Monday, February 28, 2011

Chip Chip Cheerio and a Bonjour to You Too!


AND PARIS!!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe this is happening!  I can't believe this happened! 

I have wanted to go to Paris since... birth?  And London... well, we all know my Obsession with The Royals.

George and I went to AAA on Saturday, put the ticket on hold and tomorrow, they are ours!

We leave mid-May and are there for our 1 year anniversary.  If not our honeymoon, at least our first anniversary as husband and wife: adventurers of life :)

I have started our budget spreadsheet.  Broken down by city, just to see

- Double Decker Bus Tour $35 pp (2 hr. 15 min)
- Globe Theater $16 pp
- Westminster Abbey $21 pp (mass is free)
- Buckingham Palace $25 pp (if open!!) State Room and Palace
- Changing of the Guard FREE - 11:30 am daily
- Windsor Palace $23 pp
- Madame Tussauds $52 pp
- London Eye w/Madame pass
- Harrod's FREE!!!!!
- Piccadilly Circus (round-about) FREE!!!!!
- Cleopatra's Obelisk FREE!!!!!
- Tower of London $26 pp
- Afternoon Tea $26 Euros pp The Georgian Restaurant or The Savoy
- Big Ben Free - sightseeing
- Parliament Free - sightseeing
- Notting Hill Free - sightseeing
- Picnic at St. James Park Free Get food at Fortnum & Mason
- Gardens Free - sightseeing

TOTAL $326 in sightseeing

The Paris budget is barely started but at least this will give you an idea of what we are planning...


- Train $232 one way
- The Louvre eat at Café Richelieu
- Notre Dame
- Luxembourg Gardens
- Eiffle Tower
- Arc de Triomphe
- Laduree
- Musee d'Orsay
- Versailles
- Seine River Cruise
- Montmartre - Free
- Champs-Elysees - Free
- O Chateau Wine Tasting near Lourvre
- Sainte Chapele Church
- Café de Fleur
- Molin Rouge
- Chez Janou Bistrot for Chocolate mousse
- Boulangerie Eric Kayser (best croissants in Paris)
- Napoleon's Tomb
- The Pantheon
- Chanel Flagship Store - Free
- The French Open (? For George?)
- Galeries Lafayette - Free
- Sacre Couer in Montmartre - Free
- Street Market - Free
- Luxor Obelisk - Free
We are very focused on not over spending so planning ahead is important.  And because I am a little bit Type-A, it's fun!
So now I need to:
1. Lose weight
2. Exercise and get ready for lots of walking
3. Get a European-inspired wardrobe
4. Get a passport (make this priority 1)
5. Get a new camera
6. Practice my French
7. Go to the doc and get something to make me sleep on the plane!
In the words of Jesse Spano...


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Date Night Conversation

Did you hear about this study last spring...

If you and your partner don't have much to talk about, you're not alone. A new study has found couples who have been married 20 years or more barely speak to each other.
The British study found that couples who have been married 50 years will sit together in silence for up to 57 minutes in an hour.
Unlike young lovers who chat about shared interests and goals, older couples often limit their conversation to "pass the sauce" and the weather.
While some say they prefer a relaxed atmosphere, others admit they simply can't be bothered to talk, according to the study by dating website
Couples married for 30 years or more talk for only 16 minutes in every hour, while those in a 20-year relationship enjoy only five minutes more.
Even newlyweds chat for less than 40 minutes during an hour-long meal, according to the study of 500 couples across the UK.
In contrast, unmarried pairs natter for an average of 50 minutes in every 60.

I hate these studies, they freak me out.  But at least they make me take preventative measures. 
When I was at the spa last week, I was this article in Parents Magazine about making the most of date night conversation.  It also offered this cheat sheet...

