Monday, February 28, 2011

What I've Been Eating Lately

Thanks for all your fantastic comments on my Kindle review. Lisa brought up another con that I forgot about, but completely agree with: not being able to see how many more pages in the chapter. I definitely stop mid-chapter more often on the Kindle than I normally would. I have also been known to scroll ahead a few pages to check if a chapter will end.

As you can tell, I'm attempting to turn over a new leaf on the blog at the moment. By "new leaf" I mean actually have some time to actually write a post here and there, haha. This week is parent/teacher conferences at work which is insanely busy and tiring. However, I'm also attempting NOT to take work home, so I'm hoping that increases my time for things I love such as blogging and reading. I still have half of One Day to read before I can start our blogger book club selection for this month so I've got my work cut out for me, in a good way.

Since I haven't been the most consistent blogger lately, I have a lot of food pictures I have just not posted at all (apparently I still make the food, take the pictures and just never post them...oops). I figured I could just do one post on what I've been eating lately, and so here it is:

*sorry in advance if I've posted about any of these already, I did a search of the blog to try to avoid it, but still there may be a repeat :)

First of all, Eric and I have adopted Taco Tuesday:



We change it up a bit every week, but we always make it with ground turkey and taco seasoning. If you haven't tried turkey tacos, you should. Just sayin.

I've also been attempting to recreate the spring rolls from Not Your Average Joes. Man they are just SO good. So, attempt #1 involved egg roll wrappers, zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots:



These were okay... but given that Not Your Average Joes uses rice paper, raw veggies and rice noodles, these were um... nothing like them. Plus they were missing the best part, the dipping sauce. Luckily I was able to swipe my leftovers last time I was there so I attempted again tonight...


Okay I admit, my spring roll wrapping skills leave something to be desired (perhaps that is an understatement). However, dipped in that amazing dipping sauce from Not Your Average Joes, it was almost as if I was there. If only I could recreate the amazing bread they have.

My other obsession lately has been avocado. It started with my desire to make Angela's 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta. First of all when anyone who is a good cook tells me something will take 15 minutes, I automatically know it will take me longer and of course it did. But it was still pretty good. Just maybe a little more lemony than I would like...


The avocado obsession did not stop there though. In my ongoing quest to recreate the amazing sandwich at Stephanie's on Newbury Street, I have started to make sweet potato and avocado sandwiches. They don't have nearly all of the stuff that the Stephanie's sandwich has, but they are a bit easier to make. All you have to do is roast some sweet potatoes and mash up some avocado on your sandwich and you are good to go...


For the record, the secret to keeping an avocado fresh in the refrigerator is leaving the pit in (thanks Mom!).

What have you been eating lately? Any great ways you use avocado?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kindle: Pros and Cons

A little over a month ago I mentioned I was starting to become interested in an e-reader and asked opinions. Then, Eric's mom let me borrow her Kindle over my vacation last week. After reading 2 1/2 books on it (still working on the 3rd) and using it for over a week, I thought you might be interested to know my pros and cons of the Kindle.

Before you read you should know that I was a little bit against e-readers because I love books and I am sick of electronics and all the dang cords they carry with them. So I guess you could say I was a skeptic. But alas... I was also once anti-Uggs and anti-Vera Bradley..



1. For travel, an e-reader is clearly the way to go. They take up almost no space in your suitcase and you don't have to plan ahead what you are going to read. Just start reading, and download another book when you are done. Never again will you carry 3 hardcover books and only get through 1 of them... or one hardcover book and have to find a bookstore to buy another one.

2. The Kindle is really convenient to hold and you can easily be doing something else while reading. For example, when I got to the airport on Saturday, I was easily able to eat my bagel with cream cheese while reading my Kindle on my lap. No table necessary. There is also no page turning if you want to read the Kindle on an elliptical machine at the gym. We know I love to multi-task.

3. I love the library and I love bookstores, but it is pretty awesome to have the instant gratification of downloading a book in a matter of seconds. Maybe this would be less of an issue if I didn't have a habit of always sending library books to the wrong library. If I send it to the library near work I will without fail want to pick it up while near home, if I send it near home, I will without fail be doing errands near work.

4. I read faster on the Kindle. I attribute this to the fact that having shorter "pages" makes me think I can read "just one more" and then "just one more." This was a good thing on vacation, might not be so good when I'm back to work haha.

5. Other random things I like about the Kindle include: not needing bookmarks (that I forever lose), how easy it is to see it in the sun (nothing like a computer screen), and being able to see what other people have highlighted in the book (you can also turn this off if you don't want to see it).


