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April 30, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaaccckkkkk


I have returned from Boise, but for some reason the whole trip really knocked me out. We had a pretty bump flight back to Dallas and ever since I have felt like the world is swirling around me and wont stop.  Is it possible to catch permanent motion sickness?  This obviously means that I have to lay in bed all day and catch up on my DVR, but in the meantime here are a couple pictures from the trip.


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April 26, 2010

Help!

I am off for a quick trip to Boise to finally take that pesky oath that I have been putting off for the last 6 months or so...

While I am gone, I was wondering if I could enlist your services to help me with a party I am planning. You see, my friend is getting married and as the MOH I am throwing her a bachlorette party in Chicago next month. The thing is, I have never thrown a bachlorette party before and I want this one to be EPIC. Since you all were so helpful with my last MOH duties question, I was hoping you could help me out again!

The theme for the bachlorette party is "Around the World" and we are going bar hopping to different places in chicago (think tequila in mexico, new york cosmos, beer in ireland, that kind of thing.) The problem is that the group doesn't all know each other, and it going to be roughly 8-10 people. I need fun activities that will make everybody have fun and keep the night rolling.

What were some of the best things done at bachlorette parties you attended? Any fun places we shouldn't miss in Chicago?


Help!

Also...I should note I have no time to spell check this post.

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April 25, 2010

Sunday Post


Head on over to Seven Dames a Week to read my Sunday Post "Take Me Out To the Ballgame."

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April 23, 2010

Weekend Links!

I haven't done Weekend Links in awhile, so here are some to get you through your Friday!

-This home office renovation is fantastic. I love how she decided to hang her pencil holders! (Young House Love).

-I loved this pregnancy photo shoot.  If I were to ever get pregnant (don't hold your breath Mom) this is what I would want. I love that they did it on a pier and I REALLY love all of her fabulous clothes. (Amelia Lyon Photography).

-Life of a Doctor's Wife gave such a great review of the book "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave it convinced me to add it to my to-read list on Goodreads!

-This is the SEXIEST ENGAGEMENT SHOOT I have ever seen. Damn! I love the one of them on the street with everybody walking past. (Susan Stripling).

-HERE are some creative ways to display all those pictures you print off and don't know what to do with. (via Mighty Girl).

-Love this wine rack! (Design Milk!)

-I have a dresser I am thinking about renovating, but not in my wildest dreams would I ever by able to accomplish a renovation as fabulous as this. (Life In the Fun Lane).

-This Peanut Butter cookie recipe from Playing House is on my must-make list!

The video(s) of the week are a little dated since Date Night came out last weekend, but they are still pretty funny:




Have a great weekend everybody! Good luck to everybody running their half marathons this weekend!

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April 22, 2010

Lasagna Style Baked Ziti


The other night I tried Playing House's Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti.  It was delicious and I even added the spinach as the recipe required (you know how I have a tendency to leave out those vegetables...) The only thing I would do differently next time is maybe add a little cheddar cheese, which is really a personal preference because I like the taste.  Head on over to Playing House HERE to snag the recipe.

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April 20, 2010

The Day Technology Failed Me

Yesterday my internet stopped working.

The volume on my phone is acting funky.

The DVR broke.

The three things I need the most to get through my day all abandoned me in one fatal swoop. The DVR breaking was by far the worst, as I lost 8 months worth of meticulously scheduled taped television, some of which I had not even watched yet, all of which I have no clue what their actual air time is.

