a nice ring [pun intended]

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from here & here

update: it will just be a "wedding diaries" series.
i won't have to be tied down to a specific day, i can talk about whatever i wish, and there's no super-cheesy title.
you will read it and love it and if you don't, you will not comment on it.
[that means you, anon commenters]

dinner tonight

i've never been the girl who makes dinner.
at home, i'd put the rolls in the oven, or usually just make some brownies or cookies or other chocolatey heaven for dessert.
and college meals have consisted of pasta and sauce or deli sandwiches.

so last week, when i decided to surprise ben with a full dinner all made when he came over from his first day of classes, i knew i was in for it ["it" meaning some hard work].
especially when i realized the recipe in question involved raw chicken.

butttt after a little chicken smashing incident [you'll understand in a minute], it actually turned out really well.
ben said so himself.
without further ado, here is the Barefoot Contessa's Parmesan Chicken, with some novice chef's [read:mine] comments.
and it's easy enough that i could do it.
so you should be just fine.

necessary ingredients [to make for 5 people]:
- 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts [gross]
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt [kosher? who cares?]
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper [fancy]
- 2 extra-large eggs [who the heck knows if extra-large actually makes a difference. twss.]
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 and 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus extra for on top [except i just used the kind in a bottle, like normal people]
- unsalted butter
- good olive oil

how to do it:
1) pound the chicken breasts until they're 1/4-inch thick. you can use a meat mallet or a rolling pin. [i used a rolling pin and had no clue what i was doing. it was so gross. i may or may not have screamed a few times. and my roommate may or may not have come running to see if i was okay. and there may or may not have been chicken bits spewed all over my kitchen. but i definitely did sanitize every possible surface afterwards. so don't worry.]

2) combine the flour, salt and pepper on a dinner plate. then beat the eggs and 1 tbsp of water on another plate. then on a third, the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan. [*we realized that the chicken probably would be more flavorful if we put the salt in the 3rd plate, as the last thing the chicken was dipped in. so add that. or some other fancy spice. we'll probably use paprika next time. and don't be afraid to add some extra parmesan. we like things cheesy up in here.]

3) coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the junk on each plate, in succession. [dummy's guide: flour mixture, then egg mixture, then bread crumb mixture. make sure it's totally covered by each of these and has more than enough bread crumb mix but shake off the extra so it doesn't burn.]

4) heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan [we call it the grilled cheese pan] and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat on each side, until cooked through. [we cooked 3 at a time, but found that the 3rd one that was off to the side was kind of pink in the middle when we took it off. so just do 2. the patience will be worth it when you have leftovers that don't poison you.]

5) add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts until they are perfectly golden brown. [or darker golden brown. we like the crispies.]


it's so delicious.
and if you know what you're doing [i obviously didn't], it shouldn't take too too long.
also, the BF Contessa has this fancy lemon vinaigrette salad to go along with it, but i just made a box of lemon herb pasta and some peas for our sides.
i know i know, just call me Martha Stewart.

moral of the story: you should make this for dinner tonight.
you won't regret it.

new york, new york

only 3 weeks later, i've decided it's finally time to share my New York pictures.
better late than never, right?
for those of you who just came around [welcome, welcome], let me catch you up:
it was my college senior trip and i got engaged!!!
so all in all, a really good few days.
i LOVE the city, i love the people i went with, and i definitely love the man who drove all the way down to propose to me.

so, here it is. my [touristy] new york city.
[in only a thousand and a half pictures]

Day One:
oh, that skyline.
 times square and the teeny tiny New Year's ball
 we did go nuts.
lady liberty in lego form
Ground Zero memorial and Freedom Tower under construction
pretty infinity pool memorial
this crazy boy must not have gotten the 12 degree memo.
Times Square at night is my fave.
i got to meet up with [france friend] Emily!
rockefeller center!
roommate love
anddd ice skating at rockefeller!
ice skating with my fwendz
midnight snack with lace [my roomie]: bagels and chocolate milk

