Holiday Celebrations

Well, now that we’re more than a week into the new year, I figured it was about time I got around to sharing some photos and stories from my holiday season. Derek and I didn’t go to back to Washington for Christmas this year because we have this expensive thing called a wedding that we’re saving up for. But, even though I missed our families, we really made the best out of it.

Our holiday season kicked off with a potluck and gift exchange with some of our awesome friends. It was a perfectly low-key get-together filled with delicious food and lots of laughs. D and I had to bounce early to catch the Seahawks game, but we truly enjoyed the day.

Dec 1The next weekend was full of Christmas cheer: I saw The Nutcracker with my lady loves and then we celebrated Lisa’s birthday with an Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl. I’ve never gotten into the ugly sweater theme in the past, but this year I was all in. And it ended up being such a fun night; definitely in the top 5 night’s out of the year. Those Christmas tree sunglasses brought out the gangsta in me. πŸ™‚

For the actual Christmas holiday, D and I piled into my grandparent’s car and roadtripped to Tennessee to visit my Aunt and Uncle. It took us a day and a half of driving each way–and honestly it wasn’t too bad. I’m not a big road trip person, but the drive was easy, the car was comfortable and I had endless entertainment on my iPhone.

Dec 2We spent a lot of our time just hanging out at home which was really nice. One night we went out for a group dinner in Knoxville. The next day we spent time in Gatlinburg. D and I tasted moonshine and rode a (slightly terrifying) skylift so we could get a good view of the Smoky Mountains. It was a cool experience–but as soon as we got to the top, it started to rain so we pretty much called it a day after that.

True to Anderson tradition, my Aunt bought us all new pajamas to wear to bed on Christmas Eve. But after giving out the jammies, she couldn’t resist and ended up giving us the rest of our presents that evening too. On Christmas day, we had a family breakfast, lounged around and then some of their friends came over for Christmas dinner and boardgames.

Dec 3We left Tennessee the morning of the 27th which got Derek and I back to Boston with just enough time to grocery shop and unpack before meeting friends at a bar for the Hawks game. I was never more thankful to work from home than I was that Monday morning.

For New Year’s Eve (also our anniversary), Derek and I joined a gym, cooked dinner at home and then met up with our football friends for drinks to ring in the New Year. I usually have high expectations for NYE and then end up feeling let down. But this year, we went with the flow and ended up having a great time. I got to wear heels and a NYE crown, drink champagne and kiss my boo at midnight–everything I needed to make it a success, but without the hangover that comes with bigger celebrations. It was the perfect way to end the year.

I’ve got another post marinating in my head about my intention for 2015, so stayed tuned. More on that coming soon…

xoxo,

A

Fall in New England

This year I’ve really been taking advantage of the awesomeness that is fall in New England. The perfect weather, gorgeous leaves and seasonal events *almost* make up for the bitterly cold winter we’re headed towards.

fallThere has been apple picking, wine drinking, pumpkin festivals, and a beautiful 5k run (I set a PR!). There were three birthday celebrations for people I love, sunshiny afternoon walks, Seahawk Sundays, and a shopping date in New Hampshire. Plus, I spent a day with my grandparents in Connecticut–Gram and I crossed a few things off the wedding to-do list. πŸ™‚

fall 2Oh man has it been a good season. So fun and so festive!

I’m really looking forward to the holidays this year too. Derek and I plan to cook our own little Thanksgiving day feast and then meet up with friends for football that evening. And we’re roadtripping with Gram and Gramps to visit Aunty Sharon and Uncle B for Christmas. There will be lots of eating, drinking and laughing. I can’t wait!

Summer of Travel: Tennessee

Two weeks ago I left for the first leg of a three-state, seven-week trip. My first stop was Tennessee where I spent a week with my Aunt, Uncle and cousin pups at their place outside of Knoxville.

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A few highlights from the trip include checking out the progress on the house they are building, enjoying a comedy show, brewery hopping in Knoxville and just generally hanging out like we used back when we were roommates (or…I was homeless and they let me stay with them, however you wanna say it).

TN 2

My Aunt also made some fun plans like a history cruise on the river and a Willie Nelson concert. We spent time outside when it wasn’t raining and they showed me around the village they live in. All in all, it was a great visit with the perfect balance of adventure and laying around.

As much as I miss having them nearby, they really seem to love their new home. And I can see why–everyone is so friendly and the weather is so much better than New England.

