Thursday, June 30, 2011

around the corner- a journey

I started this blog a little over a year and a half ago. The Blog Around the Corner has been a place where I can share my heart, my desires, my interests and details of my small (but happy) life. It has been a record of my marriage, of recipes I've tried, of fashions I'm interested in, of places I've been with friends, of my weight goals and struggles, and of my spiritual journey. Thank you for joining me on my journey to be a better Christian, a better wife, a better friend and a better writer.

remember my Christmas meltdown?
  I said a few things and he said he wasn't going to put up with that and I said I'm sorry can you please just hold me I haven't gotten any sleep and I'm cramping and I just need you to be supportive and he said BUT I DONT KNOW WHO YOU ARE RIGHT NOW and I said THIS IS THE WORST CHRISTMAS EVER 

or when I quit my job?
And the worst part of it was the mom had offered me a chocolate from her Valentines Russell Stover's right before the tears started, so as I'm crying I'm taking tiny bites of my truffle. I didn't even get to savor it.

the prayers God answered?
This time last year I had very few friends in town who had time to spend w/ me, I was discontent and frustrated with our home and we were going to a church that we liked but we weren't meeting people and had little desire to get involved.

the first time I opened up about my weight gain?
I hated not being able to hide it. For a long time I refused to buy new clothes because I didn't want to be accepting a body that I didn't want. 

when I threw my first party?
Somehow I managed to get the whole house sparkling (minus our bedroom) and prepare for the party in barely a day's time. AND I didn't cough or blow my nose once during the party.

when my husband told me that I suck?
-- I'm not giving you a teaser for this one. You'll just have to read it. --

when I shared 93 things about myself?
dust, semi-trucks, High Fructose Corn Syrup

when I thought Andy would be disappointed in me?
I was extremely distraught over the phone and had it in my head that Andy was more concerned with me making money than with me caring for him, the home and others.

thanks for reading, friends (and family). you bless me.

me- December 2009, when I started this blog
(not at my heaviest, but getting there)
me - June 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

so many little pleasures, where to even begin?!

1) I am so, SO happy with my Imani necklace. It's bright and cheery and pops against the different shirts I've worn it with.

2) Parmesan-crusted tilapia - I added sliced almonds. Yummm. I served it w/ Chinese-style green beans (can't find the recipe online but it's in a Bon Apetit cookbook), but that's only b/c I was craving them.... normally I wouldn't pair parmesan tilapia w/ an Asian side dish.

Marcus Nisson
3. cheap dresses. I got a maroon dress from Ross for $9.99 that I plan on wearing to work and maybe my brother's rehearsal dinner. The picture of this dress I bought today is AWFUL but I promise, it's so so so cute on. trust me. I like this one too (didn't see it in the store) - but I don't really need another black dress. Tempting, though....

4. new nail polish - I got watermelon, even though I want ALL of them.

5. a new movie to look forward to

6. a wonderful blog post on marriage

7. a brand new baby - Andy and I got to see our friends Simone and Dan's baby boy tonight. Nathaniel David is itty bitty perfection.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

oh oh those summer nights

oh oh those summer nights

oh oh those summer nights by Laura Rennie (click on link to view each item)

I would wear this outfit in a heartbeat (along w/ a cami under that see-through top). My favorites are the triangle necklace (I've been wanting this one for months) and the Marc Jacobs sandals.
Last week I paired a v-neck tee with a skirt to work, added jewelry to
dress it up, and swapped the skirt for jeans when I got home. Oh, and milk your tan for all it's worth - my summer make-up routine involves moisturizer, a light swipe of blush and gold cream eyeshadow, thick black mascara and cocoa butter lip balm.

finally, a new meal in the rennie house!

photo courtesy of Kana Okada

chicken + red pepper + coconut rice, + a side of cumin flavored black beans 

Mmmm thank goodness for new beginnings.
It's easy for me to get in a cooking rut. I either make the same things over and over again because they're met with success (chili 3x in two weeks - per my husband's request) or I decide we should eat out of the pantry/freezer and throw together something fast without stretching myself creatively.
We had our friend Kristen over for dinner last night and I was more than ready to try out a new recipe. I looked at what we had on hand and we had everything for this meal from Real Simple except for coconut milk.

Kristen said she would be my sous chef, but really she did the most work - she cooked the chicken to perfection. We didn't have any garlic (very upsetting) so we used garlic powder on the chicken and also added a few dashes to the black beans. To get some green on the plate I added steamed broccoli as the peppers (I used orange) and last few pieces of chicken were cooking, and both veggies took on amazing flavor from the salty/peppery/garlicky olive oil that remained in the pan.

fast, easy and super flavorful. just don't forget about your black beans, like I ALWAYS do. they were half refried by the time I remembered them, but they were still yummy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

jaw-dropping digs

can you imagine having a pool (with a swing!!) inside your manhattan townhouse?
as if that's not enough, check out the amazing sunroom and den!
I especially love the fox that's sitting in the windowsill - he has black boots on!

