30 July 2012

This year's love.

As a thirty-three year old, I....

Appreciated, every day, how lucky I am to be married to my best friend, who is supportive and loving and funny and all-around amazing.

Remained in remission and have had surprisingly few bad days.

Found my first gray hair. Including, gasp, a gray eyelash (which is actually growing on me).

Watched my father go through cancer diagnosis and treatment. He's doing great.

Knit my first adult blanket. And my second baby blanket.

Joined Corporate America. The verdict is still out on that one.
  • That being said, I now understand the terms "align," "derail," "engagement," and "deck" (who knew?).
Bought short shorts.

Drink iced coffee almost exclusively during the summer months. Yum.

Quit a job that made me question myself every day.

Returned to New Orleans after dreaming about it for 8 years.
  • After dreaming about the Central Grocery muffuletta for 8 years, I also ate two bites with meat.
  • I was promptly sick (probably coincidental, but still).
Convinced Brad to eat oysters. They are now a special occasion tradition.

Ate at a Rick Bayless restaurant.

Bought trousers. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Banana Republic.

Started running. I'm still slow, but I can do a mean two-miler.

Rediscovered Dawson's Creek. Which got me through the Couch to 5K Program, even on my hardest days.

Discovered that Victoria's Secret bathing suits fit perfectly and are worth every penny.

Started wearing heels almost every day.

Curled my hair on occasion.

Watched my friends celebrate many a milestone, of which I am so proud.

Rediscovered that I have a brain. And sometimes people recognize it. Thanks, job!

Started eating sour cream. But only at La Perla, in my veggie burrito.

Visited Forks, Washington. Which I only mention because it is hilarious and purely coincidental.

Learned to love blue. And fell in love with navy.

Learned to properly prune basil.

Have adjusted to writing in AP style at work. You will never break me on my personal time, AP style!!!

Celebrated five years of blogging, three years of vegetarianism, three years of knitting skillz, and six years of marriage.

I'm a happy, happy girl. Here's hoping 34 is as good to me as 33 was.

23 July 2012

Gifts of wood accepted.

Yesterday was my five-year blogaversary (which reminds me, last week was also my three-year veggieaversary, as well as my three-year knitaversary!). Five years. FIVE!

No earth-shattering post about this... You've seen where I've been and what I've been through these years, so no need to rehash too much. But it didn't seem right to not acknowledge it.

This Saturday is also my 34th birthday. Which means I was technically still TWENTY-EIGHT when I started writing here. I barely remember 28. I think it was pretty good, though.

2007: Young and immature.

 2012: Old and, well, still immature.
But loving every second of it!

Just for giggles... Because Brad and I just had an epic giggle fest over this pic just now - Brad at 28, in the very first No Pickles, Please post ever:

If nothing, these five years have chronicled so many moments of life I may have otherwise forgotten. I am grateful for the record.

Thanks for sticking with me all these years. Supporting me when I needed it. Laughing with me when life was hilarious. And just reading my words and caring.

14 July 2012

Sail away with me.

Still here! But summer tends to take life over, and we are busy busy bees. Waiting until the next rainy day to catch up on some writing. In the meantime, picture us lakeside... or floating in the tubes.

01 July 2012

Moley moley moley.

Several months ago, we decided to head to Chicago to see David Gray in June. We booked our hotel. We very excitedly made reservations at an always-booked-forever restaurant. And then... we couldn't get tickets. It was my screw up (although I still blame Ticketmaster), and I've been pouting ever since. We decided to go to Chicago anyway. And then realized we couldn't. Then found out we could. Then couldn't. Then... in the end... We were able to go. AND THEN..... we went and skulked around House of Blues, were DG was playing. I gave the ticket girl my best puppy dog eyes... nada. So we left, feeling extra pouty because HofB is SO small and would have been so great. We walked around for a few minutes, then as we were about to walk by again, Brad had to pee. Of course. I scowled a bit - more salt to the wound! But we went in, and while I was standing making sad eyes at the evil sold out sign, a family approached us and asked if we wanted to buy their extra tickets. Uh, duh! And, because no one pays any attention, we ended up on the main floor (general admission) for just about the same price we would have spent for the 2nd balcony tickets I originally had my hands on. Sometimes, things are just meant to be.

