Health, Love & Fire: October 2014

It pays to know people . . . in wine!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Today not only happens to be Humpday, but it is also my sweet mother's birthday! In honor of her birthday this past weekend we rented out a room at the local winery that Dan works at part time and invite some friends to join us for a relaxing Saturday of wine tasting, snacks and good company. You know I am always up for a party, especially if I get a hand in planning it, and I had so much fun putting this together for one of my favorite people!

It turned out to be the perfect day for it, because we got a fall rain storm that brought tons of wind, rain and power outages. So what better way to spend a stormy day than inside with some wine! I made sure to prepare lots of food for people to snack on so that no one was left hungry and so people would stay and relax for a while. We even got a tour of the production space where all the magic of making wine happens from Dan (it pays to know people). So we snacked on fruit, veggies, cheeses, meats, chips, salsa, crackers and hummus for hours while we talked and drank delicious wine!

My mom had a fabulous day and truly enjoyed the relaxing afternoon with friends and family. I'm so glad I could put something together to celebrate her, since she is always the one organizing things for us! And if you ever get the chance to visit Stoller Family Estate, make sure you invite us, cause remember, we know people who can give you a tour!

Happy birthday Mom! I hope you have the most fabulous day, because you absolutely deserve it! I couldn't have picked a better mother or friend to go through life with! And I can't wait to be "neighbors" in just a few short weeks! Love you!!

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Home is where your stuff is . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

As I was sitting on the couch bundled up in my favorite blanket Sunday morning after we had deep cleaned the entire house (while both the roommates were gone) I decided since I've talked so much about this place we are currently living in while in Limbo between houses, that I should share it with you. One, to document it so I can look back on this time and remember how grateful I am to not be there anymore, and two, so you can all see where we are currently living. (because I know I like home tours, and I hope I'm not alone). SO without further ado, here's our current "home". . .

Front view of the house . . . I happened the snap this pic at a break in the rain storm we've been in the past few days!
The living room from the front door side of the house. Straight ahead to the left is the kitchen & laundry room and to the right is our roommate's room and our bathroom. 
This is the other side of the living room looking from the kitchen. On the left is the door to our room and the right is the front door. (don't mind the broken curtain rod, between the cats and our roommate's dog, the curtains don't stand a chance) 

 The kitchen, looking towards the living room 
The dining table. And to the right of the picture is the door to the laundry room. 
This is the laundry area (I try to stay out of here as much as possible) 
Our bathroom, including the strangest decorating of a toilet I've ever seen. (It took me weeks to not feel the need to hover every time I needed to use the bathroom!) 

 And finally our room, complete with a bed, three dressers and a small closet! 

We've really tried to limit the extra things we've purchased while we're waiting for our house to be done (hopefully three more weeks!!) so that we can save and really make our next place what we want it to be. Unfortunately, that means most days by the end of the night, I'm SO ready for our new home! We were very lucky that we knew someone who would allow us to rent a room for a few months until our place is finished, especially considering we come with an entourage that includes a dog and two cats. But we are so ready for our own place and our own space! Just a little bit longer and the next home tour will be amazing!! 

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Wineries, Cleaning & New House Shopping At Target

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday morning we meet again! I this weekend was filled with fun time on Saturday and unfortunately Sunday was spent with me a little under the weather.

Friday night we helped my mother in-law paint her new bedroom at her new house because she got her keys on Friday afternoon. We finished off the night watching my Oregon Ducks crush Cal.

We hosted my mom's birthday party at the winery Dan works at part time. Don't worry, I'll have a post coming soon that highlights the entire fabulous party. It of course just increased my love of party planning!

We spent most of the day at home cleaning the house and getting ready for the week. I got up enough energy to do some shopping for our new place (the bags and new purchases are starting to fill up my car).

So I will leave you with a few pictures and the opportunity to win a $50 gift card to Target that myself an some other fabulous ladies are hosting (cause who doesn't love Target)! I hope everyone else had a great weekend & has a quick and painless week ahead!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Things you learn from your loved ones

Friday, October 24, 2014

I have some of the greatest friends and family a girl could ask for. We celebrate birthdays and holidays together, are constantly texting and have lots of fun and interesting memories. So without giving away which one of them taught me certain things, I thought it would be fun to put together a fun list of things I have learned from my friends. (don't worry, I won't get any of you in trouble by admitting which one of you taught me this)

You can actually check in on Facebook to the local police department's jail/holding cell (don't worry, no one was actually in trouble)

How much soap it takes to foam up a friend's front yard water fountain, and how said friend reacts when they realize what has happened

How to properly photobomb someone (preferably a stranger)

You're never too old to visit a water park or dress up . . . and also that the best place to celebrate your 30th birthday is definitely Disneyland

Photo booths are the best addition to any party . . . oh wait, maybe I taught them that, along with the fact that the bigger the better is the motto when it comes to Christmas Trees!

