Just what I needed

My hands were sweaty, my knees shaking. I don’t know how I managed to park my car, but I did. I was nervous – and late – but I walked in. Smiled and mumbled an apology about being late.

After hearing about the joys of being a member of Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk, I knew I was going to join. Granted, I knew that walking in, but I was afraid I’d chicken out.

You see freaders, I’m not good at people. I mean, I am. I fake it a lot, but in social situations by myself? Not so good. I get incredibly nervous and anxious in situations where I don’t know many people. Seriously, sometimes it’s xanax worthy anxiety.

I often forget to follow up on emails, I tend to be slightly scatterbrained when it comes to remembering names but there I was, in a room full of ladies who wanted the same thing i did. To meet other gals while serving the community.

I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am for this all to start. Within an hour I was all smiles, eager and laughing and engaging in the conversation so I’m pretty excited. I’ll get over this fear of new social situations soon enough, but the way I see it? This is kind of like me giving blood – doing it to get over a fear and make myself a better person while doing so. So go me?

But really, this is what I’ve needed to pull me out of my rut. Something for me, something to give me social interaction. This? Will be good. In addition, this week I’ve applied to countless teaching jobs today and yesterday, I drove to Bridgeport to apply to be a substitute teacher, I spent 3 hours yesterday filling out two applications for two schools and completed my TFA application a week early! It’s been a good week. A very good week indeed.

I am so happy that I finally feel like I’m settling down here, for the past couple months I feel like I’ve been twiddling my thumbs just kind of…being. But now I have something, something for me. The only that could make things better? A nice teaching job at a private school or admission to SHU for grad school or a substitute teaching job. I mean, I don’t think I’m asking for much am I?

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Recipe Alert: Pulled Pork

I’ve done pulled pork before, and while unfortunately, I forgot to bust out the camera, while it lacks visual confirmation if you will, I can assure you, this recipe is amazing.

Hubs had bought a pork shoulder on sale a few days ago, and I finally got around to throwing it in the slow cooker – which by the way, was one of the greatest inventions ever. So while I couldn’t find the recipe I used last time, I googled around for one that included the homemade BBQ sauce and found this one over at Baking Bites. I whipped up some cole slaw (thank you Dole salad bags!) and we threw it all on some hamburger rolls (should have gotten better rolls – next time), and had a great southern inspired meal!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

5-6 lb. pork shoulder/pork butt
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup tomato paste
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp mustard
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup water

Place onion on the bottom of your slow cooker. Place pork shoulder, trimmed of any obvious excess fat, into slow cooker on top of onions.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients to form the barbecue sauce. Feel free to adjust salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. Pour half of the sauce over the pork and cover. Set remaining sauce aside.
Cook over low heat for about 8 hours (or according to your slow cooker’s presets).

Remove pork to a large bowl and shred with two forks. Transfer meat back into slow cooker and cook for a few more minutes, until meat has soaked up the sauce. Pulled pork can be held on the “warm” setting in the slow cooker for serving.
Serve on soft sandwich rolls, topped with extra barbecue sauce.

Serves 10-12.

Hubs was a HUGE fan. I added a bit more cumin and a touch of crushed red pepper to give a little heat to it but the sweetness combined with the savory heat made for a great sauce. I highly recommend this recipe – it’s incredibly easy to prepare and the slow cooker adds less clean up factor as well. We have plenty left so I’m sure we’ll be having this again at some point this week.

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Sisters!

My sister. I don’t write about family much here. But I’ve gotta say, my sister is pretty awesome. Ten years ago, I would have said quite the opposite, probably to the extent that I didn’t care if she was alive or not, but these days, my sister is pretty bad ass.

todayshow

{photo via www.nbcphotos.com}

The other day, my sister and I were bad ass enough to go into NYC, she hadn’t been since she was in grade school and I figured “why not?” So we woke up at the butt crack of dawn, hopped on the train to Grand Central and scooted up to Rockefeller Center and were on The Today Show!!!

We stayed for about an hour, getting there a few minutes after seven and leaving just before eight am. It was fun and! We definitely got on TV once! Which given the cold on Wednesday AM, was good enough for us.

We also saw the Rockefeller Tree (it’s from CT!!!); went to Times Square; walked down to Macy’s and walked around and sent letters to Santa (because I’m 5. Really. I am); walked down 34th Street; met up with my dad for lunch; considered going up the Empire State Building – decided we didn’t want to spend the money; considered walking up to Radio City Music Hall, decided it was too cold; walked around Bryant Park – took some cute pictures of ice skaters; and finally got a train back here to Stamford where we met up with Hubs, came home, ordered chinese and finally crashed.

