A dumpy, dumpling weekend

The word “dumpy” isn’t exactly sexy in blog lingo but just go with it.

So it rained (read: dumped) all weekend which was much needed but made for a soggy back yard. My zip-code says Sacramento but my backyard says LAKE FRONT. #word

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Insert homemade Chicken & Dumplings a la the genius over at How Sweet It is.

Walker offered to help me cook and we had a good time sharing the load on this one. This is not a quick and easy weeknight meal but it is a perfect Saturday night and it’s raining type meal.

In the past, I’ve made a simpler version of this using Bisquick and a store bought rotisserie chicken but this is infinitely better. And since I’ve Been There, Tried That you can now proceed to also try. I didn’t change anything except be lazy and not by thyme. I can’t buy enough THYME I tell ya. Life is speedy and I want the slow lane.

…err…just go and enjoy a bowl of dumplings while it dumps outside will ya?

Here are the ingredients as the recipe genius lists them:

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/3 cup sliced celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream

dumpling:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk

Saute: The chicken in 2 TBS butter and 2 TBS olive oil. WOW chicken in butter is 10 zillion times better. Paula Dean was right. The chicken should brown and sizzle and appear cooked but not over cooked. And certainly not under cooked. Cut into the thickest piece and make sure salmonella isn’t waving it’s grubby hand at you. OK set aside and let cool.

Mix: in the onions, thyme/rosemary, celery, carrots, garlic and additional 2 TBS butter. Keep the left over chicken juices because that’s where the real flavor is. Throw in some S+P and a 1/4 cup of flour and let it all cook together on medium for about 5 minutes. You’re making a sort of “rue” here- enjoy the fact that this is a seemingly fancy cooking technique that you are mastering! This mixture should soften and appear savor-inducing. Don’t eat. You need this stuff for later.unnamed (4)

Combine: the dumpling ingredients in a separate bowl.

Relocate: the vegetable mix into a larger pot. A deep one that you would use for soup. Mix in your six cups of chicken stock, one at a time. Then mix in 1/3 cup heavy cream. Let it all get hot and bubbly because here comes the good stuff.

Shred: the chicken in a food processor (use your plastic blade!!) and toss it in w/ the rest of the goodies.

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Drop: spoonfuls of dumplings into the bubbling soup pot. They will not break apart. They will congeal (lovely word) and within minutes be cooked thoroughly. Promises. We dropped in about 5 at a time and waited a minute. Then 5 more, etc etc. I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to be one big ol’ dumpling.

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The outcome was deeelish and more gorgeous photos are located on the original site, here.

Recap:

Time – took about an hour
Skill level – Not hard at all but if I didn’t have a food processor it would have been a little more laborious
Ingredients – easy to find or we had them at home

Zoe approved.

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Been There, Tried That: Texas Trash

Welcome back! You didn’t miss anything. I took a little breaky-break because having a blog + writer’s block = no blog + writer’s block (tricky math I know).

So I thought and thought and thought some more about something that might be fun to write and read. I love to cook and live a pretty clean-eats lifestyle so I’m always trying new-to-me recipes.

However, home girl is no Martha so I usually steal from Pinterest or other bloggers. Sometimes I’ll add or tweak, but let’s just say, the likelihood of someone offering me a cook book deal based on trying other people’s recipes is pretty slim. However, if you can make this happen we’ll be fraaannnds forever.

So my thought is to write (hopefully) weekly installment of recipe successes and blunders that I’ve hijacked from other people called “Been There, Tried That” (with proper credit attributed. Promise).

I knew that I wanted to make something homemade for the Snack Bowl Super Bowl party last weekend. One of my all-time favorite snack foods is “pub mix”. So when I came across this idea for Texas Trash I thought…how hard can it be?

Spoiler alert: It’s not hard at all. The only struggle I had was accepting the fact that I would spend close to $20 on all the ingredients when I could have just gone to Costco and bought a bag big enough to feed an army. But then the little angel and devil pop into the scene and convince you that you’ll get so much joy out of making it from scratch that the $20 you spent will be well worth it.

