29 July 2013

Party Punch!

My oldest, bestest friend had a birthday this past week and it was only appropriate that I made some Party Punch for the occasion!

I had found this recipe on Pinterest a longggg time ago and finally got around to making it. Below is a picture of the final product:

It is SO easy to make and it is as light and refreshing as it looks.
1 bottle (1.5L) of Moscato
3 cups of Sprite
1 can of pink lemonade frozen concentrate

 Mix all liquid ingredients together. Add 1/2 the raspberries to the punch and save the rest for a garnish. Serve over ice, add raspberries and drink up!

*My mom also made this with blackberries instead of raspberries and it tasted the same - so you can choose your preference!

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27 July 2013

New Apartment!

Last week Parker and I were lucky enough to have landed a new apartment in northern MA!

It is just 30 minutes north of my family and 20 minutes south of Parker's new job - the perfect location! When we applied to the ad it was for a 2 bedroom upstairs unit, but when we got there we found out it was a 3 bedroom - THREE!

We were so excited! We now have a master, an office, and a guest bedroom that will eventually become a nursery. This place was so homey, we could easily imagine ourselves living there for the next few years while we save up for a house.

You can only imagine how excited I am to start decorating this new place. It has all hardwood floors, a living room, dining room, and even a deck! Ahhh!

We already bought our new king mattress for the bedroom and my first project will be tackling the living room. We spend a lot of weekends having movie nights and playing board games so the living room needs to be cozy!

Here is a picture of the blank slate:
That door leads right out to our deck.

These are some things I am loving for the new living room:

I know I'm not alone in my excitement when it comes to decorating a new place! Don't even get me started on my new office space :)

I will be sure to upload more pictures once we actually have some furniture in our apartment!
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20 July 2013

TWO Months til "I Do!!!!"

First and foremost, I need to say a BIG congratulations to my future husband for landing a new job in New Hampshire!!!!!!!!! He worked so hard and endured quite the strenuous interview process to get this job, but he did it!! It for a research analyst position at a technology company which is right up his alley and I just know he will love working there.

Here he is before an interview lookin' sharp in his new suit. He even had a pocket square... gasp!
Photo: Well today is a big day, because Parker JUST got a new job in New Hampshire!!!!!! Congrats love!!!!!
Without further adieu... I am so excited to say that we are only 2 months away from the wedding!!! As all the vendors start calling asking for details and my hair starts turning gray... I try to relax every once in a while and remember that this day is all about Parker and I. It is about our commitment to love one another as we grow and change, to foster our relationship and to remind each other to stay silly and enjoy life.

I thought this would be a great time to re-post our proposal story that I shared on TGIF back in February. So here you are... this is my version of our proposal story:
All I wanted was a letter...

Parker spoiled me our first year dating. He has a way with words and wrote the sweetest letters and love notes a girl could ever ask for! I was smitten. Then... the letters stopped for a few years...

Each birthday, anniversary, and holiday he would shower me with gifts (who's complaining?!) but alas... I still wouldn't receive my letter. I would beg him to forget the gifts and just write me something, anything! Well, the night of December 29, 2011 I got everything I asked for and more.

Parker was away for Christmas with his family and I was home in our apartment waiting anxiously for him to come back. We always spent Christmas apart, but it was still a long 10 days that we couldn't see eachother. We spoke often over the phone and he had been extra "lovey-dovey" the few days leading up to his proposal, but I thought nothing of it. I knew FOR SURE we would not be getting engaged any time soon. FOR SURE, I tell you.

Thursday night came. It was a night that would change our life forever and I had no idea it was coming. I was too busy complaining, whining, and being a brat because Parker wanted me to dress up for his arrival back home. He said he was taking me out for a Christmas surprise. "Can't I just wear jeans?!?!??" I asked him repeatedly. 

With the patience of a saint, he assured me over and over "yes, you can wear jeans... but I prefer you wear a dress." I thought we were going to a show... he isn't very good at surprises... or so I thought.

A knock came at the door. It was him, finally! When I opened the door his smile was HUGE! "He must be happy I decided to wear a dress," I thought to myself. He told me I would have to wait a little bit longer to get my surprise and he asked if I wanted to open up some of the gifts his family got me.

Of course I did! The first was an envelope with a gift certificate from his mother. It was exactly what I wanted (thank you again, Wendes)! Next, was a big box with an envelope inside. Inside the box were some glass bowls from IKEA that were overlooked because all I could see was that the envelope had Parker's handwriting on the front.

(I was already crying)

My letter consisted of 4 different index cards filled with honest words of love and tenderness, most of which is too intimate to share with you all. What I will tell you, is that by card 3 I could feel the energy in the room shift. I knew something was happening. Tears were filling my eyes faster than I could read.