<here are more wow-serz worthy houses>

Thursday, June 23, 2011

a wifely reminder

take good care of yourself. get a haircut. if i come home and your head is shaved i will be so disappointed. i love your hair.

^ excerpt from an e-mail I wrote to Andy in March of 2009 when I was visiting my brother in Korea

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

charlottesville craigslist finds

I haven't bought anything from Craigslist yet, but I'm always looking. I found the PERFECT kitchen cart but had nowhere to put it. I also found the most amaaaazing antique bookcase that beautiful glass doors, but I stalled for too long. I long for that bookcase.

Here are some funky finds I came across on the Charlottesville Craigslist:
This dresser needs some love. I can see the handles and middle divider painted
a chocolate brown (like it is now, just darker) and the rest painted white.
 I would use this as a TV stand - it's got a great nerd factor to it.
this antique dresser has a LOT of character.
it would look great with a bright yellow lamp on top.
leave them as is, or paint them white
and they would look completely amazing set into
a pantry space to look like built in cabinets
(um, wow. I googled my idea and saw this. perfection.)
These cane chairs are simply adorable. They look like they're in
great condition, but some bright white paint or even something unexpected
like navy or aubergine would make these chairs pop. 
this sofa is bananas. strip it of that wrinkled faux-leather (that's what
it looks like to me), add extra padding and cover it with a charcoal grey fabric
and bam - perfect bachelor pad sofa

a lot of these finds look like they could be on "Secrets of a Stylist"
on HGTV, but this one reaaaally screams of Emily Henderson.
Am I crazy to suggest a pattern for the back of the chair?

Monday, June 20, 2011

remedies for a bad day

tuna sub w/ lots of crunchy lettuce

sweet phone call from andy

unexpected $5 off purchase coupon at CVS

a new crossword book

triple chocolate cheesecake from cheesecake factory (at Barnes and Noble)

an intriguing story ("The Piano Teacher")

encouraging and complimentary facebook posts

a house that isn't as stinky as it was yesterday

clean house (er, main floor)



anticipating a "bachelorette" date w/ jackie (stop your judging. everyone has guilty pleasure shows.)

beach pictures ::
(thanks for letting me borrow your cover up AND for taking this pic, Amber!)

the incredible creation of our husbands
(notice the crop fields on the left, and the two tiny silos)
ten of us -- minus kevin and andy

before our breakfast date (I'm sporting my new Imani necklace)
our awesome beach house

left to right:
Jackie and Kevin, Rob and Shelley, Jeremy and Julie, Us, Kent and Kelly and Elliott and Amber

posing after putt-putt
I got second place! Shocking.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

we're baaaack

and while we were gone our refrigerator broke.


we spent the past week w/ five other couples at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. we rented a wonderful house and had a great time playing games, reading, puzzling, swimming, hot-tubbing, sand castle building, fourth meal-ing (late night Taco Bell) and enjoying each other's company.

andy and I had a cute breakfast date at The Dunes restaurant one morning, but I sadly lost all of my breakfast not long after I consumed it. I'm blaming it partly on the fact that the food was sugary and fried, but mostly on the sign outside the restaurant that read "In 27 years we've served over 8 million eggs." It makes me turn green just thinking about it.

then on our way back to the house we passed a restaurant called "Stack 'Em High Pancakes" that had a sign that read "Pancakes and So Forth."

I still can't decide which sign bothers me more.

andy drove home with our friends kevin and jackie, while I drove up to NOVA to spend the night and pick up our pooch, who was staying at my parent's house. I had a delicious dinner at Mike's w/ my friend Becca, who now lives in Boston but was also visiting her parents in Springfield. Today we went to my grandpa's house (he passed away January 2010, but his wife Barbara still lives there) and cooked out by the pool with a handful of relatives on the Becker side of the family.

poor andy came home to discover that our fridge had broken and everything was rotten and the house smelled awful AND we got ants. ew ew ew ew ew. nothing like coming home from vacation to a house that is falling apart.

thank goodness for taco bell and friday night lights on hulu.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

one last thing before I go

it's almost 5 a.m. and I've been awake for three hours. I was very frustrated... there are few things more maddening to me than knowing I need to get good sleep but not being able to have it.

I prayed and prayed. I thought of happy memories. I rubbed my belly (it's very calming...but not calming enough apparently). I realized I hadn't eaten food since noon, so I had a piece of toast. I prayed some more.

Finally, I felt the Lord nudging me to get out of bed again and open up my Bible. It automatically opened to one of my favorites passages - Psalm 119. David was in the midst of war when he wrote it.
It always applies. It always leaves me convicted, motivated, refreshed and even more in love with God. I've read this passage many times, but I was stunned to come across verse 148, which I suppose never stood out to me before::

"My eyes stay open thorough the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises." 

amen to that!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

what's in my beach bag

I really wish this Land's End bag was still for sale. I like this one in navy (on sale!!) Technically there isn't anything in my beach bag yet, but there will be on Saturday! We're heading to the OBX with 5 other couples and we are all sooooo ready for a vacation.

