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Friday, July 30


I wanted to thank Stephanie from a Blue-Eyed Boy Met a Brown-Eyed Girl for featuring me on her stalk-worthy blogs this week. Thanks for the blog love!

Be sure to head over to her blog to see the other great blogs she features and read about her life adventures.
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Thursday, July 29

This week, we've received two fun packages in the mail.

First was this super cute bag from Thailand, which I won in a giveaway by i heart kiwi. I also borrowed her photo because my dining room just isn't as cute (or clean).



Then yesterday afternoon, we received home-made jam from my SIL Mireya and brother. It's a belated birthday gift for the Mister, and he's super excited about it.


I  love getting packages!
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Monday, July 26

I know I've whined a lot about the heat in South Carolina this summer, but this is ridiculous:

Yesterday afternoon about 4:30. And I was parked in the shade!
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Friday, July 23

Favorite Fridays

Hi! It's Friday! This week, it seemed like Friday was never going to come on; I'm so glad it's here.

The Friday Favorites subject on deck this week is Healthy Snacks. To be perfectly honest at my house, the most common healthy snack is likely to be half a PB&J sandwich - whole-grain bread (no HFCS) with all-natural peanut butter and no-sugar added jam.

But....these are my favorite healthy snack options:



Home-made guacamole - Most people think that guacamole is fattening, but that's not exactly true. Avocados have healthy fats that help regulate cholesterol. I make my guacamole from scratch not a mix (no sour cream), and I usually add diced tomatoes and onions to it as well, so I can sneak in some extra veggies. I do have to be careful about corn chips, so a lot of times, we'll put guacamole on top of taco salad or black bean burritos.

Home-made hummus - I'm going to give the same argument about the fat content as I did for the guacamole. The olive oil in hummus has tons of health benefits. Again, we make ours from scratch, not a mix; well, the Mister makes the hummus. I know he uses tahini sauce, chickpeas, olive oil, paprike and (I think) lemon juice. And rather than use corn chips or pita chips. We like to cut pita bread into wedges and then toast them under the broiler.

If you want to play along with Friday Favorites, click on the button at the top of the post to link up to Jen's blog.
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Thursday, July 22

The Mister's sister posted some old family photos today on her facebook. One of them included a photo of my husband at their old Isle of Palms beach house, and I had to share because it makes me smile.

That would be my mister sitting on the fence post with the knee-high athletic socks! LOL. He makes me smile.

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I think this t-shirt from Fit Bottomed Girls would be great to wear at the gym. Though truth be told, you don't have to be at the gym to sweat in South Carolina. Today's high is supposed to be 101 degree before the heat index.
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Because of some holiday plans (which I will share later when more details are set in stone), I needed to take care of the actual paperwork of changing my name sooner rather than later. Since we've gotten married, I have been socially changing everything, but hadn't quite braced myself to handle the legal change yet.

Originally, I wasn't sure that I was legally going to change it. It felt a little like I was giving up a piece of my identity, and because of my choice of career, it was frankly going to be a lot more paperwork than I wanted to mess with. The Mister and I have had countless discussions on the subject. When we first got engaged, he was incredibly stubborn about wanting me to change my name socially and legally, but in the long run, he left the decision up to me.

This morning I took the baby steps to making it happen. I took myself downtown to the federal building to the local Social Security office. The process was a lot less time-consuming than I thought it would be; I was in and out in about 20 minutes, and my new card will be coming in the mail in a few weeks.

Since I had much more time than I had planned before heading into the office, I popped by the express DMV on the way to work and got a shiny new license.
I even got a decent license photo; that almost never happens.

I have to say that even though I've been married for three months now (time flies!), it's really strange signing my new name. It's completely unnatural not to have to stop and think about forming the new letters with the pen. And when the clerk at the DMV called me by my new name, that was strange too.

All in all, the two most important changes took less than an hour. Let's see how getting updated passport photos and handling the bank accounts goes tomorrow.
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Tuesday, July 20

We're in full-fledged tomato season. I've been trying to pick recipes to use up our harvest faster than they can go bad. Last year, we shared a lot of tomatoes with our neighbors, but everyone seems to have more than they can use.

Here's what's on the menu for tonight from Real Simple (of course):

Tex-Mex Gazpacho


Serves 4 Hands-On Time: 10m Total Time: 30m

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Kirby cucumbers (about 1/2 pound), peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds)
  • cilantro sprigs
  • Warm flour tortillas, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. In a blender, working in batches, puree the tomatoes, cucumbers, bell and poblano peppers, and onion, transferring the mixture to a bowl as you work.
  2. Stir in the lime juice, oil, 1¼ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and refrigerate until chilled, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Divide among bowls and top with the sour cream, pepitas, and cilantro. Serve with the tortillas, if desired.
Of course, I'm going to leave out the cilantro. I still need to see if I have all the ingredients, but I might try to pair the soup with these sweet corn quesadillas (also from Real Simple).

By the way, we finally made the pasta with fresh tomato sauce that I wrote about last week; okay, well the Mister made it while I watched the Bachelorette. It was delicious, especially with some garlic bread to soak up the extra sauce.

Beauty and Bedlam


This post is linked to the Tasty Tuesday Parade at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.
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Friday, July 16

Favorite Fridays

It's time to play Friday Favorites again. This week, Jen wants to know about our favorite cocktails. You probably know how much I enjoy my beer, but I do have a couple cocktails that I enjoy a lot too.

