Busy Bee


Oh. so. busy.

I'm getting ready to go on vacation for a week and I'm very excited - but its been a very busy few days as I realize how unprepared I am for this. I should send Amazon a special thank you note for getting me all of my packages on-time. Without Amazon, I wouldn't have a dress, shoes, or new clipless curling iron... which by the way is the bomb dot com.

While I scramble around to feel ready for Napa and friends, I'm loving my twice daily walks with Dwight. The two pictures included in this post are from a recent morning walk and evening walk with Dwight. Its so hard to argue with the daily beauty where I live. It makes me wonder why people would want to live anywhere else.

My Summer Romance


My summer romance. Yes it's with a dog but look at that cute little face! My favorite dog friend is visiting me for a few days while his mom and dad are watching people tie the knot in Vermont. Dwight came to stay with me last summer for a few days and it was the highlight of my summer. Well, good news to me. He's staying with me again for 4 days and so far we are 2 days into our romance. 

I've been taking Dwight pretty much everywhere I go and he's an excellent buddy {and conversation starter}. During our evening walk on the beach tonight, he stopped and greeted e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. on the beach with a canvas tote. It's like he was looking for snacks. What a hoot.

Here are a few pictures of our adventures so far.
Everybody loves Dwight. He's also, always camera ready.
Its morning time. Why is this guy still sleeping? I couldn't quite get Dwight to give him "wakeup kisses". Maybe tomorrow.
After our 2nd walk to the beach, we took a "sun ourselves" break in the backyard. I turned around and Dwight stole my spot. It was a little weird to sit side by side in lawn chairs... with a dog.
After our big day, we were ready to take a brief nap/tv break. I like to think we laughed at the same 30 Rock jokes. For someone who doesn't eat "people food", Dwight is v.e.r.y. attentive to anything I'm eating.
He was very patient with me. This is before he realized I didn't bring the tennis ball with me on this walk. He was pissed {maybe} when he realized we were only walking and not playing.
Took advantage of a tide pool for a little swim.
Game Plan for tomorrow? I think we are going for a car ride in the morning... and of course double walks on the beach. Hopefully, I'll remember the tennis ball this time.

Thankful Thursday


Another blog I read, Boundless Fille, does this thing called Thankful Thursday and it seems appropriate since I spent the first half of the week sick with the flu. I used to think of myself as a "healthy" person but when you've gotten the flu twice in 6 months, you've got to wonder what you are doing wrong. 

So here are the things I'm thankful for as a result:
  1. my health. seems silly now, but I'm still thankful.
  2. netflix. what do people do that get sick and don't have tvs? I'm seriously confused. Because I know what I did. I watched all.... yes... all.... of the episodes of Parks and Recreation. Then when I was done with Amy Poehler I moved right on to Tina Fey. I started at Season 1 of 30 Rock and made it half way through Season 2 before declaring myself well-enough to re-enter society.
  3. honey nut cheerios. come on. these suckers are delicious. Plus, its all I ate until 2pm today {when I ate a chicken finger as my first meal}
  4. chicken fingers. seemed appropriate.
  5. air conditioning. I'd probably pick netflix over a/c but still. when you have a fever, there is only so much you can do.
  6. family. my mom picked up all the discarded gatorade cups over the past three days and kept force feeding me cheerios. plus, they pay the a/c bill.
Since today was my grand re-entry into society, I walked around the neighborhood a bit this afternoon with my best dog friend Dwight. It made me super thankful for the incredible neighborhood that I get to call home {and I'll still call it that when I move back into Boston... Fall 2011}
  1. a giant beach. complete with crashing waves.
  2. friendly faces. people who say hello as you walk past them on the beach or the street.
  3. no numbers. I started to talk to a guy on the beach tonight who in describing to me where he lived in the neighborhood didn't tell me the street number, just who used to live there two families before his. 
  4. multi-generations. I got talking to another new {to me} neighbor this evening who was great great friends with my grandmother in college. the conversation made me miss my mana & jimbo {that's what we called them} but ... also made me really appreciate how many generations of families live in our cute little safe haven.
... and with that. Good night.

Also, I think I'd like to recreate this picture from above that I found on pinterest. Add that to the summer to-do list.

More Pizza?


