Mad Men Stole My Life

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Paul and I have been talking about hopping on the Mad Men train for a very long time. We held off for so long because we knew it would be worthy of our full attention (like Breaking Bad!). Man, does AMC have the best shows, or what? I’m so excited and nervous for the new season of Breaking Bad. Unfortunately, we don’t have AMC, so Twitter will be a nightmare on Sunday nights before we get to watch it.

Eek, I’m starting to babble because it’s been an eternity since my last post and I’ve missed writing! I was very aware that I was neglecting my blog and it made me feel terrible because I always look forward to writing my posts and responding to your comments. I didn’t want to write an excuse post, but it has gotten a little out of hand. Sometimes when I have an overwhelming number of posts and photos waiting to be turned into a blog, I just freeze. I guess I initially got distracted by birthdays, traveling, and completing my final project for summer semester (just finished! Phew!). But then, Mad Men came along. And yes, it’s true. It has taken over my life. I finally realized that I was having so much trouble getting back on track because the time I usually devoted to blogging has now been taken over by Mad Men. I usually write before bed, but now we stay up and watch too many episodes in a row before bed. Obviously, I love it and hate how short the seasons are. Betty is so beautiful and I had to find out if there were any blogger tips on the lipsticks she uses. Of course, they use MAC and I now have to resist walking into a store and buying a whole new makeup kit.

Anyway, as a new fan, I never knew about the Estée Lauder Mad Men collections. I wasn’t as enamored with the one that they sell currently, but I saw this classy, gold blush compact from last year and immediately had to have it. I’ve never cared much about makeup brands or their limited edition collections, but this was too pretty to resist. I seriously lucked out and found this one in an Ebay auction for much less than all the “buy it now” prices. I woke up at 7am to make sure I got it too. I was apparently the only person in the world wacko enough to do so because I didn’t have any competition. I’m pretty sure that proves once and for all that Mad Men has truly taken over my life.

The first step is acknowledging the problem, right? I’m confident that I will now be able to regroup and find a new blogging schedule. Because, let’s get real, I’m not cutting back on the Mad Men addiction any time soon. ; )

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Skillet Shrimp and Orzo

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Here’s what I did with the rest of Captain Rob’s bargain shrimp! This recipe was just as easy as the shrimp tacos and is another great find from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine. It’s very similar to a paella, but of course so much easier to make since it uses orzo pasta instead of rice. Paul and I were just recently remembering a time that we tried to make paella in my parent’s kitchen years ago…it was going very well until I discovered that half of the rice was black and stuck to the bottom of the pot. I’m still not sure if that pot survived the massacre. I’m also not sure if I have attempted to make real rice since that experience. I’m so much more of a pasta fan than a rice fan anyhow!

This sauce is pretty similar to the roasted tomato and capicola recipe that I have already posted about. In this case though, you let the tomatoes cook on the stove with spices and herbs and then let the orzo soak it up in the oven. Who doesn’t love a one skillet meal??

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Purse Organization Tins

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Isn’t the idea of organization so great? Putting it into practice can be a little tricky though. I’m always on the hunt for life changing organizational systems that work seamlessly into my existing routines. I love having an organized purse. I just wish the organization would last longer than a couple days! I think part of the reason why we all have a hard time keeping our bags clean is just because we are so very kind to the environment and refuse to litter, right?? Sometimes the purse just has to be a trash receptacle.

These metal slide top tins have proven to be majorly handy over the last few months. Every time I’m near a Black Ink store in Boston or Cambridge I grab a little handful of them. There are probably about a zillion uses for them and they are less than $2 each (I think the tiny ones are like $.97). I really like these for my purses because they are sturdy, compact, and give the look and feel of a customized kit. I have some filled with tiny crafting pieces, fake eyelashes that I think are so cool, but I never use, and pretty much anything that I want to throw in my purse. Acquiring a label maker made these little guys so much cuter too. For my purse, I keep one tin for mints and gum, one for hair ties and bobby pins, and one for makeup touchup supplies. It’s so nice to not have all these things rolling around in the bottom of my bag! It also makes switching bags a piece of cake. If I’m going out for a quick meal, I can just grab the gum tin or if I’m going to be out all day I can make sure I have it all. So convenient! What are some of your favorite organization tips?

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Just a few items that might help to freshen up if needed. And it all fit so nicely in one tin!

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I did not intend to be all Kate Spade or primary color themed here – it just happens to be what I was using at the time!

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Such a perfect fit!

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Flashback Friday – Rome

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I’ve been thinking about doing some flashback posts for a while now. Every time I go in to choose which photos I want to edit and post next, I see my albums of travel photos and think what a shame it is that I can’t post them as new. Well, first of all, I don’t know why I convinced myself that I can’t post old things because I get behind on my photos so much around here! But, also these flashback/throwback posts have become all the rage – I finally get to be one of the cool kids. Most of my flashbacks, at least for now, are probably going to be from my post-college trip to Europe. I was beyond excited for this because not only could I relax for a while about finding a grown up job, but also because my months of hard work trying to get my fellowship proposal approved actually paid off. I think I remember the day that I thought I didn’t win the fellowship more clearly than the day I found out that I did! I had just returned home for a school break, but it was hard to relax. I was obsessively checking my email and at times felt sick to my stomach waiting. Eventually I forced myself to accept the fact that I wasn’t chosen. I was actually certain that it was over for weeks before one of my grad student friends said, ‘oh, you didn’t hear? They postponed the decision because some people wanted more time.’ Are you kidding me?? OMG I can’t even explain the feelings that I felt in that moment. Anyway, turned out that the kind dude who finally informed me of this was my fellow, fellowship winner! Pretty awesome! This was one of the most exciting times in my life. I felt so excited, accomplished, and nervous to be leaving my friends behind and eventually traveling all alone.

