Monday, January 31, 2011

Secrets, secrets are no fun...

Unless that secret is a fun surprise for your hubby! I guess I’ll start out by saying that my hubby happens to be one of the sweetest people on this earth. Now before half of you give a standard rolling of the eyes and reach for the “close window” button, this post is not entirely an ode to my husband. But he does happen to be such a sweet, warm person who never wants for anything.

His birthday falls in early February, which happens to be a really busy time for him at work. When he’s working 75 hours per week, it’s difficult to find time to celebrate his birthday, so we’ve never really done much. This year, I was over the mini-celebrating, so began scheming. I invited a few of Greg’s close friends up for the weekend to surprise him for a fun birthday weekend to break up the monotony of the busy work time.

We were having a traditional “Benson Friday Night,” which includes a Dgiorno self-rising crust pizza (it’s better than anything delivered. I swear.), DVR’d episodes of Biggest Loser and The Soup, wine/whiskey (respectively) and cuddling on the couch. Basically, our idea of perfection, but very low-key. :-) So, it was a shock to Greg’s slightly drunk tipsy system when there was a knock on the door around 10:45 and his best friends bounced into our house ready to party!

What an amazing weekend we had! I’m so grateful to Greg’s pals for making the trip down. And a happy early 27th birthday to my hubby!
His friends Nick, Taylor and John and his brother Rob all spent the weekend with us. A few other guys from in town came out to The Gingerman to celebrate.

My brother-in-law's girlfriend, Taylor, came in town as did John's girlfriend, Emily! Here's the whole group.

And of course I made cakeballs for the birthday boy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm One Crafty Bitch - Round One

I am a bit cursed in that I didn’t receive the crafty gene in my family. My mom can sew and embroider, my sister can knit like it’s going out of style, but I’ve never really been all that crafty. (While I’m at it, I also have realized that I’m pretty much lacking in the overall “arts” category.)

So, when I moved into our new home, I thought I would never be the DIY-type, but I’ve got to tell you, I think I’ve been bitten by the bug. I am one crafty bitch.

(And now begins the part of this blog post where I brag… just a bit.)

So, I had this frame I bought at Hobby Lobby a few months ago. It was black/red and to be honest, I really do not know why I bought it. I have no “black and red” theme in my house. At the time, I figured I could pull out the glass and create a corkboard out of wine corks, but let’s face it, I drink about one bottle of wine a month, so it would take me years to complete that. I mean, half the bottles of wine I buy have a twist top!

So, after a quick Google search lot of research, I decided to paint it. I got some great plastic primer (yes, the frame was not real wood. I’m klassy like that), a super-cute spray paint color and some cork board from HobLob. After one coat of primer, three coats of spray paint and about 8-12 cuss words, it was time to cut the cork and pop it in the frame. (Note: This is where a majority of the cussing took place.)


The detail:

Final product:

I’m new at this whole blogging thing so didn’t take a “before” photo. Damn. Sorry bout that.

But I absolutely love it! And after looking online, I found one at Pottery Barn for $99-$149! Can you believe? And I think mine is cuter than this one. In total, I probably spent about $34. I may seem very boastful, but if you knew how incapable of crafting I am, you would understand the enthusiasm.

My next “Crafty Bitch” project? No-sew curtains for the master bathroom. Any other projects I need to add to my list?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Home Decorating & A Diva Moment

Being a new home-owner, Greg and I are always working on some kind of project for the house. That’s right – we’re getting all kinds of DIY on your asses. So, we’ve been remodeling our bathroom – textured and re-painted the walls, added new hardware and light fixtures, new flooring and adding d├ęcor. It’s been quite a process and I’m really happy with how it’s coming along (will be sure to share photos soon!), but there have been a few bumps along the way.

For example, during our Christmas vacation, Greg and I made a little trip to Daltile, the self-proclaimed “leader in tile and natural stone” to pick out some tile. We were all “YA! Look at us homeowners being all grown-up, making home decorating decision!” and walk into this store so fired up. We walked around and picked out a few options and just kind of hung tight, trying to flag down an employee to help us. So, here we are standing there holding 4 different tiles, waiting to find out information on pricing, contractor info, etc…. for like 40 minutes. We contemplated leaving a few times, but stayed because the salesperson (the ONLY one working there that day) kept walking by saying “I’ll be right with you!”

So, I finally had had it. In fact, I had what can only be considered a “Pretty Woman moment.” (Yes, I fully realize that I often equate moments in my life to great scenes in movies.) The frustration I was feeling could only rival that of the Kroger Rotisserie Chicken debacle of 2010. So, of course, I began daydreaming about yelling “We got money to spend in here, lady!” or coming back in the store with a stack of competitor’s tile saying “You work on commission, right? Big Mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go remodel my bathroom now…”

And right at this point, the salesperson came over to help. Damn. So, I didn’t have the opportunity to fully have my diva moment, but you can only imagine what THAT would've been like...

We still haven’t had the bathroom tiled yet and have a few more things to do, but here’s a sneak peek – it’s really coming together!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A yummy treat

I’ve got to be honest – I’m not much of a baker. Give me a recipe to cook a MEAL and you might as well call me Julia Child... (we're two peas in a pod, really.) But generally cookies, cake or any kind of sweet treat do not end well for me.



So, let's get on with it. The spicy pretzels. You would think these things were laced with crack. I’ve brought them to parties, girls nights and pledge class reunions and have had several friends ask for the recipe, so thought I would share it here for anyone interested.

