Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Interrupt our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I didn't blog here today but I did guest post on my sister's blog Poor is the New Black! It's a fun new blog she started with her bff and my (not legally) adopted sister Mrs. S about being broke but fabulous. Check it out for budget decorating, water bottle workouts and funny writing in general.
And if you have an idea for a guest post yourself, e-mail them at poor.and.fabulous@gmail.com.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cool as a Cucumber

In a rare instance of domesticity, Andrew and I spent a good portion of Sunday in the kitchen. (In a rare instance of domesticity Andrew also actually chased a band of 12-year-old neighborhood hooligans on his bike after they overturned our trash; he ended up letting them make a ramp out of our cardboard boxes if they cleaned up, which they didn't. I was napping during this whole time.)

But all bicycle chases aside, I cooked two dishes yesterday: fried okra and pot roast with onions, cabbage, carrots and potatoes (ah, cravings). I broke out the new crock pot for the latter occasion. (I'm quickly becoming obsessed with the slow cooker, so expect to see it make frequent appearances on the blog.)

However, I made multiple mistakes this time, the first being I suck at cooking and the second being that I am encouraged by Andrew, who equally sucks at cooking, to wing it instead of following recipes. He tends to hover. "There's no exact science to frying okra," he said yesterday, while leaning over my shoulder in our tiny kitchen. Our okra definitely needed some sort of method to the madness, even though we ate all of it, even the burned pieces.

We've never made a bad roast," he said, as he encouraged me to forgo recipes and just buy things that looked good at the farmer's market and Kroger. Keep in mind we've only made one roast. By "we," I mean not me. This roast turned out a bit flavorless and rubbery, but again we ate all of it since I obviously starve my husband.

So it's only fitting that the first successful recipe I share on this blog is a.) not made by me and b.) a cocktail. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Bobby Flay's Cucumber Cocktail, brought to you by Andrew, cucumber connoisseur (starting yesterday). I tweaked it a bit based on what Andrew did, which turned out quite delicious.

You need:
  • cucumber vodka (recipe below.)
  • tonic water (to taste)
  • 3 small cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • small dollop of simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water heated until sugar dissolves; cool)
  • Handful fresh mint leaves (we forgot these, but you shouldn't. They sound delish.)
  • Ice cubes, for serving
*For once Andrew is right about measurements, and this isn't an exact science. He just played it by ear and didn't really measure anything out.


1. Make the cucumber vodka by chopping one small cucumber and submerging it in just enough vodka to cover the slices. You want your cucumber vodka to fill about half of the container you're mixing in. (Depending on how strong you want it you can use more or less vodka.)

I knew the bottles we collected for centerpieces would come in handy one day!

2. Mix up the simple syrup on the stove, bring to boil and allow to cool. (Andrew put it in the freezer. It wasn't quite syrupy when he added it but it still tasted fine. If you let it sit longer it will get syrupy.)

3. Juice two whole cucumbers. You can probably do this in the blender (since you'll strain the juice later) but we used a juicer we got as a wedding gift from the Fashionable Wife's fam.

Notice the crock pot slowly simmering the failed pot roast.

3. Mix the cucumber juice and cucumber vodka together in one container. (If you have fresh mint, I assume you add it here. The recipe isn't very clear, but a little mint never hurt anything!)

4. Transfer half of the mixture into a cocktail shaker and shake to combine.

5. Pour over ice and top off with tonic water.

Contrary to how this picture may look, it came out a nice light green color and the cocktail mixer strained it so it was smooth too. Garnishing with a cucumber and fresh mint would be a nice touch too.

5. Enjoy a cooling cucumber refreshment! (I swear it doesn't look as gross as the pictures in real life!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Honeymoon Part II: The Lake

Honeymoon Part II: In which we run out of money, retreat to the family lake house and proceed to have a dog party.

We knew that after living large in Savannah for three and a half days we'd be running a bit low on funds so we made plans to continue our week of relaxing in small town Alabama where some of Andrew's family lives and his parents have a lake house. We got there Thursday afternoon and spent Friday in a nearby town shopping, visiting Andrew's sister and eating sushi.

Sunset on the lake.

On the way to Alabama we stopped one last time in Macon, Georgia to participate in Andrew's favorite activity: eating Mexican food.

Check out that concentration. Also, check out my nachos.

Late Friday night
our friends Lexi and Jamie (the ones who are getting married in March!) arrived in town. They watched Sawyer all week along with their two dogs George and new puppy Jennifer, and somehow managed to fit all of them into Jamie's sweet Mustang for the seven hour drive from Tennessee.