So a few things:
A. I love me a good cheat sheet
B. This is something we actually did prior to the study!  1 point for us :)
C. This has some questions I haven't asked yet!!
We use to go out to eat. A LOT.  And we noticed couples ranging from much older than us to much older than us, and they didn't talk while at dinner. Like at all. They would talk more to the waiter than each other.  And years ago we vowed to never get like that. 
So I always ask "what if" or "hypothetical" questions... often ridiculous but always entertaining.
We plan things (travel, parties, friend nights) and we talk about work.  I love helping George come up with ways to connect with his team (he manages 30 customer support reps.).  Family, friends and memories are other common topics.
Basically, we just try our best to talk.  Oh, and while holding hands. 
How about you guys?  Are you and your SO talkers?  Any other tips you want to share?
Happy Saturday! 
Off to dinner and a movie night at our friends' house!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life vs. Responsibility

Well, we have some good news. Geo and I can take the trip of a lifetime!

But, here's the thing.  We have some debt.  We have a house.  To be honest, I am worried about my job right now (buy out rumors are circulating). 

Our debt isn't crazy; a bit on charge cards but a substantial amount in student loans.  Our savings is growing but we planned on using that for this trip... or a chunk of it.

So we are torn. 

Pay off the charge cards and be down to my student loans and car payment (we paid off George's car and he didn't have student loans). 


Go to Paris and London or Paris and Rome. 

We could scale back the trip but I'm not too sure how much more we can scale back.  And to be honest, we might never get back there.  Kids+Flying+Europe = An Expensive Nightmare!

We are going to talk to a travel agent and see what else we can do to keep cost down. 

We might wait and pay off the debt and re-save up for the trip but I don't know.  I would like to think we could save enough by September or October but it might be more like next spring:  That's OVER A YEAR AWAY!

Okay, I need opinions and I need them now.  What do we do? 

Pay it off... Get our travel on... or pay it and wait it?

Hope everyone is enjoying the NBC Thursday night lineup :)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday (spelled out in my head as Wed-Nes-Day)!  I have many reason to be lovin' this day so here we go!

{one} I have been planning a family room/play room for our attic.  I really want a space for our nieces and nephew (and eventually our children) when they visit.  Since they are really into dress-up, fairy tales, glitz and glamour, I have been looking for some fun things to get them for when they visit.  My discovery: Halo Heaven!

$1.50 for gloves, $3 for tutus, $1 for a little purse, tiaras, wands, caps, parasols... so many cute things!  I can't wait to surprise them with a chest of goodies :)

{two} I am signing up for tap classes!  I took ballet, tap and jazz for 12-ish years and I miss it (I miss creative outlets in general, these days).  I also need exercise so I thought I would combine the two.  Lessons start March 7th and I am thrilled to try this again!  Anyone else take dance lessons as adults?

{three} Spring is coming and I am in garden mode.  I have been picking up pots and planters at Good Will, VOA and Rite Aid (yep, a drug store with a 50% off sale) and planning our garden for this year.  I see lots of herbs, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini in our summer.

{four} The IRS!  Someone told me once that you shouldn't get a large tax return since that basically means you give the government an interest-free loan (any they never would do that for you).  But I don't care!  It's always a nice surprise, even though we took a huge hit since I was unemployed for 6 months of last year. And since we are savings for our trip, this will be helpful.

{five} And speaking of trip... tomorrow we find out where we stand on affording the trip!  I am getting my commission checks in tomorrow's paycheck so hopefully (fingers crossed), we will have enough to book the trip this weekend (internal scream!!!!)!!

George is out of town next week so plan on seeing some new house-project posts.

But for now, it's ABC line-up!

Have a great night and hopefully I will have some big travel news tomorrow :)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Long Live the Queen, Princes and Kate

I am unapologetically obsessed with the Royals.

It started here, after a 9th English research paper on Grace Kelly; The Film Star...

And, after her divorce but before her death, I thought Princess Di was almost a saint...

I thought Wills and I were destined to be together since we are exactly 1 month apart.  I guess he had other plans because I woke up on November 16, 2010 to this...

(and, cue my heart breaking)
Once I overcame my shock, I started planning a Royal Wedding Day Celebration!

My mom, sister and I have taken the day off from work and are planning our British Morning Tea while we watch the nuptials take place. 

Yes, it's at 6:00 am EST so mom and sister are sleeping over and waking up early to watch the ceremony play-by-play.

