thoughts, but mostly questions…

Days Until 2012: viaSo there have been a bunch of food, pictures and Christmas trees on the blog in the past two weeks. It’s time for some words.

  • I think I completed my goal this year in regards to buying all my presents before my brother’s birthday (12/13). I’ve got 6 important birthdays and Christmas all within one month. It is not easy financially. I’ve got to be organized when it comes to shopping.
  • I think I mentioned that I finished my 3rd Semester Project: The Story Behind the Status. I was so excited for it to be complete, but I felt so strange the next day. Like, “What now? What do I do now that is complete?” Well, I have quite a bit that I can do now, so I’m not concerned, but it is sad to see the project completed. I know I can do more with it in the future, I just need to buckle down and finish my thesis now.
  • Thesis? Ugh. What shall I write about in my thesis? Here are a bunch of possible ideas that I have: 1) I could have written a memoir if I didn’t spend my time doing ________. 2)The process of buying a house 3)The important of integrating grapefruit, yogurt and cookies and cream chocolate into your diet. I could really use suggestions. What would you guys like to see me write about?
  • There are a lot of blog related things I need to do, like redesign this blog, or launch my new self hosted 101 in 1001 goals blog. Who wants to help me?
  • Also, does anyone have any suggestions of things I can try cooking for dinner? How about a chicken or pork recipe? I haven’t cooked with those much, so send them my way!
  • Anyone have freelance writing opportunities they want to share with me? I need to beef up my income a little, so point me in the right direction guys.
  • My anniversary with Mr. O is next month. What should I get/do for that dreamboat?
  • I love the tv show The New Girl.
  • I miss me some Gray’s Anatomy. I haven’t watched it once this season.

Holiday Snacks

Days Until 2012: via

So the other day I mentioned the snacks I made for girl’s night. For my last installment of my current cooking projects (#6), I figured I would share the process with you. First I lined a baking sheet with wax paper, and then put down a layer of waffle pretzel bottoms. (There was a lot broken pieces in my bag)

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Next was as simple of putting the Hershey’s Kisses on each pretzel. The one stinky part was unwrapping all the Kisses, but Mr. O was kind enough to assist me with this step.
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Now it was time to stick the pretzels in the oven.I think we had the temp to 250. These little guys heated up SO QUICKLY! One second I was looking through the window on the stove and thinking it would need a few more minutes to get melty. The next second they were almost fully melted…which you do not want!
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So I pulled out the baking sheet and smooshed down the 1/2 melted chocolate with another waffle pretzel.
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I let them sit at room temp until the pan was cool and then stuck them in the freezer until the morning (oh, and I am in LOVE with those ice cream bars propped underneath.
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And THAT is it, folks! Easy, easy, easy!

Disclaimer: I actually did quite a bit of mini cooking projects this week. Mr. O and I made dumplings from scratch, I cooked quite a bit of pea pods, yeah I don’t remember what else, but this week was busy in the kitchen. This was my only solo project, so it just seemed best to share (plus, I didn’t take pictures of the rest!)

Shrimp Mozambique

Days Until 2012: via

I’m a little bit excited to tell you all about week #5. I grew up in a very multicultural area, and I eat a whole lot of Portuguese food. However, I’ve never cooked any Portuguese dishes in my life. I’m grateful for my mom, my best friend’s mom, Mr. O and all the excellent restaurants in the city for the Portuguese food they make me. Now I can finally report that I am no longer a Portuguese food cooking virgin! Last week I cooked Shrimp Mozambique which is tied with Portuguese Steak as my favorite Portuguese meal. I usually order the Surf & Turf when I go out so that I can get the best of both meals.

So here is what things usually look like when I start cooking, especially if I’m following a recipe online. I did follow one recipe pretty much straightforward, but it just wasn’t spicy enough for my little Portuguese tongue, so I kept adding more hot sauce and wet crushed red pepper (but this was at the total end).
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First thing in the pan was the onions and butter. I’m kind of in love with onions lately (well, I’ve always been in love with them). I just love cooking with them. I don’t use a lot of butter in my cooking, but this dish calls for mucho butter.

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Look at the fun mix of spices and stuff! Next time I will add more than two Goya packets. I’ll probably do 3 1/2!