I haven't bought a beach bag in years, so I'll probably use a cloth bag that was my Grandma's - it's super old and weird and charming and looks like something she probably picked up while traveling. I'd take a pic but I stiiiiill haven't found my camera charger. Erg.

Here's what said bag will most likely hold::

hair tie and clip
straw hat
at least one book, depending on how far along I am in one
a magazine
lip balm
ziploc bag (it will first be holding all my small items, then some shells might take over)
notebook and pen
ipod + earbuds

guess what ya'll.... I got my cover up from DEB. I know. So embarrassing. I searched all over town for a cute bikini top and a cover up that actually fit. I was walking through the mall and saw DEB and I thought, I have to at least look. I haven't been inside of a DEB since I was thirteen - in fact, that was the one and only time I was in one... until a few weeks ago.

In case you're not aware, DEB is a teeny-bopper store. High school girls can get away with wearing stuff from there...maybe even girls in early college. 24 and married? Let me tell you. It was really awkward. 

Still, I did spot a bikini top and cover up I liked. I'm probably going to return the top (I actually found a winner at Wal-Mart of all places- it's not online, or I'd show you), but I'm keeping the cover up. It was $10! I got it in pink and I think it's pretty adorable... even if it only covers up one half of me.

I can't wait to get sand between my toes and run into the ocean. I'm ready to wake up and have coffee on the porch, spend all day in the sun, reading and chatting away... I'm ready to hot tub it up at night and do crosswords and play games and grow in my friendships and have a cute beach date w/ my guy. I'm ready to GO people! See you in a week and a half!

Monday, June 6, 2011

it is more blessed to give than receive

In 2009 I read a book called "The Life You Can Save" by Peter Singer. I thought it was really fascinating and it opened my eyes up to the enormous needs that exist around the world. Singer takes a deep look into why some people don't give to charity while others do, and he concludes that people are more likely to contribute to a need if they see other people doing it. It might not be awkward for other people to "promote" their actions, but it's awkward for me! I'll do it in the name of charity, though, so here goes: 

I get my paycheck every two weeks and the best part of it is remembering that each paycheck provides an opportunity to bless others through tithing. We use Andy's income to tithe to our church and to support our missionary friends, and we both agreed that my income could go towards charities of my choice. I get excited about tithing in general because of the joy that comes through giving and through the many blessings we've received due to being faithful givers.

I finally purchased an Imani necklace (remember, I wrote about wanting one here), and I can't wait to see it in person! Many of my friends own one (or two, or three), so I already know that they're gorgeous in person.

I'm getting the necklace pictured above. It's called "Huru," which means free. I'm not sure if I'll keep it or if I will give it as a gift, but either way it's fun to know that the purchase is making it possible for women at the counseling center to receive medical help and schooling for their children.

I also made a donation to The Hunger Project, which has a really inspiring mission statement and list of principles.

Here is a list of charities that were reviewed and approved by GiveWell. Even if you don't share my religious beliefs, I implore you to consider setting aside a portion of your income to give to people in need.

Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance

Psalm 16

16:1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight. 
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me. 
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

two pounds

I am sitting here furiously eating a bowl of salad. I've never been this excited to see lettuce in my life. It's 9:30 p.m. and I haven't eaten anything since 3. This is bad, because even though I'm starting off with a bowl of salad, my tummy isn't full and it's saying "just eat more croutons. and a bag of those sun chips you bought for the beach. and some peppermint patties."


I was TWO pounds away from my goal weight, and then Chinese happened. And pizza. And Klines. And IHOP (blast my husband and his endless pancakes craving). Plus, I haven't been doing so hot keeping up with p90x. Now I'm four and a half pounds away from my goal. :-/

With our beach trip coming up this Saturday, I would love to see those two and a half pounds fall off. I'd loooove to see the numbers on the scale decrease. I think being back to my old sizes and wearing clothes I haven't been able to wear in a long time have made me feel that I can excuse giving in to my food urges. I have to keep reminding myself that while it is OK to enjoy naughty food now and then, my body will respond better to nutrition and exercise. It's so hard. I love me some chips and chocolate and onion rings and... I should stop.

This week it's fruit, veggies, tuna, chicken and nuts... not tons of toast and chocolate covered fiber bars. It's going to be tough. I know I'm probably eating out with my coworkers one day, so that will be my "free pass" meal. I have a rule at work that I only eat out once every other week. I would probably have gained back all the weight I've lost if I didn't have this rule. I pack my lunch, and I've only visited the snack machine three times since I've started working in February.

If you have some lunch suggestions, please pass them along. I need something easy to put together and something that won't make a mess at my desk.

now I'm off in search of something to eat... 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

what I want to know about you

read my answers in the comment section.

who was your first love?

what is your family like?

who is your favorite relative?

if you had to wear one color every day, what color would you choose?

if you could travel anywhere in the US, where would you want to go?

what's your favorite breakfast food?

why are you currently doing what you're doing?

if you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

how would you describe your personality?

what's your most embarrassing moment?

what was your proudest moment?

what do you want to do before you die?

if you could make a heaven out of things you've experienced on earth, what would it look like?