It's the last Wednesday of the month, which means it's a What's Up Wednesday post! I feel like I've covered a lot here, so might as well jump right in.
What We're Eating this Week
Sunday morning stuffed French toast! This past Sunday on a whim I whipped up some French toast complete with sliced strawberries, bananas, and a schmear of Nutella in between. You just assemble these like a grilled cheese or panini, grilling up one side of each piece of French toast first. Add a little powdered sugar if you're feeling ~fancy~ like we were, and then top with your favorite syrup! Now for something savory...
Technically this was two weeks ago, but it was so good I'd make it again this week! French Onion soup is one of my favorites in the fall and winter, and typically I just buy it frozen from Trader Joes. I decided to try making it from scratch for the first time using this recipe— it wasn't as hard as I thought, and it came out perfectly! Well... almost. My huge batch of onions were pretty well caramelized and I had gone through a few cycles of deglazing the pan and letting them simmer; they looked ready to me, but there was still maybe 4 minutes or so left on the timer? Always one to go by the book, Les insisted I let them finish. Anyways, we got distracted reorganizing our bar a little bit, and next think I knew they were burning! We decided they were salvageable, but all of that is to say that for as fantastic as this homemade soup turned, I can only imagine how much better it will be when the onions aren't burnt!
What I'm Reminiscing About
Somehow some of my girlfriends and I got on the subject of prom and prom dresses the other day, so we all sent each other photos of our dresses. This was Junior and then Senior prom for me, which would be 11 and 10 years ago... yikes! I was telling my friends how funny it was that our town actually didn't get overly dressed up for prom. The mood was very much "who can look the best but also look like they didn't try too hard." So a lot of the dresses were kind of beachy, especially senior year! I'd love to go back and get decked out in a more formal gown. Maybe that's why we've decided to make our wedding more formal. Also, somehow I lost all of my Junior prom pictures! This was the only one I could find. Here's hoping they're all on my old laptop.
What I'm Loving
All the snuggles. Just all the cozy time at home, especially because it was FREEZING this past weekend!! I've been reading a ton while Les studies for a professional exam he's taking, and Nestlie is always close by to keep me warm. Les and I were talking the other night about how we're typically used to things being really fast paced, ever since we were in college. Right after we graduated, I started a full-time job and got my master's part time, while Les enrolled in a full-time master's program and was working part time. Then we both got new jobs and moved apartments twice, and now we've been more or less settled for the past two years. Add in all of the downtime due to the pandemic, and we've really never slowed down this much. Sometimes it can be challenging and feel somewhat claustrophobic, but I'm trying to embrace it, do my part to stay home in the pandemic, and soak up all the snuggles.
What We've been Up To
A lot of drives! That's sort of become our weekend routine— heading out on a drive on Saturday or Sunday. We usually head North and stay by the coast, ending up at some beach or another. I love that during the off season we can bring Nestlie and she can run amok with us! Or at least amok but on a long leash... she's not the *best* listener.
What I'm Dreading
This isn't really what I'm dreading, per-say. And I know there is a LOT more going on in the world to be concerned with. But I'm admittedly a little bit stressed about our wedding in September (what else is new). On the one hand, I feel truly at peace knowing that, after postponing for a year, Les and I have decided that we will get married no matter what at our venue on September 4, 2021. On the other hand, it will of course be a bummer if we postponed a whole year only to have to still severely modify our wedding or reduce the number of guests we can have. I'm so, so excited to marry Les and finally be his wife, and I know we'll have at least our families and I'm sure our wedding party with us. At this point we can only hope that our guests will all have received the vaccination by September and that we'll feel safe to celebrate how we always planned. And if not? I've become more and more ok with something more intimate. I know it will be beautiful no matter what!
What I'm Working On
I took a little time off from blogging (and more or less from social media, too) over the holidays, so I'm trying to get back into that creative space and mindset! I did something very much outside of my comfort zone and filmed a little makeup video that I posted on Monday, so that was something fun and different!
Other than that I'm eternally cleaning out my closet, and Les and I finally took our Christmas decorations down the other weekend and got all of that put away. So we're feeling organized and cleansed!
