11 thangs.

I don't usually do these things either. But it's Friday so what the hey.

1.What is your profession?
I work for a forensic accounting firm. It sounds more CSI than it really is. I am also a wannabe blogger, just in case you didn't notice.

2. How would you describe your style?
I have no idea. I look my best when The Cyclist dresses me.

3. What is one make-up product you can't live without?
It's a toss up between concealer and blush. I'll go with concealer. Cheek pinching works in a pinch. Ha!

4. If you could be besties with one celeb who would it be?
This is hard, I pay very little attention to Hollywood. Does Zooey Deschanel count? Or maybe Adele!

5. What's your dream vacation?
A trip around the world (for at least a year).

6. What magazine do you subscribe to?
I don't! But the last one was Vanity Fair.

7. If you could have any special talent (that you don't currently have) what would it be?
To dance. Right now it's like Elaine from Seinfeld. Not kidding.

8. What's your favorite breakfast food?
Um. Everything? But if I have to pick one it's pancakes.

9. If you could do anything what would your dream job be?
Teacher. And/or writer. You could do both right? Summers off and all. Just sayin'.

10. What is your guilty pleasure?
David Turtera's My Fair Wedding and/or sour gummy worms.

11. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received and who gave it to you?
You catch more flies with sugar than vinegar. It has more meanings than it seems and took me a long time to learn. Thanks Mom!

11 thangs about me
Soccer is my best sport, I miss it.
I like spreadsheets.
I read to kids in funny voices.
I'm afraid of heights.
I liked Rome better than Florence.
I've had blonde hair, brown hair, red hair and black hair; 
short hair, long hair, bobbed hair and layered hair. Hair grows. Have fun.

I've broken a limb 4 times...and I cracked my skull...not all at once.
Someday I'll tell our love story on this blog.  It's crazy/beautiful.
I've seen the Grateful Dead (on my birthday).
I don't know how to dive.
I like to be a passenger more than a driver.

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Summer Bucket List 2012

And I ♥ Tracy from Shutterbean.

Even though they have no idea who I am.

In the blog world I think it's OK for me to proclaim my ♥ for other bloggers.

So, in the spirit of Joy the Baker & Tracy from Shutterbean, I'm doing a summer bucket list too!
Mostly because anyone who can rekindle fond memories of Sunflowers Perfume and make me sad that I never got to go to summer camp in a span of five minutes is worth doing a bucket list for.  
Plus, it's fun.

Here goes....

Updates to follow.

Happy Summer Bucket List-ing!

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Our Wedding....one year later

On this, our first anniversary, I wanted to share our wedding with you.  Looking back at all the photos brings a smile to my face and a happy tear to my eye.  There is really nothing I would have changed about our wedding.....except for maybe having Otis Brown join the fun.  But other than that, it was everything we could have imagined and more.

I know this is a long post, so let me start by saying a big thank you to all of our friends and family who really made this happen.  We could not have done it without you!

Freckleton Photography
Our wedding was anything but ordinary.  Actually, I like to think of it as the perfect mix of traditional and non-traditional.

We live in California, but the wedding was in Montana, just near the Idaho border.  Getting to our location meant all of our guests came to our destination....and then traveled down about 25 more miles of (only partially flooded) dirt road....in an area where no maps or real road signs exist (except for the ones we made)....just to make it to our location.  We ended up with 75 guests and we are so happy all of you joined the adventure!  We hope you thought the scenery was worth it.

Speaking of the scenery, our amazing photographers Shelley & Jaramy Freckleton of Freckleton Photography did such a beautiful job!  I found Shelley on-line and fell in love with her photos.  After meeting her and Jaramy, The Cyclist and I felt like we made two new friends.  I can't say enough good stuff about them, really.  They are moving to Denver, so all of you Denver peeps are lucky to be getting them!

Our location was Elk Lake Resort.  Their official address is Lima, MT, but they are actually much closer to Island Park, ID (or West Yellowstone, if that is more familiar to you).  

The owners, Craig & Lerrina were as equally amazing as our photographers.  They were so nice and helpful!  They did a wonderful job hosting our crew.