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Mr. O was kind enough to photograph me in the act of mixing the shrimp in with the sauce. He’s so great 🙂

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Yum! At this point, I just want to put my face in and eat like a maniac. Good thing I have enough sense to understand it will burn the shit out of my face. This is the point where I added more hot sauce and more wet crushed pepper to taste. I think by adding more Goya packets, I wont have to do this next time, but we will see.

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Tada! Final Product! I’m really proud of myself; it was so good. Traditionally, Shrimp Mozambique is served over fries and rice, but we decided to plate it over some spaghetti. We also made some garlic bread, which was super awesome to dip in the sauce. I think we made three pieces of garlic bread (two for Mr. O and one for me), but I ate his second piece. Yum Yum Yum.

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Girls’ Night In…aka we’re getting older and poorer

Days Until 2012: via Thanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring my writing. There’s no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On! www.duncanhines.com.
 

My girlfriends and I used to manage to get together for a monthly Girls’ Night Out and we would usually try new restaurants. It has unfortunately fell to the side recently—one of us is pregnant, two of us are in graduate school, one person just bought a house (I’m trying to make that 2!). The last time we got together, we decided to resurrect it and attempt a Girls Night In so that we don’t have to budget for a big meal out. We’ll still go out, but maybe we will alternate every other month or something. December will be GNI, January will be a night out, etc. Anyway!

Our first night in is coming soon, and we’ve decided to do drinks (nonalcoholic for the preggo) and desserts the first time. I think with the holidays coming up, we’re all going to be stuffing ourselves at company parties and family get-togethers that instead of attempting a pot luck meal, it is best to do a pot luck dessert.

What’s going to happen is the host is going to pick up the beverages, and the guests will each be bringing a small dessert and a bigger dessert. I decided to attempt a sweet snack I saw on Pinterest, and made white chocolate peppermint pretzel sandwiches as my small dish. I figured I would use the white peppermint chocolate rather than the normal chocolate since we are getting together during the holiday season! (I just made these a few days ago! I’m storing them in the fridge until the party)

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My big dish is going to be a repeat from something I tried last month: Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes. I actually get a lot of hits on the blog for my cheesecake, and I thought it tasted fantastic, so I figure I might as well get my friends opinions. I’m going to do it a LITTLE different this time. Instead of making one big cheesecake, I’m going to make all of them into cupcakes. I really like that the cupcakes I made last time (with the extra filling). I had a full Oreo on the bottom as a “crust”.

If I get ambitious enough, I might try to make something snazzy on top of the cupcakes, like a snowman (out of marshmallows) or a white tree (see Erin’s blog for a fantastic tutorial). Actually, nevermind what I said about Erin’s tutorial. She moved blogs and now writes at the amazing Speckled Palate. The tutorial was at her old blog, but I’m thinking maybe she can repost the old link on the new blog if we all ask nicely?

Remember to check out Duncan Hines’ website www.duncanhines.com to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

Shrimp Paesano Recipe!

Days Until 2012: via

Week #4 was my favorite week of cooking, and it was also Mr. O’s favorite meal. I made “Shrimp Paesano” by following the recipe from this wonderful site. There isn’t too much that I altered with the recipe. To start, I used dried parsley because I forgot to pick up fresh parsley from the store. In my opinion this made absolutely no difference. I also did NOT need 2 full cups of flour. I threw quite a bit of flour out at the end. I also have a tendency to add things to recipes, so I added onions and some orange sweet peppers. Which I thought added a lot to the recipe.

So the first step is to let the shrimp soak in the half & half for 30 minutes. Mr. O was so kind to get this started for me before I got there, so I only had to wait maybe ten minutes before I started cooking. I took this time to prepare the rest of the stuff that I needed.20111201-184755.jpg20111201-184834.jpg

After that I moved on to steps #3 &4 and I personally found that I “dusted” the shrimp with a medium amount of flour. To me, dusting means like minimally powder something, but I lightly covered the whole shrimp. Hey, it worked for me. The ones that were less covered than the others lost a lot of the coating, and honestly didn’t taste that good.
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So I somehow forgot to take pictures while making the sauce. There isn’t much to comment that you won’t learn on the recipe. The only note that I have is that I found myself putting more and more half & half in the sauce to thicken it up and make it more creamy. It was too buttery. When I make this recipe again, I will probably use less butter next time around, and make more sauce.