I exchanged the broken DVR for a new one and began jotting down a list of all the television shows I would need to reprogram. This short list included:

-The View
-Oprah
-The Daily Show
-The Soup
-The Dish
-Real Housewives of New York, OC, Atlanta, and now New Jersey (in anticipation of the marathon happening next month to prepare us for the season!)
-Parks and Rec
-The Office
-30 Rock
-Greys
-Real World
-Modern Family
-The Challenge, currently in its Fresh Meat season
-Glee
-Keeping Up With the Kardashians
-Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami
-Kendra
-Pretty Wild (awful, don't watch it, I got sucked in and am totally regretting it)
-The Hills*
-The City*
-Kell On Earth*

The worst part of that whole list is that I know I am missing some shows and I just can't place my finger on which ones. The most embarrassing part? It looks like television listings of a 17 year old girl. In my defense, sometimes I throw in a little Rachel Maddow? 20/20 when Lisa Ling has a special? I own Planet Earth DVDs?

*I almost forgot those, thanks Maggie

What does your weekly programming schedule look like?

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April 18, 2010

April 17, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake


On Thursday I walked into our local Tom Thumb and discovered the cheapest, most perfect strawberries I have ever seen. I immediately bought a carton took it home in hopes of making it a healthy snack. While eating slices of juicy strawberries on top of my oatmeal my thoughts drifted to my Mom's strawberry shortcake. I immediately tried to dismiss these thoughts, as I am trying to eat healthier. Yet the thought of this delicatable treat would no die and I broke down and made it, and you want to know what? I did not feel guilty. Not. One. Bit.

INGREDIENTS

-Strawberries (as much as you want but I bought a big carton full, which is about 4-5 servings)
-1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
-3/4 cup sugar (for cake) 1/2 cup - 2 cups sugar (for strawberries)
-2 1/2 tsp baking soda
-3/4 cup milk
-1/3 cup shortening
-1 egg
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
-1/2 tsp salt
-Whip Cream

DIRECTIONS
1. Slice the strawberries into small pieces.  Place in bowl and sprinkle with sugar to taste. The sugar is what breaks the strawberries down and creates the juice, so use somewhere between 1/2 cup to 2 cups depending on your number of strawberries. Cover and then place in the fridge for a couple hours.  The longer you leave the strawberries the more juice there will be!

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

3. Grease and lightly flour a 9 inch pie pan

4. In small mixing bowl combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking soda, milk, shortening, egg, vanilla, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until blended.

5. Place in pie pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and let cool.

6. To serve, cut a piece of the cake in half.  Cover middle of the cake piece with the strawberries, making sure to get a lot of the juice.  Place top of the cake piece on and cover with more strawberries and whip cream to taste.

Enjoy!

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April 15, 2010

Toby's Third Birthday

(Photo Credit: Ryan) 

My "little buddy" yorkshire terrior Toby turns 3 years old today.  This dog is the world's sweetest most outgoing pup in the entire world so he deserved his own birthday post. After all, you can't show favoritism amongst your kids, right?

(Photo Credit: Ryan)

I got Toby the summer before my second year of law school.  My thought process was this: I had always been a huge dog lover and had spent my entire life waiting for the age in which I could handle a dog.  My dreams of moving to New York and becoming a big time lawyer were over- I didn't like New York and I didn't want a big time corporate legal job.  What I wanted was for my life to calm down, I wanted to be closer to my family and I wanted to work on creating an "adult life." I don't know what "creating an adult life" means for everybody else, but for me it meant finally getting a dog of my very own.

(Photo Credit: Ryan)

I rationalized getting a puppy during that summer because (1) I was living at home for the summer, so my Mom could watch a new puppy during the day while I was at work (2) The firm I was working for was literally one mile from my house, so I could sneak home often for lots of attention and walks.  (3) I was in law school, which meant for the next two years I would be home often during the day to take him outside and get out all that puppy energy. 

(Photo Credit: Ryan)

I made a lot of mistakes in my first puppy adoption.  I knew I wanted a small dog because I needed a pup I could keep in an apartment.  My family always got rescue dogs growing up, but seeing as I was in Idaho you can't get a small puppy at a shelter.  Nobody has small dogs thus all the dogs in shelters are big farm dogs.  So I went through a breeder who was kind of far away, who seemed really nice, but I never visited her place (mistake).  She agreed to meet me halfway to get Toby, and the second I laid eyes on him I was in love.  He was the fluffiest SMALLEST sweetest dog in the entire world.  There was just one problem. 