The best and most memorable gift for a white elephant party is your old retainer from 7th grade, people will talk about it for years and be truly impressed at your guts and imagination!

You're supposed to enjoy a flambongo of expensive champagne instead of just a glass at midnight on New Years Eve. For those of you who don't know what a flambongo is, think flamingo yard ornament with a hole in its butt and its mouth that becomes similar to a beer bong)

If you're trying to get a reservation at a fancy restaurant at the last minute, be really nice and overly chatty telling the person on the line how great you've heard their food is, and how its a special night out. The downside to this is when that person ends up seating you when you arrive and remembers you from your awkward phone conversation.

As long as you have a tuxedo t-shirt, you can be considered dressed in formal wear.

Roller derby is one of the greatest sports . . . and that I can fit 8 regular sized marshmallows in my mouth at once and still be able to say roller derby, but that's still more than my husband! See what I mean Here.

Halloween is way more fun if you decorate your entire garage and sit outside to scare potential trick-or-treaters . . . you also end up with more candy left over when you do this because less people attempt to walk up to your home

If you don't have a tall enough ladder, just put a smaller ladder on top of your dining room table in order to reach whatever you're trying to reach. Note, this does work when trying to install a ceiling fan.

You can actually fit two kayaks, 6 oars, 4 lifejackets, 1 raft, and 4 people into one Honda Pilot.

See what I mean? I have some awesome friends & family! What crazy or hilarious things have your friends or family taught you? 

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A sweet and savory way to my heart!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Clearly my husband knows me pretty well and totally has this husband of a blogger thing down seeing as we were trying to decide what to do Sunday afternoon and one of his questions was "well is there anything you're wanted to blog about". He knows the way to my heart, how to read what's on my mind, and is apparently going for the husband of the year award since he had already attended the HomeGoods grand opening earlier that day with me (talk about an over-achiever)! For a few weeks I'd been thinking about making a tasty fall appetizer, especially after getting some inspiration on Pinterest. (I mean, does anyone even look anywhere else nowadays?) So after getting some other things accomplished and making a quick trip to the store, I was ready to try creating a fun new recipe.

When Dan and I first started dating, it was no secret that I hated cooking. Growing up, both my parents were awesome cooks, so while I learned a bit from helping them in the kitchen, I never really had to get too good at preparing a meal because they were always so great at it. Truthfully, I probably could have offered to cook a bit more often, but live and learn I suppose. My fear of failure and constant need to always be good at things was one of the main reasons I've been afraid of cooking. It's only been in the past few years that I've really branched out and started to enjoy preparing meals and trying out new recipes. (so if you're like me, don't worry there's still hope!) But I'm a recipe gal. Meaning I will cook anything as long as I have a recipe to follow. You don't find me creating my own dishes or tampering with proven recipes too often, so I'm sure my husband was a bit surprised to see me creating my own recipe last night, but after a few bites, I think we were both glad I did! So moral of the story, this turned out to be an awesome fall appetizer, and you should never be afraid to try things in the kitchen.

Sweet & Savory Fall Galette

Unfortunately the pictures truly don't do this dish justice . . . I'm counting down the minutes till I'm in my new kitchen & can really showcase some awesome recipes! 

1/2 Sweet Potato
1 Small Pear
1/4 Sweet Onion
1 Pie Crust
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
1 tps Salt
1/2 Cup Gorgonzola Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Take the pie crust out of the fridge to warm up. (I used pre made pie crust because I'm lazy, but you can definitely use homemade as well). Thinly slice up the sweet potato, pear and onion. Lay out the pie crust on a cookie sheet or baking dish. Arrange the sweet potato, pear and onion evenly along the pie crust, leaving about an inch between the fillings and the edge of the crust. The fold and crimp the excess dough over the edges. Brush the galette with olive oil. Add the gorgonzola cheese and balsamic vinegar. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown.

