Monday, December 26, 2011

The Family You Make

This Christmas Season I am especially thankful for my family. It has been three years since I have been able to spen a Chrismas with them. After traveling a total of 25 hours in a car I reached my brother's house for Christmas. Lots of things have changed since I was last here. My brother now lives with his girlfriend, who I had never met before. It was nice to finally meet her face to face. Also, this Christmas we opened presents at my brother's house, instead of my parents. So far it has been a great visit, but it also has me thinking, and missing my orphan's christmas back in DC. I know this must seem ridiculous, but it's true. A part of me wished that I could have spent the day cooking and drinking with friends. I started to wonder why I felt that way. I think it's because with the lack of biological family, I created a family I love.

We vacation together and take silly pictures at the beach.

Another vacation picture with my sisters, of the sorority variety.

Taking millions of posed pictures together. We could wallpaper a wall with the number of pics we have together.

These ladies always have my back.

I'm living with one of them in NOLA, till I find my own place, at least.

I have an entire group of people who would do anything for me, and who I would do anything for in turn. These people have nursed me in my sick times, and held me when I'm sad. They have invited me into their homes for holidays, and listened to me rant when I was upset. This is the family I have made. I'm extremely lucky, not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Now that I have moved to NOLA, I still have people in my life that have my back, but it's going to be hard to be away from my Virginia family. I know it won't be long till I see them again, but I miss them all the same. This holiday season I want all my friends to know that you all mean so much to me, without you all I wouldn't have made it in Virginia, or in NOLA. I can't wait to see you all again.

Love and happy holidays,

Tina Marie

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Oyster Shucking Lesson

This story starts a few weeks ago when I set about to find the erfect jambalaya recipe. I took my request to facebook. I had a lot of people respond with ideas of where I could find a good recipe, but one in particular stood out. My friend Dave's dad (who lives in NOLA) sent me his recipe. I had his cooking before, so I knew it was sure to be a winner. I made it for my friends a few weeks later, and it was a HUGE hit. Not a single grain of rice was left by the night's end. I didn't manage to take any pictures, of course, which I'm very upset about, but that's besides the point. The point is that I realized that while the recipe called for fresh oysters, I had no idea how to shuck an oyster. When Dave and Dave's dad (John) found this out they promised me my first oyster shucking lesson when I moved to New Orleans. Today was my first full day in the city, so obviously it was a perfect day for my oyster shucking lesson, it also helped that it was 75 degrees today. Dave took some great pictures of the entire process for me to share anf blog about. Enjoy!

Me hard at work. The glove protectz my hand from the pointy parts.

Shucking oyster is hard work, so everyone helps out.

Dave made sure to get a pic of me with oyster in hand... and make note of my glitter manicure.

I'll cut you.

Avant garde oyster.

Oh we also had fresh red fish. Yum.

And after all the hard work these are oysters are cooked my favorite way: grilled, topped with butter, parmesean cheese, and bread crumbs. SO yummy!

Love, Tina Marie

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Deboning a Chicken: 30B430

I did it! I deboned the heck out of that chicken. It was awesome.

No bones... and it still looks like a chicken!

I have always wanted to debone a chicken. I especially wanted to try it after watching Julie and Julia (Seriously LOVED that movie). Part of my desire stems from wanting to learn more and more about cooking and skills in general. Because I'm not a trained chef I feel like I need to constantly strive to learn more and more about cooking. I've recently become enamoured with a few kitchen gadgets, and a new set of professional series knives, that I would have never known about had I not taken the time to talk to other foodie minded people. I know there is so much more to learn so this was just one step on that journey. I decided to use Jacques Pepin as my guide. He has a great youtube vide up. I watched it about 10 times before I made my first cut, and "rewinded" it about 5 times during the process. I made a few mistakes, but overall I would call it a success. I stuffed my chicken with spinach, monzerella, artichokes, and parmesean cheese. I baked it at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. It was so yummy, and got rave reviews all around. I really want to try it again soon and see if I can eliminate all the mistakes I made along the way. In the mean time, enjoy the Pepin video:


Tina Marie

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Virginia Wine Tasting

One of the best things about living in Virginia is that the great outdoors is just a short car ride away. I've been apple picking, and wine tasting a few times. There are lots of great orchards and vineyards nearby. This weekend Jena, Steve, and I decided to go wine tasting.

