Dirty Thirty

Well, everyone, my thirtieth birthday came and went.

30 flirty gif

 

There were no fires. No floods. No volcanic eruptions.

Okay, I’m sure those things happened somewhere in the world, but in my tiny area of existence, no such things happened.

What did happen, you ask? I ate. And ate. AND ATE.

I basically ate anything and everything I could get my carb-lovin’ hands on from sun up to sundown! Doughnuts, cheesecake, Auntie Anne’s® pretzels, truffles, cupcakes, and more cheesecake. And you want to know something? It. Was. GLORIOUS.

cheesecake

Sadly, I didn’t get everything completed on my 30 By 30 list. I’m one book away from finishing my classic novel reading list (why, oh, WHY did I leave Gone With the Wind until the very end?!), I still need to protest something (I really wanted to join the students at Capitol Hill this week but couldn’t) and I’m looking for some folks to go in halfsies with for a bottle of Cristal (I wonder if a rapper would just give me some. They still drink that, right? Or is that too “1990’s”?)

30th bday

BUT, I have accomplished quite a bit! Here’s a recap of my list:

  1.  Watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies 
  2. Get a literary agent
  3. Work on a political campaign
  4. Finish my book
  5. Go to Italy with BB
  6. See Graceland
  7. Meet someone famous
  8. Participate in a protest rally
  9. Sew and wear a dress/skirt
  10. Read every Jane Austen novel
  11. Enjoy a bottle of Cristal
  12. Take Noah and Ellie to see The Nutcracker
  13. Go camping
  14. Finish my classic novel reading list
  15. Take a pole dancing class
  16. Run a marathon
  17. Get married
  18. Buy my parents something BIG
  19. Go to the Red Carpet to see a movie premiere/award show
  20. Go to every state
  21. Get a job I LOVE
  22. Have a baby (or two)
  23. Change the oil in my truck
  24. Buy a house
  25. Donate my hair to locks of love
  26. Make a meal from scratch
  27. Milk a cow
  28. Learn the guitar (one song all the way through)
  29. Go skinny dipping
  30. Pay off all school loan debt

 

Considering I’ve done all of these except eight (and I’ll be checking the classic novel list off soon!) I’d call this a success!  I told myself that I’d give myself a “grace period” to wrap up as many as I could by the end of the year. Those that do NOT get checked off will roll over to my 40 By 40 list!

I’ll be honest, I was sort of dreading this birthday. But now I see that my best years are ahead of me.

30th bday 2

Sure, my twenties were great! I ended a bad relationship (not Huff the Hubs!), found myself (and God) again, and then reconnected with the man of my dreams (yes, this time I mean HtH!). I went to Europe (three times!), got married, had a baby, and learned some important life lessons.

All of that—the heartache, the disappointments, and the wisdom I’ve gained—I think will be the arrows in my quiver I can use against anything that my thirties my hurl against me. To quote the prudent and zealous beet farmer, Dwight Schrute: “I am ready to face any challenges that might be foolish enough to face me!”

A lot of people say that getting older is the pits. I think it’s awesome! After all, it’s better than the alternative, right?

Besides, I love birthdays.

lily bday

Sometimes I set expectations too high, people don’t meet them, and then I inevitably take my ball and go home to cry in my birthday cake. But this year? My family and friends not only met the bar, but passed that bad boy in a blur! They really out-did themselves!

My sisters threw me a Downton-Abbey-esque Murder Mystery Dinner (and made me a sweet book):

mmd

 

Huff the Hubs spoiled me all day. And even got a pedicure with me! (Look how excited he was!)

pedi

 

But most all, I was shown love by those around me. And THAT, my friends, is what makes a great birthday.

plan a party

Try It Wednesday

Happy Hump Day, Tryers!

This week’s Try It is brought to you by the letter Y as in “YUMMY!”

When my sister, Samantha, and her brood were down from Maryland, she made something that seriously made me want to do cartwheels. (I refrained, don’t worry). She made these awesome things call pretzel rolls. And yes, they tasted as good as they sound.

