All Aboard the Blue Apron Bandwagon

About six months ago, Bry thought it would be a good idea to ask why I wasn't cooking as often as I used to (free advice for husbands, this is not a wise decision...) While my mind was racing with all of the things I wanted to say, "I'm taking care of a baby!" "Work is crazy!" "I'd rather go to the gym!" and so on. Instead, I simply said, "I'm not feeling inspired in the kitchen, but if you are, I would love if you would take care of dinner one night a week." We had a good chat about how he likes to cook but doesn't feel comfortable improvising and how grocery shopping for new/more adventurous recipes can be a hassle. We have some friends that have used different dinner kit delivery services and most of them have nothing but positive things to say, so Bry did some research and we settled on giving Blue Apron a try. 

After a few months of Blue Apron deliveries, I can truthfully say that I'm a fan. Not only does it relieve the burden of planning three dinners during the week, but the food is really delicious. Below are some pros and cons, and I'd guess that most of these are true for most meal delivery services. Read the pros and cons below:


The Perfect Lake Vacation

I can't remember the last time I took a summer vacation. Usually my husband and I take a week-long early spring vacation (right when I've hit the peak of Seasonal Affective Disorder) and then we use the summer to do some long-weekend trips and whatnot. 

This year, however, we've really thrown all caution to the wind and planned not one, but TWO, week-long summer vacations. The first was during the Fourth of July holiday (last week) and it was absolutely glorious. While we weathered some tumultuous uhhh...weather on our way up to the Adirondacks, once we got there it was nothing but blue skies and sunshine. Seriously, we lucked out with the most amazing weather ever--seven continuous days of sunshine and boating! I realize that this likely means our August beach vacation will be laden with precipitation, but whatever, I'm still riding on the high of my last trip.


One Year of Lulu

Yesterday was June 2, which means Luisa is officially 16 months old, or as I like to say when people ask how old she is, "uhhh... a year and a few months...?" 

Since we're not totally terrible parents, we did throw her a little first birthday soiree with a small group of family and friends. I refused to put a lot of money or effort into a day that she wasn't even going to remember, but my mom and sister came to the rescue and made sure the party wasn't a total flop. 

However, since I AM a totally terrible blogger, (and there was that small little incident with all of my photos going bye-bye) I'm only just getting around to posting pictures from her first birthday party. You can't quite make out the banner but it says "Winter ONE-derland" Clever, huh? Thanks Pinterest. 

I used all of the monthly photos I took throughout the year to make a Lulu gallery. I loved looking back at how she's changed so much in such a short period of time. The three, four and ten month photos totally crack me up! 

Special thanks to my parents and siblings for all of their help in prepping and to our friends and family that came and made her first birthday so special! 
This last group of photos is a little series I call, "Oh, you're here for me?! Ooooo, fire! This is not bad... ABORT, ABORT!" 


Back, back, back it up.

Yesterday, my husband said, "You should just write a blog post. It doesn't have to be anything great, just write from the heart." First things first, husband, it does have to be great--because I have standards. And secondly, my heart doesn't have anything special to say right now! As some of you may know, I've been struggling to keep this blog going. Not due to a lack of desire, passion or content, but mostly because other priorities are just that, taking priority. 

Also, there is this one super infuriating thing that happened to me (and it's totally my fault) and if one more person gives me sh*t for it, I'm going to scream. 

...My hard drive crashed.

The hard drive that held all of my photos and videos of Lulu's first year. 

The one that had the album of all her "firsts" so I could make a Year One photo album right after her first birthday. 

The one that I hadn't backed up to my external hard drive in over, oh.... 11 months or so. 

So, on the morning of Luisa's first birthday, when my computer wouldn't boot up and there was a horrible clicking noise coming from the hard drive (*gasp* platters were off, for you techies.) And I lost it. Tears, shaking, clenched fists, the works. Then, because I was afraid to find out that I did actually lose the photos and videos that were most dear to me, I proceeded to do nothing with my laptop for three solid months. Three months of no photo editing software or a computer that would accept my SD card. Three months of not taking my nice camera places because I couldn't do anything with the photos anyway. 

In some ways it was liberating. We took Lulu to the aquarium for the first time and while I snapped some cell phone pics of her, I wasn't distracted playing with the settings on my fancy camera trying to capture the perfect shot. 

