**As always, my readers are amazing. THANK YOU for the Napa and San Francisco suggestions!**
I’ve learned a lot about myself lately.
After the wedding, I had this period of time where I felt…empty. It’s not like there was a lack of things to do – I still had plenty of exciting work projects to tackle and a honeymoon to begin planning. But something about not having this big, shiny wedding ahead of me anymore made me feel listless.
When I told my friend I was listless, she said,”Awesome! No more big to-do list!” This made me laugh out loud and definitely cheered me up. I love you, Sam. But I was referring to Merriam’s definition. A lack of energy and a melancholy attitude. In other words, I needed a new project.
For a few weeks, Bobby and I played around with the idea of moving into a larger place. We love where we are right now but the lack of a dining room table and the extra large couch taking over our living room was not ideal. “Moving would be a great new project,” I thought to myself.
Seriously? I hate moving! I must have been desperate. 😉
But eventually, it all clicked. One night I had a vision, one that would make our current apartment roomier in an instant. It would create room for a dining room table and even generate an “office” for me to work in (I have been working from my couch, which is not nearly as fun as you might think).
Last weekend, we kicked off Operation Rearrange. We moved the middle section of our three-piece couch (the part that turns the couch into its extra large “L” shape) into our bedroom and brought our desk out of the bedroom and into the open. Instantly, we had a view out of our apartment we had never seen before! And I had a small nook to call my very own office to the right of it all.
In the left photo above, you may notice a circular table in the top corner. That is where our new dining room table is going to be delivered in just a few weeks!
We also took to our old bookcase and gave it a refresher. I had gotten it from a very good friend after college and while it was great while it lasted, my overwhelming number of books had slowly led the shelving to bow and it was only a matter of time before it collapsed!
I’m obsessed with it. We are very pleased with how everything turned out and think that this solution was exactly right for us right now. Plus the entire experience, from moving a 2-ton desk (I’m only exaggerating a little bit) to building a bookshelf, was a great team builder for us newlyweds.
So…now what? Only joking, of course! Though I was feeling listless, I quickly realized that I need to stop worrying about what the next big project is going to be and focus on the small, everyday joys that happen all around me. Like the fact that Bobby and I are thinking about our future and what kind of home is right for us as a couple. Or the fact that my mom is a genius and manages to find the most beautiful pieces of furniture at the lowest prices possible. Or that my mom is just simply a genius.
Another small joy? Planning a meal with friends. This past weekend, Bobby and I invited two of our closest friends – including Jill – to our apartment for a crock pot dinner!
I haven’t used this crock post since before I started the blog. That fact is just sad. I had forgotten how easy it is to throw a meal together in the morning, let it sit all day and cook to perfection by night.
I decided to make my own Asian-Mediterranean version of minestrone soup.
Yes, I realize that minestrone is Italian. But when it comes to soup, you make it with what you’ve got!
Asian-Mediterranean Chunky Minestrone Soup
Ingredients (makes approximately 8 servings):
- 3 (14-ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth
- 2 (15-ounce) cans no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans
- 1 package frozen stir-fry vegetables (broccoli, onion, water chestnut, carrots, pea pods), thawed
- 1 package frozen corn, thawed
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups medium seashell pasta
- 2 diced chicken breasts, cooked (optional)
- 3 teaspoons Weber White Wine Marinade & Herb seasoning
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Combine first 7 ingredients in the crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 1/2 hours.
2. Add slightly cooked (al dente) pasta to the pot. Cook on LOW for an additional 30 minutes.
3. While pasta and soup are simmering, cook chicken in a separate pan. Add seasoning.
4. Ladle soup into bowls. Add chicken and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.
If I’m allowed to give myself a small pat on the back…this turned out amazing! The soup itself was the perfect blend of tomato and broth, full of chunky veggies and chewy garbanzo beans. The option of throwing seasoned chicken and cheese on top brought the flavor out even more. I could taste every type of spice and nothing was downplayed. Try it, try it, try it!!!!!
With the soup, I also made a batch of mini corn muffins. I used this mix from Krusteaz.
And of course, a bottle of red was also served. Menage a Trois, our new favorite.
We had a wonderful time and great conversations about business, life and everything in between. When the soup filled our bellies and wine glasses had been emptied, we broke out the ultimate dessert: Butter Pecan ice cream with a chocolate hazelnut pirouette cookie!
I’d say our dinner party was a success, but I’m even more excited for when we can eat off of a table. 😉
It’s the small joys, right?
Small joys also include putting up your Christmas tree on November 7 while listening to holiday music and dancing around the apartment. Since we won’t be in town much these next two months, we decided to go festive a little earlier this year in order to enjoy it to the fullest.
I dare you to do the same. It will bring a smile to your face every time you look at it!
Are you someone who loves starting “new projects” like me? I hope I’m not alone!