Delightfully Living: Day 142 – Day 149

365 photo project – the simple act of taking a picture every day for a year. The idea behind starting the project is for me to try to get myself to slow down and take a different look at the world. The series is called Delightfully Living. This is Day 142 – 149.

What you will see: moments of time, food, details of the world around me and things that I enjoy.

Day 142: After three days of the worst pain ever I found myself in the hospital. Ten hours, a spinal tap and a couple of CAT scans later I was sent home. So glad it wasn’t serious.

Day 143: After the hospital visit I took a couple of days off to recuperate. Layla helped me relax.

Day 144: The pirate ghost of Pac-man.

Day 145: Chocolate peanut butter ice cream cones with Mr. Sweet. Delish!

Day 146: A Memorial Day Weekend Poker Party at a friends house. Mr. Sweet lost the pot against a true expert in bluffing.

Day 147: Close up of a flower on one of our many walks.

Day 148: Flowers before the rain.

Day 149: I couldn’t agree more.

Entertaining: Tips on how not to stress.

One thing Mr. Sweet and I love to do is entertain. It is one our favorite ways to spend quality time with friends. We enjoy the intimacy of gathering at our home instead of a loud restaurant or lounge.

Usually hosting an evening at home can be stressful. If you aren’t ready beforehand you can find yourself scrabbling around the house cleaning, finding/washing the serving platters and trying to get everything in order. The last thing you want to do is stress before entertaining.

Here are a couple of tips on how not to stress hosting an evening with friends.

• A winning strategy is to plan ahead, know what you want to cook, whom you would like to invite and the overall theme of the party.

• Choose recipes that you can make in advance.

• If stressed for time, a slow cooker meal is always the way to go. Prepare the night before and only minimal effort is needed on the day of the party.

• DO NOT do the shopping, food, cleaning and have everyone over the same day. This is a recipe for disaster and may possibly start a fight with your significant other because you are so stressing out. (Ahem..Why you looking at me Mr. Sweet??)

• Allow more time than you think necessary. You risk being behind schedule should a problem arise.

• Shop 1-2 days before your party and make sure to double check you have everything. I can’t tell you how many times I am missing one. little. ingredient.

• If you are serving booze, remember to prepare glassware, buy straws and stock up on ice. Doubling your estimate is always a sure bet – it’s better to have too much then not enough. You could always save the extra bottles for your next event.

• Have a buffer. My husband is the perfect buffer. He keeps our guests entertained while I am in the kitchen completing dinner. Afterwards, I am his buffer as he is clearing the table and loading the dishwasher. This also gives you one on one time with your guests.

• If you can, clean as you go. No one enjoys a huge mess at the end of a great evening.

• Don’t panic. There is ALWAYS someone who is going to be early and there will always be someone who is going be late. Try not to time the dishes you are making to coordinate exactly when you have asked your guests to arrive. I have fallen into this trap and have had a couple of dried out meals to show for it.

Above all, don’t let the little things bother you. Who cares that you don’t have 20 different sodas to offer, the bread is crispier then you would like or the dessert doesn’t look bakery perfect. Don’t let these challenges ruin your evening. Let them go and have fun. Most likely your guests won’t even notice!

March Roundup

In January I decided that at the end of each month I am going to do a roundup as a reminder to myself of the great things that happen. As you can tell I forgot February. It is suppose to be a simple but effective memory keeping tool, a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment, and get us ready to greet a new month of possibilities.

So long, Farewell. I hate to see you go.

Though this is certainly not the end of the world, Google Reader is retiring as of July 1st. Social media is quite a big deal for the blogging community and I used Google Reader heavily. Now I am in search for a new home for all of my RSS feeds.

I like to keep social media streamlined and easy. Doesn’t everyone? Google Reader helped me with that.

There are so many different sites out there for streamlining your social media. Below are a couple sites I have come across that might help with the transition.

Bloglovin – My top choice right now. Just add the blogs you want to follow, and you’ll get notified every time one of your favorite blogs has written a new blog post.

Feedly –  My second choice. Organize your favorite blogs, news sites, podcasts and Youtube channels and access them all in one place. Great for multi tiered networks.

Pulse – Pulse is a fast way to read your favorite blogs, magazines, social networks and newspapers. You can even send saved stories to Pocket and Evernote. I do like the feature to save to Pocket because I adore the app, but I am not quite sure I like the layout of Pulse.

NewsBlur – Create an account, subscribe to favorite sites, and read on any computer. NewsBlur is free on the web, iPad, iPhone, and Android up to 64 sites. After 64 sites there is a $1/month fee for the premium site.

I am not sure which I am going to go with yet. I do have till July 1st to play around with each and to see which is best for my personal needs.