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Sorry pretzels, I’ll work on my photography skills. Promise.

Well it was delicious and much better than Chex Mix, however, was it better than Gardetto’s? No my friend.

Confession: I decided to buy all of these ingredients from Walmart because I knew it would be cheaper. Don’t feel suckered to buy the Chex brand. They are not sending you or I free goodies so we are free agents until they do so. Anytime it says “Chex” just say “Any damn brand I want.” You got it.

Recommendations: If you and your loved one fight over the brown rye, circle, crunchy things like we do (think pub mix) – be sure and add them in. I didn’t try to look for them but I can’t imagine they are hard to find. Walker’s first bite prompted the question “where are the brown things!?” Drama in the snack bowl I tell ya.

Texas Trash

 

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 250*

Buy a large roasting pan if you don’t have one. I bought a disposable because this recipe made enough to last a lifetime.

1/2 (of a 14 ounce) box of Rice Chex cereal

1/2 (of a 14 ounce) box of Corn chex cereal *I used wheat to be healthy, er, something

1/2 (of a 1 pound) bag of pretzel sticks

1 (7.5 ounce) bag of Bugles (regular)

1 regular can (8.75 ounce) of deluxe mixed nuts

1 cup of pecans or cashews * I forgot this and was sad because of it. 

1 + 1/2 sticks butter

1 tablespoon steak seasoning

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce *I omitted this

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon Hot Sauce *I only did 1 teaspoon of Sriracha, much to the Husband’s dismay.

Melt:  The butter and all seasonings in a sauce pan

Mix: All of the ingredients together in the roasting pan

Bake: For an hour but be sure and stir that baby every 15 minutes. This helps even out the roasting and the seasoning.

Serve: This made enough for the party and we had leftovers. Texas Trash forevvvver.

This recipe was adapted from this pin.

Time for a hiatus

When you can’t write about what you wanna write about…what do you write about?

Let me re-phrase that, so as not to make our first post in 2015 reminiscent of the late Dashboard Confessional.

I just can’t figure out this blog anymore. I commend people who write every day about anything and everything. Funny because I like reading them but I don’t like writing them. I also like ketchup but don’t love tomatoes. #realtalk

I also hate selfies but I took one last year after I cut 3-inches off my hair.
Phew, felt good to get that one out!

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NO this isn’t me

 

So the blogs I read and love are either baby inspired (I don’t have a baby)…foodie inspired (I love to cook but I don’t like to invent my own recipes)…or fitness inspired (I hibernate in winter and…yea).

Can’t write about a wedding or home-ownership.
Could write about my adorable dog but she’s not giving me much material lately.

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My problem is that I don’t feel comfortable talking about things that I want to talk about. I can’t tell you about my job, my relationship, my friendships (the great ones and the dissipating ones) or my family. Not to say it’s all bad, but I don’t want to fake you out either, gotta have both sides.

Life is one big dance in the rain, ya know?

Well, I guess I could tell you everything but if your comment makes me feel defensive I’ll curl up in my turtle shell and obsess over what you said for like….a week. It’s pathetic and I’m working on it.

I have had people give me their opinions and this is the kind of stuff that should spark conversation and inspire me to keep writing. Instead it made me tired and is ruining what I love most about blogging. In my opinion, blogs are for the surface types or the thick-skinned. I appreciate both but I am neither.

So for now I’ve got a bedside journal that will have to do. I’m going on a hiatus until I can get over this mid-life crisis. Thanks for making it this far 🙂

Holiday Confessions

What are your thoughts on Christmas?

Are you team spiritual or team Santa? Or a little of both?

  1. I get overwhelmed with the hype and the holiday music and the online shopping until the 24th when I insert palm to forehead and remember what this season is really about. It always takes a Christmas Eve service with a candle to remind me and, though sheepishly, I’m OK admitting that. (Obviously).
    And in the true nature of being Juj- I am always comparing my holiday experience to the ones of everyone else. I see people on social media and blogs and they are all in magical, snowy towns doing adorable Christmas things and I’m all, “hey look we’re getting rain!”