 
In the summer, I'm a happy camper if there are Margaritas available, and I'm pretty big fan of Malibu and Pineapple as well. And we can't forget about Mojitos.

Now those two drinks are breezy and summery, but when it gets cold outside, I lean more toward warm drinks, like an Espresso Martini or even just doctoring hot cocoa with a peppermint schnapps.


If you want to play along with Friday Favorites, click the button at the top of the post to link up to Jen's blog.
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Thursday, July 15

On Sunday, my parents sent us home with a bag full of fresh tomatoes from their garden; they have about a dozen plants compared with our two. So I'm thinking about trying this Real Simple recipe for fresh tomato sauce tonight.


Serves 4 Hands-On Time: 20m Total Time: 20m

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the tomatoes, oil, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce and half the basil. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and the remaining basil before serving.
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New York was a lot of fun. We did a lot of walking and lot of shopping. Wednesday evening we arrived and checked into the hotel. If you're looking for a reasonably priced hotel in Manhattan, I'd suggest looking to the Holiday Inn Express Madison Square Garden. It was clean and the location was great.


Thursday was spent mostly sight-seeing. We took a tour on one of the double-decker buses and went on the harbor tour to see the Statue of Liberty. I took a lot of photos of the billboards so I'll have to share those in another post.

The first park opened in New York.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The views of the city from the Harbor Tour were amazing.

Lady Liberty

I couldn't resist the flag with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

After the harbor tour, we got a little lost trying to walk to Chinatown. Eventually we got there, but we probably should have just hopped on the Metro. We did some small shopping amongst the street vendors, but most of the shops were closing by the time we got there.

Then we headed to Little Italy and found a little pizzeria for dinner. After dinner, Kate treated us to cannolis and tiramisu to take back to the hotel for dessert. I wish I could remember the name of the bakery because the sweets were awesome.

**Unless noted, all photos are personal photos.**
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I'm lusting after these shirts featured on Real Simple's Daily Finds list today.



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Thursday, July 8

Once again the weekly ad from World Market is making my heart flutter. How relaxed and calming is this patio? Using different color accent pillows can dress the patio up so many different ways. I want to take the whole set home to live with me.

Image Source: World Market


It clearly wouldn't be a difficult thing for me to decorate my whole house from this store.
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Wednesday, July 7

So today, I'm leaving for our much anticipated girls' weekend in New York City with Kate, Emily and their mom. I don't know how much time I'm going to have for blogging while I'm gone, so I've written some scheduled posts to keep you occupied while I'm gone.

Do you remember me sharing Emily's engagement photos in December? No? Check them out; her photographer is awesome.

It's time to order my bridesmaid dress for her wedding. I thought I would share my top five choices from when we went earlier this year to try them on. Initially, we thought we'd all be wearing different styles in the same color, but since when we got with her about which we liked the best, there was one that all four bridesmaids and the bride agreed upon. That makes things easy.

(Please try to ignore the crazy faces I'm making in some of these photos. Apparently, I was talking a lot that morning therefore the photos are strange.)

 I may actually buy this dress anyway. It would be a great addition to my closet.

This one had pockets, and I loved it. It made me think of Carrie Bradshaw.


The final dress is the winner. We'll be wearing that in wine with a champagne sash. It makes me feel like a princess. 

All dresses are David's Bridal.
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Monday, July 5

 photo by Jenny Jimenez

...go over to my SIL's blog. She has awesome photos from their anniversary shoot up so check them out and leave her and her photographer some love.
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Last week, I was lucky enough to receive two awards, and I wanted to say thanks and pass the blog love along.


Lovely Bee at Bee's Diaries was kind enough to give me the Sugar Doll Award. I actually received this award last fall, so I'm going to link up to my previous post, but thank you, Bee! If you're reading this post, considered yourself tagged to participate.


I also received the "You're Going Places, Baby" award from Allison and Tarryn at 2Bloggeristas. Thanks, ladies.

The rules that go along with this award:

Describe where I think I'll be in 10 years 
&
Pass the fun along to 10 other bloggers
I actually thought I'd bend the rules a tad to make it a bit more fun; I'm going to tell you where I was 10 years ago before telling you where I think I'm going.

Ten years ago, I had just graduated high school. I was super excited about starting college at University of South Carolina. I was dating a really good guy, but he wasn't the right guy for me. I had two jobs that summer - working at the local newspaper, the Fort Mill Times, and hostessing birthday parties at a restaurant similar to Chuckee Cheese. At the time, though in ten years that I would be working for a big newspaper as an editor. I didn't think that I'd ever get married. I sure wasn't staying in South Carolina; I wanted to travel the world.

So where will I be in ten years?
Well, I still intend to be married to my Mister; he can't get rid of me that quickly. I still intend to be working in insurance sales and by then, I will own an agency. It's likely that we'll still be living in South Carolina, but I think we'll be in a different house. I'd love to have either a mountain or a beach house as well. It would be really cool if both homes were pretty self-sustaining. We may have a rug rat or two by then as well, but they will probably be pretty young since neither of us is in any hurry to have kids. Hopefully, we'll have the means to travel regularly because I still want to travel the world.

I'm passing the award on to the following bloggers, but please feel free to jump in and participate if you want to.

7. Chronicles of Neely
10. OK, Dan
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Saturday, July 3




The Mister and I have been taking it easy. Today we've been to the farmers market and taken a bike ride by the river.
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