Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin pride (and pancakes)

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I'm geekily excited for our first Halloween in our house tonight. Bring it on, cute kiddos! I hope I have enough candy for you. You'll be greeted with a scary jack o'lantern and a happy jack o'lantern. Your parents will be greeted with this, our "Wow, who is that cool couple and just how much do I want to be friends with them?" jack o'lantern:


(sort of)

Speaking of pumpkins, here's a recipe you've got to make asap. Since it's Monday, that might mean you're waiting until Saturday to make it, but honestly, don't wait any longer than that.

I'm historically not a pancake person - too heavy, and not nearly as fun as the crispiness of a good waffle. These pancakes, though, are changing my tune entirely. I think the difference comes in separating the eggs, then beating the egg whites before folding them into the batter last. It's a technique I'll use for all pancakes going forward. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pancakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit, found here

Serves 2, double for more

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (if you don't have any, using 1/2 cup all-purpose flour is fine)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, egg yolks, melted butter, and vanilla extract together, mixing well until smooth.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing with a spatula until just combined.
4. In another small bowl, using an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat the egg whites until thick and stiff.
5. Gently fold the egg whites into the pancake batter, mixing until smooth.
6. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan or griddle over medium heat.
7. Lightly spray the pan with cooking spray, and, in 1/4-cup increments, cook each pancake until lightly browned on each side, about 1 minute per side.
8.  Repeat with the remaining batter.
9.  Top with your favorite syrup, and enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday I'm in Love

I'm looking forward to carving some pumpkins and doing some fall cooking this weekend... how about you? In the meantime:

Generation Catalano

As a generational in-betweener, I've never felt quite at home in either the Generation X or Millennial categories. The "Generation Catalano" label, then, fits the bill nicely, although the piece is a tad short on analysis. Generational divides are so interesting to me. I think this split in perspectives can also be applied to many personal blogs, now that I think of it. Discuss. (And for you fellow My So-Called Life-ers, does it get any better than Jezebel's breakup letter to Jordan through the eyes of adulthood? I think not.)

The High Comedy of Local Government

My profession pre-disposes me to love Parks & Recreation... but even if I hadn't been in more than my share of public meetings, I'd love it anyway. Leslie Knope? Ron Swanson? Treat Yo Self? Comedic gold! That said, the professional hiccups in the Swanee Parks Department are the ones that get me giggling the hardest. This interview from the excellent Atlantic Cities gets to the root of why I know those plotlines all too well... the high comedy that is real-life local government. Save Whiskers!

A Little Something Pumpkin...

Or, you know, a mind-blowing enormous thing of pumpkin. Okay then, Grant Achatz. You win.

On that note, I'm so excited to greet our neighborhood trick-or-treaters on Monday! Next week I'll be celebrating our six-month (plus a little extra) anniversary in the house with some fun renovation report-backs and a neat surprise, so stay tuned!

PS: Don't forget to enter the big Oreck giveaway!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Love in a bowl

This is my favorite dish in DC these days: duck ragu gnocchi at Bibiana.

I can't get enough of this stuff.

Imagine, if you can, the sheer smokiness of this dish. On a cold and rainy night, eating Bibiana's duck gnocchi is the culinary equivalent of curling up by a fireplace. It begs for pinot noir. It looks deceptively simple, and then you begin to eat, and you cannot help but close your eyes and make an unfit-for-a-restaurant sound with your mouth.

I assumed the dish's bold flavor came from smoking the duck, but when I asked, our waiter told me that it's actually the potatoes that are smoked before they're turned into gnocchi. Here's where he blew my mind: The basic preparation for these potatoes - used both in this dish and in Bibiana's sweetbreads - involves hay smoking. I'm going to assume you're as unfamiliar as I was with the concept. Here's what it involves: an industrial-sized dutch oven in the Bibiana kitchen, filled with hay save for a bare spot in the middle. The center of the dutch oven is filled with potatoes, surrounded by the border of hay. The hay is then set on fire and the lid to the oven is closed.

I'm dying to hay-smoke something now.