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Oh, and don’t forget to enter my very first giveaway on Reinventing Erin for a $25 gift card to Overnight Prints!. You do not want to miss it. Click here to find out all the ways you can enter. TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO ENTER!!!!!

easy nachos

Days Until 2012: via

Week three of cooking was an easy one. We were very busy and a few of our meals were on the go… Before I knew it the week was halfway done and I had yet to cook. Mr. O had made all the stuff we needed for tacos and in order to “cook” something, I baked some nachos. Don’t get too excited here. It was just chips, pico type salsa, onions, and cheese I think. I’ve learned its best to bake the nachos without the salsa. It made the chips covered in salsa too chewy. Simple, right?

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Oh, and don’t forget to enter my very first giveaway on Reinventing Erin for a $25 gift card to Overnight Prints!. You do not want to miss it. Click here to find out all the ways you can enter.

creamy garlic wine spaghetti with little necks :)

Days until 2012: (via)

So this was my first big undertaking for the cook weekly challenge: Littlenecks over spaghetti with a creamy garlic wine sauce. Yummmm. Looking back it wasn’t my favorite meal, but I did pretty good for my first meal that I cooked from scratch. I’ m just sharing the photos today, because I followed this recipe and they deserve the kudos.

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Trying to follow the recipe!

I think next time, I will put less lemon or possibly a different white wine (I went into a little lemon squeezing craze).20111201-184514.jpg20111201-184447.jpg20111201-184528.jpg

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my very first giveaway on Reinventing Erin for a $25 gift card to Overnight Prints!. You do not want to miss it. Click here to find out all the ways you can enter.

technically it was round two, but officially will be round one

 Days until 2012! VIA

A week in recipes??? So remember how I decided to start cooking weekly as part of my 101 in 1001 project? Remarkably, I have been doing just that 🙂 Since I have about 6 or 7 meals completed, I figured I’d spend the week posting about the food I’ve cooked.

The first meal was on 10/19/11; I made spaghetti and meatballs and foolishly didn’t photograph the meal. Since it is a pretty big deal for me to photograph ALL of my 101 challenge, I’ve decided to just start the “challenge” with my first photographed meal, which was technically week #2.

Chow Mein on 10/24/11! I should let you know that I consider myself a Chow Mein rock star. I’ve improved my recipe over the past year, but it is a pretty easy meal to cook, and it is also something I can eat pretty regularly. Mr. O and I are pretty obsessed with our homemade dumplings, so we decided to cook those as well (Mr. O cooked them, while I watched).

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There isn’t much to tell you about cooking. I tend to eat my chow mein with meat. Usually pork or chicken, although I did make good use of my Thanksgiving leftovers by cooking turkey chow mein! So the first thing to do is cook your meat. While it is on the stove, I chop my vegetables and prepare my sauce. I usually put onions, bean sprouts and occasionally mushrooms in my chow mein. My mother puts celery in hers, but both Mr. O and myself aren’t fans of celery, so we don’t. We buy our chow mein noodles and mix in bulk at Oriental Chow Mein Company which is run by the sweetest woman who I consider part of my family. She is the person who taught my mom to cook so well when she was growing up, so I’m pretty grateful for her. The sauce is slightly tricky to mix, but once you get the hang of it, it’s no biggie. Basically you just mix the powder with water; if the water is too cold, the powder won’t liquefy well. If the water is too hot, then the powder turns into a jelly, and it is a pain in the ass to turn it back into a liquid. So my trick is to start to boil water on the stove, but before it begins to bubble, I scoop out some water and mix my sauce. Once the sauce is ready, I pour it into the remaining water on the stove, and toss in my veggies and meat.

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From here on is a waiting game. I generally never cook my sauce higher than medium temperature, but I like to get the sauce to thicken, and also let the add-ins absorb the flavor before I plate it. It worked out well this night, because we didn’t start making the dumplings until I threw all the ingredients in the sauce pan. This is a picture of the dumplings as soon as they went into the pan. Like I said, Mr. O cooked them, so I really don’t have much to remark yet about dumpling cooking. The final thing to do when everything is ready is fill a bowl with crunchy brown chow mein noodles and then cover it with as much sauce as you like. I’m a HUGE fan of putting some balsamic vinegar in my chow mein, but Mr. O thinks that is gross.