We got a late start (after a yummy Chick Fil A lunch) and decided that 2 wineries would be enough. The first one we hit was a recommendation from another friend. Linden makes a great wine. I've had their stuff before, but had never been out to the vineyards. I am awesome and forgot my camera, which sucks cause Linden totally had snow! The snow was a quaint touch to beautiful scenery. Steve took this picture of me and Jena:

We had a great time, but I was sort of disappointed with the tasting. None of the wines were as fabulous as what I had had from them before. It was a great time, but I left without buying a bottle.

The next place we hit up was Unicorn winery. Jena picked this one. I'm convinced that the name is what made her decision. There were 10 wines in this tasting, which was kinda awesome (Linden only had 5). Jena and I opted to only try two of the white wines. I'm not a white wine drinker, so I usually end up dumping out the whites. Their whites were decent, but their reds were amazing. I like every single thing we tried. The most notable part of the tasting was the final wine, which wasn't wine at all... it was wine slushee. They take a bottle of wine, and add it to this mix that they sell, and it makes wine slushee. It was amazing. Seriously. I bought a glass to enjoy out on the deck. Here is a picture overlooking the pond from their deck:

I would totally revisit this place.

I'm excited that I got to do this one last time before moving next week!

Tina Marie

Friday, December 2, 2011

Reverse Bucket List

After writing down my Thirty Before Thirty bucket list this week I started thinking about all the amazing things I have done in my life. I've led a pretty phenomenal life thusfar. It was actually kind of difficult to get thirty things to do in one list that would be financially achievable in a 16 month time span. I ended up looking at a lot of other people's lists to see what was on them. There were a few popular things that stood out, that I'm proud to say I have already accomplished. So, here is the Reverse Bucket List, a list of things I've already accomplished:

Tina's Reverse Bucket List

1. Go on vacation with only your girlfriends. - I actually do this one yearly, it's just another benefit of being in a sorority.

2. Sew something and wear it- I think I accomplished this when I was 12. I have always loved to sew, and while I'm not a seamstress by any means, I've definitely made a few skirts in my day.

3. Jump off a cliff - ummm- you just have to read this story to see that not only did I do that, I did it in spectacular fashion

4. Visit another country - while I still haven't been to Europe, I have been to Mexico, twice, on vacation. It was grand.

5. See the Mayan ruins - I went to Chichen Itza lat year. It was completely amazing.

6. Throw a dinner party - It amazes me that people haven't cooked dinner for their friends.

7. Have a conversation in another language. - Everyone knows that my Spanish speaking skills are atrocious, but I still do it. It came in very handy while in Mexico.

8. Go to Mardi Gras - Yep, lived it for 4 years.

9. Go to Spring Break in a Spring Break location - South Padre Island 2005!

10. Take an art class - Art was nearly my minor in college, this is a total check.

11. Go on a road trip - I drove from New Orleans to South Bend Indiana when I was in college. Also Annie and I went to South Carolina on a whim one weekend when we lived together.

12. Go to Las Vegas - Thanks to my friend Becky for having her bachelorette party there this past August. I seriously LOVE Vegas and can't wait to go back.

13. Buy a homeless person a meal - My dad used to do this all the time when I was little, so I started doing it too. Of course, now I live in Arlington, and there aren't homeless people.

14. See a Broadway show - I saw Promises, Promises on Broadway last year with Theo and Tamsin. It was awesome...Plus, Kristin Chenowith is a Gamma Phi Beta.

15. See the Cherry Blossoms Bloom in DC - I was actually surprised that this was on so many people's lists. It honestly wouldn't have even crossed my mind. My favorite birthday ever was spent walking among the cherry blossoms though.

16. Read the Bible - I did this when I was much younger, I could probably stand to do it again now that I'm a bit older and wiser, but still, it counts.

17. Shoot a gun - I'm pretty sure I first shot a gun when I was like 10 years old.

18. Go vegetarian for a month- I did this when I was 16. I did it for lent. Yeah, I like meat, I have no desire to relive that experience.

19. Get a Tattoo- I have 2. I guess I can never be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

20. Attend a music festival - I lived in both Austin and New Orleans, so I have been to Jazzfest and SXSW.

21. Grow my fingernails out - Okay, this really wasn't on a lot of other people's lists, but I have finally accomplished this. I had been a nail biter for 27 years, and this past year I kicked the habit. Yay me!

