Monday, November 30, 2009

Grace in Small Things 312:365

1. it's the official end of hurricane season.

2. nearly all the gifts i ordered online have safely arrived already!

3. the Christmas playlist on my iPod.

4. how pretty my lit tree looks through the window.

5. i have a ton of respect for Drew Brees & the Saints. i could stomach a half dozen losses to them easier than a single one to Peyton & The Manning Face ™.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grace in Small Things 311:365

1. "fast pass" in the airport security line.

2. humongous hugs.

3. exceptionally smooth airplane landings.

4. being able to light the Christmas tree now that it's officially Advent.

5. feeling like the luckiest girl in the world to be so well loved.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grace in Small Things 310:365

1. stocking up on See's chocolates.

2. the smell of fresh-cut Christmas trees.

3. lazy vacation days, watching movies with friends & eating Thanksgiving leftovers.

4. the opportunity to try new foods.

5. warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Grace in Small Things 309:365

1. pumpkin flan for breakfast.

2. losing track of what day of the week it is because i'm on vacation.

3. the earth has so many cool things to see. today, it was the La Brea Tar Pits.

4. sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

5. walking with the wind in my face & hearing the waves crashing into shore.h

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Grace in Small Things 308:365

1. family and friends. to not just receive love, compassion, laughter and understanding but to give it as well.

2. faith. forgivenes. a joyful spirit, an optimistic attitude and a soul at peace.

3. a full tummy. a fuller heart.

4. all my needs are met and i have far more than i could ever want, much less deserve.

5. the ability to recognize the multitude of ways in which i have been blessed and the opportunity to pause for reflection, to be humbled by the abundance that fills my life, and to be deeply grateful for it.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grace in Small Things 307:365

1. time spent with friends.

2. vacation.

3. the way sunlight shines on freshly washed stemware, creating a tiny sunburst.

4. cupcakes.

5. a warm kitty on my lap.

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I Want Wednesday: November 25, 2009

i was browsing through the Hallmark Dream Book and these are the ones I Want from this year's ornaments:

**Winter Wreath -- my Gram loved birds & cardinals always remind me of her & my Gramp.

**Season's Treatings -- i love this new series! i love to cook & bake. this series looks like it's perfectly suited to me!

**Star of Hope -- one of my favorite Christmas carols.

**Snowflake Season -- i have a collection of snowflake decorations for my tree & home for the Winter season.

**Star of Bethlehem -- this one reminds me of my all-time favorite Christmas carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

**Holy Family -- i love how peaceful this one is.

**Blessed By Heaven -- my dad & Gram often got me angel ornaments & decorations as gifts. i love that this ornament also has a traditional feel to it.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grace in Small Things 306:365

1. free WiFi & scoring a seat by an outlet when my flight was delayed yesterday.

2. a row all to myself on the plane!

3. Nichole's birthday & getting to celebrate it with her!

4. a fantastic meal in fantastic company. followed by chocolate birthday cake.

5. bubbly champagne silliness.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Grace in Small Things 305:365

1. one-day work weeks...

2. ...because as of 3:30pm i am on vacation!!

3. watching the anemone move around the fisk tank. they are so strange & cool & interesting.

4. treating myself to a few new tunes on my iPod for my flight.

5. hugs from friends you haven't seen in forever.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Grace in Small Things 304:365

1. one day until vacation!

2. getting my Christmas tree assembled so that it's ready to decorate when i get home again.

3. early online check-in for flights.

4. Wes Welker. i knew i was going to love him playing in New England when i first coveted him four years ago!

5. when everything fits into my luggage effortlessly.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grace in Small Things 303:365

1. i only have a few more little items to pick up & then my Christmas shopping is complete!

2. getting to see ultrasound pictures of my niece-or-nephew-to-be.

3. two days til vacation!

4. going to see Disney's "A Christms Carol" & not being disappointed.

5. reading in bed.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Grace in Small Things 302:365

1. three days until vacation!

2. we got an anemone for the aquarium at work! they are so cool.

3. mini Reese's Peanut Butter christmas trees.

4. hermit crabs.

5. it's been a week since they replaced my modem and (knock on wood) my crazy intermittent internet service appears to be fixed now.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grace in Small Things 301:365

1. the Disney World Christmas commercials. they make me smile.

2. cake. peanut butter & chocolate. what more can a girl ask for?

3. Real Simple, December.

4. *and* the December issue of Redbook! good mail day!!

5. finding a perfect Christmas gift for someone after almost settling for something else in a moment of desperation that the right gift wouldn't appear.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grace in Small Things 300:365

1. new fish in the tank at work!

2. York Peppermint Patties. especially when they are shaped like snowflakes for Christmas. festive!

3. doing some major damage to my Christmas list.

4. having a good hair day.

5. 300 Grace posts completed. 65 to go. that's a *lot* of things to be grateful for.

