Art Imitating Life

I thought that if I opened this post with an adorable picture of my homegirl Emily, that you’d forgive me for my lack of blogging lately. Did it work?

It’s officially fall, which means it’s that point in the year where everything starts to move even faster than it was already moving until you find yourself ringing in the New Year wondering where the past 365 days went. You know what I mean, right? It’s as if the second the cool weather comes and the leaves start to change it’s Halloween->Thanksgiving->Christmas, bing bang boom — hello 2013.

Work life is so busy right now, which doesn’t help the speed of things, and I find that instead of having time to cultivate my little hobbies (blog, gym, photography) I’m finding the truth in the cliche of “not enough hours in the day.” When my art imitates life, and life is speeding by so fast I can barely grasp it, well then the art is somewhat lacking.

All this is not to say that life isn’t good. It is. In fact, it’s great. In the midst of the craziness I do take time to appreciate all the blessings, even stopping to count them every now and then. Even if it has to happen while I brush my teeth in the shower.

So some things I’m loving on at the moment…

Fall Centerpieces. I filled up my lovely Kate Spade New York crystal bowl (shout out to NYCathy!) with dried beans, stuck a candle in the middle, added some pine cones and viola! Table runner is from Homegoods last year and the mercury glass votives are from Michaels.

Starbucks Seasonal Drinks. I’m a huge fan of the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Salted Caramel Mocha, but I’m also aware of what a calorie trap those drinks can be. So, did you know you can order a “short” at Starbucks??? It’s smaller than a Tall (which for those who don’t speak Starbucks is a small), but you won’t find it on the menu board. I love the short size because I still get a satisfying dose of my favorite coffee concoction without a side of guilt. Plus it makes me rap 50 cent in my head the rest of the morning, “Go shorty, itz ya birthday, we gonna party like itz ya birthday…”

Puppy Dogs. Clearly I’m always loving on my four legged children, but I especially appreciate them when the hubster’s working bizarre shifts or out of town jobs. My furry dudes keep me company, force me to play outside and always listen to how my day was ūüėČ

Hope you’re having a great week! I’m working on not being so MIA.

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Scenes from a Weekend: Friendship

This weekend was another Pittsburgh adventure, but this time it was extra special because Hilary is back from Africa! Girlfriend has been gone for 2 years, so we decided a girls reunion was in order and it was high time baby Connor met his world-traveling Auntie!

I swear this little man gets cuter every time I see him! We had a blast loving on him the entire weekend, and catching up with each other on life’s happenings. It had been four years, FOUR YEARS, since the four of us were all together and it was amazing how it seemed like no time had really passed at all.

I feel incredibly lucky to have such amazing women in my life, the kind of friends that cheer you on, pick you up, encourage you, listen with their whole heart and truly wish for nothing but happiness in your life.

It doesn’t hurt either that they know me so well they bring me¬†Eataly¬†goodies¬†from a recent¬†NYC trip, and make funny signs for the guest room door because they know cats make me sneeze.

We got to celebrate an early first birthday with Connor and life in general with each other. It was just what the doctor ordered.

“Yay Connor” because Happy Birthday was too long ūüėČ Alex, you’re a¬†genius!

The new answer to, “What time is it?”

The photo-bomber in the background makes me love this picture even more!

Hope you had a great weekend!

More of the Usual

Somewhere along the line I forgot to introduce you to this little heart breaker. Meet Henry! His mommy is a friend of mine who I met on the second day of my very first job out of college, and she’s pretty much the sweetest person ever (plus she can make a killer meatloaf and sweet potato fries while nursing a baby, so basically she’s a superwoman). She’s also Japanese which explains where this little guy gets his exotic good looks ūüôā Henry and Connor might have to have a baby-off in the category of most squishable cheeks ever.

