The goal was to host a dinner party for 6 before the wedding. What did I do? I hosted an impromptu pizza party for five on the back deck the two Fridays before the wedding when Jessie got to town. To my credit, there was a homemade salad and dressing...and a picture to prove it. Why don't we do that more often?
Also, if you count Skippy who hid in the closet the whole time, it makes six. I call that a win.
So. Interesting things happen when you marry an illegal immigrant. Obviously, he's a great deal more than that but, for the sake of humor and snarkiness, we'll stick with the label that the U.S. Government is interested in. Without getting into all the nitty gritty details, the husband and I are going through three major changes that all involve a great deal of paperwork. Here's what's on the to-do list at the moment:
-Change my last name
-File Green Card paperwork
-Get ready for filing joint taxes
None of these things are a joke. Put them together and my brain shuts down. The one bright spot in all of this is that we've been able to find some professionals to provide us with legit advice and subsequently help me cross #2 off of the list.
I did some research and listened to some of the opinions out there but, if I'm being honest? I knew pretty early on in our engagement that I was going to change my name and I didn't have a problem with it. I never felt like I was giving anything up. If anything, I was gaining access to something. Conor and I were going to start a new family together and I liked the idea of having a name that I chose to go along with it. As far as the logistics, I knew a couple of people that used the MissnowMrs service and really liked it. For about $30 you input your personal information and they prefill all the forms you need. I have yet to print them all and file but I'm getting there soon.
The reason for the hurry? The sooner I change my name, the sooner we can file all of the Green Card paperwork. Having the same last name will be one more point in our favor when we go through the process. You know, to prove that it isn't a sham marriage. That's actually something that we're going to have to convince someone of. Sheesh. Thankfully, we found a free legal clinic in Southie which walked us through the paperwork and answered all my nervous, policeman's daughter and I don't break rules questions. Believe me, it's more complicated that Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell make it out to be.
The last, and arguably most amusing, part of the whole thing will be filing our taxes. We met with an accountant last night. While he was just a lovely person, no one wants to hear about the possibility of having to pay thousands of dollars in April. I'm not going to get into it (she says as she writes the longest post ever) because talking about money is crass and it makes me anxious but, since Conor is self-employed, he gets extra beat up when joining the rest of us tax-paying schmoes. There may be a lot of ramen noodles in our future.
So who else is sick of that salmon photo? I am. I'm still making the recipe though.
The old blog is long overdue for an update. On the upside, a lot has happened since May. I went back to Denver. I cooked some tasty food. I planned a wedding and pulled it off. Most importantly, I was reminded of how amazing my friends and family are.
On the down side, the sheer awesomeness of this past summer has paralyzed me to the point where I don't know how to start describing it all. I'm in recovery. I'm getting back to normal. That in itself is pretty great.
I feel like the first order of business should be to talk about the wedding, how it made me feel, and share pictures of all my favorite moments. Sorry folks* but I'm just not ready yet. I'm still in a bit of a haze and I think it will be a little while longer until I've really wrapped by head around that amazing week and that gorgeous sunny day when Conor and I officially created our new little family.
Until then, I'm going to focus on the easy stuff. Now that I've knocked goal #1 off of the list, I'm going to revisit the rest of my goals and blog about some of the other progress I've made. My 29th birthday is in less than a month. Am I halfway there?
*Of course, "folks" is more of a figurative term since I don't know if anyone is still reading.
First of all, the countdown is on...for my herb garden. Goal #15 in the thirty before thirty challenge is to plant a container herb garden that survives longer than three months. The demon cat that lives in in my apartment goes after all other living things with a vengeance leaving all of my houseplants sequestered to the mantle and on top of the bookcase. I decided to take it outside to the deck with this one.
I found this metal window box that the landlords left behind and only had to shell out $23 for the liner and four perky little plants. Fingers crossed that I'll have basil, parsley, rosemary, and cilantro all through the summer! I would have taken better photos but the neighbors were out grilling and they already think I'm a total weirdo.
In other news, goal #29 is still going strong. I found a recipe for Strawberry and Black Pepper Crisps on my new favorite food blog The Year in Food. I thought that maybe I could trick the boyfriend into trying a fruit dessert if it involved balsamic vinegar and black pepper. He's more of a savory guy. The finished result was delish. I might use a little less vinegar the next time (I went for a full 2 tablespoons) but it mellowed out in the fridge overnight and was even better the next day. Chalk this one up to a win!
In keeping with my goal to try out new recipes on the regular, I picked out this one from The Kitchn for salmon with cilantro vinaigrette. I really love this site. It's the food division of Apartment Therapy and always has quick recipes and interesting articles. The recipe is on the link so I won't repeat it but it was as easy as it sounds.
It was a huge hit with the fiance too. We were both so excited to eat that I forgot to take pictures until I was packing up the leftovers for lunch. I also ended up making it twice in one week.
