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A reminder of why my friends are so great!

I had such an amazing  (and slightly stressful) weekend over Labor Day break.  I traveled back to PIttsburgh, got to see lots of my very best friends in the world, and witness the love-filled (and fun!) wedding of Jamie Rose and Dave.  I also lost my keys and got no sleep going into Tuesday morning, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d make a terrible event photographer, mostly because I get so caught up in having fun and enjoying the moment that I forget to take pictures altogether.  I did an ok job this time, but once we got to the cake cutting, that all went out the window. It doesn’t matter in the slightest, though, because Jamie and Dave had a phenomenal wedding photographer, and one of the coolest things she did was set up a laptop on the cake table during the reception to show off a slideshow of the pictures she had taken during the ceremony.   Instant gratification!  I loved it.

So, here are the few pictures I did take.

Flowers in mason jars lined the aisle

The beautiful bride and her father!

It was such a nice ceremony.

Husband and Wife!

I didn’t manage to get a shot of the Matron of Honor walking down the aisle. 😦

It was a really nice ceremony, and it fit Jamie Rose and Dave really well! The reception was also really beautiful.  We took time after the cocktail hour and pictures were finished to set up our tents for later in the night, since we’d be camping where the ceremony took place.  Setting up a tent in the rain with a dress on was certainly a first for me, but it was pretty quick and painless.

The barn where the reception was held

The cake!

Aaaand. . . that’s where the pictures stop. I was having too much fun to keep my phone with me, haha.  There was cake-cutting and toast-making.  Dinner was sooo good; it was a barbeque feast (we all know how much I love food!)  Then there were first dances, and everybody got down!  We did the limbo under a necktie (sure sign of a good time!) and the cupid shuffle.  It was such a fun party, and I remember just having a moment where I looked around at all of the lovely laughing people around me and was so thankful to have such good friends!  I am excited to be in Houston, and I feel like I’m settling in just fine, but it felt so good to be back where everyone is familiar and knows me so well.

After the official reception was over, we moved the party down to a big bonfire set up near the pond where the ceremony had been.  It was really nice to have an after-party, especially because I wasn’t ready to go to bed, I was having too much fun catching up with everyone!  🙂  Also, it was sort of fun to not have to worry about getting home, and just crash in a tent!  My family always went camping over Labor Day weekend when I was growing up, so it felt nostalgic.

The wedding was definitely the highlight of my weekend, but it was nice that I didn’t have to head back to Houston until Monday evening, so i had some more time to spend with friends.

Before we left for the airport on Monday so I could go home, I realized I couldn’t find my keys.  We tore Meaghan and Megan’s house apart looking for them, and I called every place I’d been since Friday, to no avail.  I had a quick moment of panic (my keys have my house key, my lab keys, my car keys, basically my whole life) but I got over it quickly.  This was definitely a situation where three heads were better than one.  We came up with a plan b assuming I would never see my keys again.  We scheduled a shuttle home from the airport for when I landed, and I begged one of my classmates for a ride to stats the next morning. I called my other classmate and her husband who were dogsitting for me and had my extra house key to let them know that I’d be locked out, and I felt way better.  I was so thankful to have such smart ladies help me figure it out, and it didn’t feel nearly so catastrophic!

We went out and had a late lunch, and then they dropped me off at the airport.  When I went to check in for my flight, the woman at the counter told me that there was a note attached to my itinerary to pick up lost keys at baggage claim in Houston!  It was some sort of miracle that they bothered to figure out who those keys belonged to, but I was so happy to hear that they were waiting for me.

End of the story, right?  well, not quite.  I canceled my shuttle ride so I could get a refund since you have to cancel 4 hrs before.  However, when I landed in Houston a little after 12 am, the lady at baggage claim had no idea what I was talking about.  She showed me a basket of keys and told me it was all she had.  It was one of those situations where I had been so relieved, and it was doubly disappointing to be stranded at the airport.  By the time she finished looking in the computer system and making a note, it was after 1, and I still had no keys.  I lost it at that point and started crying in the back office of the baggage claim.  It was embarrassing.  I chewed a piece of gum, took a few deep breaths, and pulled it together.  I went out and re-scheduled the shuttle I had canceled, and got home by 2:30.

It was stressful and not the best way to end my weekend, but I went back to the airport yesterday to get my car with my spare key, and checked again with the office and they were there!!!   I am so happy to have my keys back, and that someone cared enough to do some detective work and figure out who the keys belonged to and put a note on my itinerary.  (I think they must have plugged the flash drive that was on my keys into a computer to figure it out).

I don’t know when I’ll next make it back to the ‘Burgh, but I’m so happy I was able to make it for this trip, and I miss all of you already!!!

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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Fun Stuff, Travel

 

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Experiments in the Kitchen

One of the things I’ve learned after a few years of cooking for myself on a consistent basis is that the week always goes better if I’ve got a plan.  Whether it’s not knowing what to make, or not having all of the ingredients, it’s the worst to have to go to the grocery store multiple times a week or resort to eating out (especially on a tight budget).  One of the chores for the weekend is to plan out the whole week and go shopping.

Yesterday I was in the mood to try a few new recipes, and so I picked a few from this list that sounded interesting.  65 Cheap, Healthy, One-Dish Meals with Good Leftover Potential. . . what’s not to love about that?  Genius.  

First up, Shrimp-and-Rice Stuffed Tomatoes.  After I went shopping, this was the recipe I was most excited to make, so i did.  🙂

Rice, tomatoes, onions and garlic, lemon, oregano, feta cheese, and shrimp. Sounds simple enough, and it really was.  There were a few things I did that were slightly different than the recipe, but nothing drastic.  First, I only had basmati rice, so I used that.  Also, the tomatoes I found were outrageous mutant enormous tomatoes, so I only got three.  Also, I got raw shrimp still in the peel, so I had to peel and de-vein it myself.  This can be a little bit time consuming, but it’s really not hard, and it makes the shrimp much cheaper (I got a half pound for something like three dollars and change).  If you’ve never had to clean shrimp before, this video is a good tutorial.  

Because I only had three tomatoes, I had some extra stuffing at the end, so I just filled a ramekin and baked it in that.  I baked the ramekin about 10 minutes less than the tomatoes.  The reason I felt the need to share the recipe was that it was really delicious and satisfying for a little bit of work and time.  I love recipes that are a high rate of delicious return on your small investment of time/money.  They turned out great! The stuffing on top got browned and a little bit crunchy, the cheese got soft, and the shrimp were really tender. It was a nice light summery meal.  

Also, I was in the mood for a cocktail, and the peaches grabbed my attention in the produce aisle, so I made Peach Margaritas following Martha’s recipe.  The first step was to cut up the peaches and let them soak in sugar, a little bit of salt and triple sec.

I could have eaten them out of the bowl just like this!

After tequila, lime, and the blender. I’m not fancy enough to have actual margarita glasses, so I’m living it up with plastic tumbler. haha

They turned out pretty well too!  It was a really great summer evening meal.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Cooking

 

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