you plotting {no pun intended} your spring plantings already?
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Home home home home home home home.

We're back in DC.
After a red-eye flight and a connection from Boston {hey Fence!} we got to our apartment and our dog and we're putting in some good rest and recovery time.
Happy Tuesday!
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, January 7, 2013

Great 2013!

We are heading back to DC tonight on a red eye flight {oh joy} and we're going to miss our family quite a bit; we've been so spoiled and had such a great time! Mike and I are getting some things done today {packing?} and just puttering about and I'm thinking about Good Stuff; let's expound.
Anxiously awaiting our return.
1} We have had a WONDERFUL time visiting in California and Arizona. We have great family and we love those people dearly. And thank them all for hosting us ever so nicely and helping us bulk up for the winter months ahead!

2} I'm feeling way better than I was feeling a week ago; woo hoo!

3} As I mentioned yesterday, I LOVED the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and I got to experience a new museum.

4} It's been going on for a couple of weeks now but the days are starting to get longer! Woo HOO! Every year I try to get excited about winter weather and short/dark days. I still have a fair amount of this business ahead of me so I can still get in some appreciation but I don't think I'll ever not get excited for the Spring ahead.

5} Mike and I {& a few other people!} got into the Cherry Blossom Race that happens in April in DC. I might have mentioned this earlier {I don't feel like going back through the blog and searching #lazy} but I'll do it again; I'm excited!!! This will be my first official race after getting injured in December 2011. Once we get back in DC and I can start up some running {after fully getting over this cough too} I can start getting ready for the Cherry Blossom Race AND I can look forward to what I know will be a really fun weekend.

What's going on in your neck of the woods today? Are you already looking ahead to the next season like I am or are you taking advantage of the wintry weather?
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The past few days.

Yesterday we went on an amazing family outing to the Arizona -Sonora Desert Museum which Rebecca reviewed last spring. I loved every minute of it and will get up a post explaining our day in the next week. Today we went on a walk and had a yummy breakfast; it's been a great weekend!

On Friday we went on a walk around the Tempe Town Lake. When we were meandering I noticed a pair of women with six bulldogs; six! They were snorting and jumping and pulling. I've been missing our little guy and trying to pet every dog I see walking around to get my canine fix so I totally zoned in on these guys.
I hadn't seen a bulldog up close, as far as I can remember, and these guys and gals were a delight.
Hollywood and I made a special {& slobbery} connection.

In 2011 I read an interesting article about this breed regarding its popularity/trendiness vs its over-breeding {trouble breathing and mating/giving birth on their own}. It was a really interesting article which can be read HERE.

I was glad to find out, then, that these six guys {& gals} were having a photo shoot so that they can be advertised for a bulldog rescue/adoption organization on its website {not a plug, I'm just wanting to keep track of them for myself}.

We enjoyed the rest of our walk. Last Thursday was my official "coming out" after a solid week of sick-bed couch time and it's been four days of walking and going around town. Hopefully I can get back up to running later this week when we return to DC; it's so weird feeling as though I could get back to where I was physically after feeling really week and coughing SO much {I still kind of am ;(} but I know I've done it before and I can do it again.

I hope that you had a lovely and enjoyable weekend and that your week ahead starts out nicely!
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Even though...

Even though I've been waxing semi-poetic about this stuff all week {just about}, I'm still thinking about what I really enjoyed in 2012 and what I'm really looking forward to in 2013. I did a full Year in Review for 2012 but I tried to cover the big things that happened and there were so many little things {and a few big ones} that were/are really important to me so I'd like to get them written down.

I've also been thinking about what I'm excited for in 2013. This isn't resolution/goal/"101 in 1,001" territory, rather just selfish "I'm really looking forward to this" type of stuff.

