Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Virtual Invite in an Actual Pinch

One of my co-workers has been planning to plan her daughter's "Sweet Sixteen" party for months and we've been discussing my involvement in the party invitations throughout. My original visions of custom (paper-based) invites went out the window about a month ago. A few days ago, my plan to create a Flash-based invite was also scrapped. Today, with help from some design elements from iStockPhoto, I created an emailable invitation in a very short amount of time.

It's not something I'm incredibly proud of, but I did save (myself) some time, (the world) some trees and (my co-worker) some money!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

John and I heard the announcement of Stevie Wonder's tour stop in Boston by chance one morning when it was broadcast on the radio while we were getting ready for work. I always receive advanced notice of Boston area concerts and shows vie email, and we never have the radio on in the morning. We both felt lucky to have learned of the concert. Even luckier, we we able to get two tickets to a show that sold out in two minutes.

This is so not my photo:

The first time John came to my Somerville apartment, looking at my CD collection he said, "Wow - you have Innervisions? We should get married." So, Stevie and that album have become extra meaningful to us. Stevie played a number of songs from this fantastic album, and we felt like he chose his entire playlist with us in mind. He even sang "Isn't She Lovely" as his daughter Aisha shared his piano bench. John and I are still taking in the whole evening!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Boston Walk for PKD!

I am excited to say that John and I were able to raise $1005.00 as members of Team Melissa for today's Walk for Polycystic Kidney Disease. That amount is more than twice what we set out to raise - what amazing friends and family we have!

Melissa's new neice, Kylie, got the best team shirt:

Monday, September 17, 2007

You Can Ring My Be-e-ell...Ring My Bell...

John and I couldn't get this song out of our heads yesterday after I joined the handbell choir at our church. After our rehearsal tonight, I shall officially be one of the "Jubilate Ringers" (assuming all goes well). This is something I have always wanted to do, and wasn't sure I would ever have the opportunity. (The only other bell choir I had ever seen was during one of my first trips to Boston in Faneuil Hall at Christmastime!)

I am truly excited.

These are my actual bells (minus the D flat which I occasionally play)!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Yes. I Made Reservations.

Although it was two weeks past my birthday, our lovely friend created a fantastic experience for us at the Back Bay restuaurant where she works. Our meal at 33 involved course after course of tasty samples of things I don't even plan to "make someday." Most notably, I tried duck confit for the first time and was blown away. Actually, most notably was the customized dessert platter that surprised both John and I at the end of our meal:

Many thanks to Quenia for treating us like royalty, despite the post-birthday/pre-anniversary date! (After we quickly sampled the desserts, we rolled across the street to see Man of La Mancha at the Lyric Stage Company!)

Penne with Spinach Cheese Sauce

I don't think it has ever happened before today that I watched a recipe-in-action on the Food Network in the morning and created that same recipe in the evening of the same day. Giada's recipe looked so good and easy (which it was) that I just had to give it a try. I don't know what makes a pesto a pesto, but this sauce is made from pureed baby spinach, cream cheese and goat cheese. It tasted exactly as I had expected! (That's some overcooked wild salmon in the background!)

This meal is also giving me a chance to experiment with LactAid. (Although, not as faithful an experiment as the milkshake dessert will be!) I guess I'll know soon enough if the stomach problems I've been having are milk-product related...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

I have been making this pizza for years (based upon the same dish at California Pizza Kitchen), but I change it up a little every time.

This time, I made the dough in my bread machine, which was quick but kind of unleavened-y - thin, yet very crispy. I want chewy! I also used my food processor to shred the smoked gouda, creating little strands of the cheese. Theoretically, this was great, but having so much surface area just caused the cheese to dry out rather than melt. Strange.

The chicken was leftover from a grilled balsamic bbq recipe of Giada De Laurentis', which made creating this pizza very easy! Seems to me, though, that less machine use and more hand work always yields a better meal.

Swordfish Provencal

Although I have made this once before, I was able to take photos this time. This was a recipe I learned while taking my fish class last year: broiled marinated swordfish in a tomato-herb sauce. It's very easy and very good. Mine has not yet come out as good as my instructor's, but I will keep working on it!

A Discovery...

...that we were screwed - literally! And nearly figuratively, as this happened on the Sunday afternoon before John's first day of work.

Luckily, we had Mr. Moon and AAA to help us out...and later on, Pep Boys.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Polycystic Kidney Bean Mailer

That's kind of gross.

John and I are raising funds (and awareness!) to find the cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). We will be participating this year in the Boston Walk for PKD and, because I know many people are uncomfortable making transactions on the web, I decided to create a mailer to request donations. I expect to get them in the mail tomorrow - be on the lookout! In the meantime, if you would like to donate to "Team Melissa" online, please visit this link, click on "Support Erin" and donate away!

My First Habitat for Humanity Project

Although I completed the required orientation process last winter, I finally felt I was in a place to send in my resume and get on the Marketing Committee for Habitat for Humanity Boston. As it turns out, the request for my first project didn't have the best timing, but I got it done nonetheless. I am excited for some projects with them down the road, and I hope I am able to lend a bit more creativity!

Below is an invitation to the groundbreaking for a new home in Newton.