Aunty Sharon and Uncle B, thanks for a fun week. I miss you like crazy and can’t wait til our next visit. (Also, I forgot to set up Skype for you so let’s try to do that soon.)

Love,

A

Oh hi….

Remember when I used to blog? Well, I’m ready to get back into it. I’m gonna start this off with a speedy-quick recap of the last nine months. Sound good?

September and October

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  • Lauren’s beautiful wedding
  • A visit from D’s parents
  • Electric Run 5K
  • Meeting my precious nephew
  • Not pictured: An overnight trip to Salem with my ladies

November and December

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  • A trip to NYC
  • Home for Christmas
  • We’re engaged!
  • SEA-HAWKS (Thanks for the awesome tickets Dad)
  • Not pictured: Thanksgiving, Ugly Sweater 5K

January and February

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  • Ringing in the new year with my favorite people (and celebrating 5 years with D)
  • Seahawks win the Superbowl
  • Aunty Sharon and Uncle B move to Tennessee 😦
  • Surprise engagement party for D and I
  • Not pictured: Tubing with friends

March and April

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  • Work trip to Mexico…not so bad, right?
  • Rebecca visited!
  • Pentatonix
  • New shoes, new habits
  • Not pictured: Easter with Gram and Gramps

I’m a little bummed that I took such a long break from blogging. As you can see, some really amazing things happened since last summer and they definitely deserve more than a bullet point. But at least it’s better than nothing.

May’s shaping up to be a great month. I’ve got a road trip, an epic concert and a visit from my cousin to look forward to over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

An Overdue Update

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Hi friends, It’s been too long. Since I last wrote many exciting things have happened including:

– a visit from Chantha

– a girl’s night trip to a Connecticut casino

– a job interview

– many date nights

– the start of a running routine

– a job resignation and a job acceptance

– a Duck Tour around Boston

– a lovely Memorial Day weekend at my Aunt’s lakehouse

– a fun dinner party with some (former) co-workers

For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into all the details. But I do want to tell you a little more about my new job! About a month ago I started working for a new company. It is in the same industry (that would be print and promotional products), but the company is much larger than my previous place of employment. My position is fairly similar to what I have been doing since moving to Boston, managing the marketing efforts of the company.

This new company is based out of Cleveland…but I’m not moving there. I was fortunate to take the position as a remote office–which means I primarly work out of my tiny Boston apartment with the occasional trip to the Cleveland office. That means Derek and I spend a lot of time together at home. πŸ™‚ And the best news is that I have more flexibility in my schedule so I’ll be in Washington for almost a month this summer! Working, of course, but still–I’ll have time to see you all.

It’s been an adjustment, but so far I’m really happy with my decision. I’m thankful that I no longer have an hour commute each way to work. It’s a teeny bit lonely without the social aspect of an office, but I’m getting to know my new colleagues and making lots of plans with the friends I made at my last job. The pros definitely outweigh the cons.

So that’s my big news. What’s new in your life?

xo,
A

Thanksgiving 2012

So I’m a little late with this post, but that’s only because Thanksgiving, and the long weekend following it, were so amazing that it’s taken me over a week to recover and settle back into my rhythm.

The reason that Thanksgiving was so great was because of these two:

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Doug and Meg made the trip up from New Orleans and stayed with us for five days. We used to live right down the street from each other, so the reunion was much needed and so much fun.

They arrived late on Wednesday night and as I expected Doug wanted to go out drinking. We discovered a new bar by our apartment and stayed out pretty late catching, and drinking, up.

Thursday morning, after a little lazy time, Meg and started cooking the vegan Thanksgiving feast. D and I did some of the prep work in advance so the dishes came together fairy quickly. We sat down to eat around 2. Our meal included veggie pot pie, green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and cranberry wine. It was delish!

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After the feast, we played some games,Β  watched a lot of football and ate some more. Around 7 we were getting a little stir crazy so we adventured out to see if any of the bars nearby were open. Surprisingly, many of them were. We bar hoped for a little while and then made our way home around midnight.

Friday we drove down to Connecticut for Thanksgiving part 2 at Aunty Sharon’s. Meg met the family and even though it was an adult dinner party, things got a little crazy. My family said or did so many inappropriate things that we made a drinking game out of it. After dinner, we taught the group some other drinking games before switching to Apples to Apples. It was a really fun, sorta out-of-control evening. Meg was likely overwhelmed; Doug loved it.

