Full Speed Ahead

I am terrible at finishing what I start. Thus the week of blogging followed by 6 month absence. C’est la vie. New start…now!

This week is going to be crazy in the ABG household. My hubby is graduating from Texas A&M this weekend so we have friends and family coming in all week and weekend. Tomorrow, our dear old friend, Zach, will be visiting for a few days. Then on Thursday, my grandparents, mother and sister are coming. We’re going to the commencement speech that night followed by dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Madden’s.

On Friday, P’s family is coming and we’ll all attend his graduation ceremony, followed by a small gathering at our house. I am so excited since our whole family has not been together since our wedding nearly five years ago! I believe a graduation is a great reason for such a reunion. P has worked long and hard and we are all very proud. I am so very proud, in fact, that I am getting him a very special graduation present…..a house!

At the beginning of the year, we were trying to decide if we wanted to continue leasing our current apartment or move to a new location. Around the same time, I was hearing a lot about the tax credit offered to new home buyers. We started to look into it and realized that we could purchase a home! We found a local home builder and after a couple of months, signed a contract on a new build. Next week is our first walk through and in about 3 weeks, we will be closing. I am going to tie a big red bow on the door the day that we close so that it can truly be a gift that P unwraps. Hopefully it will be a gift that gives back to us over and over in experiences and joys.

Any way the wind blows…

We just finished our run and dinner. I had to rely on my mental stamina because it was tough! I think the humidity had a lot to do with it.

I really liked my playlist and it made the run seem easier. I would love to hear what songs help you power through your tough runs!

We stopped by Freebirds for a burrito on the way home. I had the smallest available option on a cayenne tortilla. It had chicken, rice, black beans, corn salsa, pico and guacamole. I shared the chips with P. I swear I don’t eat wraps this regularly but I do get on food trend kicks!

Enjoy the rest of your evening! I think we are going to watch The Proposal!

Silver Lining

I have honestly had a very boring day in general, especially eats-wise. I have been going to sleep very late (not out of the ordinary for me) but I haven’t been waking up in time to prepare exciting things to eat in the morning and afternoon. I did have one of my favorite breakfast combos.

  • Cinnamon raisin english muffin with Laughing Cow Light wedge, orange

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This combo is so filling and delicious! I had to eat this while sorting Christmas ornaments. I hope I didn’t ingest too much glitter which is something that covers my body from July (when we start receiving ornaments) to February (when we finally take the leftover Christmas things down)! I literally had a piece embedded in my widow’s peak for about 5 months. One of the dangers of the biz.

Tomorrow I’ll put up a picture of the tree we’re decorating right now. It is an Ephemeral theme. The colors are black, cream, silver and some gold. I love all things Ephemeral. If you don’t know, ephemera is basically vintage design like this…

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I went for a quick lunch of chicken noodle soup and a side salad with my coworkers. I needed some comfort food like that. Today was going by slowly!

Patrick and I are running again tonight once he gets home from work. Here is my playlist..

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I’ve decided I prefer working out with songs I know by heart rather than ones I am just learning. Especially Silver Lining by Rilo Kiley. I don’t think I will ever tire of that song! I’m about to leave. Here’s hoping it is not as humid as it was the rest of the day.

Couple in the Kitchen

My husband and I sometimes butt heads about how we work in the kitchen. He is very hands-on and fast while I prefer a slower and more leisurely pace. Tonight we combined methods and got to work on our Blogger Secret Ingredient recipe. We knew what we had in mind but just wanted to run some Alton Brown-like experiments. I can’t tell you what we made but I can say that we had some of this on the side:

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  • Wine Notes:

Principessa Gavia Gavi 2008

White BN#264418
Varietal Cortese
Category White Wine
Region Italy : Piedmont : Gavi
Producer Principessa Gavia

Dry, fruity and refreshing with crisp acidity, Gavi pairs well with seafood antipasto, salads or on its own as an aperitif.

‘Here’s a delightful thirst-quencher with hints of lemon-lime and roasted lemon, and touches of grapefruit and dried herbs. It’s dry and crisp and flourishes some orange rind and almond and a trace of grapefruit on the finish.’ Very Good/Fredric Koeppel – KoeppelOnWine.com

I liked this wine because it reminded me of one of our favorites, Vinho Verde. I think it would be better in the summer with their food pairing recommendations. But it is always fun to try new wines!

