Flashback Friday

These are MamaP’s furbabies (circa 2002).  Two weeks ago, sweet Cinnamon (right) joined little Sierra (left) in Heaven.  Even though we are thankful they are back together again, they are so very missed.

Rest in peace loves, rest in peace.

A birthday soiree

A handful of years ago (32, in fact)…(years, not handfuls), I made a very flashy entrance into the world (playing the tambourine and doing high kicks) and since then the anniversary of this lofty occasion has been one for celebrating.  Even though E.Bunny and Dr. J tried to snag my birthday thunder and it SNOWED a few days earlier, we still kicked up our heels and did it up right.  Wanna know what we did?

I understand, but let’s take a look anyway.

The Events

Thursday night RUN

A while back, I had blabbed to my half marathon runner girls that my birthday coincided with Easter Sunday (a shameless plug, I tell ya).  One of them remembered and brought cupcakes to our Thursday night class to celebrate!  We totally smashed our faces with them after our hill workout.  It was awesome.

Am I spoiled or what?

Friday morning CINNABUN (kinda)

I requested the Hubs take me out for a birthday breakfast since we would be kicking it with family for Easter weekend.  He obliged and on our way out, he surprised me with springy flowers and a homemade card…(isn’t he sweet?)

He also promised to pamper me with a vanilla latte and a caramel roll from Dunn Brothers.  Turns out, they only do caramel rolls on the weekend (phooey) so I settled for a sub par cinnamon roll.  But it sure was nice to cozy up with some warm coffee and my Mr. The Candace.

It was also Earth day so we brought in our own mugs (and got a dollar off) and used a gift card from Christmas so the birthday breakfast bash was FREE.  Good thing, because my list of other birthday wants was a very tall order…(see below).

Unfortunately, we both had to head to work afterward but it was real sweet while it lasted.

Sun(ny)day  FUN

On my actual birthday (Easter), we headed to my family’s house.  It was a gorgeous day and we spent it outside – playing frisbee and the egg toss!  I don’t know if it was a birthday omen or what, but my bro and I pulled out the big (T)WIN on the egg toss.  Here, our soft egg catching hands:

(one of us is fibbing about our age…)

And, of course there was cake…

The Birthday Loot

  • Upcycled Brown Mittens from Mamap!  Oooh, you have no idea how pumped I am about these!

  • A lovely bag of eco-friendly soaps and scrubs!  My favorite is the red clover tea and the lip gloss…YUMMERS.
  • Two running tank tops
  • A generous gift card to the Running Room so I can scoop up a jacket I’ve had my coveting eyes on for a good long while.
  • Birthday mail – it’s the best!

AND…THIS:

A Garmin GPS running watch!!  Maybe this will encourage me to get out and run instead of watching Food Network?  Hard to say but I am hoping for the best.

The Calories

Besides my green cupcakes, a birthday breakfast, and the general Easter fanfare, my MIL made a special Strawberry Layered Pound Cake for me!

Jealous??

So there you have it.  It was fun.  Can’t wait until next year, I’ve already been working on a new birthday wish list.

Let them eat cake,

the Birthday Princess

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Ajar

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.  — Emily Dickenson

In light of those heavy words, I made these delectable gifts of cranberry salsa for our Moms in place of Easter baskets loaded with chocolate baby animals.  You remember this recipe.  I hope they liked them.
“E. Bunny was PMSin’ this week so all she left you with is some salsa.  Sorry.”

That is all.  Thanks and have a spicy day.

Flashback Friday

It’s my birthday weekend.  Coincidentally, it’s also another person’s birthday weekend.  My twin.

Happy Birthday Bro.  Thanks for sharing the womb and your first car with me.

September 2004

Happy Birthday (to me), Happy Birthday (to my twin), Happy Earth Day, Happy Easter, and Happy Flashback Friday!

Eating Ourselves Stupid: A Quickie Tour of Colorado

When Hubs and I skipped over the prairies and headed to mountain country, we had a loose agenda.  This cut and paste will jog your memory (whether you’ve tried to forget or not):

  • Visit friends.
  • Pet the mountains.
  • Eat outrageous amounts of food.