On Saturday we headed downtown to see How the Grinch Stole Christmas the musical. I had purchased tickets a few months prior and I was so excited to see the show. I should have expected that the audience would be mostly kids, but even still it was a fun time. After the musical, we walked (the long way because we got a little lost) to Quincy Market for lunch and then headed to Boston Common. Doug and Meg got a short tour of the city along the way and when the winds got too cold, we headed back home. We had a low-key night in spent watching Arrested Development, talking about their upcoming wedding and eating leftovers.

For football day, we went back to the first bar and watched the Seahawks. It was fun until they didn’t pull out a W. Doug was upset so the boys went home. Meg and I walked to Fomu for vegan ice cream sundaes. We spent the afternoon watching more Arrested Development, talking more about the wedding and playing more games. It was another easy night but it was so nice to have their company.

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Monday was their last full day in Boston so I wanted to make the most of it. Derek had to go to campus so Doug, Meg and I ate lunch at Red Lentil, a delicious vegan/vegetarian restaurant. Then we dropped Doug off at the apartment and Meg and I went wedding dress shopping. In just a few hours, she had picked out her dress and the bridesmaid dress. By the time we got home, Derek was almost home, so we celebrated her dress purchase with a champagne toast, ate some leftovers for dinner and then headed to Kings for some bowling. After bowling, we tried out one more bar for some darts. We got home around 12:30 and everyone had to go to bed because they had an early flight the next morning.

I was so sad to see them leave. I want so badly to be neighbors again. Derek and I are hoping to make it to NOLA before they move back to Seattle. And then we’ll all be together again for their wedding next summer. Woohoo!

Here’s to hoping that there are many, many more shared holidays in our future. I love you both and I can’t wait to see you again.

Until next time,

A

A Belated Birthday Recap

Year 26 really started off great for me. The celebration actually kicked off the weekend before my special day. We found ourselves in Connecticut for the weekend and my Aunt organized a birthday dinner with family. She even surprised me with a vegan cake from a local bakery. It was so delicious. Really, so good. I didn’t even want to share (but I did…reluctantly).

Fast forward a few days to my actual birthday. My company gives everyone their birthday off so that we can spend the day doing something other than work. I chose to spend the day at the beach with my favorite person. We packed a picnic, including with wine for a birthday toast, and headed out mid-morning. We went to Ogunquit beach in Maine (on the wise recommendation of some work friends). It was beautiful and the weather was perfect–80s with a breeze.

On the drive up, I got a picture message telling me about the gorgeous bouquet my mom, step-dad and sisters sent me. Mom didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be at work. But the flowers were still good the next day. In fact, they are still looking just as fresh almost a week later. These are probably the prettiest flowers I’ve ever received.

When we got to the beach it was pretty apparent that we weren’t adequately prepared. We had no beach gear–not even beach towels. I grabbed some older bath towels on the way out the door for us to sit on. But these beach people…they don’t mess around. They had serious stuff–tents, chairs with built-in umbrellas, super coolers, beach games. We did manage to remember a tiny bottle of sunscreen, at least. Thankfully, it turns out you don’t need fancy things to enjoy the beach. πŸ™‚

After eating lunch on the sand, we packed up the leftovers and dropped them back off at the car to do some exploring. We stopped in a candy store and though I didn’t expect to find anything I could eat, Derek found the last box of vegan rice milk chocolate and promptly bought it for us to share. I’m a dark chocolate lover so it wasn’t my favorite, but it was nice to have some variety.

Next up we enjoyed some drinks and snacks at a Mexican restaurant named Banditos (a nod to my favorite college burrito bar) before venturing back south. We stopped at the outlet stores on the way home but I wasn’t feeling inspired so we left empty handed.

We ended the evening by sharing a meal with our friends Lisa and Jim. They met us in Allston and we walked to a new-to-us Thai restaurant (who am I kidding? Every restaurant in Allston in new-to-us at this point). The food was pretty good. But the vegan ice cream we had for dessert was even better. πŸ™‚

And then, just to extend things a little longer, I had a little birthday/house-warming get-together last Saturday. A few friends came over to see the new place, eat pizza, drink wine, and indulge in more vegan baked goods. It was a perfect finish to a lovely birthday week.

No doubt, I have the best people in my life. Thank you for celebrating with me. You all are loved and appreciated.