22. Go on a cruise - Again thanks to my fabulous Gamma Phi Beta sisters, I accomplished this 2 years ago.

23. Karaoke - I've done it, and I've hated it. I can't sing. At. All.

24. Go speed dating- I have a friend who is a host fro speed dating events. He asked me to come to one where they needed more girls. I went, but it was a total bust. I'm glad I did it, cause I was curious, but had I paid for it, I would have been upset.

25. Learn CPR- I was certified by the Red Cross when I was like 12. Did no one else have to take that class? Bueller?

26. Be financially dependent on only myself - I feel like this is a goal an 19 year old would set, not a 29 year old. Still, it was on a lot of bucket lists.

27. Start my own business - I did this! I can't believe I haven't held a 9-5 job in over a year!

28. Watch the sun rise - Ever spend a Mardi Gras in New Orleans? I promise you will see the sun rise.

29. Purchase my own car - I didn't spend a million dollars on it, but my car is paid for my all my own money.

30. Go to dinner/a movie alone - I didn't even know this was a thing. Am I the only one who does this on a regular basis?

So those are just some of the awesome things I have accomplished in my 28+ years on this planet. I'm super proud of myself, but I also can't wait to get started on the things I haven't done.

Go me!


Tina Marie

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thirty Before Thirty

Yep, I know it's cliche, but with my impending move I have decided to take a look at what I really want to accomplish before I am 30. It was actually really hard to come up with 30 things. I'm attributing that to the fact that I have accomplished quite a lot already in my life, and also with the fact that I wanted to make the list accomplishable. Truly I want to visit all the continents, and swim with sharks, and do about a million other things that would quickly rack up my VISA bill. While there is some travel on the list, I think it's all stuff I'll be able to fit in the next 16 months. So without further ado...

Tina's 30 before 30 List

1. Get my catering business started in New Orleans.

2. Go skydiving.

3. Go to Disneyland/ Disneyworld.

4. Dip my toes in the pacific ocean.

5. Be a size 10 or smaller on my 30th birthday (unless I medically cant be).

6. Run a 5K, no walking allowed.

7. Visit another foreign country.

8. Write and illustrate a children's book.

9. See either the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade or watch the ball drop in Times Square.

10. See the Grand Canyon up close and personal.

11. Finally legally change my name on my driver's license and all official documents.

12. Read at least half of the "100 Classic Book Collection".

13. Attend a game at Cowboys Stadium.

14. Go to High tea at the Ritz or some other fancy hotel.

15. Learn to drive a stick.

16. Make a full size quilt.

17. Write down all my family recipes and make a book, with pictures. 18. Teach a class/seminar/ workshop.

19. Roth IRA (private goal)

20. Learn 10 new recipes by heart from different world cuisines (no southern/ Texan/ or Mexican food).

21. Do the polar bear plunge somewhere.

22. Blog twice a week for a year.

23. Take a class in something I have no idea how to do (non exercise).

24. Successfully debone a chicken (harder than it sounds).

25. Paint something and enter it in an art exhibit/ competition.

26. Get a concealed carry permit.

27. Save for and purchase a DSLR camera.

28. Get a family photo taken professionally.

29. Spend an entire day at a spa (mani-pedi-facial-massage).

30. Have a fabulous 30th Birthday party in Vegas (or someplace equally as fabulous).

Monday, November 28, 2011

What's That You Say?

I haven't blogged since July?

Wow, well, color me embarrassed. I suppose I have let my blog fall to the wayside, bad Tina.

I suppose an update on my life is in order.

I'm still not in New Orleans, I have a move date though: December 19th. It's really coming up fast. I have so much more packing to do, but I have a good start. As for my bucket list I have accomplished quite a few items. There are a few on there that probably won't get done, which is sad, but it gives me reason to come back and visit. I promise to blog more in depth about what I have and haven't accomplished in detail. I've also been working on some life goals that I have decided I wanted to accomplish before I turn 30 (still more than a year away, but I figure I can get a jump on things).

It's late, so that's all for now.


Tina Marie

Friday, July 8, 2011

DC Bucket List

As I prepare to leave DC I realize there are a number of things which I want to do but still haven't done.