1. Wrapped up six years of teaching at my high school alma mater. This was Big for me because, well, it was Big.
2. Planned a cross-country move.
3. Moved across the country.
4. Set up a home in Washington DC.
5. Registered our car {after having it towed once} and got my driver's license in Washington DC.
6. I got a job not-teaching.
7. I decided that I'd have rathered that job be teaching.
8. I visited a few new states, even if we were only driving through.
9. I learned about hummingbirds with my mother-in-law and Rebecca.
10. This goes back to #3 but I need to return to it because it crosses my mind about once a week that what we did wasn't easy nor was it conventional {at least for us}. A move like this, on a budget, doing most of it ourselves {did you SEE our packed car?}...Michael did most all of the planning and he did so beautifully - I am forever grateful that our move went so smoothly with his foresight {except for North Dakota}. I am also, still, very proud of us for making this big and challenging change.   


1. Returning to DC {we're still visiting family and loving it} and getting a job that I like. Hopefully one that gets me closer to being in a classroom again.
2. Doing more exciting things as a couple.
3. Seeing my dear friend Rebecca get married.
4. Experiencing our new home {Washington, DC, in case I haven't mentioned it} for an entire calendar year {and then some}.
5. Making our apartment more homey.
6. Going to Jazz in the Sculpture Garden when it starts up again.
7. Training for a marathon.
8. Getting a Christmas tree! This is obviously something that I missed out on Big Time in 2012 so I'm planning early.
9. Continuing to cook new and exciting dishes and getting really good at cooking just plain old regular {still exciting to me!} meals. I've been loving my time in the kitchen and I am seriously excited about maintaining this trend.
10. Life! It's wonderful! I'd like to embrace it and love it and live it well.

xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, January 4, 2013

A month in pictures; December 2012.

Woo-ee! I maintained this for all of 2012! And I liked it so I think I'll keep it up. It would probably be prudent to erase the application from my phone and start over again {it's a free app} since I think the year in monthly/daily pictures takes up a fair amount of space/memory.
Anyway, without further ado: December 2012!
1. My second favorite windows in DC. 2. My favorite door in DC. 3. My favorite tall thing in DC. 4. Sky in DC. 5. Soup. 6. Oyster crackers {yum!!!}. 7. Me & Dog. 8. Me & {First} Dog. 9. Garlique. 10. Happy Holidays. 11. "Do not put me in this bag." 12. Bed washing. 13. Couch. 14. Blanketed. 15. Screen shot. 16. Flora! 17. Rug. 18. Monday crossword. 19. Bargain! 20. Too full. 21. Shortest day, darkest sky. 22. Carmel-By-The-Sea. 23. Red chair. 24. Next Monday. 25. Navidad. 26. Choos. 27. Candies. 28. Cough-cough. 29. Plop-plop-fizz-fizz. 30. Word game. 31. Getting ready for a long night!
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, January 3, 2013

101 in 1,001: The Beginning.

Yesterday I debuted my new and improved "101 in 1,001" list. Today I'm doing my first {of many!} monthly updates.

Background reading:
You can read about what this is all about HERE.
There is no past monthly update since this is the first month!
You can check out my Google document HERE, which I'll try to update a bit more than once a month.

In the past month I accomplished:

Nothing! Well, I did a fair amount of things but nothing officially related to this list. 

Things still in progress:  


In the next month I'd like to begin/accomplish:

#24 Cancel our cable TV.
#36 Quit Facebook.
#77 Celebrate my birthday and continue our birthday traditions.
#87 Try dramatic eye-make-up for a night {maybe my birthday?!} 

Regular monthly/weekly goals:

#29 Back up my computer once a month. 
#41 Update this list once a month.
#61 Call my grandmother once a week.
#63 Talk to my parents once a week.
#64 Go to mass or another spiritual/meditative event twice a month.
#69 Call a friend once a week.
#73 Go on a date with my husband once a month.
#81 Send a handwritten note to someone once a month.
#95 Walk Guinness once a week.

I seem to have a lot of weekly/monthly things going on but I'm OK with that!
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

101 in 1,001: the Real Deal.

OK, here I go again. I started my "101 in 1,001" last January because I was inspired by others doing so and I felt as though it was a solid, life-improving, reachable, and accountability-inducing endeavor and I still hold those opinions. 