So now that we’ve got the baby talk out of the way, it’s time for my other most blogged about subject — weddings! As in we went to a wedding this past Saturday of one of Joey’s best friends, and I’ve decided that we’re officially old. We may or may not have broken our no drinking Whole30 rule. Ok, who am I kidding? We definitely broke it. Exhibit A:

This is in fact the only picture I have of the two of us from the wedding, and in a true reversal of roles Joey looks completely normal while I look…well…completely drunk. Awesome.

Back to the fact that we’re getting old. I swear it took me two days to fully recover from a weekend that included a rehearsal dinner on Friday, wedding on Saturday and birthday party for my Mom on Sunday. We’re so out of practice with these marathon type social engagements! Despite the achy bones and breaking out my walker, this weekend was pretty freakin’ awesome given I got to spend time with awesome family and friends. Can’t complain about that.

You know what else I can’t complain about? The dentist! After putting off going to the dentist for more years than I care to admit, I finally got my teeth cleaned a few weeks back and my one sad little cavity filled this evening. All those dental fears were for nothing! The hygienist that cleaned my teeth was so nice and straight-out-of-Jersey funny. She said she’d pronounce my last name like the Italians intended — Tro-EEE-Zeeeee. Love that. Then today when I went to get my cavity filled the dentist said it would hurt less than a flu shot, and he was totally right! I didn’t feel a darn thing, not even the needle to give me novocaine. Had it not been for the post-cavity-filled crooked smile, I would have sworn there was no needle involved.

You know that’s a good look.

So what’s going on with the usual in your life? Any cute babies or party hardy weekends? Do you see the dentist every 6 months? I’m totally starting.

Whole 30: Week 3 In the Bag

Week 3 of our Whole 30 is in the bag (if you’re new, check out week 1 and week 2 recaps), and I’m still going strong. My main feeling after realizing we only have one week left to go is…umm, this is easy! I’m starting to think about what things look like post-whole30, and I can honestly say I think I’ll be making some long term changes to the way we buy our food, what we buy and how we cook. And I’m super excited about all of these things (and yes, that’s in a dorky way just like it sounds).

Full Disclosure:¬†I told you about my breaking the no-alcohol rule for a bachelorette party. Well, Joey broke it too during a recent work trip out of state (cough cough¬†and maybe a few other times too cough cough), and there may or may not have been late night taco bell on said work trip (GASP!!), but I have to give the man credit for sticking to the program even when I know he has been ready to give up and eat a pound of pasta. He’s a guy. He has a (enviously) fast¬†metabolism. And he works out. I think his body seriously craves, and needs, that carb energy to keep him going. He depends on those quick, filling meals and sometimes a can of tuna and a sweet potato just don’t cut it.

I also have a bit of a leg up since I have access to an awesome salad bar/full cafeteria 5 days a week at work, where Joey doesn’t. And instead of ‘cheating’ on the Whole30, he’ll eat a meager lunch of whatever he can throw together quickly. But Joey + small meal + crazy work schedule = Mr. CrankyPants (Love you babe! smooch smooch!).

Moving along.

How am I feeling?¬†My update is much the same as last time. More sustainable energy throughout the day, can forgo my morning coffee without getting a headache, and my body just feels…better. I don’t feel, however, like I have any superhuman, health food induced powers. It’s not like this amazing, SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS, transformation of body and soul. I ¬†just simply feel good about myself and my food choices.

Food Discovery of the Week:¬†Cauliflower rice is AWESOME! I don’t have a food processor, so we put ours through the blender a little at a time to break it down into rice sized¬†pieces¬†(see photo above, not my photo but it’s a dish using cauliflower rice). Joey sauteed it with olive oil, garlic and other spices. Added some of this awesome andouille¬†sausage we got from a local natural market, and a green pepper and zuchinni from our favorite produce stand, and holy cow was this dish awesome. I went back for seconds…and thirds. We were so stuffed we couldn’t even think about yonanas for dessert ūüėČ Need to make this one again asap.