But you can’t skip around town without a rental car.  So we “picked” one out.  Raise your hand if you think it looks like a booger.

At least it was easy to find in the parking lot.  Can you spot it??

Anyway, back to our agenda.

Visit friends.

I have this gorgeous red-headed friend that moved away from me (a concerning common occurrence) and so we set out to see her face again.  We sweet talked her into making us a grand homemade meal in exchange for keeping her company and ‘entertaining’ her with boring stories of our lives.  Can you believe she fell for it?  Oh, I forgot to mention, she’s taking cooking classes in her spare time and wanted to show off her newly honed fancy skills.  Yes, please!

Pet the mountains.

Surely we petted!  See?

And more petting.

And, finally…

Eat outrageous amounts of food.

Stop.  You’d better grab that month old granola bar squished at the bottom of your purse and snarf it down, because you will be hungry (and irritable) if you keep going.

Once we got our snot rocket, we drove straight to a little diner (Jimmy & Drews) for lunch.  We enjoyed the Jimmy’s Favorite, which we heard about while watching the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate.  What perfect timing for our trip!  It was goooood.  Wanna know what it was made of?  It was a potato latke (potato pancakes) Reuben sandwich that housed loads of corned beef, Thousand Island, sauerkraut and melted Swiss (I got mine switched to Provolone).  My crazy eyes say it all.

That night, for dinner, we were wined and dined by Kari (The Friend That Moved Away, see above).  She whipped us up some foodie magic.  Here was the menu:

A real gin martini!, mixed green salad, steamed broccoli, chicken masala, and frozen chocolate coconut milk mousse on an almond meringue crust.  It was divine.  I spent all of my time eating instead taking any pictures, my bad.

The next morning, we hit up The Laughing Goat Coffee House where we split a veggie breakfast bagel (an Asiago bagel with red onion, avocado, veggie cream cheese, cucumber, and tomato) and apple coffee cake.  Hubs sipped on some black coffee (eew) and my caffeinated masterpiece was a thumbs up:

Much to my delight, lunch came a few hours later (it’s always pretty predictable like that in my world) and we hit up this gem:

Falafel King served us up some amazing gyros and, not to disappoint, a basket of Falafel.   We are very loyal subjects!

I don’t think it was a total coincidence that Ben & Jerry’s decided to host “Free Cone Day” while we were there.  Ben, Jerry and I go way back to my intern days in Vermont (Ben and Jerry’s birthplace) so I’m pretty sure Free Cone Day was in celebration of me.  Check out my form and I doubt you’d disagree.

Hubs slurped on Bonnaroo Buzz (coffee & malt ice creams with toffee chunks & a whiskey caramel swirl) while I chose the Late Night Snack with Jimmy Fallon (vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl & fudge covered potato chip clusters).

Don’t worry, mine was the best one.

For dinner, after our afternoon of shopping (more on that some other time), we kicked it old pub style.  It was called Southern Sun Pub and Brewery but they don’t understand the Internet and have no web page.  Hubs picked out an espresso infused (!!) beer, which was served in a classy wine glass.  Then, we split the Date Night Burger, a juicy burger with a special twist:  date puree, goat cheese, bacon, and roasted poplano peppers (served with phenomenal hand cut french fries).  Holler.

Are you hungry yet?  We’re not done so hang on.

For breakfast on our last day, we settled in at The Southside Walnut Cafe (cute name, no?) and shared french toast, the yummy loaded omelette (the Southside Special), a BLUEBERRY cornbread muffin and a side of their lukewarm breakfast potatoes (I was not a fan).  Hubs ordered coffee and every once in a while I’d take a teeny tiny sip.  Also, the waitress would check back with us every once in a while and somehow my sipping and her checking were on the exact same schedule.  I know secretly she suppressed the urge to write on the bill to BUY YOUR OWN DANG CUP OF COFFEE INSTEAD OF MOOCHING OFF THE FREE REFILLS, MISS EL CHEAPO.  But, I digress.

We squeezed in our last meal before heading back to the airport to catch our flight home.  We ordered the Spicy Baja Burger and Smash Fries (they have rosemary on them, how fancy!) from Smash Burger and it hit the spot.