Card 4:
"I just want you to know that regardless of whether it is hurried or written, I will wholeheartedly love you for the rest of my life. Be my Partner, My Lover, My Wife. Please accept this ring and marry me. Love - now and always, Parker"
I looked up to see him on one knee, my canary diamond in his hand, asking me to be his wife. 

I have never been as happy as I was in that moment.
I hope to feel that way many more time in our lives together.

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15 July 2013

In the meantime...

As I mentioned in my previous post we are *semi* settled here in Massachusetts.

Meaning.. We are not really that settled.

This is our current sleeping arrangement at the mom's house:
This is my old room which is barely big enough to fit my old bed and on the floor is a twin mattress that my sister sleeps on. All of us just squeezed in like sardines  :)

Quick story about my old mattress. When I was in high school I had a tiny, twin mattress and when I returned home for my first summer break my mattress had been replaced! I had a brand-spankin' new full mattress! It felt huge. For 2 weeks I loved that thing... but I noticed my siblings were giggling a bit too much whenever my mattress was mentioned. One day at dinner my brother asked me how my "new" mattress was for the ump-teenth time and my sister blurted out that it wasn't actually new. It was used... and that it belonged to my ex-boyfriend!! EW. My mom thought it was pretty funny as well. I guess I was the only one who missed the humor on that one!

Anyways... While we are sleeping on my ex-boyfriend's old mattress in my little sister's room... we have been trying to stay busy and have fun! We have visited all our favorite restaurants numerous times, we are finally watching Friday Night Lights and loving it, and we are hanging out with family and friends!

This past weekend Parks and I ran a 5k with our friends and it was a blast! It was the foam fest and it was filled with muddy and foamy obstacles. My arms, legs, shoulders and butt are very sore and we are all bruised and scraped up from the obstacles, but it was so much fun! Parker's face is all gross and muddy below and he looks like he has some creepy goatee ;)
After the race, it was so nice to just hang out by the fire and chat with old friends!

We are happy to be home :)
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09 July 2013

Home, Sweet, Home!

We have been back home in Massachusetts for 24 hours now and there have been lots of bagels, lots of family, and lots of laughs!

We unpacked our car and now there are 4 huge boxes of children's books, 6 big black trash bags full of clothes and shoes, 2 duffle bags of DVDs, and loads of other random stuff (waffle maker, pots and pans, picture frames, etc) all over my poor mom's basement. Oh, and Parker took over her sewing table so he could have a computer desk to finish some work.

Parker and I are sleeping on my sister's full mattress while she sleeps on a twin blow up mattress on the floor next to us. Needless to say, we will be overstaying our welcome in no time, so we are looking for our new home! We just have to wait to find out if we will be moving into an apartment in the northshore or right over the border in New Hampshire (jobs are pending... more on that later).

 While we figure that out, here is the rest of our road trip fun. To read about the first part of our trip click below:
{Road Trip: Part I}

Last we chatted, Parker and I had just arrived in Chicago and we were ready to explore!

Parks and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency right on the river and it was beautiful! It was perfect for walking to both Millennium Park and the Magnificent Mile.

First, we walked on down to Millennium Park and we saw the infamous Bean! Parker could not get over how big it actually was. Of course, we took lots of pictures in front of it.

We spent the 4th of July in Chicago, but we didn't end up seeing any fireworks. Parker and I bought tickets to see "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway and it was hilarious! We love a good Broadway show and we had great seats in the front row of the dress circle.

Before the show:

We had to leave really early the next morning to drive 12 hours to DC. It was a longggggg haul, but we had preplanned our driving shifts and we made it work. We were pleasantly surprised to have found these wonderful robes upon our arrival at the Hotel George:
They provided us with lots of laughter after such a long trip! The delicious room service dinner didn't hurt either :)

After our first day in D.C. we knew we would need more time to see everything, so we booked another night at the hotel immediately and got to work making our plans to see the city! The first day we went to the Natural History Museum, The Air and Space Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. I was too busy "ooohhh-ing" and "aaahhh-ing" to snap many pictures, but I did snatch a pic of the man in front of the U.S. Capitol,

On day 2 we were SO excited to go to the International Spy Museum and we bought tickets to the "Operation Spy" interactive mission. We had no trouble getting into character right away to prepare ourselves.
We worked with a team of 14 other nerdy adults like ourselves (plus an eager teenager) and we cracked the case earning 4 out of the maximum 5 stars!!! To be fair our advisor had never seen a group get all 5 stars... so that means we were pretty darn good!

