Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Justin:  Usually during the holidays I do a When I Was Little Christmas card.  This year I decided to change it up and include the lovely Nicole on the card.  Yay!  Our first holiday card together.  Woah Ross and Mona, right? Right?

Anyhoo since they are hitting the mailboxes this week, I figured I'd post it up.  Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Can I blog this? Uhhh sure pt. 3

Justin: Hello and welcome to another edition of Can I Blog This? Uhhh Sure: TDKR Edition.  Tonight's episode unfolds at Navy Pier.  Earlier in the week Nicole one some tickets to see an advanced preview of The Dark Knight Rises Prologue set to play in front of MI: Ghost Protocol this week.  Let's set the stage shall we

Nicole and Justin had just come from Nicole's work's Christmas party.  They have been in line for about 20 minutes and are feeling nervous about where the cut off point in the line is.  A wave of people just showed up and started piling up behind them.  Justin over hears people complaining about the line being so long for a 6 minute preview of a movie that is 7 months away.

Seriously?  It's freaking' BATMAN why wouldn't the line be this long.
It's not like you are paying to see this AND it's BATMAN.  No, it's the
last of the Nolan Batmans.  There aren't any more after this.  He's done.

I thought it was a trilogy?

Uh, Batman Begins?

Wait, what's that?

It's the first one!  The first of the Nolan Batman movies…

Did I see that?

Wait you haven't seen Batman Begins? 


You know, the origin story. It shows how he became Batman?
Oh! And Katie Holmes is in it.

Ohhhhhhh…yeah I didn't see that.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hallowen Suit Up and Give Some Thanks!

Nicole: Hi there, friends!
It's been waaaay too long since our last post.  I won't bore you with the details of what has been going on every last millisecond since our last post, but wanted to touch on the past two holidays that have passed us by since then.
The first holiday is Halloween.  This is one of my very favorite holidays of the year. I get so excited as it approaches and always want to make sure I have a good time and a great costume!  Justin isn't that into Halloween, but since we have started dating, I have to say, he has definitely gotten more into the spirit.
Last year we were out of town for Halloween, but this year we were able to be home and attended a party that was put on by the Medinah Shriners.  This party was a blast!  They had food, a live band, a drinks aplenty.  My parents attend this party every year, but this was the first time that some of my siblings and I attended as well.  We thought it would be a great idea to come up with a group costume for all of us.  While looking through our old costume box we found some good pieces and decided to go as SNL characters.
My parents went as the Spartan Cheerleaders:
My sisters went as Da Super Fans:
  Justin and I went as The Blues Brothers:
It was a great time and everyone knew who we were.  The band even played Sweet Home Chicago and we got up on stage and danced our socks off!  It was a great night with a fun family, and I'd have to say, I would do it again next year!

Justin:  I think Nicole has won me over with Halloween by letting me pick the costumes since we started dating.  Last year we went as another pair of bros, of the Mario kind.  I think next year I'll let her pick the costumes.  I'm sure she wants to dress up as a girl for once...but maybe I can convince her to be a Slutty Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle...or there's always the April O' Neal and Slutty Casey Jones.  I'll let you guys imagine which one I'm dressed up as.  Oh yeah.