(Photo Credit: Ryan)

He didn't move. Like, at all. He didn't run around. He didn't chase things. He didn't bark.  He just slept ALL THE TIME. The breeder warned me it might take awhile for him to warm up to his new environment, so when he went a couple days without eating much I was nervous but told myself it had to be normal? I tried everything to get him to eat. He wouldn't eat hard food, so I bought 5 different kinds of soft food and tried to get him to lick it off my fingers.  Nothing.  I was in a constant battle with myself.  He was only two pounds, how much do two pound dogs eat? It can't be that much, but surely more then this.  Finally I took him to the vet for his first week check-up a couple days early.  I told the vet the problem and the second she laid her hands on him her eyes got very concerned.  She explained to me that he was literally starving himself to death and she didn't know if he was going to survive

I am pretty sure my heart stopped beating.  Right there. 

Even to this day it brings tears to my eyes.  I felt terrible.  I was kicking myself for not bringing him into the doctor earlier.  All I could think about was how I would never, ever forgive myself if this precious little puppy died in my care. Ever. 

The vet brought in some soft food that she said had a really high fat content that they fed to dogs that were really sick and losing weight.  She claimed that even really sick dogs would eat it because it tasted so good, but that if Toby didn't eat any they were going to have to put him on an IV. She popped open the can of food next to where Toby was laying and what did that little stinker do?  HE JUMPED UP AND ATE THE WHOLE CAN. I tried five different dog food brands and could never get him to eat anything, but that food? He gobbled it down with no hesitation.  I have never been more happy in my life to see that ball of fur stuffing his face.


From that day forward he has been a little ball of energy. He is now a whopping five pounds, loves to go on long walks, play in the snow, and be on your lap at all times.  I was in love with my new constant companion.


One of the prerequisites for me to date anybody was their love for Toby, so when I started dating Dan shortly after starting school that year I was pleasantly surprised at how attached Toby was to Dan (and vice versa).  It actually made me a little jealous to see Toby suddenly disregard me and follow Dan around like, well, a puppy.  Yet Toby is a big reason why I knew I liked Dan, as one of our first conversations revolved around our mutual love for dogs and how we both planned on having lots of dogs when we got older (que Kadira).


Its weird to think that Toby is now three, just because three years ago I was in such a different place in my life.  But oh what I joy this little dog brings to me on a daily basis.

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Cheeseburger Pie


Last weekend I made Cheeseburger Pie. I don't know why, it didn't even sound that good. It just looked easy and I thought it would taste like a casserole. Well it did not taste like a casserole. It also did not taste good.

This will not be going in My Cookbook, but it is the 11th recipe I tried in 2010. 

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April 13, 2010

365 Project Photos 3/11-4/11

Back in the day I used to write a lot. You know, old school writing, with a pen and paper  for hours every night filling books of journals with all my angsty teenage thoughts. It is something that I have just stopped doing over the past few years. Maybe because I got over my teenage angst?  Or maybe it has just turned into adult angst which is really boring. Either way, I miss writing but I do not think I could write with the same passion about my everyday life like I used to.  I do, however, want to keep some kind of journal just to keep track of everything that happens so when I am old and can't remember anything I can annoy people in the nursing home with my piles of cataloged memories.  This blog has done that to a degree, but I still don't post about a lot of things because they are either private or boring. In order to remedy this void I decided to do a modified 365 day project where I take a photo every day for a year starting on my 26th birthday and try to write a little snippet of what happened that day.  I was a little concerned about my ability to keep up with the project, but the first month has gone really well.  While I do not think I am going to share every picture, I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorites once a month.  Here are my favorites from March 11 through April 11th. 


March 14
I already wrote about Little Miss Emily, our foster dog for a couple hours. I love this picture so much I had to post it again.


