Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello from the skies!

Free wi-fi in the air?? I love it.

Also, not only did Rhett and I get seats together, we scored exit rows seats! So much leg room.

T-minus two hours till I am napping with Evie.

Yes, I know, we are a very attractive couple, especially when traveling from Oklahoma.

6:40 flights are too early

Just discovered Tulsa airport has free Wi-fi. Considering the size and general deadness of this place, it is a pleasant surprise.

An announcement just came on overhead that a bag and Pampers have been left at checkpoint. Maybe it's because it's so early and I might be delirious, but I found it funny he specified the brand name of the diapers.

Last night was quite the party. I took a long bubble bath, ate chicken tortilla soup, and watched "Singles" whilst cuddling with Sadie. She and I were in bed by 10 a.m and were snoring shortly after. My alarm went off at 4:00 this morning...ugh. Sadie continued snoring while I stumbled to the shower. It's always sad when you are envious of a smelly, snoring dog, but I definitely was.

Rhett and I are on the same flight from Atlanta to Philly, so we are going to try to get seats by each other.

About to start boarding my flight. Can't wait to get home, kiss the cats and take a long nap before New Years Eve.

I hope you enjoyed this boring post as much I enjoyed typing it on my iPod.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Oklahoma wore me out


It's official. I am exhausted.  The past week has been a whirlwind of activity in Oklahoma. Lots of driving, lots of visiting with family and friends, LOTS of eating. My body is begging to return to the land of normal portions and home-cooked meals, but it certainly enjoyed the fun while it lasted :)

All is quiet at the Mackin house now- Sadie is snoring on the couch, my parents are in Denver visiting my sister and her family, Rhett is in Shawnee for one last visit with his parents before going to Edmond for the night. I'm in pajamas, digesting the last two slices of Hideaway Pizza I just ate. I need to call a cab for my super early flight tomorrow (ugh), pack my suitcase (and pray its under 50 lbs!), and then hit up Target for some last minute necessities.  Tonight I am looking forward to watching "The Help," taking a luxurious bubble bath, and hitting the hay by 8:30 a.m.  


Some highlights of my Oklahoma trip:

- Seeing family: my parents in Tulsa; Rhett's parents in Shawnee; his brother Ted and niece Gabby in Edmond; Destiny, Maris, and Sandra in Norman.  Also seen via Skype were Patricia/David/Will/ Ryan in Denver, and Geoffrey in Bristol, England.

-Seeing friends: Mike, Ashley, and Jez in Shawnee; Carrie, Rachel, Blake, Robbie, Christina and Stephen in Tulsa. Wish I could have seen Nami, Caleb, and Lacey, but there are just too few hours in the day!

- Food.  Oh dear lord, did we eat.  I don't even want to look at a scale for about a month or two, and only after intense daily cardio and weight sessions.  Yowzas! My favorite meal was at Ted's Cafe Escondido, but I also loved the turkey dinner my family had on Christmas. And you can't beat Abuelita's in Shawnee.  Or Hideaway. Or, honestly, Taco Bueno, which I am considering having for dinner tonight, just to top off the trip nicely.

- Christmas presents! Rhett and I received so many awesome gifts this year.  My favorite was technically a birthday gift- Rhett bought me a Kindle Touch!

That's right, I've crossed over to the dark side, and I quite like it. He also bought me Clarks, which I have worn everyday and absolutely love. We received some Pampered Chef cooking tools from my mom that we're excited to try next week.

Oh yeah, and that plane ticket to Oklahoma from my mom was a  lovely present, as well :)

- Sadie. My sweet puppy is getting older and wiser (?), and I love her so much. She is definitely calmer, but that makes for better cuddling.

So what's next? Tomorrow is the last day of 2011 and I have a wonderful new year ahead of me. I'm hopping on an early flight tomorrow, arriving back in Philly at about 2:40, and treating myself and Rhett to a cab ride home, where Evie and Fantine will be eagerly awaiting our return. We have great plans for New Years Eve, including a house party at our friends' house, surrounded by some of our favorite people.

