Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trip planning!

Like I mentioned yesterday, I'm in the midst of planning our fall road trip. We're leaving in just a few weeks! This time Travis and I are taking on part of the country we've never been to! We're going to New England! I posted about it on instagram yesterday and got so many good suggestions! Here is our tentative route. (Except I'm going to find the best way to avoid New York city)
So I think we're going to hit Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Providence, Salem, Ithaca, Niagara Falls, and Cleveland. It's pretty ambitious, and I'm SO EXCITED about it! Do you have any suggestions for places we HAVE to go? Food we have to eat? Things we need to see?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Instalife: What I've Been Up To

We're getting ready for a pretty big road trip in a few weeks (more on that later) so things have been a little quiet around here. Lots of sleepy afternoons being a pug bed and watching Netflix. Look at these cuties!
Travis' parents gave us passes to see West Side Story at the Symphony Center recently. It was amazing! The whole symphony plays all of the music along with the movie. West Side Story is one of my favorite movies of all time, I got a little teary eyed pretty near the beginning, just because it was SO amazing to hear the music like this! I definitely want to try and got to a few more of these movie events the symphony puts on.
In a totally different vein we also went to see Kevin Smith's new movie, Tusk. If you haven't heard of it go watch the preview. It is SO WEIRD.
I don't have as many weddings to go to this year as I did last year (four in one month and I was in two of them!) but I'm going to three. The first one was a few weekends ago and my friend Thomas went as my date because Travis was out of town. I had fun helping to decorate the car. I'm off to a wedding in Dallas pretty soon.
After the wedding we went to the Pinewood Social which is a super trendy "social club" in town. Honestly it's just ok. If I could eat any of the food I might like it better. But the cocktails are expensive (That is an Everything's Subject to Change) and I've never had one that really blew me away. (My bill was over 24 dollars and I had one drink and hummus with a cucumber) The place is really beautiful though. And I've heard it's great at breakfast.
On the right you see a random midweek cake we made. Complete with gnomes and trees.
Travis and I are almost done with the first season of Hannibal. It is SO GOOD. I kind of can't believe I hadn't heard that much about it. Anybody else watch it? We're going to catch up and then hopefully watch it with friends when the third season starts.
I bought Travis this shirt from the Six Dollar Tshirt site. How freaking cute is it? And I love that he is happy to wear it. He is totally a cat person.
I thought we were done with summer but last week I got invited out to Percy Priest lake. I thought it would be a little chilly but it was perfect! Travis brought me my bathing suit and I got a last great swim in off a little island in the middle of the lake. We stayed until it started to get dark.
We parked at a new boat ramp this time that is near the sailboat harbor. As we got a ride back to the boat ramp there were probably 20 sailboats out! It was so beautiful! And of course we had to take one last summer selfie.
As much as I love summer I'm excited for fall too. I tried this elderberry cider from Original Sin, and it was good! I also picked up a few pairs of Halloween socks from the Target dollar aisle.
Travis carved me a pumpkin! I tried to get a cute shot with my black cat, but it didn't work. I finally retired the puts Martha Stewart pet collars (they were about three years old and a little too ragged) so they are in seasonal collars while I look for new ones I like. I don't know why it is proving difficult.
I brought out the halloween bandanas. And I picked up a silly black cat bed! It has ears and a little face in the middle. It has proved very popular. There is always a dog or cat in it. So cute!
I came in the living room the other night and Scout was laying there in front of that Billy Joel record. Haha!
And last but not least. Travis has been away twice recently at scooter rallies. So we send each other winking pictures. I'm glad he doesn't have another one for a while. It is lonely to be home all by myself for the whole weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Tennessee State Fair

