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Posted on June 11, 2018

We’re Engaged!

Living

Whew! What’s new world? I’ve been almost gone from this baby blog for the past few months, but life has been a whirlwind lately. February and March flew by after our yearly pilgrimage to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. March wrapped up with the best news of all – K and I are engaged! (And, of course, planning our Harry Potter themed wedding to happen this fall.)

But before I get too far ahead, let’s recount the magical day:

Sometime during the week leading up to March 24th, K and I decided that we wanted to have a date day on Saturday. We hadn’t really solidified plans at that point but a few days later, after looking at my dry, winter feet (though let’s face it, they’re always dry), I suggested that maybe we should get pedicures that day. She came back with suggesting we get both done. Fine by me! I had also mentioned wanting to go to Northstar, a local, small chain restaurant that has delicious, fresh food. It was the location of one of our early dates.

We started our Saturday with the second video of a 30 day yoga challenge (and admittedly have not done any yoga since…) and then made our way to one of the malls not too far from us. We had gone there on a past Valentine’s Day date to have our nails done, so figured we would go back to the same one. (Side note: I found a new nail polish color that I love. It’s a shade called ‘Rue’ from Zoya. Perfect for being able to wear while I’m working.)

After our nails were soft and colorful, we decided to head back to the car. I’m not sure at this point if we were going elsewhere at the time. As we were walking, K spotted a photobooth and suggested we take some pictures. We hadn’t ever done that before and it seemed like a fun date idea. There was a pile of teenagers in the booth when we got there, so we waited for them to come out. When it was our turn, she got in and (trying not to be in the way) I went around to the other side to get in. K quickly ushered me to the other side of the booth when she noticed where I had entered. I didn’t think anything of it. Maybe she just felt more comfortable on the left side than the right. *shrug*

I don’t know if you’ve been in a photobooth recently, but they’re much fancier than they used to be! This one not only spit out copies of the photos, but allowed you to basically edit them in advance. You could select a frame, a filter, a song – you could even make a video! After we had chosen all of our bells and whistles, the countdown started. I got ready – posing/smiling appropriately for the camera. Meanwhile, K hands me a photo strip of some random people, “Look what I found in the booth!” I pushed her hand away, trying to get her to just look and smile so that we could take pictures.

Then she hands me another one, “And this one too!” And I look at it. It’s a photo strip of her, holding signs in each frame that read: You’ll. Stay. With. Me? By now she’s also pulled out a ring box and, in my brief moment of confusion and sudden realization, has asked me to marry her. I teared up. She teared up. It was lovely. And all on video! So much fun. Apparently she had scoped out various photobooths early in the week to pick the one she liked best.

After I said yes, we left the booth so that we could go get the signs that she had hidden in the car so that I could appropriately ‘respond’ to her photo strip question with my own photo strip. Until. The. Very. End.

After a brief stop at home, during which we received a lovely card and flowers from the kiddo, we went back out to one of our favorite restaurants, the Northstar Cafe. I had mentioned we didn’t necessarily have to go there because it was somewhat far from home but she was set on going there since we had already discussed it. They do have delicious sweet basil burritos, after all.

I grabbed us a table while she placed our order. We had decided to treat ourselves with wine to celebrate our day. At some point before our meals arrived, a manager from the restaurant came over with a bag of goodies. Apparently, K had gone to the restaurant a few days before to drop it off. It contained a ‘This Witch is Getting Hitched’ t-shirt, some mugs, and some cute photo props. So sweet! The manager ended up comping our meal and gave us some free champagne to celebrate even more.

We continued our lovely day with ice cream cones from Jeni’s and going to see Black Panther. It was all perfect – the day, ring, the Harry Potter proposal, but most importantly – the girl. I can’t wait for the fall!

Posted on April 8, 2018

The 2018 HP Ohio Crystal Ball: House Pride

Living

Whew — I can’t believe it’s already April! It certainly has been a busy 2018 so far. In my attempts to catch up on some of the goings-on of the year, I can’t miss this one!

In January, my partner and I attended the annual Crystal Ball hosted by HP (Harry Potter) Ohio, one of the longest continuously running Potter fan groups. The ball is the one time during the year when members – old and new alike – get gussied up in their finest dress robes, share a meal, and dance the night away in the spirit of “well-mannered frivolity.” This was our third year attending and we had a blast!

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Posted on March 15, 2018

In which I attempt Indian cooking

Eating

For much of my life, I haven’t been what anyone would call an “adventurous eater.” My food palette has been pretty much on the Italian and American side of things. But… thanks entirely to my partner, I adventured out of my comfort zone a bit and happily discovered a love of Indian food during our trip to Europe last year. I used to wrinkle my nose at the very thought of it but now I can’t get enough.

Not only is it delicious, but I know that going into any Indian restaurant, there will be a plethora of vegetarian options. Not just a “choice” of one or two like at most places. (Hello, restaurant industry, it’s 2018.) Instead of letting ourselves go broke or stray too far from our calorie-tracking path, we’ve limited ourselves to having an Indian food outing once a month. There are a ton of restaurants in the Central Ohio area so we won’t run out of options any time soon. (Plus I just created a fun new spread for my BuJo to track the restaurants we visit!)

A few weeks ago we checked out a somewhat local Indian grocer. My partner had been before but this was my first experience. Uh-may-zing. We stocked up on some of our favorites: veggie samosas, paneer pakora, frozen blocks of paneer, a few sauces and spice packs, etc.

Some of the goodies from our recent grocery trips.

Last year for the holidays, I asked for some Indian spices and cookbooks and I’d been waiting to dive into them. We’ve now added making a new Indian recipe once a month to (in theory) balance out the cost of eating out. (Though while you’re still building up an Indian-inspired cupboard, I think there isn’t much price difference.)

So… this brings us to my first actual attempt at said cooking. I like to refer to it as a semi-homemade venture mixed with love… and a healthy dose of, “Oh, what the heck…” My favorite dish is matar paneer (basically peas and cheese cubes in a creamy tomato sauce). By the time we had left the grocery store and gotten home, there was no way a from-scratch meal was going to happen. 

After mixing up some jarred butter masala sauce, adding some spices, paneer, and frozen peas, I got something that looked somewhat like matar paneer. Unfortunately I only had almond milk at the time and not cream, so it wasn’t as light as it sometimes is. It at least looked like matar paneer.

“Matar Paneer” (using quotes here since it lacks authenticity) in the pan.

The real question, though, did it taste like it? No… not exactly. It wasn’t bad; I definitely still wanted seconds. But.. it just wasn’t the real thing. For a mostly impromptu, “Hey! Let’s make ‘Indian food’!” moment, it hit the spot. And if this is the worst “matar paneer” I ever make, then I’m already starting in a pretty good spot!

Round two will definitely involve a cookbook. And planning. And preferably an adopted Indian grandma to teach me her ways. 

 

XO, Grace

Posted on January 7, 2018

Plan With Me: January 2018 BuJo Spreads

Bullet Journal/ Living

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.)

Hooray, January!

There’s something that feels so refreshing about the beginning of a new year. Maybe it’s something in the air. Maybe it’s just that we’ve built up the idea that a new year means a new start so much that it has taken hold of me. Regardless… I’m excited for what’s to come in 2018.

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