And also, cook some duck. My sister's family is coming for Thanksgiving (!!!), and we're leaning away from turkey because we'll be eating so much of it the previous and following weekends with the rest of the fam. I don't want to go all Julia this Thanksgiving, so I'm not looking for anything extreme, but if you have a favorite simple duck recipe, I'd love to have a look. I'm thinking in keeping with our low-key approach, some simple breasts, maybe dressed with a decadent sauce that'll give them a Thanksgiving feel. So far the recipe that appeals most is in Alice Water's 'The Art of Simple Food'... it's very, very simple, but without a sauce. Any ideas?

But back to the dish at hand: please go to Bibiana for this duck and this hay-smoked gnocchi if you're local or visiting. If you're not in the mood for a night-out kind of dinner, try a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine at the bar. Hopefully your seatmates won't mind the sounds you'll be making.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oreck Steam-It Review and Giveaway!

Update: Contest now closed - winner will be announced tomorrow!

Hi folks! I'm here today with a review and giveaway that would absolutely make my teenage self roll my eyes... but makes my adult home-owning self oh so happy! (See Mom, I do my chores!)

The huge prize up for grabs is... a steam mop from Oreck!

The Oreck Steam-It comes with six different attachments to help you clean a variety of surfaces... including floors, windows, floor or shower tile, carpets, upholstery, windows, glass showers, drapery, countertops, marble, and more.

The Steam-It retails for $179.99 and will be provided to the winner by Oreck. This review and giveaway is sponsored by The Freckled Citizen.

Why do I need a steam mop, you're asking yourself? Well, I asked myself the same question when the nice folks at Oreck contacted me about giving one away to a reader. Here's what I discovered as I tested the Steam-It in my own home: by utilizing the simple power of steam, I can deep-clean our home without the use of chemical cleaners that give me, for lack of a better term, the heebie-jeebies. In addition, the pads the Steam-It uses can be thrown in the washing machine and reused - the ultimate sustainable solution. Need more pads? Sure, you can order them online... but the universal clips on this tool will also hold any old washrag or handtowel you already own in place, and you can use those instead. No chemicals! No disposable pads to not-decompose in a landfill! I like it.

But how well does it work, you're asking yourself? I took the Steam-It on a spin in multiple areas of my house and took pictures for you.

 Ready to rumble... with the floor attachment in place:

You know that experience of using other mops that spray cleaning solution on the floor, and then when you're done you see streaks of cleaner everywhere? It always grosses me out. Or I think about Barbara Ehrenreich's 'Nickel and Dimed,' when she's working undercover as a maid and reveals that all they do is spread dirty water over the floor all day, every day, in every house. Double-gross out. This is how I appreciate the Steam-It the most - that it makes our 1906 floors look this good using only hot steam, without any chemicals whatsoever:

All types of flooring are a breeze to clean:

The Steam-It freshens up carpets, too. This is our entryway carpet, which tends to get the most traffic in the house, and it was freshened up nicely with the steam. I'm looking forward to trying it on our cats' favorite sleeping chairs, too. Alert to anyone who might be battling pet stains on carpets or upholstery: this little device just might change your world:

Next up I wanted to try the Steam-It's spot brush. We tend to get soap scum build-up around our kitchen faucet. Check out the results I got not from scrubbing it with a toothbrush and a harsh abrasive cleaner, but using only steam. Pretty impressive, right?:

The squeegee attachment on the Steam-It would have been a godsend in our last two apartments that had glass showers. I decided to try it on the upper windows of our walk-out dining room windows, which are too tall for me to reach without a big ladder. While I need to improve my technique to avoid streaks, I was again impressed with the power of steam alone (no chemicals! I'm a broken record!) to make these windows shine:

There you have it... now here's how you can win a Steam-It of your own:

Mandatory Entry: 
Visit and leave a comment that describes one thing you learned about the Steam-It

For Additional Entries:
(Make sure you leave me separate comments for each of your additional entries. There should be one separate comment for each of your additional entry options.)
  • Follow @oreck on Twitter
  • Like Oreck on Facebook 
  • Sign up for Oreck’s email list by clicking on “Sign up for Email” in the top navigation bar and entering your email address. 
  • Tweet about this giveaway and mention @oreck and @freckledcitizen. 
This giveaway will be open for one week, closing next Wednesday, November 2. I'll announce the winner on Thursday, November 3. Good luck! 

Important Details and Rules: The giveaway winner must be a resident of the U.S. 48 contiguous states. You must be 18 years and older to enter. No duplicate comments. Winner will be determined via drawing on  Odds of winning will be dependent upon total number of entries. Please leave a way for me to contact you if you win the Steam-It; otherwise, another winner will be chosen using This giveaway will run from October 26, 2011 until November 2, 2011.