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Making Mondays a little brighter

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ahh Monday, the best day of the week . . . said no one ever. I'm still over here living out of boxes and day dreaming of home decor as my car gets filled with more and more bags of new home items. I figure it's far easier to continue to pile all my new house purchases in the back of my car, less trips back and forth and when the clouds part and we're finally given the keys all those shiny new (or antique) items will be ready to find there perfect place in our new home!

This weekend was fairly uneventful and included shopping, family time, and a bit of packing. Friday night I stayed at my parents . . . any vacation away from the roommates is a welcomed one, and since my mom has been out of town for the last couple weeks I enjoyed some mother-daughter time. Catching up on episodes of Chicago Fire & Greys and some girl talk over wine made for a pretty perfect Friday night. Saturday included a visit to our new house, some home shopping and of course an evening watching the Oregon Duck game. And we ended our weekend on Sunday with a trip to the grand opening of the new HomeGoods in town, some sightseeing around Portland, helping my mother in-law pack some more and a nice relaxing evening with Dan. All and all a good weekend, and as always never long enough!

I'm truly lucky that he lets me drag him around to things such as a HomeGoods grand opening early on a Sunday morning! Thankfully I perked him up with some Starbucks first! 

And since I definitely need to slow down on my shopping habit, one for the sake of my bank account and the other because I'm running out of room in the back of my car, I have an awesome giveaway for all of you!

This giveaway will be live from 12:00am EST on October -- through 12:00am on October --. Open to US residents only. All entries are verified. Winner will be contacted via email and has 48 hours to respond and claim prize or a new winner will be randomly chosen by the Rafflecopter.

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We have progress people!

Friday, October 17, 2014

I swear I get more and more depressed every time I drive by our new house hoping to see someone working or something getting done only to find it as a ghost town. It's torture really! So you can imagine my surprise when we drove by and saw a white van out front. (Building a house is probably the only time you truly get excited about an unmarked white van being parked outside of your house).  I rushed inside to figure out what they were doing and as soon as I walked in the garage and saw the backsplash tile I had chosen my face lit up! COUNTERTOPS!! For over a week the only progress I've been greeted with was news of it taking longer and a couple dump truck loads of gravel (not exactly the excitement I was looking for). This process has been literally like watching paint dry, except the paint was dry 10 days ago and we're still playing this same waiting game! So seeing something happening literally renewed my excitement and faith that this is all happening! Unfortunately the guy was still working when we drove by later and it was getting dark, and Dan wouldn't let me get in the way of his nifty saw with the water that he was using to cut the tiles with (like my highly sophisticated lingo), so I'll post more pictures next week, or on my Instagram too.

In order to put in the flooring and other finishing touches we need the power company to come actually hook up power to the house (seems easy enough to me), but we are still waiting on that. And the longer this whole thing takes, the more frustrated I get with our roommates. Each time we are on our drive home Dan and I take bets on whether or not we think his girlfriend will be there or not. It's one game I definitely won't miss playing.

All that's left as far as decisions go for the house are all the decorative details. We are currently in search of a dining room table and trying to decide between purchasing one or making our own. After a few trips to different antique stores and salvage yards we are still unsure of which to go with. Our plan is to visit a few more places this weekend and try to come to some decision. I have visions of this beautiful farmhouse table, but have to be pretty specific about size (oh and I also don't want to spend a million dollars like my husband is more willing to do), so the search is still on. Here's what I'm envisioning if you have any suggestions on where to look!
Our floors will be light wood and our cabinets are white, so I'm trying to find something that will go with the whole feel and look of that space. I'm in that place where I have a vision in my head and just know there's something out there exactly like what I'm thinking of in my head (please tell me I'm not the only irrational one who does this). Here's a little sneak peak at what the flooring, countertops, pendant lights, dining room light and backsplash are going to look like, plus also think white subway tile! 

I hope you're getting as excited as I am, well maybe not that excite since it won't be your house and if you were as excited as me that would be a little weird, but I hope you're looking forward to seeing it all come together! 

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Watching our close date come and go

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall has officially landed here in the pacific northwest, and as I write this I am currently drinking some cinnamon apple chamomile tea and listening to the drizzle of rain outside my window. I don't think I'd mind the cooler temperatures and the smell of rain as much if I hadn't packed nearly all of my fall/winter clothes into storage till our house is done and if I wasn't so lazy that I don't feel like searching the three different storage locations that are currently home to our entire lives. #libbyfail. So until the awaited day that I finally get to move out of the 10x10 room and into our brand new home, you can find me rewiring the same three sweaters.

