Thursday, October 11, 2012

The commitment of being noncommittal.


Its been a while, but I mention that without apology because let's be honest, neither of us holds it against me.

full disclosure, I had to change that sentence because I couldn't figure out how to spell unapollogetically. 

Had a little photo shoot action last weekend. It was of a new (to me) variety that I had the opportunity in which to participate; thanks to the BFF for that :)

However, it was bad timing for the shoot becaaAAause: 

I started back to school this week. Your mom goes to college. I'm taking an accounting class, of which SHOULD span over 11 weeks, in five weeks. Things aren't off to a great start. I can't quite comprehend the slightly-more-than-basic accounting equation. I get it - money in, money out. But, no, it's not that easy. So, I guess I do naught "get it." After this class I'll take another Humanities class, same squeezed in style. Classes end just before Christmas so I'll be all stressed busy this fall.

This weekend Q will get some serious parenting time in with all three boys since I'm flying to Jackson, MS for my brother's wedding. My mom and her boyfriend will be there, plus a ton of other people I don't know or haven't seen since I was 11ish. 

Shout out to mom, btw, for confirming / unconfirming the jazz-age lawn party theme. I read that as "let's dress up with pearls and feathers and shit!" 

Mom, being her awesome self, read that as "I should make sure I do / do not need to dress up." She saved our seats as 'family' instead of 'the entertainment.' Again, thanks mom for stealing my excitement but for a really wonderful reason. 

School for the little ones is going well, I guess. I only really know about Josh since we see his homework agenda every day. He's got an issue with keeping his pie hole shut, but I've hopefully threatened that out of him (for at least another few weeks; fingers crossed). 

Autumn is really setting in around here which is great because a certain permanent roommate ;) has been jonesing to not induce sweating by simply thinking of how hot it is outside. Beautiful stuff going on here, y'all. I'm excited to start layering; I got a little taste yesterday: 

Oh, weight loss is going well, too. I knew after I broke 165 that it'd jump right back up - that's normal - but I wasn't going to let that knowing steal my getting-skinny joy. This morning I was exactly 165 and have been losing .2lbs/day for a few days now. I hurt my groin the other week, took the week off to heal and am back at it this week - although with less vigor. I'm using my excessive brain function as an excuse.   Since I stopped doing the 30 Day Shred in the middle of level 2 I just started over Tuesday.  Almost vomited / passed out no less than three times. So, I think I'm doing it right this time! 

We've got some serious stuff going on around here. Most of it revolves around me, naturally. :::insert lolz::: I've had to remind myself many times that if I'm going to be this busy, I'd better commit to not doing it all with 100% effort. That might sound terrible, but really I guess I'm just aware of my limits. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jessica: 164.8; Scale: 165. Except in this scenario, I win.

When I met Stephen *almost* two years ago, I'm not sure what I weighed, but I was thinner than I have been since. I'd guess low 160s. I remember at one point seeing 158ish. 

Sept. 10th I weighed in at 168.0. Before then I'd say I've probably gotten up to 172.

I've been actively trying to break 165 since at least January and have only gotten as low as 165.8ish - very frustrating although admittedly, I wasn't trying the entire time - lifestyle changes (read: diet, as a noun - not a verb) are difficult, man.

So. Do you wanna guess what the scale said this morning?! Huh? Do ya?


That's right, bitches. 165: BROKEN. 

I'm closing up week two of busting my ass 6 days a week doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred 4x/wk and doing my running training (2x/wk but should be 3, oh well), too. Last night while thinking about the next morning I actually caught myself thinking "ooh! tomorrow morning I get to run!" Lol, now maybe running only felt like a privilege in comparison to doing circuit training instead - but nonetheless - past Jessica could ne.ver! be found feeling remotely happy about "getting to" run. 

Not have to. Get to. 

I've been eating fairly healthy (carrots really do taste too carroty, though), keeping the calorie count around 1400/day and using to log EVERY.SINGLE.THING I take a bite of. That's a lie - I don't record chewing gum nor that nibble of cupcake that I regretted having. I'll live. You'll live. etc.

This morning's little scale-victory has stoked the proverbial fire! I'm quite excited to post before and after pics once I'm impressed with my new body more than I was ever ashamed of my old (current?) body. 