We live very close to the Tennessee State Fair Grounds, but I haven't been to the state fair since 2000! (We went because Weird Al was playing the fair! Haha!) We decided to check it out this year and went on the last night.
We used to go to the Wilson County Fair every year, but haven't been in a few years. That one is really focused on agriculture, the state fair here is mostly rides and food. And prizes! I loved seeing all the piles of weird prizes. Like these inflatable princess mallets.
We stopped to watch a guy who was juggling knives. The show was ok and we were about to walk away then Travis got called up to help and I'm so glad we stayed! We were laughing so hard!
He sent Travis back to the audience then asked this guy to light these torches and throw them to him! So scary! Travis said he was glad it wasn't him.
I want one of those ETs! Or I'll take a Jake.
Look at that baby cow!
There was a little section of the fair dedicated to Mexico. We walked over to watch some dancing that was going on. Travis asked a woman running one of these food booths what these little wagon wheel shaped chips were, but she didn't understand and told him the price. So he just bought them! Hahah, good thing he liked them. With hot sauce of course.
Like I said, the fair was mostly rides and food. We searched for tornado potatoes but no one was selling them! I wish there would have been some kind of vegan funnel cake option.
Crystal went for a food long corn dog.
I got a big lemonade and a bucket of fries! Yes!!
I couldn't get over how HUGE some of the prizes were. Look at those things!
We wandered around looking at everything. None of us were interested in riding anything. I was surprised that there weren't any shows going on! Maybe because it was the last night.
Unlike the other fairs I've been too, this one seemed to have one company doing everything, so there wasn't much of the cool vintage fair look we all love to see. I liked this skee ball trailer though!
This couple was hauling around so many toys! I wonder if they have tons at home. Also, notice the Rasta bananas. Those seemed to be really popular.
I wouldn't mind winning a Pikachu!
There was a huge train set that was so neat to look at! There was a little graveyard with a tiny figure of death on a mountain overlooking it! I loved this little motel scene. See the woman in red to the right, trying to get her little white cat out of the tree? And if we zoom in....
Look at that "Just Married" car! So cool!
It will probably be a while before we go to the fair again. But it was a fun way to spend a few hours with my best friends.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Packing Lunch: Tools of the Trade

I've been posting most of my bento lunches on instagram and sometimes I get questions about where I get stuff/what you need to make your own cute lunches. I thought it would be fun to show you what I've got! My favorite place for bento supplies is Bento USA! They have a huge selection and I could browse there forever. I've also gotten stuff from Amazon, Ebay, estate sales, and we used to have an amazing store in town called Happy Japan. They even had bento classes! I wish I had gotten to take one. Also, I am so bummed that we didn't make a trip to Daiso when we were on the west coast. What was I thinking?!
Here is my bento drawer in my kitchen!
Here is my stash of food picks.
They make it really easy to make your lunch more kawaii. Just stick one of these tiny things in pretty much anything and it is automatically cuter! I love the little koalas and monkeys that hold onto things. And of course those little trees!
Part of what appeals to me about bento lunches is that there is less waste generated from packing my lunch this way. Instead of throwing away bags and napkins and utensils every day, I usually don't have any trash at all. I have a whole stack of cloth napkins I use. All the floral ones are from estate or yard sales. I think I paid 10 cents per napkin! I have about four of each pattern so I've always got some ready to go.
I take my own utensil too. I have some vintage utensils with pretty patterns. You can find that kind of stuff for really cheap at thrift stores or yard sales. The colorful forks were from an estate sale too. They are disposables but I just wash them and reuse them. The set with the chopsticks is my favorite. The little animals are so cute!
Sauce bottles are important since you don't want your salad to get soggy or your hummus to soak your chips! I have a whole variety of sizes! The little pandas are for soy sauce, and I use the apple topped ones for hot sauce. The bear is the perfect size for salad dressing and the panda/chicken/pig set are good for stuff you want to dip. The egg guy is for mayo but I don't eat mayo so I usually use that one if I'm taking a bigger salad.
The white things are onigiri molds. They are cheap and so easy to use! You can mold the rice with plastic wrap too, but then you throw that away after every use. Dividers are important in some kinds of lunches, I like the silicon grass the best! The little silicon cups are handy too. Teeny tiny cookie cutters are good for cutting up vegetables or fruit. I just ordered a little set of five with a few different shapes.
These guys are necessary but I really love them! The things on the right are for punching out nori (the seaweed that you find wrapped around sushi) to decorate the onigiri. With the molds on the left you press sushi rice into them to make the shapes. So easy! So precious!
That is what I have for now. There are so many cute things online, but I'm trying to resist. You can be sure there will be lots of bento supplies on my Christmas list this year!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Art of Packing Lunch