Good Bye, Google Reader. You will be missed.

This and That.

1. I can’t believe the amount of books that I have read in the last couple of months. I think it is because I have made sure I had at least an hour each day to do something that is unplugged and purely for myself.

2. Sometimes weekends aren’t about what you do, but rather who you spend them with. During the last few weeks, Mr. Sweet and I have been so busy that we have not had time to relax. So, this weekend was wonderful. We watched too many movies, ate big breakfasts with delicious cups of coffee, chowed down on specialty ice cream, rejuvenated with a very necessary nap and attended a savory dinner.

3. I’m not looking forward to tomorrows impending snow storm. If I was stuck at home with Mr. Sweet I wouldn’t mind so much, but I know I have to go into work.

4. Our Italy trip is officially cancelled. I’m sad, but know it is for the best. Hopefully a trip to somewhere in Europe will be in the works for next year.

5. I’m on the lookout for a new camera. There are so many out there that I just feel so overwhelmed.

6. In the beginning of next week, Mr. Sweet & I are going to make a lifestyle change. Nothing as drastic as moving to a different state or quitting our jobs. Just a little something that we have wanted to do. If all goes well, you will hear about it in the future.

Fill in the blank Friday!

You know the drill! Fill in the blank Friday brought to you by the little things we do….

1. My favorite new blog of the moment is Mint love social club.

2. Something I am thankful for is the support of my friends and family. I have really needed them in the last couple of months and they have been there for me 100%.

3. Something that made me laugh this week was the random pirate game my husband’s brother sent us months ago. We finally broke it out when our friend John was over. Hilarious!

4. An item that is currently on my wish list is a pair of cozy Hearthside slippers from LL Bean in bright berry. Seen here.

5. I am excited about the calendar full of plans we have for the next two months. Busy but fun.

6. If I were a color I would be purple. It is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, and mystery.

7. My favorite way to spend a chilly fall day is by taking a long walk with my husband, coming back to a warm apartment with hot chocolate and marshmallows and my favorite fluffy blanket.

Awkward and Awesome Thursday

Do you guys know what day it is? It’s Thursday. What are Thursday’s going to be from now on? Awkward and Awesome! Take a look at Sydney’s fabulous Awkward and Awesome Thursday’s and post your own. I dare ya!

Awkward:

– My poor husband having to deal with the first day of our 30 day challenge of no television.  I was major crankypants.

– Getting stuck in traffic because of a lawyer’s convention that is being held in the hotel next to my building. Ugh, traffic and lawyers.

– Shopping.  I dislike going into a store, getting what I need and then having to wait on a line with one register and a women who can’t decide if she wants the blue socks or the brown.  PICK ALREADY!

– Trying to plan a get together with a friend and her husband.  When I tell her that the next Saturday we have available isn’t till mid January she says, “Yea right.  Bet you just don’t want to see us.”  Yerm, I do BUT I work two jobs and schedule everything from doctors, hang outs, haircuts and family visits.  Not to mention Thanksgiving and Christmas are right in the middle of it all.

Awesome:
– Date night tonight with my husband – a dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe and then off to a free movie preview.  Can’t wait.

– The buffalo chicken rolls at the Grand Lux Café. Soooo good!

– Last night I was able to sit back with fuzzy socks, a mud mask, a book, a great big glass of wine in a quiet apartment.  I was beyond ecstatic.

– Working with my best friend. Awesome.  Being able to have lunch together whenever we want.  Even more Awesome.

– Prime parking when you need to hit a store and leave quickly.  Happen twice this week.

– A full calendar of wonderful events coming up.

What’s happening in your life that is either Awkward and/or Awesome?

Fill in the blank Friday.

Today’s blanks are brought to you courtesy of  the little things we do…

Don’t forget to link up!!

1.   My favorite thing about this week was/is  that I am finally going to meet a friends new baby.  I have a fever lately.  Baby fever!

2.   Colder weather makes me incredibly cold.  My hands are always frozen and all I want to do is stay home under the warm covers of my bed.

3.  Three things that make me terribly happy as of late are  my husband, my down comforter and a hot chocolate loaded with marshmallows.

4. If I could only wear one kind of shoe for the rest of my life, I’d choose ballet flats.  They come in all shapes and wonder colors.

5.  My personality type is  all over the place.  It always depends on who I am with or what time of the year it is.  Introvert especially in the winter.

6.  I have a serious problem resisting television.  I love watching it.  Unfortunately, our next 30 day challenge is living a month without television.  Totally my husbands idea!

7.  My favorite color to wear is  black.  It is also my husband’s favorite.  You should see our laundry.  It is ridiculous.