I am collecting tea bits and pieces over the next few weeks.  Then planning our menu, which I hope to be very English.

My aunts might come over too.  Maybe the obsession started earlier?  Like birth?

I am sure I will post more about this soon... cause April 29th isn't too far away :)

Anyone else a little crazy for the Royals?

It's Too Real...

Thursday, we will know for sure... but we could book our trip THIS weekend!

Wishing and Hoping and Praying...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Three Little Ladies Jumping on the Bed

Our three nieces are coming over tomorrow night for a sleepover!

Katelynn, Lauren and Ally (who NEVER looks at the camera)... 3 of the 4 lights-of-our-lives!  Ethan is too but he's a bit too young to sleep so far away from home.

Ally's 7th birthday was this week and she asked to go shopping for her birthday. 


It's official: kids are growing up too fast!

But Geo and I were okay with it since she hasn't slept over since summer.  So we added her sister Katelynn and cousin Lauren to the mix and we have a party :)

She also asked to go to "the Chinese place where they cook the food in front of you"- aka. hibachi!

Her plans include "go shopping, go to Chucky Cheese's and have a tea party." 

Sadly, they are coming over at 6 on Friday and leaving around 12 noon on Saturday so definately not enough time to accomplish everything on that list but she knows I will try!  I'm a sucker for shopping, singing animals and tea.

How are you spending your weekend?

Happy Almost Friday!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And that's a weekend

Wow, how is it Sunday night already???!!

Saturday was a whirlwind.  We woke up and went to JC for weigh-in and food.  After that, I stopped in the new Tuesday Morning while George cut his hair cut.

Before we knew it, it was time for our pre-cana hosting duties.  It went really well!  We both agreed though, the engaged couples loved but we might not be asked back. 


It wasn't that we weren't serious or weren't on topic.  But I think we were just too easy to relate to.  We were honest: we don't go to church every Sunday.  We aren't strict Catholics and that's okay.  It was okay with all the couples as well... since they all told us this first before we confessed that as well.  But I don't know if the pre-cana leaders feel this was something to share. 

Oh well.  We covered what was needed and we know we sparked some conversation topics that a few of the couples never had.  We did our job and we did it well.  I hope we are asked back.  I hope I am worrying about it more than needed.  Only time will tell.

This morning, we got a 8 am wake-up call from George's dad.  He was at the hospital in our area.  He had slipped at work and dislocated his shoulder. 

With that, George and I were off to the hospital so we could drive dad home, which is an hour away. 

We got home, did some cleaning then off to my mom's house for tea.

It's always wonderful to see my mom, sister and brother!  My mom works a lot... it's a single mother thing.  So when we get to spend time with her, it's a blessing and always entertaining.

Now we are home, resting up for the week.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 

Check our ~Est. 2010~ page to see new pics of the bathroom and bedroom!

lots of love,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

It's time for another installment of What I'm Loving Wednesday!
Once again, thank to Jamie.

:First: I'm loving Old Navy's easy breezy dresses...

My vision for these include gold bracelets and necklaces, maybe some chunkier turquoise or coral pieces. And cute sandals, naturally!

:Second:  Our pre-cana duties.  We have made great progress with our topic: The Rite of Marriage.  We are getting great feedback on our ideas and I am so excited to share this experience with the engaged couples.   I remember how much we LOVED it and I hope they all do too.

:Third: The fact that it's WEDNESDAY!!  That means The Middle, Better with you, Modern Family and Cougar Town.  Even better, tomorrow is payday.  Even better than that, only two days till the weekend!  I hate to say it but I work for the weekend.  It's my favorite time.  I get to be with George, at our house, with family and friends stopping over and lots of relaxing!

:Fourth:  This man with that smile...

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bedroom and Bathroom Update

With 14 of our closest friends coming over for the Super Bowl, we had a great excuse to kick some home projects into high gear.

First, remember that sad... pathetic, really... bedroom? 

No?  Oh, here, let me remind you...


Yep. Pretty bad.

Well, we ordered new wood blinds, new duvet cover, hung some curtains and honeymoon art work, and now, we have this...

