Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dinner at the Zimas

Last night we had dinner with our friends Brett and Shawn. Brett even cooked an all vegan meal! Risotto with veggies. Amazing :)

We have a lot in common with the Zimas, and it's great that we have good friends on this side of the pond.

We talk about our best friends Sarah and Minda a lot, and I like that we both know what the other is feeling since we both just moved here after BOLC.

After dinner we played Cranium and Scattegories, which was an absolute blast!

Well, I better get to bed. Tomorrow is a big day!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ciao, Bella!

So here are some pictures from our trip to Venice with the lovely Zima family. It is impossible for me to post all of the pictures, so I picked some faves. I have a feeling there will be more posts dedicated to these photos. Enjoy!
Brett and me in Murano
Matt and me (and my grandmother's ring) at St. Mark's Basilica
A view of San Marco from the tower
Shawn and Matt being boys
Matt and me
Brett and Shawn on the gondola
The Coles kissing under the Bridge of Sighs
Matt on the gondola
Matt's wife on the gondola

Monday, March 21, 2011

Venezia Preview

So there are plenty of pics to come, but here are a few because I'm just so darn excited!

In San Marco waiting to depart :( I know, our fedoras are adorable.

Matt's pizza. Yummmmmmm!

Eating gelato. Oh. My. God.

Drinking a Spritz, Venice's signature cocktail. I prefer red wine.

What we saw as we arrived. No, not a postcard. But it should be.

Leaving. Funny we're smiling because we wanna stay!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 18, 2011

A wee bit Irish

Yesterday Was St. Patrick's Day, and Matt and I had a fun time with it.

Our FRG had a St. Patty's luncheon, complete with corned beef and cabbage, Irish cream brownies, and shepards pie. I brought white chocolate and mint cupcakes as well as vegan shepards pie. Meat lovers were surprised that there was no meat or animal products involved!

And I made this cake

Can you tell I rushed this? Haha! The shamrock looks like broccoli or a tree. Quite humorous.

Also, I found out this week that I am Irish and Scottish! So this March 17th was extra special for me :) In fact, my grandmother's maiden name, Patterson or Paterson, comes from St. Patrick himself. Cool, huh?

So here I am, eating our very Irish dinner of cabbage, spinach and beans, and shepards pie

Twas a fantastic day :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Current Obsessions

I have a few current obsessions, so I figured I'd share.

1) Kimora Lee Simmons, more specifically "Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane"
She started out modeling for Chanel when she was 13, and then she married Russell Simmons in 1998, and has since developed Baby Phat and KLS (Kimora Lee Simmons) fashion lines.  She is a model (um, gorgeous!), author, and most importantly, a mother.  And I love her show!  Side note, Matt compares her show to listening to nails run down a chalkboard.  But what does he know?

2) Everything Kardashian
This obsession has been full blown for quite some time.  It's getting a little ridiculous.  Matt doesn't mind this one so much because he's in love with Kourtney (far right).  These women are the daughters of the late Robert Kardashian, best known for being OJ Simpson's attorney during the Nicole Brown murder case.  Their mom, Kris, now married to Olympian Bruce Jenner, was actually best friends with Nicole, and this caused a bit of drama.
Khloe (left) is married to Lamar Odom of the LA Lakers, Kim (center) dated Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints for a while, and Kourtney is just fabulous.  They own a boutique called "Dash" with stores in Calabasas, Miami and now, New York City.
I'm pretty sure if we met, we'd be the best of friends.  Especially Khloe, Kourtney, and me :)  And I consider Kourtney my fashion icon.  Matt likes that ;)

3) Patton and Matt in Argyle

Argyle was made for my males.  Patton has a collar just like the one here, but without the pink, and it is smashing!  And you should see my hubby in this pattern...flawless.  I love it!

4) Vegan Makeovers
I don't have a picture for this, but I love taking traditional homemade and many times Southern dishes, and making them into vegan meals.  So far we've done stuffed bell peppers, sloppy joes, shepards pie, and cherry cobbler :)  YUMSIES!

5) Christian Louboutin
Oh. My. God.  His shoes make me SO happy!  I don't own a pair, and have yet to find any sans leather, but they are stunning to look at.  Plus, they are lots and lots o' money, and I refuse to pay $500 + for a pair of shoes.  But I do like to find lookalikes :)  Gorgeous, gorgeous footwear!