But first, we'll look forward to a long, lazy nap...much deserved after this hectic week of Oklahoma traveling. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans, anyone?

I discovered a new recipe tonight.  A delicious, nutritious, easy-breezy-beautiful one-pan dish. Y u m m m.

Real Simple's Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans

I've had this meal saved in my typed-up collection of recipes for quite awhile, and I finally got around to buying the necessary ingredients on Sunday. After reading the reviews, I decided to omit one of the two required lemons and instead just use the juice of one. According to the reviewers, the full strength of the lemons made the green beans quite bitter.

I ending up picking off every last green bean and potato from the pan, even the extreme crispy bits. Best of all? I typically always have about 90% of the ingredients on hand.  All I'll usually need to pick up are potatoes and a lemon.

So, here is the recipe in all its glory.  Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did!

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans 
Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 1hr 15m


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced (**I used just the juice of one)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound trimmed green beans
  • 8 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 4 chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin, about 3 1/4 pounds) (**I used boneless chicken breasts)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.
  3. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week One, done!

I can't believe my first week of my new job is already over, and the second one begins tomorrow! It went so quickly and so smoothly.  Everybody in my department is so genuinely welcoming and sweet.  Needless to say, I'm so happy to have this opportunity and am looking forward to getting to know everyone better. And I'm getting paid to write- how brilliant is that? :)

I can't believe it's already December 11- this month is FLYING by, and I have so many fun things in the next few weeks to be excited for.

- NYC this weekend! Rhett's former co-workers from 3M in England will be in town, so we'll be up there Friday night through Sunday afternoon to see them. Mark and Annalisa have never been to NYC, let alone the States, so I'm really excited to see the sights with the first-timers. I want to go by FAO Schwartz and make my own Muppet. Unless it's actually $99.99 like it says on the website. Sheesh! 

- My 28th birthday is next Monday! I'm going to dinner with friends on Sunday night, and then Rhett and I are going to dinner on Monday night (I'm spoiled, I know). I'm going to look up ticket prices to The Nutcracker, and if they are not too $$, I might see if Rhett would want to do that on Monday, too. Fingers Crossed!

- My office's holiday party is next Tuesday. I'm excited to meet everyone again and get to know them in a social setting.

- I'll be in Oklahoma from Dec. 23-Dec.31! I haven't figured out definite dates for Norman and Shawnee, but it will be a great week back home with family and friends. And the cherry on top? Drexel faculty and staff have the week off as Winter Break....paid! Isn't that awesome, and so generous? So good for morale around the office, too. I'm so glad to be at a company that truly respects and values their employees. 

Alright, I'm off to continue watching my favorite Christmas movie of all time, "The Muppets Christmas Carol." 

Here's to another great week! Cheers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pics from Thanksgiving

Finally! Pictures from Thanksgiving of my family, including my two sweet nephews, Will and Ryan. Enjoy!

Will opening his presents from Auntie Meagan and Uncle Rhett

Racing in the backyard- Will won every time! :)

Smoosh face! So sweet


Watching early morning cartoons on Black Friday before Mommy, Grammie and Auntie Meagan went shopping

Will's favorite activity- playing trains

Ryan's favorite activity- kicking and laying around :)

Little bear- cute even when he's crying!

The Tanners

Big decisions

First day on the new job

Whew! My brain is exhausted from all the first-day information I got today at orientation.

I have a feeling I'm going to like working here. :) 

More details to come as soon as my brain unwinds a bit and I get used to the new routine.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Elf on the Shelf

When you still believe in Santa, the traditions supporting this belief are what make it so special and fun. I was introduced to a new tradition this past weekend while visiting my sister's family in Colorado.

Anyone heard of Elf on the Shelf? I hadn't until Saturday, when a box mysteriously appeared on the doorstep for Will. In this box is a book and an elf doll. Patricia read the book out loud to Will, and then Will got to name the elf (first he named her Mrs. Claus, but changed it to Dora).

Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.  

Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!  Source

Each morning, the elf then appears in a different location to watch the kid's behavior throughout the day. Will was so excited every morning when he found Dora in a new spot.  A couple of times he started to get cranky and on the verge of whining, and he would stop, look at Dora, and immediately pipe down.And when he did something good, like nicely kiss Baby Ryan on the forehead, he would make sure Dora knew about it so she could report back to Santa.