But, as I mentioned earlier this week, I didn't put in the best forethought considering the life changes that were ahead of us so I'm beginning anew and I'm, as I was a year ago, still really excited about this.

My mission: to complete these 101 goals in the next 1,001 days, or at least get as close as I can. I don't think that this is an exercise in checking items off a list, rather, I'd like to be more accountable in my life than I feel I currently am and I'm looking forward to a concrete reminder of how I feel as though I can improve my personal accountability. 

In 101 neat and tidy steps. 

I'm kidding with that last one, by the way; I don't thing that many things turn out perfectly neat and tidy and as-planned but I do enjoy having a list in front of me. And really, I am not going to beat myself up if I don't accomplish each and every goal; this is an exercise in improvement and any steps in a positive and peaceful direction are accomplishments.

My criteria: my goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound {S.M.A.R.T. goals if you're keeping track}...or somewhere in that neighborhood. I'm aiming for specifically-worded goals {"read a book a month" vs. "be smarter"}, goals that I can measure in things produced, accomplished, given, earned, etc., goals that I see as actually within my reach in the next 2.75 {approximately} years {running for president of the US is just not going to happen}, goals that matter to me {"running a marathon" sounds great to me while "starting my own personal photography business" does not}, and goals that I'd like to see happen on or before September 28, 2015 {"time-bound"}.

I came up with categories to help me organize my goals and thoughts and those are areas of my life/the world that matter to me and it's easier to scan through my list each month and decide which goals I'd like to tackle in the next few weeks when they're not in one long list.

Why 1,001 days: Lots of bloggers {and non-bloggers I'm sure} have done a "101 in 1,001" and what I've gleaned from reading through their introductions to these lists is that 1,001 days is close to three years which allows for several weather cycles {to provide for various travel conditions} and money-saving cycles, as well as some other things, I imagine, but I like the idea of having a few winters, springs, summers and falls to get stuff done. It's also nice to have time to try and save money for certain goals.

Start date: January 1, 2013 {it's a Tuesday}
End date: September 28, 2015 {it's a Monday}
Goals complete: 0/101
Goals in progress: 0/101
Last updated: January 2, 2013

Crossed out marks a completed item.
Italics marks a partially completed or in-progress item.
Bold indicates an adjustment due to unforeseen circumstances.

Here's my Google document that I'll be aiming to keep updated somewhat weekly.

A disclaimer: to maintain some spontaneity and chaos in my life, these categories are in super random order and each goal and category's numerical placement plays no role in its importance.

House and Home {4}
1. Frame wedding prints.
2. Make a weekly cleaning schedule.
3. Stick to our weekly cleaning schedule for a month.
4. Connect our DVD player. 
Celebrate {7}
5. Dye Easter eggs.
6. Decorate for Christmas.
7. Make a gingerbread house.
8. Host a cookie exchange.
9. Send out Christmas cards on or before 12/15 in 2013 and 2014 {0/2}.
10. Get and decorate a Christmas tree.
11. Host a holiday meal. 
Healthy Physical Body {9}
12. Run two marathons; one in 2013 and one in 2014 {0/2}.
13. Don't hit the snooze button for a month.
14. Get a facial.
15. Run a turkey trot on Thanksgiving each year {0/2}.
16. Live as vegetarians for a month.
17. Go skiing.
18. Get a massage.
19. Be in bed by 9:45 PM and awake and dressed by 8 AM each day for a month.
20. Begin my run or exercise routine before 8AM for a month.

Organized, Frugal, and Responsible {15}
21. Transfer friends' birthdays, emails, and phone numbers into an electronic address book.
22. Finish our Wedding Thank you notes.
23. Organize my recipe collection.
24. Cancel our cable TV.
25. Begin saving for a home.
26. Organize CD and DVD collection.
27. Don't eat out for a month.
28. Create an emergency kit for our home and car {0/2}.
29. Backup my computer once a month {0/33}.
30. Go an entire month without buying anything for myself that isn't food or medicine {eating out is not allowed}.
31. Pack up my wedding dress.
32. Clean and organize the inside of our car.
33. Unsubscribe myself from email lists that I don't need to be on.
34. Be CPR certified each year {0/3}.
35. Make and stick to a budget.