160 - I'm coming for you...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Running & Exploring

Last year Stephen and I participated in the Pooler, GA Daniel Defense 5k to help support wounded soldiers out of Ft. Stewart. It's a wonderful cause and the turn-out each year has increased exponentially. Last year I didn't plan to run it, I found out last minute that the boss' daughter made different plans so I ran under her name/number. I finished in 45:02 minutes having walked majority of the distance. Pretty crappy time, but whatevs.

It was that race that I realized how awful of a misconception I truly have of distance (& time, but that's another post). I didn't know what I'd gotten myself into and I felt awful for the next few days; like, big whiney baby status for at least 48 hours.

Anyways, I started the C25k (couch-to-5k) program sometime after, tired of it, and restarted in Mayish/June-ish of this year. As of the race this weekend I was on week 7 of 9, but that's because I doubled up on each week to make sure I was not only physically prepared, but mentally as well! Week 7 is where the program stops sending you on intervals and instead makes you seem like a real, live runner for at least 20-30 minutes of your day. I thought by having actually "trained" for this race, surely I'd shave off 5 minutes from last year's time. 

Nope. Only 48 seconds. Race Results

:::Insert meme of McKayla NOT being impressed. Ugh.:::

Oh well, even if only 48 seconds I DID accomplish running without stopping for 2 miles! Technically I was at 1.96 miles when I stopped, but that's close enough for me to say 2, so suck it :P  

What  a great victory anyways!! For now, I'll take a distance victory over time victory, for sure!! Oh, and at some point near the end I was told I was entirely too cheerful, having said good morning to 80% of every bystander I passed. What can I say, I'm an endorphin junkie ;)

Overall, I'm pretty proud of myself and am already looking for another race; I'm thinking the Turkey Trot in Anderson during Thanksgiving AND hopefully I'll be able to run the full 3 miles (and shave off a little time, too). 

photo courtesy of DD Pooler 5k FB page; thanks, y'all.

Oh, and on our way home from the race Stephen and I had some extra time to spare so we decided to go to Hilton Head, since we'd never been. Well, Hilton Head was 30 miles off I26 so we instead decided on Beaufort. Well, Beaufort was quite a drive too so when we saw a sign for an old historical battery site - Fort Fremont, we followed it. This is what we found: 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nothing too new

I haven't been very busy this past few weeks - and that's ok =) I've tried a few new recipes, read a few good books, signed up for fall semester, visited with lots of family, and got my two oldest off to school (3rd graders!!). Life is good!

The boys are really doing well and our relationship (our part-timers and me, that is) is strengthened with each little visit - they actually get pretty excited to see me [so Stephen says ;)]and the littlest bit insisted I read the bed-time story this past Friday night! Little victories, y'all. Jack turned 8 on the 20th; Stephen and I surprised him at school with some yum-o cupcakes: 

idea culled from
I officially dropped out of the office's "Biggest Loser" competition; it was genuinely ruining my Fridays (weigh-in day) but I've stayed very consistent with my C25K program (and my weight, bittersweet-ly) and will be running in a 5k this weekend in Pooler, GA. I ran it last year with about 12hrs notice and uhh, well, let's just say I KNOW I'll be besting that time! 

Let's see...what other personal info to share... Oh! My 29th birthday! I was graced with the wonderful quality time from the bestie, her man and my sweetheart for a painting class - what a great time!! However, the best gift I could ever receive was from up above. I decided to go for a long walk in the morning and would never have seen this had I kept my lazy rear in bed: 

stellar, right?! It was gone about 10 minutes later. Truly an unique gift :)
Drake & Sarah, Jess & Stephen
Stephen has been working very hard and is still enjoying his work - the company he works for released a bad ass new product - one that he had much to do with and which received rave reviews - at a show in June (July?). So, ya know, that's cool :) MOLLEminus System <~ aforementioned rave review. Non-work related - we've both been trying (he better than I) to stay on top of our health by cycling and running at least 3x week. He's looking way hot, y'all. Like, way hot.