To name a few:

Eat lunch in the Museum of Native American History - apparently the food court here is to die for, and extremely authentic. I'm definitely going to try this before I leave.

Go to the top of the Washington Monument. - Can you believe I haven't done this?! It's like the first thing you do when you get here, but I have never been. I must take in that view before I go.

Re-Visit the Smithsonian Museum of American History - This is my favorite Smithsonian museum, and the year after I got here it closed for renovations. It reopened a year after that but I haven't been back! I have to see Dorothy's shoes, and the Fonz's jacket one last time.

Visit Great Falls/ Old Rag - Living in Virginia means that I get all the awesomeness of DC, but I also get the beautiful scenery of rustic Virginia landscapes. I need to take advantage of that before I go.

The Newseum - I don't think I even need to explain this one, everyone who lives in DC knows that this museum is well worth the $20 admission.

Re-visit NYC one last time - I've been 3 times in the almost 6 years I have lived here, which makes me sad. I'm totally going again (and staying with Theo, even though she doesn't know it yet). I want to take in another Broadway show, and spend a night on the town.

Monticello - This is an easy day trip that I've never taken! I can't believe I have put it off for so long!

Arlington National Cemetery changing of the guard - it's really sad that I haven't seen this. I live less than 2 miles away.

Theodore Roosevelt Island - I must take a walk across the footbridge and visit this place.

Visit the National Archives - look at important papers... it's a must.

Whew! I think that's it for now, can ya'll think of anything that MUST make it onto the list?

Love, Tina Marie

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pillowfights, Partying, and Piers: A Wedding for the Ages

I like aliteration.

Last week I was the Maid of Honor (MOH) in a fabulous beach wedding. My friend, and sorority sister Allie was marrying the love of her life... Dave.
They planned an amazing wedding on the beach, which all of her friends pitched in to help prepare for. It ended with a spectacular wedding day.

Beautiful beachfront ceremony.

The day started off with a pampering at the Aveda Salon. After manis and pedis the bridesmaids headed back to the beach house to get hair and makeup done.
Then we opened our bridesmaid gifts!

Wrap around towels with our names embroidered on them! So of course we had a staged pillowfight!

All the lovely ladies of Gamma Phi Beta... and Dave, photo-bombing us.

The reception was at her husband's family home (20 minutes away from the beach house). We danced all night.

The beautiful reception.

After the reception all us 20 somethings headed back to the beach house for an after party.
We proceeded to have tons of fun. About 4 am the bride fell asleep in her wedding dress... on the pier. I kid you not. It kills me that I don't have pictures of this.

I finally hit the hay around 5am central time... so 6am Tina time (EST).

The next day there was coffee... and donuts, and driving from Florida back to NOLA.

It was a freat wedding with wonderful people. I'm so happy for the bride and groom... plus, they are letting my crash in their guest room the first few weeks I'm in NOLA. Woo hoo for awesome friends!

Love, Tina Marie

PS- For those wondering, yes, I caught the bouquet. Again. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Big News for the Big Easy

Last week I went to New Orleans for the second time this year. It seems as though I find myself there more often than any other place I visit. This time around, it was for a wedding, which I plan to blog about later. I had a fabulous time, which I always do. It was a few more points in the pro column... but perhaps I should back up and explain.

Over the past year I have really been feeling the need to change things up in my life. Last August I left my cushy 9-5 job and started searching for something I really wanted to do. I settled on the food service industry, and I've been catering for a few months now. I grew up with my mom owning restaurants, so while cooking for the masses is very different than "Support Contractor for the DHS", it wasn't all that unfamiliar. Still, I feel like I've been missing something. I knew what it was, no matter how much I tried to ignore it, I missed my family. The thought of moving back south entered my head. It's something I tried to ignore for a long time now. Spending time in NOLA last week put a few more points in the pro column, but still I wasn't convinced.