This was indeed a Pinterest find:

*Cue the Homer Simpson-like drooling*

*Cue the Homer Simpson-like drooling*

This week, my sister Bridget decided to try them out! (And I’m glad she did!)

She got everything she needed:

Milk, yeast, brown sugar, butter, flour, fine salt, baking soda, coarse salt

Milk, yeast, brown sugar, butter, flour, fine salt, baking soda, coarse salt

Ingredients List:

2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons fine salt

1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
Coarse salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

After she got all of that, she got to work.

She warmed up the milk in the microwave for about a minute and a half. (*If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast*) Then, she stirred in the yeast and let it set for about 3 minutes.  She added the butter and sugar, and then the flour; about 1 cup at a time. Then, the salt was put in. She kneeded the dough for about 10 minutes (what an arm workout!) by hand. You can also use a stand mixer. Then, she put the dough ball into a greased bowl and covered it.

I didn't ask if she tasted the raw dough. But I think I would have.

I didn’t ask if she tasted the raw dough. But I think I would have.

After letting it rise for an hour in a warm place it had doubled in size:

This is how I feel after eating too many pretzel rolls.

This is how I feel after eating too many pretzel rolls.

She then preheated her oven to 375º. After punching  the dough down, she divided it into 12 lumps and rolled them into balls (heh, balls). Then she Combined the warm water and baking soda in a wide bowl and dipped each ball in the baking soda water. She cut a slit into each ball and placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. She sprinkled them with coarse salt and baked for about 9-15 minutes (or until browned).

Lovin' from the oven!

Lovin’ from the oven!

 

 

OMG you guys. I pretty much inhaled these things. They were SO. FREAKING. GOOD. After you take them out of the oven, be sure to spread a little melted butter on top with a butter brush. You will NOT be disappointed!

The Whole Package

This weekend, my sisters and I walked did the Roger Rabbit down memory lane.

(Back story: When we were in elementary school, we all got straight A’s. Because of our awesomeness, my parents bought us all tickets to see New Kids on the Block. You have no idea what this meant to a bunch of NKOTB-crazed, pre-adolescent girls.

Fast forward 23 years to June 29, 2013.)

This past Saturday, Samantha, Bridget and I had tickets to The Package Tour (I found the name of the tour highly inappropriate. But that’s because my mind is in the gutter. Anyway…). The tour was: Boys II Men, 98*, and New Kids on the Block. Yes, you read that right. All of these groups are still touring and making music.

Inappropriate.

Inappropriate.

I’m not going to lie; I was a little worried that the years would not have been good to the guys and that someone was going to break a hip before the night was through.

When we finally got to our seats, the excitement in the arena was palatable. The DJ was awesome, spinning music from our “old school” days (its pretty awesome when an entire arena of people start rapping Ice, Ice, Baby in unison).

Before B2M came out, a video played on the screen. The words said: 133 Weeks at Number One; 9 Grammy Awards; 5 American Music Awards; The Highest Selling R&B Group of All Time. Then, the lights shone down on the guys and the decibel level was off the charts. Bridget started freaking out, making me think back to when we saw Johnny Depp at Comic Con (when he walked out she said: “Oh my gosh, I’m sweating!”).

The guys still sounded AMAZING! They were super high energy and really got the crowd ready for the next two acts. They made me all nostalgic; thinking back to my skating rink days, couple skating with a cute boy. (The stuff raining down from the ceiling in the video is rose petals. Each one of the guys had a dozen single roses they passed out to fans).

When B2M left the stage, Bridget leaned over and said: “Even if we left right now, this would be the best night EVER!” Soon after, we noticed a light shining on the stages that read: 98°

Again, the screams were deafening.

When the guys came out on the stage and Nick Lachey smiled, I swore I heard the audience collectively sigh in admiration. Samantha leaned over to me and said: “He’s so much hotter in person!”