Here is to the official week one, and to kicking off one of the goals on my 101 list. Check back tomorrow for another sneak peek at my cooking skills.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my very first giveaway on Reinventing Erin for a $25 gift card to Overnight Prints!. You do not want to miss it. Click here to find out all the ways you can enter.

randoms

  • I’m not a big fan of waiting. I’m an action girl. I like to make things happen, not sit and wait for them to happen.
  • I am a very positive person, and believe in the power of intention.
  • I really need to type up and post my new 101 in 1001 list that went live 10/2/11.
  • Even more than that, I need to post all the updates for my original 101 challenge that ended 10/1/11.
  • I need to organize my entire life… because it isn’t.
  • I also need to see Michaela soon, because it has been ages since we have been together, and that, well that just doesn’t feel right.
  • I am addicted to Pinterest. It’s true. I can’t stop pinning. I just want to do it all the time.
  • I’m getting a coffee this weekend with Kristen, the fantastic Season 5 Statejoy blogger who happens to live near me. This will be epic.
  • I’ve cooked a whole lot since I started the new 101 challenge. At least once a week. So I need to get those blog posts written and posted.
  • My graduate school project is coming to a quick end, and I’m already wishing I had more time to develop it. I loved studying social media and its relation to writing. I definitely want to do more with this project in the future.
  • Speaking of school, my kick ass mentor Porochista won a NEA Grant! And so did two other amazing teachers in my program. Great job ladies!
  • Oh, and the Director of my MFA program won the Best Fiction Connecticut Book Award for his novel Beautiful Assassin.

 

Edit: I never finished this post yesterday morning. I had plans of finishing it when I got home, but instead I watched some X Factor and fell asleep. This morning I woke up to a comment from the aforementioned Michaela, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy, because we were both thinking of each other yesterday. I really miss her.

giving up or not, cooking and wedding ideas

I don’t know whether to announce that I haven’t even made an attempt yet at NaNoWriMo, and therefore am already giving up, or just haul ass and write all those words I missed in the past three days. I haven’t decided yet. Thoughts?

I made dinner last night for Wolverine and Mr. O. I won’t lie, I’m pretty proud of myself. I made garlic bread, corn on the cob, spaghetti with little necks and a garlic/wine/cream sauce. Mr. O helped a tiny little bit too, so I’ll give him some credit, but I did a lot of it on my own. I promise pictures will follow.

My nose is so stuffy.

Oh, yesterday I stopped by Target after work. I have a great idea for all you brides out there. Anyone who is getting married in the next year and planning on doing a candy buffet for their “favors” should 100% ABSOLUTELY go to your retail stores and stock up now on candy. Right now at Target it is 50% off. I’m sure it will also go to 75% off. But you can go anywhere: supermarkets, drug stores, etc. I got a bag of mini snack size Hershey bars to bring into work for $1.37 yesterday. You can easily complete a candy buffet for at least 50% by doing this. There was so much candy that didn’t even have Halloween markings on it. You could never tell the difference. Plus it won’t spoil. Just keep it in a cool area of your home, and if necessary you can always put it in the fridge or freezer. I doubt you’ll need to do this until summer, and maybe not even then.

This is is probably only 1/3 of the $1.37 bag I bought!!

i just don’t..

Inspired by Ashley and Becky’s posts, I decided to also share all the things I don’t do.
Ashley wrote about the mask of perfection, in the sense that, while there are so many wonderful things she has experienced or witnessed via blogging, she also see so much “perfection” on blogs that just seem too good to be true. She suggested we “declare ourselves rife with imperfection” (love that phrase) which I think is just the greatest thing we can all do. Here goes nothing…