Nicole:  Uh...Now, on to Thanksgiving.  This is one of the holidays that Justin and I don't really spend together.  My family has dinner early, but then we have friends come over for evening dessert, and his family has dinner in the evening, right about when my dessert party starts.  It's really hard to make a compromise on this day when there are so many other parties involved, but I know we will make it work sometime.
Justin came over in the late morning while my mom, sisters and I were gettting the food prepared.  After that was done we made pumpkin cake balls for him to take to his Thanksgiving dinner. 
Justin stayed to eat with us and watch our annual Thanksgiving movie, and then headed off to his house for round 2 meal.  I am thankful that I got to spend some time with him this Thanksgiving, even though it wasn't longer.
My friends came over in the evening for dessert and we had a great time like always, re-living the past and finding out what everyone has been up to.  Lots of desserts were consumed and laughter was had.  Overall, it was a good Thanksgiving and it makes me even more thankful for the Family and Friends I have in my life :o)
Justin:  Yeah Thanksgiving is usually a hard holiday for us as we don't really spend the whole day together.  But I'm sure some of you are like, "ugh it's ONE day, calm down."   Anyways, I think we are still getting used to  the way our families spend holidays together.  Nicole's Thanksgiving was a nice, quiet brunch with an afternoon movie and just a good ole family hang out.  Where as my family's Thanksgiving is like a Michael Bay movie minus the giant robots...wait.  And with the addition of my two nieces and nephew we get even more poop and crying.  Hang on.  All kidding aside I have a big family and we do our best to get everyone together and it's a great big time of eating, family togetherness, and did I mention eating already?  I wouldn't have it any other way.  We even watched some classic Friends Thanksgiving themed episodes while we ate dinner.  Could it BE anymore awesome?

That should keep ya up to speed...we hope to get into a more regular posting schedule but we've both been so busy these past two months it's hard to keep you all updated.  I mean you can call us once in a while...what the heck people! (jk, jk)  Seriously where did November go?

Monday, October 24, 2011

we had an a-MAZE-ing date

Justin:  During my work week, Nicole had asked me out on a date via the internets.  We slept in on Saturday which is a rarity for me and a luxury for her.  Saddled up and attempted to grab Lou Malnati's pizza.  We called two different places and it turns out they were both pick up only places.  What the WHAT? We said.

We ended up ordering and having a little picnic in the park-ing lot of the Orland Plaza which housed the Lou Malnati's we went too.  The idea of eating pizza in the back seat of Nic's car sounded silly for which we were totally game for.

Nicole: If you know me, and my car, and how messy I am, then you know this was no small feat!  I really organized it all and we managed to have enough space for everything and enjoy our little picnic :o)

Justin:  Afterwards, we headed up to the Odyssey Fun Farm.  This wasn't the original place she had wanted our date to take place at.

Nicole:  For the last few years I have been dying to go to a super awesome pumpkin patch with a corn maze.  I love puzzles and figuring out mazes and things so I wanted to make sure we went to a good one!  Well, the one I reeaaallly wanted to go to was 3 hours away.  I would still love to go there sometime, but this particular weekend was our first weekend of not having to travel anywhere and I didn't want to sit in the car too long for our one weekend of relaxing.  So I looked up some local places and this seemed like a pretty good one.  Still a large maze, and they had pumpkins of course!

Justin:  So back to the farm, they had this not so spectacular blow up maze called The Beast.  It was basically a tour of the the dark.  Not too awesome.  Nicole: You literally couldn't see anything and you exit out of its butt!  Justin: But what was awesome was the corn maze!  I've never done one before and this particular maze was set kind of like letterboxing.

Nicole:  This was so fun!  We had a booklet that had different spaces on it and we had to go through the mazes looking for all of the different hole punches for the book.  We were awesome.  We found most of them quite easily and didn't take too many wrong turns.  We really only had trouble finding the very last one (of course!) and once we did - we were beyond excited!

Justin:  After we finished the maze and scraped the mud from our shoes.  (BLASTED)  Nicole had one more surprise in store for me.  We went to The Great Pumpkin Party which was a free event that had pie eating contests, scarecrow making and a bonfire for marshmallows.  The weird thing about the bonfire was that NO ONE brought stuff to make smores.  I mean seriously, how could you not?

Nicole:  I really wanted to find a place that would let us bring our own supplies for smores to make at the bonfires that were available.  I don't mind having to buy the stuff from the patches that we were at, but I wanted these smores to be Awesome!  I was so excited when I found out the Pumpkin Party had marshmallows and we could bring our own stuff, I brought the goods - not just your average chocolate, but awesome variations like, caramel filled ghirardelli and peanut butter cups!  So good, and so messy.