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  1. Here’s the truth. I want an elf on the shelf and feel weird setting it out for Walker. Can I borrow someone’s kid? OR better yet. Can someone hire me to be the one who comes over every night and switches him out? I could start a “self on the shelf…” Just a photo of me being awesome…hiding in the sock drawer?
    Too weird? Haters.
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  1. Back to Santa. What were your REAL thoughts when you found out he wasn’t real? (Spoiler alert!)
    I have to admit I was mildly relieved. First of all, I spent a huge chunk of childhood in Florida and didn’t see the Santa Claus Movie until much later, so I didn’t understand WHERE he was coming in since we didn’t have a fireplace. Soon after I found out he was a big fat lie. Not to mention the big guy was just wandering around the house at night? I mean…come in and drop the presents…but no lingering OK? No I don’t have any reason to be afraid of men wandering the halls, but I was a scaredy-cat of a kid. In case you couldn’t tell.really-feel-christmas-ecard-someecards
  1. I already told Walker he’s going to have to be the liar in the house (aka the Santa instigator). I can’t honestly look at a 3-year-old and go on and on about the flying reindeer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the JOY it brings but I want Walker to be the one to carry out the deception…whereas I’ll just nod my head and hope they don’t hate us one day. Is that…bad?
  2. At the age of 8 or so, I remember asking my Aunt Jo what Noel meant. She said “I think you’re going to have to ask your mom about that one.” I immediately thought it was a bad word. I was nervous to ask anyone else but when I did, they all hummed and hawed… Turns out, it was like some secret “I have No-El what it means” society! Not a soul knew what it meant until Google.
  3. One of my childhood friends Chelsey used to think that “In Excelsis Deo” was “It is Chelsey’s Day-ohhhh”. I feel bad for whoever burst that bubble.

 

 

The A to Z of legally changing your last name

So you want to change your last name?

Hurry while you’re still in the newly-wedded bliss because it is annoying and you’re more likely to give up the longer you wait. I had to pool several recently married friends for advice and figured this would be a nice way to give back. Sure there are helpful websites that will likely assist (and charge you), but it’s not THAT hard… it’s not rocket science after all, it’s just annoying.

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Step # 1: Finalize the wedding certificate

We were married in a different county than where we live. The two counties are very close in distance (read: the venue was 15-minutes from our house) and the county difference was not entirely obvious. Your wedding certificate needs to identify the county that you get married in. We failed to share this with our witnesses and pastor and they accidentally wrote the wrong county. Though it wasn’t a huge deal, it delayed things a bit because we had to file for an amendment once they started processing. We were on our honeymoon and didn’t care, but when we came back, part of me wanted it to be null and void so we could just get married all over again 🙂

*note: you must begin the paperwork for your wedding certificate at least 60 days out. This process is not long, but make an appointment and bring a check. You will leave the appointment with paperwork, It does not become official until it is signed by an officiant.

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Step # 2: Get a copy of the certificate

Once your certificate is official, you’ll need a copy. This copy is going to be used for the DMV and anywhere else that wants cold hard proof of your union. The backdrop on my phone of me in a dress doesn’t count? Whaaa?

The city will charge you $15 for a copy (this price may vary for where you live). And even if you pull a smooth move like me and figure, “hey! I work minutes from downtown, I’ll just pop in on my lunch break and save in postage !” the woman behind the counter will tell you its mail-in only. Yes. Even if you’re standing there with $15 cash and an enthusiastic smile, she will not be impressed and you will be sent away. All fine and dandy because you’re 2-weeks fresh into married-land! Everything’s comin’ up roses….!

Step # 3: Wait for your copy of the certificate to arrive via mail.

This will likely take a week or so. Just sit tight. And order your thank you cards. And start writing them. They too are a pain. And while we’re at it, so is making returns on stuff from your registry…

Step # 4: Social Security time!