6) Buddha

We have a few Buddha pieces in our house, and I love them for intrinsic value alone.  But then I started reading proverbs from Buddha, and found them quite insightful .  I was recently asked by someone how I have an optimistic outlook on life.  I contribute it to my diet, my very supportive and adorable husband, as well as positive readings, from those like Buddha.  You don't have to be a Buddhist to appreciate the quotes, just like you don't have to be a Christian to appreciate Proverbs and Psalms. And to be honest, they are very similar.
"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned" -Buddha 
See what I mean?  Woosa.

7) Wax Seals

If you have received a letter from me lately, chances are it had a "C" wax seal on it.  I have always loved wax seals, and since many letters have been leaving the Cole household, I thought it would be nice to get a personalized wax seal.  Wax seals have been used for centuries,  and I first became smitten when I learned William Shakespeare used them.  Not that our letters are comparable to those of The Bard, but you can see why I would be inspired (Willy Shakes is my longest running obsession. Ask my parents).

And it seems that is it for now. Have a fabulous day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cooking my booty off!

In the last two days, I've baked 6 derby pies, one white chocolate chip-mint cake, a dozen of the same flavor cupcakes, and tried a couple fun new meals :)

So here I am getting ready...
This adorable apron is from the beautiful Alisa Cole.  I LOVE it!!  I'm wearing it to our FRG Irish Luncheon Fundraiser on Thursday.  Because it's green, of course!

So Matt is the greatest waffle maker in all of the land!  He is such a sweetie and made vegan waffles for breakfast on Saturday!  DELICIOUS!  And of course, breakfast wouldn't be complete without a side of veggie sausage.
And I found a fantastic recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Eating Bird Food.  It is called scrambled tofu, basically the vegan version of scramble eggs, and you can find the recipe here.

I love taking dishes I ate growing up, and transforming them into a vegan dish.  Well, that's exactly what I did with Shepards Pie.  I took  Morningstar veggie crumble and sauteed it with onions, and instead of the traditional Worcester that includes anchovies, I used a teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce.  Then added frozen peas, carrots and corn, topped with mashed potatoes, and voila! 

With a side of broccoli of course :)

As for the baked goods, I'll try to take pictures of them later.  PS, I found a way to stop eating half the batter.  Just make it with stuff you don't like.  For example, I don't eat dairy and such.  So I just made treats with eggs and butter :)  Or if you don't like coconut, make a german chocolate cake.  It's a fantastic trick.

Anyways, I guess that's it for now.  Have a spectacular week!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fiending for Philly

Maybe fiending is too strong of an adjective, but I am pretty stoked about our upcoming visit back to the motherland.

Matt and I are headed to Philadelphia in May because he is attending a class for a couple of weeks at the University of Pennsylvania, and I, well - I just want to tag along.

I've never been to the City of Brotherly Love before, but I've always wanted to. Being a history buff, historical landmarks such as Independence Hall and Betsy Ross' Home take precedence over spas or even, dare I say it, shopping excursions. Though when combined, they make the perfect holiday :)

There are many reasons I'm excited about this trip. I get to see Sarah!!! And then, I get to see Tressa! My two bffs in one glorious trip!! Sarah is flying up to Philly and she and I are taking the train to NYC to see Tressa and to get lost in the madness that is, The Big Apple. It's been six years since I've been to New York City, and I miss it so! And months since I've been with my greatest girlfriends. In my head I imagine the trip as a Sex in the City musical montage. Which means (cue gasp)...I need to go shopping!!

I call Charlotte.  You girls let me know who you want to be and I'll refer to you by that name whilst we're in the City together :)

And did I say shopping? Yes, I'm excited about that. Not only robbing China Town of all its knock off "Prados", but quite honestly, enjoying my favorite store, Target, for two entire weeks. Heaven. I feel like I can't find affordable frocks without you!!!

As I approach my soapbox, let me just tell you that I just googled 43 VEGAN restaurants in Philadelphia ALONE!! Matt and I shall eat at a new one every evening :) He's such a doll. So supportive of the healthy trash I put before him. Our first stop, on his behalf, will be Blackbird Pizzeria.

