Today seems to be an ongoing battle with the universe. This morning I clamped an entire finger between my flat iron, and I thought to myself, "Kristen, that was really stupid, don't make this one of those days." Fortunately I smartened up, but the world just kind of had it in for me. The day's events were like an off-key crescendo, ending with a bang when our car got towed while we were out for dinner. Cheap Tuesday pasta night isn't so cheap when the city hits you up for $150 in towing and tickets and a $25 cab ride to the impound lot. The worst part is that the "do not park past this point" sign was completely covered and obstructed by a giant City of Vancouver road improvement sign. So you'd better believe we're going to fight City Hall on this one. We took cell phone pictures of the ridiculous, gigantic sign covering the no parking sign. But still, I don't have my hopes up. Cities are usually pretty skilled in screwing people over - not so bad that you retaliate further, but just enough to ruin your day.
I found this recipe while browsing an issue of Real Simple on the flight home from our honeymoon. I made a few small tweaks to the ingredients (added carrots and red peppers) and spices.
Beef and Bean Chili
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 large carrots
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1.5 ounces tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
-Heat the oil in a large pot over medium. Add the onions, bell peppers, carrots and garlic, stirring occasionally, until tender for about 10-12 minutes.
-Add the beef, increase heat to medium-high and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it's no longer pink, for 8-10 minutes.
-Add the tomato paste, chili powder and cumin, cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
-Add the diced tomatoes (with their juices), beans and chocolate. Also add 1/2 cup of water, salt and pepper to taste.
-Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Stir in the vinegar and serve topped with thick avocado slices.
For me, the avocado was what really made this special. It seemed unusual at first, but now I can't imagine the chili tasting as good without it!
Of all the recently wed ladies I know, I would say half have changed their last names and the other half have not. As you can see, I changed mine. I like the idea of our family going by a singular name. I'm looking forward to sharing the same last name as my husband and my children. And a good thing about marrying at a younger age (I'm a just-turned 26...that's still young, right?), is that it doesn't really matter yet professionally. I have some published work, but not enough to warrant holding on to my original last name. And I'm only entering the publishing industry as a full-time employee next week, so I haven't been networking under "Gladiuk" for an overly long period of time. As for those women who keep their last names, that's their prerogative, and I don't really wish to discuss the virtues of name changing/keeping on my blog, not in a serious way, at least. Everyone does what's right for themselves.
But then there comes the issue of my blog name and the nickname that most people call me by: KG. And also, Kage. I can't say I won't miss that dearly. I secretly hope (take note, friends....) that people continue to call me KG, it has a nice ring to it! And as for "Kage"....sit back as I rationalize that one for you:
My friends began calling me Kage as a shorter form of "KG"....say KG a few times really fast and you've got Kage. Kay-Aich (KH) sounds understandably silly, but hear me out....say K-H a few times fast....kinda sounds like...Kage! And there you have it, I'm changing my last name but retaining my nickname. Viva le blog!
It's been a while, yes, but I'm back from wedding mania and home from the honeymoon and I have lots to report. I'm just going to start with some things that I recently knocked off my 101 Things To Do in 1001 Days list.
Let's start from the top...
#13 - Get a job in publishing
Check! I was fortunate enough to be offered a full-time position by the company I did my internship with. I start in a week and I couldn't be more excited. Although working full time means writing my thesis will take a bit longer (pushing graduating to a later date), this is the kind of opportunity I've been hoping for since I went back to school. And bonus, we can finally start looking for our own condo! So maybe that "buy a home" item on the list will be the next thing to be checked off?
#26 - Order room service
A honeymoon is the perfect time to indulge, so I'm happy to say that this item can be checked off several times! Pictured below is a champagne breakfast on our balcony. This is moments before I shot the cork off the champagne bottle into the pool area below. Whoops!
#47 - Read 100 books
I'm getting ever closer to my 100 books. My most recent conquest was "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert, the infamous "Eat Pray Love" author. I received it as a birthday gift and thought it would be an appropriate post-wedding read. Maybe not, though. Although Gilbert eventually comes to peace with her second marriage and finds her own nesting spot in legal matrimony, the entire book is basically her squinting skeptically at the strength and longevity of modern marriage. There was a bevy of fascinating historical information on marriage, but it was a little bleak for a beach read.
#54 - Swim at the bottom of a waterfall
We left our resort for one full day, and on our agenda was climbing a waterfall. We took a tour bus down the North coast to Ocho Rios, where we climbed Dunn's River Falls. It's a 700 foot high, unique waterfall that is broken into several shelves. Many spots involve linking hands in a human chain to increase stability when scaling the rocks. The most fun was swimming around at the bottom of the falls and the spot where the rocks had formed a waterslide.
#73 - Watch a sunrise
It's pretty much against the rules of vacationing (let alone, honeymooning) to get up at 5:00am, but after watching several amazing sunsets, we really wanted to take in the sunrise as well. We actually snuck onto the roof of the hotel...and it was worth it.
#80 - Take Luc to the spa for a massage
Not only did Luc get a massage, but we also did the sauna, steamroom, hot tub, water therapy, freezing cold plunging pool, and couples facials. He probably doesn't approve of me telling my blog readers that...but after my lengthy absence, I'm not even sure how many of you there are left!
#98 - Go an entire week without checking the stat counter on my blog
Needless to say, with the wedding and the honeymoon I've been pretty disconnected from everything digital. And it's been a nice break. But make no mistake...it's nice to be back!
I don't have the energy just yet to describe how wonderfully amazing and fun our entire wedding day was, but I do have a few photos. We managed to snap a few pics on our own camera. Just post-reception pics, but there will be more to come when we get back from our honeymoon.
My September banner is a tribute to my upcoming wedding. I designed it after our wedding invitations and even scanned part of an invite and pieced things together in Photoshop. The rest was done in InDesign. The first of the month marks 4 days until I say my vows. And I'm pretty excited.