Now the fun really begins. OK so this might vary depending on your city/county AND your enthusiastic smile (read Step # 2) but I was over-prepared for SS. And yes! Go to SS before you go to the DMV (at least a day or so before). This is very important. Also, go to the Social Security office of the county you LIVE in. Not married in. This was confusing for me.

I was only asked to show a copy of my wedding certificate and Driver’s license. I over-packed and even rummaged through my box of life (yes I actually have one) and found my Social Security card and filled out a bunch of paperwork with both parent’s SSN and everything… This was all unnecessary.

They will hand you a slip of paper that says you will receive your new card in the next two weeks, hold onto this because you might need it later.

Overall my appointment was seamless. I should also note that you have to swear that you are who you say you are. Hold off on any existential life crises for the time being!

Step # 5: D to the M to the V

Make an appointment. Fo realz.

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I was lucky because my license is due to expire 6-weeks after my wedding date so I had a fire under my butt to get everything squared away as soon as possible, in an effort to save time and money. I made an appointment online and tried to be as prepared as possible but I dropped the ball.
Consider this my gift to you:

  • Bring your license, duh
  • Bring a copy of your certificate
  • Bring the paperwork that the Social Security office gives you- to show proof that you registered w/ them and will receive your new card in 2 weeks.
  • Bring your CAR TITLE

Can you tell which one I forgot?
It’s unfortunate because bringing your title allows you to update your information on your vehicle registration. Now I have to make a separate appointment…insert wide-eyed emoji.

…so after all of that fun you just had, don’t get too comfortable, because now you have to call your bank! And the credit card company! And set up a mutual account! And call the Passport office!
I’m tired.
 

 

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The story of Zoe

Happy Monday. Insert “!”

Because I have a great, dog-filled post for you today AND a juice recipe. What a gal 😉

So. On Thursday we brought Zoe home, an amazing four-year-old Goldendoodle! Crazy story. (Keep scrolling to a juice recipe if crazy stories aren’t your thing).

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Wedding day (10.24) was a blur but mom managed to stop and chat with a woman who was walking around the winery with her Goldendoodle. Mom told her that her daughter (me!) wanted a Doodle just like him/her but that we are trying to rescue and it hasn’t been easy. The woman said “well funny enough, my sister is trying to re-home her female Goldendoodle!”

Here is where the Universe starts humming. Serendipity!

Well, lady gives mom her number and in all the hulla-buloo of the wedding she loses it. No blaming her, there is a lot going on wedding day.

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So. We go to Costa Rica (should I recap that too? Later).
Apparently, while we are gone mom realizes that she lost the woman’s number so she starts calling the winery. She explains that she needs the Goldendoodle woman’s phone number and explains the serendipitous story. WHY they chose to give some stranger the woman’s number is beyond me. BUT they did. And so I digress.

Once mom gets a hold of the lady she is told “oh no! I wish you had called me earlier, my sister just sent her to Homeward Bound rescue.” *Homeward Bound is a no-kill rescue for Golden Retrievers (and GB mixes) in Elverta, CA.

This is where it gets really good.

Can we get a zoom in on these lashes?!

Can we get a zoom in on these lashes?!

So mom knows that Walker and I are on the list for a Doodle at Homeward Bound, but we were told over the summer that they get about 2 a year, so we are prepared to wait. Well, mom calls and tells them the whole story (I wonder how long that took?) and she gives them my name and says that we will be back in the country in a week and if they could hold her they should. Because we’re awesome. Or something like that…

Well. Normally a rescue would try for a pretty fast turnaround, BUT they also needed her to have a routine vet exam but the veterinarian was out of town. Soooo instead of being made available the first week of November (when we were gone) they had to wait several days. We were called within three days of coming home, told we were first on the list, met her, fell in love and brought her home a few days later.

We immediately jump on the old Facebook and share her cute face with friends and who pops up? A friend of Walker’s that recognizes Sofie/Zoe (SoZo) and puts two and two together. Apparently, this friend is friends with SoZo’s old family. We are given verbal confirmation that she is just as amazing as we thought she was AND a background on why they had to surrender her and helpful advice for taking care of her, etc.