  • While I do actually work at my 101 in 1001 list, I never update the blog. This drives me insane personally, because I take notes and take photos; all I need to do is post them. My first 101 list ended on 10/1/2011, and my second one started 10/2/11. I haven’t even posted or updated anything about the new list! I’m so behind schedule.
  • I don’t write nearly as much as a graduate student (in creative writing) should. I hate to admit it, but it is true. That is something I have been working on very hard this semester, and I should probably pat myself on the back and admit that it is slightly getting better.
  • I haven’t been on the 20SB site in forever. I love the community and what it has grown to be, but I’m neglecting it.
  • I buy birthday, holiday, new house, new baby, new job, congratulations, thank you, retirement and sympathy cards all the time. When I need one, I usually fill it out and address it. Then it sits somewhere stamp-less for way too long. I just found a card for one of my friend’s who got an awesome job in May. It is November and it was never mailed.
  • I don’t know how to cook very much. I can cook killer breakfasts: anything with eggs, pancakes, waffles, french toast, cinnamon rolls, monkey bread.  I make a mean spaghetti, great chow mein, mac and cheese, oh yeah I made a great salmon (like twice) ehhhh… I can grill stuff good too. I sear a tuna like a  pro. Basically, I’ve been learning how to cook. Mr. O has been helping me learn, and I’m excited about it.
  • I don’t spend as much time with my grandparents as I would like to. I know how important it is, and I just need to put more effort in.
  • I don’t comment on blogs like I used to. I read every single post in my reader, and I “star” so many of them so that when I have a chance I can go over and comment. But 1/2 the time I never end up doing it. 🙁
  • I don’t ever complete a NaBloPoMo. Ever. I’m on day three and going strong though, so I’ve got hope for this month.
  • I don’t clean my apartment like a normal human. I’m hardly ever there, so I tend to just let things pile up until it is a big mess and then try like hell to attack it all at once.
  • I don’t do my laundry more than once a week. In fact there is a good chance that I do my laundry every other week. How? Well, I’m fortunate to own a LOT of clothing. The only thing that stinks about this is that I usually do a LOT of loads all at once.
  • I don’t get my oil changes on time… EVER. I wait and I wait and I wait and then the guilt piles up and finally I get it done.
  • I don’t send attachments in emails. Most of the time. I’ll send an email out at work that says something like, “reference the attached email,” but then forget to attach it.
  • I don’t remember half of what I am supposed to. It is sad, but true. Lists keep me sane.
  • I don’t complete 98% of the DIY or craft projects I aim to. I still however love to shop at Michael’s and AC Moore.
  • I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy this season. It is my favorite show, but I just can’t remember to put it on.
  • I don’t wash my hair everyday. If I did it would be stringy and gross. However. If I go more than 48 hours without washing it, it will be ridiculously greasy. It’s a lose-lose.
  • I don’t floss as often as I should. I’ve got no excuses for this one.
  • I don’t write in my diary. I like my diary, but between school, this blog and the talking I do with friends and family, there isn’t that much more to say.
  • I don’t wake up early enough for work every single morning, which in turns make me rushed and almost/sometimes late.

tada! yummy oreo cheesecake

I’ve been in a pretty domestic mood lately. A few weeks ago, my friend Lauren posted on Facebook about how she was making a Bourbon Apple Pie, and since then, I’m been jonesing to bake. (Well, I haven’t made the Bourbon Pie yet, but it will happen soon). Yesterday, I posted about how I want to learn how to cook. I blogged about this a while ago too, and when I did, I promised I would share photos of my experiences. So…. drumroll please…here goes nothing!

I kept bugging Mr. O about baking. I wanted an excuse to make a pie, but neither of us wanted to eat the whole thing. We’re trying to eat more healthy. So I decided no matter what, I would bake this evening; I could just give the pie to his parents or my parents if we didn’t want to eat it. So I was planning on making the aforementioned Apple Pie and a Pumpkin Pie, but last minute Mr. O suggested an Oreo Cheesecake, and I decided to go for it. I found an amazing recipe here, and followed it pretty closely.*

I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked, but here they are, start to finish.
I baked the cheesecake in my mom’s kitchen so that I could use her KitchenAid mixer. (I want one!) I wish I would have put the eggs or the sour cream in with the cream cheese, because let me tell you, no matter what mixing head you use, it is very difficult to mix cream cheese alone.20111024-141002.jpg

* Obviously, the recipe I was following was for Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes, but I decided to make an Oreo Cheesecake in a graham cracker crust. There was some extra mixture, so I made four cupcakes as well. I put a whole Oreo at the bottom for a crust, and then filled the cupcake liners almost to the top.

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Then everything went into the oven! Again, I followed the recipe and cooked the cupcakes and cheesecake at 275 for 22 minutes. But I ended up increasing the heat to 325 halfway through. The cupcakes only took about 25 minutes total, but the cheesecake took about 35-40 minutes at 325.

