• Allie and Ryan

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 2

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 3

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 4

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 5

    Allie & Ryan

Monday, November 16, 2015

USMC Birthday Ball 2015

This weekend we attended the 240th USMC Birthday Ball in Wilmington NC. It was an interesting weekend for us to say the least! I left my wallet at home, so I had no photo ID on me (no drinks for me!) or any of my cards. Not a good feeling. I also had a mini stomach attack in the car on the way down there that mercifully passed me by after just some very uncomfortable pain and nausea. Then we also thought the cocktail hour started at 6pm when it actually started at 5pm... and we found this out at 4:30pm. So needless to say I did not have time to do my hair this year! Oops. Luckily I got it cut and highlighted the day before so wearing it down wasn't too awful I guess? You would think we'd never done this before! But with all that going against us we still had a fantastic time.
We didn't really know anyone at our table, but we had other friends there to hang out with once the ceremony was over. This year's message from the Commandant spoke about the Legacy of the Corps and was really interesting to watch, as always.
We had some delicious food and were able to dance to a few songs together before it got pretty warm in the ballroom and we decided to call it a night.
Our professional picture... dang I wish I flipped my hair back or something!
Even though we had fun we ended up leaving earlier than we normally do... I realized that when we were snuggled in our pajamas in a giant hotel bed watching stand up comedy before 10pm! A surefire sign we are getting old. I can wear a fancy dress and heels and dance a lot or I can be in my pjs in a giant bed that is uber comfy? Hard choice! But we did have a great evening, I just didn't take that many pictures this year. We also ordered room service for the next morning to have breakfast in bed.

After we lazied about for awhile we met up with our friends Mark and Kayla to explore around Wilmington. We mostly ended up doing a lot of shopping and eating, but it was a lot of fun.
I love secondhand bookstores
We then found a painted mural that screamed photo opportunity! Mark and Ryan's came out the best I think... as nice as our couple-y shots were!

It was nice to have a day out with friends. We had a yummy lunch at Front Street Brewery, and I highly recommend their fried green tomato BLT!
Kayla and I enjoying downtown Wilmignton
After dinner Kayla and Mark introduced us to the deliciousness that is The Peppered Cupcake. Oh. My. Lanta. This stuff as heavenly good! All  natural ingredients, moist, delicious, wonderful flavors... I am a huge fan!
Hot Chocolate Cupcake
Shock O'lata Cupcake, my personal choice
After our cupcakes we headed home and watched the nail biter Giants vs Patriots game (SO. CLOSE.) and relax with some of the new tea we picked up that day. Even though we didn't get anything practical done (helloooo early morning vacuuming and laundry before work) it was really great to spend some time together and just relax and have fun. 

Very good weekend.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Polish Festival 2015

Last weekend I was super excited to be off of work because it was the Polish Festival down in Castle Hayne! Ryan and I went to the festival in 2012 during the first year we lived in NC but hadn't been able to make it back since... mainly due to silly things like work, shows, and deployments. So when this Saturday rolled around and we were not only both in the same country and off of work we decided to go back. It was super hot that day, nearly 80 degrees, and I was glad we both wore shorts. I don't think North Carolina got the memo it is November but I am so not complaining. The downside to the nice weather was that the festival was packed.
This was the line for food. Well, lines, one on each side of the booth. We sweated it out waiting for our chance to buy the mixed plate of food like we did last time and it was worth it. Ryan also got us some potato pancakes to eat while we waited. I was glad he did as we missed out on those last time!

I wanted them with sour cream but Ryan is on a health kick again and insisted on apple sauce. Sigh. My inner fat kid is so struggling to fight out!

We finally got to the front of the line and they loaded up our plates for us. The prices obviously went up a bit but it is so worth it. Sure, I just had Polish food with my Babci and Poppy a few weeks ago, but I can never have too many pierogies!!

The food was the same we got last time, sauerkraut with a roll, kielbasa, glumpke (beef and rice stuffed in a cabbage leaf) and pierogies with plenty of butter and onions.

 We also stopped by the bakery tent and got Chruściki (also called Angel Wings). My Babci's chruściki is definitely better, much crispier! This one was more like funnel cake strips than the yumminess that is chruściki.
After we ate we wandered back to the music tent to listen to the live Polka music and to try and at least dance together for one of them. It was crowded even on the dance floor so we mostly hopped around in a sort of two step that looked like it could maybe be a polka... if you were drunk enough.

