December 18, 2011

Thanksgiving around the world

Harold and I share a love for travel and we constantly are talking about places to visit and things we want to see and the adventures we dream to go on.  I love that we share that passion. So for this past Thanksgiving we decided to use our holiday time off to go on a trip.  After throwing around a lot of ideas we decided on Spain and Morocco. It was an amazing trip. Spain was romantic and beautiful and Morocco was a cultural experience and unlike any other place I've ever been. We felt lucky to experience that part of the world and here are some pictures from our trip..

Part 1: Marrakech, Morocco

One of many mosques in Marrakech. During the day (I think it's 5 times, if I'm not mistaken) you will hear what sounds like a sort of alarm come out of the mosques, they are a call to prayer for the muslims.

Pretty park next to the mosque

Here we are at the famous Djemma el Fnaa square in the heart of the old city. They have monkeys, snake charmers, ladies doing henna tattoo, and little shops selling all sorts of spices and such. I love monkeys so I was happy to hold him but after I was sad thinking that he may not be treated right. One can only hope his owner treats him good...

The ladies doing henna as well as making spices and oils.  I read in one of the travel books that there are two kind of henna and one of ones they commonly use here is one that has some sort of chemical in it that can burn and scar your skin. So ya, no henna tats for me..

Look closely and you'll see snakes. Big thick ones and those scary black Cobra ones. The "snake charmers" would be  playing music and get so close to these snakes. I didn't want to get to close..

We let ourselves get lost in the city but we also enjoyed a carriage ride to see the city 

At night the place really livens up.  Groups of people gather around to hear people playing music as well as "magicians" doing magic tricks. 

At night they aslo bring out rows and rows of table and there are plenty of stands selling fresh food to eat.  Some sell only one specific dish and others a variety.  We ate meat skewers, couscous and tagine.. all very good and very cheap. And we match! presh.

Close by the square are the souks.  The souks are little shops selling every sort of knick knack and patty wack you can think of.  

There were kitties/cats everywhere. Unfortunately I was told not to touch them cuz they could carry a lot of diseases. Sadly I mustered every bit of self control to not pet and pick up every kitty I saw.

Harold was brave and tried some snails that this guy was selling. I passed...

It's not uncommon to see donkeys pull all sorts of stuff through the small roads and alleys of the souks. These donkeys were pretty small but very strong- it was amazing to see some of the stuff they could carry

 These two pictures are ruins from an old palace built over 1,000 years ago and at one time parts of it were paved with gold. That's one very rich Sultan

 The architecture and design was so intricate and beautiful in Morocco. This was a school where they studied the Koran

  Right before we left Marrakech we managed to squeeze in a quick trip to see these Yves Saint Laurent gardens.  YSL loved Morocco and bought this land and help create this garden as a gift to the city.  Really pretty and I loved the bright colors (especially the blue) he used in the gardens.

Looks like my red pants fit right in..

 This is a picture of the "New City"  quite a contrast from the "Old City" or the medina as it is called.  The medina is surrounded enitrely by a wall and was the original city founded about 1000 years ago. The medina is very crowded with all the old ruins and more traditional looking building where as the New City is modern, clean and not as crowded. It was like being in two different worlds- crazy to think it is all the same city.

And before I forget, in honor of Thanksgiving we ate Mcdonald's in Marrakech. God bless America and those mcdoubles (or mcchicken in my case)

Up next: Travels in Fes and Southern Spain

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” 
-Mark Twain

November 14, 2011

pizza is for lovers

If I would have to eat one food for the rest of my life it would be pizza. It really doesnt get any better than this little pie of goodness- plus have you ever met a person that doesn't like pizza? I doubt it. Well it's safe to say it's one of my favorite foods so when I came across this easy way to make personal pizzas at home I was thrilled (as was Harold- probably his favorite thing I make), plus it's super easy. double whammy.