I like my life in DC, but, I don't love DC. I love the friends I have made here. My heart has been very torn. I kept adding the pro and con columns for staying/leaving and coming up with different results each time. Then I read an amazing book. "City of Refuge", completely made up my mind for me. It's a story about two families struggling during and after hurricane Katrina. I cried several times while reading it, and finished it in two days. I was convinced that there is no other place where I want to settle down. I know this might sound smug, but only a handful of people can really understand what it is to love a city. I think New Yorkers get it, and New Orleanians get it. There might be other cities that radiate personality, but I don't know of them. New Orleans is a hard city to live in, there is crime. Lots of crime. It's a poor city. There are few job opportunities. The list goes on and on. But there are also second lines, and mardi gras, and food, and friendly people, and the music, and the art, and the atmosphere. It's something you have to experience to understand.
Eventually I want to have a family, and I can't think of a better place to raise children. The city is filled with culture, and I want children who aren't afraid of anything. I want them to know that people are people, and whether you are black, white, young, old, poor, or rich, there are certain things that bring us all together as a people. The love of a great city is one of them.
So off I go. The moving date is still up in the air, but, for sure, I will be turning 29 in the big easy.

I'm totally going to miss DC, and the friends I've made here. Spending the majority of my 20's in this city really shaped who I am today. And I like who I am today. I owe a lot to the friends that I have made here, friends that are my family away from my family.

But, I'm not gone yet. I plan to make the most of these final few months. I'm going to play tourist in every way imaginable. I'm going to take walks at night by the capitol and soak in the scenery, and I'm going to say long tearful goodbyes to the ones I love.
For the next few months I'm going to use this blog to chronicle everything I do here, as I prepare to embark on the next stage of my life.

It should be fun.

Love, Tina Marie

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Growing Up

First order of business, I need everyone to re-subscribe to this blog. When I changed the location to I didn't automatically get all my followers. So to follow me again just click on the little follow button on the right hand of the screen.

Now for some introspection. I went to the beach this past weekend (pics and a post are forthcoming). I had lots of time to lay out on the beach, and take long walks with no real purpose in mind. I started thinking about all the amazing things that I have done in my life and how much I have grown since college. I think the start of adulthood for me began when I was 12 (hey, I said it was the start). When I was 12 I was accepted to a very good private school. I had such great grand ideas of how things would be. I considered myself so grown up. High school was nothing like I thought it would be. It was hard. I mean, really hard. I struggled coming from public school. Eventually I caught up. I graduated with honors. I was accepted to school in New Orleans, and I had new ideas about what being a "grown up" would entail.

I pictured myself living alone... well, living away from my parents at least. I thought about how I would spend my days running along the street car line, and laying out in the park.
In the four years I lived in New Orleans I never ran along the street car line. I did go to the park... usually to sip on daquiris after class. I ended up joining a sorority, something I never would have imagined myself doing. I loved it. College was nothing like I expected it to be, it was so much better, but like all foolish 22 year olds, I was anxious to REALLY be an adult. I wanted to start working, and really live on my own. Naive.

I did start working. I spontaneously moved to Austin after college with a friend. He decided to move back home after a few months. I was working four jobs to make it. It wasn't quite what I had in mind, but it taught me that hard work is nothing to be ashamed of. After a few months I started applying for "grown up" jobs all over the country. I ended up taking an interview for a job in DC, and voila, 5 years later I'm still here. It was all so random, as I have learned life is.

I suppose the purpose of my rambling is that I have grown so much in these last years, and time flies by more and more quickly every year. I no longer am scared to get older though. I embrace it. I think my life has only gotten better with age. You learn how to take a punch, get up, dust yourself off, and keep going. You also go on so many adventures. Last year I got a scar on my face. 18 year old Tina would have been freaked out about going through life with something like that, 28 year old Tina loves it. It gives me the chance to tell a story about cliff diving into 100 foot waters in the Mexican jungle. I love all my markings, scars and stories. I have to say I am very blessed by the life I have led, and I look forward to what the future brings.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Computer Means New Blogging

I got a new computer!


To be more precise I got a netbook.
I decided I could no longer live without blogging or updating pictures, or just plain old surfing the web, so I bit the bullet and invested in a new machine.
I'm so excited about my new purchase. I already have anti virus software installed, and of course, I've installed google chrome.
Are there any other programs or software I should install?

Expect lots more posts coming very soon! I'm on a blog writing roll!


Tina Marie

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Page, New Business

Hey Everyone, so as you can see there have been some changes around here!

WWW.LOVETINAMARIE.ORG is now my business website.

My blog can now be found at WWW.LOVETINAMARIE.BLOGSPOT.COM

Everyone remember to add me to your google readers at my new address, and to become a follower of my blog again!