I’ve learned, over the past couple years especially, to appreciate family. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m glad that I have a good (but dysfunctional) family. My sister and I, especially, haven’t always had the best relationship. A few as five years ago, we were barely on speaking terms. But ultimately, I’m glad I’ve got my sis. She’s been through a lot but she’s strong, and I admire her for all that she’s done for herself, not to mention I’m immensely proud of her. I’m really glad we’ve grown to appreciate one another over the past few years, growing up it was quite the opposite. I was always jealous of her over-achiever status and thus set my life goal to one up her in everything I could. I wanted the attention, I wanted the same kind of attention that my mother showed her.

But we grow up. I stopped caring about our class ranks, the fact that I was in National Honor Society and she wasn’t. It’s about family. We’re blood and sometimes, when there’s no one else, you have your family and you just gotta get by with them because no matter what you think? They’ll always be there for you. I’m lucky. I’m lucky to have parents who love me, siblings who are pretty awesome – a sister who’s picked herself up from an abusive relationship and has worked her way up the corporate chain, and a brother who cleaned up his act at eighteen and is now active duty military getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. I’m immensely proud of both of them, and am constantly reminded that you can’t give up your family no matter what. They’re just that, whether you like them or not, sometimes? They’re all that’s left.

{photos by Megan Garrison}

This visit with big sister has been MUCH MUCH better than the last, and I finally feel like she’s not just my sister, related to me by chance, but that 1. she’s a friend – the type a sister should be and 2. I’m finally grateful that she’s my sister. Our personalities, as I’ve realized are completely opposite – my weaknesses tend to be her strengths and vice versa (or so I’ve observed). I’m just…really thankful. For her. For a lot of things.

Side note, despite the impending travel craziness (DC this weekend, Southbury next week, VT the weekend after and New Haven with friends for New Years Eve), I am still trying to keep my fitness blog updated, as well as this one here! And the bloggy project is almost ready to be announced, as soon as I can get the $*&(*#&$(ing theme fixed. *rage* Lot’s going on, unfortunately, not much motivation to write. Too much else to do, including getting my etsy shop ready, sending out Holiday cards, Thank You notes (almost done! Twenty more!), baking and applying to various teaching programs. *sigh*

Are you ready for Christmas next week? Pretty sure I could use another week. At least.

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What I’m Wearing Wednesday – December 2

So today I’m heading into the city. I’m meeting my dear ‘ole dad for lunch, galivanting around and then heading up north to meet hubs in New Haven/Hartford.

So being that I try to pretend to be all stylista like and such, I decided to be comfortable, casual and cool. AKA giving a damn. Unlike last week.

Shoes: Steve Madden (Love!!!)
Cowl neck sweater: Ann Taylor Loft (on sale!)
Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft Boot cut
Belt: Ann Taylor Loft
Button Down Shirt (white): JCrew (outlet!)

Love love these shoes. All things considering, they’re pretty comfortable too!

Happy Humpday everyone!!!

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Thankful for…

Alternately Titled: How mom saved Thanksgiving and why Ham isn’t the same

Under normal circumstances, my Thanksgiving is spent at my Aunt’s house on the shores of Lake Champlain. There is laughing, booze, and lots of family members. Football/The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are on the big screen television and the sound of pitter pattering feet stifle the sound of the adults gossiping in the cramped kitchen.

This year, the first Thanksgiving of my newlywedness, I was hoping to bring Hubs back to that. To be in the crowd of my beloved family, hoping for snow, and enjoying a full thanksgiving meal – to finally celebrate with the family that couldn’t be bothered to travel to my wedding make it down for the wedding.

There was drama, too many little kids around because of cousins having…what I would deem as unsavory people with a few illegitimate children (between two cousins – 8 illegitimate children, not including the other 2 who are legit), my Aunt that usually hosts didn’t want to host the crowd of kiddos that my other aunt’s kids would be bringing along to the festivities. Thanksgiving was split up.

I found out about it a few days before. My Nana informed me, she’d be cooking dinner. We’d head over there for a noon dinner – as per usual, nothing new there.

Dinner, though wonderful, was ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, homemade pickles, and rolls. It was delish. But it wasn’t turkey. It wasn’t stuffing, candied carrots, green bean casserole, and there wasn’t pie. Not that I like pie to begin with, but I brought Hubs home to experience my beloved thanksgiving traditions, and they didn’t happen.

Thanksgiving, was dead.

Later, we had plans to meet my sister to see New Moon. We decided to stay at my Nana’s that night, and my cousin wanted to tag along, unfortunately, we had to run home to Mom’s – 30 minutes away – to grab our bags, especially since my sister and I had plans to go shopping at 6am. (shut up. It’s tradition.)