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I Want Wednesday: November 18, 2009

**because i typically have more than one book going at a time, and only one little bookmark, I Want these page flags which i think would come in very useful.

**i *hate* carrying my cell phone in my pocket, especially when i am in a Disney park or at a ball game. but tucking it into a bag leave it too far away. so I Want this KangaRoom Mesh Phone Case. in cherry, please.

**i keep saying i need a surge protector (i just have a power strip at the moment). i looked at a bunch & i think I Want the PowerSquid surge protector. maybe. it's just really...not cheap. but a whole lot cheaper than needing all new electronics.

**i have absolutely nowhere i could possibly put these (the smaller photo shows you how big they are!) but I Want these snowflake strands.

**I Want to sniff these scents to see which ones need to come home to live with me.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grace in Small Things 299:365

1. a brand new fresh 2010 desk calendar.

2. re-arranging my desk at work so that my left shoulder doesn't feel like it's going to fall off.

3. a tv episode with a really good cliffhanger. and *not* having to wait til next season to find out what happens next!

4. bubblewrap.

5. laughing til i cry.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Grace in Small Things 298:365

1. one week until vacation!

2. i got an envelope in the mail from Valerie with the Kraft magazine she was generous enough to share with me, only to discover she also tucked in a pair of earrings from her great little Etsy store!!

3. i cannot recall the last time i had my a/c on. from now through April is why i put up with six months of humidity.

4. a new work computer! one i (hopefully) won't have to fight with on a daily basis, just to turn it on!

5. perspective.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grace in Small Things 297:365

1. leftovers in the refrigerator mean i get a day off from cooking but still get to eat yummy food.

2. taking a bit of a break from the internet for the weekend. just to recharge.

3. Target. i always find the best stuff at that store!

4. the smell of crisp air.

5. the pretty reflection one of my votive holders casts in a dark room when the candle flickers.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Grace in Small Things 296:365

1. waking up super early on a Saturday but feeling completely refreshed.

2. perfect weather for wandering around Animal Kingdom.

3. my camera.

4. a new pair of sneakers.

5. a growing stash of Christmas surprises.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Grace in Small Things 295:365

1. having people who will put up with me, even when i am cranky for no good reason.

2. peppermint-scented hand lotion.

3. a fresh Sharpie.

4. remembering to have a few magazines in the car for when my computer is down at work.

5. sincerity.

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telemarketers who call trying to sell me a consultation for re-financing my mortgage. when i try to cut in, they start talking louder & faster to dorwn out whatever protests i have, forcing me to shout (which is always nice at work).

a) this is a place of business. (but ma'am, we can still talk to *you*...)

2) i do not have a mortgage that needs re-financing. (but ma'am, you don't know until you have a consultation!)

d) and i do not have a house!!

i cannot even describe the great satisfaction i took in hanging up the phone at that point when the telemarketer tried to interject with yet another "but ma'am..."


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grace in Small Things 294:365

1. (light) sweater weather!

2. this daily thought from Real Simple delivered to my inbox:
"Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were."
(Cherie Carter-Scott)

3. this excerpt from Cass Just Curious's post today.
Like everything, I have no idea how – but its not my job to figure out how….its my job to be ready for the opportunity.

4. my Kraft Food & Family Holiday issue didn't get delievered so the very kind Valerie is going to send me her extra copy!

5. a really good eipsode of The Good Wife

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grace in Small Things 293:365

1. increased storage (from 10GB to 80GB for the same $20/year) from Google for my Picasa Web Albums (where i store all my photos online). i really love the whole Picasa system & how freaking easy it is to use. this increased storage just makes me love it that much more.

2. December Good Housekeeping. have i mentioned how much i love magazines?

3. my new mini food processor. it is so cute! and helpful! and did i mention cute?

4. Tek finally accepted his player option. i really want him to retire in a Sox uniform. and i kinda hope he does so after this season. maybe move into the coaching side of things, where his baseball knowledge can continue to benefit the Sox.

5. catching up on Private Practive thanks to my trusty DVR.

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I Want Wednesday: November 11, 2009

**I Want this bathroom rug from Bed Bath & Beyond. it would go perfectly in my bathroom.

**I Want to decorate a pumpkin like this for Thanksgiving, since i can't get away with carving a jack-o-lantern in the heat & humidity down here.

**I Want the Pioneer Woman cookbook.

**I Want somewhere to put some more of the insane number of photos i have, like a set of these photo albums. i like the brown set but the other four color combos are fun too.

**I Want to have a stash of these Coola Suncare Minis to have on hand in my purse & camera bag, for when i end up spending time outside unexpectedly.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grace in Small Things 292:365

1. got to start a new bottle of shower gel which means a new scent: black raspberry vanilla. mmmmm...