Sorry for the disruption, but I think it will be for the best!

Love, Tina Marie

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back to Crafting

This post isn't really accurately titled. I have been crafting up a storm, I've just been super bad about posting tutorials on my crafts. This one is sort of simple, but lot's of fun.

I recently decided that I needed my dining room table back. I previously had done away with it, in favor of having a desk instead. I have now decided my table can serve as a desk, a sewing station, and a dining room table, all with a larger workspace. I needed something fabulous to hang over my dining room table. Enter new craft project.

Once upon a time I wanted a coffee table that was a door. Yep, you heard me right.
This is a bad picture, but you get the gist. It's a wooden door that's been sawed in half. I attached legs, and bada-bing, coffee table.

Again, sorry for the crappy picture. 

But then I was left with what on earth to do with the rest of the door. It lived, unused, under my bed for awhile. Finally, I figured it out. When people come over, I always want to make cute little tags for the food I prepare. I never get around to it though, so I am left answering questions about ingredients, etc. while I never tire of talking about food, I knew that there had to be an easier way to do things. Voila! An idea was born. I transformed the rest of the table into...

A chalkboard!

I painted just the indented part of the door, so there is still a white border. I hung it over my dining room table. Now I can write down the menu on my chalkboard instead of making labels. I absolutely love it. 
Also, chalkboard paint is super cheap. I only needed one coat of paint, it's about $8 for a quarter gallon. I only used about 1/4 of the can (so if you live in the area and want to chalkboard something, let me know, I have extra paint). I think chalkboards work really well in kitchens and kid's rooms. Also, now you can tint your paint for an extra $4. There are something like 10 colors to choose from, so your chalkboard can match your decor! 

Happy chalkboarding! 

Love, Tina Marie

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Very Lovely Baby Shower

I just realized that I've posted 5 times in the past 3 months. I promise to start posting again. I feel like I've been living a crazy buys life lately. I literally don't have a free Saturday until May... the END of May. I really can't complain though. Most of the stuff I am doing is either fun stuff, or stuff that pays well.

That being said just a few weeks ago was Annie's Baby Shower. I was a co-hostess, along with her Aunt Susan. Susan's house is much bigger than mine, so we had the party there. It was as rocking of a good time as can be had when your guest of honor is more than 8 months pregnant.

Our friend Holly was kind enough to bring her fancy camera and take lots of pictures. I thought I would share a few.

This is Susan's living room. She set up lots of yummy finger foods. 

Susan also had a champagne toast for the guest of honor! 
I love the strawberries, I think they add a nice touch of color. 

Of course, no party I co-hostess would be complete without a few crafts and homemade items.
The first I want to share are pinwheels. I made a few of these to decorate with, and I also made individual pinwheel drink stirrers for everyone at the party. I'll have a simple tutorial on these soon.

We laid out all the pinwheels near the food. I think they were a big hit.

Sarah and Tamsin playing with their pinwheels.

I also made small favors for all the guests. I sewed quick mini bags out of fabric I had on hand. I filled each bag with jordan almonds, that Susan was nice enough to pick up, and tied each bag with a white ribbon.
We put the favors in a basket lined with tissue paper, and sat them in the front entryway.

I was in charge of games. I had a few classics, but I decided I would be in charge of games AND activities. 
I absolutely loved THIS tutorial from kojodesigns. Since I couldn't make a and entire booth, I decided to decorate a frame. I also had a bucket filled with props. It was a big hit.
I think I'll have it at all my parties from now on. 

Annie and Frank, the mother and father to-be, took a picture before Frank was banished from the premises.

We had another mommy-to-be at our party. I got a picture of both of their bumps in the frame.

During present opening time Annie opened my gift. It was a handmade baby mat. I use lots of fabrics I had on hand, and the inside is lined with fleece. I tried to make it as ungirly as possible as we don't know if Baby Webb is a boy or a girl. 

Finally, I had a new take on the classic "Write down advice/well wishes for the mommy-to-be". Instead of just getting note cards for people to write on, I decorated the front of plain white cards with the alphabet. Every letter got it's own card. I encouraged people to write well wishes and advice on the back of the cards. When Baby Webb is older s/he can use the cards as alphabet flashcards.

