Sunday, January 30, 2011

Family Milestones

I'm so excited to announce that my step-sister, Nicole and her boyfriend Geoffrey got engaged this weekend!  Congrats you two!  I love both of you and am so excited for you.  Let the wedding planning begin!  Once Nicole is married, my brother Carter will be the only one left out of our little blended fam to tie the knot...no pressure Carter!

Carter, Jessica, Me, and the newly engaged Nicole!
In other exciting news, Jason's step-sister, Jenn is probably going to have her baby this week.  We are praying for an easy delivery for mom and baby boy.

Jenn's Baby Shower a few weeks ago

We have exciting months to come.  Hope everyone has a great week! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weekend Getaway in the Big Easy

Two weekends ago Jason and I took a long weekend to New Orleans with our good friends Chris and Jenni. We were there for 3 nights and managed to pack a lot in.

We got in on a Thursday evening, checked into our hotels. J and I stayed at the W New Orleans since Jason works for the company and Chris and Jenni stayed at the historic Hotel Monteleone in hopes of seeing a ghost since it's apparently haunted. Unfortunately, they had no such luck.

We met back up that evening in the French Quarter for dinner at Acme Oyster House. I knew this would not be a diet-friendly weekend and just accepted it up front. We had to try their famous Boo Fries and Craw Puppies and Jason had an oyster shooter. After we stuffed ourselves we walked Bourbon street and took in the sights and a few beverages.

Jenni and me outside of Acme Oyster House

Jason and Chris so excited to be in New Orleans!

So cute...

Jason and me

The world famous "Boo Fries"

Craw Puppies...and I wonder why I got sick at the end of the trip!

Saturday we met up for brunch at the famous Court of Two Sisters. O-M-G is all I can say. This was my favorite meal of the whole trip. We ate everything from eggs to pecan pie and the boys even had turtle soup (cringe). That afternoon we did some much needed walking- we walked at least 5 miles that day through the shops, the Garden District and everywhere in between. We rode the trolley and sampled the coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

Best Brunch ever


After we gorged ourselves at Court of Two Sisters

I love how Chris's scarf matches Jenni's coat just like ours does on the pic above!

Coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde.  We also were attached by pigeons.


a little messy

On our very interesting trolley ride

That night we ate an early dinner (like we needed more food...I just ate salad, soup and hot tea...it was COLD outside) and then went on a ghost tour through the French Quarter. Our tour guide was mediocre and it was cold so we called it a night after that.


We got to see a Mardi Gras float being moved...unfortunately, the driver did not realize how tall the float was and half of it got whacked off after running into a low-hanging tree.

Saturday we met for...what else...more food followed by a cemetery tour. We sound like haunted weirdos, but New Orleans has really cool cemeteries since everything is above ground. On this particular tour, we visited Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau's tomb, learned some cool New Orleans history and even saw the tomb that Nicholas Cage recently purchased. The group was lukewarm on our tour guide, but I loved him...ok! 


Yes, more food followed by a quick nap and then a nice dinner at The Palace Cafe.  We were in a major food coma by then so I didn't even bother taking anymore pictures. I wasn't feeling well after dinner (surprise, surprise when you shock your arteries) so I called it a night while Jason, Chris and Jenni went to Harrah's to win back all the money we spent on the trip. Jason was a winner!

Sunday we came back to reality and my body is slowly forgiving me for the calorie overload. Gym tonight? Yes please!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Recap

This weekend was very lazy and I loved it!  Friday night Jason went out for happy hour with a few coworkers so I rested, caught up on my DVR, and was asleep by 10:30. 

Saturday, I waitressed in the Junior League Houston Tea Room (part of my provisional year volunteer hours), came home and cleaned, and did more resting.  Jason and I went to dinner and ended up at Barnes & Noble for one of our favorite activities: coffee and book browsing.  While Jason was off looking for books on retirement planning (yawn) I grabbed a copy of The Hunger Games, found a comfy chair and started reading.  It feels like everyone in the blogosphere has read this series and raves about it, but to be honest, the trilogy could not have sounded less appealing- just not my kind of read.

Synopsis:
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

By the beginning of chapter two, I was hooked.  Needless to say I purchased it and read for the rest of the evening. 

We had a typical Sunday doing normal Sunday tasks.  Lazy weekends are great, but make going back to work that much harder, especially on a day like today - cold and rainy!  All I want to do is curl up and finish Hunger Games.

I'm curious who else has read the book and series? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Happiness Project




I discovered The Happiness Project on another blog that I read and thought it would be fun to pickup, especially since it's the beginning of the year.  The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, by Gretchen Rubin seems to be more about enhancing your life rather than simply going from sad to happy. 

I'm very content with my life, but am the first person to admit that nothing is perfect and there are always things we can do to make our days here better.  I certainly am the type of person that needs to learn to stop and smell and the roses more.  I constantly find myself worrying about tomorrow rather than appreciating today which is why this book seems so appealing. 

I just picked it up yesterday so I'm not too far in, but I plan on doing monthly posts about my progress.  The book takes one area each month to focus on:

January - Vitality: Boost Energy
February - Marriage: Remember Love
March - Work: Aim Higher
April - Parenthood: Lighten Up
May - Leisure: Be Serious About Play (Sidenote: this is perfect for my birthday month!)
June - Friendship: Make Time for Friends
July - Money: Buy Some Happiness
August - Eternity: Contemplate the Heavens
September - Books: Pursue a Passion
October - Mindfulness: Pay Attention
November - Attitude: Keep a Contented Heart
December - Happiness: Boot Camp Perfect

Has anyone else read this book or is currently reading it?