Hark the herald angels flipping sing. Amiright? Or amiright?

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So. That’s the story of how Zoe, the dog formerly known as Sofie found herself a new home. We sometimes call her SoZo because we were told it means “to rescue, to save” and that friends, is amazing. We are so excited and the fact that she doesn’t shed is MIND boggling. All sorts of fuzzy love in our house 🙂

Juice! Don’t let me forget my (other) new obsession. My Breville and me….we girlfrannnds.

Juicers are a b*word to clean but so worth it.

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1 large apple (or 2 small)
1 large beet
3 carrots
1 mandarin
several stalks of kale
handful of spinach

Delish!

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Love me a pup photo bomb

 

Wedding Shoes

“My my my my my wedding shoooooes. Ooooh oooh!”

Sing-a-long time, who’s with me?

So the wedding is over! Are you happy? I am thrilled it went so well and had the best time ever but now it’s fun to just be an old married lady 😉

I might recap it. I should recap it. My (eventual) 90-year-old brain will appreciate the gesture. I won’t recap today but soon friend. Soon.

Instead, I’m going to give you a little tutorial about making your own wedding shoes! Well, decorating your own. You most definitely need to take advantage of the fact that shoes can be bought made and ready to go. A cobbler I am not.

I went for comfort and one $. Not two $$. Just one.

Walker almost died when I came home with a Payless box. Psssh. “Nobody SEES yours shoes Walker!” Wrong-o. I showed these puppies off and the photographer caught them too. Good because they’re cute!

Seeeee?

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My uncle Jim also almost died when he heard I was wearing tennies on the big day. Guys relaaaax, it’s fine. Sheesh. Bunch of divas.

Here’s what I started with:

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And yes a hot glue gun is necessary for the diamond rim, but I also recommend Krazy Glue or whatever kind of durable, hazard-causing, chemically-induced glue you can find. These bad boys gotta last all night! The fashion glitter is a wet, sticky paint-on type glitter that I used with a sponge on the plastic toes and canvas sides. THEN you add the white “bridal” glitter. And YES you will find it impossible to remove from your skin. Enjoy!

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If I can add a bow, YOU can add a bow. I hate bows but I wasn’t sure how else to lace these puppies up.

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And last but not least…

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We’ve got ourselves a countdown people!

Getting married in seven days and I have seven (billion) things on my mind. I’m hoping my random musings/tips/tricks and albeit gripes, will help provide some comedic relief to what other brides are going through. ‘Cuz gurrrrl, I feel ya.

  1. Hopefully this one isn’t on your mind. The reality that Ebola is about to get cray. Mom told me earlier this week that she predicts this will explode real fast and that there will be a Marshall Law putting everyone on house arrest. Did I mention that dad is a pilot and mom works for Kaiser? Not saying Mom has a crystal ball….but she DID guess the ending to the movie The Sixth Sense. HOW did she guess that??
  2. It’s OK to feel a little flustered. I always come back to the guest list. It’s not the people you invited, it’s the people you didn’t account for…that you don’t know…that are long lost family and that suddenly want to come. (huh?) These folks will creep in, I promise you. Take your guest list and add at least five for those that might pop in or those that want to bring a date. Side note: People that want to have a low key wedding with minimal planning, cheers to you! Every bride should have the wedding she wants. Until you’ve planned a party for 150 people you have no idea what you’re talking about. Let’s just support each other.
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  3. Make a plan for gift opening. They will arrive at your house in ambiguous cardboard boxes and you will try to trick yourself that MAYBE it’s something you ordered online and forgot about…? Make a game plan for if you are opening (keep a running gift list!) together or separate…or if you will save until post-wedding. We were unclear on this issue. PMS made me burst into tears when Walker opened a gift without me. For the record it was silverware and yes I can feel you shaming me from here.
  4. I was given this idea and am still contemplating it… as you start to receive gifts and if you are opening them early, start writing your thank you cards early. I am looking to send personalized (Pinterest inspired) thank-yous post-wedding, but I was given the genius idea of writing the insert early on. This breaks up the strain of writing several at one time. You’ll be safe with a 4 x 6 piece of white paper that can easily insert itself into your future card. Slap a piece of double stick tape and you’re good to go. This will also keep me busy on the plane ride. Thoughts?
  5. My only regret thus far is not booking the boudoir photo shoot to be the same day as my hair and makeup trial. All done up and nowhere to go. That was me. And Walker was out of town, it would have been perfect! The idea of doing a lingerie photo shoot makes me feel awkward, pre-pubescent and twelve-years -old again, but it’s just like a trip to the gyno…they’ve ALWAYS seen worse. Future brides I recommend utilizing your fab look for photos! Saves money 😉
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  6. I stumbled upon this helpful tip by accident but want to share. If you are planning a honeymoon out of the country, be sure and let your credit card company know ahead of time. I had to call over the summer to extend my credit line so I could book the trip to Costa Rica and they offered to put a note into my account to let the company know that there will be purchases made during the week we are there. Nothing worse than getting cut off on vacation.
    1. Side note. Crooks are so dumb. You stole my card and could have spent two minutes to look up where I live. WHY do you think hitting up a Walmart in Idaho won’t trigger with my card company? 3511d9767c96ce281df5a9a69f6b88ed5654af83fe3ca8a1b99b2d225d1ad268
  7. Terrified to write personal vows and say them in front of everyone but SO excited to share it all with the soon to be hubs. He’s awful special and if I keep typing… I’ll start crying.