Disclosure – I was given the Oreck DualMax Air Purifier to review and keep. All opinions stated in this post are entirely my own. Oreck Corporation provided the prize for the sweepstakes but is not the sponsor of the sweepstakes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Caesar on the Light Side (gasp!)

Confession: I'm not a fan of "light" recipes. My approach to food is whole ingredients all the way, with a balanced approach to meals. Unpronounceable ingredients - especially those labeled "light" - are a big turnoff for me. I shop whole, and that's how I cook. I go through olive oil like a madwoman, and I eat healthy enough that when it's time for cheese and butter, there's no way I'm using anything but the real deal. That's just me. But that's also why this recipe might seem like a puzzle to some of you. Embracing contradictions... it's what I do over here.

Allow me to introduce Jamie Oliver's "Caesar on the Light Side." You might remember that when I make real-deal Caesar dressing, I love it so much I want to eat it plain with croutons and a glass of wine. I do the very same thing with this recipe, no joke. Here's why I love this stuff: its base is Greek yogurt, not eggs, so all we're doing here is switching clean ingredients. (Read the back of a plain Greek yogurt container if you don't believe me... it's just one of the reasons this stuff rocks.) Because we're using yogurt instead of eggs, this stuff keeps in your fridge like a champ, without risk of scary things like salmonella. I also think the use of Worcestershire in this dressing is fun, but if Worcestershire's not for you, go with dijon mustard for a more traditional taste. All this, and the dressing still uses anchovies, like any good Caesar.

Side note for you preggos out there: Mary recently proclaimed on Twitter how much she missed real Caesar dressing when she was carrying her little girl, due to those pesky eggs. I wish I'd thought to pass this recipe along to her (and to many of you) long ago. So if any of you are in the same boat, this is your Caesar dressing. And for those of you who are not: it works realllly well as a dunking vehicle for croutons, just like your old stand-by. Promise.

Caesar On The Light Side
Adapted from Jamie Oliver

1/3 cup low-fat or nonfat Greek-style yogurt
2 anchovy fillets, mashed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

  • In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with the anchovies, garlic, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk in the oil and half of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large bowl, toss the romaine with half the dressing and the remaining cheese. Serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

PS: Jamie Oliver's Simplest Chicken and Leek Stew is also a favorite around here. It's a bowl full of comfort, perfect for rainy days and the sniffles.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend this and that

Today I'm recovering from the most embarrassing injury in recent memory: a swollen and achy foot due to dropping a large box of cat litter on it. Limping and everything over here. It's a glamorous life I lead, what can I say?

We did lots of home improvement tasks over the weekend, in between checking out the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial and cheering for the Caps/enjoying delicious homemade cocktails with Nole and her husband. Here's a little taste of our weekend:

MLK, Jr.
Most art and memorial critics have less-than-friendly things to say about the new MLK memorial, but what struck me most of all during our visit was how much it matters that it exists at all. The site was packed with visitors who really weren't concerned with debates over the sculptor, the site design, how stern MLK appears, or the memorial's use of quotes. In this respect, I think, the public's opinion matters most. And while I'll play the contradiction card by continuing to express disappointment with the execution of the World War II Memorial, I'm going to call our Saturday visit to MLK among hundreds of other visibly touched citizens a success. The kids learning about MLK absolutely made my day.

(Are you on Instagram, by the way? If you are, look me up! I'm @magmaeA and while a late-comer to the app, I've been loving it. You can see some of my recent photos on the left sidebar. Other shots from our morning among the memorials include Thomas Jefferson across the basin and the Korean War memorial.)

"White" v. White Update
You guys are probably sick of hearing it by now, but I just can't get over what a difference repainting our house's "white" interiors WHITE makes. Take a look at my mid-way stopping point with the lower kitchen cabinets, where the frames are done but not the doors. I mean... wow. Mythic Bright White is my new Instant Gratification BFF.

Cats v. Chairs Update
Thanks for all your great suggestions on my original Cats v. Chairs post. We're now in the process of determining whether the cats got the message by unwrapping one chair at a time. The naked chairs will all be re-treated with the anti-cat upholstery spray. So far we've exposed one chair and the cats have ignored it. This afternoon I'll expose another. And if we fail, I'm going with your aluminum foil recommendation. (And yes, I still have a newspaper mockup representing Future Vertical Art on the wall. Sigh.)