As closer look at my artistic skillz. Yeah, that's skillz, with a Z. I will say, it is ridiculously difficult to figure out a drawable item for every letter of the alphabet. I may have a tutorial on this one later too.

Whew! That's it!. Do you have any great party ideas that I didn't think of? I'm co-hostessing a bridal shower next month, so I'm open to lots of new things!

Love, Tina Marie

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reflecting --- it's a Jesus-y One.

It's no secret that I'm Catholic. I think I've made it fairly well known.
That said, this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of reflection. We sacrifice something, just like Jesus sacrificed himself for us. Last year I gave up using gChat on my blackberry.
It might have been the most difficult thing I have ever given up during Lent, including the time I gave up meat for a whole 40 days. Most people give something up, like candy, or fried food. However, it is also completely acceptable to give something during Lent. A few years ago, for Lent, I decided to make my way back to Church. Even though I've always been Catholic, my church going was sparse to say the least, But ever since that Lent I've made mass a weekly ritual. This year, once again, I've decided to give something, rather than give something up. So, starting next week, every week until Easter, I am going to make a second trip to church. During this trip I'm going to say a rosary. I have always felt a special bond to the Blessed Mother, and I feel like it's time for me to acknowledge that. I know the Catholic views of the Virgin Mary are different from a lot of other religions. If you want to know more you can always do research in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It's basically a manual for what we believe and why.

Is anyone else giving up, or giving something for Lent?

Love, Tina Marie

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why I Love My Phone

I'm totally a phone snob. I have no idea how I lived before I owned my android phone. I absolutely love it.
The only irritating thing about phones is how quickly they become outdated. Luckily android has system updates, so the phone adapts as technology adapts. So if you have a droid, here are 5 things that you might not know your phone does, that are awesome:

1. Widgets: did you know you can create shortcuts on your phones "desktop". I have shortcuts for people I frequently call. You can create an icon on your desktop that will call or text a person. You can also create shortcuts to frequently visited websites, or a song that you play on repeat. I absolutely love this feature.

2. Zip files: I use my phone as my primary music source. I buy all my music from Amazon, which, in my opinion, kicks iTunes ass. Amazon lets me have the music both on my desktop, and my phone, but it also lets me use any media format to carry my files. This means I can share my music files with other people. Furthermore I can buy a song on my phone, save it as a zip file on my phone and email it to someone else. No PC necessary. I love this feature.

3. TV: I don't have cable. This means I watch most of my TV either day of, or online. I recently discovered that thru I can watch pretty much any show out there on my phone. This is pretty awesome for me.

4. Radio: There are lots of free radio programs out there, but I use pandora. I know that they now have a 40 hour a month limit, but using a different account on my PC than I use on my phone I am able to double my monthly usage!

5. Navigation: I know that a lot of people have garmins and tom toms and swear by them. I swear by my google navigation. They are constantly updating the program, and I use it in place of other traditional navigation systems. I have a dock for my phone in my car specifically for when I use it as a navigation  systems. I would be lost without it. (Get it? It's punny.)

Do ya'll have any other neat features that use use your android phone for?

Love, Tina Marie

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hair Cuts and Bingo

I'm excited. For weeks I've been planning a hair cut, and the day for it is finally here. I'm heading over to my friend Erin's house today for my first haircut in about a year.
Last year I cut off all my hair and donated it to cancer kids. NEVER AGAIN.
I'm seriously never doing it again. It was way too traumatic. Now I've grown my hair out again and am ready to have a style to it. I'm going to have layers put in, and absolutely no length taken off.
Wish me luck!


Tina Marie

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Long Time No Blog

Hi all!

I've felt so displaced without my blogging!
I figured it was time for a post.

As many of you know, I love to read. I mean I absolutely love it. It's one of my favorite hobbies, and I'm always reading something. Sometimes (more times than I care to admit) I'm reading a chick lit book, but I try to alternate between that at classics/ Pulitzer prize winners. Most recently I tried a new genre of book: foodie.
When I say foodie, I don't mean a cookbook. I mean a book on the subject of food.
I like to tell people I'm a pretend foodie, because while I love a fine dinner, I'm just as happy having tacos from Jack in the Box. Also, I never demand that everything be fresh. I was raised in a not so wealthy household, so we definitely ate our share of canned vegetables. This particular book is called "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant". It's a collection of short essays by people who have some connection to the food industry. These people talk about eating for one, and preparing meals for one, versus preparing food for a crowd. The book really spoke to me.

