Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why Brad Married Me

Today's post was written by my pretty amazing husband. I've hinted a few times that it would be nice to have a post from him and he finally obliged.  Read on for some serious sweetness...

Why I married Melanie.

Right after we said, "I do."

Melanie had asked me a few times before about writing in our blog and since my name is in the website address,  I would assume it is required. This can be thought of as an almost comedic blog post but I am serious about my reasons why I married Melanie.

I married Melanie for 3 reasons; her Appearance, Personality, and Intelligence. Those are probably the very basic of characteristics that everybody looks for when looking for a soul mate but it is all true.

Melanie has a small body frame and, from the first pictures I had seen of her (before we met), a short pixie-type haircut.  I was attracted to how she held herself--tall and cute. Besides, seeing photographs of cute actresses such as Emma Watson and Michelle Williams with short pixie haircuts, she fit the haircut right.  She has two simple tattoos on her feet of Picasso's sketch of an Owl and, though I do not appreciate it as often, she also has a larger slightly crooked tattoo on her lower back of a Celtic Knot as a nod to her ancestry, I'm sure. [Ed. Note--He swears my tattoo is slightly off-center. I have never noticed this.] Though I do not have any tattoos of my own, I like to see this type of art that tells a great deal about the person wearing it.

In part summary, Melanie is very cute with her skinny body and short haircut. I am attracted to her look and, assuming she would never wash away her permanent tattoos, I will remain with her.

Melanie is very good at getting along with me and is a great counterbalance. She is sociable while I am a shy individual. When I first met her, she was more outgoing and talkative with me, forcing me to talk more and become more comfortable.  She laughs at my jokes, and knows when to give me a short break if I go overboard on my sarcasm.  I knew my parents would love her.  She didn't have a dark or troublesome past and she had a niche for being crafty. Crocheting doesn't float my boat, but then again installing the newest computer distro of a Linux Operating System probably isn't her idea of a great weeknight activity. In the same way, she could be less picky in her eating habits, but I would assume she would say I need to not worry about how much is spent on a dinner date.  Understanding a person is crucial to everything and the sides of a relationship can be looked at like puzzles pieces that fit together.

In part summary, Melanie appreciate my good qualities and doesn't drag down on my bad, yet improving, characteristics.  She helps everybody out. I assume this is partly why she studied psychology and loves to work with teenagers and young children.

Yay for goofy photobooth kisses.

Speaking of studies, Melanie is intelligent. She apparently has completed two programs in graduate school at a university for a Masters and Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology. {Ed. Note--"apparently?" I have the student loan debt and diplomas to show it. :)] Even though 7 years studying in higher education comes back in the form of her student loans, it has benefits for myself.  Bragging to friends that my wife didn't want to study the extra year for a doctorate because writing a thesis bored her is great, but having free counseling for my first-world mental problems pays for itself after our first visit.  Melanie is a bread-winner.  I am going great in my career, but, at her rate, it would be hard for me to catch up.

In part summary, Melanie is a genius. Maybe not so much on the proper uses of a credit card in a clothing store but she excels at having the smarts to be a great helpful friend to all.

In all other words, I married Melanie because she came into my life quickly and makes me very happy.  I had dated a few other women to find a best friend and I found that very soon with Melanie after meeting her. Seemed like a no-brainer that I would agree to spend the rest of my life with a smart, respectful, and beautiful woman. "Where do I sign?"

Beer and mac & cheese while on honeymoon.
Thanks, San Francisco, for the extra five pounds.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What to Wear: Wedding Guest Edition

One of my friends is getting married next month and I just realized that I'm not sure what I'll wear. I know, I know, first world problems.

Anyway, help me narrow the field?

I'm really liking the necklace in the bottom corner and it's made even better when you factor in a 50% discount (yeah, summer job).

Apparently, I am a fan of tank dresses.

I don't own a lot of yellow and am really debating the yellow shift dress (bottom left).

Please throw out some opinions or alternate suggestions. Where are your go-to shops for dresses?

Top yellow
Bottom yellow
Top red
Bottom orange
Navy tank dress
Green dress
Blue dress (with v-neck front)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Low-Fat Blueberry Scones

I have some bad habits that I need to correct. One of those habits is running out the door with no breakfast and stopping at Starbucks.  Guys, I don't even drink coffee. I get a pretentious and expensive hot chocolate. It is so yummy, though, especially with a blueberry scone.  In an effort to curb this habit that will break my personal monthly budget, I went hunting for recipes.

I made the following recipe last night and enjoyed a scone this morning. Brad kept joking with me and calling them "stones." He said that the scones were "good" and he was "afraid [...] to get blueberry on [his] shirt, but it was tasty/interesting...[he] ate it all and appreciated it." He went on to say that he didn't care for the dough and it wouldn't be his go-to breakfast grab. I thought the scones were less sweet than Starbucks and a little heavier. This could have been the case just because it was my first time baking scones, though.  Anyway, I enjoyed it and will grab one on my way out tomorrow morning for sure.

