Wednesday, September 26, 2012

getaway

Wednesday gets the worst nickname ever, but happy hump day nonetheless.

By the time Wednesday rolls around the week really starts dragging, and as a result I often begin planning my weekend or reminiscing about the past weekend on Wednesdays.

This weekend was a fantastic escape from reality. It was a "double-date getaway" that featured 1.75 liters of sangria in addition to copious amounts of wine, floating all day on the water, afternoon naps, mud fights, lots and lots and lots of food (some of it better than others), and sleeping in.

All that PLUS pit stops at wineries and breweries on the way home? Two full days of pure bliss.
                            Gorgeous view                           //               Lake life, photo by @kaseysander
Pure bliss, I tell you!
 
Yoga & Handstands on the surfboard (talented husband-and-wife duo!)
Beer tasting at Firestone-Walker

Can we do this every weekend?

Monday, September 24, 2012

orange chicken--the cheater way!

Orange Juice Recipe, Orange CHicken Recipe, Concentrate orange
Orange chicken was a staple of my college days. In fact, you can probably plot my culinary progress throughout my college days by the way I would fix orange chicken: 
Once I moved into my own apartment (read: didn't have to fight for kitchen space or clean dishes), I started getting a little more "gourmet" with it. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and orange zest! Vegetables! A little breading!

But to be honest, there are times when I miss the convenience of reaching into the freezer for some pre-made orange chicken. 

Lazy lazy lazy.

So what's a girl to do? Go to Trader Joes or Costco and pick up a bag? Go gourmet and make the whole thing from scratch, praying that the oranges in the produce department aren't gross?

How about a nice happy medium, mmkay? Something that's still fresh and delicious, but that doesn't involve juicing and zesting until your sauce has the proper level of tanginess. Because that's a pain and I don't have time for that on a weeknight.

Enter the surprise superhero of the weeknight dinner: Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate.
I don't know how it took me so long to figure this out, but DUH frozen orange juice is concentrated, so you don't need to worry about your oranges not being juicy. No need for orange zest to temper the sweet acidity of the oranges, because the pulp does the trick for you. And whatever concentrate is leftover in the can, just mix it with water and drink it for breakfast!
**My trick for perfect flavor when using sauces on meat? Cornstarch. Not so much a secret as it is oft-forgotten. Coat the chopped-up pieces of meat in cornstarch, and the sauce will have NO trouble sticking to it after it's cooked!

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Breasts, cubed (and tossed in enough cornstarch to cover those bad boys thoroughly)
1 Cup Broccoli
1 Cup baby carrots, chopped if needed
1T olive oil
1T water
Optional: 1 Cup whatever other veggies you want. Just make sure to make more sauce if you add more veggies!

For the Sauce:
2TB Soy Sauce
2TB Water
1tsp olive oil
1 Cup Orange Juice Concentrate (From the freezer aisle!)
Optional: 1t rice vinegar (I like mine nice and tangy! Feel free to omit it if you don't want to go out and buy it  like it sweeter)
Sugar/honey to taste

Procedure:
  1. Pour the olive oil into a HOT pan or wok, and slowly add the coated chicken pieces when the oil is hot. Cook until the chicken is cooked on all sides and alllllllmost no longer pink in the middle, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pan, and add the vegetables. Toss in the water and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. While veggies are cooking, mix the ingredients for the sauce. Taste, and add sugar/honey if desired. 
  4. Add chicken to vegetables, pour sauce mixture over the pan.
  5. Cook until sauce begins to boil, then remove from heat (Sauce will thicken slightly as it cools)
  6. Serve over rice, and bask in the compliments you receive.
Serves about 4
Let me know if you give this a try!

Friday, September 21, 2012

endeavor

I don't know about you, but my instagram/facebook/twitter feeds have been filled with pictures of the retired space shuttle Endeavor flying overhead today.

How cool, I thought, to be able to see something so cool and historic, because seriously, how often do you see a space shuttle strapped to the top of an airplane (not counting in the movies, of course).
Remember this scene from Superman Returns? via

I'm a self-proclaimed space nerd, having been raised on Sci-fi television shows and books. The Kennedy Space Center was one of my favorite stops on our trip to Florida, NOT disneyworld, if that gives you any indication. My favorite movie growing up was split between Independence Day, Apollo 13, and The Right Stuff, all technically space-y movies. So, this shuttle thing was a big deal for nerdy little me.

I settled for just enjoying this event through the cameraphones of my friends and family, bummed that I wouldn't see it from our cloudy building on campus.

And then I saw this on my feed, taken by our resident campus photographer.
Yeah, that's our administrative building. Like a two minute walk from my office. Seriously?!?!?!? haha.

Did you see the shuttle? I think it might have just been California, but I'm not really sure. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

i believe...

I believe that lipstick makes everything better.
I believe in riding with the top down, regardless of the weather.

I believe in printed pants (even if my husband doesn't)
I'm on instagram now! (what's your username? I'm @brittymack )


I believe in girl time and sharing secrets :)

I believe in encouragement and making other people feel safe and loved.

I believe that one day, I'll return to Thailand.

I believe in Jesus and in the power of Grace.

I believe in weekends and getaway plans. 

I believe in messy hair and dry shampoo

I believe in dressing up for Halloween, regardless of your age. 
(I also believe in age-appropriate costumes)

I believe in faux-tanning. 

I believe in thrift shops and in giving old a new lease on life.

