Mi Casa

A blank canvas to work with
A blank canvas to work with

J and I officially moved into our new loft a little over a week ago. It’s been a pretty great experience so far, minus our run-in with a scorpion on our first night.

Before moving in, we lived in his parents’ house while construction was being done on the loft. Though it’s practically just the two of us here (my brother in-law lived with us, too), I still felt like a guest in someone’s home. Being newly wed and having moved to a foreign country, I desperately needed a space of my own, with the freedom to do whatever I wanted, be it making a giant mess in the kitchen, rearranging furniture, or taking a break from my computer for an impromptu song and dance session (this happens on the regular, folks).

I work from home, and since the WiFi was strongest in our bedroom, that’s where my pseudo-office was set up. I could go entire days without ever leaving that room, save for a few trips down the stairs to the kitchen. It was a fairly large room, but dark and crowded. In the loft now, though, there is so much light and space I could do cartwheels! Really, I have done cartwheels from my bedroom to the kitchen. Eventually we’ll probably separate the bedroom with walls, but for now it’s just wide open spaces.

We’re currently in bare-bones mode in terms of design. We have the furniture and everything is in working condition, so the function is there, but not the fashion. I’m obsessed with our brick ceilings and can’t wait to add all the little personal touches that will make our house a home. I’m heading back stateside at the end of the week so I plan to stock up on everything from Ikea that I can fit into my suitcase to bring back. Once decorated I’ll post more pictures. I dream of curtains, rugs, throws, pillows, and house plants; but for the time being, I’ll settle for cartwheels.


Mexico on My Mind

Hilltop view of my new hometown
Hilltop view of my new hometown

If you’d have told me 10 years ago that I’d be married and living in a foreign country, unable to speak the language, I probably would have shrugged my shoulders and responded, “It’s possible,” but I wouldn’t have truly believed it.

Moving to Mexico has been a possibility since I considered the idea of marrying my high school sweetheart 10 years ago. Mexico always held a special place in J’s heart. His family owns property and businesses there, and he spent nearly every summer there growing up, so I knew taking over the family business was something he hoped to do. Secretly, though, I assumed he’d get older and forget about the idea. It was possible, but not plausible.

Then there were the big obstacles I’d surely face. What about my job and the fact that I don’t speak Spanish? What about my life? OK, so not speaking Spanish shouldn’t really be an issue. In this hypothetical future, I’d have over 10 years to learn, so it shouldn’t be a problem. (Alas, I never learned and it is now a problem.) My career, on the other hand, now I knew that would never work. J would just have to earn enough to support us both so I could be a happy stay-at home wife if I were to follow him to Mexico. Nope! I think I’d go crazy just sitting at home with no one to talk to and nothing to do but cook and clean. Fast forward to 2013 – I was working for a online company and was given the opportunity to work from home. Well, there went a second obstacle.

So here I am, newly wed, living in Mexico with my oh-so-Mexican husband. (His Mexican heritage has really come to the surface and it’s hysterical to me. Who is this cowboy boot-wearing man blasting banda in our car?) That hypothetical future has become my reality, and it’s kind of great. Yes, it’s a struggle to communicate, but I’m slowly learning and little by little I’m getting there. And that third obstacle? What about my life? Well, I’m adding another adventure to the list. Of course I miss my family, friends, and pets terribly (thank goodness for Skype and international data plans), but now I’m getting to know my new extended family and making new friends. Plus, there’s this little guy to keep me company.


Taking Sides

{Thanksgiving side dishes with a twist}

Today is Thanksgiving and in the spirit of the day’s festivities, I’d like to share two of my favorite side dishes that are a must-have on my Thanksgiving table. These are not your everyday green beans and cranberry sauce!

Thanksgiving Green Beans:
4 lbs green beans (we’re feeding A LOT of people)
1 lb of bacon
1 onion, diced

  1. Rinse and cut your green beans into 2″ pieces and blanch (add beans to boiling water, let boil for 1 minute, transfer beans to an ice bath), then set aside.
  2. Slice bacon into small pieces and fry on medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and drain most of the fat, leaving about 3 TBSP.
  3. Reduce heat to low and caramelize onions in the same pan.
  4. Add green beans and bacon back into the pan and cook on high until hot.

Orange and Ginger Cranberry Sauce:
16 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 TBSP finely grated fresh ginger

  1. Cook cranberries, sugar, and ginger in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst (about 7 minutes).
  2. Add orange juice and simmer until thickened.
  3. Serve hot or cold. (I prefer hot.)

Why, Thank You

{Fragrant gifts: candles and herbs}

With Thanksgiving just a day away, many of us are starting our preparations early – brining the turkey, cleaning the house, setting the table, making five or six trips to the grocery store, pulling out our hair, etc. If you’re not hosting Thanksgiving, it’s easy to show a little appreciation to your hostess with a small gift. As a guest for any gathering, whether it’s a casual dinner party or a formal Thanksgiving dinner, a good rule of thumb is never to show up empty handed.

Thanksgiving dinner is an easy one: help lighten the load and bring your favorite side dish or dessert – there’s no such thing as too much food on Thanksgiving. If you’re not quite apt in the kitchen and don’t like the idea of bringing a store-bought pie as your contribution, here are a few other options to show your appreciation:

  • Champagne: Libations are always welcome, but wine is such a common gift. Add a little pizzazz and go with something of the bubbly variety.
  • Slate cheeseboard: Cheese platters are quick and easy to put out for guests, so for someone who hosts frequently, this gift is sure to make an impact.
  • Candles: Though not a very unique gift, scented candles are always appreciated by a hostess who aims to make her home as welcoming as possible. I’m a loyal fan of Voluspa candles, as they’re extremely fragrant and pretty to boot.
  • Whiskey Stones: A nightcap is the perfect way to end an evening with friends, but lukewarm or watered down drinks are never a hit. This set of whiskey stones and tumblers will keep your spirits perfectly chilled and dilution-free.
  • Rosemary Trees: Any type of herb plant will do, really, as they’re fragrant and useful. I’m particularly fond of Rosemary, as it’s a hardy plant that can easily be added to any garden or kept potted in a windowsill. Plus they’re festive during the holidays as mini Christmas trees.

{Whiskey stones are the perfect gift for the style-conscious hostess}

Sew Much More

{Simple chevron baby quilt and an adorable herringbone baby quilt}

I don’t consider myself particularly crafty. I’ve tried to pick up knitting a few times, but my scarves always ended up as pot holders because I’ve never had the patience to see it through to the end. I prefer something that offers more instant gratification and requires slightly less dexterity: sewing. Though I’ve limited my sewing to infinity scarves, aprons, pillow cases, and a few somewhat janky Kindle covers, I’ve toyed with the idea of taking on a more tasking project and starting my very first quilt. I should probably start with something small like a baby quilt, though this patchwork chevron quilt is incredibly tempting.