Justin:  There wasn't much for us to do there as lines for things like the hay ride were really, really long.  We danced to the Jackson 5 at one point which I think was the highlight of the date for her.

Nicole:  One word -  ::SWOON::

Justin:  I was pretty tired and full after my third smore but Nic noticed a nice little walking area complete with docks and a gazebo.  We stayed and took pictures while the sunset.  It was a nice way to the end the day.  I seriously never know what to expect when Nic plans these things and I am always impressed with how much planning she does to basically spend time together in fun new ways.  Don't get me wrong we are all about not doing anything...well maybe I'm more down for that than she is but we've grown to adapt to each others social habits or in some cases my lack of social habits. That's the important lesson of relationships kids, to grow.  If you don't grow or you are not willing to then you're not ready for a super awesome relationship. 

Nicole:  ditto kliddo :o)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Can I blog this? Uhhh sure pt. 2

Justin:  Welcome to "Can I blog this? Uhhhh sure..." part 2, the Maryland edition.  Here are some gems shared with my lovely during our time in Maryland:


Nicole and Justin are sitting outside the North Marriot Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland.  Justin had finished his second day on SPX at 6pm on a Sunday evening.  They are waiting for Justin's cousin Jona to pick them up so they can grab dinner.

What time is our flight?

(checking his phone) 

Is Jona working tomorrow?

Yeah we are probably going to leave at like 9am.

Shoot...we better take a nap right now.


A car pulls up but not all the way in their line of vision.  A bush is blocking their view and they can't tell if it is Justin's cousin or not.

Is that Jona?

(begins to nudge over forcing Nicole to nudge as well)
I can't tell. Lean over.

(now fully leaned over, upper body hanging off the bench)
The windows are tinted.

(reassured by Nicole's last statement that it is in fact, he's cousin)
He's so Asian.

Justin:  I thought I'd play with the format here and there with these little "quote posts".  I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Merry Merry Maryland

Justin:  So this past weekend, When I Was Little was a part of the SPX 2011 show in Maryland which you can read all about: here!  The great thing about these "workcations" is that we get to go somewhere fun!  In June we went to Louisville and had an amazing time.

On this trip, we were heading to Bethesda but we were staying with my cousin Jonathan who lives out in Gaithersburg which wasn't too far.  We took a plane ride Thursday night and spent most of Friday in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

The morning before the Harbor, due to the weather, we had to change plans and decided to go somewhere for brunch.  On the fly, we found  Blue Moon Cafe as seen on Triple D!!!  They are famous for their Cap'n Crunch French Toast.  The place was soooo good and we were excited to continue our trend of eating at Triple D restaurants while on vacation.

At the Harbor, we got to find a letterbox at the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse.  This took forever.  We got all confused direction wise and ended up going back to this lighthouse four or five times before we actually realized the box was hidden in and around the lighthouse.  This was special as it was our first guest box we did together.  My cousin Jonathan was really excited that we found the letterbox and it sparked interest in him trying it too.  Wooo recruiting!

After the letterbox we decided to check out The National Aquarium, talk about amazing.  The way that building is layed out is very linear so that you can see EVERYTHING in the aquarium.  It sounds like it'd be boring but it wasn't at all.  Especially because of the fact that you can start at the top and walk down in a spiral within a shark tank.  It's one of the coolest things about the building.  That and these two turtles totally trying to do it.

 Nicole: So besides the absolutely amazing Aquarium (not gonna lie, the Shedd's got nothing on it) and SPX, which took most of our time, we got to walk around quite a bit and eat out at some very tasty places!  I think we definitely got our fresh seafood fill and I can only dream of having seafood as great as that here.  There may have to be more trips to the coasts in our near future ;o)

One thing I was looking forward to doing was going to Crystal City.  There is a rotating restaurant and they have dancing till 2am.  Sounds like my kind of place!  Unfortunately, we were so tired from the full days event of SPX and the previous day of walking around that we couldn't keep our eyes open to make it there.  No worries though, that just means we will need to go back!