What I'm Excited About
I'm excited to be feeling hopeful, and cautiously optimistic about the rest of 2021. I'm excited to be seeing friends and family getting the vaccine, and excited that maybe we're starting to heal— in more ways than one. I'm thankful that two of my grandparents have been able to get their first shot, and that my mom has as well because she's a volunteer ambulance driver. I'm just excited that we have some progress being made. Here's my lovely little mama in front of her "rig." :)
What I'm Watching/Reading
In other words, what I'm doing 80% of my time these days. As far as watching goes, Les and I finished all of The Sopranos before the holidays (it really is a great show) and moved on to watching Mad Men for the second time. We got my parents into it, as well! We also watched a movie called The Gentlemen this past weekend on Showtime. It has a really incredible cast— including Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell & Henry Golding. I'm surprised we hadn't heard anything about it! It was fast-paced and had some great dialogue. I'd recommend!
And then for reading, I've been enjoying a lot of free books from Amazon prime. Out of the seven I read over the past month and a half, I would recommend six of them. And then I would start a support group for readers of the seventh because it was that bad. The first I would recommend is The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent. I wrote about it on my last Friday Favorites post, but suffice it to say that I started it one night and finished it the next morning— I liked it that much! It's very much in the genre of what I typically read: page-turning thrillers/mysteries.
Sweet Water, The Best of Friends, and Open House all more or less fall into that category as well. So if mystery is your thing, add those to your list! A Fire Sparkling by Julianne Maclean is set primarily in London during World War II; the book begins in present time, though, as a grandmother recounts her time during the war after her son and adult granddaughter find something troubling in her attic and demand an explanation. I was hooked from the beginning, and while I thought I had the ending nailed down, I was wrong! This is a great read for any historical fiction fans. Lastly, if you're looking for a book to transport you, Searching for Sylvie Lee is a great choice. It takes place in the Netherlands, and even though I've never been there I could imagine myself walking or cycling in the settings that Jean Kwok artfully depicts. It's another mystery (not so much a thriller) and it's pretty rich in culture.
The one I would not recommend is called Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day. Just don't. If you have already read it though, let's chat. I could use a venting session.
What I'm Listening To
Right now? Football. As I'm writing this on Sunday, Les has the AFC Championship on.
What I'm Wearing
Ohhhh you know, just all of the pajamas and lounge-wear around the house. A friend of mine sent me a link to this lobster set a while back because she knows I spend a lot of time at my parent's in Maine. They're sold out, but if you or someone you know is a lover of cheeseburgers, french fries or avocados, boy do I have some great news for you! :)
However, as of yesterday I'm back in the office a few days a week which has forced me to put on some real clothes! My first day back since before the holidays called for this ensemble:
Lastly, if you missed my most recent What I'm Wearing Weekly I've also been sporting my new jacket and liner—a Christmas gift from my sweet fiancé!
What I'm Doing this Weekend
Oh man. Probably just more of the usual! Reading, mini road trips, cleaning, cooking. Plus, I have a half-day Zoom meeting on Saturday for the Young Alumni Advisory Board that I'm on for my alma mater. Fun fact: I did a little video on Blogging 101 for them as part of a "How To" series a few months ago. You can find it on their instagram by clicking IGTV!
What I'm Looking forward to Next Month
Well, on Valentine's Day our little pup will be seven years old. AH! She still very much acts like a puppy, thankfully. And on that same day Les and I will be celebrating two years since we got engaged! We thought we would be married by now, but it's been sort of fun to revel in what ends up typically being the shortest season in a couple's relationship (compared to dating and marriage). As far as how we'll celebrate, we'll probably order some ~elevated~ takeout from a restaurant nearby and I'm sure I'll make something yummy for dessert. We also have a nice bottle of champagne to open, or a bottle of wine that we brought back from Austria almost three years ago now. We've been saving it for a special occasion, so this just might be it!
What else is New
Ohhhhh nothing. Finishing this up on Tuesday night and I'm enjoying watching the snow fall outside! Other than work, the books I've been reading, and the shows we've been watching, my latest hobbies include pinning tons of home decor and design inspiration for a future home one day, and scouring the internet for something to wear to my bridal shower. Over the past year I've come across, ordered, and then returned a few things because nothing has been quite right. We're not really sure what June will bring in terms of how my bridal shower will be held, but I need a little something white!
That's all I've got (she says, many words later), but I'll be back on Friday for Friday Favorites! Thanks for reading. :)