Ok, I swear my future travel posts won’t be this long now that the backstory/reminiscing is (kind of) behind us. I really just wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures from that summer, starting with Rome, which was actually my last stop. Some of my favorite pictures from the whole trip were from Rome, so I thought it would be a good place to start. I was getting really drained at this point and itching to be back where I could speak to people fluently and not have to eat most of my meals alone! I even got sick towards the end of the week. Being sick made me really thankful that I had such an awesome hotel. I honestly couldn’t believe it when I saw my room because it was so cheap (I may have just gotten lucky)! And quiet and spotless and the staff was really friendly and I believe they had free breakfast too. So, if you’re ever in Rome, I would highly recommend the Hotel Romance! Yeah, I felt weird booking a hotel with romance in the name, but I saw a few other solo travelers there too! Ok, I’m going on and on again. Here are a few of my unedited Rome photos from the summer of 2010!

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Colosseum cat : (

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ART.

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I only took a few photos of myself! Some proof that I was there. My sunglasses look like 3D glasses here…I hope it’s just the angle.

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Cute, right??

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Shrimp Tacos with Coleslaw and Avocado

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This post is partially brought to you by Captain Rob! I was all set to buy the tiny (er, shrimpy? heh) shrimp when Captain Rob enthusiastically introduced himself and cut me a (way too generous) deal on the jumbo shrimp if I promised to keep coming back. Duh, Captain Rob! I’m in. Since I was actually planning on just using the shrimpy shrimp, I got two meals out of these. Double thanks to Captain Rob! When I was planning my shopping list I decided that shrimp tacos sounded like the quintessential summer dish. Super colorful, light, and fresh. But, I gotta be honest – my primary reason for making these tacos was because I thought they would be fun to photograph. Eek! I knew my new camera lens was arriving soon and I was already excitedly planning my next kitchen photo sessions. The lens arrived right as I was about to leave for the store, so I was psyched. And then Captain Rob made my trip even more exciting. Ha! The tacos were perfect for enjoying a beautiful summer evening (as much as we can without a balcony, boo) and they went very nicely with my mint cherry limeades! And easy too – seasoned shrimp (paprika is good) + coleslaw + avocado + (optional) tomatoes. A little lime and mint helps this pair even better with the cherry limeades. Loving the summer food and loving my new lens! Second shrimp dish to come soon!

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Salad with Tuna and Fennel

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This was a my quick lunch a couple of weeks ago. It’s another salad that was part of my cookbook, but mostly magazine, challenge and something I would never think to make on my own. I actually got my ingredients a little confused when I put this together, but it all worked out okay. The recipe uses oranges rather than grapefruit, which I think would be a lot better even though I love grapefruit more than oranges. I’m also not too sure how I feel about fennel…I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t eat all of the fennel on my plate. Something about it was just weird to me. I’ve had it chopped up in smaller pieces in salad before and really liked it though! On the more positive side, I can’t believe I never realized how good tuna and avocado are together! I’m embarrassed. So tasty! Next time, oranges! And I’ll try cutting up the fennel. And maybe not roasting it? Or maybe just ditch it? How do you feel about fennel??

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Dad’s Corner

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It seems like after every family celebration I get to write a post about how I surprised so-and-so with a visit. Sadly, this isn’t one of those posts. I didn’t buy a plane ticket home for Father’s Day even though I really, really wanted to! I’m trying to save up for future visits and such and I had just been home a month ago. I got to feel semi-included though with a FaceTime call and a group text convo complete with picture updates. Dad got a special meal, of course, but as always, the ‘puppy brother’ tends to take over everything. I tried to keep this balanced though and limited the puppy pictures to just two!

I mentioned last time I was home that there has been a casual competition to ‘make the blog,’ which I think dad has already won with his enthusiasm alone! SO, in honor of dad, this is Dad’s Corner. I missed a good meal! They barely had time to digest all of this before my mom and dad were off to ALASKA the next day! I’m so glad they got to go on a trip they’ve been dreaming of for so long to celebrate a very special anniversary. Us kids are so fortunate to have great parents that have taught us that it’s important to work hard and do great things but also how equally important it is to have a sense of humor and see as much of the world as possible! Oops, mom kind of snuck in on Dad’s Corner somehow! I hope dad can deal with that…I really wanted to include a picture of his famous (and probably record breaking) soft serve ice cream cone towers. The only one I could find from my own camera is the first one we ever took and it looks pretty wimpy. Since then, he has really perfected the art. Uh oh, I smell a Dad’s Corner part 2. 20130623-140616.jpg

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I had to throw in a cool picture from another past anniversary (I think) in honor of the most recent one! All you need is love. : )

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This is our puppy brother taking over the whole phone chat and looking right at me! haha! 20130623-140630.jpg

And here he is getting ready to be shipped off to visit me. Why so sad? No overnight shipping for this pup. : P