Justin:  Don't forget to mention that was saw the virus/outbreak flick Contagion instead!  What a paranoid movie every time someone coughed we wigged out.  Annnnnyways I think this blog has seen quite a few movie reviews on here already so I don't want to go into detail.

Nicole:  Uh yeah thanks for interrupting me!  Along with the seafood and triple D place, we attended a birthday brunch full of Filipino food.  This is where I took my love for ice cream to the extreme and tried cheese ice cream.  At first there was only a slight taste of cheese and then it was sweet creaminess, not so bad, I could it eat.  it wasn't until my last bite where I had an actual piece of cheese that I thought maybe trying it once in my life was enough.  I'm so glad I did though!  Oh the love and commitment I have for ice cream...

Justin:  And now the seafood pictures YUMMMMMMMY!  Over the trip we went to Phillip's Seafood and The Wharf.  Seriously. Best. Seafood. Ever.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Can I blog this? Uhhh sure pt.1

Justin:  Here's a new idea!  I actually had a funny conversation with Nicole
this past weekend where it was so funny I asked her if I could blog our dialogue.  But then the weekend (epic post to follow!) happened and I forgot that first gem of banter between us.  She never fails as she provided me with laughs after this conversation:

Justin: Hey how was Taco Tuesday?

Nicole: Goooood, I had a corn dog.

Justin: ...

Nicole: ... oh and one taco too.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A little wine with that drink?

Justin: So it seems that after Louisville we kind of just forgot about this preview into our lives.  To be honest after Louisville I planned to have a free month of August to catch up on side work and relax from crazy fun of the convention season.  I guess that meant taking a break from updating you folks on the crazy life we lead as boyfriend and girlfriend.  Ok it's not crazy but it's exciting enough for us and we like to share.  :)

Taking a break from the blog didn't meant we took a break from doing fun things with people we love.  A couple months back I won a wine basket from a raffle my co-worker's mom set up.  I don't remember the exact organization (SORRY it was a loonnnng time ago...but not in a galaxy far, far, away.)

Anyhoo the wine basket was filled with goodies including a free wine tasting to Cooper's Hawk.  Months past and during that time we've had the pleasure a few times, with hanging out with the lovely Aireen Arellano and her truly awesome husband Jeff Loftus.  They have expressed a huge interest in Cooper's and have praised it's fine food and wine.

So after many busy weekends we found time to get together and spend the date with one of our favorite couples.  

The wine is incredible and that statement is coming from someone who does not drink wine.  But the way the tasting was set up is it was like a scorecard and a scene out of the movie, Sideways...where Paul Giamatti dumps the tasted wine over his face.  Great scene, great movie...right Nic...*crickets.  After getting a little tipsy we had lunch reservations.  Man it was pricey but it was very very yummy.  I ordered the crab cakes and they melted in my mouth.  I'm not sure what Nic's take on the experience was but I bet she could tell you it was...amay za za zing.  Nic...

Nicole:  Yes, the whole experience really was amazing!  I've been wanting to go to Coopers Hawk since we won the tasting and am so glad we had the opportunity to go with such amazing friends!  I'm not a huge wine drinker but it was really great to see and taste the subtle differences in each wine.  It really made me appreciate it more and made me want to maybe get into drinking it a little more.  Wine Club anyone?  The food was great and it is definitely a place that I would love to go back to sometime.  I know there are a few more locations so I'm interested to see what each one has to offer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's like going on a treasure hunt...

Nicole:  So a little over a year ago I found this really cool hobby that I wanted to try out.  It is basically like going on a treasure hunt.  How could you not love that?!  You get a set of clues that may be specific or very vague, go out and follow them, and (hopefully) find your prize!  This hobby is called letterboxing.
So when I first told Justin about it I was very very excited and couldn't wait to get started.  Well, it turns out you need a few things to start - most notably a stamp, ink pad, and log book.