Wise Mind {7}
36. Quit Facebook.
37. Join a book-club.
38. Read four books each year {one every three months} {0/11}.
39. Write a list of 101 things I've already achieved in my life.
40. Create a new 101 in 1,001 list to begin on January 1, 2016.
41. Update this list each month {0/33}.
42. Donate a dollar for each unrealized goal to a charity.

Crafty {3}
43. Sew something that I can wear.
44. Finish/make my t-shirt quilt.
45. Sew something as a gift. 

Adventurous New Things {5}
46. Visit New York City.
47. Visit New Orleans.
48. See a show on Broadway.
49. Go to the Shenandoah Valley.
50. See the Grand Canyon in person.

Tree Hugging {3}

51. Take only public transportation or walk for a month.
52. Go camping each Summer-Fall {0/3}.
53. Acquire or make a fabric/reusable paper towel set. 

Hungry Culinary Delights Eating Cooking {5}
54. Can or jar something.
55. Read through the Joy of Cooking.
56. Read through Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
57. Make Beef Bourguignon.
58. Sign up for a Spring/Summer CSA.

Family {5}
59. Visit California family twice a year {0/6}.
60. Visit with my in-laws twice a year {0/6}.
61. Call or see my grandmother once a week {0/143}.
62. Celebrate my brother's high school graduation.
63. Talk to my parents once a week {0/143}.

Soul Emotional {3}
64. Go to mass or another spiritual/meditative event twice a month {0/66}. 
65. See the Nutcracker ballet.
66. Go "offline" {no internet or email} for a week. 

Friends {3}
67. Arrange and go on a trip with friends.
68. Host a sports-watching party.
69. Call a friend on the phone once a week {0/143}.

Travel {2}
70. Visit a new country.
71. Visit three new states {0/3}. 

Me & Him {8}
72. Begin a family.
73. Go on a date with my husband, even if it's just ice cream, once a month {0/33}.
74. Go to the snow for the day.
75. Have a picnic.
76. Welcome another dog {or cat} into our home.
77. Celebrate our birthdays and continue to develop birthday traditions {0/6}.
78. Take a picture of us on our anniversary holding the picture from the previous year {0/3}.
79. Add a new Christmas ornament to our annual collection for 2013 and 2014 {0/2}.

Just Because {9)
80. Go to an NBA, NFL, or MLB game.
81. Send a handwritten note to someone once a month {0/33}. 
82. See four movies in the theaters each year {one for every three months} {0/11}.
83. Plan and throw a surprise party. 
84. Go to a U-pick farm. 
85. Put an inspirational/happy quote somewhere I will see it each day.
86. Attend or host a clothing swap.
87. Try dramatic eye make-up for a night.
88. Subscribe to a magazine. 

Remember {4}
89. Acquire a digital single-lens reflex camera.
90. Have a couples/family photo session with a photographer.
91. Print out photos and make an album for each month of a year.
92. Order wedding prints.

Ambitious  {2}
93. Begin a teacher certification process.
94. Acquire an "e-reader".

Kind to others  {7}
95. Walk Guinness once a week {0/143}.
96. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
97. Knit a scarf or make a blanket to donate to a shelter or hospital. 
98. Leave a nice note for someone in the windshield of their car.
99. Pay for someone behind me in line. 
100. Volunteer at a committee or at an event at church.
101. Make a double batch of soda bread to send as a gift for St. Patrick's Day.

I'm really glad I've got these goals written down and tomorrow I'll do my first monthly post and then on Friday you can look forward to December 2012's month of pictures. A plethora of my little life is being laid before you Reader; happy 2013!
xoxo, natty ♥