Feasting on more Mexican food and "medium" margaritas. We eat a lot of Mexican.

The rest of the weekend was spent swimming, eating, photographing dogs and making merry in general.

So that you don't think I'm completely psycho, I'll only upload two dog pictures.

George and Jennifer. I got all sentimental and made it black and white.

Sawyer and Jennifer exploring.

By this time, Andrew was tired of taking pictures. I clearly was not. Notice he's not wearing his hat anymore.

This is because Sawyer had nibbled a bit of the brim:

We got back home Sunday around 6 p.m. to a clean house (thanks to my brother and his girlfriend) and a pile of gifts we just started writing thank-you notes for tonight. And with this rental Porta Potty, my friends, I formally bring honeymoon posts to an end.

Ah, the South.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fan-tastic Favors

I am obsessed with wedding favors. They're are definitely not necessary, especially since you (well, your parents) just provided free food, entertainment and drinks for guests. But I think they're a cute touch and, speaking from a guest standpoint, I love free stuff. I stock up on free T-shirts at any giveaway I can and I was always thrilled to get a party favor bag at the end of birthday celebrations in elementary school. That's just how I roll.
So favors were definitely a detail I wanted to incorporate into the wedding. I wanted them to go with the vintage garden theme but I also didn't have a lot of money to spend. I changed my mind a lot--first I decided to go with seed packets, but couldn't find cute ones and wasn't willing to make them myself. I had already decided to order fans for guests to use during the outdoor ceremony, but it took me many months to realize that these could double as practical favors, too. Oh simplicity.

Of course there was a debate (in my head) as to whether to order paper or sandalwood fans but my friend Alex McA, a ballet dancer, had used sandalwood in her performances before and said they were good quality and really cheap. So, I took her advice and couldn't have been more pleased--the fans weren't flimsy at all and they smelled good too. I had even ordered favor tags to tie onto the end, but these fans came with a white tassel that looked nice on its own I didn't bother. I got mine from Favor Favor.

They also made for cute decoration (they were in baskets with a yellow and white checked fabric square) but I'm not sure if anyone got a picture of that. Best 59 cents I ever spent (120 times).

We used them at the rehearsal:

The lovely ladies. Please disregard the fact that my brother, Brandon, appears to be pouting in the background.

Guests used them at the wedding:

Well one guest did.

Mom and Steve fanned:

Ashley fanned Brandon:

Brandon fanned Ashley:

I fanned, she fanned, he fanned, everyone fanned! Should I be ashamed that I wrote so much about fans? I did spent an embarrassing amount of time before the wedding thinking about them, so whatev. And I have four in my purse.

What did you do for affordable wedding favors? Or did you have them at all? My friend Lexi is getting married in March and is in the market for some good ideas, so suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Honeymoon Part I: Savannah

I don't have professional pics of the wedding yet, so I thought I'd share some honeymoon photos. We randomly went to Savannah (which turned out to be a great choice) because we couldn't afford to fly. We first thought about New Orleans but wanted to go somewhere new.
We absolutely loved, loved, loved Savannah. If you enjoy history (especially creepy history), good food and gorgeous architecture, Savannah is a great place to visit.

The drive was about nine hours, but we basically talked about the wedding the whole time, so it didn't seem that long, especially in our sweet ride:

About six hours into the drive we saw our first sign for Savannah. It was deceiving. The exit was one mile, not Savannah.

We stayed at the Planter's Inn on Reynolds Square, which was very affordable and in a great location in the Historic District. We weren't wowed by the place, but it was clean, the room was nice and it had cable! A luxury for sure, when all you have at home is Instant Netflix.

Our first morning was hot and steamy. We took a trolley tour around the city, which ended up being one of the best things we did on the trip. It was nice to ride around, get a sense of direction and hear about the history of Savannah.

A couple of scenes from the trolley tour:

This cat seemed very Savannah to me. We also saw some really neat wrought iron work (who knew wrought iron could be that cool?) and heard histories of some of the famous houses, like the Mercer House from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and a bed and breakfast that used to be a funeral home.

After a lunch of tapas in City Market we spent a lot of time exploring Savannah's 21 squares on foot. The wedding fans (our favors) came in quite handy on this Southern honeymoon.

Some more pretty Savannah greenery and buildings:

River Street was a block over from our hotel and had these cute little cobblestone roads. It was very touristy, but some of our favorite restaurants were on this street. We had a really good time drinking daiquiris from Wet Willie's and watching the ships go by on the Savannah River.