I read in a cooking magazine once that although we like to try lots of recipes to experiment, it is only by doing a recipe a million times over that we become really good at it. This makes perfect sense although I definitely didn't think of it. This is how mom's get their "famous" recipes.... because people keep asking for them.

So, I'm not exactly famous for my grilled pizza... but I've certainly made it like a whole bunch at this point. This past week we actually experimented with two new varieties: "white" pizza ... and something I'll fondly refer to as "summer fridge" pizza.

Here is how the "white pizza" night turned out. Because we are a family of 5 {and had two spontaneous guests}, we need two pizzas to get the job done. So we had the "traditional" prosciutto pizza and the white bizness.
 Normally, I like to show the pictures in the order they are taken... but alas, I didn't this time. This recipe was super super easy to make - however, I'd make MANY changes to it in the future. Rachael Ray just really likes the ricotta I guess.
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Handful parsley, finely chopped {p.s. do you know there are like a million types of parsley?}
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 10 fresh basil leaves shredded on top
I didn't even use all the ricotta required.... and it just tasted like we were eating ricotta. Other people enjoyed this one; however in the future. I'd probably switch it to be more "dabs" of the ricotta mixture with a bigger emphasis on mozzarella with perhaps some provolone? Essentially, follow my original pizza recipe but throw this bizness above on it :)

Also, did you love that hand model above? That's Baby Sister. I pine away for that sea glass ring that she wears :) 

And because the prosciutto pizza is my favorite.... here is just a little snappy snappy of that one.
Over the weekend, one of our favorite neighbors invited us over for a spontaneous grilling feast. She had seen my blog post about the pizza and wanted to try it. Then.... we emptied her fridge on the pizza .... and it was delicious. I can't even remember all the ingredients that we put that sucker .... chicken sausage, feta, radish, summer squash, green peppers.... a little bit of everything.
It was del...ic...ious....

The pizza dough is just a blank slate my friend.... fill it with what you wish!

One Shell. Four Ways.


As I mentioned on Friday, I've been really lucky to work at home for a week. Its the 2nd time that it has happened pretty much since mid-October. {Yep, I travel pretty frequently... and it gets old}. But this week, I was super lucky to spend some time walking the beach in the mornings .... instead of flying over it.

I often spend my travel time hidden beneath my Bose headphones... which I love dearly. Its my way of saying, please leave me alone. I know its not that friendly, but sometimes I just don't care. I want my peace and quiet. The universe is probably saying "Jen, how are you going to meet new people with your headphones on?" and Yes, universe you are right... but if someone reallllly wants to talk to me they talk over the headphones. Believe me.

In the mornings, I've been walking / bike riding the beach and snapping a few shots for cubicle inspiration. I'm constantly amazed at how one little thing can look differently in so many ways. For example, I was riding along and saw this little shell turned up and thought it looked cute. Snap.

But, then I looked at it differently. Snap. Snap. Snap. 

I'm sure a super photo person would say these are out of focus, blah biddity blah blah, but I like them.

I didn't do any editing on these pictures either. Just slapped my initials up there .... oh and made them "straight". You'd think I was blackout wasted sometimes when I take picture they are so crooked. For real yo. But sometimes, I think it looks good and make you see them anyway...

Cheaters never win.


I do not like to be cheated. I get frustrated when I feel like I'm not getting the value for my dollar. I work hard for my Washingtons, Benjamins, and the like. So, when I spend them I "savor" them ... especially if I can't expense the expense.

A few weeks back I ordered a Grande Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte but the nice Starbucks people put it in my Venti Cold Cup. The cup looked "more full" than I expected but I attributed it to the generous staff just throwing a little extra caffeine my way.

Today after spending about 4 hours on conference calls, I took a break and headed to Starbucks with Little Brother for a couple of cake pops. I almost brought along my reusable cold cup to fill but didn't ... this would be my opportunity to check and see if a "venti" was really a "venti".

Turns out, it wasn't.

As you can see in the picture above, there is a solid amount of sips leftover in the original Starbucks cup... and this doesn't account for the sip I had before I remembered my experiment... and the sip Little Brother had when he wanted to see what an iced latte tasted like. Turns out he hates it.

So... knowing that you are getting "cheated" out of probably like 6 sips of refreshing caffeine are you still going to use a reusable cup? Yes, you save like a quarter for doing it.... but the value of those 6ish sips is probably more than a quarter.

