Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Restaurant Review!!! For Anniversary Time!!!!

It's been so long, in so many ways, and I have a meeting in a half hour, so this will be short, I just want to relay our newest awesome restaurant find!!

See, this past weekend was our FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!!! Can you believe it?! Because I can't. Granted, so much has happened in a year that it's flown by. New house, PhD, baby, and even with the pregnancy, all the other new stuff, improvements to the house, new job, etc... have made even the pregnancy fly by! So I guess what I'm trying to say is, in general, time is flying.

So, we like to step back and reflect. The Friday before our anniversary (because we are old farts, our anniversary is on a Sunday and we didn't want to go out late on a week night!) we tried out Sbraga:
If you watch Top Chef on Bravo, you'll recognize that cuddly bear! He won Top Chef Washington, D.C. a few years ago. He's from Jersey, so naturally, he opened a restaurant in Philly, because, let's rise above New Jersey ;) Just kidding New Jerseyans!

Anyway, this was my first time ever getting to eat in a restaurant (other than a crappy diner) where the kitchen was open:
This isn't a great picture of the kitchen, and of course it's not a picture of the chefs actually cooking, but they cook behind that bar on the right. See those chairs lined up in front of the bar?? Guess where we decided to sit!! Dinner and a show, baby!! It was so much fun, getting to watch a famous chef prepare our dishes (oh yes, he was there, cooking our meal!) and interacting with him and his line chefs as they did it.

I forgot to mention, we got there early and sat at the bar where the nicest bartender I've ever encountered told me that his wife just had a baby and so he was experienced at making non-alcoholic cocktails and proceeded to blow me away with a Fall-tastic, apple cider and pear fizzy drink that I will remember for the rest of my life!

Anyway, I didn't want to take pictures because I didn't want to seem like "that person" even though my motives were pure, I just wish I could show you how awesome it was being right in front of the kitchen, watching them prepare the food. The place was like a well-oiled machine, and everyone was super duper nice. I mean, not like I haven't had nice service before, but seriously, I was kind of dumb-struck at how nice everyone was.

In the same vein, I don't like taking pictures of my food, because I don't like looking like a tourist, but there was stuff like this:
Shrimp bisque where you pour the soup on at the table, the chefs plated with tweezers to get the perfect presentation, the food was RIIIIICH!! Pregnant bellies get upset easily, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!! Kyle got churros for dessert... Dude, they were the best churros I've ever had!! Kyle also got the beverage pairing with his menu, so he was good and toasty by the end of the night, and said that every drink complimented every dish perfectly... to which I replied 'I bet it did!' ;)

Anyway, the point is, I highly highly recommend it, it's now tied for first on our favorite Philly restaurant list, along with Sonata... which has unfortunately closed... as my favorite find in Philly, I was really really upset by this, but now can be a little less upset because we've found a new favorite spot.

Afterwards, the love of my life and I went home and passed out in food comas... BUT the next day...
WE ATE CAKE!!! I thawed our anniversary cake and it was surprisingly and wonderfully and reminiscently delicious... even more so than a year ago I think because you don't really taste your wedding cake on your wedding day... Seriously. So I won't go into all the nitty gritty details about how lovey dovey it was and all, but it's been a pretty awesome year, and as anniversaries go, I think this was was just right for us; pretty low-key, fun, full of love... and cake :)

I hope everyone else is doing well and had an awesome Thanksgiving. And for the married ladies, I'd love to hear how you spent your first anniversary and gift ideas, et cetera!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

When you love something too much

I was musing recently about why I still haven't even attempted to put an album together (no one else, by the way, seems to think this is a big deal, not the man, not my parents, not his parents, no one), and it struck me last night while I was ordering some photos from Shutterfly, because I got another one of those awesome 101 free prints e-mails, for no reason, other than that Shutterfly is awesome, that it's because most albums contain about... 80-160 images or so.

Our photographer gave us over 1,000... I cannot narrow down my favorites past 300-some! I mean come on!! How do you do it?? So here I am blogging about albums again because all this time I thought I was holding back because of price when in reality it's because I don't WANT to narrow down my favorites anymore.

At the end of the day, I know I have all 1,000+ images from our wedding day on a DVD, all hi res, that is ours forever. However, like so many other brides out there, I know that I still want a hard copy album that we break out every anniversary and giggle at, that my daughter(s) may someday fantasize over (and point out how skinny Mommy used to be! And Daddy used to have brown hair?!)