En route back to pick up my cousin, after Hubs and I discovered how hungry we were and after convincing mom to cook a turkey, I was in a rush. A 6:20 movie. We weren’t sure if there would be lines (hey you never know how hardcore those twi-hards are), so sister and I wanted to meet at 5:45. It was 5:20. I was going to be late.

Getting on the highway, I sped. Who doesn’t? Then there he was. An Essex Cop. Earlier, I had been bragging to Hubs about how “I’ve never been pulled over.”

Who get’s pulled over for the first time on Thanksgiving??

I got a warning. 61 in a 50 zone. Out of state plates. No ticket. Lucky. Purely. Lucky.

Still. I wanted to cry. I hadn’t given Hubs Turkey, he was hungry when he should have been in a food coma and I got pulled over making me even more late.

*sigh*

The movie was great, my bff T-pup met up with us to see it – so there was five of us, Hubs proudly proclaimed he was on Team Jacob “the werewolf totally gets the short end of the stick!” he proclaimed later in the car. Post-movie, we headed over to Colchester to a trashy townie bar. Granted the area is littered with them outside of downtown Burlington.

T-pup, myself and Hubs walked into the bar, ordered up a round and immediately asked if the kitchen was open. It had closed at 9p.

Drat!

The bartender however, told us she’d start up the deep fryer. We had – for our thanksgiving dinner – fried mozzerella, fried ravioli, and chicken wings.

We toasted to good friends, trashy townie bars that play too much country music, and to fried food.

Six hours later, after getting dropped off back at my Nana’s, I was waiting in line at K-Mart with my big sister ready to take on Black Friday.

We finished today with Turkey, Stuffing, and all the fixings that mom whipped up today. Seriously, I have the best mom ever.

In short:

I am thankful for….

  • My Husband
  • My family (mom, nana, sister, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins)
  • Black Friday ($20 down comforter, $110 blu-ray player, $15 sweaters, etc…)
  • My mom. Especially her. She saved our thanksgiving.
  • My friends – who I miss every freakin’ day.
  • Movie theaters that are open Thanksgiving Day – hellllllo New Moon!!!
  • That nice Essex PD officer who decided not to give my sorry speeding butt a ticket even though I maybe sorta kinda lied and said I was late to Thanksgiving dinner (and by thanksgiving dinner I meant late to get our butts to the theater to see New Moon but I wasn’t going to tell him that…)

All in all a good thanksgiving was had. Happy Thanksgiving freaders!!!!

What are you thankful for???

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Monday Wants – Wish List edition (part 1)

With less than five weeks till Christmas, Hubs and I have been talking about Christmas. I’ve pretty much decided that I’ll be shopping for myself (sans one gift that will be a surprise from hubs)

so for christmas this year? I’m looking at things that i may…justified as being needs. The following? Is my christmas list

1. Argyle Sweat from {the gap}; 2. Boot Cut Cords {the gap}; 3. Striped Sweater {old navy}; 4. Ruffled Sweater {old navy}; 5. Cady Knee High Boot {target}; 6. Argyle Tote {ll bean}.

There’s actually not that much that I legitimately want for the Holidays this year – I have everything I could want – my husband, a nice home, a crazy, cuddly puppy. We have a car to take us to visit our family and friends, we have our health, and hubs has a job. I would love the following less tangible items…

my brother to stay safe in Afghanistan over the next year

a teaching job

my mother and sister to be…legitimately happy. Especially my mum.

Feeling successful and happy.

Feeling in shape again.

There’s very little I want – sure clothes and books are nice, and it’s great having gifts under the tree but really? Isn’t it what’s around us that really matters? Family? Friends? Health? Happiness? That’s all I really care about this year. I’ve had an amazing year with many ups and downs but ultimately, everything that we go through – obstacles and all – make us stronger and bring us to where we are today. Today? I am MUCH happier than I was a year ago. We are in a much better place and…we’re married! What could be better than that?!?!

What are you wishing for this holiday season?

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Loving It…

While Hubs was up here working, pre-official #movenorth, I had a lot of free time in DC that I probably should have spent packing to catch up on my favorite television.

It was then I fell in severe love with Glee. Aside from the major hotties on screen… {insert swooning here}…

…the fashion doesn’t hurt either – most specifically Emma Pillsbury.

A while ago, Chic and Charming put up some CUTE polyvore collages for some Halloween costume inspiration. Me? I fell in love with the style.

Check these out:

I mean, holy cuteness! Also? I found these other 2 adorable sets on Polyvore thanks to Fashion Me Fabulous – I could never ever take credit for these fabulous collages – this is why I don’t consider myself a fashion blogger – definitely the furthest thing from it. I’m just a blogger with a shopping problem 😉

When I get me a real job (post grad school that is…) I am TOTALLY going to be the best dressed teacher at whatever school I teach at because these outfits? Are totally profressional, adorable and so my style it’s not even funny. Especially that pink one. Love.