And to catch you up to now-ish: we went to Anderson for Labor Day. We got to enjoy some home made bbq by Stephen's dad, cakes from The Sweetery, a fish fry by Uncle A and wonderful company by our friends from Atlanta (whose family also lives in Anderson) and of course, our resident Anderson fam. I wish I'd have gotten more photos than I did but here are a few for the wind down: 

Josh (8) Jack (8) Russ (4)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Learning to Dress Myself

So I've recently decided to make a conscious effort to look put together. Generally it came down to finishing touches as simple as tucking in a shirt or wrapping up in a skinny belt. Using Pinterest and some general effort, I came up with these, two of which are straight up yanked ideas, minus the better lighting:

hers: and mine:

mine: & theirs: 

Most items are Old Navy, Target, or Banana Republic. Nothing mega spendy or bought off-sale :) I'm going to print these pics and make a pin-board for the closet for those morning where I 'have nothing to weeeearrrr"

...that's all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Warning Labels & Glass Etching

You know a project is going to be fun when a label's warning reads:  
Eye Contact: May cause severe irritation with possible corneal burns.
Skin Contact: Causes severe burns and fluoride-like burns which may not be immediately evident. Skin contact may cause hypocalcemia by skin absorption. The fluoride components of this product can penetrate the skin and destroy the deep tissue layers, including bone tissue. This damage to the body's tissues may continue for days, as the fluoride ion reacts with the calcium in the skin and bone. Severe skin-contact exposures (especially when the skin contamination exceeds 160 Sq. Cm.) can cause hypocalcemia, a life-threatening lowering of serum calcium in the body.
Inhalation: May cause irritation to the respiratory tract and lung damage if exposure is excessive. Inhalation may lead to hypercalcemia, due to absorption of the fluoride components.

Hmmm... Sounds like a blast!! This particular project isn't the first that I've done using the glass etching stuff, but it was the only one I've remembered to photograph. And even at that, I didn't do any "during" photographs - too busy not getting hypocalcemia. Sorry (but not really), I can't risk lowering my levels of serum calcium to life-threatening levels.

The bestie had a birthday recently and I knew I wanted to make her some Rolo Cookies but I hadn't decided on an acceptable presentation of said delectableness. I found a simple white box with a "window" like those you might take home from a bakery; it was inexpensive and would suffice. But THEN I remembered that even a carrier should be used to enhance a gift - aesthetically pleasing and useful! For instance: I refuse to buy gift bags anymore - I buy those $1 reusable shopping totes; they're mega cheaper, generally have cooler designs, and the recipient is likely to get more use out of the bag - as opposed to using it just one more time to give away.

Anyways, here's the cookie carrier, in all it's etched "vintage" (read: imperfect) glory.

I used some glass etching crap I found at Hobby Lobby, a foam brush, some faded recollections of projects past, a razor blade, and contact paper. I can't recall the original tutorial I followed to make some Christmas gifts last year but basically went like this: 
  • Find perfect "S" design and print it. Big.
  • Reprint smaller.
  • Revise fancy design.
  • Find new, more simple design.
  • Don't give up! (This step is crucial!)
  • Figure out how you'll need to cut and then adhere your design to the sticky side of the contact paper. I have no more advice than this as I cannot remember how my brain worked it out.
  • Clean glass, according to etching bottle mfr's directions.
  • Stick contact paper to glass.
  • Very carefully and patiently, with your weapon, start cutting out the portion that you wanted "etched".
  • Foam brush the creamy stuff onto the glass and follow packaging directions from there. 
Boom. (not an action, simply an exclamation)

Hopefully yours won't look as "vintage" as mine :)

& Although she loved it, the lid didn't make it to the end of the evening; I knew I should've put a rim of hot glue around it... oh well. Now she can use it as a fish bowl. Or penny collector. Or cork holder. Or she can begin to collect cat hair; I hear there are tons of crafts that call for cat hair!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blue Deer and Hanging Things

I had a rad post written out. Pressed backspace and Google deleted it. So here.

Deer bookends that I snagged at Goodwill. I painted them blue so they're cool as shit now.

And a serving tray I scored a great deal on at Tuesday morning. I slapped it with some wallpaper, screwed in some cup hooks (after predrilling, mind you - bamboo is easily split.) and then hung my shit up after I organized it. Boom.

Thanks, Ashley at Mini Manor Blog for the rough idea. Cutlery Tray for Jewelry!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Have another!