 We had to listen in on intercepted phone calls, rummage through an old office undetected, administer a lie detector test, and much more!  It is one of our favorite memories from the road trip!

After that we walked all the way to the Holocaust Museum to find out that they were out of general admission tickets to the permanent exhibit!! We were so upset! We had been looking forward to seeing the "adult" exhibit since we had each only seen the children's portion when we were younger. :(

We decided that we would have to come back to D.C. at some point to see it!

After that bad news, we saw the Lincoln Memorial, the new MLK Jr. Memorial, the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, and the World War II Memorial.
Me in front of the MA pillar at the WWII Memorial.

Parker and I couldn't stop talking about how much we loved being in D.C. as adults. I learned so much while I was there and I feel as though every time I visit throughout my life, I will have a new and different understanding of the information learned at each museum and memorial.

We spent our last night at a cute, French bistro for some escargot and seafood dinner!

Then... we came to the realization that it was over.

We stuffed our little suitcases into the back seat one last time and drove straight up to Mass! We were greeted with open arms and we can honestly say we are happy to be home.

Thank you to everyone who followed along our little road trip with us. It was something we will never forget and I hope everyone gets to go out and see the rest of this country. Before I met Parker I had basically been born and raised right here in Salem and had little to no idea what was outside this city! I am a blessed and lucky woman to have him open my eyes and SEE the world we live in. You want to know what's even better?! We've seen it all and we still want to make New England our home - HA!

Maybe some out-of-country travels will be next???? Hmmm.... let's throw a dart on the map!

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04 July 2013

Chicago Check-In!

Happy 4th of July!!

We are starting our second day in Chicago and I can't wait to go out and explore this city!

Here is a little round up of our adventures thus far.

If you happen to also be driving all around the country and see a car that looks like this:
Wave hello!

Parker and I decided to leave a day early for our road trip and we found this great lodge-like hotel in Brian Head, Utah! We had to drive up some crazy mountains and I didn't think our car was going to make it at some points, but I am glad we did. Brian Head was beautiful, serene, and it was the perfect start to our vacation! 

BONUS: We were given warm, chocolate chip cookies upon arrival!
 We had dinner and hot cocoa by this huge fire pit!

Parks and I in Brian Head, Utah

We left Utah around 10am and drove straight to Denver, which is one of our new favorite cities!

Hello, Denver!

The river runs right through Denver and we loved getting to watch the kids ride down the river on their rafts!

We walked up and down 16th street most of the day. There were plenty of people to watch, places to eat, and fun little shops to explore. They also had these fun, painted pianos up and down the street for people to play some music:

We also stopped by the Money Museum in Downtown Denver:

We went to eat at Park Burger and had a really sweet, really pregnant waitress. Parker had a wonderful idea to leave her a big tip. A random act of kindness it was, and we hope it made her smile as much as it made us smile! Parker was just plain giddy when he did this:

Our Rundown of Denver:
-loads of good-lookin' people
-people walk or bike everywhere
-there were about 12 Starbucks within walking distance of our hotel
-the city is not too big to feel impersonal, but not too small either
-we could have spent many more days there trying out all the different restaurants and pubs
 -perfect amount of "quirky" without being over-the-top (for us at least)

While we were driving to Denver, I had a bit of an ocular emergency and had to spend an hour in the optometrist's office. Blurriness, cloudiness, tearing up and painful stinging in my left eye meant that poor Parker had to do most of the driving. For me, it meant I couldn't wear my contacts and I was ever-so-grateful that I got a new pair of glasses right before we left!

We left Denver Tuesday morning and we already miss it! Thankfully, My sister-in-law is moving there in a couple weeks... Thanksgiving in Denver, Jones family?!

Next stop: Kansas City.

We didn't take any pictures there and overall it was very "blah." I feel bad typing that, but it is how we felt. Nothing memorable... we were only in the city for about 14 hours, most of which we were sleeping... so I would say we didn't give it much of a chance. Oh well, I don't think we will be going back.

We were going to stop in St. Louis to see the Arch on our way to Chicago, but PJones made the executive decision to sleep in and skip the stop.

We made it to Chicago around 8:30 last night and I had no idea this place was so BIG and BUSY! It reminds me of NYC... but cleaner. We had heard of this famous stuffed pizza at Giordano's so that was our first stop after we checked into the hotel.

And here we are. Day 2 in Chicago after having slept off that pizza and beer. We are going to spend the day exploring Millennium Park and the Magnificent Mile before we see The Book Of Mormon tonight!

Have a happy and safe 4th of July everybody!! I will be back in a few days with more updates :)
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