Elk Lake, or "the Ranch" as we took to calling it, has cabins on site.  So, about 30 or so of our friends and family were able to stay with us from Friday through Sunday, the wedding was on Saturday.
It was great to have so many friends and family there because they ALL helped hugely with putting the wedding together.  We wanted to do everything outside, so we had a tent brought in from Signature Party Rental in Idaho Falls (they also brought our chairs, arbor, tables and dinnerware).  We used a plain old piece of burlap from Home Depot for the aisle runner....our friends set all of it up for us.
When I tell you everyone was involved, I'm really not kidding.  One of The Cyclist's best friends, at our request, got himself ordained and married us!  Thank you Rickie!

We put together some special baskets for our "cabin dwellers" and named each cabin for the people staying in it.  Ours was The Honeymoon Hideout!  Instead of baskets or throw-away goods, we used the canvas collapsible boxes from Home Depot to pack everyone's goodies in.  I'm happy to know most of the guest's who scored the box still use it!

The property sits on the edge of Elk Lake, which was a bit too cold to swim in, but pretty still.
In the process of planning our wedding I discovered Etsy.  If you haven't visited Etsy, you should!  It's a collection of hand-made and vintage items from a bunch of different sellers.

Our rings were our first Etsy purchase.

Mine came from SingleB and is palladium and moissanite.  I didn't want a diamond and I love the idea that the original versions of my stone were found as part of a meteorite.  As soon as I found SingleB's shop I knew that ring was the one. The Cyclist's ring is from Minter & Richter Designs and is made of titanium, wood and turquoise.  It's super light, it always surprises me when I pick it up!

I looked at Etsy longingly for a dress, something I always thought I'd have made specifically for me.  My hips don't lie, I'm almost 6 feet tall and a short torso and long legs don't make me an easy fit.  I went to try on dresses to get an idea of what I might order and to share the dress trying-on fun with my sisters and friends (so fun!).  Surprisingly, I actually found my dress at David's Bridal!  I was really shocked.  My older sister picked it out of the catalog and the photo of it was totally princess like, check it out...

 I thought there was no way it would work and then....it was the one!  Minus the gloves and crown obviously!

This picture makes me giggle!  The Cyclist wore a suit from J Crew and a tie and shoes that he picked. It makes me happy to have a stylish husband because shopping isn't really my thing.  He's better at picking clothes for me than I am too!

It's funny, right after we got engaged The Cyclist told my mom and I that he imagined me wearing flowers in my hair.  I had never pictured that, but once he said it, I could see it too.  I had been spying a headpiece on Etsy and I was hoping I would find a dress that it would work with, thankfully I did.  The headpiece was from Whichgoose.
Other than the headpiece, I kept the jewelry simple (as I usually do).  I wore my mom's pearl stud earrings and a special necklace from my Grammy, who at the last minute was not able to make it due to health reasons - the only other thing I would have changed about the wedding if I could have.
The necklace is an antique poker chip.  It's really cool, one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.  The last piece I wore came un-planned with my little sister and maid of honor - a pearl necklace that was her mom's (my step-mom) who passed 7 years ago.  It was so special to wear something of hers on my wedding day.  Thanks sissy!  I turned the necklace into a bracelet and I love the way it worked.
Speaking of that sister o'mine, she lives in Washington and is also not a shopper.  Picking a dress for her was hard, but we found this Alfred Angelo dress that I ordered on-line from a discount vendor and shipped to her.

She is a seamstress and I, the lady-who-can't-sew-a-button, am not.  Apparently the top was sewn funky so she had to get it altered pretty good, but it turned out nice.  My favorite part of her dress was that it had pockets!

The Cyclist's mom (Nana) made our cute ring pillow out of burlap and pretty embellishments and in the family tradition, my mom made me a garter (one to keep & one to throw).
Our Save The Dates and Invites were from Ella Mae Designs on Etsy.
Ella Mae Designs did the whole save the date, which was a fridge magnet!  For the invite, I bought the above pdf file and printed it onto invites that I found half off at Target.  Unfortunately I forgot my transfer device to move my photos of the whole invite from the camera to the iPad today, so urgh, I'll have to update this post later tonight to show you how cute they are.  

We bought the flowers un-arranged from Sagebrush Floral in West Yellowstone.  My good friend Jaime-kins did the beautiful arrangements for us.  I knew I wanted sunflowers and didn't know much else, so Jaime was a huge help in picking what would look beautiful and hold up.  I'm so happy she was a florist once upon a time.
Thank you for all of your hard work Jaime!  The flowers were beautiful.  I really didn't want to throw my bouquet.

