Thursday, June 10, 2010

6 awesome years

Six years ago, at the ripe old age of 21, I walked down the aisle and said 'I do' to my best friend.

We were very young, yes - but very blessed.

On that day, quite a few things went wrong: the flower fiasco, missing tablecloths at the reception, family members running late, crazy mosquitoes and heat at the chapel and the photographer disappearing....but one beautiful thing - the most important thing- went right: we were married!

Our life together is amazing and beautiful; even with the barking dogs and meowing cat and laundry and research and all the other trivial things that steal our time away. Through it all, I couldn't ask for a better partner in crime.
I love you, chief.


Starting the day off right with heart-shaped spelt pancakes and a shot of maple syrup...yum!

Is it too cheesy to say these were more delicious because of who I shared them with? :)

pardon me

excuse the mess while I change up the blog design...could get messy over the next few days...yikes!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

sunday funday

Sunday was our last day in Philly so we decided to spend the morning and early afternoon randomly walking around.
We stopped for brunch at Cuba Libre - let me just stop here and say that I had some of the best food of my life during this trip. This place was just plain fantastic. Look at how cute it was inside!

We ordered a sampler of tropical juices (yum!)
and they brought out this wonderful bread (double yum!).

I had a brioche stuffed french toast crusted with hazelnuts -- wow.
The only bad part was that it was too big to finish; it was so sad to have to leave any of it on my plate :(
We followed up with what was quite possibly the best coffee I have ever had: cuban coffee with steamed coconut milk (!)

Afterwards we roly-polied our way around for awhile, taking in the sights and sounds of downtown Philly
(I felt like a giant slug after eating so much rich food -
but definitely worth it, haha)

We eventually made our way down to Rodin's sculpture, The Thinker.

(yeah, I know, I have a boring pose)

It was a fantastic weekend and I look forward to going back to Philadelphia for more exploring - it's a fascinating city with a lot of history and, in case you haven't noticed from my obsessive focus on our meals,
amazing food.
It was nice to get back home to our dogs (only one thing destroyed,
whoo hoo!) but the travel bug has bitten us full force - yikes!

Guess we'll have to buy some lottery tickets, haha...

Birthday Shenanigans!

Our amazing dinner Friday night sent us into a coma-like sleep
and we woke up on Saturday pretty well refreshed.
We headed back to the downtown area to La Colombe Torrefaction,
an awesome coffee shop - no menu, no crap littering the counter screaming "Buy me!" - just delicious coffee.
Their cafe au lait was excellent (and cheap!). We took our coffee over to the square and bought some fresh pastries from one of the mini farmers market vendors. Yum! (sorry no pics of the pastries - they didn't last long :) We strolled around downtown for awhile then headed out to the U.S vs Turkey soccer game via the SEPTA (Philly's subway)....scccaaarrry! nah, not really but it was dark and dingy and seemed a prime setting for Law and Order SVU

The US took their time getting into the game but overall it was a good match-up.

You might be noticing the guy that's almost doing a split but check out the yellow shoes on that other dude - awesome!

Kind of funny that scarves made such an appearance given it was in the upper 80s but hey, I don't question Jamal's fanhood :)

This guy was all over the place

Excuse our bedraggled look - we survived the subway and massive crowds pressing to get into the stadium and then baked in the stands - but worth it!
We made it back to the hotel and cleaned up before heading out to my birthday dinner at Farmicia, a fantastic restaurant that focuses most of its menu on local and sustainable foods.

These were ferns.....they were so tasty!

Strawberry Rhubarb crisp for dessert - yum!

Andrew did a great job organizing the evening - I've got a keeper :)

All in all, a great birthday!!

Get outta town!

We did it - we finally made it out of State College (alive, I might add). Despite research and responsibility reaching out their long poisonous tentacles to hold us back, we escaped and made it on the road to Philadelphia last Friday at the early hour of .... noon
(hey, only 3 hours behind schedule).

We listened to a Sue Grafton book on the way - abridged though because the fabulous Judy Kaye narrates all of the abridged versions, and Andrew and I really just listen to these books so we can hear her voice - she's A.MAZ.ING.

We were soooo close to our hotel, obediently following the commands of our GPS when we ended up trapped on a straight path into New Jersey over the Benjamin Franklin bridge. There was much screaming in the car (and maybe some profanity) as we were forced to enter New Jersey and then turn around and pay the $4 toll to get back into PA....absolutely ridiculous. But we managed to escape without ticks, haha; although, there was a lovely arrest in progress by the tollbooths.

We finally made it to the hotel and
(after checking out the cheesy brochures in the lobby)
decided to head to a nice area of downtown Philly called Rittenhouse Square. We lucked out with a free parking spot right off the square and decided to try a charming open-air French restaurant, Parc. It was one of the most incredible dining experiences I've ever had -
no exaggeration.

The atmosphere was perfect: just the right lighting, music, ambience.
Our waiter was incredibly friendly and helpful; everytime we ordered something, we'd ask him how to pronounce it and he was sooo nice about teaching us
(no snobbiness!)- although, he didn't seem to have any knack for photography
(see blurry pic of us at the end)

I had a spinach ravioli with a lemon-based sauce - yum!
and Andrew had trout amandine - also yum! -
and we enjoyed
a bottle of simple ugni blanc wine.
Dessert was even better: strawberry glace profiteroles for me
(it came with its own little carafe of chocolate sauce!!) and pot de creme for Andrew- kind of like a chocolate mousse with a mint chocolate wafer and whipped cream. Ohh, and a deeeeelicious cafe au lait. We were in foodie heaven :)
It was so great to have a competely relaxed meal - no worries about getting home to let the dogs out/feed them/tend to their every need; no worrying about heading back to the lab to take readings; no worrying about laundry or dishes or vacuuming. It was fantastic. I think we spent over two hours at that meal.

Andrew and I just....talked, and it was so great to just feel like ourselves again. Those moments have been kind of few and far between lately with research pretty much consuming most of our time and the pets, the house and working out eating up the rest. It was honestly just one of those great moments in life -
funny how something as simple as a meal together can make you feel so close
and like all is right with the world :)

Stay tuned for the rest of the birthday weekend in Philly!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Couldn't the weekend last a little longer?

I know, I know....I've been away for awhile - but now, classes are done and I'm finding time to actually include enjoyable things in my life again (take that, school!)
This past weekend was A-MAZ-ING.Yep, that good. On Saturday, Andrew and I embarked on a bike ride to the next town over and enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch.
I've never been much of a biker but I'm really starting to enjoy it. The ride was about 10 miles and felt good (except for those 2 hellish hills that were agonizingly long). Picnic time in the middle was perfect: blue skies and sunshine - I can't ask for more!After we lazed around in the sun (that's right, the sun actually came out in Pennsylvania!!), we explored the town a little bit. Then we began our journey back home (and those stupid hills were still there-bleh).
For dinner, we made up some "burgers" - black beans, peppers and a little corn meal & flour. We topped them off with a roasted red pepper spread I made and they were soooo delicious. We roasted some parsnip "fries" in the oven, and all in all, Andrew and I agreed it was one of the best meals we've ever had - yes, it was that yummy.Andrew did his manly job of building a fire outside and we enjoyed a glass of wine before calling an end to a much needed happy day.On Sunday afternoon, we were finally able to get our garden planted. Pennsylvania weather is so crazy - you never know when the last frost date will be. Pictures coming soon of the garden, promise!
This weekend was such a nice break from the pattern of rain and WORK WORK WORK we've had. Of course the work is still around, but a sunny weekend was just what the doctor ordered.Hope everyone else had a great weekend and started off the week happy :)