For Your Instant¬†Queue:¬†Some food for thought documentaries if you’re interested in making some changes to your diet, or understanding more about our food industry and food’s role in our overall health. I highly recommend you watch Food Inc. and Food Matters. I know you have to be careful of what you take as gospel, but starting to question, research, and understand is never a bad thing.

Oh, and if anyone is planning on trying a Whole30 (I know Campbell is!), or switching to a paleo based diet, I’d love to hear updates on how it’s going!

Happy Happy Friday, All!

Let’s Catch Up

Image

I wish I had a good excuse for my blog-related-MIA-ness, but excuses are overrated. My biggest problem is that these weeks are just flying by. I can hardly believe it’s August, and while I’m trying my best to live in the moment and suck up every last bit of summer, I find myself dreaming of leather boots, cozy fall sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes.

But back to the here and now, let me bring you up to speed on my life:

  • Whole30 in the house! I’ll do weekly posts during our 30 day challenge, but so far so good! I’m not sure my pasta-deprived husband is going to make it through, but I have high hopes! More later this week.
  • We found a tiny little produce stand around the corner from our house and that makes my heart super happy.
  • Anyone else suffering through tired days at work due to staying up way too late the night before watching the Olympics? Story of my life this past week. Love me some Olympics.
  • Still obsessed with Instagram. @dianatroese. You follow me, and I’ll follow you.
  • Kacie’s official due date is tomorrow. Baby girl is still warm in the oven. We’re all anxiously awaiting the good news of her arrival.
  • Redskins first pre-season game is this Thursday which means last night we were discussing RGIII jerseys and homemade chili. Definitely not helping me stay in that summer frame of mind.
  • No Simple Things Sunday yesterday because I haven’t broken out the camera in over a week! Bad Diana, bad!

Happy Monday, make it a great week!

When Life Happens

I was driving home from work last Thursday thinking about how I would pay the monthly bills that night after dinner, when I got a phone call from the hubster that went a little something like this:

J: Hey, can you swing by the beer store and pick up an 18 pack on your way home?

D: Ugh! I’m in traffic on 32 and have been driving for 45 minutes, I’m coming home. You can get it yourself.

J: Fine. Bye.

D: Bye.

{Insert internal dialogue here where I tell myself I’m rude, the beer store is right near the house, channel inner badass, get your husband beer and pick up something for yourself too. Hey, it’s almost Friday!}

:::Call Joey Back:::

D: What kind of beer do you want?

J: Coors Light.

D: Bye.

J: Bye! ::friends cheer in background::

When I got home, there was an impromptu summer BBQ going on, complete with friends and two little kiddos. So instead of paying bills, I watched kids chase dogs, went to the playground for an intense game of sniper, cut up watermelon, ate burgers off the grill, roasted marshmallows and then ran around catching lightning bugs in a mason jar.

Full disclosure, the lightning bug escapade consisted of 3 adults and one child. It was intense! I don’t remember those suckers being so hard to catch. And as we were running around, falling down hills, lunging at the air because we ‘swore there was one right there’, I couldn’t help but think how great it is when Life Happens. Like, really happens. Like it pops in on a random Thursday night just to say, “Hey, I’m here. I’m awesome. Let’s party.”

And in the words of Dave Matthews, “Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain.”

The Best Plans Are Unplanned

I’m a planner. I love my lists. You know this. But I also love a certain amount of ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-ness’ in my life. That being said, lets circle back to the Summer Kickoff Bucket List and see how we did:

2012 Summer Kickoff Bucket List

  • Grill!
  • Eat watermelon
  • Go to the pool
  • Get to spin class (hello bathing suit season!)
  • Buy something new to wear in NYC
  • Take a hike with the dogs
  • Get things prepared for Kacie‚Äôs Baby Shower! More on this coming soon!
  • Install new closet system Ok, technically it’s not DONE, but my carpenter (aka Joey) is running into some challenges. It’s getting checked off for being in the works though.
  • Donate old clothes
  • Get travel plans together for Georgia Trip Flying down with the bros for a wedding this month. Never been to GA!
  • Start a new book that doesn‚Äôt have the words ‚Äú50 Shades‚ÄĚ in the titleThe Pam101/DSpot Book Club is making a comeback. More to come.
  • Take lots of pictures

Not bad at all! I’m actually surprised a trip to the pool hasn’t happened yet. As for the hike with the dogs, we did have an impromptu Yellow Lab Party, so that sort of counts.

