Wednesday, November 30, 2011

House Tour: Downstairs

I'm probably a little overdue for a tour
of our townhouse since we've lived here since August, 
but our recent Thanksgiving guests
meant that we finally got around to hanging up
more artwork & doing a top-to-bottom
cleaning, so I thought it the perfect time to
share some photos.

Here is what you see immediately upon entering.
The front door opens to the living room, 
with a small hallway leading to the
kitchen, tiny eating area, back deck, 
and a couple of storage closets.

Our small, bright kitchen is nice, 
but I do miss having a gas range.

Back in the living room, this is the view
from the front door.

And coming back to the living room from the kitchen area.
I love how the high ceiling opens up the space!

Looking at the space from the bottom of the stairs.

The ample wall space & crazy angles
are wonderful for displaying the eclectic pieces
we've picked up along the way.

Fun fact: Mr. Wilson likes to use that mirror
on the landing
to look up the staircase instead of turning his head. :)

And finally, here's the view of the living room
from the top of the stairs.

Currently the upstairs is functional
with its two bedrooms, bath, and laundry closet, 
but not at all styled.
I've got some DIY projects planned for those areas, 
so hopefully they will come together sooner rather than later.
I will post about my progress as I go!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is dedicated...

to the one I love.

Happy Birthday
 my love.

Photo credit: Andy Noise

Thanksgiving 2011 OR Diary of a Turkey Virgin

This Thanksgiving was a day of firsts:
our first Thanksgiving in Colorado, 
our first visitors (Z's parents & brother from NC), 
our first time hosting the meal, 
and my first time cooking a turkey.

As a long-time vegetarian 
I was a little nervous about cooking a 
Thanksgiving turkey, 
but as a food/cooking enthusiast, 
I felt up to the challenge.

I decided not to take any chances with a frozen turkey
and ordered a fresh one from our local market.
Then I searched online for recipes.
After reading that brining is the best way to avoid
dry meat, I settled on a recipe from
Hard to go wrong with her
(unless you are on a diet).

So the brine was made and the turkey guts pulled out
(I didn't use them in the gravy, so I just tossed them out), 
but then there was the little problem of 
finding a brining bag.
I could not find them in any grocery stores.
A couple of specialty food stores had them, 
but they were outrageously priced, 
so I had to be resourceful.
I bought some Ziploc XL bags (10 gallons)
poured in my brine & my 11 lb turkey, 
then fit it all into my biggest stockpot, cinched it
with a chip bag clip & let it soak overnight.
Thankfully it fit perfectly, so I didn't have to turn it!

I also made the cranberry sauce &

Thanksgiving morning, 
with the turkey thoroughly rinsed & the potatoes cubed, 
we headed over to watch Z run in the Turkey Trot.
It was a glorious 65 degrees & sunny, 
which was great for the spectators but too warm for the runners.

A very Parris Thanksgiving.

Back at home, we had to get down to business.
Z & his brother baked a pumpkin pie from scratch
while I got the turkey going and worked on the 
fontina & parmesan potato casserole.

Here's the turkey part-way through.
Unfortunately since I was keeping so busy
basting the turkey, making the casserole, 
brown sugar shortbread, brussels sprouts, & raspberry tea, 
I didn't have much time to take pictures, 
but believe me, that bird was golden brown in the end.

The set up was a little crazy, too. 
We don't have any real eating area in our place, 
so the plan was to set up two tables
and all 9 chairs that we own in the living room & 
use the side table as a buffet.
It actually worked well, but since everyone was gathered 
in the living room watching football we didn't get to set it up
until right before we ate, so again I failed to take any good photos.
This gives you an idea, but it actually looked much cozier & pretty.

Some friends of ours brought some delicious sweet potato casserole, 
2 types of dressing, and Z's cousin brought the rolls.
I really enjoyed cooking everything, and aside from
an issue with the gravy (really hard to season something properly
when you can't taste it...oh well) I thought I did pretty well...
for a turkey virgin.

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, too!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sneak Peek

I've been keeping my crochet hook 
very busy lately with some new projects!

Another crocodile ruffle neck cozy.
(My first commissioned piece!)

A long (4-5ft) stripey scarf

And some fun, candy-inspired hats

I've also got some crocheted home decor items, 
baby & kids hats, and even some baby cardigans
in the works!

p.s. It is really difficult to model & photograph at the same time :)

Giveaway winner!