Well, I finally bit the bullet, I followed a lovely YouTube tutorial instructing me how to remove my hard drive. I ordered a new solid state drive (thanks friends, for all of your sound advice during this process) and sent my sad HD off to a recovery company to see what files could be restored. 

About two weeks and $800 later, it looks like I'll be able to get most of my stuff back. I really wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy and if you learn anything from this blog post, it's that backing up your files is important. I can tell you from experience that you won't realize just how important it is until your stomach drops to the floor and you think everything is gone.


My First B&E

All my life (okay, since I was nine) I wanted to get into this house. My camera phone doesn't do it justice, but when I was a young kid running around in the woods at the end of my street, It seems like a mansion. Something about it was mysterious but approachable, and I always had the secret desire to peek inside. It wasn't always in this state of disrepair. In it's glory days, it had a perfectly manicured lawn and smoke from a warm fall/winter fire billowing out of the chimney. 

The house sits on a nine-acre estate with another farm house and was owned by the late Judge John E. Holt-Harris. It's been uninhabited for quite some time, and both time and weather have taken their toll on this once stoic residence in the woods. 

Well, the university near my parent's home recently purchased the estate and with that, they are demolishing the homes (there's a barn house on the estate as well.) Upon hearing the news, I saw my childhood dream of sneaking a peek inside, flash before my eyes. So I did what any law abiding citizen might do, I planned a little B&E (breaking and entering, for all of you squares.) 


Turkey Mango Picadillo

This meal is everything. It's comforting, hearty, flavorful, fresh, easy-to-make, it's just damn near perfect. Which is exactly why it's become a part of my regular dinner rotation. Seriously this spice combination? Bomb dot com. This version of the recipe uses ground turkey  although the original recipe called for ground pork. I've tried it both ways and you can't go wrong with either. Get the full recipe below. 


My living room statement wall

Gallery wall?!? That's so last year. Statement wall? Totally on-trend. So, we had this wall. This big plain white (well actually, Ivory Mist) wall. Our full sofa sits against this wall flanked by two very old and beat up side tables that actually belonged to my father-in-law back when he had a bachelor pad in college. I had it in my mind that this wall needed to be filled with a collage of our most prized and selectively chosen framed works of art and photographs. Well, do you know how hard that is to actually pull together? It's damn hard. I suppose if you're a person that doesn't care about planning ahead you could just nail up your first frame and gradually build it out as you went along. But this girl? Hell to the no. I needed to have all of the pieces picked out and the layout determined before the first screw was drilled into the plaster. So after four months of careful thought and deliberation I have assembled...the living room statement wall. Horray for no more big blank wall! Check out more photos and product info below. 


Happy 2016!

Well we did it. We've survived another year. It was a wild one. Shall I dare say the wildest one yet? 

New baby. Check. 

New house. Check. 

New job. Check. 

Was it tough, you ask? Um, hell yes. 

Would I go back and do anything differently? Hells to the no. 

I am SO looking forward to 2016 for so many reasons. Lulu will be turning ONE soon, she's probably only a few weeks away from taking her first steps so, watch out everybody! I'm so excited for her first birthday. While she will have no recollection of the affair, I'm throwing her a birthday party. And if I'm being completely honest, it is really a party for me. To say, "Congratulations Marissa! You survived year one of parenting. Here's to many many more."

I am so excited for the spring and summer with a toddler (holy crap, I'm going to have a toddler.) I can't wait to see all of the fun things she learns and discovers and I can't wait to run around with her at the playground or on the beach. Fingers crossed she likes the ocean a little bit more than she did last year.

Well, I don't have any grand resolutions for the year. I have some little changes or priorities that I have been focusing on over the past few months. So I'll continue to work on those and soak in all of my wonderful baby cuddles while I can still get them. It sounds so cliché but the biggest change or "resolution" I'm making is to take some time to focus on me. I spent much of 2015 catering to the demands of a needy baby and in 2016 I need to free myself of some mom guilt and take some time to do the things that make me feel good about myself. 

I want to wish you a fabulous 2016. I also want to thank you for reading this blog. Whether this is your first time or whether you read every post that I put up (do those people exist?) I appreciate you taking any time out of your busy life to tune into mine. 


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