I believe in sunsets and picnics and 

I believe that the bond between a brother and a sister has no comparison. 
And I want that for my kids someday.


What do you believe in? Linking up with Living in Yellow!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

birthday photobomb

Tim heads off for work hours before I get up, but I still wanted his birthday morning to be special. Pinterest friends may already have a suspicion of what greeted my dear husband Monday morning, but in case you wanted a confirmation:
Happy Birthday!, Husband birthday gift, presents for a guy, silly pictures, funny faces, funny birthday cards
Happy birthday wishes. From twenty or thirty mini-me's.Everywhere.
I'm still finding them all over the house. He just discovered the one in the freezer last night.
Best. Idea. EVER.
Shared here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

two years ago...

...i said yes. {Yep, September is a big month for us :) }

This blows my mind, because two years is, like,  forever. For fun, I started flipping through pictures taken at or around our engagement {of course, by "flipping" I mean browsing on the computer, because hardly any of those are actually printed, ha}. What. a. trip. We were babies. {okay, 22 and 24. But still}
I'll never forget how difficult and awkward it was to deliver the "I'm engaged!" news to family and friends with the spotty cell service we get at the lake. Haha that was the first and only time I wished the cabin wasn't so "off the grid".

Excuse the lake-y hair and dirty hands. Didn't exactly know I was going to be proposed to right then. Sneaky boyfriend-at-the-time led me to believe it was a regular 'ol lake weekend with a birthday BBQ thrown in. Pssh.
For our "engagement pictures" though, the ones we'd use for our save-the-dates and stuff, we wanted something a bit more professional.  We had some photos taken in the Bay Area {I won the shoot in a promo on facebook}, but only ever saw one photo from that shoot, and we didn't have the rights to use it. Since we needed some sort of picture asap to stick on our save-the-dates, we took matters into our own hands.

Literally.

We took our own photos, using a tripod, remote {with a two-foot-long cord}, and self-timer, on the drive up to have dinner with Tim's mom. And we succeeded.

DIY win. Love it.

But anyway. Tim: Happy Second Engage-i-versary. I will no longer draw attention to it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

baby, you like a fine wine

You know, like the kind that gets better with age.
Not like that stuff we had last year, that was nasty. 
Not everything from your birth year is as awesome as you.
Happy 26th, husband 'o mine.
He had quite the silly surprise waiting for him when he woke up this morning... 
tell you more about it later!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

never forget.

Praying for our Nation's fallen heroes today. 
I was in seventh grade on 9/11/2001, in my second period class when I found out. Somehow we had gone a whole two hours in complete ignorance before someone ran into our class and turned on the news. 
The images of the burning towers will be forever burned into my memory. 
To the families and friends of those lost:
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Monday, September 10, 2012

because my little cabrio is safe and sound in my garage...

...here's a little vw-related giggle for ya.
VW, you nailed it again.
Superbowl-worthy. I'm dyyyyyying

Seen any pee-your-pants-worthy commercials lately? Tell me about it!

thankful


you know when you go on vacation and you're having such a grand 'ol time that you don't ever want real-life to start up again?

Yup, that was this weekend in a nutshell. Only we weren't on vacation, we were at home.

in reminiscing about our weekend, I'm thankful for:
weekends full of long-lost friends
lots of catching up, sangria, and laughter {not necessarily in that order}
engagement parties {and my new-found love for lawn games}
wedding planning!
bike rides (Thanks, dad, for fixing my bike!) with the husband, hair cuts, and sore-ness.
the beach. And beach games.
free lunch at the zoo. {thanks to tim's company picnic}
double-dates at wine-bars.
waking up to brunch. Best. Houseguest. Ever.
thai food. {YUMMY}

girl talk. {Love you to bits Tim, but you'll never be able to replace it.}

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 7, 2012

swing and a miss


#nofilter
Happy Friday!

You ever have one of those weeks that just seriously kick you in the tail? This is week 2 in a row where I feel like it's life = 1, Brittany = 0. 

It's been a whirlwind of stuff happening; one thing after another (feel free to replace the word "Stuff" with whatever word you please. It's been rough).
:: not hearing back about my car from the mechanic after a whole week. boohooo. I've been taking Tim's car to work every day, and he does the 1/2 hour commute (at 5:30am, mind you), on his scooter.
:: Annoying and flaky craigslist buyers. How hard is it to just show up when you say you will? There goes my entire evening, thanks.
:: working on Monday, but having to take Wednesday off because of a really fun! stomach bug. Yay.
:: Can I just generally put "work" on here? I've had such a tough time discovering what the expectations are, let alone meeting them.

However, rather than focus on the negative and making my week seem like a total downer, I'd like to point out that HOLY CRUD the week had some pretty great things in it, too.
:: birthday hot-tubbin' with friends we don't see enough of.
:: LOST finale-ing. Seven seasons in four months: #slightlyashamed (but also a little proud..)
:: Midnight houseguests :D (Sorry about our more-than-a-little-obnoxous bird this morning!)
:: Wonderful parents who came and spent last weekend (and parts of this week) with us. LOVE THEM!
:: Fabulous anniversary-ing with Hubby all. week. long. Also cake-smashing. Had to relive that part of our wedding ;)


On top of that, the weekend is lookin' up. WAY up. Can't wait for double-dates, engagement parties, and just all-out merry-making. I might even do my nails! 
Got any fun plans this weekend?

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