-A

What’s Cooking: Veggie and Tofu Pad Thai

Over the weekend, I made a completely vegan meal for my Aunt & Uncle and my grandparents. I was nervous and kinda stressed as I picked the menu because I wanted to make sure they left with a good impression of vegan cooking. I finally settled on pad thai. Derek and I used to make it in Seattle, but we used eggs, so the recipe needed some tweaking. But I was pretty sure I could pull it off. I know I won’t be convincing my Grandpa to give up meat any time soon, but he conceded that the meal “wasn’t awful” and the others said it was very good.

I ended up making enough for at least ten people, so I’ve tried to scale it down for a 4 person-serving. Be warned though, I didn’t follow a strict recipe and I didn’t write down my measurements so this is just a guide. Feel free to make adjustments if you try it yourself.

Shopping List

for the peanut sauce-

3 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter

2 tablespoons of soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos

1/2 teaspoon cayenne chili powder (more or less, depending on how spicy you like)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons hot water

1 teaspoon orange zest

for the noodles-

1/2 package of rice noodles

1/2 package of super firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into small cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup of broccoli pieces

1 cup of cauliflower pieces

1 cup of carrot pieces

1 cup of bean sprouts

1/2 lime- save other half

1/3 cup chopped green onions (for garnish)

1/3 cup peanut pieces (for garnish)

orange and lime wedges (for garnish)

Step by Step

To make the sauce, mix the peanut butter and soy sauce in a microwavable dish. If it’s tough to stir, pop it in the micro for about 30 seconds. Then stir in the other ingredients. Taste and adjust depending on what you like. Derek wanted it to be citrusy so I used equal parts orange juice and water, but you could leave out the juice all together if you wanted the peanut flavor to be more prominent. I just kept mixing until it tasted right to me.

Once your sauce is all set, cook the tofu over medium-high heat until the cues are browned on all sides. When that’s done, place the rice noodles in a bowl of hot water (make sure they are completely covered) and let them soften while you cook the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. We just steamed our veggies in a big wok but you could also try roasting them.

When the veggies are done, add the tofu, noodles, bean sprouts and sauce and mix until everything is covered in peanutty deliciousness. Squeeze the juice from half a lime over the noodles. After your serving is on your plate, top with some green onions and crushed peanuts. Add a couple wedges of citrus fruits and a sprinkle more of cayenne powder and you’re all set.

I like to mix a little brown rice in withΒ  my pad thai (and so does Rebecca) but Derek and my aunt thought that was strange. So do what you want. The dish is great on it’s own but a little brown rice never hurt anyone.

Reasons Why I’m Looking Forward To This Weekend

1. Derek’s spring break is starting so I get to keep him for nine(!) days.

2. Aunty Sharon & Uncle B. are coming over for dinner on Saturday.

3. I get to finish reading Catching Fire (Are you reading The Hunger Games yet? You should be.)

See Ya Lata Chris (and Three Sleeps til NOLA)

I dropped Chris off at the airport shuttle this morning. It was so great to see him. He ended up spending two weekends with me–and the week in between in New Jersey and New York visiting other friends. It worked out perfectly because I worked late every night last week and I would have been absolutely no fun if I had been responsible for entertaining him.

On the 7th we spent the day in Boston; we tasted beer at Sam Adams (if you get a postcard from us, please realize that we were a few beers in when we wrote it); walked around Boston Common and drank some more at Cheers. The weather was beautiful- sunny and much warmer than it should have been for January in Boston. On the 8th we drove up the Cape, stopping at some state parks along the way, and ended our adventure in Provincetown, which seemed like it would have been a cool place except that it pretty much shuts down during the off-season.

This past weekend I had previously committed to dog sitting for Aunty Sharon and Uncle B, so we stayed in Connecticut. Saturday we drove south and visited Groton and New London. We walked the trails at Bluff Point State Park and toured the inside of a submarine at the Submarine Force Museum. Both were pretty neat–and free. We cooked a yummy meal at my Aunt’s and settled in with the pups for a lazy evening. The lazy evening extended into the next day as it was too cold to do much of anything (serious props to Chris for running in 8 degree weather). Aunty Sharon and Uncle B took us out for Mexican food then we came back to my apartment and hung out til bedtime.

Now I’m back at work for three days. On Thursday I’m off to New Orleans for some long over-due time with Doug, Mego and Katie K. The weather report is showing temps at least 40 degrees warmer than what we’ve got going on in Mass. I may even bust out the shorts and sandals. Weird.

Hope you’re well (and warm),
A

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