Day Two:
lady liberty and lace
so pretty.
best cheese fries EVER at shake shack
up in the Empire State Building!
 and such pretty views
such tiny little cars
pretty Central Park
and then my boyfriend was there and he proposed :)
rockefeller on the long walk back
times square with my fiance!
we all went to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, but these are the only pictures i could get...

then in the morning:
we said a sad goodbye to the city.

and that's all!
2 perfect days in New York City,
and it only took me 2 years to write this post.

just throwin it out there

i've been considering tattoos lately.
it's actually been a few years that this thought has been bouncing around in my head, but i've always lacked the money to do it, and also the confidence.
i don't really deal well with pain.

but i'm thinking about taking the leap.
maybe my graduation present to myself?

it'll be on my left forearm and in french.
and it'll be totally b.a.
and it may or may not have something to do with Jesus, so he probably wouldn't have appreciated me writing out the whole phrase above.

here's some of my inspiration, all found on the beautiful, heavenly, wonderful Pinterest:

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the 2nd one down and this last one are my favorites.
i'm in love with this last one.

who knows what will actually come of this.
 ask me in a few months, and i'll let you know if
 i've talked myself into it or freaked myself right out.
i would bet the latter.

my saturday confession

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from here

today is the first saturday i've had alone in a long time.
ever since ben's been home [which was the end of october], saturdays have been spent with him: laying around, going for walks, going on adventures, etc.
but this weekend he's gone for an air force thing, and all of my friends are busy with their boyfriends, doing homework, working, things like that.
so i've had my day to spend as i please.

it sounds nice, and don't get me wrong, it is.
last night i watched so many chick flicks, read more of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and cleaned my room.
all of the [lame] things i want to do every weekend, but never end up having the time.
but it's also lonely.
i got so good at being alone over the past 2 summers when ben was gone:
occupying my own time with bike rides and book reading and visiting friends.
but now, i'm kind of over it.
i've had enough time by myself to last me a lifetime.
i'm a social person, made for interacting with friends, and sharing my life with benny.
i'm going to make the most of today [and i've already started], but i'm counting down the time until ben gets home.
all we're going to do is go over to my dad's to watch the Giants game, but that is enough for me.
sharing my life with my best friend is more than enough for me.


from here
the past 2 weeks have been so good.
ben and i are soaking up the newly engaged bliss, spending our time laying around and talking about the future, making official plans for our big day, and celebrating with family and friends.
it's been amazing to me the number of people that have taken their time to congratulate us, both in real life and in this little blog land.
the tweets, instagram comments, and comments on my last post that i got from you guys have been so sweet and have really driven home how much i love having friends like you.
you're all so supportive and so excited for us and i'm thankful.
you guys are the best.
the new semester started, 4 days after ben proposed.
it's been a whirlwind.
one in which i just deny that i have schoolwork to do.
it's a week and a half in and i don't even have my textbooks yet.
but i'll get there.
after all, i only have 4 months left of school work and then i graduate!
holy moly.
so many mixed feelings about that.
i'm off to go for a swim with my fiance (!), but i just wanted to pop in quick and say hey.
i'll be back this weekend hopefully with some nyc pictures, a wedding planning update, and a cute little wedding-related DIY.
i've been a crafting fool, kids.
i hope everything is well with you.
talk to you soon.

the rumors are true!!!

if you follow me on any other social media platform,
[twitter or instagram, mostly.]
 [shameless plug.]
or if you're my real life friend,
[that's always an option too...]
you will know that my trip to new york was even more awesome than i could have ever hoped it would be.
wanna know why?
[there are many reasons actually, but mostly because...]
WE GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bold, big font, so many exclamation points- yes, all are necessary.
do you wanna hear the story?
 i think you do.
if not, please take your cold hearted, love hating self right off this page.
just kidding.
[but really]

so anyways, here goes
i get on the bus early [meaning 3:45 early] last wednesday morning,
 ready to take on new york city for two full days,
bags packed of warm layers, cool gloves that i could use with my iphone, and enough reading material to last me for days.
 my roommate, lacey, and i had plans to hit all the stops that the group was going to and then some extras of our own.
little did i know how important lacey would be to our extra plans, or how awesome said plans would be.