2. grey days which are a welcome break from all the glaring sunshine. sometimes my eyes just need the break.

3. an awesome belated birthday gift that arrived in the mail today.

4. when a friend takes the time to thank me for being a good friend--something that is not necessary because it is important to me to be a good friend, but i do appreciate knowing that people i care about feel i've been a good friend to them.

5. a half gallon of one of my favorite limited edition seasonal ice cream flavors from Publix: Santa's White Christmas. delicious!

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Grace in Small Things 291:365

1. two weeks til my vacation!!

2. a good steady breeze. (i am not a fan of dead still air.)

3. finding a top i had forgotten i had because i so rarely open that drawer.

4. today was a good day. which is sometimes all you can ask of Monday. ;-)

5. December issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray!

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Grace in Small Things 290:365

1. 99 days til pitchers & catchers report. down to double digits.

2. "People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." (Rogers Hornsby)

3. Bed Bath & Beyond coupons.

4. making some serious progress is my organizing project.

5. the perfect Autumn dessert: warm gingerbread with a vanilla glaze and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. and a glass of apple cider.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Grace in Small Things 289:365

1. while i was on my way to my hair appointment, i passed a gas station where it was listed at $2.62/gallon (about seven cents cheaper than near my home). the gas station i normally stop at out where i get my hair cut (about sixty miles from where i live) had their gas listed at $2.72/gallon. i decided to stop at the place i had passed on my way to my appointment to fill up instead. when i got there, the price had dropped to $2.59/gallon! in less than half an hour!

2. dropping off magazines to be recycled. less clutter for me, less waste in the dumpster.

3. discovering some "lost treasures" in a forgotten box.

4. formulating a plan to cross an item off my "longterm to-do list."

5. Autumn colors. rich & warm.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Grace in Small Things 288:365

1. on my way home, i was stopped at a red light. on one of the intersection's corners is a daycare. there was a toddler screaming in absolute joy when he saw his mom walking up to the fenced in play area.

2. while watching the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams made reference to Red Sox fans looking away because what would be shown next would be painful. but it just reinforced for me that seeing the Yankees win it all is no longer painful for Sox fans, just merely annoying.

3. my Twitter peeps who make me laugh.

4. it's cool enough to walk in the evenings again.

5. tv shows on DVD.

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Food & Wine Festival 2009: The Final Round

well, here we are: the Food & Wine Festival finale. another year of tasty treats is in the books.

Athens, Greece
Spanakopita. Kourtaki Mavrodaphne of Patras.

i started off with something i had been eyeing since my first round. did not disappoint. flaky pastry. cheesy spinach filling. somehow managing to be both light & satisfying at the same time. what really intrigued me, though, was the wine. we've discussed how i feel about red wines. this had very little "fuzz" to it. and it was sweet. i could taste a lot of cherry & plum (and believe me when i say that if *i* can taste a flavor in a wine, it is In Your Face Obvious) and then it finished with something...slightly spicy/peppery. it totally caught me off guard. i did a little research when i got home & learned that this wine is frequently compared to a port--which i also am not typically fond of. so chalk one up for not drawing conclusions based on generalization.

Mexico City, Mexico
Mousse de Piña y Coco.

yum. yum. yum. yum. and yum. the mousse was pineapple but it was subtle and very vanilla-creamy too. and toasted coconut on top? delicious.

Shanghai, China
Happy Lychee.

oh this made me happy all right. ;-) seriously. i felt a buzz about halfway through (the cup is bigger than it looks!) but then it went away...and came back again after i got home & found myself slightly silly & more than a bit sleepy. it was interesting. sweet but...not. and it tasted somewhat like pears. i don't know. i am not familiar enough with lychee to know if that's the comparison.

Paris, France
L'ait au Chocolat Creme Brûlée.

this right here? was chocolate-y goodness. nice crispy layer on top. and underneath tasted just like chocolate milk. it was a little cool in temperature but considering it felt like i was standing on the surface of the sun, the coolness was welcomed. actually, come to think of it, it may have been served the proper brûlée temperature, but comparatively felt cool. =P

Munich, Germany
Nuernberger Sausage on a Pretzel Roll. Blue Slate Riesling.

i'm pretty sure i don't need to tell you what a sausage on a roll is like. it was good. i knew it would be. that's why i got it. but if you've ever eaten at Biergarten in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot, and you've had the pretzel rolls...well, then you know how much better the sausage became. (in case it isn't crystal clear: i *love* the pretzel rolls, and that may or may not have weighed heavily in this selection making my list.) the Riesling was good; it was the recommended wine for the sausage. it wasn't a sweet one, but crisp & dry. i wondered how it would go with the spiciness of a sausage but it was just right.