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After I took the cupcakes out, I let them cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then I took them out, put them on a plate and they immediately went into the fridge. The cheesecake kept cooking during all of this.

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I knew the cheesecake was done when it wasn’t so wobbly when I tried to wiggle it (fancy cooking terms, i know). I let the cheesecake sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature, and then I stuck in in the fridge.

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Since I made the cheesecake for Mr. O to eat, I rushed the cooling process a bit. I’d say I put it in the fridge for about 2 1/2 hours, then the freezer for about 45 minutes, and then the fridge for another 45 minutes before we ate it. It tastes great, but from what I understand, most people will tell you to wait at least 24 hours before serving.

Note: If you clicked over to the blog I found the recipe, you might have noticed that the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sour cream. Well, Mr. O hates (really hates) sour cream. But, since this was the first cheesecake I ever made alone (and the ones I assisted my mom in cooking before all had sour cream in them, I decided to go ahead and use the sour cream). His verdict? He liked the cheesecake a lot, but he did think it was a little tart, and wished it were a bit sweeter. He wasn’t all that excited when he found out I used sour cream in the recipe, but he is kind enough to admit that he still enjoyed my baking. And because I love him, I’ll refrain from the sour cream next time.

on overwhelming myself

I tend to overwhelm myself. I do this by waiting until the last minute to complete things or by taking on more than I can handle.

Now, that last sentence is all relative. At different times I have been able to “handle” more or less, depending on what is happening in my life.

I bet if I looked back through this blog since I began graduate school, I’d find a post like this every time my writing packets were due. I wish I knew how to change this fact about myself. I’d like to say it has gotten better every semester, but I’m not sure that fact is true. Well, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I have gotten better. I just want to be a lot better than I am right now.

Here is what I need to have written (at a minimum): 18 pages of nonfiction, 5 pages of nonfiction, 1 poem, and a bunch of my own writing for my 3rd semester project (you should submit too!!!!). This all needs to be completed by Friday. Yes, Friday. And in truth, I should have had the 18 pages completed and sent out YESTERDAY to my writing group, which meets TOMORROW. Yes, tomorrow. Which means, I need to HUSTLE and throw something together. Which also means my submission to my writing group is going to be half-assed. Which means, I’m shorting myself the good critiques I need.

I want to do fun stuff like bake oreo cheesecakes and search online for houses and watch movies with my love and upload pictures to Facebook instead of doing my homework. Oh, wait… that is all I did this weekend.

One thing I can say that I’ve been doing a good job with is writing every day for 15 minutes straight. It has been very helpful. The problem is that what I’m writing is much more journal-ish than nonfiction-ish.

Enough whining. Today I’m going to go to work and get a lot done, then Mr. O and I will walk Fenway, pick up Wolverine (my new blog nickname for Mr. O’s son) and we will go grocery shopping together. Then we are going to go home, I’m going to cook them Chow Mein for dinner and then it is going to be a night of writing for me.

Speaking of food, last week I decided I want to start cooking for Mr. O and myself one time a week. I dont’ have the greatest cooking skills, and the only way to change that is to start cooking. So for my first week, I made spaghetti and meatballs and garlic bread. I didn’t take any photographs, boo. Today I’m making Chow Mein. Both dishes are easy for me, but I’ve got to start where I am comfortable. Oh, and on Saturday I made an Oreo Cheesecake (my first cheesecake!) I will try to remember to take photos, and I’ll be sure to do a blog post about it all soon.

thought i would share

So 10/10 has officially past and I still have yet to finish my 101 in 1001 goals list. I plan on completing it by the weekend. What bums me out is that this weekend I will be completing two items which are currently already on the new list! One is a carryover from the last list (Ride on a train) and the other is a new item, but one that I added to the list in September. Grr. Do they count if I still haven’t “activated” the new list? I don’t know. You tell me.

I keep thinking these really interesting thoughts that I swear would make for great blogs, but I can never seem to remember them when it is time to sit down and write a post. I’m seriously going to have to buckle down and write my thoughts on a notebook, or even the notepad on my iPhone.

Speaking of my iPhone, I’m pretty bummed about Steve Jobs’ death. I mean, I get sad when anyone I know– or know of– passes away. But, I think he was a visionary. I also think he said some pretty rad quotes.