I did a quick bit of googling and didn't see anyone else talking about this... I'd love to hear what Starbucks has to say about this inaccuracy.

File this post under: Yes, I'm crazy but this still seems wrong.

Cat Naps


I've been working from home this week and it feels pretty great. There are obviously many perks to it {and a few downsides} but one of them is that I get to sit in the sun during lunch and go for bike rides before I start my day.

Today, I woke up and it was pouring rain and thundering. No bike ride for Jen. Instead, I grabbed my computer and got back into bed. The rain makes me want to snuggle into couches all day and do craft projects. I won't be doing that {unfortunately} but Baby Sister's cat will be for sure. He likes to sit in my cozy blue chair during the day and nap. Here are some pictures that I've snapped over the last week during the work day.... he's just too cute to resist.

I could create some pretty great captions for these suckers, but I'll let your imagination do the work.

I'm hoping the weekend is nice and sunny so I can read in the yard and at the beach more. Its back to Philadelphia next week... booo hisssss.

Old Fashioned Mail


People often fall into one of two camps when certain things come up. Lake or Ocean? Beer or Wine? City or Country? I like to think one's interest in sending and receiving mail is one of the those types of categories. Personally, I L.O.V.E. getting mail. I also love sending mail. Its not about getting a gift, a new outfit, or anything like that. Its just the excitement of not knowing whats inside the mailbox that day and being surprised by a letter. Not a bill. Not a catalog. But a letter {or a box for that matter}.

This may be the root of why I get 16+ magazine subscriptions. Fundamentally I just love mail.

My friend Kristin shares a similar mindset... and she's also super thoughtful. Since she moved to the West Coast last July, she's sent me a few postcards that have made me burst out laughing. I scanned them in to share them... and for posterity sake since I never want to forget these suckers.

Very appropriate for me. Macaroni and Cheese? YES. Nerd speak? YES AGAIN.
Two weeks ago, I sent Baby Sister another "care package" at work to celebrate her 3 month anniversary. {Yeah, I'll celebrate just about anything}. I love sending her stuff at work because she really enjoys getting things from me and because its something for me to do when I'm traveling. This time, I sent her all items I found in the $1 section of Target and Rite Aid. They have some weird ass stuff in those aisles my friends.

Equation for a Good Long Weekend


Like any good chocolate chip cookie recipe, each person has their own special ingredients that help to make the cookie equation work for them. 

For me? I made it home three hours earlier than I expected on Thursday. What did I manage to do in those three hours you ask? I "longboard"ed in the driveway with my little brother and took a bike ride by the ocean.
I'm not ready to leave the driveway yet... but I consider it an accomplishment that I haven't broken any bones as I "speedily" make it from one end of the driveway to the other.

Today, I worked from home albeit not terribly productively. When nearly the entire family is home, its just very enticing to see them instead of stare at powerpoints. The breeze by the ocean today was much more refreshing and less humid than in previous weekends too - which was awesome. I planned for a quick evening run pre-grilled pizza dinner... and I even timed the tide right as well... not on purpose.

I love accidents like awesome tide timing.... because it allows for long runs on the beach. In fact, I've never walked/run so much of the beach before.... and yes, I've lived here for my entire life. As long as I can remember, the rocks at the "end" were the turn-around point. But today the tide was low enough, the beach inviting enough, the water gentle enough, and the breeze refreshing enough.... that I just skipped right over the rocks and kept on running. {And by skipped I mean, gingerly walked over the seaweed covered rocks in front of some gentleman playing wiffleball. I didn't want to fall and cause a scene. Plus, I was wearing a bright pink shirt, there would be no missing my flailing arms if I skidded on my butt down the rocks}

I ran for about a mile and saw some surfers in the distance and figured that'd be a good turning point - after all I had a craving for prosciutto pizza. Here is what I saw in either direction of my brief resting spot:
If that isn't the way to start a long weekend I'm not sure what is {link to my run}. The app that I use to track all my runs has a photo contest every week for pictures that were taken during recorded workouts. The pictures are often of these exotic locales - but perhaps I'll submit these beach ones this week. RunKeeper is actually a Boston based start-up so perhaps my local flavor could curry some votes.

Note: If you read my bucket list at all, you would note that I skateboarding was actually an item on my list! So check. and. mate. I originally was going to post video of me learning, but not to brag or anything .... but I just learned too quickly. I'm that awesome.
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