Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Last week, I had the pleasure of experiencing my first annual 29th birthday!  The great thing about having a birthday on a Sunday (especially the Sunday where we set our clocks back for daylight savings) is that you can really milk the birthday - it turned into a full weekend topped off with a full 25 hours of actual birthday!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know the birthday weekend started right as any special event should...

Delicious Baby Bites from Pastry Art Cafe
This was a great surprise - I had mentioned to Tim weeks ago how we needed to get baby bites because our friend, Justin always has them for different things for work and will bring us the extras.  It was such a treat to come home from work on Friday and have these waiting on me!  Side note...all of the flavors are absolutely delicious - except carrot cake.  Why would you muck it up with carrot cake?!  It's like having those boxes of chocolates with different fillings and then getting stuck with the orange filled chocolate.  Just stick with the classics.

Saturday, we had absolutely beautiful weather!  After going for a quick run outside, Tim and I headed to Vizzini Farms, a winery close to Birmingham for lunch and a tasting.  Their chicken salad is really good!  The wine "tour" wasn't exactly what I was expecting - not your traditional winery experience.  But, the wine was good and we enjoyed sitting outside and relaxing.  We also got quite a show when one of the horses escaped from the pen - they were able to get him wrangled back in but it was a little tense when he was headed toward the open road!

Vizzini Farms

That afternoon consisted of some football (isn't the season over yet?!?) - between Auburn and my Dallas Cowboys, let's just say I'm pretending both the NFL and NCAA players are on strike - something a la NHL.   Then, I picked the dinner place on Saturday night - one of my favs - Chuck's Fish.  It did not disappoint!!  We finally tried some of their sushi as an appetizer and I had some great grouper.

Chuck's Fish - also, me trying out lipstick  :)

Side story, I used to mercilessly good naturedly tease my mother about her animal print habit.  You know, something along the lines of "grrrr, tiger!"  It was always just a little bit too out there for my taste.  Well, as I'm finding out more and more in my old age (hey...I am 29 afterall), mothers must really do know best:

Feeling trendy in my new pumps (from Target)!

Sunday, my actual birthday - was pretty low key, but relaxing.  After I insisted, Tim brought me breakfast from Shipley's donuts.  I've said it before, there's something just so special about having breakfast out/brought in.  We only do this on vacation and it just makes it feel like a special occasion.  Probably means we need to eat breakfast out more often  :)

We also did a bit of shopping on Sunday - more on that later and went out to lunch.  Sunday night was spent catching up on Homeland episodes - we started watching it on Demand and now we're hooked!  The last I can remember being this into a series was watching episodes of 24 back in its hey days - cliffhangers anyone??  We're now caught up to the live season and its killing me not to be able to just start the next episode!  We also caught this great sunset at a place right by our house (walking distance...we're lucky, we know):

Last week was a busy week at work, but when I arrived on Monday, my awesome team had this waiting for me:

Edgar's Cake...yummm!!!
So sweet!  Liz & I

Along with the thoughtful birthday cards in the mail, sweet phone calls and texts + major facebook loving, overall - I'm feeling pretty spoiled!

A few things I'm planning to/have already spent my birthday $ on:

Pocket Camera **
**I have tried to buy this camera TWICE from Costco - the first time they sold it to us.  We checked out and waited in line at the stock place and then they proceed to tell us they're out of stock.  Why of course they can't put the $ back on our card - have to refund in cash.  It usually takes me approximately 2 million years to make any kind of decision on a purchase, so the fact that I had decided, we'd paid and waited -This girl was majorly disappointed  :(  To be continued.

I also browsed the electronics at Target where the salesman tried to talk me out of buying a camera.  He suggested I get a DSLR and I told him I already had one, was just looking for something to carry with me at all times that would replace my old camera from college.  He looked at me and said "isn't that what your phone is for?"  Apparently they don't work on commissions...