Will's elf, Dora
From a publishing standpoint, this idea is a gem.  Their marketing team has done a fantastic job promoting the brand through various outlets. For example, there is an Elf blog, Christmas movie, interactive website, and Santa Store with elf apparel. And even better, the idea has staying power. It's promoted as a family tradition, and with its popularity, I think it will remain as a favorite tradition. It'll be so fun for the Tanners when Ryan is bigger and Will can explain all about the Elf to him.

Question: What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions, from when you were Santa-believing kid or right now? 

My sister, mom and I always decorated the Christmas tree while listening to Anne Murray's Christmas Album, and Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers' "Once Upon a Christmas." Both on cassette tape, naturally.

One not-so-fun but extremely effective "tradition" was a clever idea my mom had.  Whenever my sister or I were bad, my mom would pretend to call the operator and get Santa's number.  She would write the number on a piece of paper and stick it on the fridge, telling us she would call him if we were bad again.  As I said, very effective, and very terrifying. haha

Reasons to smile today

1. It's my last day at Swartz Campbell.

2. I am being lazy tomorrow and sleeping in, and getting a facial at the Aveda school on Friday.

3. This article made me laugh the first, second and third time I read it.  And then I read the whole site and laughed harder.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be doing the Leo Strut all the way to Happy Hour.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

In love

I can't wait to post all about my long weekend spent with my family in Denver, but for now I'll leave you with some pics that my sister took of the boys.  I have loved every second spent playing with Will, and cuddling with Ryan.

Look for a post on Monday or Tuesday, chock full of pics and a summary of the weekend. It's been a fantastic one!

Will and Ryan- my boys!

This guy loves to sleep. He takes after his aunt.

Words can't describe the cuteness of his personality.

Shopped till we dropped

As I've told you, I'm not much of a shopper. My mom has taught me all the secrets to smart shopping, which I use enthusiastically, but I still lack the overall dedication and endurance.  My sister inherited that gene from Mom.

This year, I decided to join my sister and mom and brave the stores on Black Friday. We didn't go too crazy- no waiting in line at midnight for us. But we were out the door by 7:15 a.m. on Friday and hit several stores over the next few hours. 

(Keep in mind I have a hard time dragging my butt out of bed at 8:00 a.m. during the work week. I woke up at 6:15 a.m. on a day off. That's dedication.)

I'm happy to report we got LOTS of amazing deals throughout the morning, and really didn't have to deal with too much craziness or long lines.

We went to:

- Bath & Body Works- When we pulled up, the parking lot was empty, and we could see about five B&BW employees waiting for us to walk in.  My sister and I were cracking up- I really expected them to burst into song.  Instead they all just squealed "Welcome!!! Are you here for the VIP bags????"  Got lots of candles, lotions and bubble bath...enough to last me another year, at least.

- Kohl's- My sister saved $503 with her coupons and the sales.  If that is not impressive, I don't know what is.

- The mall: The Body Shop, Gap, Dillards, Macys, Hallmark, Disney Store. Whew!!!  I think we spent about an hour in The Body Shop alone. We left the mall with tons of great stuff, all bought on sale or with coupons.

Today my parents and I went to an outlet mall between Denver and Colorado Springs.  We spent about three hours there, and I got some new work clothes from The Loft.  Can't wait to wear them for my new job. :)

Question: Did you go shopping on Black Friday? Did you score any good deals? What time did you hit the stores?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving! 

Just a quick post to list all the things I'm so thankful for in my life right now.

- My nephews, Will and Ryan.

- My parents, sister, and brother-in-law

- Rhett- my love and favorite guy for going-on 7 years

- My life in Philadelphia- including all the friends I've met and the memories we've created.

- My health, and my family and friends' health.

If I wasn't healthy, I couldn't run
I feel like I'm forgetting some important things...

Oh yeah.

Questions: What are you thankful for today? What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

I love you, Green Bean Casserole. Be still, my heart.