Saturday, April 9, 2011


I mentioned a while back that aside from blogging, I've been working on creating "yearbooks". Luckily I've been consistent the past 3-4 years with uploading and organizing my photos. The biggest task was reorganizing them all by year and then selecting the pictures for the book. Organizing them on shutterfly was a breeze with only one glitch in the end. Initially I chose to auto load the images so to speak. These means shutterfly automatically builds the book in chronological order based on the pictures selected. Well, I learned that when you complete your books this way, versus custom, you can't have text on the spine. So, after completing 2008-2010, I remade them all custom style so that I could have the year noted on the spine.

I finally ordered my first book last week! Without coupons these can get pricey fast. I ended up using a $20 off coupon, free shipping and a 20% off 12x12 books special. The total ended up being just over $100. When you think about how much it would have cost to print the pictures and buy in albumn, shutterfly seems like a steal! I feel like the books have much more longevity that actual albums as well. The photo albums I have from years past are not in great shape.

Take a look at 2010! I am so happy with the way it turned out. The online version doesn't do it justice, the book is really cool. I can't wait to order 2008 and 2009! It's such a good feeling to actually do something with the pictures I take!

Click here to view this photo book larger

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras

This year I was really feeling Fat Tuesday. I am totally missing Nola, and our darling Purrl was spayed Tuesday so it was the perfect excuse to stay in and make a meal. First things first, I cranked the cajun pandora station took care of the costume:

All the cooking made me thirsty, luckily I was prepared:

Dinner took a some time to prep since I was making a vegetarian friendly jambalaya:

I found a recipe for Jambalaya with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage on Below is the original recipe with my modifications noted.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 ounces andouille sausage, sliced I used Soy Chorizo Sausage
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice I used brown rice and increased the cooking time about 20-25 minutes since brown takes longer than white
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth I used low sodium veggie broth
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce I used cayanne red pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley I left this out since I didn't have any

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, minced garlic, and sausage; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add rice and the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 2 minutes. Add broth, water, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes(longer for brown rice. Add shrimp; cook 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in parsley.

The final product was so delicious and tasted pretty authentic!! Will be making this again soon, bad picture though:

Finally, I picked up a special dessert. I thought the colors where pretty fitting for Mardi Gras, I do wish they would have had purple too. These fantastic cake balls came from Bleeding Heart, my favorite vegan bakery. The red was red velvet and the green was cookies and cream. These were so amazing, a splurge I will be adding to my go to list when I need a sweet treat:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Here comes the sun

This has been a brutal winter. I am not sure if winters get tougher the older you get or if maybe this one was just extra crappy. Aside from snowstorms,and random power outages, o and a minor electrical fire in which I pulled every muscle in my body getting all my animals into cages or on leashes and outside, it's been a fairly uneventfull winter.

Many exciting things coming up though! Mike and I are returning to Playa Del Carmen, where we honeymooned three years ago, in May for a week long visit! I plan to lounge, and lounge and cannot tell you how excited I am for this vacation.

Once the weather gets better I have a list of fun things I want to do around the city that I live in as well. I am due for a trip to China Town, need to go to the skybox at the top of the Willis, and hit up some museums. I also plan on taking full advantage of the free concerts at Pritzker Park as soon as they kick off!

Enjoy the thaw and let's cross our fingers spring is upon us soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

O blog, how I've neglected you

I miss blogging quit a bit but I made a New Years Resolution to start documenting my life in a way that won't just *poof* go away some day. I've been working on making photo books online for each year going back to 2008, because really? what did I have going on in my life pre-Mike. In all actuality, I had a lot going on before 08' and probably a lot more interesting pictures since I was a little more wild. The truth is, I didn't have a digital camera...and I am certainly not going to challenge myself to scanning a decade worth of pictures, o and ummm, well, developing them too.

I finished 2008, 2009 and 2010. I still need to do a final proof and then save up my pennies to actually order the darn things since they are a bit pricey. I know they will be worth it though, and I can't tell you how great it feels to actually do something with all the photos I take!

I just wanted to take a minute for a quick update, and to wish everyone a happy new year! I'll be back soon once I wrap up my projects!