Not only is it the name of one of our favorite Beatles songs (coincidink), but it is also Philly's first vegan pizzeria. Matt LOVES pizza, he's always begging me to make one or buy a frozen one. But I don't eat cheese, so, conundrum! This shall take care of that.

What else? Oh yes. I'll be able to communicate with people in my native tongue, wherever I wanna! Unless, of course, I take a wrong turn and head right over the Ben Franklin bridge into Camden, New Jersey. That city, heck, that state, has never been on my "to do" list. I'll steer clear.

If we have time maybe we'll hit up Amish country or stalk Jon and Kate Gosselin.  I'd prefer the latter.  Either way, we shall have a good time.  That is all for now!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A night on the town

Last Saturday night, we spent the evening in Kaiserslautern with our good friends Brett, Shawn, Ben and Abi.  Here are some photos:
 Ben had me laughing hysterically with this!
I don't know why, but I sure enjoy doing this pose.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sir Patton Pup

So, just in case you didn't know, Matt and I have the most precious pup in all of the world! Patton Jefferson was my inspiration to become a vegan, and he validates that every day with his snuggles and downright cuteness.

I haven't posted enough pictures of him, so here are a few I found on my iPhone (I take at least one photo of him every day).

Scarfing down mashed banana while helping me bake banana bread

Playing soccer with daddy. I LOVE this one!

Begging us to snuggle for a few minutes before bedtime.

Patton loves to see what's going on in the neighborhood! He was watching the recycling guys in this one.

And as always, being a snuggle buggle with pops.

Love on your pets today and every day! They can teach us so much about unconditional love.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What are you afraid of?

I just got done watching one of my favorite shows, Dr. Oz, and today he was talking about phobias.  Growing up I handled snakes, wouldn't squeel at mice or cockroaches, and actually liked to play with tarantuals. 

Never was I scared of heights or flying, as I would often fly with my aunt, a pilot, in various small aircraft.  She even gave me lessons once, and I loved it!

All of that changed a couple of years ago when Matt and I were flying back from the Bahamas.  We visited a small island, Crooked Island, with my aunt and her boyfriend.  They were both experienced pilots, so even in a four seater plane, I wasn't scared.

But flying back from Crooked Island, we ran into some pretty serious weather.  Though it was noon, the sky was black, and there was lightning striking all over the place.  That being said, you can imagine how rough the flight was. 

I lost it.  The turbulence was pretty severe, and the radar was showing that we were in the middle of it.  There were noises going off that were pretty alarming, though I have no idea what they meant.  They couldn't have been saying "we're all good", for all I know.

My aunt was not flying this time.  I think if she were in the pilot's seat I would have been more at ease, because I'd flown with her before and she makes me feel safe.  She very calmly asked us to locate the CB radio and pointed to the life raft, just in case.  I don't think she ever thought something was going to really happen, but I was distraught, to say the least.

In the back seat I was bawling my eyes out, snot running down my face, and my nails clenched into Matt's thighs.  Matthew was surprisingly calm, and tried to help me gain composure.  That did not happen.  I was a wreck until we landed in Miami, and even after then, I was pretty shaken up.

I've always been weary of explaining this to my aunt, because she did nothing to cause this, and I don't want her to think I'm a sissy.  After all, she is a pilot, it's what she does.  She's one of my biggest role models, and you never want to disappoint your role model.

Since then I've experienced extreme anxiety when flying.  I've tried meditating, attempting to distract myself, but nothing can bring me back to sanity when turbulence strikes.

In fact, I saw a doctor in anticipation for the big flight to Germany, and was even prescribed a medicinal aid.  That didn't even work.  The medicine knocked me out, but I would inevitably jolt awake at the slightest shake, grab Matt, and burst into tears.

I'm pretty embarrassed by my reaction to flying, but I've vowed to never allow it to keep me from traveling.

Not everyone has a phobia, but there are many who do.  For some it's debilitating.  Some avoid situations and places to insure their safety.  And doctors have determined that while genetics and vicarious fear have something to do with phobias, it is often brought on by a traumatic experience.

So I've decided to start researching aviophobia, and try to find ways I can work through my fear.  Because until I do, it will own me.  And I refuse to have fear hold me back.