 March 28
The weather in Dallas has been fabulous and I am trying to soak up every minute outside before it becomes unbearably hot here in a couple months.  One of my favorite places is to take Kadira to the nature preserve about a half hour away from where we live and wander through the miles of paved roads and unpaved trails.  It is so beautiful there and makes me feel outdoorsy...even though it is a gated park in the middle of a neighborhood.


March 31 
Do you ever wake up needing a cupcake?  Like your whole body is aching for some sugar and unless you get some you will obsess about it all day?  If so, then this picture speaks for itself. 


April 9
One of the hardest things about the project is the feeling that you need to take a picture of something really cool every day.  Well I realized rather quickly my life is not cool everyday, so I had to get over that really fast.  One of the challenges is capturing images of every day life, which is (unfortunately) where this picture comes from.



April 2
Kadira's first birthday was on April 2, and I felt the need to memorialize the event with a picture despite her insistence to not sit still.  This was literally the one moment she stopped moving the entire time we were in the backyard


April 3
Easter was a little blah this year, one of the many reasons I dislike living 1420.58 miles  away from my family (yes I mapquested it). Nonetheless we made the best of it and dyed some Easter eggs for old times sake.  I think they turned out pretty amazing.

Does anybody else do a 365 Project? 

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April 12, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


I know that there is a tendency to skip over reviews of books, especially ones you have not read. So if you are going to skip over this post, just remember one thing: THIS BOOK MUST GO ON YOUR TO-READ LIST. 

I have known my best friend Maria since I was 12, and since that day we have had dramatically different taste in books (other then our shared love for Harry Potter...and that does not count because everybody loves Harry Potter).  She has always been somewhat of a literary buff, while I have been more about the fluff and fluttery girly books with no substance.  I distinctly remember in our AP English class where the rest of our class wrote our thesis on some historically significant event, and Maria offered to do her paper on a Jane Austin novel.  This choice was beyond me, I couldn't even get THROUGH Jane Austin without Cliff Notes.  Maria went on to college where she studied English Literature and read all those fantsy pantsy novels that bore me to tears.

Which is why when she got in the car when I picked her up at the airport a couple weeks ago and handed me "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak I was skeptical.  She said it was one of her favorite books, and I had to read it.  This did not bode well in Maria's favor as I stared at the back cover and skimmed the roughly 550 pages. "Just try it!" she said, "it goes much faster then you think."

The good news was I was desperately trying to make my way through two books, one a fluffy piece of chick lit, the other a serious autobiography on the status of our criminal justice system, and a total yawner.  So I figured that I had nothing to lose and gave "The Book Thief" a try.

The first 200 pages were slow for me.  The book is narrated by death, a bit odd, and is separated into parts, chapters, and mini subsections with bold headings.  It took me awhile to get into the groove of Zusak's writing style, but once I did I was hooked. I finished the last 300 pages in less then 24 hours, completely desperate to find out what happened Liesel Meminger and those who resided on Himmel Street.

Without giving too much away, the book is about a young German foster child who goes to live with a family right before WWII breaks out.  Much of the book is character development, short stories about all the people who live up and down Himmel Street where the young girl resides. You see how the war, the condemnation of the Jews, and the rise of Hitler affects different members of Jewish society.  From those who fully embrace it, to those who just deal with it, to those who try to keep it out of their life.  Its a fascinating perspective on how the war affected the German public, and the writing is just breathtaking.  The story is crafted with such perfection that it will make you constantly shuffling through the pages you already read to see how it was all tied together.

And the ending...oh the ending...you know me and my endings.  They have to be perfect. They have to take my breath away and they have to satisfy me in a way so that I could not have possibly envisioned the book ending any other way.

This book did not disappoint.

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April 11, 2010

Sunday Post

Head on over to Seven Dames a Week to read my Sunday Post "Artistic Expression or Inappropriate Ambush?" where I discuss the current controversy taking place in my little city and ask you to weigh in. 