Bethany Frankel, God love'r her sassy mouth, has done a super freaking fantastic job with her new line of adult beverages, SkinnyGirl Cocktails, and I'm always ready and willing to try any of her flavors of the week! I've had the pleasure of imbibing on the White Peach Margarita & regular Margarita mix, Cosmo mix, and three of her flavored vodkas:  Tangerine, Cucumber, and Coconut.

The mixes are a no-brainer. A delectable no-brainer! The flavored vodkas are pretty easy to get mixy with too, save for the cucumber.

We go back a few weeks to our vacation to Litchfield and I was facebooking while Q was in the grocery store. I saw a post from Skinnygirl regarding a Cucumber Mojito recipe. "I like mojitos" I thought. "And I'm right here by the liquor store, too..." I started to plan. "Here comes Q! I've got to fill him in on this!" I exclaimed to three confused little boys.

So I snagged the main ingredient I would need - the Cucumber flavored vodka - and forgot about one ingredient: the soda water. Here's her recipe:

"Skinnygirl Cucumber Mojito"
7 mint leaves
1 lime wedge
1.5 oz Skinnygirl Cucumber Vodka
3 oz soda water
Squeeze lime wedge into rocks glass, muddle lime wedge with mint leaves and vodka. Add ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with lime wedge.
* can add 1/2 tsp. agave nectar for sweetness

The house being full of (of-age) drinkers, I thought there'd be some soda water and didn't worry with it.

There wasn't. Only after I made my drink instead with tonic water did Q inform me that they are VERY different beverages. Womp womp.

My drink sucked dick. Not to mention I remembered almost instantly that I HATE cucumber. WTF was I thinking?! When I eat cucumber all I burp up for the next 17 days is the taste of damn cucumber; I try to stay away from it, and am pretty successful at it.

Anyways, I tried not to waste the bit of beverage that I did make and I can say with nearly complete lack of concern that I comitted a serious crime of alcohol abuse. It was just disgusting. The drink, that is, not my lack of reverence for the juice. So I poured it out for my homies and stuck to the White Peach margarita mix for the remainder of our travel.

Fast forward to this weekend when I wanted to revisit the cucumber nasty. Not the mojito recipe again, but just generally figure out what to pair the vodka with.

I found a bottle of Tropicana Trop50 Raspberry Lemonade and decided it would do. I had no idea what would happen.

I'm going to tell you now what happened. Not everyone believes in it, but refreshing, only a mild hint of cucumberish majic happened.  Maaaaajiiiiiic.

My Recipe:
I filled up a short glass 1/3 way with ice, poured one shot of Skinnygirl Cucumber Vodka over it and filled the empty space with the raspberry lemonade, a splash of lime, and sprig of mint.

Make it hap'n, cap'n.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Master B-Room Peep Show!

I finally hung some curtains and an awesome canvas I scored on Craigslist for $40. Besides those two items and the actual bedframe, there wasn't much that was purchased specifically for this room - and I'm pretty proud of that. I snagged the four coastal framed pics (Stephen's work on IOP!) from the kitchen and reframed them; the big bed pillow was a couch cushion at the old place; my necklace hanger thing on the dresser I made over the weekend (blog post on that, eventually); and the bedside tables were quick fixes Stephen had previously purchased for the boys' rooms but we always knew they were just too small - turns out they're PERFECT bedside stands :) The other crap was just brought over when we shacked up together.

 Here's a quick reminder of the space I was working with: before pics are at the bottom of this post; click me!

I'm pretty delighted and can't wait to add some color to those walls :) I'm thinking slate gray/blue or some equally excellent shade of gray. Oh, and for the record, I had a grey room before it was trendy.

The end.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olo! No, no; it's ROLO! ....Cookies!

These were first brought to my attention by Stephen last Christmas-ish. He mentioned his mother always made them and I was going to love them when she made them during our visit to Anderson. Of course I looked up the recipe immediately and proclaimed "easy peasy!" and then he explained how his mom usually made them... I required a nap after hearing the trouble she went through to make these cookies.

Now, usually I'm not one for shortcuts; the recipe I found - in comparison to his mother's - is a mega shortcut. I knew I would not feel like less of a woman for using the recipe I found, which required only four ingredients and - again, in comparison - a skoesch of effort.

Anyways, she never made them so I used a recipe I found online. I can't remember where I originally found it but this morning I referenced this site,, and got busy!