i'll post about the whole trip later, but for now, let's skip wednesday and get right to thursday, shall we?
because thursday was the day, unbeknownst to me.
i got up and got ready, prepared for a day of sightseeing and a Broadway show that night.
lacey and i, along with some other friends, went to see the Statue of Liberty that morning, got the most delicious cheese fries known to man at Shake Shack for lunch, went up in the Empire State Building and then lace said she wanted to go see Central Park.
she'd been priming me with this for days, saying that when she came to New York with her boyfriend, they didn't have time to get to Central Park before the sun set, and talking all about this fountain from Friends and this pretty bridge that's in all these movies and blah blah blah.

silly me believed her that she really just wanted to see Central Park.

so we look up directions from Empire State Building to Central Park.
from 35th to 59th.
that's 24 blocks people.
i suggested we find the subway.
lacey said she wanted to make sure we'd have enough time to hang out there before we had to meet the group for dinner, and she wasn't sure where a subway station was.
so we walked.
we walked.
let me paint a picture for those of you who don't know lacey:
she's like 5 foot 2 with skinny little legs that move at the speed of light.
her speedwalking is my sprinting.
so there we were sprinting up 5th ave, her dodging in and out of tourists, native new yorkers, and crazy homeless people talking to themselves, me almost getting hit by cabs and stopping to catch my breath, only to get scolded.
by the time we finally arrived at Central Park, i was more than a little bit toasty.

so we're there at the bottom of the park, and silly me suggests we sit down on a bench and just take in the pretty scenary.
lace entertained me for a minute, walking over to where i pointed, saying how gorgeous it all was, but she insisted that we go see this damn fountain and bridge.
we looked it up again, and of course it's almost halfway up the park.
of course.
so we go on our way, sprinting through Central Park again, passing walkers, runners, a man blowing gigantic bubbles, and even a movie being filmed.
i want to stop and look at these interesting things, naturally, but we were on this mission.
so we get up to the fountain and it's turned off.
i was like, oh alright, that's pretty, it'd be even cooler if it was on.
i probably would have hopped in to de-sweat [gross, right?] if that fountain was running.
good friend that i am, i didn't even suggest lolligagging this time.
[i'd learned]
i just asked which way the bridge was, turned on my way and was walking right next to lace ready to see this oh-so-important bridge.
i mean, yeah, i was excited. it's a famous bridge, whatever.
but really, i just wanted to find somewhere to sit and not die.

but we're walking on the path, i'm looking around, then i look up onto the bridge and i see ben.
but i didn't know it was him.
in my head, i saw this guy and was like "oh, that guy looks like my boyfriend".
but i'd be doing that the whole trip, confusing random strangers with people i know.
i feel like this is natural.
so whatever, i looked around for a second more, and then back to the bridge.
in those few seconds i looked away, i realized that the stranger on the bridge had ben's hat.
and was wearing ben's coat.
and then i realized:
 dear lord, no friggin way, THAT'S MY BOYFRIEND ON THE BRIDGE!!!
i pushed lacey so hard and just kept saying "no way. no freaking way!"

and i started walking.

i didn't run really at first,
[though i don't know why],
but once i got up to that bridge and it had totally sunk in that he was really here, i got there as fast as i could.
he said "hey" all casual like and i was like "hi".
meaning "hi, what are you doing here, i thought you were fixing your truck, i'm in new york city, how'd you get all the way down here, we're in central park, what are you doing here, ARE YOU PROPOSING TO ME????"
but none of that was said.
instead, he grabbed me for a big hug, and then he kissed me and told me he loved me.
and i said "i love you too! what are you doing here?"
and he told me he wants to spend his life with me and i said "you do?"
and he got down on his knee and ASKED IF WOULD MARRY HIM!!!!

in my head, my answer was:
yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
of course, forever and a day, no doubt in my mind, yes.
outloud, however, i'm pretty it just came out as:
i jumped in the air, hands flying and all, and i must have given him some sort of positive answer because he got up and hugged me and kissed me and we were so in love.

and then i finally got a good look at my ring.
good lord, my ring.