Cork, Ireland
Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey's Ganache.

this. this? was worthy of being the final Festival 2009 taste left in my mouth. if the brûlée was "chocolate-y goodness" then this was chocolate-y perfection. i can't be certain, but i thought i heard angels singing. i actually had to include two photos because i think the only thing that can top warm chocolate cake with Bailey's ganache is that gooey creamy chocolate center. i scraped every last crumb off that plate with my fork.

and now i am already looking forward to what Food & Wine Festival brings in 2010.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grace in Small Things 287:365

1. ok, back in September, i mentioned that i had two really awesome bits of news that were making me happy. and then yesterday, i said i was waiting for clearance on one of those aformentioned bits of good news. after electronically chastising my brother for withholding the necessary information, i can FINALLY share that i am going to be an auntie sometime in the vicinity of May 30!

2. i have kept my Google Reader maintained. the only time it is more than double-digits is when i first wake up in the morning. and it's cleared out before i go to bed. i love little accomplishments!

3. i lit the yummy candle Miss Brandi so thoughtfully gave me for my birthday. i have the best friends. =)

4. i really really like the site goodreads for tracking the books i've read & want to read. i love having a place to organize this information. i am such a sucker for lists.

5. bite-sized Milky Way bars.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grace in Small Things 286:365

1. waking up to the first gentle light of day instead of nighttime darkness.

2. resisting the push to move right into Christmas, now that Halloween has past. i prefer to enjoy the Autumn, culminating with Thanksgiving, before Christmas starts to warm up on the first day of Advent.

3. hitting shuffle on my iPod.

4. warm gingerbread with a vanilla glaze drizzle.

5. sleep as a defense mechanism against the end of the baseball season. ;-)

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I Want Wednesday: November 4, 2009

**I Want a new set of good-quality makeup brushes.

**since the first time i've seen one, i've said that I Want a kitchen with a built-in desk.

**i will have to settle for saying I Want one of these vases, because for $125 & up, i am certainly not going to actually own one any time soon. or, likely, ever. i would settle for a cheap "knock-off" version though, if i could find one. i just like the way it looks. i can just picture it on my dresser filled with beautiful flowers.

**I Want to share some news but i have not been given the "proper clearance" yet!!


practice what you preach.

i had a blog post. it was titled "think before you speak." following that was a rant.

i composed.
i took a deep breath.
i re-read.
i decided to follow my own advice.
i deleted it.

the lesson was in the title. enough said.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grace in Small Things 285:365

1. cooler, more comfortable, wonderful weather.

2. a fantastic landlord who gets things fixed quickly.

3. learning that there will be no rent increase *again* in 2010. that means the last (very small) increase took place in January 2007. which freaking ROCKS.

4. taking a walk before dinner.

5. a package of yummy treats in the mail from Limichelle!

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Grace in Small Things 284:365

1. mid 80s. minimal humidity. need i say more?

2. happy little daydreams that live in a corner of my mind.

3. the Phillies played an *awesome* game to ensure there will be a Game Six!

4. my cell phone appears to be saved from it's swim in my water glass.

5. three weeks until vacation.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: October 2009

photo of me
i took a lot of photos this month but...ummm...i wasn't in any of them. oops.

1) current candle scents:
Cranberry Chutney. Fall Festival.

2) what i am currently reading:
Confessions of a Shop-a-holic.

3) newest music i added my playlist:
The Way I Am (Ingrid Michaelson). Saints & Angels (Sara Evans). I'm Alive (Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews). She Don't Tell Me To (Montgomery Gentry). Some People (LeAnn Rimes). True Companion (Marc Cohn). Do I (Luke Bryan).

4) movies i saw:
The Informant! Couples Retreat. The Bourne Supremacy. Men In Black 2. Law Abiding Citizen.

5) something yummy i made this month:
Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce.

6) the last place i ate out:
Epcot! Food & Wine Festival: Round Five.

7) something that made me cry:

8) something that made me laugh:
i know i laughed many times, but no one moment sticks out in my mind.

9) something i looked forward to this month:
Epcot's Food & Wine Festival. i look forward to this event all year. from the minute it ends til the minute it starts again.

10) something i am thankful for:
a place to record memories.

11) something i want to remember about this month:
while so many people freak out over being in their 30s, i like that i turned 33 & feel stronger, happier & more sure of myself than i ever have before. and i like it. *my* 30s are wonderful.

12) a photo i took this month:


Grace in Small Things 283:365

1. singing a favorite hymn in church.

2. a cart full of goodness at the grocery store...

3. ...and a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $30 or more.

4. what might have been the world's best nap, while listening to a football game, then waking up just in time to catch the Vikings-Packers game which i was looking forward to.

5. this part of Sara Evans' song "Saints and Angels":
I love your imperfections
I love your everything
Your broken heart,
Your broken wings
I love you when you hold me
And when you turn away
I love you still
And I'm not afraid
Cause I know you feel the same way
And you'll stay

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