You'll need a box of Devil's Food cake mix, 2 eggs & 1/3 cup of oil. Oh, and a bag of Rolos :)

While you're de-foiling your candies, preheat your oven to 350 and go ahead and set out your ingredients - Rosie at insists that you/I/we bake with eggs that have been brought to room temperature. So, ok :)

Mixing the ingredients as a one-pot throw in: mix your dry box-cake mix, the oil, and the eggs (slightly beaten). Stir until incorporated and then get to stuffin, yo!

I bought a cookie baller JUST to make these special cookies. They're special this time because I'm making them for the bestie's birthday, so instead of adding cookie-flare via traditional powdered sugar method, I grabbed some simple sprinkles and ground some sea salt, to make them all adult cookie like and stuff.

Anyways. Scoop about 1 tbsp of cookie dough into your palm.

Squish Rolo into the middle, and then cover the Rolo so it kinda looks like a brown eye. Don't get distracted and grossed out. Press through - this is all worth it; scout's honor.

Decorate the cookies. Or don't. These don't bake for long (7-8 minutes) so I didn't hesitate to put the sprinkles or sea salt on before baking.

These cookies don't spread much, if at all; here they are with only 1 minute left in the oven:

Yank those suckers out at the 7ish minute mark and then, this part is optional, I smush them down a little bit. I feel like I'm really cracking into that Rolo and getting the caramel goo allll up into the cookie perimeter.

That's it, I guess. They don't take long to cool and are delicious even if they are completely cooled.

oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY (dinner night), SARAHBEAR!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thai'ng one on at Litchfield Beach

Do you see what I did there... in the title... clever bitch, huh? (it'll actually make sense in a minute)

It's been a few days but the family "just" returned from vacationing in Pawley's Island, SC @ Litchfield Beach. Stephen's uncle is generous enough to let all 14 of us shack up for a week and get ourselves as waterlogged as humanly possible. ...waterlogged? sounds dangerous - and gory - if Mr. M. Knight Shamalamanalan got his hands on a rough plot base...

doin hoodrat stuff at Brookgreen Gardens

Anyways, I'm here to share a few photos, and a recipe for the Thai inspired dinner that Stephen and I made whilst there.

A while ago Q (his street name. literally) revealed his lust for some red curry something or other. So I searched and found this, originally from from Cooking Light mag: Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp. First go was easy, fast, and quite enjoyable - who doesn't prefer that, anyways? ;) The second time we made it we added a few more ingredients: red bell pepper, snow peas, and mushrooms. Again - it was scrumptious.

It's common for us to sit and talk about what we'd do differently with the recipe the next time we make the dish(hence the addition of veggies) and after this particular time, we decided next time we would simmer the veggies in the coconut milk longer and we would add pineapple! Well, we remembered to do both at the beach house (albeit in the process forgetting to add the snow peas and omitted 'shrooms) and it rocked! Like, for real, rocked!

We served the thai shrimp with jasmine rice, chicken sate with homemade peanut dipping sauces, and some purchased dumplings from The Fresh Market (y'all - this place is straight dope.)

Now, for the main event, just as it was served last, minus the quantities for serving 6ish adults:

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp
serves 2 (easily doubled, or for us tripled!)

1 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, sliced and then cut crossways
some pineapple, eye ball it.
1/2 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp sugar
12 oz large shrimp, de-nastified
1/3 c lite coconut milk
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 c chopped green onion
1 tbsp chopped (fresh) basil

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet (one with tall sides) over med-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, & red curry paste and saute for a minute. Turn the heat down and stir in sugar, saute for 15 seconds. Slowly pour in the coconut milk and fish sauce and let your veggies cook until crisp-tender, or to your crispy preferences. Add shrimp and saute for 3 to 5 minutes - you know, until these shrimp look like the shrimp you normally eat. Remove from heat and stir in green onion and basil. (*side note - i served this green mix as a "topper" for the dish and really enjoyed it - it intensified the fresh to def'ness!)

That's it.

I mean, unless you were awesome enough to take the jasmine rice challenge, too.

Or you were lucky enough to have someone grill the chicken sticks for you AND fix the accompanying sauce you messed up for said chick'sticks. AND make another peanut sauce that suited his desire for fiiiyaaahhhh!