Any and all of my friends can attest that I LOVE cooking for them. I'm always happy to spend time in the kitchen preparing food for the people in my life, but I rarely take the time to do it for myself. Sure, every once in awhile, I become decadent, but 99% of the time you can find me eating a random assortment of food for dinner. And on more than one occasion I've forgotten to eat altogether. This means many dinners consisting of cereal, or a microwave potato, a spoonful of peanut butter, or some other singular fulling item. An example: last night I had half an avocado, some carrots and hummus, and 2 slices of cheddar cheese. I didn't eat them all at the same time, I ate them in that order, one after the other, without ever using a plate, getting up and going to the kitchen for each new item. I eat by myself because I have to. I would much rather prepare huge meals for friends. Maybe that's why I like cooking so much. I enjoy the look on other people's faces, knowing that the food I just made them is blowing their minds. For me, food is the way I show love and appreciation. Anyway you look at it, I think I've found a new genre of book.

How about you. What/How do you eat when you're alone?


Tina Marie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Update

Hi All,

Sorry I haven't been posting lately, but my computer finally completely died. This means that updates will be few and far between until I get a new laptop. As I am very very poor right now, who knows when this will actually happen.

However, Annie wrote me an email yesterday. She said i had failed at blogging, and was a bad blogger. She also called me a whole bunch of names not suitable for use on this site.
I told her my predicament, only she would hear none of it. She demanded I go to her house, in the middle of a huge snowstorm, and update my blog. I told her I wasn't comfortable driving in the snow, so she said I should walk... 10 miles... uphill... barefoot.
Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. But, she did ask me to blog, and told me I could use her computer. So Annie, I'm at your house. I let the dogs out. I'm using your computer. i hope you're happy. :)

Since this post is extremely Annie heavy, I thought I would take a page out of her book and blog about things I am extremely excited for:


One of my best friends (Allie) is getting married this summer, and I am her maid of honor! I'm so excited, as she is a super awesome person, and her fiance is just as cool. This means I get to plan her bridal shower and her bachelorette party... both taking place in New Orleans this spring. I'm most excited to plan the bridal shower... I just love me a good tea party. Her wedding is taking place in Florida at her fiance's family beach house. I'm pretty jacked about that too. I love the beach, and this wedding has "awesome time" written all over it.

"Beach" Retreat

While in college every year my sorority went on beach retreat. A whole weekend of hanging out with each other and soaking up the sun. It was always a good time. Well, a bunch of us alums have continued the tradition. Every year we vacation together someplace really neat. Florida, Atlantic city, and a cruise have been on the itinerary before, and it looks like this year everyone may be coming to DC! I am so excited to have my sisters see where I live, and to experience the awesomeness of this city. Sometimes I forget how awesome it is to live here, but how many people can say they can see the Washington monument from their house? I live in a pretty awesome place, and I know my sorority sisters will have an awesome time here.

Memorial Day Weekend

I know all of my things that I'm excited for aren't for a few months, but I can't help myself. Memorial Day is no different. every year I spearhead a group trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX), and this year is no different. I've already started to look at houses, and get numbers. While I won't book a place till March, it's nice to know this is on the books.

Update: Annie, H and R are asleep at my feet... by the heating vent.


This is one thing I am excited for that's happening right now. Some of ya'll know I go to Washington Sports Club. I love the gym because of one class: Step Aerobics. It's taught by an amazing teacher, and it's also taught at an extremely high intensity level. I've tried SO many other step classes, and none have other come close. In the past I've had free access to company gyms, but have continued to pay the (ridiculously high) membership fees at Washington Sports Club because of this one class. Well, now, it looks like one of my bi-weekly classes is being canceled. This means I only get step once a week. I decided I couldn't justify four classes for the high fees, so, as much as it pains me, i am switching gyms. I checked out other gyms in the area and have settled on Fitness First. Their gym is definitely smaller than WSC. They also don't offer towel service, but they DO offer three step classes a week, and $20 monthly membership fees plus free parking. I'm totally on board. I'll probably start in a month once my WSC membership is over.

Okay, I hope this satisfied you Annie.

Love, Tina Marie