Spicy Pretzels

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 20 ounce bag of small pretzels
1 pkg Hidden Valley ranch powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp garlic powder

Mix together the ranch powder and all the seasonings in a small bowl, set aside. Put pretzels in container with cover (I use a cake pan with lid) or a gallon size Ziploc bag. Pour olive oil evenly across the pretzels and sprinkle seasonings across pretzels evenly. Shake, shake, shake it (the pretzels or your ass - both would be ideal). For best results, let them marinate overnight and shake them every few hours to make sure the seasonings/olive oil is evenly spread.

Hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 - The Year of Breezy

TMJ – no, it’s not a venereal disease. Though it kind of sounds like one, right? So recently I’ve been plagued by TMJ, otherwise known as chronic effing jaw pain. So I went to the dentist and got a night guard to help relieve some discomfort. Greg and I now having matching ones – it’s shuper-shweet.

Then, this week I ended up having to see a specialist. And when I say “specialist,” I mean charge $450/visit and not accept insurance. Cool. Here are three things I learned about myself from my $450 doctor:

1. My lower jaw is larger than my upper jaw. When the doctor said this, I’m pretty sure my face was something like this:


2. Even though I might not think so, I am too stressed out and channel this through my jaw. Apparently, it’s “in my personality.”
3. According to the doctor, I need to find ways to relieve this stress. I’m pretty sure he suggested I try yoga or meditation.

Oh really? Are you part jaw specialist, part psychologist? Should we talk about my feelings now? I’ll be going back next week to do trust falls and a ropes course.

In all seriousness, he actually was helpful and I am now working on a treatment plan to hopefully take care of the issue. So for me, 2011 is the year of BREEZY. In fact, my number one resolution is to take better care of myself and not stress so much. I’m not going to stress out about “what the plan is” for everything, I’m not going to let things bother me and on workdays, when the clock strikes 5:30 or 6:00, if it can wait until tomorrow, it probably will. This weekend, I plan to go pick up mah girl, Jillian Michaels’ yoga DVD. Let the breeziness begin!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Neighborhood Caste System

It sounds a bit dramatic, right? When we made the move from the city to the ‘burbs, we knew things would change A LOT. I thought we’d probably be on the younger side, but figured that was OK. We would eventually make some friends, meet some neighbors. That was before I learned about the caste system in our neighborhood.

Let’s back up. Has anyone seen Mean Girls? (OK, if you haven’t, really? Really? Go rent it.) There’s a part in the movie when Janis & Damien explain to new student Kady the cafeteria seating chart and how that explains how cool each group is. This is important to know because I’m pretty sure Greg and I are sitting somewhere close by the Band Nerds, the Asian Nerds and the Cool Asians. The moms are the mean girls.

Let me put this another way so my Mom will understand. Living in the suburbs without kids is like going to Bed Bath and Beyond without a 20% off coupon. It just feels wrong…

I’ve even gone on jogs around the neighborhood hoping to see neighbors just to wave at. It’s a homeowner code. You totally get to wave at everyone. But the reception has not been as warm as I hoped for. There’s an elementary school and two really cute little parks in our neighborhood and when I run by it and see the moms there with their little ones and wave, I either get blank stares and every once in a while a look like I might straight babynap their child right off the swing set. Whoa, lady.

Even when Greg and I are driving in the neighborhood, I would say our neighbor wave return is only about 60%. So, even if the neighborhood is ready for more kids, the Bensons, as it turns out, are not. Not quite yet anyway. So for now, bottom of the food chain.

In other news, I’m pretty excited that I’m already 2/3 of the way to my goal of 9 followers. Although, let’s face it, one of those followers is… uh.. me.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

“We’ve got a first-timer over here…”


Well, that’s what I feel like. I really LOVE reading blogs. Whether it’s creeping on friends’ blogs to see what’s happening in their lives, reading local news or getting a recap on my fave reality show... So, I figured, why not start my own? So, let’s get one thing clear – I fully understand that I will probably have a loyal following of about nine people (and one will likely include my Mom – hi Mom!), but I really enjoy staying up to date on what’s going on in my friends’ lives, so wanted to give you a peek into mine.

Just a quick “About Me” – I live in the northern suburbs of Dallas in Frisco – it’s so cute, I love it! I work in public relations for an integrated marketing agency in uptown in Dallas. So yes, I commute every day. But most of my Dallas friends live in that area, so it keeps me close. I’m blessed to have met the love of my life, Greg, in 2003 and we were married in 2008. We enjoyed a “cozy” apartment in uptown for two years before buying a home in July of 2010 up in the ‘burbs.

So, let me recap what my blog will not cover: I will try not to write long blog posts. Blog entries are meant to be short, so I’ll try to keep it that way. I do work in PR and spend many hours a day at my job, but this is not a PR blog. I will also try not to make this a total a recap of my life – “hey, look what I did this weekend; look what I ate, look what I wore, etc.” Not so much. But there really are some fun/interesting/hilarious things happening in my life, especially as I adjust to owning a home, living in the suburbs, balancing a small social life, a work life and married life.

So, for the nine of you out there, thanks for stopping by! If you’d like, please feel free to become a “Follower” of my blog (check out the right-hand column) or add this to your RSS/blog reader. There’ll be more to come.  J

Happy New Year!

Lauren