Nail Update
I've been sporting this great Halloween-y shade on my nails lately... it's OPI's Cayenne Pepper. I think I saw it on my mom a couple of years ago and ran out to buy it the next day. It's yummy. And also... hello LONG! Seeing my nails from the back is entirely new for me. I'm sort of blowing my mind with these things. Even so, I'm far from cured... if the nails don't smell like chemicals, they're still headed straight to my mouth. Gross. But on the bright side, a foolproof way to build my polish collection...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday I'm in Love

This was sort of a randomly busy week, and I'm happy that the weekend is here to get some stuff done around the house (what else is new??). Let's jump into three fun things, why don't we?

NYT Personality Test

You know those long-winded personality tests that stamp you with letters when you're done? (My dad actually had to wear his Myers Briggs results on a nametag at his job once - if you know my dad, that image is truly hilarious.) At any rate, this personality test is not that kind of personality test. It's graphic and fun. And even though all of us could probably answer multiple boxes for each question, breeze through it anyway and tell me your result! I'm "Culture Curious," by the way... so much more satisfying to say than "ENFP," which is what the other guys rated me. (Hat tip to Sarah for discovering the quiz.)

Feminist Ryan Gosling

I discovered this one a few weeks ago, but haven't stopped giggling since.

Hot Grandma

This photo from a Healthy Is The New Skinny blogger was taken by her grandfather, who put this sign on his wife while she was asleep. It sort of made my day. This blog is great, by the way ... I can think of fewer campaigns I'm more supportive of than boosting young girls' self esteem. I mean... wow.

PS: I know I said I'd be hosting an Oreck giveaway this week, but life got in the way a bit... so next week it is! Get ready... it's a biggie :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sea friends

Meet my new friends: colorful sea life illustrations on vintage encyclopedia pages from RococcoCo.

Aren't they gorgeous? I've been wanting prints like these since I featured a hot air balloon illustration when I guest-posted on Oh So Beautiful Paper. Our downstairs bathroom seemed perfect for it.

I think they'll be fantastic popping off the Galapagos Turquoise walls.

The prints will be hung in a tight stripe all the way around the room. We'll also eventually replace this light fixture and hang something fun from the ceiling.

It took me some time to figure out how we should frame the prints, by the way. Black or white seemed too harsh, and silver wasn't right, either. I settled on Oil-Rubbed Bronze to act as a neutral and relate to the weathered wood mirror and the shells in the room. This involved lots of Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint, which if you're me happens late-night and leaves your backyard looking like a bronze murder scene. Just keeping with the spooky season...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When cats attack (the dining room)

So before I dive into the ridiculousness that is our current dining room setup, how about a sweet cat and craft photo first?

Okay, Fanny's actually looking rather honey badger-ish in this photo. But the pumpkin! I want to paint every pumpkin I see now. Or gold-dip furniture legs. Or something, as long as I can continue to use this paint.

But we should probably move on to the real story, aka "Why Fanny Might Be Wearing That Bitchy Expression." See, we bought dining chairs. But not the ones I said we were going to buy. Instead, I came across the 2nd-choice-but-originally-more-expensive nailhead chairs not only on clearance, but an additional percentage off clearance, plus I had a coupon. (Making you proud, Mom!) So despite the fact that we originally preferred other chairs, we decided it was meant to be.

So at this point you are probably asking yourself, "Why are the chairs wrapped in plastic? I knew she was concerned about stains, but c'mon." Props to those of you who thought my saran-wrapped dining chairs have anything to do with preventing stains, because that would be logical, however unlikely.

Here's the cold, awkward, weird truth: we are engaged in a battle of the ages over here. Humans Vs. Cats. And I refuse to let the cats win.

The dining chair fabric is every-so-slightly textured, which it turns out is the feline temptation equivalent of me home alone with good cheese and a bottle of wine. Imagine us snuggling on our couch watching tv and all of a sudden, the worst sound new owners of dining chairs can imagine... riiiiiiiiiiiip. Then imagine us leaping off the couch screaming at the cats, trying to gracefully run around our hulk of a coffee table in our tiny living room, and face this sort of expression (old photo, but you get the point). Mood ruined.

