{Happy Thanksgiving} Things I’m Grateful For

Just a few things I’m grateful for on this Thanksgiving day…

My pre-hubs for being the sweetest:

Our first home together:

Betty White, my most favoritest pooch:

My new job! (No photo included to leave you in suspense)

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving! I’m looking forward to spending time with family and consuming as much garlic mashed potatoes as possible.


They don’t make bags big enough for this bird.

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Just to warn you guys, I am going to be a bit quiet over here during these next few days. If you’re wondering why, it’s because my future is going to look a lot like the woman’s above. My insane family of 7 requested a 24 lb. turkey, so I have my work cut out for me. Up until this week, I had no idea what a giblet was (and I was pronouncing it wrong to boot), so hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be a full blown mini-Martha. I’ll be posting all about our “menu” with recipes and photos after the fact, so cross your fingers that I don’t catch everything on fire.

Countdown to Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is officially just ten days away, which means my entire family will be in the same place for the first time since last Christmas. It also means I am gathering inspiration for recipes for the turkey-filled day. Unfortunately, my family has made it clear that they want a big bottle of ketchup on the table, which will likely tarnish my hopes for a Martha Stewart-esque tablescape, but oh well. I have been gathering some recipes, but wanted to see if any readers have favorite sides they’d like to share before I do a recipe round-up. I’m talking to you, Kerry!

Also, the more advice for cooking a 24 lb. turkey (assuming it fits in our oven), the better! Thanks again to everyone for the congrats on Friday, you guys made us feel all sorts of special.

Behind the Curtain: A Peek at Pete’s Photobooth Proposal

It seems to be true that good things come in threes and yesterday was proof of that little theory. When Pete came home from work, I spent a good twenty minutes rambling about how giddy I was since: 1.) I managed to land a job interview with an amazing company and 2.) I found our foster dog, Charsi a new home with a loving family. I asked him about his day and we exchanged our usual stories about each other’s latest happenings. He asked what I wanted for dinner and I told him we could make pasta since we are in need of groceries and it’s one of the only edible things in the house right now. Apparently since he made dinner last night (which consisted of scooping tuna salad I had made onto bread), it was my turn to do the cooking since we switch cooking and cleaning every other night. I cluelessly didn’t realize at the time that he was trying to lead me into the kitchen.

So, to the kitchen I went, where I asked what type of pasta he wanted. I rattled off our options and asked boring inquisitive questions like “what’s the difference between linguine and fettuccine?” When I went to grab a pot from our cabinets, just about our entire cookware set came toppling over. Typical Shannon spazzery was taking place. I started boiling a pot of water and filled our Brita water pitcher, which I put in the fridge without realizing this was waiting for me:

To give you a little backstory, during one of our first outings as a couple, we went to a restaurant and had photobooth pictures taken. Since then, we always take photos together whenever we see an old-fashioned booth and we hang the pictures on our fridge (below). Without me realizing it, he swapped the five strips of our photos with the pictures of him spelling out “Will you marry me?” across the rows.

I had no idea the photo strips were on the fridge until he said “WILL YOU PLEASE LOOK AT THE FRIDGE!” The poor ginger was nervously waiting to ask me to marry him for a good half hour and I was totally concentrated on boiling water and rambling about linguine and had no idea he had alterior motives. Once I looked at the fridge I flailed and turned around excitedly to find him on one knee. He said, “Well, will you!?” and I said “You have to ask in person to make it all official-like!” so he asked (he’ll kill me for sharing this, but I believe his words were, “Will you marry me, my poopins?”), to which I responded with a flail-filled yes and hugged him and danced in place for a good two minutes before he told me we had reservations at my favorite sushi spot. My hands were trembling and the only thing I could think to say was, “Does this mean I don’t have to make pasta!?”

We went ring shopping together in late August and chose a beautiful art deco/victorian style vintage ring from the 1915-1920s era. I had told Pete how much I loved diamonds with a subtle pop of color, so we picked out a lovely yellow diamond with the help of the fabulous jewelry designer behind the Philadelphia jewelry shop, Halloween.

I’m not very skilled in the department of taking photos of my own hand, so I photographed the ring on linens and piles of leaves around our house since I’m a photo geek (I realize rings never hang out on bushes, but bear with me anyway).