After we finally got these items I printed out a few clues from the various letterboxing websites for boxes near where we live.  Now I didn't know much about boxing at all so I didnt know that some boxes may have disappeared or been ruined or anything like that and there is a way to see when they were last found.  So as we set out looking for multiple boxes that day and didnt find a single thing, we were very disappointed.  Luckily though, I have researched it more and have learned quite a few useful tips and we have found quite a few letterboxes this past year!

We don't have time to go letterboxing a lot, so when we have an opportunity, we usually take it.  We have tried quite a few times to attend various events that have occurred throughout the year, but something always comes up and we are unable to go.  So our new goal is to try to attend at least one event!    Also, with the several trips that we are taking this year, we are trying to work a little letterboxing into the schedule so that we can find new boxes in different parts of the US.
Justin:  I must admit when I first heard about letterboxing from Nicole.  I was like cool but was like eh because I'm not really an outdoorsy person.  I don't like the heat and me standing around dripping in sweat looking for a camouflaged box didn't sound all that appealing.

But I wanted Nicole to have a hobby other then just tagging along with me to conventions.  I wanted her to find something she was passionate about too and this certainly sparked her curiosity.  I gave it a shot and the first day we went, we spent three hours in the woods and found jack squat.  I was definitely done.  I gave up too quickly but I checked my attitude and gave it another try because I could tell she really wanted to get into this and I know how much of an out doors person she is, especially during the summer.  I also realized it's good to get out in the heat and work/hike/walk off some poundage instead of staying in a nice AC'd room stuffing my face with ice cream and watching reruns of Jersey Shore.
So on the second try I actually found the first letterbox!  I was really excited and all that work with our bodies and our minds (to figure out the clues) really pays off when you find that letterbox hidden in a bush, buried in a tree, or covered by some rocks.  It's the satisfaction that you get can when you place your mark and say that you've been here that is the most rewarding.  Also it creates a way to work together.  It builds communication, team work, trust, and a sense of accomplishment when you find the box.  All key ingredients to a healthy and happy relationship.  Don't ya think?

We recently went to Louisville, KY for the Derby Comic Con and we planned a mini vacation around that.  Part of the vacation included some letterboxing at Cave Hill Cemetery in which we hit 5 for 5 boxes in one afternoon.  Quite an accomplishment for some amateur letterboxers.  Woot!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You scream, I scream, Ice cream!

Nicole:  I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday!  I had a few days off work, which was amazing, but I still managed to keep myself busy as usual.  Lots of bbq's, fun and hanging with friends and family.
So as you may know I have a deep deep love for ice cream, I could eat it all day every day.  I've had homemade ice cream on my birthday numerous times and even planned a day to go to special ice cream shops.  My birthday dream is to participate in an ice cream challenge at Lindy's and Gerties of Bridgeview. And Win!
Well, last year my sister got me the ice cream maker attachment for my kitchenaid mixer.  Correction:  She got me a picture of the ice cream attachment for my kitchenaid mixer.  After harassing her for almost a year, she finally ordered it and it arrived this past week!  Just in time for July, which is Ice Cream Month.
Since we had the 4th of July weekend coming up I decided to give it a go and try it out.  Now, I knew that I had to let the bowl freeze for about 18 hours, but I wasn't prepared for how long it would actually take to make ice cream.  The book says it would only need to churn for 20 minutes and then would be ready to eat!  I picked out my recipe, hurriedly made my grocery list, and headed to the store.  I came back all excited to make some great vanilla ice cream and have it all ready to eat in the next hour.  I get all my ingredients set out and start reading the recipe I picked out. Wait....I have to let the batter cool for 8 hours!?! Uhhhh. Yikes.  So I decided to go the eggless route and that cut the time down immensely.  I whipped it all up, let it get really cold for about an hour and then finally I could let it churn!  20 minutes later - ice cream!
Since it is National Ice Cream Month, my goal is to try to make at least one new flavor of ice cream each week.  I know, that's a lot of ice cream.  Looks like I may need to have an ice cream party!