In addition to the bouquets and boutonnieres, Jaime also did our table flowers.  The centerpieces were a vision of my sister in law, who is known on this bloggy as Beezlebum, but we'll call her by her real name, Christie, today.  

I was at a loss as to what to do for the centerpieces.  I tried all kinds of things, wicker balls, buckets, whatever.  All of the centerpieces I came up with on my own were small, The Cyclist kept saying they need to be bigger, we have a big tent, they need to be big.  I couldn't envision this, but I knew he was right.  So, I called Christie and my sister Michelle and said "Help!".  

We spent a day giggling and messing around and Christie and I came up with the perfect centerpiece.  I owe most of it to Christie really.  This was the thing that really got me being able to "see" what the wedding was going to look like.

I got the vases at Ikea (best deals on vases!) and we used long willow branches for height.  Initially I bought the willow branches at Michael's, but then one winter afternoon I saw a whole pile of them in front of our neighbor's house - score! The Cyclist and I pulled up the Subie and filled her up!  For the rest, I found them at our local farmer's market for a better deal than Michael's.  We started with just moss in the bottom, but I later added the river rocks because I was afraid they would blow over without some weight (weather changes quick in Montana!).  I also found the moss on-line cheaper than at Michael's (darn that Michael's can be pricey!), in fact I still have a huge box of it...I'll have to check Pinterest for some moss projects.  It's hard to tell but there is a feather detail on each of the centerpieces, we found the feather sticks at Michael's.  It was Jaime's idea to add the head of a sunflower inside each vase.  In the end, I think they turned out perfect.

Our runners are a burlap linen mix that The Cyclist's mom sewed for us.  Burlap is known as "Idaho Lace", so I was excited to incorporate it into the wedding (thanks Old Man Hunt for that piece of knowledge!).

Being people who love to eat, food was totally important to us.  Initially we were going to have Craig & Lerrina do the food, but it was getting tricky knowing how many guests we were going to expect, etc.  In the end, we did something I never expected to do - pick a caterer on-line!  Because they were so far away, we didn't get to do a tasting.  Thankfully some family friends gave us the thumbs up and the food turned out great.  The Cellar out of Idaho Falls was our caterer.

Cellar House Salad - Tossed with a Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette and a Goat Cheese Crouton

Grilled Steak Medallions - Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Sauteed Vegetables, Red Wine Demi Glace
Chicken Broccolini Alfredo Pasta - Parmesan Cheese, Garlic Panko Breadcrumbs

The food turned out sooo good!  We were impressed with the service and quality, it totally did not taste like banquet food at all.  We had table service, so our guests didn't have to walk around with their plates either, which was nice. We didn't want to assign seating because we liked the idea of people mingling.  We solved the problem of who ordered what by putting a card at each place setting that had a cow on one side and pasta on the other.  We asked our guests to flip the card to the dish they ordered and it worked out great.  We did have a kids dish; although The Cyclist and I aren't fans of kids menus, it was just way easier (and less pricey) to offer a kids meal ahead.  Everything in moderation right?  The kids seemed to like their chicken fingers and fries, so be it.  Additionally, we did serve appetizers, but The Cyclist and I were busy having our pictures taken, which meant that Shelley was with us, so no  pictures of those (and we didn't get to eat them either!  bummer!).  We were told they were great though.

For drinks, we collected wine over the year.  We didn't want to stick to one kind of red or one kind of white.  Living in Northern California means we have a large selection available to us at all times (and usually good prices).  We set up a self serve wine bar and let our guests serve themselves, our caterers also had a bottle of each on every table during dinner.  In the spirit of buying local, we bought two kegs from Lone Peak Brewery.  Loan Peak is in Big Sky, but they brought our kegs to West Yellowstone for us so we didn't have to go so far.  The owner's were great and they serve the best fish & chips we've ever had.  Oh yeah, the beer was great too!  For non-alcoholic beverages, I found these great containers at TJ Maxx.  We filled one with lemonade, one with water and the other with my Grammy's famous iced tea, also self serve.  All of the beverages were set up on the porch of the lodge, which allowed for seating and easy access to the bar if our guests wanted to purchase mixed drinks.

Let them eat cake!....Err....Let them eat PIE!