I didn’t know all of 98° songs, but I knew the ones that were played over and over in the summer of ’97. At one point, Hottie-McHot Lachey said: “Man, Oklahoma summer’s are HOT! Mind if I take off my shirt?” And again, I was waiting for every woman in the arena  to pass out. Then, each guy went out into the audience and picked a girl (I seriously thought Bridget was going to pull a Gimli and ask me to toss her down to the floor). They brought each girl on stage and serenaded her with I Do {Cherish You}.

Sigh.

The fourteen year old inside me was swooning hard core.

After 98° finished their set, the house lights came on and we waited with furious fangirl excitement. When the lights went dark, we all screamed until we were hoarse. As the light came up, I felt like I was a kid again.

Each one of us–me and my sisters–had/have a favorite New Kid. Sam’s was/is Jordan, Bridget’s was/is Joey (or “Joe” as he goes by now) and mine’s Donnie. As the spotlights came up on each guy and a close up was shown on the screen, each one of us took our turn swooning. (Poor Danny and Jonathon, they don’t get any love from the Akers’ girls.)

Oh, Donnie...

Oh, Donnie…

They started out with a few songs I didn’t know and then finally got to Summertime, their first hit after coming back from the dead. Then, it got real.

They went straight into Step By Step and The Right Stuff. When they all did their signature dance, the women in the audience lost their religion.

This concert was unbelievable! The guys still sound great and can move like they did back in their teens! Even though it looked like Jonathon was SUPER nervous (he has crazy stage fright and even walked off the stage at one of their earlier concerts in this tour) and wasn’t putting as much heart into it as the other guys, they still did wonderfully. (Jonathon eventually seemed to warm up to the crowd and even went into the stands and hugged/took pics with fans).

Their last song was the one I had been waiting for all night. Donnie started to talk about how their home state, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma had had a rough year. What with the Boston Marathon bombing and multiple tornadoes, we all felt like we had been put through the ringer. However, Donnie said: “We all knew what to do…Because we’re tough.”

Then they all threw on Boston Red Sox jerseys that said “Boston Strong” on the backs and started in to Hangin’ Tough. Be still my heart.

Some of my favorite quotes from the night were:

“Abs must run in the family!” (Bridget, when Donnie took his shirt off)

“I think I may go into premature labor!” (Me, referring to NKOTB)

“He just gets better with age!” (Samantha, whilst drooling over Nick Lachey)

“I cannot stop smiling!” (Bridget, during every performance)

“Did that just happen?!” (All three of us, after Donnie Wahlberg totally made out with a chick from the audience)

“BEST. CONCERT. EVER.” (Samantha and Bridget as we left the ‘Peake)

It was, by far, one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. If I would’ve known it was going to be THAT good, I would’ve bought floor seats; no matter the price. Plus, it was such a blast to get to hang out with my sisters, just us 3, and jam and swoon to the groups of our youth.

National Sibling Day

So, apparently yesterday was National Sibling Day. Yeah, I had no idea either. And apparently, neither did my sisters because I didn’t receive any flowers or candy. Not even a card.

I didn’t even post anything on Facebook. Ergo, a blog post about it.

I am the youngest of three girls. You heard that right: THREE GIRLS. Pity my parents.

My two sisters, Samantha and Bridget, are so great! I mean, look at them:

Aren't we pretty?

Aren’t we pretty?

They’re basically the best ever. They’re both incredibly gorgeous, funny, and smart.

Plus, they’ve introduced me to a bunch of my favorite fandoms:

Harry Potter for life!

Harry Potter for life!

And I know that they’re my biggest cheerleaders:

Go big Blue and White!

Go big Blue and White!

Sure, we fight:

That's what you get for stealing my Barbie!

That’s what you get for stealing my Barbie!

But we always make up. Even if it is just so we can fight again later:

You set a troll loose in my room!

You set a troll loose in my room!

 

But no matter where we are, no matter how old we get, or what the years may bring, we’re sisters:

Heeeyyyy, sexy ladies!

Heeeyyyy, sexy ladies!

 

Sam and BB, I love you both so much. You’re more than sisters; you’re my friends. You’re the people I most want to be like and the ones I want to share “all of the times” with. You’re both amazing women and I’m blessed to call you my sisters.