On the topic of the house, every week it seems like things keep changing (and not necessarily in the way I want them to). While last week the cabinets did finish getting installed and they brought more gravel and pipes to work on the road, I have yet to see that anticipated "road closed" sign go up, meaning they are actually paving the road which in turn will get us closer to our move in date! Unfortunately the road project (meaning the three lots that the road needs to be finished in front of) has taken years months longer than it was supposed to, which means our move in date keeps getting pushed back. Our original close date was today, and now it looks like we will be lucky if the house is finished in the next month and the loan closes before Christmas. We are in the process of working with our real estate agent and our builders to work out a deal where we could move in once the house is done and rent from them till the road is completely finish and all inspected (which is the soonest we can close on the loan). If that plan doesn't come through, we will have to sit and look at a finished home where the road is just waiting on final inspections for 45 days, which means my husband will be married to a very cranky wife! Keep your fingers crossed it all comes together so that we can move in and rent before Thanksgiving!

The cabinets almost finished being installed (now the plywood for the counters is also finished and just waiting our granite tile) 

Here are the paint colors I've been trying to decide between for the interior of the house. I posted this on my instagram and got lots of suggestions, but always open to more :)
  Could they pile more garbage in my front yard? C'mon people, don't you know your crap is getting in the way of my photos! 
Here are the exterior paint colors I've been thinking about using, do you like? 

So other than the nightly drive bys we do one our house and our normal work schedules (Dan at the Fire Department and Winery, and me at the University) we've been keeping my Dad company while my mom is out of town and working on planning a birthday party for her when she returns. Life has been fairly uneventful, but thankfully time has been passing a bit quicker. Once we have everything in writing about our move in date, renting, and closing I think I'll feel a little less stressed about the whole thing. Oh that and we also have to move Dan's mom into her new house in the next couple weeks, could there be worse better timing! At least Dan will be used to moving all those boxes by the time we finally get our keys! So while all of you share your awesome fall home decor posts and your pumpkin patch trips, I'll be over here stalking our builders and counting down the days till I can move in and start decorating our place! Just be prepared for home decor overload since I've been unable to do any of that for the last 4 months. Consider yourself warned! Because I mean, there's not much I can do with a room that looks like this!

Yes basically everything I have been using for the last three months and anything I do at home happens in that 10x10 room. Boy will our new house feel spacious!

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It ain't easy not eating meat!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One of the reasons I find it difficult to be a vegetarian, or in my case a pescatarian is meal planning. Especially while we are waiting for our house to be finished, we find ourselves eating out a lot! But after a long day at work, sometimes I just want to get in my sweats and stay at home. So today I thought I would share one of my favorite easy meals for our busy lives.

One of my go-to protein sources the past few months has been shrimp. It's easy to cook and it doesn't take long at all to prepare. This entire meal took only about 25 minutes from start to finish. And when I get home at 6:00, the last thing I want to do is take an hour to make a meal. 

Parmesan Risotto
Now I have been known to make this from scratch in the past, but I'll be honest and tell you that in a hurry, I am all about using this box recipe! All you need is some water and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Seriously in a hurry, it's the perfect tasty solution! It takes about 25 minutes to make. I usually start this first as I prepare the rest of the meal and it all finishes at about the same time. 

You can find this brand at Whole Foods, New Seasons and hopefully your local grocery story. If not, you can always order it Here

Grilled Zucchini
I cut the zucchini the long way in thin slices, added a little salt and pepper on each side and put them on the grill for about 10 minutes on each side so that they were no longer crunchy, but not falling apart. 

Garlic and White Wine Shrimp
I saved the shrimp for last, since they only take about three minutes to cook. I bought these from whole foods and purposely bought them deveined and without the tails so that it would be easier for me to prepare. I added a bit of seafood seasoning, some white wine and garlic to a small pan and sautéed the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes. It really is that easy! 

I made this twice in the last two weeks and both Dan and my Dad loved it, and I loved that it tasted so great but took so little time! When finding things without meat can be difficult, it's nice creating recipes that don't make Dan wish we were eating beef or chicken and that make me feel like I'm still a normal eater. Sometimes it can feel like you're just being picky or that you're making it harder for those around you to eat the same things, so this helps meld our two pallets!
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