We also had a run of the mill salad on the side.

  • Spinach, Colby Jack, Olives, Hummus

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I needed some more veggies today so this (sort of) did the trick!

We canceled our cable at the beginning of the year to save a little money and to rely on each other and ourselves for entertainment. But I just find shows that I really want to watch on Hulu and Netflix. Tonight we finally started Season 6 of Grey’s Anatomy. I’ll have to watch a couple more episodes to see what I really think of this season.

I’m off to do a short strength session and hula hoop (makes me feel like a kid). I’ll probably listen to MGMT, one of my favorite albums to get me pumped!

Goodnight everyone!

Rainy Days and Tuesdays?

For not getting any rain over the summer, we sure are getting our fair share this fall. I am not complaining, either, because I adore the rain. When I wake up to a day like this, I would love to just stay inside, watch movies and read a book! Those days come few and far between though. So off to work I went! My breakfast this morning was super cinnamon-y.

  • Breakfast: Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB&Co.

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This is really good but really sweet! I recommend saving it for dessert. I also had a cup of coffee from McDonald’s. My husband and I love coffee and like to grind our own beans but our coffeemaker broke recently. We have french press a lot but there just wasn’t time to make it this morning. We are still in the process of choosing a new coffeemaker. Any suggestions?

Today has been a better day! My husband had part of the morning off and was able to do a lot of things around the house while I was at work. I came home to spotless floors and organized spaces. Gotta love that! Thanks Patrick!

I have been telling one of my coworkers how much I want to try the Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake meal. I have not been able to find it because it’s pretty popular! She found it at the store and picked up two so I could try one. I used to eat a lot of tv dinners. Then I realized you can eat more for the same calorie content if you choose quality foods. I haven’t had one in over 2 months. I made an exception today and had this..

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This was so good! It had a great mixture of spicy, sweet and rich flavors. It is also a vegan meal. It contains:

  • Plantains with roasted sweet potato, black beans and kale. Spicy ancho sauce with pumpkin seed garnish served over Kashi seven whole grain polenta, plus amaranth.

It was perfect for the rainy weather. Hearty, warm and filling. Definitely pick this one up!

You probably know that Caitlin is this week’s host of the Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI). She chose pancake mix as the ingredient you must try to creatively prepare. I am really excited and have a few ideas that I’m going to work with tonight. Check back because I may post one later tonight!

Toodles!

nicole

Manic Monday

Today has been a long one. It was one of those Mondays you just want to redo. Nothing terrible happened but it wasn’t a typical good day! I’m about to go to sleep and am sure that tomorrow will be great…at my store we are putting up our Christmas trees! We put up 12-16 a year from 8 feet to 12 feet tall, all with different themes. I will definitely post pictures as we put them up!

  • Breakfast: 1 packet instant baked apple oatmeal with banana and a sprinkle of Sticky Pecan Bun Granola

Baked Apple Sticky Bun Oats

It was not really busy at the store and we were just putting up tree bodies and fluffing them in preparation for the decoration. While working I had my first tastes of Kombucha, something I’ve heard about for a long time and wanted to try. I got the Synergy Divine Grape flavor and quite enjoyed it. I didn’t realize until after I started drinking it that it “could contain trace amounts of alcohol (less than 0.5%)”. It makes sense because it is fermented tea but yikes! I was getting a “trace amount of headache” so I put it away until later. I decided to put my in-store treats and eats in front of some displays you guys could feast your eyes on. This is pictured in front of our Waxing Poetic line which is our best selling jewelry line. Primarily we sell chains and initial charms in several different styles. It’s so neat that you can customize it any way you like.

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I didn’t have anything to pack for lunch this morning so I went with my coworker to a place called Village Cafe in Downtown Bryan. It has a really neat atmosphere and the food is mainly local and organic. I was cravin some Mediterranean flava.

  • Lunch: 1/2 Tzatziki Wrap and side Greek salad

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I love the combination of Kalamata olives and feta cheese so much. I have a thing for salty foods more than sweets most of the time. After work, I came home and did a little cleaning in the kitchen. Patrick was working until after 7 tonight and then he went to Hobby Lobby to frame one of the pictures our friend commissioned from him. Check it out…

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You can see a better version plus the intricate process he used to create this photo at Patrick’s blog which he is asking me not to give out tonight as it were. Check back in 3 days he says! He is so talented if I do say so myself. It is actually a grid of 32 images assembled together in Photoshop.