I try to pack my lunch for work everyday. It saves us money, and it saves me from having to wait in line to buy food since I've only got 30 minutes. I've dabbled in bento making a few times over the last few years, but I'm totally addicted right now! My department stocked Laptop Lunchboxes this year for back to school and once they went to half off I snagged one. I've had the little accessories for a while. Here is the first lunch I made in my new box:
It is Rad Rainbow Pad Thai, some rice crackers, kiwi, and dried pineapple. Pretty simple, but it makes me so happy! The little chicken has sesame seeds and hemp seeds to sprinkle on the Pad Thai! I usually spend about 15 minutes the night before packing my lunch for the next day. That is why these are all iphone photos. It is too dark to get a good shot with my camera at home when they are done. Here are some of my lunches from the past month:
This one has leftover Mediterranean pasta from a dinner training the night before. I also found a tiny flower cutter to use on the kiwi.Things like that are so easy to do, but make it that much cuter.
This one has left over pizza from the night before. I had this mental picture of slicing up the pizza and making cute little rolls but it didn't quite work out like that. Oops! It still looks cute with the little animal head picks. The pig container has some hummus in it. The little blue cat is stuck in a tiny piece of cherry pie.
Another thing I really like to make is onigiri! They are the rice shapes in the bottom box. Travis is a pro at making them, usually with broccoli in them. The piece of nori seaweed makes a kind of handle so you can pick them up easily. We both like to eat them with hot sauce, that is what is in the little apple head bottles. Yum! Travis likes these in his lunch box too because they are easy for him to eat in his truck while he is making deliveries.
Since we make onigiri so much I decided to order these two onigiri molds! Aren't they cute? The panda face one is really easy to use. The baby panda one isn't as easy, I haven't gotten it to work quite right yet, but I'm trying!
Here is my first day with the panda onigiri. Travis actually made these for me. They have broccoli in the middle. The face is made with nori, and you just use a punch to get the shapes. So easy! So kawaii! The little cat head is in a piece of strawberry and cashew cream coffee cake. It is so good!
I really delighted myself when I thought of putting the picks in the middle of the red bell pepper flowers. There are Swedish fish in the top left box, one of the few vegan mass market candies. I put some broccoli around the panda heads this time. They aren't easy to pick up and eat like the traditional triangle shape so I just mix it up with the broccoli and eat it with a fork. Yum!
The tree picks are adorable too. I usually cut a piece of cucumber to make the top. The leftover pieces of vegetables I cut just go on the bottom of the salad.
As you can see I ended up getting a second box. It makes it so I don't have to make sure my box gets washed as soon as I get home so I can pack it for the next day. This one is dishwasher safe, and you can microwave the little boxes too. Which is awesome! For a few days I was bringing leftover Chili Pasta Casserole and could heat that up without having to heat up the rest of the stuff in my box.
You might notice I use that little giraffe a lot in a container of fruit. It is not only cute, it acts as a fork to eat the fruit with!
And last but not least, this was my lunch yesterday. We had tacos the night before and I wanted to make a build your own taco lunch! It isn't the cutest (I should have made a face on the shells!) but it was really good!
I'm having a lot of fun with bentos currently. It makes it exciting to pack my lunch and the little containers make me pack a variety of stuff instead of just taking one container of one thing like I was doing before. If you want to see more ideas, I like looking at the bento tag on instagram the best for easy ideas. If you search on pinterest or google you usually get back lots of results like this or this, which are really cute but pretty hard to do! And a lot of the time don't really seem like something I really want to eat for lunch!
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