It's not great but it's an improvement! 

The collection of photographs are all from our honeymoon in Cape Cod.  I had a HUGE obsession with the dunes...
From Hyannis

From Martha's Vineyard

From Martha's Vineyard

From Nantucket

I'm not exactly Ansel Adams, but I was proud of my point-and-shoot camera prints!

We still need to get a headboard and spruce up the end tables and fan but it's progress!

And the now the bathroom! 

We painted and added some decor but it was in desperate need of a new floor.  The original floor was a large piece of marbled, cream laminate. 

So I picked up some concrete grey peel-and-stick laminate tiles and we (when I say we, I mostly mean George) spent 8 hours peeling, laying, cutting and shaving to get the perfect fit.  So worth it!

Here is the before...
Our tile samples...
the original floor is under the small brown square

Final product!

It's a bit different but we really like it!  It makes the room more polished.  We have to touch up the trim here and there.  And we plan on installing a new double sink and vanity and a new shower surround this summer.

These two projects were done within a week of the party!  Maybe we should plan another gathering to get us going on the next project???  :)

Happy Monday All!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Bowl Snacks: Our Quest for the Golden Spoon

For the past 3 years, our group of friends have gotten together for every Super Bowl to watch the game and fight for foodie glory! 

Our mission: Make the best appetizer.

Our prize: The Golden Spoon!

LOL... it's a wooden spoon with gold metallic paint but boy, does that thing carry some heavy bragging right for the year!

We are the current Gold Spoon Champions and we are excited to compete again this year!

I've been trying to find something DELICIOUS but low-fat, low-cal and low sugar.  y.u.m.

I've been looking at my Hungry Girl cookbook and I think I have some ideas!

I'm thinking her Fiber-Fake-Fried Onion rings (since they are savory, crunchy and George and I can eat a ton worry-free)...

Mmmm... thank you !

Another option might be the Fiber-ific Fried Chicken Fingers...

But I'm still not 100% sold.

I have people to impress and a Golden Spoon to fight for!

George and I are known for our chicken nachos.  Like, people request us to bring them to fancy dinner parties because they are that good (the tricky: a hot, hot, hot oven and non-liquid producing toppings go first).

Buuuut, we can't use chips. 

So we got to thinking: what if we make chips?  What if we make them from veggies?

We are thinking BAKED zucchini chips...

Now we need a low-fat topping... low fat blue-cheese?  Maybe Bethany Frankle's Skinny Girl version?

Blue Cheese Dip:
•1 container (8 ounces) reduced fat vegetable cream cheese, softened
•1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
•1 tsp. garlic powder
•1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
•1 tsp. minced fresh parsley
•1 tsp. minced fresh dill weed

Dare I sprinkle crispy turkey bacon?  I don't know?!  We might be on to something here.  It's different but it could be amazing!

I will probably make the onion rings for real snacking and the chips for a taste or two.

What do you think?  Do the veggie chips sound good?

What are you all making?  GO BILLS! haha

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I linked up with Jamie (who I don't really know but I hope it's okay with!)
 for my FIRST What I'm Loving Wednesday!!

I'm loving work!  This is another first for me :)  My job is salary plus commission job. 
I have been with the company 6-months and I am now officially receiving my
 full commission percentage on clients that renew their license to our product.
Money, Money, Money!

I'm loving travel planning!  With my commission, our tax-returns and savings, we are
 FINALLY booking our trip to London and Paris this month!  I have placed
Samantha Brown's Passport to Paris and London in our Netflix que and
we are ready for the official planning.  Suggestions are MORE THAN WELCOMED :)

I'm loving our Pre-Cana prep!  George and I met with Lori, the Pre-Cana leader,
over the weekend and she gave us some great tool to help us with communicating
our topic to the engaged couples.  By far our favorite tool has been:
It's a couples therapy CD that offers a Catholic Christian vision of marriage.
We LOVED the explanation of having different marriages through your marriage.

And, finally, I am loving my husband!  He's always up for whatever crazy adventure
I have up-my-sleeve at the moment.  And I completely appreciate him.

Happy Wednesday!!