1. I still do not love the idea of another cord. The Kindle supposedly lasts for 30 days without being charged, but I get edgy about these things. Also, the Nook does not last as long.

2. I do not like paying for books. The books I read over vacation cost me about $15 total, including 1 of the books was a steal at 99 cents! I normally don't buy books often, so that's $15 more than I would've spent. The Nook does allow you to take books from the library on it which is why if I buy an e-reader I will probably buy a Nook. It's shocking to me that the Kindle doesn't allow this yet.

3. It does bug me a bit that I can't go back to a previous page easily. This didn't really bother me until I was reading the book I'm reading now that skips a year or so between each chapter and I like to try to figure out how old the characters are based on the dates... confusing!

Overall I am definitely a fan of the Kindle now, especially for traveling. I probably won't run out and buy one right now mainly because I can't decide between the Kindle and the Nook. I am comfortable with the Kindle and like it now, but the no library books is kind of a deal breaker for me. If you are considering buying a Kindle or a Nook (or an Ipad), I've found some good articles on how to choose between them: Kindle vs. Nook and Which E-Book Reader Should You Buy?

Do you have a Kindle or Nook? What do you think of them? Do you ever get scared that computers are slowly going to take over the world?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pink Girly Drinks

Happy Weekend everyone J Of course for me the weekend means the end of a vacation, but I’ll let the slide for now and be happy for all of you who (hopefully) don’t have to work!

Since I’m sad to be home in the cold weather, I might as well reminicise about our last day in Sedona. Eric and I had contemplated all sorts of different challenging hikes we could attempt to take on for our last day “go out with a bang.” But, a terrible night sleep left both of us more excited for a day of relaxing. Luckily, we found just the place… Redrock Crossing.


Red Rock Crossing is yet another gorgeous area of Sedona by Oak Creek.




Eric and I walked down the creek a bit, had a picnic, read for a little while and then explored some more. After a cold, snowy and dark winter in Boston, we had to sort of drag ourselves back inside and out of the sun. Luckily, we had made a reservation at our favorite Sedona restaurant, Cucina Rustica- shockingly good Italian food.

While at the yummy Italian restaurant, Eric got a Prickley Pear Maragarita (special Arizona speciality). I enjoy when he gets these drinks because I like to take pictures of Eric with pink drinks… (thought you would enjoy this Gina)


While Eric had sipped his girly pink drink, I had to wear the pants in this relationship...


(Notice I was drinking a beer... haha).

This was all on Thursday. Yesterday was the travel day home. Luckily all went well on the travel front, but that didn't stop us from having some lost keys and police adventures.

Oh, you want to hear more about the police adventures? Well, let's just say that our brilliant rental car company decided to put the license plate of our car on the back window instead of the holder. This might have been okay except the car had absurdly tinted windows, so even we had a hard time actually finding our license plate. When the cop pulled us over he said that he couldn't see it at all and then when he ran the plates, the number wasn't coming back. Awesome. When we brought the car back, we told them what had happened and they said, "oh unfortunately that's a cop problem." Um, no... in fact, it's a YOU problem because cops need to be able to SEE the license plate, and it should also come up in the system. Duh.

The good news is, the ridiculous wind that made our flight out to Arizona take 8 hours, was in our favor on the way back- 3 hours and 50 minutes and we were home in Boston. We knew we landed in the right city because it was snowing, obviously!

I'm pretty happy to be home, minus the nasty weather and looming parent/teacher conferences next week. I'm also exhausted and contemplating if a nice hot yoga session is going to help or hurt me right now. Hope everyone has a great Saturday! What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lost in a World of Books

I don't know if it's just that I've had time to pay attention to news this week or what but does it seem like there are a lot of uprisings and protests going on out there in the world? Yikes. This is exactly why I have chosen to spend my life totally wrapped up in fantasy worlds lately: books.

Obviously as a kindergarten teacher I spend a lot of time convincing children to love reading (and yes we teach reading in kindergarten now in case you are wondering). But, I'm not lying to them- I really do LOVE reading. I actually had a bit of trouble learning to read as a kid, but once I learned it was Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High books during all my free time. What? I didn't say I had sophisticated taste in books :)

My Latest Reads

This year I've set a goal to read 30 books for fun. This may seem like not a lot but when you are as busy as me (and sometimes just way too tired at night to think about a book) and you read WAY too many books on teaching, you'd wouldn't aim too high either. Here are the books I've read in 2011 so far.


This was a great book, told from the perspective of a dog... which is certainly unique. It's basically about the relationship between the dog and man. I've had my eye on this book for awhile but I was afraid it wouldn't be that interesting, somehow it was though.