When he got home, we drove out to Research Park on the Texas A&M campus to do our Week 6 Day 3 run of the Couch to 5k. It was 25 minutes without a walking interval, our longest run yet. It was a brisk evening which I thought was perfect for our run. It was difficult for me at times but I pressed on and finished without stopping to walk. I listened to Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast while I ran. It is a great album. If you like Rufus Wainwright, you will like Andrew Bird. After our run we went to the grocery store to get our food for the next two weeks.

  • Dinner: Black Bean Chicken Burrito

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I had some chips and salsa on the side. I love cilantro salsa. All salsa really. Be prepared to see it often! We watched an old episode of 30 Rock that had Steve Martin as the guest star. I love his work, especially the Father of the Bride movies. So cute! I like to watch the first one around Christmas….does it sound like I’m getting into the Christmas spirit? You would think after working retail for 6 years I would be Grinch-tastic but I still love it. It has its moments but it’s worth it.

What movies do you like to watch at Christmas?

Busy Busy Bees

I’ve been studying for a test in my E-Management class. But I wanted to post something to break up the time I spent studying and clear my mind! Last night we went for a run. I look forward to that time we spend together 3 nights a week now. It’s a process that I enjoy, from the time I lace up my tennis shoes to the time I walk up that last step to our house when we finish. I run a gamut of emotions when I’m out there even though I don’t do long runs (yet). We just finished Week 6 Day 2 of the C25K program. From here on out, we will not have walking intervals until we finish the program. I am so glad we started it because it is the reason I found this community which is one of the things I am grateful for today.

pretty shoes that take me places

pretty shoes that take me places

After we ran, I went to Target and picked up a bunch of fall goodies! I got pumpkin kisses, pumpkin pie Kashi bars and pecan sticky bun Archer Farms granola to add to my oatmeal or yogurt. It finally feels like fall out here but it’s not going to last long. It’ll be 85 and humid later this week.

Later last night we went to see our friend’s band Smile Transylvania play at a spooky old place in Downtown Bryan. The music isĀ  a little heavy for my taste. When I hear really heavy metal or angry voices, I say it makes my soul hurt. My hubby likes a lot of soul hurting music even though his parents listened to old and awesome stuff while he was growing up. Think Simon & Garfunkel, Peter Paul and Mary, etc. At this concert a guy went out to the front and started moshing by himself. I should have taken a picture of that because it provided a good laugh for my friend and me!

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We went with an old friend (and my maid of honor in fact) Olivia and her MIL to the concert and to eat afterwards. We hadn’t planned on consuming dinner at midnight but we had not eaten and they wanted IHOP. So we went and I ordered off the For Me menu since that establishment is not known for its fresh and healthy fare. I got the Two x Two x Two For Me. Scrambled egg substitute, turkey bacon and buttermilk pancakes. I had everything but half of the pancakes.

When we got home I showered and went to bed since it was late and we had Sunday School this morning. We woke up and went to church without eating since we were running late. They had donuts and coffee at Sunday School but I actually read it is better to skip a meal than to eat a donut (plus I don’t like them) so I just had coffee. Let me tell you my stomach was preaching to the choir during worship. I hate skipping meals. By the time the service let out it was so rainy and cold outside and we wanted something warm and filling. We decided to go to Fuddrucker’s for lunch. I have not exactly eaten so healthy the last couple of days so I skipped a meat burger and went with a veggie patty on wheat, no fries. Swiss cheese and mustard were added as well as pico and pickles. I liked it a lot! I apologize for all the iPhone pics but I finally found my camera charger so better pics will start tomorrow!

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We went to the mall after lunch and VS was having a sale on bras! I got 2 t-shirt bras for $40. They are so comfortable. I was so excited that while we were in there I heard two relatively unknown songs that I love: Jenny Lewis’ Godspeed and Camera Obscura’s The Sweetest Thing. I also love VS bags because I feel like I received a gift each time I shop there. They haven’t spritzed the tissue with perfume the last few times I went in there. Wonder if there was a policy change? I had a pumpkin pie Kashi bar when I got home.

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Since you know all these artists and music that I love, I want to know some that you love!

Okay now I’m going to continue studying and have dinner! Hasta luego!

nicole