Anyways here's how I do it:

-Buy a pack of naan (indian flatbread) for the crust. (I know, I know- you're confused.  Well here in Florida at Publix Grocery Store they sell naan in packs of two and the brand is called Stoneground.  It's really good and fresh, and makes a perfect crust for pizza- we buy the whole wheat one and it is super yummy.  I don't know if they have something like this at say a Smith's or something but I would try and look because not only is it perfect for pizza crust but it can also be used for sandwiches and of course with indian food- whcih Harold and I have almost on a weekly basis)

Really the naan is the big secret- everything else is typical pizza making stuff.  Put your sauce on (I buy it from the store but you can make it too- real easy.) Then I put on mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings I feel like.  Then put it in the oven @ 400 degrees for 10-12 min.

Above pizza we did a half and half.  One half we did hot wing sauce, blue cheese, red onions and tomatoes.  Other half was onions, green pepper, tomatoes, pesto and cream cheese.  A local pizza joint here does pizzas with variety of toppings and on one of their pizzas has cream cheese and we love it so we copied and do it ourselves. the pesto and cream cheese is a great combo. 

We have made it our tradition to do this every Sunday after church for lunch.  It's also a great option when you need to make a quick meal.  Either way it's delish and Harold and I both love it.


p.s. yesterday (when I started to write this post) was our 6 month anniversary. It's crazy to think that we have been married for half a year already. It seems like just yesterday when he asked me to marry him. sure glad he did.

-love, 6-months-and-counting-Mrs. Abell

October 14, 2011

5 pictures for 5 months

 Happy five-month anniversary to us! 

"Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I'm not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there's no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven't lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven't tried, you haven't lived."
-Meet Joe Black

October 12, 2011

good thoughts

"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."  

-Roald Dahl

I love this quote and here are some good thoughts of my own:

-my lunch date with Harold at Chow Tyme, a really great chinese buffet
-saving $18.63 at the grocery store
-my baby nephew that's coming in a few weeks
-the Twins!
-browsing through our wedding photos and thinking about that day
-halloween - and what should be my costume this year. oh and martha stewart's black cat costume
-thinking about the next time I get to read my book, Open 
-Utah's fall. and thanks to friends on instagram that share lovely pics so I can have a glimpse
-knowing Harold will be home from work soon and tonight our show is on
-the texts, emails, g chats, and phone calls I get on a daily basis from friends and family. I'm one lucky gal to be surrounded by such great people
-double stuff oreos are in my pantry right now and milk is in my fridge. you do the math

those are some of my good thoughts..

What are your good thoughts? 

September 29, 2011

what's cuter than a panda?

...probably a whole passel of baby pandas in one crib!

Dear China,

How do you feel about sharing one of your baby pandas with me? It seems like you got a lot there and I would take real good care of it. Promise.

but seriously, what do I have to do to get one of these as a pet?! I'm not sure if I have seen anything cuter.. maybe a puppy on the (Sarah..)? I dunno.

 A big thank you to kylie for sharing this precious photo with me.

That's all.

p.s. if the whole panda thing doesn't work out, I'll take one of these. (it's a wallaby and people have them as pets and they sleep in pouches. amazing.

p.p.s clearly, we need a pet.

September 26, 2011

working woman

Well, like I hinted earlier, I got a job- and have been at it for a few weeks now.  I work at a place called Nancy's Haute Affairs which is an event planning/catering company.  Their store also sells cute gifts perfect for weddings and parties (stationary, beautiful serving-ware, food items, etc) as well as having what they call their "gourmet to go" which is a bunch of really yummy hot dishes, sandwiches, salads, and incredible desserts.  It's pretty much a place that does a little bit of everything.  I work a lot in the store as well as helping out with the event planning.  Last week I helped with a wedding- the rehearsal the night before as well as the wedding day. I loved doing it- It's about the next best thing to reliving your wedding day and what girl doesn't want to do that? (which explains the pic above- my beautiful wedding flowers thanks to the Grow's) Plus I love the fact that I dont sit at a desk, all. day. long.  I feel really lucky to get a job like this- I wanted to get into event planning but I was worried with no real experience (I don't think here in Florida they know, or recognize, what being on the activities committee or being an FHE mom entails) that I would be able to get a job (and not an internship..) but alas I have found a great fit and it is really getting my foot in the door with event planning and I am loving it so far.