That's right, we served pie, not cake!  We had a variety of pies all made by Lerrina (you can read about the process here) including huckleberry which is a signature product of Montana.  I would like to mention we did taste delicious cake at Sweet Pea Bakery in Bozeman, but the uniqueness of Huckleberry pie for our wedding dessert won us over in the end.

Last but not least, we wanted to send our guests home with a memorable favor, so in the spirit of the huckleberry, we asked The Cyclist's mom (Nana) to make huckleberry jam as our gift to our guests.  Nana makes a mean jam and I think the huckleberry is our favorite to date.

The jam jar labels came from Grace Printables on Etsy, but it looks like the shop is now closed.  We found a fun fabric and added it to the jar for decoration, tying the labels with twine.

There is a big wagon on the property, so we lined it with burlap and some plants, then filled it in with all of the jam jars.

The party got started and we had a lot of fun.  Thank you Mike for being our awesome Emcee!

Some of our guests had a beautiful view on the way out....
....and the rest of us sat around on hay bails around the campfire eating s'mores.

Here are some more great shots from Shelley & Jaramy Freckleton...

If you've made it this far to the bottom, thank you for reading this extra-long post!  I hope that this can be a resource for other brides and anyone getting married in the area we did.  Everyone we worked with was great!

Happy Anniversary Cyclist!  I ♥ you!


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Asian Turkey Burgers

The last time I went to Costo I bought a crapton of ground turkey.
Apparently I thought there was going to be a turkey shortage or something.
Needless to say, we were tired of turkey.  Turkey Tired I Say!
That's OK though.  It forced me to get creative.

I threw that plain old ground turkey in a bowl and added some new friends.  Mint.  Green Onion.  Cilantro.  Jalepeno.  Ginger.  Sesame Oil.  Soy Sauce.  Garlic.  And one old friend - ripped up bread to hold those patties together.

The end result was a new and tasty turkey creation!

We enjoyed these over wild rice, topped with Sriracha and sliced avocado, but they'd be good on a bun too!

Recipe as follows....enjoy friends!

1/2 lb. ground turkey (I'm usually cooking for 2 1/2, so a half a package works for us, if you have a bigger family you can double this recipe up, or make extra patties to freeze)
1/4 cup chopped mint
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. diced jalepeno
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced or squished in a garlic press
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low sodium, always)
1 piece of sandwich bread ripped up into small pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 sliced California avocado 

How to:
Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mash together with your clean hands.  
Form patties, the recipe above will yield 2 big patties or 2 regular sized patties plus one small kid sized patty.  The patties will be very wet.  I usually make a ball with the meet then toss it down onto a piece of parchment paper to flatten out, then do patty formation.
Cook in a frying pan (or a grill pan) at a medium heat until cooked through.  A good tip is to wait to flip until you see that the sides are starting to show as "done".
Top with sliced avocado.


You can also find this at Tasty Kitchen!

I shared this recipe on the following sites, click the links for more tasty recipes!

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Pinispiration! Wall Art for The Munchkin

Hi Everyone!  I feel like life and photo editing have gotten in the way of this blog of late, my apologies!

Awhile ago I shared with you the start of a Pinspired project which I finally finished a couple of weeks ago.  If you remember, this is what Pinspired me:

The Munchkin was in serious need of some wall art for his room.  I saw this picture and thought "I can do that".  So I did!

I didn't do step by step photos, but here is some idea of my process....
I bought a pretty big canvas on sale and with a coupon from Michael's (actually, I bought two).  Using the picture above, I checked out different font in Word until I came up with something that looked close.  I then printed the numbers out big (like one per page).  Then I cut them out and taped them to my canvas (I painted the background first) and traced around them - I used my paintbrush to trace.  After tracing I filled the numbers in, still using the paintbrush.  I painted the 9 blue because if you ask The Munchkin anything about a number, the answer is always "niiiiiyyynnne" and if you ask him what color something is, the answer is always "booooooo", so this blue nine is for you Munchkin.  I used basic craft paint for the whole thing.  Everything else I painted free hand.  This is the first photo I shared...

After what took me much longer than I thought, I reveal to you the finished project!

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the result.  It's not perfect, but that's OK because it's more special that I made it instead of bought it.  It looks cute in the room too.  

Strangely weird things happen with photo editing and paint color, it actually looks more like the color in the photo above.  Don't ask me!

What's pinspiring you??