And if all the walking wasn't enough to work of the 27 million calories we consumed during this trip (it wasn't), Savannah had the steepest stairs ever that led from River Street back up to the main Bay Street.

We took frequent oyster breaks at Bernie's on River Street. We ate several dozen on this trip, which is gross unless you're obsessed with oysters on the half shell like us. Don't judge.

On the first day, we visited a cemetery. Why did we go to a cemetery on our honeymoon? Because it was awesome and when you're in a place like Savannah, where so much emphasis is placed on the dead, you just have to go. During the Civil War the Union soldiers occupied the place and used their bayonets to change dates on the headstones as a practical joke and to this day some stones say that people lived to be like 1200 years old or died before they were born. I don't usually make it a point to visit cemeteries on vacation, but this was worth it. The picture is of fallen headstones that have just been mounted to a wall.

The trees were just dripping Spanish moss. It looked like the whole city was melting and with the heat it felt like that too.

For our second dinner in Savannah we went out late to Vic's on the River, which we highly recommend. It was a leisurely paced dinner with a piano player and a nice view of (you guessed it!) the river. I'm really bad at photographing food, but this fried green tomato appetizer was Andrew's absolute favorite thing we ate on the whole trip. It's covered in some kind of tomato chutney/salsa and it's on a bed of grits.

Andrew also had the Dirty Bleu Martini, a Vic's special. It had olives stuffed with blue cheese.

On the second full day we got the car out of valet and drove about 20 minutes to Tybee Island. It rained for a little while, but ended up being quite the nice day. I had my bathing suit in my huge Target purse but we decided to eat oysters (at the Bernie's Tybee Island location) instead of doing island-y things. Andrew was happier than this, I swear. He just doesn't like having his picture taken.

We bought matching Tybee Island hats at a shop and Andrew loved his so much he took the headrest off the back of his seat (so he could wear it while driving and not smash the brim). Sawyer has since dined on this beloved hat.

I make Andrew take lame pictures of me. I got a Tybee Island hat too.

A close up of our hats and Ray-Bans. There was a big pier where you could sit in the shade (we forgot sunscreen), sip a cold beverage of your choice and enjoy the scenery.

After lunch we went back to our hotel for one of these:

We napped everyday on our honeymoon, but usually not upside down. Dinner that night was at the Pirate's House. It used to be a pirate hangout and when they needed new sailors the pirates would drug boys drinking at the house and carry them through a secret passage to their ships. When they woke up, the boys were pirates whether they liked it or not. Or at least that's what the menu says.

This was my absolute favorite dish of the whole trip. It's a Southern eggroll filled with pulled pork and greens dipped in a mustard sauce. So. good.

This food photographed really well but it wasn't our favorite. I thought Andrew's steak was delicious, but it was cooked a little to well-done for him, and the pecan glaze on my fried chicken was overpowering. I would definitely ask for the sauce on the side the next time. But the Southern eggrolls alone are worth the trip.

After a trip to the local brewery and a PG ghost tour, we went to one of my favorite places in Savannah (based on my limited, tourist-driven knowledge): the Planter's Tavern! We look really gross in this picture but I loved the tavern so much that it's ok.
Is that a ghost between us?

The atmosphere reminded me of a speakeasy (because I totally know what hanging out in a speakeasy is like). It was underneath the Olde Pink House restaurant, right next door to our hotel, and we missed the entrance the first time we went. It was dark inside and there was a piano player. The tavern serves the same food as the Olde Pink House and I wished we had tried more than one appetizer there (fried artichokes and goat cheese). Here's the Olde Pink House. The entrance to the tavern is below it, hidden by those bushes.

On our last day in Savannah we just walked. All morning we walked, read historic markers and went into little shops. By that time, we mostly knew our way around.
I feel the need to pose in front of everything.

After a quick lunch I think we napped, and then we got up to go to oyster happy hour on River Street, where I took a picture of our rings, because we're married!

We later drank these delicious things on River Street with our on-duty waitress who was also drinking. Then she had to go back to work.(Mine was melon and quite refreshing, and Andrew's was called "Call a Cab" and not as refreshing, as you might guess.)

We ended our trip to Savannah with a riverboat dinner cruise which was quite touristy and reminiscent of a Carnival Cruise downstairs, but really nice when we finally escaped to the top level with a bottle of wine.

And just as randomly as it began, this is the last picture I took in Savannah.

I have come to three conclusions while posting this: 1.) I only own three cute dresses and I wear them over and over again because I can not afford new ones. 2.) All of Andrew's shirts look the same. 3.) I suck at using Blogger because this took me forever and the font kept getting big and blue.