*Updated with photo because I’m an idiot and forgot the first time around.

We hearted it.

The greatest thing of all is that I’m like a lot of your elderly friends and family because I prefer to eat all of my meals early.  And THAT means, no waiting in line!  Ever!  I’m awesome.  Hubs thinks so too, kinda.

Now, we are back to reality.  Which means we are back to the dreaded Salad Challenge.  Wish me luck.

Get In My Belly: A lazy lady’s meal

Do you have grand dreams of creating budget-saving weekly gourmet meal plans (and then cooking said meal plans with the help of a smile and gorgeously organized and labeled pantry)?

AND, do you scrap those dreams in a panic each afternoon, growl your order at the Wendy’s drive-thru just to eat the fast food heap on the couch in front of E! True Hollywood Story: Jennifer Lopez with your coat still on like I do?  Well, my friends, I have found a recipe that even a lazy lady like myself can muster up once a week.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 bag of frozen steam-in-bag veggies (an Asian blend works well)
  • 2ish Tbsp of Instant Curry Paste
  • Some rice
  • Optional add-ins:  canned chicken or tofu but don’t get all weird and do something hard.  This is supposed to be an easy recipe.

Here you go, a picture with bad lighting:

Instructions:

1.  Cook rice.  So far, pretty easy…

2.  Dump the can of coconut milk into a pan and add curry paste.  Heat through until warm.  No problem, right?

3.  Steam veggies in microwave.  Add to warm curry sauce.  If I can do this, you can too.

4.  Serve over rice.  See?  It’s not rocket science.

5. Proclaim to your household that yes, you still are the Queen Bee and the world is just your honeycomb.

Flashback Friday

Since it’s my engagement anniversary (kinda), I thought I’d post a picture from that special night.  Moments after the proposal…

Can you believe THAT was the picture we took to immortalize the moment we took our relationship to the next level?

Our friends helped cement this memory by posing for a super supportive picture at our engagement party.

And so ends another Flashback Friday (just in the neck of time) bringing us that much closer to the weekend.  Be good!

Rules of Engagement

Do you know what tomorrow is?? 

Tax Day?

Well, yeah…

Flashback Friday?

Uh huh, but…

The day after, three years ago, when The Candace got engaged?

YES!!  Even though you’re busy and have other things to do and think about, I’m going to tell you about that day.

Hubs had been working on a business venture in California from January through early April 2008.  It was a long and lonely Minnesotan winter without him.  When his stint in Silicon Valley ended, he flew back home and we only had ONE day to get settled before flying out west for a short snowboarding trip.  I wanted to take the day off to spend it relaxing with the Mister I had been missing…and finish up the taxes I hadn’t started yet…

Turns out, Hubs (then, the Boy Toy) had already gotten his taxes taken care of like a responsible adult.  Even worse, instead of doing my taxes, I spent that precious day running around like a frantic idiot in the freezing cold rain, trying to hammer out a slew of last minutes errands before we had to head out to catch our flight.  My stress-o-meter was totally in the red.  And the fact that this was all self induced was completely infuriating.

Needless to say, I started off this little vaca on the cranky side.  Oh, and it didn’t help matters that a month earlier I had spontaneously decided to chop off eight inches of my hair and dye it brown (you guys!  BROWN!), a choice I sincerely regretted.  To say I looked (and felt) like an old washed out hag was an understatement.  Also, the lonely winter did nothing to improve my waistline, so yeah.  What I’m trying to say is that I was a tax-delinquent hot mess.

We flew into Denver, met up with my good friend Kari who helped me file an extension.  I mailed two fat checks to the government to make sure I was covered until I could get the specifics ironed out.  After shrugging that hairy monkey off my back, I finally relaxed and had myself a mighty favorable time.  How I love the mountains!  We spent an incredible day snowboarding with Kari and then she graciously let us stay the night at her beautiful condo nestled along the base of Keystone (our favorite ski resort) when she had to head back to work.

Unbeknown to me, Hubs had masterminded a proposal plan – a plan that was about to go down in flames…

First, let’s break for a picture.

Wow, huh?