 I plugged all the entries into a random number
generator and lucky number 13 is our winner.

So congrats to Ledford Land!

Thanks to everyone who entered, 
and check back soon for another giveaway...
I had so much fun, I'm already 
planning the next one!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crochet giveaway!

(giveaway now closed)
That's right, it's my first blog giveaway, 
and I'm pretty excited about it!

Recently I had the good fortune to win 
two different blog giveaways, 
and I decided that I wanted to host one myself.

When I realized that this was going to be my
blog's 300th post, 
I thought it would be the perfect time to
give readers the chance to win
one of my handmade crocheted neck warmers.

I love this little neck warmer. It'll perk you up & keep you
warm on those gray winter days without the bulk of a full scarf.

It features crocodile stitch ruffles & a shiny blue button
for an adjustable fit.

Simply leave me a note in the comments to enter.
Be sure to include an email address (if not already in your profile)
 so I can contact you if you win!

The winner will be selected on Monday, November 21st.
Good luck! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sports Weekend continued

Not only did we attend the Buffs' basketball game on Friday, 
but we also made it to the football game the following day.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day...
except for the wind.
We're talking gusts around 70 mph.
Thankfully the stadium protected us from
being hit by tree branches
but there was still plenty of dirty & leaves
blowing around, 
and the strong wind cut right through our layers.

The good news: a Buff win...

It's always fun to see the students so excited, 
especially after such a disappointing season for them...
we just had to stay to see them rush the field
to celebrate the win with the team.

But then we made our way back home as quickly as possible
to thaw out in blankets with piping hot tomato soup & sandwiches.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday night fun

Z & I are always on the lookout
for fun & inexpensive things to do,
so we jumped at the $1 tickets
for Friday night's CU basketball game.

Not the most comfy seats, 
but a really fun atmosphere, 
and our first basketball of the season!

What are your favorite cheap date ideas?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Malibu Beach Party

Z went to a short work conference this week
in Malibu, and he sent me this shot 
of the sunset from his phone one evening.

I didn't mind staying behind too much, though, 
since the weather here has been gorgeous lately.

I'm just glad he's back to enjoy it with me!

Friday, November 04, 2011

On finding motivation

Does anybody else lack motivation to exercise?
I mean, I always want to get in shape;
I identify the areas I want to tone,
pick out some cute workout gear, 
and then...

It's too cold outside, or the laundry needs to be done,
or I just walk a little bit when it was my intention to run.
Then I end up feeling lazy in addition to feeling out of shape.
Not a good place to be, 
especially since I'm married to someone who is
very motivated when it comes to his running.
And hello, I live in Boulder, 
mecca of all things fitness.

This week I may have made a breakthrough, 
or at least learned a thing or two about
what motivates me.

 I already posted about doing a costumed Halloween fun run on Monday.
It was really fun, and while I finished at the back of the pack, I wasn't alone. 
Being able to talk to others & start making friends helped me keep the pace.
Some folks there told me about another group run that meets on Tuesday nights.
I was a little nervous (I went by myself since Z was working), but they 
were so friendly & encouraging that 4 miles felt more like two.

Lesson: The social aspect of working out is key for me; the actual exercise is a bonus!

Since I can't do a group run every day, and I have a hard time running on my own, 
I looked to ExerciseTV to find something to do this week.
I get bored easily with workouts, 
but I saw the Butt Bible, and had to see what it was about.
It is definitely challenging, but the trainer is no-nonsense
and kept me motivated with her Russian accent.
My favorite gems from the workout include:
"Crack de nut with your cheeks."
"If it burns too much, ignore it. Is good."
It worked, though. I came back for another Butt Bible workout today.

Lesson: Sometimes I need an intimidating Russian woman to keep me going.

What motivates you to exercise?
Do you have any tips to share?

Oh, and let me know if you try the Butt Bible,
I'm so sore!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Happy November!

Last week's snow only lasted a few days before melting.
It was up to 70 degrees again by Halloween!

And that was great for us, 
since we decided at the last minute to dress up 
& do Fleet Feet's Halloween Fun Run.
That's right, 2.5 miles in costume...
it was so silly & fun!

Inspired by FF's fun run, 
I checked out the Lululemon running group
last night, and did another 4 miles.
It's amazing to me how much easier it is
to keep running when I'm with other people.

But as we've learned, 
the weather changes quickly in Colorado, 
and this is what we woke up to again.

So, happy November to you all;
I hope your month is off to a great start!