Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Holidays

The past few years Andy and I have spent Thanksgiving dinner with his family and then would have dessert with my family. This year was different. We made reservations (photos below) and spent the evening watching movies together.

The peaceful and stable holiday was great, but I would have given anything to have been traveling house to house, helping in the kitchen and eating apple pie with a heaping scoopful of vanilla ice cream.

With that said, I need to emphasize how thankful I am for the life I live. Andy and I both have amazing jobs that I am very thankful for. We have accomplished so much career wise and enjoy how much we’ve learned.  In addition to our careers, I am thankful for having a sense of home. We are finally feeling at home in Santa Fe and are enjoying everything the Land of Enchantment has to offer. 

I am also very thankful for our families. We couldn’t have done half the things we’ve accomplished without them. They are all truly wonderful people, I am so thankful for their constant love and support. They have been there through thick and thin for the both of us and have helped us in so many ways. I am incredibly thankful for them and love them all very much. 

I can’t forget my amazing friends. Living 1,500 miles away can be very hard on a friendship, but all my friends have been very compassionate and interested in the life I now have here in Santa Fe. I receive countless texts, e-mails, and phone calls each week from a lot of them just wondering how I’m doing and what’s new. I feel that some of my relationships have actually gotten stronger due to the distance and I’m very thankful for that as well. 

Lastly, I’m thankful for my incredible husband. He has been there for me through sleepless nights, bad moods and everything in between.  He doesn’t judge me; he loves me for who I am. I’m extremely thankful for our relationship; it gets stronger and stronger every day. 

In closure I’d like to quote John F. Kennedy, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

Thanksgiving Dinner at El Farol

Andy first course was a Butternut Squash Bisque

My first first course was a Candies Pecan & Cranberry Salad w/ Goat Cheese
My second course was Southwestern Cornish Game Hens rubbed w/
New Mexico's Red Chile, served with scalloped potatoes and calabasitas
Andy's second course was an 8oz Top Sirloin grilled Elk Steak served with grilled
onions, mashed potatoes, and asparagus
And for dessert we both had Cinnamon Ice Cream ... What an amazing meal!!

Friday, November 18, 2011


I will be the first to admit that I am a social media junkie; I am constantly checking my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn account and love to stay connected to my family and friends back in Michigan. I love the fact that my mom is a click away, I can see photos of my friend’s babies, and can update my thoughts instantly. And I can’t forget to mention how much my blog has helped me get through the past year. Social media is a medicine for my homesickness and is always there for me when I need it. 

With that said, I would like to remind people the purpose of Facebook. Facebook was originally created by a Harvard student. The site was to allow users to stay in touch with friends and to unite people with common interests. It was supposed to be for Harvard students only, but eventually it was open to Ivy League students. Then soon after most students in the United States and Canada who had a college e-mail address were able to sign up. And in 2005, Facebook became available to anyone who held a valid e-mail account and now many companies use it as a marketing tool.  

I normally hate complaining, but I can’t stand it any longer. I absolutely hate it when people update their account constantly, post about every step of their day, complain about how much their life sucks, etc. Facebook is not a diary and most people do not care about your doctor appointment you had in the morning or if your kids are acting up, if you need someone to talk to pick up the phone and vent through the airwaves not through cyberspace.

In my opinion, (my blog, my opinion) people who post way too much about their lives on Facebook are posting for attention. Well, guess what? I'm not giving out attention anymore! The next "friend" who posts too much and it shows up on my news-feed ...... I'm deleting YOU. I know this sounds cruel, but come on, don't others feel the same way as me? It is just too much to handle, not to mention reading all that negativity can bring a person down and I'm not going to surround myself with negative people.

I'm not calling myself a saint, I use my account to stay connected to the friends I have back home. I'm sure when I first signed up for my Facebook account I posted things I should not have, but as a 24 year old I know what is right and wrong. I don’t care if you are 14, 25, or 62 … It is time to grow up!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pure Deliciousness

I am not a huge baker, but Andy and I both have a demanding sweet-tooth. The hard thing about this is I love chocolate, maybe a little too much, and Andy doesn’t. BUT … I found the compromise!! The Oreo Cheesecake recipe below is chocolaty enough for me, but not too much for Andy.

Oreo Cheesecake
1 pkg. of Oreos
¾ stick of margarine (melted)
3 pkg. of cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs 

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place cookies in a zip-lock bag and crush with hands or meat hammer. (You might want to do this in batches.) Mix cookies with melted butter in small mixing bowl, but put 1 ½ cups aside. Firmly press the remainder in the bottom of baking dish. 

2. Beat (We used our KitchenAid stand mixer, worked perfectly!) cream cheese one package at a time with sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Add sour cream, mix, and add eggs one at a time. Lastly, stir the remaining 1 ½ cups of cookies and pour mixture into baking dish. 

3. Bake for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Once the cake has baked let it rest for an hour or so, then cool in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. ENJOY!! 

“Pure Deliciousness” - Andrew Morello

Sunday, November 6, 2011

On Foot

Adam, Andy’s childhood friend and the best man at our wedding, visited us in the beginning of September. Hosting him was a pleasure. I noticed how much I love showing my friends and family around Santa Fe; the culture, history, and scenery is breathtaking. (I will extend an invite once again … if you or anyone you know are at all interested in visiting New Mexico please let me know!)

Anyway, Andy took a few days off when Adam was visiting, they spent almost every day hiking. When I came home from work they would tell me about their adventures and show me photos they snapped. I saw how invigorating this new hobby might be and asked Andy if we could start hiking on a regular basis together. 

Our first hike was absolutely awful! Andy, Kimber, and I drove to Tesuque Creek, the trail was a slight incline and very rocky. We purchased a hiking guide prior to our trip that rated this trail as easy … easy is relative, I was complaining after 15 minutes. I didn’t understand the purpose of hiking, “We are just walking in the woods!” I kept saying to Andy, “This is SO stupid!”  Then to make matters worst the temperature dropped significantly and it started down pouring rain! By the time we returned to our car we were shivering and could ring the rainwater out of our clothes. Worst experience ever!

Before this so called hike Andy bought me a pair of hiking boots ... I couldn’t make excuses, I had to try again. 

Our next hike ... Black Canyon Loop ... I thought this trail was going to be the death of me. It is only a 1.5 mile hike, but the first half-mile or more is up hill. Yes, it was beautiful, but I didn’t care, I wanted to make sure I was going to make it to the end before I saw the white lights! 

I was so thrilled when I finally made it, honestly, as pathetic as this sounds this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically. I was so proud of myself, I became hooked. 

Glorietta Ghost Town was the last trail we hiked. This was amazing! Andy had hiked this when Adam visited and wanted to take me. He said that horses would walk around freely and come up to you, but this didn’t happen when I hiked it. However, the trail itself was very rewarding, it took us three hours, the scenery was amazing, and the fact that it was an old logging town was very interesting. 

With that said, I’m happy to have found this new hobby. It is physically rewarding, inexpensive, and gives a chance for us to explore new places.  Andy and I are hoping to get a few more hikes in this fall before the snow accumulates!