Kitten doesn't give a sh*t

Our first step was wishing we could employ a spray bottle, but the distance logistics don't work for immediate punishment sprays, so that's a no-go. Our second step was an anti-kitten liquid upholstery spray meant to deter cats, but it did nothing. Our third step is where we are today, trying to both deter them from the chairs and provide them with a pleasurable scratching experience elsewhere. So the full set looks like this freakshow:

(Head chairs to come... maybe red? Maybe an un-scratch-worthy material?)

And you'll see that we've also gathered every scratching implement in the house and placed them around the table, offering a wealth of scratch-worthy surfaces dusted with fresh catnip.

Neighbors and pedestrians outside our windows are puzzled

The cats don't seem to like the feel of the plastic, so that's good. But I'm pretty sure they're mostly just laughing at us. And how long am I going to put up with this saran wrap, anyway? I'm not sure. It's been a few days, and the cats have left them alone. But I have zero confidence that we've fully turned a corner. De-clawing our beloved furballs is of course out of the question, and we already clip their nails regularly. But seriously... trying to watch high-quality programming like "Revenge" while steeling myself against the sound of claws the whole time is also out of the question. We shall see. And in the meantime...

I don't have buyer's remorse.
I don't have buyer's remorse.
I don't have buyer's remorse.

97 more recitations to go...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday I'm in Love

Friday! Finally! We're having a low-key weekend over here, complete with a little mini-road trip to shower my oldest galpal with love for her upcoming baby. Here's what I'm loving this week:

Resolving legal disputes

PSA #1: Do not drive over the speed of 80 in the State of Virginia, because if you are pulled over, you will automatically be charged with reckless driving instead of just speeding. Which is of course total bullshit, particularly when you have never even had a speeding ticket before. PSA #2: Take particular care not to drive over the speed of 80 near the town of Emporia, VA, which is tantalizingly close to the NC state line. If you do, and you bitch about your ticket to folks, prepare for them to knowingly nod and ask "Was it Emporia?" And then you'll feel like an idiot for not knowing this nondescript I-95 locale is actually The Land Of Speedtraps. PSA #3: If you ignore PSAs #1 and #2, hire a local attorney to resolve said reckless driving charge for you. It will go away with the mere flash of plastic. I'm not a fan of this system and recognize that not everyone has the means to do this and it's why our system sucks, but hey... I'm no reckless driver!
(PSAs over. Thank you for listening.)

The Concerns of Mindy Kaling

Oh how I love this funny-lady. She's my absolute favorite celebrity tweeter, and I imagine that nearly everyone reading this blog imagines they could be bff's with Mindy in real life, am I right? Her new blog ratchets this up for me big-time, and has me itching to buy her new book.

Small screen laughs

The above scene in Modern Family just killed me this week. What else is on my comedy radar besides Modern Family, which just never fails? I've always loved Parks and Rec (community planning humor! on network tv!), and it's better than ever this year. Community is sadly uneven for me; brilliant episodes are followed by terrible ones (the Biology study group episode was just downright mean-spirited, and not at all funny). I'm loving Happy Endings, as far as new stuff goes. And as always, How I Met Your Mother. Glee is sort of painful this year, in my opinion. What's on your comedy radar?

Next week on the blog, I have a great giveaway from Oreck, as well as a new home addition to share. (I love that that sounds like we built a new wing onto our house, by the way. Sadly, that's not the case. Urban square footage is what it is.) Until then... au revoir!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

L+N on 9.10.11

My brother and sister-in-law's wedding video was just published, and well... I adore it. And them. This makes me grin first because of so many wonderful images that were captured, but second because of the hilarious things those images reminded me of ... those funny wedding moments that are always happening behind the scenes.

Huge props to Genie Leigh Photography for capturing such gorgeous images of these two. And if anyone in the Southeastern NC area is looking for a photographer, I hope you'll look no further.

Oh, how I love my family. Enjoy!

Lane + Nicole from Megan F on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back to work

As part of our soft ban on travel this month, we promised ourselves we'd refocus on several projects that have been floundering around the house for a while. Case in point: our kitchen floors.

You might remember that we put new flooring down this summer, after which we had houseguests for a month straight and then left every weekend for the next two months. That sort of pace meant we never got around to finishing off the floor edges with quarter-round, which just made everything look unfinished. Because, you know, it was. I got tired of bringing new folks over and having to use disclaimers every time we walked in there. And so this weekend, it was on.