This book was our Blogger Book Club book for January (ps. you should really join us). However, I have to say this is exactly why I rarely listen to book critics. This is supposed to be one of Anita Shreve's best books and I hated it. I couldn't stand the main character or really any of the characters which does not make for a good read. It was interesting to talk about though, I will say that.


I read this book directly after Weight of Water because I wanted to remember that I still like Anita Shreve as an author. This book was about a high school reunion of sorts, and how it brings up old memories. It wasn't my favorite book I've ever read, but it was definitely good.


This was our Blogger Book Club read for February and I liked it a lot better than January's book :) This book was about two sisters and their journey from "having it all" in China, to losing it all, to arranged marriages and coming to the US. I found the historical aspects of this story pretty fascinating. I would say I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the two girls, but I think when an author really develops the characters well, that's pretty inevitable huh?


This was my first book on the Kindle (more on this later) and I chose it because it was the #1 downloaded book and it was 99 cents. It ended up being SO good. I had temporarily forgotten how much I like a good "mystery" and I loved how I just kept wanting to come back to this book. I plan to read the others in this series at some point.


I downloaded this book after hearing about it on a Vermont episode of Chronicle. It's the story of a midwife who is accused of killing a mother while attempting to save a baby... from the perspective of her 14 year old daughter. Does that not sound fascinating? Well it is... It kind of reminded me of Jodi Picoult a little bit actually, but perhaps slightly better literature? (yeah right, like I really know what good literature is... I just FEEL like people who complain about Picoult may not complain about this... could be wrong though). I am definitely going to read more by this author as well. Ah, so much to read so little time.

Upcoming Reads

Truthfully I have a list of probably 40 books I want to read at the moment. But what I am seriously planning to read in the near future?

One Day by David Nicholls (actually I am on page 2 of this right now)

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (it's been on the list for awhile but recent recommendations from Amber and my friend Sarah have made me think I really need to just dive into it)

In the Woods by Tana French... our book club read for March!

Great Reading Websites

If you don't use GoodReads yet you really should. I love the fact that I actually have a somewhat organized list of books I want to read and books I already read (and I just added a books-I-didn't-finish section haha), plus I can get great recommendations from my goodreads friends about books I probably would never have known about otherwise.

I also just discovered (and by "discovered" I mean read about on Heather's blog another awesome site for readers: YourNextRead. Basically you can type in a book you like, and it will give you a list of books you will probably like based on the other book you liked. I know Amazon kind of does this and you can sort of do this through goodreads with some effort, but the organization of this site is great and you can really easily move between books and get ideas. Clearly I don't really NEED additional books on my "to read" list, but in case you do...

What's the best book you have read lately or what do you plan to read in the near future? Do you use any reading websites to keep track of books or get new ideas?

I'll be back this weekend with my review of the Kindle (Eric's mom let me borrow hers for my trip!) and a few more Sedona pictures from our last day in AZ. Eric and I leave Arizona tomorrow and I think Boston is getting a bit of a storm so let's pray my travel day is not anything like Lisa's was last Sunday!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life on the Edge

Eric and I have been living life on the edge in Sedona...


(Top of Cathedral Rock)



(Pink Jeep off-road driving)


(Devil's Bridge)




Don't worry, the most real danger in Sedona is the idea of me quitting my full-time, tenured teaching job, selling my house to Caroline and moving to Sedona for life :)

Are you a risk taker? Technically, Eric is a risk taker and I am not. However, in the past year I have stood on a place called "Devil's Bridge," swam under Eric's family-friends boat in NH (an induction into the family if you will) and taken a doors-off helicopter ride over a volcano, I'd say I'm not exactly the anti-daredevil :)

If you had the opportunity to move anywhere in the world for a year or so, where would you move? Obviously you can imagine I can't answer this question for sure seeing as I can't even settle on a place to VISIT for a little while. However, Sedona is on my list of places I could easily live for a year. Other places include: Sydney (I lived there for 6 months, but I could easily do another 6... though I have to say the food in Arizona is WAY better), Big Island Hawaii and probably England, Ireland or Scotland. I'm terrible at languages so living somewhere that doesn't speak English is probably out of the question, though it would be a very cool challenge.

Now it's your turn :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heads Carolina, Tails Arizona

Okay, I admit it- the song really goes, "Heads Carolina, Tails California"... but sorry I prefer Arizona, so I changed it :)

Eric and I were a little concerned about leaving Scottsdale this morning. Sure, we loved Sedona last year, but time had made us forgetful... not to mention all the people (in Phoenix) who said, "Oh Sedona!? Fantastic, you'll get to see snow up there!" Do we SEEM like people who need to see snow? No thanks.