PS: Extraordinarily grateful to my parents who have been supportive in so many ways. Despite mumsie having breakdowns and me talking her off the proverbial wedding ledge, we are all getting through this just splendidly.

Till next time!

Xo Juj

Let’s chat “Cholesterol & TLC”

Coming at you with a little cholesterol update! Woo-to-the-hoo. I know you’re excited!

So would you believe it? Three-months zoomed by. I got my results back over the weekend and was bummed but now I’m just a little bummed. (huh?)

Let me rewind.

Remember when I told you I was going to do a vegetarian experiment to see if my cholesterol levels could go down without the aid of statins (medicine)? I ended up doing pretty well although I ended up eating fish because I had to draw a line somewhere and my line included the rivers, lakes and streams “that you’re used to. I know that you’re gonna have it your way…” Oops. TLC moment.

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By the by did you know that this song is about a guy dying of AIDS?
“She gave him lovin’ that his body can’t handle….”
“Three letters took him to his final resting place” (—>HIV)

Yes I still know the lyrics, yes I’ve now ruined this song for you and YES we just went from cholesterol to AIDS. Boom.

OK so my numbers went up.
Total cholesterol rose from 193 to 203 and the most important part, the LDL (bad cholesterol) went from 114 to 163.
These totals are not normal range for you young bucks but they ARE normal for this young buck.
My doctor isn’t worried and I guess I shouldn’t be either. Although I totally was… and really just disappointed. I avoided high- cholesterol foods for 3-months. What gives?
*I had a rather heavy pour of wine around 9:30 p.m. the night before. I did the obligatory fast for 12 hours but I have a feeling wine was probably not the bessssst idea. Oops.

So then I started doing research on other factors that might increase the levels. Gluten is a tricky SOB and some people think HE is the culprit. I am not convinced although I love me a good experiment. The idea of going Paleo makes me grow a uni-brow (read: cavewoman) and the idea of doing the vegetarian thing again makes me want to hire a chef (read: tired of making two meals for dinner).

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Any suggestions? Thinking of just doing my normal, lean meats, low-ish carbs, paired with vegetables/fruit galore. I think they call this clean eating. I call it eating…because we are going into a Costa Rica honeymoon followed by Thanksgiving, birthday and Christmas. The next scan will be in January.

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And I found a bomb recipe for Candy Corn and White Chocolate Blondies that I will be making stat.

Until next time (which will include a wedding update!)
xo Juj

Pinterest made me do it

Happy Sunday!

