Top Sixteen of 2016

16. Turning 30. (July)

15. Buying a new car. (May)

14. Taking on more writing projects at work. (February-December)

13. A Sunday night wedding in Bellingham. (December)

12. The Lumineers concert. (June)

11. A long weekend in Portland exploring and watching Erin marry her love. (August)

10. Celebrating my sister’s 21st birthday in Leavenworth. (January)

9. Hiking old favorites and exploring new trails. (May-November)

8. Moving into our own place in Everett. (March)

7. Finding out that I’m going to be aunt again. (October)

6. Establishing healthier eating habits. (November)

5. Celebrating our first anniversary. (July)

4. A long weekend in New England with my grandparents and dear friends. (October)

3. Girls trip to Austin. (May)

2. Watching my brother and his best friend open their own bar. (February)

1. Finishing the half marathon–and training all summer long with Derek. (September)

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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!

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!

Sunshiny Summer Weekend

I know it’s Tuesday now, but I’m still smiling from the wonderful weekend Derek and I had. It sort of started early–I had a convention to attend in NYC on Thursday and Friday. So while I was technically still working, we were able to spend some time in the evenings exploring the city.

pretzel

We drove in early (really really early) on Thursday morning–arriving at the hotel by 7:30am, I spent the day at the convention and then after a quick nap, we got fancy and went out for a date. We ate at a cute Asian fusion vegan cafe, then walked up to Central Park and ended the evening with some beers and street vendor snacks. It was perfect. Until I had to get up early for day 2 of the convention, but whatcha gonna do? After the convention on Friday, we picked up some burritos and headed back to Central Park for a little picnic dinner. We left the city around 7pm and drove to my grandparent’s house in Connecticut for the night.

roses

After taking us out for breakfast Saturday morning, Gram and Gramp showed us the rose garden at Elizabeth Park in Hartford. It happened to be Rose Weekend, so there was a little festival going on and the speaker informed us that it was the one weekend a year when all 800 rose varieties are in bloom. The flowers were beautiful and the company was great. We wandered around for an hour or so and then headed back. Derek and I drove back to Boston and had a low-key Saturday night. Our bodies were tired from the long days and all the NYC walking.

Sunday was another beautiful day and I was determined to spend some time outside. We met up with Derek’s brother Tyler and his boyfriend Mark on the waterfront for some drinks on the patio. While it was just a little too hot in the sun, the shaded patio was perfect. Several drinks later, we all felt refreshed. We walked along the harbor for a bit, before making our way to Boston Common where we parted ways. Tyler and Mark, smartly, went home. Derek and I went to another bar.

beer

After our fourth drinks of the night, at about 9pm, we realized we hadn’t had dinner yet. So we hopped on the T, back to our neighborhood, and headed to our usual spot for more drinks and dinner–a basket of pretzels for me and a quesadilla for him. We ate. We drank. And then we eventually went home. I crawled right into bed and sleep happily until my mean alarm told me the weekend was over.

It was just one of those perfect weekends, the kind that exemplifies summer: carefree, sunshine, time with family, beers on the patio. I hope you all welcomed summer with equally amazing weekends. Here’s to many more!

Snapshots

photo (2)Life has been good lately. It’s been a very snowy February and early March, but with pretzels, craft nights, amazing concerts and plenty of celebrations with D, I haven’t let the winter weather keep me down.

The best thing that happened in February was Derek passing his comp exam. He read hundreds of books and spent (what felt like) thousands of hours preparing and I couldn’t be more proud–and relieved–that it’s over. I threw him a little surprise party to mark the accomplishment but I was too busy having a great time with everyone that I forgot to take any pictures. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it was a success. 🙂

And March has more good things in store. Tomorrow D and are headed to Northampton for a weekend trip. He’s speaking at a conference but we’re spending the night so we can have a date day in a new city on Sunday. At the end of the month I have my Grandpa’s birthday and an Easter celebration with the family to look forward to. I’m also hoping that the snow melts away and that we start to see the sun again, but we’ll just have to wait and see how that plays out.

I hope 2013 is treating you right so far. There are so many great things happening to the people I love that I can’t help but think it is going to be one amazing year.

Love to you all,

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,  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

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 with  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.

Giving Thanks #1

Thank you Aunty Sharon, Uncle Bryan, Grandma and Grandpa for giving me the courage and the resources to move cross country. I could never have considered the move without all your love and support. Thank you for spoiling me. Thank you for hosting family events–I love when everyone gets together. Thank you for putting up with my increasingly picky eating. And thank you for welcoming Derek into the family. I love you all so much.

One Year Ago

Finally crossing into Connecticut after 5 days of driving

It’s been a year. Already. I’ve been thinking about how I want to write this post for a while now and I still don’t know how to sum up all the changes I’ve experienced since leaving Seattle. From where I was and how I felt about my life a year ago to where I am right now, I can say that I made the right decision and that I’m happier and healthier. I’m exactly where I should be. But it hasn’t been an easy year—there was plenty of loneliness, self-doubt and tears before I realized that I could be happy here.

I still miss Seattle like crazy. I miss my family and friends, of course, but I’m surprised at how attached I still feel to the city I called home for only 13 months. If I could take Derek, my family, my new friends and my job and move everyone to Seattle, I would do it in a second. It will always feel like home.

But while I’m away, I’m proud that I live on my own and that I’m taking good care of myself. I could never have moved without the support of my family, especially my Aunt and Uncle for letting me live with them while I settled in. But it was never my intention to free-load indefinitely and I’m thankful that I found a job that allows me to support myself in the way I had hoped for.

And speaking of the job, it’s not always easy and sometimes I complain more than I should, but in all honesty, I love it. I love (most of) the work that I get to do. I love that I get to write, that I get to be creative, that I get to learn new things. And I absolutely love the majority of the people I work with. I was so miserable working at the Tux Shop; I am thankful to working at a job that I find interesting and rewarding.

Derek and I are doing better than ever. Obviously, if I had not moved, our relationship would not have been sustainable. His first semester of school (last fall) was really hard on me. I was unemployed, bored and lonesome and he was really busy. And he had opportunities to socialize that I didn’t. We didn’t talk as often as I liked and we both felt like we needed more emotional support than the other could give us. But since I found a job, and consequently friends, and I moved an hour closer to his home in New Hampshire, we’ve found a balance that works well for us.

All this to say, I’m happy I took the risk. The last year was full of change, transition and personal growth but I think the results have been positive—on pretty much every front. I hope the coming year is a little less crazy but I’m certain I’ll be able to handle any curveballs that are thrown my way.

Love and miss you all,

A

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