Look at all of those blueberries.

Low-Fat Blueberry Scones
8 servings          6 WW+

2 C unbleached flour
1/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1T baking powder
1/4 C frozen butter
3/4 C light buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1C fresh blueberries

-Preheat oven to 400*F.
-In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.
-Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour. Mix well.
-In a medium bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.
-Using a fork, slowly stir the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, until all of the mixture is moistened.
-Do not overwork the dough. Fold in the blueberries.
-Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop large spoonfuls--DO NOT press or compact. Bake on center rack for 18 minutes.

I used whole wheat unbleached flour, Splenda, and 12 oz of blueberries. Some of the blueberries didn't stay in the dough, so I probably had 10-11 oz in my scones. Also, I made six scones--serving sizes be damned.

If you make this, let me know what you think. If you have an even better recipe, pass that along.


Monday, May 7, 2012

What the Psychic Told Me

I went to the flea market with my mom and sister this weekend. We walked around for hours and found all kinds of treasures, including a psychic.  

I plunked down $10 for a 10-minute reading and my sister coached me to not give anything away.  There were two psychics--sisters--and one held my wedding band and one held my engagement band throughout the reading.  At first, they kept it general and informed me that a male in my life with a 'J' name appeared to be turning a new page, but I was drowning while waiting for them. The sisters told me to stop waiting. 'J' would get there, but I couldn't immerse myself in it any longer waiting for him to get it together. (This has some meaning, but I won't get into it right now.)

Next, I got to ask a question and draw three cards. I asked, very generally, about babies.  Seriously--I asked, "Can we talk about babies?" Sister 2 asked if I was pregnant and was relieved to hear me say no. She indicated that a friend asked for a reading to tell the sex of her baby shortly after she found out she was pregnant, but Sister 2 couldn't see a baby. The friend miscarried soon after.  Anyway, Sister 1 asked her if she could tell what I would have first, if indeed babies were in my future.  They both agreed that they felt babies were in the cards for me and Sister 2 said it kept flipping between boy and girl. She settled on indicating that I would have a boy first, but I would have at least one of each. She was also concerned that the quick flipping meant that I would have twins or triplets. The cards I drew were Resistance, Challenge, and Fertility. Sister 1 felt that I wouldn't have babies right away due to the resistance and challenge and Sister 2 backed her up, indicating that she saw me pregnant next year. They said that with the fertility card on me that I was OK, but my husband may need to get checked. Difficulties in getting pregnant may be linked to his swimmers was the take-home message. 

I was allowed two questions and for the second one I just asked for a general next 12 months reading. I drew three more cards.  I don't remember what these three cards were, but the sisters agreed that my husband was stressed. They said that the stress he was under, most likely due to career changes, could be affecting our pregnancy attempts. They advised that he take a chill pill because everything would turn out OK for us. They felt nothing bad surrounding us, just some stress on my husband's part.

I thought the reading was pretty interesting and parts of it rang very true.  I wanted to capture it here so that we can visit it again later and see how much of it rings true in a year.  Have you ever had your cards or palm read?  Did any of it ring true for you?

This was not my psychic.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Do, Now What?

When Brad and I were married, we received a copy of Bill and Giuliana Rancic's book, I Do, Now What?. We read to each other on the plane to and from our honeymoon and then largely ignored the book. I picked it up again two nights ago to finish reading and it is a charming book. Let me be clear--I do not live my life like the Rancic's do, but I do admire the respect and love they show toward each other. I'm also ridiculously excited about their baby news.

There are plenty of lessons in the book that need to be adapted to fit your relationship (duh.). For example, chapter 11 ("The Power of the 'F' Word") talks about injecting fun back into your relationship.  Bill and Giuliana enjoy taking random road trips or planning surprise trips to Greece.  Uhh...Brad and I aren't in a position to do that.  I could surprise him with Chinese take-out one night, but that's about it.

Chapter 12 ("Hogs and Hiking Vests") discusses the importance of taking an interest in your partner's interests, but not forcing it. Forcing it could lead to resentment and that could lead to you bonking your partner upside the head with a 9-iron when he takes you golfing for the fourteenth time.  So, if you don't like golfing, don't go. Brad enjoys hiking, though, and I hadn't done that in a number of years. He bought me hiking boots for Christmas, though, and we went hiking.  We don't do it nearly as much as either of us would like, but that just lets us know that we need to plan these things better. I'm sure Brad appreciates the confirmation that if he really doesn't like bowling, he shouldn't go with me. Maybe that will be my time to myself and I'll join a Fall league later this year.  Who knows? 

The book gets us talking more and more meaningfully. Brad just started a new job and we finally talked about it last night, as well as some other issues that had come up as a result of being a (temporarily) one-income family. It's always nice to clear the air and if Bill and Giuliana Rancic help us do that, well, bully for them. 

Seriously, though--the book is hilarious. Go check it out.