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April 8, 2010

March in Review

March totals were as follows:

I tried FIVE new recipes: Country Style Chicken Kiev, Orange Teriyaki Beef with Noodles, Homemade Lasagna, Lemon Greek Chicken, and a Steak Sandwich. So far this year I have tried TEN new recipes total. I feel like I should add a fish recipe to my culinary conquests, but for some reason cooking fish really intimidates me.  If you have any favorites you think I should try please, please email them to me at duolynoted@gmail.com (and it doesn't have to be a fish recipe, any recipe you enjoy would be great!)

I did not read a single book in March, but in fairness to me, I am in the middle of three books.  The first two I just could not get through....they were boring....but I have finally landed on The Book Thief, and after a slow start I am finding that I am enjoying it very much.  I am having trouble lately carving time out to read, which is silly because really, what better things do I have to do?  Yet for some reason I always feel like I should be doing something else.  At least when I am watching TV I can do another activity to make the time spent at least FEEL productive. I cannot do that while reading a book.  This probably all revolves around my absolute inability to just sit and be still, but I have never been one who is very good at shutting off my brain and reading for hours. Shortly into sitting down I think "I need to do this!" and the book is abandoned.  This months goal is to let myself read and not feel guilty.

I also hit my goal of running 40 miles in the month of March, 80.25 miles total for 2010. I am particularly proud of this since I did not start running again until March 14th...and in order to hit my goal of 40 miles I had to log 15 miles in three days.  I have been using a facebook application called "I Just Ran" to keep track of each run, and so far it has worked out great.  The good news is that April has started off really strong, and I have been running a lot and am even running The Big D 5K on Sunday (anybody else going to be there?).  I am not ready to do the half marathon, but I am excited to run my second race in 2010 and maybe get up the courage to try a 10K or a half later this summer. Although I must admit, now that my daily mileage is increasing to 6 or 7 mile runs I have been suffering from some serious pain in both my shins and my knees.  I am going to have to suck it up and log more hours on the elliptical until my legs get stronger.  My goal is to log 50 miles in the month of April.

Any recipe suggestions? 
Good books I should try?
Local Dallas area races coming up I should run?

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April 6, 2010

Just Our Luck

There are lots of things we didn't think about when we decided to move from an apartment to a house. Like...we are going to need to build buying our own fridge, washer, and drier into the cost of first months rent. Also, a lawn mower. It just never crossed our minds. The good news is that for the first half of the year our yard has required very little maintenance.  Upon moving into the house the backyard was pretty much all dirt and the front yard was a mixture of mud, weeds, and grass (good ol' rentals that accept dogs...). Some guy would come to our house every week or so and offer $10 to mow and we would happily agree. The process has worked well for most of the year.

This month our front yard went on a growth spurt, and things were looking a bit atrocious. We kept waiting for the random lawn mower guy to come around but he never did. I started becoming self conscious that we were becoming "those neighbors" who never mow, so this weekend Dan and I took matters into our own non green thumb hands.

We raked, we pruned, we weeded, we paid people to mow and trim (ha!). I have never pruned bushes before, but found the task oddly satisfying.  I resisted cutting them into little dancing animal shapes.  We also have a tree that likes to puke leaves year round that wreaks havoc on every bit of our yard. Since moving here we have literally gone through more bags of leaves then I care to admit. This was what we got this time around:


By hour four we were really proud of our front yard.  It looked fabulous.  Best on the block.

Then we headed off to get the oil changed in my car. Upon our return drive home, we reflected on how nice it was going to be to pull up to a nice yard.  Then we turned the corner to our street and saw this:


A stupid tree branch fell and spurted leaves all over our perfectly manicured lawn.

Our neighbor walked by and shouted "you missed a branch!"

Sigh. 