So life is good and I am glad to be working again and learning new things- you can only run so many errands before you get a little stir crazy.. or start thinking about having a baby- just kidding Harold! :)

And here's a pixely photo from our weekend- which consisted of Pensacola Seafood Festival, pool time, relief society broadcast and a laaate night movie. 11:20 movie is late for a couple that usually goes to bed at 10:30 during the week..

p.s. President Uchtdorf's talk was the bomb and applies to everyone. So if you didn't get a chance to go, read/watch it here. I particularly loved the Willy Wonka golden ticket analogy

September 16, 2011

The Weepies make me happy. so do beignets.

Well it seems fitting that I am just now writing a post about last weekend when this weekend is just about here.. But I am getting used to the working life again (which reminds me, need to do an update on that too..)  Last week Harold and I took a short road trip to Nola (New Orleans) since it's just a mere 2.5 hours away.  Part of the reason for going was because The Weepies were playing there and I have always wanted to see them in concert and it was a great place to have an early bday celebration for Harold. So off to The Big Easy we went.

Excited that the weekend is here and en route to Nola.

We left Friday after Harold's work and made it to Nola in time for an amazing dinner.  The place was called Cafe Amelie and most of the seating was in this darling courtyard that was low lit and looking like a scene from Paris.  It was booked with reservations so we had to eat inside but it was still great and the food was really good.

This is Cafe Amelie, where we had dinner the night before.  The pic doesn't do it justice, but come nighttime this place transforms.  A definite recommend if one is going to visit Nola

We spent saturday afternoon strolling along the French Quarter and seeing all the lovely architecture and colorful homes- wouldn't you be so happy to come home to a colorful home like this everyday?

We had fun at the hat store. I love hats. I wish I wore them more and had more reasons to wear them.  I need to get int with the Royal family, they seem to like hats a lot.

We happened to be there for the Seafood Festival so we joined in on the festivities and enjoyed some seafood and some live music-and yes mom, I tried some of it too. 

..and of course beignets! We went to Cafe du monde twice over our 2.5 day weekend. and yes they are as good as they look. in fact, probably better.

The Weepies concert. It's a husband and wife duo (with bass player in the back) and they are the most precious couple. They laugh at each other and you can tell they love what they do and love doing it together. Loved it.
Here she is on the piano- her voice is amazing not to mention she plays a bunch of instruments.  Harold and I both think that her voice reminded us of Allison Krauss.  There's a clearness and uniqueness about it that I love.

Here's an itty bitty video of her playing one of my faves. The concert was in a small venue which was nice because it's much more intimate. They were excellent live and they did some of their songs how they originally played them, instead of how they turned out in the studio- and to be honest I usually liked the originals better.  Their stage presence was genuine and charming, a lot like their music.  I really loved it and Harold enjoyed himself too.

All-in-all a great weekend filled with good food, great music, a bit of shopping and enjoying the easy going city of New Orleans.

September 15, 2011

his birthday is just as great!

On Tuesday it was Harold's birthday and being that I love birthdays and I love Harold I was probably the most excited for his special day. As in, I-was-counting-down the-days-'til-his-birthday-kind-of-excited. He turned a ripe 28 years of age and we had a great celebration.  It started out early with a weekend trip to New Orleans last weekend (more on that later) which was a blast and then a fun little birthday evening after a long, hard days work for him.

This guy wanted a cookie cake for his birthday cake.. and boy are they good. We've been eating it with every meal since.

the birthday boy!

We got a puppy for his birthday!!!!
just kidding.. we just went to the puppy store that's in our mall and this cute lil guy was running around the store. We really want a dog but we're going to have to wait a bit for one..

What a happy evening of birthday celebrations it was.  I think one of Harold's favorite gifts was a book of birthday messages from some of his friends.  I secretly emailed them and asked for each of them to send me a birthday message for Harold and I put them all together and he absolutely loved reading each passage.  Being away from and missing his friends, especially on his birthday, it was great to have a little piece of them in this book. A big thank you to his friends for doing this and really making his birthday special!

I couldn't be happier celebrating his birthday and feel so lucky to be able to celebrate the rest of his birthdays with him.  He is so deserving of all the happiness in the world, especially the happiest of birthday celebrations. Happy Birthday, buddy.