Monday, November 30, 2009

19 hours.

Why 19 hours? Oh that is just the number of hours I spent in a car this weekend. I think I will be completely content if I never have to get in a car again. However, it was all worth it for the amazing Thanksgiving "break" I had. I say "break" in quotation marks because when you have a real job you don't really get anymore "breaks." I went home the night before Thanksgiving right after work which was just in time for me to catch rush hour at every major city between here and my home - woohoo. As soon as I got home I joined my mom in the kitchen for some serious baking. I made three new flavors of cupcakes - gingerbread, eggnog, & chocolate candy cane - all available at Lil Tubbies Bake Shop. I think they turned out pretty good...

Thanksgiving was delicious as usual, but it was a little sad because my dad's side of the family is spread out everywhere so we did not get to spend the holiday with everyone. Friday morning Brie and I got up early, as in 8 am, for a quick shopping spree before we headed up to National Harbor with my aunt and uncle. Let me just say that National Harbor (though it was freezing) was AWESOME. We stayed at the Gaylord Hotel and I think it is one of the prettiest hotels I have ever been to. It was all decked out for Christmas and they had a tree lighting, fireworks, a choir, fake snowfall, a "dive-in" movie theater at the pool where they played Christmas movies, and a fountain light show every night. And my favorite part was the Peeps hide and seek - they had peeps hidden all over the hotel atrium.

Here is what the atrium looked like during the day...
A peep hanging out on the roof!
A night shot...

On our first night at the hotel we went out and explored all the little shops at National Harbor which is where I discovered my favorite store EVER...the Peeps store!!Then we of course tried out the local cupcakes from Cake Love. I gotta say I was not impressed. Maybe I'm turning into a cupcake snob but they just didn't do it for me and they paled in comparison to NYC cupcakes. From left to right is red velvet, chocolate raspberry, german chocolate, lemon swirl, and peanut butter banana. I wouldn't recommend any of them...they serve them cold and preface your cupcake experience by saying that they taste best at room temperature. I took that little preface as an excuse as to why their cupcakes sucked. We tried them cold and then again at room temp...they didn't get any better. Nice try Cake Love.The next day we got up and went to a little Christmas market in the middle of National Harbor, revisited the Peeps store (how could you resist?!), and then went to the ICE! exhibit. It was so cool...literally! The place was 9 degrees so you had to wear special parkas (those trendy blue things you will see in the pictures below) and you got to go through an entire museum of ice sculptures. Apparently these Chinese artisans flew in and did all of the sculptures by hand. They even had an ice slide! When we went in I wanted to get my picture with a penguin and I got a little too excited and accidentally knocked his nose off. Oops! Now I know why my mom always made me keep my hands to myself in stores. Here's the moment captured on camera...

My uncle with the penguin (notice the nose)
Right after my accident - note my look of shock.
The nose!

Ummmm...hope I don't get in trouble for that! Accidents happen...haha. Later that night we took a light show of DC which I interpreted to be a light show, like Christmas lights. It turns out it was a 4 hour history lesson. Think 8th grade DC field trip and sub zero temperatures. Yep. We made the best of it though. The next morning we packed up our things and headed back. My aunt and uncle are seriously the best, Brie and I had SO much fun. I wish I was going to the Peeps store tomorrow instead of work...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

new york state of mind

Today I miss NYC...more than usual. I miss Amanda, Alexa, and Lizzie and my old life in the city. I'd give just about anything right now to get back. I was really happy there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

new kicks

My new shoes came in today and there could not have been more perfect timing. On this rainy Monday I was seriously lacking motivation to get to them gym. Not anymore! They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. Ever.

Coming Soon: An ode to my old running shoes (may they rest in peace)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I’ll admit it…I’m a wannabe. And my newest obession? Running (gasp!) It all sort of happened last week after Jess and I were leaving Zumba, another one of my current obsessions. We were on our way out when we saw a sign for the Jingle Bell Fun Run and without much hesitation we said, “Ok, lets do it.” This is not unlike us at all. Two years ago we signed up, dressed like ninja turtles, and ran a midnight 5k on the day of the race. When we got home that night we researched 5ks, 4-milers, half marathons, and most importantly, race training programs. I’ve been wanting to run a half marathon for a while now, specifically the Princess Half Marathon in Disney World, but when I asked my doctor if I could run one he said “No.” Ummm…back up, what you really mean is SHOULDN’T run one. Saying I “can’t” run one is just setting me up for a challenge. I blame high school sports for ruining running for me. Not only did they physically destroy my knees, but the sprint, sprint, hurl, sprint, repeat exercises in field hockey and soccer mentally forced me to associate bad thoughts with running as well. Darn those bum knees – such a sweet story that started with MRI visits and ended with knee braces. Anyways, in true wannabe fashion Jess and I got up on Saturday morning and headed over to Riverside Runners to get fitted for some new kicks. We explained to the girl helping us that we were training, and we looked at things like flavored energy shots to make us seem legit. Afterwards we headed down to the Blackwater Creek Trails for our first training sess. Jess and I make a good pair when training b/c she is naturally pessimistic and I am naturally optimistic – so we find a healthy balance between “we aren’t going to make it to the finish line” and “we are going to get first place!!!” The race we finally settled on is in Raleigh in February and the proceeds go to cancer research, which is great for us because cancer has hit us close to home.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

banana split

Ok, I've been majorly slacking on the pop tart project, but cut me some slack - in the past few weeks I moved & got a new job. This pop tart definitely makes up for my laziness. I say this probably makes my top 3 so far for sure. And can I preface this post by asking...could you possibly think of a better pair than banana and chocolate? The answer is NO my friends (though Tina Fey & Amy Poehler make a close second) Onto the goods...