Overall we had a fantastic time and I was super happy to indulge in some Polish food and traditions. It makes me feel like a little kid again visiting my grandparents. We didn't stay too long after that but it was definitely a fun afternoon.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015

We had a pretty busy and fun Halloween weekend this year! It kind of sneaked (snuck?) up on us but we ended up having a blast. First, on October 25th, the infamous Dup turned four years old. She celebrated with a day at the beach with Ryan and a candle lit cookie that night. The candle freaked her out a bit so we made sure to sing really fast!
The Dup turns 4!
Then we got on to Halloween weekend! On Mischief Night Ryan, my best friend Donna, and I all went to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show on base. I had seen bits and pieces before but never the entire thing. So when the base theatre had a free screening, with props encouraged, we couldn't resist! Especially since it is the 40th Anniversary. We had an absolute blast.
I loved the audience partici-(SAY IT!)-pation. We brought along most of the props allowed, including rice, toast, confetti, noise makers, flash lights, party hats (obviously), and toilet paper. At the very beginning when the rice started flying it went EVERYWHERE. When we got home that night we had rice falling out of our shoes, jeans, hair... it was nuts.
I only took one picture during the chaos, during the flashlight use.
Halloween itself I woke up early not feeling very well, but after lounging around for a few hours watching the marathon of The Librarians on TNT I started to bounce back. We went last minute shopping for costumes and I saw a bad wig that I showed Ryan. I jokingly told him he should be Donald Trump for Halloween and he instantly went with it. I decided to just buy some face paint and wrist bands and wore my good ol' Eli Manning jersey and was a football player.
It is kind of scary actually how good of a Donald Trump my husband was. It freaked some people out! Especially when he threw out some catch phrases like, "Make America great again!" and talked about building a wall... scary indeed.
Our first stop of the evening was at my co-worker's house where we watched scary movies, ate delicious homemade pizza and played Cards Against Humanity. Jennie made some delicious food and I was bummed we couldn't stay longer than we did. Ryan made plans to meet up with a friend of his so we had to bounce out earlier than I was happy with. We met up with his buddy and girlfriend and went to stop number two, the house of another friend of his. We played cornhole and had some more delicious food before making our way to my friends' house for stop number three. My friends were from the plays we did and they always have something crazy going on and it was a lot of fun. Ryan and his friend Derek tied for funniest Halloween costume too!
A full sized Donald and Eli.
Derek and Ryan ended up having to Rock Paper Scissors battle for the win of funniest costume and they had to duke it out about ten times because they kept throwing the same things!
Finally Derek won and got the fun prizes of a blow up girlfriend and a small beaker from Breaking Bad. Donna met us there too so we all had a great Halloween for sure! 
Even though we bounced around a lot it was still a blast. The extra hour of sleep definitely helped me out when the clocks went back an hour. Sunday we just did some chores and watched movies. We listened to the Giants game since it wasn't on our local channels (GOD what a game. Horrible loss.) and had Buffalo Wild Wings to go. We then watched Toy Story 3 since we've never seen it and I was a crying mess. Really Disney? An incinerator!? Come on! I know I am late on this but geeze, my poor heart.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


My rings and my Babci's rings
My parents recently moved closer to us, so they are now two and a half hours away instead of six and a half! That definitely has its perks... especially since my grandparents are visiting. I haven't seen my Babci and Poppy since our last trip to New Jersey which was Memorial Day 2014 for my best friend's wedding. Too long. My Poppy is 93 and my Babci is now 90. I am so so blessed to have them around still and I hate that our visits are so infrequent. I call them every week at least. So my mom and dad recently decided to bring them down for an extended visit and I made sure the first weekend I did not have work we drove up there.

For years my Babci and I tried to plan a time for me to learn how to make pierogies from scratch, and this past weekend it finally happened! Ryan and I drove up Friday night. Saturday morning he and my dad went kayaking and fishing while three generations of women (and a Dup) took over the kitchen for pierogie making. My mom knows for the most part how to do it, so she was like our sous chef, while Babci taught me. There was no measuring cups or spoons... everything is done by eye and by feel. It may take me a few times on my own to get it right, but at least now I know. And I have this entry to coincide with this amazing memory.