Plus I had to be dragged away from the self serve frozen yogurt. I discovered the peanut butter flavor last night and all I can say is... goodbye teaching, hello eating frozen yogurt every day for the rest of my life. Oh and I should mention I don't even really like peanut butter ice cream generally- as any of my sophomore year of college roommates can attest to, haha. I seriously considered frozen yogurt for breakfast, but sadly the "winter" (ha!) hours meant they didn't open until 12. Wah.

So we reluctantly headed up towards Sedona, the former love of both of our lives. Things got scenic immediately as they tend to do in Arizona...



Things started to look up as I demanded a Subway in the middle of the dessert and what appeared a few miles later but a Subway in the middle of the dessert. We decided to head to Jerome on the way to Sedona. We had heard good things about it and didn't get a chance to visit last year. I pictured it as an old west cowboy town... which I suppose it sort of was, but what I didn't understand is that it's a town built into the side of the mountain- about 6,000 miles above sea level!



Not going to lie, 6,000 miles does not feel awesome. Luckily, we found a cure for this... wine! (Not that we had an scientific basis for this, but what does wine not cure really?). Jerome is well known for having many wineries, more than we could possibly visit in one day, but we did visit 2 sister wineries: Bitter Creek Winery and Jerome Winery.


Bitter Creek was a place with a ton of personality. All the wine labels were tarot cards... ah the memories of middle school sleepovers. Anyone else?


In truth, the real personality was the guy doing the tasting. He was hilarious. First of all, he was VERY serious about IDing those doing the tasting. He inspected our IDs and even asked us questions about them. The best was when he tried to pronounce my middle name, which on my license is my mom's first name + my maiden name together, because I didn't want to get rid of either one... clearly it's not a very logical name now, and he was like, um- how do you pronounce this? I think it was all a big joke though because I'm pretty sure this guy did not have a care in the world. We only tried 4 wines there and we were there for probably an hour because he just relaxed, took his time and chatted with everyone about his brother in law and mother in law who own the winery.

This whole situation became a lot more funny when we headed up to Jerome Winery (about a 2 minute walk away) and found none other than his wife doing the tasting there. She was the complete opposite of him- didn't care at all about our IDs, but poured the wine so fast I was barely done drinking the first sip when she was asking me what I wanted next. It was actually kind of refreshing after spending half the afternoon at the other one, but the contrast was really just hilarious. I personally preferred the wines at the first stop better, but Eric liked the sparkling wines at Jerome Winery, so there is something for everyone at both I suppose :)

I'd say I've come along way since my first wine tasting experience in Australia...


Just joking- that was whiskey. That was my first wine tour ever though :)

Anyway, back to present-time Arizona. After our wine tasting fun, we shopped around the stores a bit...


Then we really headed for Sedona. All I need was one glance of this...


... and I was declaring my love for Sedona all over again. Seriously, how is it that I didn't know about the existence of this place until last year?! It's so so beautiful. I can't wait to explore it more tomorrow!

Oh and PS. As you can tell from the picture- there is really no snow to be found. They got a lot this weekend, but it's already melted away with the warm daytime sun. It's almost enough to make me forget frozen yogurt completely. Almost.

Have you ever met husband and wife pairs that are complete opposites of one another? Do you think people become more alike as they are together longer or more different to balance each other out?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Back in the Southwest

Greetings from Kelly and Eric take on Arizona, Take 2. Last year Eric and I decided to go to Arizona for February vacation kind of randomly. We had wanted to go for awhile, and the airfare was cheaper than any other warm climate so we thought, why not? Turned out we loved it and booked it again for this year.

Last year we took US Air to get here because it was cheapest, but boy do I hate that airline. We both stuffed all of our clothes into one suitcase because they charge you for every stinking bag and they didn't show a movie or give any free drinks for the entire trip across the country. Terrible. This year the cheapest airline was Jet Blue, wahoo! This means extra leg room and a tv in front of every seat. Life is wonderful. Well that is until we had to wake up at 4:30am to catch our flight and what should've been a 5 1/2-6 hour flight ended up being much closer to 8 hours because of the crazy winds yesterday. Oh well, no point in dwelling on that- we survived it anyway and eventually we arrived in Phoenix.

So you know how Phoenix is a desert? Dry.... warm... etc? Yesterday was rainy and cold... but at least I looked normal in the Uggs I was still wearing from Boston. Eric and I seem to be dragging cold and wet weather around with us this winter. But, fortunately we also seem to drag rainbows around with us...


Last night I obviously had to go to great lengths to find the delicious self serve frozen yogurt of Phoenix. This time we tried a place called Cherry on Top which may be my frozen yogurt place so far. I mixed two amazing flavors: cake batter and red velvet cupcake.