Pete had the wooden letters he held in the photobooth custom made by an Etsy shop called RivalryTime, which is why I was left in suspense, since I knew he had the ring for a few months. He even arranged to take the photos at El Vez, the restaurant where we had our first photo booth photos together. He told me he only had the exact change for five strips because he didn’t realize they were $3/piece, so he was really nervous that he was going to mess up the order of the letters. Thus him making a “oh my god, I hope I got this right” face in the last photo with him and the ring box. He said he wanted to take it again so he was smiling, but I like it better this way because he’s rarely nervous so it’s nice to have it documented for life!

I couldn’t be more thrilled with the proposal because it really suited our personalities and our backstory, plus now I have photos to look at whenever I want to relive the moment, and you all know how much I love me some photos.

Speaking of photos, I went a little crazy snapping so many ring shots, but I wanted to share them with family and friends who aren’t able to see it in person just yet.

I really love the vintage setting and would definitely recommend Halloween if you want to find rare antique pieces with a lot of character that they are willing to customize in any way you’d like.

The mister sure did a good job. I feel like the luckiest girl alive and am shocked that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend (no offense, Betty White). He gets me and I get him. When he’s being quiet, I am full of pasta rambles. When I’m being a control freak, he helps me enjoy spontaneity. We might be the opposite in a lot of ways, but we balance each other out and at the end of the day, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I am so thrilled (and not just because there are sushi leftovers in the fridge) and look forward to documenting our offbeat journey along the way.

Thanks again to the ginger for the best night ever (I promise I’ll actually make dinner tonight).

As a side note, my night came full circle when I saw I had a super sweet voicemail from our foster dog’s new parents, which was just another sign of how awesome they are!

I’ll ask Pete to take a photo of me being like “look at mah purty ring” while wearing my embarrassing Charlie Sheen shirt tonight per your request! Did anyone else ramble away cluelessly while your significant other was trying to propose? I love proposal stories, so feel free to comment with yours below!

Newyorkland by Temporary Distortion

My brother is about to go on tour with Temporary Distortion‘s latest show, Newyorkland. Their first stop is Calgary, followed by Seattle, before the guys head back to New York. I couldn’t be more excited to see the production in mid-January when it hits NYC.

Newyorkland Trailer from Temporary Distortion on Vimeo.

{Photos courtesy of Temporary Distortion}

From the website:

Newyorkland is an intertextual assemblage that combines cop movies, popular TV police procedurals and firsthand accounts of real-life police officers. Director Kenneth Collins’ personal interviews with police officers in his immediate family are mixed with found text and William Cusick’s explorations of cinéma vérité, documentary realism and pure fiction.

Newyorkland follows four police officers struggling with the demands of their chosen profession, the day-to-day realities of life as a cop and the high costs of working within the fraternal and secretive society of the NYPD. Merging film, performance and visual art, the production is staged in one of Temporary Distortion’s signature boxlike installations.

Meet Charsi: Our First Foster

This past Saturday, Pete and I made our way down to the Animal Care & Control Team (ACCT) in Philadelphia with Betty White in tow. As soon as we opened the doors, the place was packed to the brim with pets in serious need. It was unstomachable how many pet owners were giving up on their dogs or cats. The volunteers at the front desk were telling people that if they dropped off their pet, they would have to be euthanized due to major overpopulation, but the pets kept streaming in. We were looking forward to finding the perfect fit for our first foster dog, so we filled out some paperwork and began touring around.

One of the volunteers pointed out a dog named Mariah, who was recovering from several major surgeries, one of which she had the day prior. As much as we were smitten with a certain a shar pei named Broddy Bell, we knew it was likely he would find a home much easier since wrinkly dogs are pretty irresistible. So, we decided to have Betty White and Mariah meet in the outdoor courtyard, where they proceeded to hit it off. Both of them love butt scritchers, quiet moments and staring nervously with adorable, shifty eyes. It was a perfect match, so we filled out some remaining paperwork while waiting to receive her medicine and before we knew it, we were on our way to the pet store with our new friend.