First we started the mashed potatoes. I thought we'd have all these nice pictures, but my mom added her own touch. I know how to make mashed potatoes regularly, but instead of using milk for them we used sour cream. Next came the dough.
We started with about five cups or so of flour added an egg, then half a container of sour cream. It was worked by hand and feel. We also added milk and a bit more sour cream to make the feel just right. The dough then got worked and kneaded. My Babci showed me how with quick efficient movements that I then got to try. My forearms hurt after a few minutes but six or seven decades of doing this barely caused her to blink. I am a wimp!
After we worked the dough we let it rest for at least ten minutes under a glass bowl. This helps it rest and form and the bowl keeps the dough moist. It will stay under the dough the entire time, we cut pieces off to work it as we go.
While the dough rested we finished mashing the potatoes and added them to a separate bowl. This will be our filling. After the ten minutes or so were up we cut a small piece of the dough off the larger lump. A cutting board was floured to be our new work surface. At home my Babci has a giant wooden board that takes up basically the entire kitchen table that was once her mother's... you use what you have! Add some flour to the board to keep the dough from sticking and also on your hands. We then worked the dough in to a long snake and used a knife to cut smaller sections. Those small pieces were rolled into a ball in our hands then flattened onto the board. We then took a rolling pin and flattened the dough pieces. A few short rolls is all it takes, no vigorous quick back and forths, just make sure the dough is even all the way around. Then you pick it up in your hand and add a spoonful of mashed potatoes and make a sort of taco shape.
Using your fingers you mold and shape the dough around the potatoes so you can crimp the edges closed. This part was hard for me to get but by the end I was much better! Some of my pierogies were very stuffed, some not enough. Babci called one or two "hot dogs" and "pregnant". But she was a very good teacher! Much better than we she tried to show me how to knit/crochet and took one look at my work and said, "Oh honey, forget it. That is pretty awful. I'd just quit while you're ahead!"

But I got better! We made dozens and dozens of pierogies and by the end I was making them on my own. It is important to seal them well or when you boil the pierogies they can break open and give you potato soup. I used a fork to crimp the edges of my pierogies to ensure an extra seal. I am proud to say none of mine burst open! You put the pierogies in boiling water and once they float to the top they are ready. You can eat them then or do what we do... fry them in a pan with butter and onions! YUM. Dup Dup was on hand the entire time, keeping an eye on things. She may have been given a little bit of mashed potatoes for her effort. We placed our boiled pierogies in a long glass baking dish with saran wrap between the layers and fried them later in the evening. You can refrigerate them or even bag them up and freeze them for later (like we did to the three dozen or so I took home for a special occasion. So now I know. And I will make my own pierogies and hopefully pass that down to my own children someday.

I also learned how to make one of my favorite Babci recipes, string bean soup, which is pictured above... but I think I will keep that for a separate post. It is absolutely delicious!
I loved being able to see my Babci and my Poppy. Poppy is a lot weaker now. He needs a walker to go anywhere and spends most of his time on the couch. He watches a lot of tv, sneaks candy when no one is looking, and has his good days and his bad days. Most of our visit was great for him, I think having Ryan and I, then later on my brother Stefan and his friend Kenan, made a huge difference. When more people are around he does better. I was nervous about the Dup with Babci and Poppy, I didn't want her knocking them down! She hadn't seen them since she was six months old or so, Easter of 2012, which is the left picture above. The right picture is this weekend and you can see not much has changed. She was Poppy's buddy and loved to sit with him and get pet. Same with Babci. As excitable as she can be she did so well and it was never once an issue. I am proud of my little Duppy! We got Poppy to eat at the table with us all the meals and he even left the house to go to church with us.
My parents' house is surrounded by cotton fields and they harvested while we were there. It was pretty neat to see the giant machines going by and making huge rectangular pallets on the sides of the road.

Ryan and I also took Dup Dup on long walks through the neighborhood and saw some gorgeous sunsets over the river. Nights were getting cooler and sweaters were worn under borrowed jackets, but it was worth it.
This... this though was the most important thing. Time with my family. Time with my Babci and my Poppy. This was the first time in years and years my husband, brother, parents and grandparents were all together. The last few visits were either just Ryan and I, or my mom and I... but we all got some time together this weekend.
I hate saying goodbye to them. I always cry when I do... I have every time since I went to college basically. I know I am getting older and by default, so are they. But these moments are ones I cherish so so much. I am so blessed my family is close enough for me to visit and that we can make things like this happen.
My dad hates pictures and is rarely ever in them, but he was there too. Over in the office reading a new history book of some sort as soon as the cameras and phones came out... but we were all there.

Pierogies and family. You cannot get much better than that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Great Scott!

Ok, if you're a long term reader you should know by now I am pretty much a nerd, so this entry shouldn't be too shocking for most of you. For new readers, well, surprise! I'm a nerd!

Today, October 21, 2015, is Back to the Future Day. On this day Marty and Doc Brown arrive from 1985 to the future.... after today Back to the Future will officially be in the past. Scary huh? Back to the Future (1, 2 and 3) have always been some of my most favorite movies. I have owned a BttF shirt for many years. In Universal Studios I bought myself a Hill Valley class ring (no, you cannot make this stuff up). In college I had a full size movie poster from the first movie that hung up in my dorm rooms and apartments until I graduated. I have owned the trilogy on DVD for years after scoring them for super cheap at a Black Friday sale years and years ago. Needless to say, I have waited for this day for ages!