So, my newest scheme/solution is this:

  1. Order prints every time Shutterfly sends me these awesome deals, 101 or 50 or however many at a time, until I have ordered all my favorites!
  2. Spread them out on the table by category; details, formals, portraits, ceremony, reception, cake cutting, etc...
  3. Now that they're all spread out in front of me, finally conceptualize that I don't need five shots of my dress, even though Ben put the dress in so many beautiful spots and there are so many awesome shots to be favorites!
  4. Narrow down my favorites to no more than 180 or so, I'm sure I can find an album that will let me squeeze that many in, and finally put together an album
  5. DAMN THE EXPENSE!! and finally get my hard copy that I can hold and touch and see whenever I want, and get parent albums even though they never asked for them, because that's what a good daughter does; says 'Look how pretty, Mama!! Just what you needed, more pictures of me!'
The end, that's my five step program to finally be able to stop talking about albums. Can I talk to you about some other stuff???

We're slowly putting our house together, we have lots of hand-me-down furniture which was all chilling in the basement, well, now our guest rooms are arranged! The baby's room is getting set up, which has me super excited:

The ceiling is burnt orange, the walls are pickle juice green. Say what you will, it looks awesome in person. This is the first time I got to pick a room color and no one try to talk me out of it, and they actually go really well together, add our awesome new crib, and it's officially a baby's room! Freaky, right?!

It might seem jarring, but picking our color scheme; orange, green, and brown, was similar to picking out wedding colors. His favorite color is green, mine is orange, we didn't know if it was going to work, but when then when you add brown, it makes everything else mesh. Trust me.

Since this picture was taken, we added a few dressers and a lamp, and a freaking awesome rug:

It's my new favorite room in the house, that rug is 7.5' by 9.5', so it covers almost the entire floor, and it's super soft and super awesome.

This kid is going to be the coolest in town. I always wanted to be different, but our tiny human has no choice :)

In other news, anniversary/birthdays/Christmas is coming up. First anniversary is supposed to be paper, and I once ruined a copy of the Lord of the Rings that I borrowed from Kyle (I put it in a bag with a coffee mug that I thought was empty... it wasn't). It was never a real collector's item anyway, so it was no biggie to him, but it's one of our favorite books and so not only do I want to replace that copy, I also want to have a really nice copy for our library.

For the record, Kyle doesn't read my blog but I know there are those out there that do that are friends with him, PLEASE DON'T MENTION A WORD OF THIS!!

After extensive searching, I found a whole bunch of this:

However, you have to be willing to pay the price for this kind of thing... and we're talking the $600 variety. Cheaper on eBay, but harder to find a complete set in great condition. SO, then I reflected on the fact that J.R.R. Tolkien himself wanted the three books of the Lord of the Rings to be one volume, but at the time it was written, this was going to cost too much paper, so I'm also considering getting a one volume edition, but those are much cheaper and so they make me feel like I'm cheating... which sounds stupid, but I don't know whether to go with separate volumes for the cool, leather-bound look, or one volume for the author-intended look. Any ideas???? Suggestions????

We're also movie buffs, and one of The Man's favorite movies is The Big Lebowski:

For anyone who's been living under a rock since 1998 or has no sense of humor, it's a very silly movie about a guy who does nothing but bowl and drink white russians. That's The Dude, and his last name happens to be Lebowski but everyone calls him The Dude (either that or His Dudeness or Duder or el Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing).

There does exist, however, an older, much richer, much more accomplished man named Lebowski and there's a classic case of mistaken identity. Rugs go missing, toes get chopped off, and The Dude finds his zen-like world thrown for a loop as he has to run around trying to make shady deals and ransom trophy wives. Also John Turturro wears purple and refers to himself as The Jesus.

Anyway, Jeff Bridges, The Dude, rocks this sweater for the majority of the movie:
And unfortunately, the company that makes this sweater is no longer in business. Kyle and I consider it the essence of The Dude and I found the pattern online to knit this sweater!!

I couldn't keep this one a secret because I knit it right in front of him, but the point is, this is his birthday/Christmas present, and I'm telling you because I'm super excited about it!!!

Last Christmas/birthday time was chaotic and sort of dismissed because of the wedding but he's been so awesome and worked so hard for the past year and done so much for me, and now we've got a baby coming and I don't want to act once again like this is just another unimportant birthday/Christmas/anniversary because 'too much is going on.' (Also I never know what I want, I never really want anything in particular, so I always just say, 'Oh, let's just go to dinner and a movie.' and he ends up paying for everything and then we call it "birthday/Christmas" but it's always one-sided and it always feels like a cop-out). It might be one of the last times I can afford (time AND money) to do some really nice things for him.

Lastly, my baby shower is next weekend!!

My invitations!!! They're so cute!! And how funny is it that we found ones in our color scheme?! See, I told you it works!

So, I'm super excited about everything that's going on, it's a good time right now, work is slow but it will pick up. And although there's a lot to do around the house and Kyle stresses non-stop about getting everything done AND getting all his work done, we're doing awesome.

Life is good, I am thankful. I hope everyone else has a super awesome day!!