The seven people that read this blog may have noticed a certain lack of posting lately. There's no real reason except that I can't seem to form an extended, cohesive thought. I think my attention span is shot. I've been reduced to interacting with the world around me in the quickest ways possible...texting, pinterest, flicking channels...Conor's even getting one word sentences most of the time.
I have all these half ideas that I can't turn actual posts. Oh well, let's fall back on the 30 list. I'm updating the list with a new goal since looking back, a couple of them feel like cop outs. To that end, I'm committing to trying a new recipe every two weeks.
The first attempt was a complete failure. I decided to make savory breakfast mini-muffins using two different recipes. It was ugly. The first was goat cheese and chive, the second was bacon and cheddar. Neither were appetizing once baked. I won't go into detail but I should have known things were off when they came out of the oven looking pretty much the same as they did going in. Just harder.
Luckily the iPhone was there to capture my epic failure.
This week's attempt was much much more successful even if the photo wasn't any better. I give you black bean and potato fritatta with cheddar.
One down, twenty nine to go. Remember the list? You should. It was only 2 posts ago.
After what seems like ten years of studying and practice test, I finally finished my last securities registration exam today. In typical fashion, I didn't tell anyone on my team, slipped out under the pretense of "an appointment" and came back an hour and half later with a solid passing grade. I'll spare the details about feeling like I was going to throw up all day and staring at the screen with my heart beating out of my chest while I waited for the computer to calculate my score. It's all over now.
The best part? I can now focus on things I care about far more than my job (oops) like making decorations for the wedding and getting drunk on weekdays. More interesting blog posts are in our future.
It's nice to make connections that in hindsight seem so obvious. I just found Amy Merrick's blog An Apple a Day. I've loved her posts on Design*Sponge for a long time but never knew she had her own blog. Of course she does. She's wonderful. Seriously...I sat at work and devoured her blog even though it was waaayyyy too obvious that I wasn't doing any work.
I especially liked her 2010 wrap up post. It was such a sweet way to remember a year's worth of events. I want to be like her. Check it out here.
Ok. You can if you want to. That's probably what it is anyway.
I've been reading Making It Lovely for a long time and was inspired by Nicole's "30 Before Thirty" list.* Since I'll be turning thirty in relatively short order (October 20, 2012!) I thought it would be cool to put my own list together to make the next couple of years a little more exciting and driven. It was only when I sat down to write this post that I did a little google research and realized that this whole concept is already a pretty big movement.
Maybe I'm cheating a little by giving myself almost two years to tackle the list but, if I know myself, I'll cross a few things off right away and then go into hibernation until about six months before the big 3-0. We'll see. Here we go. I can't believe I'm putting this out there.
1. Get married.
2. Get some professional advice on the green card process and how to file taxes in the meantime.
3. Bake an edible loaf of bread.
4. Visit Conor's hometown in N. Ireland.
5. Finish the photo albums of my nephews I've been promising to everyone for years.
6. Host a dinner party for at least 6 people before the wedding.
7. Vacation in Italy.
8. Complete securities registration exams for work.
26. Take more walks, especially when I don't feel like it.
27. Volunteer twice a year.
28. Stretch and do situps 3x a week.
29.Get more sleep but wake up earlier. This goal was a total cop out and it is being replaced with:
29. Try a new recipe every two weeks.
30. Go see a movie outdoors in Boston.
Obviously, the list is in no particular order. It was pretty funny reading back through it and realizing how funny certain goals looked next to each other. I mean, of course DIYing a headboard and buying a house carry the same amount of significance for me in the next two years. Haha. At the very least this will be a good source of blog posts.
*By the way, her stationery is also super cute. I've ordered a few different patterns and have always been really satisfied.
So it's a new year. It's that time of year where you're supposed to finally put down the cookies and the party mix, stop eating mashed potatoes at every meal, and take stock. Look back, look forward, and make plans before the sugar high and the tryptophan wear off.
Emerging from the cozy fog of the holidays with newfound motivation, I flip the tv back on and am told that it's time for new beginnings.
New gym memberships (to sculpt the new me!)
New cars (before the holiday deals are all gone!)
New wardrobes (because the new me deserves it!)
That's about the time when I get sick of the whole "new year" thing. It makes me feel like a sheep. I've resisted being part of the herd since a very influential person in 8th grade told us that we were all sheep. It's a long story.
This year though, I really feel like I'm on the cusp of something pretty great. Yes, the wedding is a huge part of that feeling. No, I'm not going to apologize for that since getting married is awesome and I'm psyched about it.
However, it's made me reevaluate a lot of things, recognize my short term goals, my long time goals, and realize that Conor and I are forming shared goals for our future. Big time stuff!!
I don't think I'm fully ready to jump on the resolution train so I'm going to stick in my safe zone: The To Do List. This post is already long enough so I'll be posting to do list of significant proportions soon. There's nothing better than the public shame of failure to keep you motivated!