Now it seems like a lot of BttF fans are coming out of the woodwork and I am totally ok with that. Enjoy it!

There are tons of news articles today...

Back to the Future II: What did it get right and wrong?
Test Yourself with this Back to the Future Quiz
Back to the Future: Queensland police deploy 'hoverboard unit'
Great Scott! It's Back to the Future Day
Universal Pictures released a spoof trailer for "Jaws 19"

And more. But seeing this video this almost made me teary...

Sure, we may not have hover boards or flying cars (yet), but we do have 3D movies, thumbprint scanners, flat screen televisions and more. And even though they may not be as prevalent, fax machines do still exist. I have to teach people at the library how to use them on a daily basis! The Cubs even made it to the playoffs!!! I don't think they will win the World Series though, the Mets are on fire, I hate to admit it! You can even buy Pepsi Perfect for $20.15 for a limited time only. Luckily I am a diet coke fan or I'd be tempted. Ok, I am tempted. But they sold out!

One movie theatre in town is showing a double feature tonight at 7pm, but my husband does have work tomorrow even if I am off. We compromised on our own double feature at home tonight after work, care of my DVDs. Fair enough.

The future is not yet written. Make it a good one my friends.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Influenster: Eternity Now

Lately I have tried a new site, Influenster, which has been pretty awesome! So occasionally now you may see me reviewing some free samples I receive from their site.

My first "VoxBox" came from Calvin Klein and included samples of Eternity Now for men and women. I am normally a stickler for perfumes, I have worn the same two or three for the past fifteen years and nothing else. But I have to say I did enjoy the Women's perfume! It had a nice "spiciness" (for lack of a better description) to it that I liked. I am not too keen on overly sweet scents usually and this one was sharp enough to be noticed but not be distracting. I caught a whiff of it throughout the day and I can say it was long lasting in a good way.

Now as for the men's cologne, Ryan got to be my guinea pig for it and I have to say I wasn't a fan of it. It was also long lasting but it just didn't seem to fit. It was sweeter than I like (and normally he likes) and just didn't work for me (or him!). I am usually a huge citrus fan, but this smelled like straight lemons and it was not very cologne like!

Eternity Now for Women, totally worth a try to see if you like it!
Eternity Now for Men, eh, not so much.

PS -I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions here are my own and are not influenced in any way.
PPS - This is my 800th post! 

Sunday, October 4, 2015


“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha.”

― Robert Brault

I am trying to be an optimist. I am trying to take my two steps forward, one step backward and make it into a cha-cha... but man it isn't easy. 

I know the importance of goodness and positivity. I just feel like every time I take a step forward lately I take two backwards. No stomach attack for six weeks? Let’s have three in four days and put her in the Emergency Room twice. Fertility cycle successfully tracked and used? Let’s have her period arrive two days earlier than anticipated and with a vengeance. Cast in a dream role in a Shakespeare play? Let’s have her work her ass off to have it cancelled at the last minute. Add in some stresses I choose not to blog about, stupid doctors who give me a snap diagnosis and tell me I should be on antidepressants to see if they help anything (when I am not depressed regardless of all this going on) just makes me want to hit something. I am not clinically depressed. I can laugh, I can feel happiness and joy and I am not in a fog of sadness and hurt hours a day. I am not sad. I am not depressed.

I am frustrated. There is a huge difference. 

Sometimes my frustration brings me to tears because that is my body’s uncontrolled physical response. But more often than not, I am just me. I don't dwell on these things all the time. I am how I always have been. I don't know how else to put it. I have been in that horrible fog before, my teenage years especially... I know the difference and how important mental health is to people. But I will not just take medication because one doctor who has spent five minutes with me and sees my medical issues happening and thinks I should, even if just as "preventative maintenance" because it is "only a matter of time at this rate."


So, as you can tell from my ranting things have not been easy around these parts lately. I cannot believe I naively expected to get pregnant as soon as I stopped taking my birth control over a year ago. I cannot believe I thought having my gall bladder removed would fix my stomach issues and make me normal again. I cannot believe certain things happen. I cannot believe I am officially the "someone else" certain things happen to, but never to you person. I mentioned in my 2014 Retrospect post how hard of a year it was and 2015 can only be better.... well I was wrong. Different sorts of awful can happen and be just as hard if not harder. Sometimes that makes me wish I was a kid again, this adult stuff is for the birds. Maybe next year will be better. Maybe October, November and December will be better...

All I can say is, I am working on my cha-cha as much as a rhythmically challenged girl can.