Some Kindle books from Amazon
Also, speaking of trendy...Tim and I have actually had more than one conversation on "oxblood" - I just have to have it!  Okay, so I've been having conversations on oxblood and Tim's looked at me like I'm insane.  I'm not usually much of a red person, but this shade just gets me!

I've recently bought tights, leggings, nailpolish, lipstick, faux leather skirt (I really am getting risky), etc in this shade and although I don't know if this is exactly oxblood, I also treated myself to this necklace:

A tip on the above:  There's a facebook offer to get the above necklace for $13.  I HATE clicking on offers on Facebook, but I'll let you in a little tip - I still have my gmail account with my maiden name, but this could work for any old email account - or even set up a spam only account (which I recommend - I use my maiden name email frequently when I have to enter an address to get an offer).  I created a dummy facebook profile with that old email address (so if for some reason you've found me as Lyndsay Long and I've declined, now you'll understand why).  I think I've successfully set it so that no one can search me.  I do everything on that profile that I don't want to do on my actual profile - connects with Spotify (or anything else you have to have a facebook profile for), claim offers, etc.  I used my dummy account and got the above necklace shipped for $13 total!  Sweet!

If the rest of the year turns out anything like the birthday weekend...I think 29 is looking pretty "sweet!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Catching Up

Whew, it's been quite a whirlwind few months in the Snider household!  We last left off with this pic:

I've been all of those place (Dallas), plus a trip to the lake, the 4th of July Holiday, Labor Day and I still haven't caught you up on my LAST Dallas trip or our 5th wedding anniversary!  Why bother catching you up?  Because I get the pleasure of reliving these last few amazing months now that I am finally able to take a breath and slow things down a bit!  You've probably seen pictures on facebook, but you haven't been able to really hear the stories (well, at least the "you" is probably my mom and the two other people who read this blog).  But, I promised I would make this my online scrapbook - therefore this is kind of like those furious scrapbook weekends where you're throwing pictures on a pretty patterned page from 2 years ago  :)

So, after Amber and John's wedding weekend, Tim & I and hung around Dallas for a few days to see friends and hang with family.

Sunday evening, we headed over to Ross & Sally's to see Forrest & the rest of the Bouje gang that was in town for Memorial Day.  We all decided to just grab whatever and have a random dinner of pizzas, fruit, guacamole, and cheese/crackers.  I'm also certain there was dessert.  To me, that's what really makes a friendship - its when you can just show up, no fancy plates or presentation and just be (what, you thought I was going to say dessert?).  It's just comfortable.

We hung at their pool and had some great conversations - each of us shared our highs and lows of the past year and what had been going on with each of us - so relaxing and encouraging.

Scrapbook page!
Memorial Day was spent at Mom and Allen's pool with Ryan, until I packed the hubby up and sent him back to work!  I headed to my Dad & Renee's to celebrate a belated birthday for Ryan.

Dad, Ryan, me
Katie & Will - celebrating Ryan's birthday
Before I left, I had to get in some quality time with Tim and I's godson, Landon (oh yeah, and I guess his mom Lisa).   We took him to Starbucks and Lisa & I met our good friend from high school, Ayla for lunch at Kona Grill...why does Birmingham not have a Kona Grill??  It's delicious!!  Ayla was 5 months pregnant at this time, although you seriously could not tell!  She just had a precious baby girl, who I got to meet on my next trip to Dallas - more pics later!

Before I knew it, it was time to head home...another great Dallas trip!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Adventures in Cooking - Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Swirl

This post is actually from LAST Thanksgiving, and I just got around to posting  :)  But, I saw it in my draft posts and realized this could actually be good timing!  I think I may be, gulp, HOSTING Thanksgiving this year, so I better get on our menu!  Here's to hoping this brings you some inspiration -

Last year, I was tasked with bringing a non-chocolate dessert for Thanksgiving and I let Tim pick since he's not much of a chocolate fan.  Tim's almost officially declared cheesecake his favorite dessert (with peach cobbler coming in a close second - he's a weirdo).  We subscribe to Food Network magazine and he found a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Swirl in the booklet of pies in the last issue.  I tried to find the recipe online to no avail, so hope I'm not breaking any copyright laws by posting it on here!