Hubs was hoping to finish off our last day of snowboarding with a romantic evening in Keystone’s picturesque village.  It’s a darling place – bustling with restaurants and shops.  Unfortunately, we were a day too late (because it was the tail end of ski season) and it was closed.  Drat.

Also, because of my unfortunate hair situation, I was feeling reminiscent of a yeti and just wanted to hit up a place where we could wear jeans and enjoy some cheap food.  Another drat.

We decided to eat in Breckenridge.  It’s not quaint like Keystone.  In fact, it’s  a sprawling busy strip and we walked for what seemed like *forever* before we settled on a place to eat.   While we were restaurant hunting, Hubs was trying to find a secluded and scenic spot (THE spot) to get a picture (and deliver a bling-y surprise!).  Being the helpful hungry monster I was, I suggested a few stupid places – like next to a bronze eagle cemented in the sidewalk.  “There, we got a picture by a faux eagle, for the love of God can we eat now???”  Drat?

(The picture turned out so ridiculous that I deleted it later…)

And with that, Hubs plan of proposing (and talk excitedly about our future over dinner) completely fizzled.  A dinner proposal was not an option because I am a shy hermit and would have passed out if he would have popped the question with other people staring.  He was running out of time.

After gorging myself like a beast at dinner (drat) and heading back to the condo, Hubs suggested an evening walk to settle our bloated tums.  I said no.  I said I was cold.  I said I was tired.  He persisted and I reluctantly agreed but as he headed out down the way, I quietly turned around and bolted for the condo (he had to chase me down).  After some convincing, I said I would walk but only THREE minutes out and THREE minutes back.  It was actually a super gorgeous and quiet night (since it was a weekday) and I decided that I didn’t mind the walk after all.  So, we kept going.  Hubs kept trying to find a place for a picture (oh great, here we go again) and let me just sum it up and say, it was harder to find than you might think.

After much failed picture taking prospects and shenanigans (like getting stuck up to his shoulders in snow), we finished up the chilly jaunt on the path right outside the condo.

Time had run out.

So, Hubs just started talking.  Oblivious, I interrupted – TWICE.

He had to tell me to stop heckling and let him finish.  When he got down on bended knee, it hit me.  HOLY CRAP HE’S PROPOSING EVEN THOUGH I HAVE AWFUL HAIR (shudder) AND INCOMPLETE TAXES (slaps forehead)!  I was sincerely shocked out of my gourd.  Once I uncrossed my eyes, I replied with a very eloquent ” HECK YES, I WILL!!”

Let’s pause for a bling shot.

Oooh, shiny.

The next day, we snapped a picture at “the spot” and spent the rest of that sunny Tax Day touring Boulder and trying to recover from the previous night’s proposal.

Had I known my life would change in an instant on this trip, I would have been apt to take more pictures.  But, I didn’t.  I just wasn’t prepared.

So, that’s part of the reason why we decided to revisit Colorado this week.  Not to recreate old memories – but to make new ones and document them this time.  This will always be a very special place for me, for us, because it’s where we agreed to become a team.  A forever team.  It was truly the best decision of my life.

Now that this story has bored you out of your skull and turned me into a sappy schmuck, I’ll just leave it at that.  But before I bust, I’ll share you with some words of wisdom (or just words) to handle anything life throws at you.  Here, these are my Rules of Engagement.

Rules of engagement: Don’t heckle (it’s poor form) and get your taxes done on time.  I have a great tax guy now and if I’m being honest, I think you should pay him to do yours too.

That’s it.

P.S. (As if this post wasn’t long enough).  To say everything from that moment on was a dreamy wonderful wedding fairytale with an infinite happily ever after is an absurd lie.  I almost crapped my pants because I was so scared of getting married.

The end, thank you for wasting your time.

A respite from being Boring

Hello friends!  The Hubs and I jetted off on a little vacation away from our regular lives.  It’s a spring break of sorts because we needed to do something to crack my shameful reality TV addiction.

Can you guess where we are?

We journeyed westward to Colorado!

Here is our loose agenda:

  • Visit friends.
  • Pet the mountains.
  • Eat outrageous amounts of food.

So far, so good…  I’ll have to bore you with the details when I get home.

Until then, happy trails.