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April 2, 2010

This is Doggy Blogging

Today is our sweet baby girl's FIRST BIRTHDAY (click HERE to see the breeders pictures of that fateful day!).  I cannot believe that she is an entire year old.  Actually, yes I can.  It has been one hell of tough year with this dog, but it has all been worth it (but do NOT tell anybody I said that).


Let us start at the beginning, when we first decided to get a German Shepherd puppy.  I don't know what we were thinking but we knew we wanted to get a big dog and we wanted one that was smart.  One of my favorite dog growing up was Dakota, a German Shepherd/Lab mix and I had always wanted to get a German Shepherd when I was older.  Dan just wanted a big dog that he was not embarrassed to walk alongside Toby. 

We deposited last and thus got last pick of the litter, but we didn't mind.  All the puppies were so cute and I don't know how we would have picked anyways. What we didn't realize was while we got last pick of the litter, our little girl already had her eye on us?  See that pup with the red color gazing up at Dan on our fist visit? Yep, that's our little girl.


I should have known she was going to be a little terror when I took these pictures of her rough housing with her sisters...she still tries to get everyone to do what she wants them to by biting them.


Dan was beyond excited to pick Kadira up, and begged and pleaded for us to go get her right after the honeymoon.  Literally. We got off the plane, picked up some supplies, and drove to pick up our new puppy. Even though she was only ten weeks, she was already pretty big, at least bigger then I expected.  We decided to name her Kadira (Ka-deer-A), an African name meaning "powerful."  Upon telling one of my friends this name she burst out in laughter proclaiming "Oh GOD! You are like the couple that names their children Apple or Sparrow! Dorks!"

Don't worry, she can totally pull off.


Then it was time for Kadira to meet the spoiled, much smaller, older brother.


At first, the two got along rather well.  This did not last long.


Soon they were fighting over toys...


....and rough housing in a manner that would quickly get out of hand considering how one of the dogs is breakable.  I thought I was going to lose my mind trying to study for the bar and constantly breaking up dogs fights. 


When we first got her I thought this was big.  I mean in fairness, I was used to a five pound yorkie so a 25 pound 10 week old puppy was a bit of an adjustment.  Now she is over 90 pounds and this looks so small.


And lets not forgot those ears! Those floppy little ears that were so big and awkward..


Until literally one day they just popped up and never went back down.


She always makes us laugh, from her love of ice cubes....


...to her fear of the other dogs at the dog park...


...to her absolute refusal to believe that she no longer fits in Toby's bed....


She is utterly obsessed with Dan and follows him everywhere.  She knows exactly when he comes home everyday and stares out the window in anxious anticipation of his arrival.


And despite the fact that I have spent the majority of this year complaining about my unwanted role as the dog's 24 hour babysitter, I must admit it is nice having some company on those long days where I get lonely and board. Plus she lets me take lots of pictures of her.


She goes on more walks and hikes then she knows what to do with, and I credit her for keeping us active.


Additionally, she is one hell of a Frisbee player and fast as a jackrabbit.  Okay, maybe not quite as fast a jackrabbit as she has yet to catch any that she chases, but she has got perilously close.  Her quick legs also saved her from being attacked by a Pit Bull on a walk where she broke free from the leash and sprinted the half mile home only to be found hiding in the garage.


She is one hell of a pretty German Shepherd if I do say so myself, and over the last couple months has changed so much.  Where she used to be too much to handle, constantly jumping and biting to where I broke down in tears of frustration (and pain because I was bleeding) more times then I can count, there is a sudden calmness about her.  To her sweet, gentle nature playing with Toby to her rolling on her back every time I walk in the room in hopes I will rub her belly. Finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel where I can enjoy her and not worry about what she is going to do next.


Doesn't she look so much like her Mama?  She was never supposed to be this dark, her Dad was black and tan but she has just never lightened up.


My pet name for her is "pretty girl."  

Happy Birthday Pretty Girl, thank you bringing so much excitement (and love) into our life.

(The title is a play on THIS blog post) 

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