1.  Make pumpkin pie filling with 3/4 cup of pumpkin, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground Ginger and 1/8 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger.

2.  In a separate bowl, combine 12 ounces soften cream cheese, 1/3 cup each of sour cream and sugar and 2 eggs.  Stir 1/3 of this mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

3.  Pour the pumpkin filling into a pre-made pie crust. (adapted by me - recipe calls for homemade pie crust, but just call me Sandra Lee - love cheats to make things easier!)

4.  Top the pumpkin filling with remaining cream-cheese mixture and swirl top with a toothpick.

5.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees - Enjoy!

I know there's a trick to not getting the cheesecake pie to crack, but honestly - it tastes the same to me, so why does it matter?! :)  Maybe you could make this for Halloween - the cracks look kind of creepy...I'm not a huge pumpkin pie fan, so not sure I'm the best judge of this dessert - but Tim was happy.  He's already put in a repeat request for this year!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Last of Us

I'd like to formally introduce you to someone....

His name is Bouje and well, he's everything we're not.  No, I haven't lost my mind.  I've just returned from a fabulous wedding weekend with this little character and thought it was about time for you guys to hear his story.  Bouje started when I was in high school (probably junior or senior year?).  I was with some church friends at a white elephant gift party and my friend, Lauren received an actual white elephant.  For some reason, she was feeling destructive and decided to intentionally crack off his ear and trunk on the table (Lauren...you may want to talk to someone about those tendencies).  And then, Bouje looked like this -

Okay, okay - he doesn't glow - the picture was staged for effect.  He really looks like this:

Ever since, he's been an integral part of my core group of friends - in high school, we traded him off at church each week and whenever one of us was going on a trip we'd make sure Bouje got to go.  This guy has seen some pretty incredible places and if we'd had digital cameras back then (it was the dark ages), I'd love to show you pics of him in California, Vegas, Europe, etc - maybe I'll scan some in one day. 

When we all went to college, we had a mini ceremony and each made our own miniature bouje from some soap shaped like an elephant.  Okay, we may have taken it a little far back then - we didn't keep up with those, but Bouje has stayed around.  We now have a tradition that as each of the "original" 6 get married, the spouse becomes an official Bouje member and must take their portrait with the rest of our group and they get to hold Bouje in the picture.  By the way, I must really love you guys that I'm willing to share some of these horrible pictures of me for the entire world wide web to see....

Ross & Sally's weddding (2006)

Tim & I's wedding (2007)

Chris & Kristine's wedding (2007) - I'm holding my arm out for Tim!
Lauren & Patrick's wedding (2009) 

Matt & Lindsey's wedding (2011) 
And last, but certainly not least....

Pam & Troy's wedding (2012)

As of the past year, we've affectionately named those who married into Bouje to be the "Enhancements."  We've also picked up some Bouje babies along the way  :)

To me, he's now come to represent an amazing group of friends who feel more like family...everytime I am around them, it just feels like coming home.  This weekend was no different.  Troy is such a welcome "enhancement!"  If you're wondering about the title of this post, you need a little bit of background.  You see, Troy is an incredibly talented voice over actor.  Allen (Pam's dad, my stepdad) - so cleverly worked the title of one of Troy's upcoming game roles into his speech at the wedding - since Pam and Troy round out the final Bouje wedding, this really represents "The Last of Us."

We always also like to incorporate Bouje into the ceremony in some sneaky way....
See Bouje hiding in the church during Lindsey's wedding ceremony??
 For Tim & I's wedding, Lauren and Chris (who are both amazing singers), sang a song from our old church choir days and held him during their performance.  For Pam's, our nephew Jackson who was the ring bearer carried Bouje down the aisle with Troy's ring tied on him!  :)  I'm telling you, Bouje is a sneaky little thing...