Apparently Cherry on Top is currently looking for people who want to open their own location...


Self serve frozen yogurt sounds a bit more glamorous than 5 year olds, huh?

Eric and I were both in bed early last night and I managed to sleep until 6 am (8 Boston time). I had almost forgot how seriously PITCH black it is in Arizona in the morning, must be the lack of Daylight Savings time.

Before Eric woke up, I hit up the hotel gym to use the elliptical. Since I don't currently belong to a gym and just work out at home/at the yoga studio, it's sorta nice to see a gym while on vacation. Plus they had a sauna so I could pretend I went to a real desert while in Arizona.

It was pouring and cold again this morning so we went to the Heard Museum. Last time we were in Phoenix, Eric and I did a lot of the outdoor tourist attractions- the zoo, the gardens etc. This time, we found ourselves at a Native American Art Museum, a famous one though and it ended up being really cool. I took about a zillion pictures, so here are a few:








We took a lunch break in the middle of touring it, and overall it was an awesome way to spend a rainy day. I love cool museums and I find Native American history fascinating. I think part of it is that while I was in Australia, I took a class on the aboriginal people, so for awhile I knew more about Native Australians than Native Americans, maybe even still do. The scariest thing is how much their history mirrors what happened here... how can two groups of Europeans, on opposite sides of the world both have decided that they would pull Native Americans/Australians out of their homes and slowly try to eliminate their culture entirely? What is WRONG with people? Fascinating I tell you.

Anyway, that's enough serious stuff for today. There is a hint of sun coming out and it's time to head into downtown Scottsdale for some dinner. And probably some frozen yogurt after because I seem to remember a serious lack of good ice cream in Sedona area. Uncool.

How was everyone's weekend? Tell me one fun thing you did :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hiatus = OVER.

So yeah... when was the last time I blogged? I feel like this might have been the longest I've been away since I started blogging almost two years ago. I wish I could say it was because I was doing something awesomely fun...

...but unless endless report cards and other annoying work-related tasks count as awesomely fun, we are out of luck.

Today I left work at a reasonable hour (which I deserved after tutoring, working all day and then teaching an extra curricular after school) and left everything at work. Well that's a lie, I brought stuff home I just simply haven't taken it out. What have I done instead? Worked out, ate dinner, did some laundry, made some phone calls (dinner reservation for Eric's birthday dinner included, wahoo) and did some serious goodreads stalking. I'm looking for a book to read on my trip next week. Eric's mom is lending me her Kindle so that I can try it out. I need a fast read that is also good so I'll be hooked to the Kindle. Any recommendations?

I know it's a little sad that I consider a night of working out and doing laundry as a luxury, but I swear I sometimes do have fun... just not really on Tuesday nights. Wanna see some pictures from Eric's 30th Birthday Party this weekend?!


Oh, so you thought I was not going to get ridiculous 30 glasses? Yeah right... do you guys know me at all?

Eric's mom provided the cake as always, and Josh provided the "You're Old" candles...


My mom provided the sugar cookies (and peanut butter cookies)...


Some of my friends joined in for the fun...



Tiff was there too but I forgot to get a pic (though I do have a picture of us at Eric's birthday/ our housewarming party two years ago, man time freaking flies- never thing I know it's going to be ME who's 30!). Obviously lots of Eric's friends were there but most of my pics are not blog appropriate (random kindergarten teacher paranoia moment). I do have the token picture of Eric and his smallest friend. Every time we hang out with him, I have to get a picture of these two...


I actually wish I got more pictures, but I'm bad at taking pictures at my own parties. Too busy making sure everyone is having fun!

Most notably missing from the party were my brother and sis who were too busy being college students... can't wait til that's done and over with and we can hang out all the time (assuming they don't both leave me for the Connecticut/NYC area forever...wahhhhhhh and marry Yankees fans... double WAHHHHH). Katie = my new brother AND sister until further notice. She's obviously up to the task. Don't worry Katie, even when they do move back to Boston forever, I will still need you as my other sister in order for my children to have cousins around the same age as them. This is why people have best friends, I'm telling you- she solves all my problems. No sorry, she WILL solve all my problems when she lands a job at my work and kicks out all the people who bother me... yes, Katie, get on that.

Wow this post is all OVER the place. This is what happens when I don't blog for a long time, I guess! To sum up: I need a good book recommendation, Eric's party was a success, Katie = slowly working towards solving all my problems.

Let's see if I can blog tomorrow night after attending yoga class (this is my not-so-subtle way of making sure I attend yoga class). What have you guys been up to?