Since we aren’t the most ginormous Mariah Carey fans, we changed her name to Charsi (a Diablo gamer reference, courtesy of Pete’s geekiness), which of course is temporary until we find her a forever home. She is a seriously strong lady whose life got off to a rough start, but she didn’t let that get her down. Charsi was brought into the ACCT nearly two weeks ago as a stray, and needed to have a mammary lump and hernia removed, in addition to a spay procedure. Needless to say, this shepherd/terrier mix is looking forward to a lifetime of cuddling and now has a clean bill of health. Currently Charsi is kicking back her paws and relaxing with us, but she is excited to find a pooch parent who is in need of a sweet four-legged friend.

Charsi arrived at the shelter underweight at 26 lbs, but we’re putting meat on her bones and making sure she will be brought back on track in no time. Charsi is recovering and counting down the days until her sutures will be removed, so we have to be very gentle with her. When we first came home, she absolutely refused to go outside, which made potty training a bit difficult. It is pretty impossible to pick her up without possibly hurting her stitches, so we remained patient and positive, with plenty of puppy pads on hand. Now, just two days later, Charsi is totally responsive to going outside and fully potty-trained.

She has already mastered how to “sit” and likely has some more tricks up her sleeve, which she’ll hopefully share once she has recovered from her surgeries.

Her favorite pastimes so far include: watching cars out of the sunroom window, snoring loudly while dreaming about being adopted and stealing Pete’s clothes from his dirty laundry pile.

Betty White was pretty tuckered out all weekend from having to share our bedroom at night with a near stranger, but she has really warmed up to Charsi. I think fostering pooches will be great for socializing Betty White and helping her become more confident around other dogs.

Since Charsi was a stray, her age is a bit of a mystery, but she looks to be about 5-years-young. No matter how many birthday candles she’s blown out, Charsi has a lot of smooches to share and loves getting pets.

I forgot to mention how much Charsi loves looking at herself in the mirror. Whenever she passes a reflective surface, she stares at herself with a “oh, girlllll, you so good lookin’!” expression on her face. She’s a little conceited, but we still love her…perhaps that is why she was originally named after the great diva herself, Mariah Carey.

Several people have shown confusion over why we would choose to be foster pooch parents—how it must be nearly impossible saying goodbye when you find the adoptive parents for the dog. Fostering an animal means providing food, shelter and love while ambitiously searching for weeks or months to find an appropriate match for the pet. During this time, it’s obvious an attachment will form, but the thing that gets me through this is knowing that as soon as we find Charsi a home, we will be able to help another dog in urgent need.

I’m not saying we’ll be fostering dogs for the rest of our lives, but during my hunt for the perfect full-time job, I have the time needed to give back in small ways. As a freelancer working from home, I can get a little stir crazy—going through half of the day without actually speaking to anyone—so this is a great opportunity to get out of the house and explore the area. I’ve met way more people in the neighborhood over the past two days than I have since we moved here in June, which is saying a lot.

It’s really nice feeling like a little family in our new house. Last night, the pooches joined us while we made a bonfire and toasted s’mores…it was one of the most relaxing Sundays in a long time.

If you would like to find out more about Charsi or want to set up a puppy date, feel free to comment below! She is only $75 (think about how quickly you spend $75 at a trip to Target!) and totally priceless. The donation to the Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) covers all vaccines, a microchip and her spay procedure, all of which have already been completed.

Does anyone else have any foster stories they’d like to share? I love hearing advice and anecdotes from others who have fostered pets in the past.

Autumn Decor: Yes, Please.

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October is just around the corner, which means mustache madness, candy corn and impending holiday music 24/7. I’m especially excited this year because Pete and I are hosting our very first Thanksgiving together, which means this will be the first time when the majority of guests will have no desire to watch football. Ever since Hurricane Irene rained on our parade, we had to cancel our BBQ, so my family will be making the trek from NYC and Delaware to indulge in turkey goodness. Luckily for me, Pete has experience cooking a turkey, but the most I’ve ever helped with Thanksgiving meals in the past has been microwaving mashed potatoes. So, needless to say, I am ready to solicit some advice from pumpkin pie-baking veterans.

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The idea of mini white pumpkins scattered on a mantle makes me anxious to go pumpkin picking—I always like cutting out the centers to make them votive candleholders to bring a warm glow to the room.

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Anywho, I’ve been browsing Foodgawker and Pinterest to collect autumn decor and festive recipe inspiration, but I was wondering what some of your favorites are?