As much as I truly don’t think I’d ever like to do this project again (well, at least at a scale as large as I did last time- 365 days straight) but I do miss listing the things I am grateful for every day. I’m a pretty thankful person, which I think is super awesome. I have a heart that is overflowing with love. So I generally always acknowledge my gratitude, but I guess there is something about publicly being thankful for something. So today, I am grateful for “Family Dinners”. Usually once a week Mr. O, his son (who I still need a blog nickname for) and I will get together with Mr. O’s best friend (“Jackie”), his girlfriend (“Kim”), and her two children for dinner. Someone (or a couple of us) will cook, then we will eat together, catch up on things and clean up together too. It is really nice to spend that time together every week. There are many times I miss this dinner because I’m off doing graduate school related things, but I really appreciate my friends, the kiddies and my wonderful boyfriend. This is how I like to spend my time, and these moments are the ones I want to create my “past.”

the past two days

Last night Mr. O and I went to my grandparents’ house to drop off their birthday presents. There is a water tank directly across the street that has been there since my mom was young. They are taking it down now and plan on replacing it with a new one. I watched them for a while and thought the process was so wild, so I figured I’d share a picture.

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 On Sunday, Mr. O and  I decided to do a little more cooking together.  I knew I wanted corn, but we werent sure what else to eat. We decided to make some kabobs and I couldn’t be happier with how they came out. Here are a few iPhone pics of the process.

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welcome new friends!

49 go on a cruise (9)Ola, amigos. Have you recently found your way over here from Kyla’s blog? If so, welcome! Make yourself at home. I bet you’re wondering, “Who is this Erin character?” That’s a good question. The easiest way to get a brief overview of who I am is to check out the “About the Girl” tab at the top of this page. However, I’ve provided a short list below cause I like to make things nice and simple for you.

  • I’m afraid of bees. However, alligators are my favorite animals.
  • I am a graduate student studying creative nonfiction and I do a lot of whining about how I procrastinate too much. (I also don’t have good grammar on this blog, beware!)
  • Besides my day job, I have a part time gig as a relief worker for adults with mental illnesses, and I also coordinate and plan events such as weddings and concerts.
  • If I told you that I was a great cook then I’d be lying to you, and I really am an honest person. I can however tell you that I want to be a good cook one day. My boyfriend makes fantastic meals; he’s teaching me what he knows, and the rest we plan on learning together.
  • I think everyone really should have a lucky number and a favorite color.
  • I also really want to know people’s middle names.
  • If it wasn’t for 20 Something Bloggers, I don’t know if I would have continued to blog since I first started in 2008. I also owe a lot of my blogging gratitide to my 101 in 1001 goals list and NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo and Grace in Small Things as well.
  • I love everything about home improvement. However, I do not own my own home. Still, I fantasize about home design projects and knocking down walls and painting and everything that could have to do with houses.
  • I love to travel. Anywhere.

And here are some of the key players on this blog:

  • Mr. O: The most wonderful man in the world (at least in my eyes). As corny as it may sound, Mr. O is my boyfriend and my best friend. I tend to profess my love for him on here. Sorry, folks.
  • Fairfield University MFA Program: I write a LOT about my grad school experiences, and on top of that, you have the chance to get to know some of my classmates, like Phil and AJ and Reuben and Brooke.
  • Fenway: My Chihuahua/Terrier mix. She’s a rescue dog I adopted while living in Virginia. She definitely keeps me on my toes.

Oh…and these things happen often around these parts.

  • The Defining Moments Guest Series: So far Amanda, AJ, Phil, Brooke, Reuben, Heidi and Kat have all posted about moments of reinvention or inspiration. This series has been a big hit for my readers, and I am always looking for more people to write a guest blog on this topic. You don’t have to be a regular blogger to do this. Kat wasn’t a blogger when she first wrote her post for me… now she has a Tumblr. There are two more guest bloggers that will be coming up this week. One of them has never blogged before, and probably won’t again (unless I can convince her to write another guest post!).
  • My Lessons- The Thoughts on Love Series:  Now, I’m not an expert, but I’ve been thinking a lot about love this year…what it takes to be in a relationship, choices people make, how other people can affect your relationships, etc. I started this series to share my observations, thoughts and feelings.