The Lab in the middle is Moose’s legit half-brother, Cooley. And Cooley’s two-legged sibling just happens to be Joey’s godson, Owen (have I lost you yet?). Their whole family came over for a last minute visit recently, which then led to an impromptu barbeque complete with food, friends and the above pictured tiki torches. But seriously, how squeezable is this little guy???

The baby’s not bad either. Ba-dum-CHING. I love Owen’s little man pose. Justin & Amee, you made one cute kid!

Moose and Riggo were pretty fond of him too. And Owen was pretty fond of Moose’s tongue.

Hey, if you were surrounded by that many dog tongues, you’d try to grab one too!

While it was good to check things off the bucket list, I will say my favorite parts of vacation were the unplanned things — our BBQ/Dog Party, meeting Sara & Eric in Annapolis, a S’mores run with Alex and a shopping trip with my Mom. I’m looking forward to more unplanned plans this summer, with a nice sprinkling of the planned things too. You know I’m all about finding the magical balance.

Living the Width

You know when Sunday rolls around and you say things like, ‘I need a weekend to recover from my weekend’? Well, I think that’s a sign that you’re living the width of your life.

This past weekend I definitely felt like I was living the width.

I spent time with three of my most dear and precious girlfriends, two of which live 4.5 hours away from me, made it home in time to celebrate Mother’s Day, and balanced it all out with quality time with the hubster watching our favorite HBO show, Game of Thrones.

Spending two days surrounded by amazing, funny, loyal, caring, happy people — well I’m not sure it gets much better than that.

Wait, I take that back.

Throw in the sweetest little baby to love on, and now you have a weekend that’s nearly impossible to top.

Those cheeks, that smile, that fuzzy little head of red hair — it makes my heart flip.

The cherry on top was a beautiful bouquet of ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ lilies from my four-legged children waiting for me when I got home. They’re so thoughtful ūüėČ

So how are you living the width?

Showing Up

One of my favorite bloggers wrote an amazing post back in February about friendships and life’s little celebrations. It was a post so good that I immediately emailed all my best girlfriends a ridiculously cheesy yay-life email just to let them know how much I appreciate them. There’s one part of the post that continues to stick with me. It reads:

I get asked a lot about my friendships–how we make it work, how we’ve built intimate relationships with each other and kept them. It’s simple. You show up.

You show up.

That is so…IT.

Like when you get an insanely cute invitation in the mail that dons a gnome and spews confetti inviting you to celebrate a friends new home, even though that friend lives more than 4 hours away, you freakin’ show up. With bells on. Or better yet, champagne in hand.

It seriously hurts my heart in the best possible way when I think about all my friends who “showed up” for me on my wedding day — friends who just had babies, friends who lived a train ride away, friends who worked crazy shifts at work — so many friends who didn’t even consider anything aside from an enthusiastic YES as an answer. They showed up.

And in turn, I show up.

And the cycle of friendship continues.

When Minds Go Crazy

I’m trying to channel my inner zen lately with the mantras of “Be Here Now” and “One Day at a Time” but for whatever reason I can’t seem to still my overactive mind. I guess on one hand it’s normal to be 28 and thinking about where I see my life in 5, 10, 15 years. But at the same time, there are so many different versions of my life I conjure up that it’s hard to figure out which version I like best, and what plan of action will make me happiest. So I talk myself in circles, out of one idea and into the next only to talk myself back into the original idea. Then I just give up, grab a raspberry popsicle, decide the laundry can get folded tomorrow and sit down with my Kindle Fire and 50 Shades of Grey.

I’ll figure out my life tomorrow.