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 in Review

2010 was a year of change for me and Jason.  We survived enjoyed our first year of marriage, sold our house, moved, both changed jobs, traveled and tried to relax once in a while.  Here is our 2010 year in review.  We look forward to a great 2011! 

# of weddings attended:  3 
Laura + Craig: Fort Worth, TX
Stephie + Cody: Las Vegas, NV
Jenni + Chris: The Woodlands, TX

# of funerals attended: 1

# of trips:  2 (Costa Rica and Vegas)


Album of the Year: Contra, Vampire Weekend


Song of the Year: Sweet Disposition, The Temper Trap

Craziest Month:  July - we sold our house, we moved, left our former jobs and both started new jobs all in 1 month!

Biggest Accomplishments - My biggest accomplishment in 2010 was losing weight.  It's so hard to do, but I've stuck with it and lost around 14 pounds to date.  I may have gained 1 or 2 the past few weeks due to holiday indulgence, but I promise to get back on it this week!  I'm also proud to be more than halfway complete with my provisional year with the Junior League of Houston.  I've logged many hours at Texas Children's Hospital this year and just started waitressing in the JL Tea Room.  I can't speak for Jason, but I'm going to say that one of his biggest accomplishments this year was being named President of MPI (Meeting Planners International), an organization related to his career.  He is now halfway through his term, and the chapter is having an excellent year so far...ranked one of the best chapters in the country! 

Jason just pointed out as I write this was that another accomplishment was that we maintained our sanity during the craziness and all of the change of the year.  We definitely leaned on each other during those crazy times plus we have an awesome support system too.  Thanks to all of our great family members, friends and coworkers.  And a special thanks to my mom who always helps me when things get crazy! 

My awesome mom, Shelley!

Concerts attended:  5 (weak) - One of my goals for 2011 is to attend more, but that is for another blog post!  I got to see BuzzFest (Limp Bizkit, Seether, 30 Seconds to Mars, Deftones, Three Days Grace), Vampire Weekend, The Buzz Weenie Roast (Chevelle, Puddle of Mudd, Sevendust, Shinedown), Stone Temple Pilots, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Beach House, Jimmy Eat World, Smashing Pumpkins.

 Buzzfest, May 2010

Musicals attended: 2 - Wicked and A Christmas Carol

At Wicked with my stepsisters, Jessica and Nicole


Scariest Moment of the Year - Monkey attack in Costa Rica!  Okay, I wasn't really attacked, but while on a mangrove tour on a boat, the captain pulled up to the land where a handful of capuchin monkeys were hanging out.  One of the monkeys jumped on the roof of the boat, hissing and showing his sharp teeth and then used me as a launching pad to exit.  I walked away with just a scratch, but a very cool story.

The actual "attack" monkey


Funniest Moment of the Year - Paying a ton of money for a couples membership to a gym and then walking across the street to stuff our faces with burgers and fries.  So typical.  Kind of like the time we woke up with super sore arms from throwing darts the night before.  Sad but true.

Coolest Moment of the Year - Fishing in Costa Rica (Thanks Mom and LE!!!).  My favorite part was seeing how happy Jason was to catch huge tuna.  My second favorite part was that I caught the biggest fish of the day!


Best Thing We Did - MOVE!  We were so blessed to sell our townhouse just a month after putting it on the market.  We could not have had a easier sale.  And now, we LOVE living inside the loop, closer to all of our fave spots, in a low-maintenance place.  We are never leaving!


Happy New Year everyone! 
Thanks for reading this little blog.
Love, Chelsea, Jason and Tucker


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Recipe: Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is such a quick and easy meal!  My mom used to make this for me when I was younger and it was always a favorite!  So filling and Jason loves it, plus there is always enough for leftovers the next day.  You don't have to serve anything else with it, but if you want you can make some extra plain rice to serve under the peppers (and then pour the extra sauce on the rice).  I'm not normally a left-over kinda girl, but this is great the next day too. 

You will need:


-  1 cup instant rice (for the peppers...more if you want to make this as a side too)
-  3 large green bell peppers
-  1 teaspoon salt
-  1/4 teaspoon pepper
-  1 tablespoon sugar
-  1/2 cup of ketchup
-  1 medium onion chopped
-  1 egg
-  1 pound of ground beef (I use extra lean)
-  1 can 15 oz. tomato sauce
-  1 tablespoon worchestire sauce
-  1/3 cup water



Instructions:

1.  Mix the beef, egg, rice (uncooked), onion, worchestire sauce, ketchup, 1/2 the can of tomato sauce, salt, pepper.
2.  Cut the peppers in halves (lengthwise), clean out all seeds and extra stuff.  Place in a baking dish.
3.  Fill the peppers with the meat mixture
4.  Mix the remaining ingredients together (remaining sauce, water, sugar)
5.  Our the mixture over the peppers
6.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap
7.  Microwave (yes, I said microwave) on high for 20-25 minutes.  Make sure your meat is fully cooked.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Pour the extra sauce in the sauce pan over the peppers and optional rice! 
8.  Enjoy!
 

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