Of course, the show was great. How could it not be?

But before it was time for the show, we had a very highly anticipated meal to get in our bellies. Delicious Mexican food from Top Chef Masters winner Rick Bayless at Topolobampo.

We were discussing dinner again tonight, and Brad said the words, "I think it may have been better than Gordon Ramsay in London." I gave him a look (I mean, it's GORDON) and told him they aren't even in the same world for accurate comparison, but his comment speaks for itself. This food was out of this world. And there wasn't even any cheese in our meals!

First up, cocktails, of course. Well, Brad got beer (boring). I went with a seasonal mojito, the basil-mango. (Why haven't I been doing this all summer with my basil crop?!)

Just the perfect blend of everything. Not too sweet but not bitter, basily, and just the right amount of boozy. And yes, I did have two, thank you.

Instead of chips and salsa, we were presented with guacamole - and jicama and crisp cucumber slices for dipping.

I hate garlicy gucamole. I mean, it makes me sick as a dog. But I also just want to taste the avocado. And that's exactly how this was - just smooth and creamy avocado. When we ran out of dippers, I was tempted to scoop the rest up with my spoon (luckily, we got some chips with our appetizer, so not a drop was wasted.)

For an appetizer, we decided on a trio of ceviches - it's like Mexican sushi! One was shrimp and squid in lime and orange, one was avocado-tomatillo guacamole topped with chopped yellowfin tuna and mango salsa, and one was albacore with tomatoes, olives, and green chiles.

If I close my eyes, I can still taste the tuna/avocado/mango (in the middle). That one was my favorite, but the other two were also amazing. Brad's favorite was the albacore (on the right), but every time he tasted a different one, he said, "well, maybe this one is my favorite." Regardless, we loved them all - and I could have eaten this entire appetizer by myself and/or would happily eat this as a meal.

And then there were the meals....

Brad had read that Rick B. won Masters with his mole negro. (From the menu - Carne Asada y Barbacoa en Mole Negro: Wood-grilled Premier Wagyu ribeye & slow-roasted Crawford Farm lamb in classic Oaxacan black mole (chilhuacle chiles & 28 other ingredients), corn husk-steamed chipil tamal, unctuous black beans, smoky green beans.) So he got that... And I think that's what tipped Rick over Gordon on the yum scale for Brad. (I snuck a bite of his tamale - mmmm.)

I was torn between the seafood options, and also considered the vegetarian option with stuffed squash blossoms (cheese!), but I knew I had a long night ahead of me and didn't know how well all the beans would sit. I opted for the soft-shell crab (which I am currently obsessed with). (From the menu - Jaiba de Concha Suave, Salsa de Chile Ancho y Cereza: crispy soft shell crab, robust ancho-cherry sauce, savory black barley, tequila-pickled cherries, charred radishes. He he he suave.) Btw, I need to get better about taking pictures of what Brad eats - I'm sure he feels left out (ha!).

Nothing here disappointed. I mean, I would have happily taken FOUR crabs instead of three, but, you know, I lived. I really loved the farro and mushrooms, and the little chunks of veggies served with it, too (beets, maybe?). The tequilla-pickled cherries were perfect. And they all wrap up perfectly in a fancy taco - they bring you fresh corn tortillas, should you decide to use them, and I made two small ones while savoring the majority of my meal taco-less.

There was also dessert (a thin chocolate cake with ice cream), but that coincided with my second mojito so, I have to be honest, my memories of dessert aren't as strong as the rest of the meal. A (unusually delicious) cup of coffee followed.

It may be somewhat important to note that everything had cilantro in it, and I didn't want to be that girl so I didn't ask for anything without it... And I loved everything and nothing tasted like soap. So perhaps I don't hate cilantro after all? I will tread lightly and will begin to re-explore this.....

Needless to say, it was a perfect 24 hours in the big city. I feel so blessed to live so close to such a great city (while also living full time at the beach). And now I am hungry. Dang it.