Which celebrity/ TV character you wish you dressed more like??

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What I’m Wearing Wednesday

I love trying out new features on my blog to see which are popular with you freaders and I do my best to keep up with the good ones (stay tuned for Monday Wants – wishlist edition next week!), but I’m going to try something a little different. There’s all sorts of blogs out there – fashion blogs – that show off their own style. Now I’m no stylista but I figure once a week I can get out of my sweatpants and show off my “style.” Let’s see if I can keep it up!

Next Wednesday, I know a lot of people will be traveling for thanksgiving (including me! We’re going to Vermont to see family! Huzzah!!!) but post your fabulous Wednesday Wear!

Dress: Old Navy
Leggings: Forever 21
Necklace: Forever 21
Shoes: Gap


Excuse the awful, blurry iPhone pictures.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got guests to prepare dinner for!

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On Adjusting

Alternatively Titled: Why I’m afraid I’ll never make new friends and be forced to spend my day playing ball with Pup

I’ve been adjusting this week. Unpacking. Throwing out boxes and more crap that shouldn’t have even made the move to begin with.

My biggest fear is beside me though. The same fear I had within months of moving to DC.

What if I don’t make any friends?

I left behind a pretty bad-ass group of gal pals in DC. I was extraordinarily sad to leave them behind, to have to say goodbye knowing that no where else in this world would I find friends like them. I should note, that it is because of this here blog that I made many of those friends to begin with. How else does a 20 something gal with a boyfriend (now husband), a gal who can’t seem to find a job in a company that has people her age make friends (that’s not entirely true, I did make a few good friends from my previous jobs)?

Blogging. Why not right? I mean, I met so many of my freaders at BlogHer 09, and now I’m just a train ride away from BlogHer 2010 (NYC BABY!) which is going to fabulous!

But, Stamford, CT , isn’t exactly a blogger meca so I’ve found. Seriously, I’ve scoured the 20 somethings, NaNoWriMo, Twitter, Tumblr and everything in between to find another lonely 20 something married gal in the blogosphere and they just aren’t out there.

I have to admit, I did make one gal pal back at BlogHer that recently moved to the area, so I’m not entirely alone but I? Am a pack kind of gal. I travel better in threes or fours. When I was a two-some in college with J, things got messy and I realized later on, that we didn’t have much in common aside from our love of cheap beer, DJ Jerry, dudes who played hockey, and a few mutual friends. Needless to say, after college it was a friendship that had a natural ending (when she moved back home to the midwest) and I didn’t get too bent out of shape about it but it was…sad. As any ending is.

So what does this mean? I feel like I’m in a holding pattern til I get my grad school reply. I mean, I’d love to join junior league but if I’m working from 7-3 and then taking classes from 4-8 for ten months I don’t see that being a viable option just yet (after yes. In January no). Book clubs, volunteering, harranguing bloggers until someone actually pipes up and will do something like go to JCrew sample sale with me? All are very possible alternatives (though I think my bank card is tired. I don’t feel like shopping anymore for a little while. I say that now though….)

I’m lonely though. I’m trying to be positive. Hubs and I weren’t in a good place anymore back in DC. We were both unemployed (as opposed to just me now), in a space that was too small (by about 500 sq. ft) and were living in a previously flooded basement that we didn’t quite have the resources to repair.

Our new apartment? Is quite bad ass. Friends – well, Hubs’s high school pals – are near by and me? I’ve got tickets to a homecoming hockey game next weekend to party like I’m 23 again (I kid, I kid. Kind of.). But something’s missing. I feel like I’m fifteen all over again…eating lunch in the bathroom by myself because I have no one to sit with in the cafeteria. I hate feeling like this, because ultimately, I know that I’m fun, I may seem shallow but I swear I’m not, I have opinions (and not just on the latest Merona shoe line at Target), I read (avidly), I run (when I feel like it) and enjoy yoga (but not paying for it). I can spend time alone but after spending the better portion of a week? I’m getting bored and lonely…especially on nights like tonight when Hubs is going to be at work till almost 11pm. *sigh*

“something’s missing and I don’t know how to fix it…” –John Mayer something’s missing

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I Caved

Currently reading….

Full review to come upon completion.

[Author’s note: depsite my previous…anti-Twilight tendencies, curiousity got the best of me. And with all the press for New Moon in the tabs recently (and all my trips to Target that have allowed me to read said tabs) curiousity got the best of me, and my subconscious dreamed about Twilight earlier this week. Since then, I’ve been curious. Eager almost. Today, my mum being the awesome mum she is, bought it for me at the Tar-jay. I don’t have high expectations and I probably won’t watch the movie. No promises though.]

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