I shared this crafty item on the following sites, click the links for more crafty ideas!

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And the winner is....

The winner of the Slimkicker giveaway is Sha-Sha!

Hmm.. a good challenge idea is to do 10 jumping jacks everytime you pass a doorway. People might give you some crazy looks in public though.

Sha-sha, expect an e-mail from me soon!  And if I see a lady doing jumping jacks in the doorway of the grocery store, I'll introduce myself!  Congratulations.  :)

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Books of Late #1

I think I've shared before that I'm a reader, but I haven't seemed to do much book posting around here.  So let's get to it!

I used to rely on our old friend Oprah for book suggestions.  I would also hit that front table at Barnes & Noble where you can "buy two & get the third free".  But more recently, I'm a big fan of my local library.  Yes, it takes longer to get the books, but I don't mind waiting while I read other stuff.  I also like that I'm re-using a book and not cluttering my house up.

Right now my sources for finding good books are Eat, Live Run, NPR and the librarians suggestion shelf.  I also won't lie.  Sometimes book covers catch my eye too....which results in good and bad experiences as the metaphor would indicate.

Here are some books that I've recently read....

Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok - When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings.

I enjoyed this story; things happened that I didn't expect and the ending really surprised me.  (If you read a lot like I do you can get pretty good at guessing endings).  I was also appalled by the living conditions of the characters when they first come to the U.S.  Yes, I know this is fiction, but the author immigrated from Hong Kong herself, so I'm assuming some of what is in this book came from her personal experiences.  Sadly, it's probably not a far stretch from what really goes on and made me realize my naivete to what immigrants may be going through.  Last word - her aunt, wowza!

The Paris wife by Paula McLain - A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

I saw this book on Eat, Live, Run, but admittedly, I didn't read her full post and I didn't really know what the book was about until I started reading it.  What a story!  Again, I know it's fiction, but I loved reading about Paris in the 1920's.  I have visited Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West (his cats have 5 toes) and it was fun for me to read this book and imagine him there...and as a real guy and not just the legend that he is.  Last word - it was pretty amazing how Hadley gains so much strength after the birth of her son, but shown in a very subtle way.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest HemingwayThe quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. 

OK, here's the deal.  I started reading this.  I was inspired to read an actual Hemingway novel after finishing The Paris Wife, so I picked this up at the library.  The language is much easier than I anticipated and the story is good.  But, The Paris Wife talks about a trip they took in which Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises, which is partially about the trip they were on....so, I sort of felt like I already knew the story and I got a little bored.  Also, the next book on the list came available and so I grabbed it and read it quick before I had to return it.  Last word - I need to re-start and finish this at a later date.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV

No, I'm not a teenager.  Although I have read (and own. in hardback.) all of the books about a certain wizarding boy....and I also read (but don't own.  really.) all of the books about a certain girl, vampire and werewolf (which a friend cleverly coined as "Sweet Valley High meets The Lost Boys")....OK, so, yeah, I read those other books too, so it was sort of natural that I'd read this one....right?  Well, I was not disappointed.  Actually, I can't wait to get my hands on the next two of the series.  The writing in this book is much better than the Twilight series.  Like way better.  The story is violent, more than I expected, but that sort of thing doesn't totally bother me either.  There were so many things going on in this book, love, survival, politics.  I can see why everyone has been talking about the series and why they made a movie of it.  Last word - Katniss, helllooo?  How can you not tell this boy loves you?

These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner - A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author's own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier.

I just devoured this book on our trip to Chicago.  It reads like a diary (obviously) but I love this - I love reading because it's like peeping into another world or life....reading a diary is the ultimate version of that.  Sarah's story is an amazing and interesting one set in the wild west.  The author started this as a school paper based on a family member and it evolved into a novel.  I left this book feeling like I wish I could have known Ms. Sarah Agnes Prine.  Last word - the subtle improvement in the language and writing skills of the "author" throughout the book make it so realistic.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown - Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Their father-a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse-named them after the Bard's heroines. It's a lot to live up to.
What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents' frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them...

I found this book on NPR, I'm about half-way through now, and I'm enjoying it.  It took a bit to "get-going", but now I'm involved and I want to know what will happen next.  Word for now - it is narrated by all three sisters in a very creative way.

That's all for now!  Any suggestions for me??

Oh yeah - and today is the last day for the giveaway!

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