Our first step was something I've been slowly doing in every room of our house: painting what was once "white," you know... WHITE. Check out what a newly painted piece of quarter-round looks like next to the formerly "white" baseboards. Gross, right?

Mythic Bright White is our "house white," by the way. (Well, in addition to cheap Menage a Trois... I drank the hell out of that stuff this summer. But I digress.) Using my favorite no-VOC paint, I've repainted doors, trim, windows, everything in our house. All that's left are the fronts of our lower cabinets in the kitchen, but give me another week... I digress again.

So here's what the WHITE trim and baseboards look like together. No gaps! A finished look! So crisp! It makes me gloriously happy. I also think they set off the new floors brilliantly. I still adore these floors.

And here's the back of the lower cabinets that faces the little eat-in area. WHITE! Fronts to match soon, mark my words.

Oh, the crispness... I love it! 

I have one more exciting development to announce... a newly painted downstairs bathroom. I've come to accept that this color just isn't going to photograph realistically. It's just as vibrant as it looks here in real life, but it's definitely not a true turquoise - there's much more green in the color than it appears here. That's a similar case to our kitchen walls, actually - everyone who comes over after seeing them in photos first remarks that they look bluer online. Regardless, feast your eyes upon Ben Moore's Galapagos Turquoise. The color goes nicely with the Azores in the kitchen, but definitely makes its own statement.

We're working on several things for that bathroom, so I'll report back when we make more progress and show off the whole thing. Progress after a long break... I love it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Anticipation (!!!)

Recent items on my mind:
  • Could the Austrian Christmas markets possibly live up to expectations?
  • How rewarding is a Winter Wonderland-style vacation if you are not a ski bunny?
  • What, exactly, does one wear in Paris in December?

That's right, folks... we're spending Christmas in Europe!

We're bursting with excitement about this trip, which is the perfect mix of romance and family and practicality.

  • Romance: Three nights in Paris, just us. Not a piece of cheese or cup of hot chocolate left in my wake.

  • Practicality: Seeing our brother-in-law play hockey professionally, which we have somehow still never done. And not that the clock is ticking on how much longer he'll be playing, but you know... tick tock.

We're thrilled. And the great thing about spending half the trip in Salzburg and Linz with locals is that we can let our hosts be hosts, and focus on planning the Paris portion of the trip. Which leads me to ask the following questions:
  • Have any of you ever visited Paris in winter?
  • Do you have a Paris hotel recommendation?
  • What are your must-see's and do's, keeping winter weather in mind?
  • What in the world should I pack? 
  • What are your must-eats? (the fun question!)

Merci! Danke!


PS: Perhaps the promise of future posts labeled "Eurotripping" will guilt me into finishing the recaps of A&A's wedding trip... a year and a half ago. Oops! I really can't believe I still haven't written about my favorite part of Prague.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday I'm in Love

This week was all about simple instincts for me. Cheer (item #1), awwww (item #2), and chuckle (item #3). We have a bunch of home improvement projects to work on this weekend, all in the name of inching toward our six-month anniversary in the house, which I promised myself would involve a photo report card of sorts here. Eek! Before I scoot off then, some items for you to cheer/awww/chuckle.

Happy weekend!

Queen Kicker

 Did you guys catch the story of Brianna Amat this week, the Michigan high school senior who's a homecoming queen and a football star? She  makes my heart burst with that "I love teen girls" pride that my cousins always give me. Our girl Brianna went onto the field during halftime to receive her homecoming crown - in her uniform - then came back out to kick the winning field goal. Is it too soon to begin writing her campaign literature?

Interspecies FTW

Much like my belief that the best way to ensure your baby will be adorable and grow into an insanely beautiful person is to create it with someone of another race, I think a little interspecies action is the quickest way to turn your cute animal photo into the sort of thing that makes grown men cry. Enter Fuck Yeah Interspecies Friendships, which is the best thing to happen to my computer in a long time.

Arrested Development, always and forever

Like many of you, I was beside myself with the news that Arrested Development would be back with another season and a follow-up movie, five years after its brilliance was shuttered. Best tv-related news of all time, methinks. This collection of Arrested Development GIFs took my excitement and put it on steroids. Time to break out our box set again!
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