Toasted: All I can say is YUM...having the flavors melt together only enhances the goodness that is the banana split pop tart.

Frozen: It tastes exactly like Dippin Dots banana split ice cream (my fav) Seriously. So good.

As Is: Awesome. Delicious. Amazing. And all in one package. Try to eat just one, I dare you.

Pop Tart Fact: In 2001, the United States military dropped 2.4 million Pop Tats in Afganistan during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

*I cannot confirm this fact, aka I stole it from another blog...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

catch 22

I'm sick. Sicker than sick. Laying-down-almost-in-the-fetal-position-as-I-type-this sick. The only reason I am even writing right now is because a) I cannot sleep and b) I'm trying hard to make light of my current situation. You know what the worst kind of sick is? The kind you can't avoid. Sure you can prevent a cold if you bundle up outside, and avoiding mono is easy if you have your own chapstick, but what do you do when the medicine you have to take makes you sick? Nothing. Its a catch 22. If I don't take my medicine, the long-term effects are probably much worse than the crippling symptoms I'm feeling now...but can I survive like this? Forgive me for going Michael Moore here but I can't help but think it's some sort of medical conspiracy. Wouldn't you? I don't think it helps that Hurricane Ida has brought a gloomy storm to our area. That kind of weather doesn't make anyone feel good. Oh well, what can you do? Cry? Tried that, didn't help. I really just want my mom.

Enough doom and gloom. I think its about time I finally updated everyone on my new job. I LOVE IT. Seriously, it is really great. I look forward to going to work and I really like the people I work with. It is so neat to be a part of a team with so many talented people. Everyone I work with is SO good at what they do - it amazes me. I have lots of work to do everyday, but my dad says thats a good thing. Work = a job after all. But really, I have no complaints. Last weekend I got to work at the Bridal Showcase where I sampled pretty much every wedding cake available. Like I said, no complaints here :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

these are my confessions...

I hope the people at work do not think I have a bladder problem. Truth is, I don’t really have to go to the bathroom that often…I guess I’m just scared of dying. I read an article in Women’s Health magazine that said, “The longer you spend sitting each day, the more likely you are to die an early death – no matter how fit you are.” I spend 8 hours a day sitting. Can I get a definition of “early”?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

today's exercise: running late

So this morning my efforts to not run late for work failed. When I worked in NYC I walked to work most mornings, usually (& thankfully) over-estimating my walk. You see, with walking, you never really know how long it will take because there are so many determining factors – how fast you are walking, crowds, sights to see, and I think we all remember how distracting cupcake trucks can be! With driving though, I pretty much know down to the minute how long it will take me to get to work. So if it takes me x amount of minutes to get to work, I usually leave my apartment with x amount of time to spare. This morning as I was making my coffee (keep in mind this is instant coffee – made with the purpose of keeping me awake and not a barista creation I made for my own personal enjoyment) I may have been in a slight rush and knocked over a glass that, of course, shattered all over the kitchen floor and my bare feet. I cleaned up the mess and tried not to cry – I’m pretty sure playing Street Fighter 2 for an hour with Allison last night helped toughen me up. Then I grabbed my cup of instant coffee and got myself to work. When I pulled into the parking lot “Party in the USA” was on so I sat in my car long enough to finish belting the chorus. I was running late already anyways. I got to work and didn’t look at the clock but I’m pretty sure I was right on the money for time so I was feeling pretty good…until I went to plug in my computer and saw WW2 bloodshed all over my feet and my favorite shoes!!! Good thing I planned ahead. Cute shoes are never comfortable so I had slipped a few band-aids in my bag for the blisters I knew would result in my shoe choice. Awesome. I then proceeded to google "how to remove glass pieces from feet" which was very helpful. So needless to say, I’ve had quite the morning. I think I will reward this morning’s bravery with the leftover Halloween candy I bought on Sunday. I’m pretty sure the only thing better than Halloween is the day after Halloween. If you happen to have extra caramel apple & pumpkin spice Hershey kisses laying around then feel free to try out my latest recipe. Brie said they taste like fall in your mouth!



2 ¼ cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup butter (softened)

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

1 package instant vanilla pudding mix

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup caramel bits

10-12 caramel apple Hershey kisses (chopped)

10-12 pumpkin spice Hershey kisses (chopped)

2 tablespoons white sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix together pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of white sugar. Set aside.
3. Unwrap and chop hershey kisses into bits. Set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Set aside.
5. Cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a large bowl.
6. Beat in pudding mix.
7. Add vanilla and eggs, beating after each egg.
8. Blend in the flour mixture.
9. Stir in caramel bits & chopped hershey kisses.
10. Roll dough into small balls and roll the balls in the sugar mix, until completely covered.
11. Place cookie dough 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
12. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

* The caramel apple kisses are super sticky, but don’t get frustrated and give up when chopping them – they taste amazing in the cookies!

* Also, if you have caramel bits on the bottom of your cookie dough ball, consider putting a little flour on the cookie sheet. The caramel bits have a tendency to stick.