I know I owe a looooooooong recap of the last few months which have been quite a whirlwind, but for now, I'll leave you with a few Bouje pics from over the years:

Original Bouje Girls - Lauren, Lindsey, Pam & I

Original Bouje with Matt & Linds at their wedding

All six Bouje girls - Lauren, Kristine, Lindsey, Pam, me & Sal

Lindsey, Bouje & I at my wedding shower

We can always crack each other up...

In other great news - Bouje is now residing at the Snider residence!!!  We have passed him around a few times the past few years and now he's making home in the great state of Alabama.  :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Amber & John's Wedding Weekend!

As usual, this post is way overdue...over Memorial Day weekend, Tim and I headed to McKinney, TX for his sister's wedding to John.  I'm sure Jody (Tim and Amber's mom) wonders how both of her Nebraska raised kids ended up falling for Texas folks, but I think she should just consider herself lucky  :)  And they say Texans are arrogant.....

The long weekend started out great on Thursday with me finding out I had received a promotion at work which was fun to get to celebrate with family.  Friday morning we headed to the Allen outlet malls - found a MK purse on great sale - before Amber treated us girls to manis and pedis at one of the nicest nail salons I've seen (seriously...there was an indoor fountain).

All the girls!
Next stop was the rehearsal at Heard-Craig hall.  We did find out that Hollie Cavanagh, "McKinney's American Idol" was holding a concert down the street on Saturday.  Amber had everything planned out and was a great director for the rehearsal!

Their rehearsal dinner was at Randy's White's BBQ - such a good idea!  No waiting for food, just go through the line and pick out whatever you want!  There was also a dessert bar (I limited myself to just two desserts...) and fresh bread!  It was way more food than you could ever eat and very "Texan" if I do say so myself.  Tim & I got to spend some time with John after the dinner which was good - sometimes its hard living so far away! 

Saturday was THE BIG DAY!  Of course, I decided to take a total of ONE picture...didn't even get one of Amber in her dress (which was stunning).  I'll just have to wait to order from the photographer!

The sign hanging in the gazebo, which you can ALMOST make out in the pic above was carved by John's late father (it says The Blacks) and Amber added a few touches.  It was pretty special.  Also, best idea ever....instead of one cake, they had SIX!  There was a groom's cake (complete with a Longhorn groom and Husker bride) plus a separate cake for each of the letters in their last name (B, L, A, C, K if you haven't caught on yet).  Each cake was its own flavor - white chocolate with raspberry, amaretto, spice cake, etc.  My personal favorite was chocolate peanut butter.

Since the wedding was at 1, Amber and John had the great idea to invite everyone to downtown McKinney for dinner and drinks that evening at Churchill's

Just one super grainy iphone pic...
I think my favorite thing about a wedding is its reason for so many people to get together - ALL of Tim's aunts, uncles, cousins (plus their kids) were there!  We don't get to see them nearly enough, so its extra special.

Sunday, we headed to John and Amber's for a little gift opening (and munching on some leftover cake...)  John and Amber are hoping to plan a trip to Ireland and so a lot of their gifts were of the $$ kind.  We all got a good laugh when Amber opened a card and I'm assuming didn't want to say "Thanks for the moola," so she paused when telling Jenny (who was writing down the gifts) and said that she had been gifted a....donation.  (At least I'm pretty sure that's what she said, hope I'm not butchering the memory!)  They also got some great kitchen stuff from Jody & Mike's store, some authentic Mexican items from their aunt and uncle who live there and a few other things.  For their gifts to each other, Amber had this huge map framed for John's office which looked great and he got her a new computer!

Tim with his sis & new brother-in-law
So, even though its a month or two late, congrats to John and Amber and thanks for planning such a great weekend for all of us!