I had plans to put a wedding blog up today but I got excited because I finally finished my first DIY project. I have a new appreciation for you Do It Yo’selfers and needed to cut in and put Pinterest on blast for a sec. All of these projects and recipes and cutesy ideas need to have time disclaimers next to them.

Like “Hey blondie, this is going to take you several hours, multiple weekends and countless trips to Home Depot.”

“Thanks P! Now I’m prepared!”

Why I didn’t just realize this is beyond me. Who looks at an old TV hutch and says “I’m going to give you a makeover in the three-weeks before getting married AND on the heels of a new job and a 10-year reunion!” This girl. Right here.

So here’s the story of how a TV hutch turned into what was supposed to be a china cabinet and ended up being a liquor cabinet. This ain’t no bed-time story so put your chamomile down. This is exciting stuff. And even if it isn’t – at least it gives you a 20 minute break from the sport insanity that is football AND baseball all in one night. I just want to watch Pretty Little Liars. hmmphff.

PS for anyone getting married…consider this a tip. When you register for lots of fancy china, crystal and special scotch glasses (that you’ll likely only use once a year) you need a place to PUT them. We started getting gifts in the mail and because we are five and seven years old (respectively) we started opening them. His cousin graciously sent us a set of our Mikasa china (link) and immediately I went from “YAY!” to “Crap where are we going to put it!??” Friends. Unless your dishes pull a Beauty and the Beast and tuck themselves away at night you will need to come up with a strategy for where you are going to put everything in yo’ tiny a$$ kitchen circa 1930. People in the 30s barely had butter (read: Great Depression) so you know they didn’t worry about where to put their Kitchen Aid mixer. #thestruggleisreal

But I digress… I was uber set on finding a china hutch on Craigslist, so when my auntie sent me a photo of this thang and asked if I wanted it I was elated! Sure it was a TV hutch and I needed it for china but I was dead set on putting Pinterest to the test.

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We set out to drive to her house about 45 minutes away and haul this puppy home. Walker lucked out because I wanted to do this all myself and just needed his truck…and man power. Getting it out of the truck was a joke and getting it in the house was an even bigger one. I am useless and yes the UPS lady MIGHT have heard us struggling and offered to help. She was tiny and buff and I was impressed.

My first trip to Home Depot was easy… got some sand paper and a quart of paint. The guy at HD tried to convince me to buy a gallon but I just didn’t trust him. I recognized him from when we painted an accent wall earlier this year. He did the SAME thing and convinced us and now I have 9/10 of a gallon. So much paint. I don’t know if they get commission on how much paint they sell?

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Ok. So I painted the outside first (after a light sand-sesh). I was messy and a bit impatient as it was 95* but it dried fast and I was able to do two coats pretty fast. I removed the hardware thinking I would switch it out but I ended up really liking it. Maybe one day I’ll get cheetah nobs! Mental note.

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So once we got it inside (thanks UPS!) the challenge was what the heck to do with the back wall with the cut out. It was for a TV remember? I sat on it for a few days and strolled around Home Depot (they need a rewards program) and decided on white contact paper and a fun sticky decal from Target. PS does anyone else think “Charlie Brown” when they see Chevron stripes? Anyone…?

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It was kind of a cluster but for the sake of this blog it was rewarding and a learning experience. Contact paper is sticky ya’ll (read: hella sticky).

I think God’s intent to give us partners in life (aside from just pro-creation) is to:

1. Help make the bed
2. Open the pickle jar
3. Help apply contact paper

If you look close you’ll see some bubbling but I only thought to ask Walker about half-way through to help. We did our best.

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I ended up making this into more of a bar because after his 30th birthday (June) and our bachelor/ette parties (August) we are set on booze for at least a month. Kidding. The shelf with the cups slides out which is great! And the drawers below are lined with a padded rubber mat since the china dishes live there now. Does that mean that this is now a bar hutch? China bar? I’ll work on it.

Eventually if I get really inspired I might put some track lighting in but for the time being, this’ll have to do!

Have you any DIY projects to share? Any horror stories?

Until next time,

xo Juj