it's perfect.
so gorgeous, so pretty, so shiny.
my dream ring.
i lost my glove in this whole process cause i'm pretty sure i just threw it off my left hand to get this dang thing on my finger, but as megan pointed out, a ring for a glove is a pretty fair trade.
i'd have to agree.
hopefully some homeless man picked it up and is now a little bit warmer from my/our [g]love.
[you can go throw up now]

anyways, lacey was there the whole time, standing at the end of the bridge, recording a video of the whole thing.
i'm not gonna share it cause that's our special thing and cause it's a little far away, but i'm definitely thankful she was there.
she came up to us after a few minutes of hugging and kissing and giggling and being giddy and newly engaged and offered to take some pictures of my new fiance and i :)
but ben wanted to show us the bench he'd sat on, waiting for 3 hours, and take pictures there, so we made our way around the corner, and
here are those pictures that i'm going to treasure forever:

and such an awkward hand!
the new ring confused me.]

so there ya have it.
the story of how we got engaged.
but i just realized i left out some important details.
i always do that.
so even though this post is so long already, let me piece everything together for you now:

the trip that i went on was my senior trip for college.
ben and i met at school and are the same year, but because of his whole deployment situation last semester and missing school, he's not coming back this semester.
so he couldn't come on the trip.
i had asked been bugging him to come down anyways, and just do the excursions he wanted to with us, his own thing when he didn't, and then maybe stay an extra day in the city.
but he said it'd be too much money, he was doing work on his truck, how would he get down, blah blah blah.
he convinced me it wasn't going to happen.
but basically he was a professional liar.
him and lacey had gone ring shopping on monday, planned this whole thing, and as i was being a tourist all day in the city, he was driving 6 hours from rochester to manhattan just to propose to me.
all 6 hours for just 30 seconds of a proposal.
what a sweet man i'm marrying.

so he spent the night with us, obviously.
we walked back to the hotel [only 15 blocks this time] and surprised all of our friends, saw the group leaders, who were so happy for us and totally fine with him crashing the party, and he came along to dinner out and seeing The Phantom of the Opera, and then we celebrated with some friends out afterwards.
what a whirlwind of a night.
the next day we left the hotel when the group did, but took the subway [thank the lord!] back to his truck parked up by central park, and had a whole roadtrip home to ourselves.
oh my gosh, it was so much fun.

so in the past 6 days we've been engaged, we've just been soaking it in.
he's my fiance now.
we've also booked a place for the ceremony and reception, which is the same place, and i may or may not have gotten a dress.
[clue: i did. heck yes, i did.]
so needless to say, we're excited.
july 13, 2012, ben and i will be husband and wife.

i'm ready

in the past 3 weeks of relative radio silence, i've been home.
home sweet home, where i wrestle with my brother and sister, bake cookies with my mom, have movie nights and movie days, work out with my sister [almost] every day, and am free to just relax.
i've spent fun nights at my dad's house, gone out to breakfast with dad and lunch with my grandma, gone shopping with mom and jess, spent so much lazy time with benny, met up with some longtime friends for dinner, and had almost a thousand family christmas parties.
this is the stuff i live for.
it's been so nice to be able to spend time with the people i love.
especially with nothing in the way: no homework, no work schedule, no responsibilities.
3 weeks of no responsibilities has been heaven.
so it's sad that this was my last christmas break, 
but we're not focusing on that right now.
no way jose, denial is the way to go.

but now, i'm gearing up to go back to school.
all my junk is packed and at the door, waiting to be loaded by yours truly into my tiny little car.
i'll move back this afternoon, run some errands, baby sit tonight and then...
New York City in the morning!!!
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from here
my first [and only other] time there was two Christmases ago with benny, and boy, is that trip gonna be hard to beat, but i have a feeling this trip is going to be a lot of fun too.
this place is just magic.
it's our senior trip for college, as a little celebration of graduating in the spring.
in 5 months.
holy cow.
so my friends and i have big plans to live it up in the city that never sleeps.

so here's to a relaxing and love filled end to 2011 and an exciting beginning to 2012.
i have a feeling this is gonna be a big year, but i'm so ready.
so dang ready.
see you all in a few days.
-big city bound & 1 semester from graduating wildchild