2 Week Recap -or- Where Have I Been?

Yes, I have been missing.  But listen, I have a really good excuse (and a doctor's note!).

Kevin came into town for 10 days (yes, that's like longer than most people's vacations).  So our family put it into high gear and we did as much as we could in a short amount of time.  Let me try to recap for you:

1. Picked up the big guy from the airport

That was quite a rough night.  Back to school night at school.  Followed by torrential rains.  But we made it to the airport.  And if any of you have been to the Denver airport, you know, its nowhere near the center of town.  Its out near Kansas.  So it takes awhile to get there.  And in torrential rains, that was a fun drive.  (insert sarcasm here.)

2.  Got sick

No sooner than had Kevin arrived, than did my body say, "oh good, back-up is here!  I can now finally take a break and be sick!"  

The day after Kevin arrived, I ended up going home sick (or rather, being sent home under command from my co-worker) and after begging for a referral from military docs, I went to the urgent care.  Sinus infections can really take you down for the count and I just wanted to feel better, fast!  

Kevin kindly picked up the meds from the pharmacy and also some roses to go with.  I got meds and flowers. Best. Husband. Ever.

3. Went to Paris for Breakfast (or Rather Recreated it in Our Kitchen)

Have you ever made Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants?  They come frozen, but then you defrost overnight, bake, and they turn into these delectable treasures.  Run...don't walk... to your nearest TJ's to get a pack the next time you want a "special" breakfast, complete with a latte, and you can transform your kitchen into a Paris Bakery.

And a little hint to send it over the top:  add an egg wash to the tops before popping them into the oven. An egg wash is simply one beaten egg painted onto the tops.  This will create the golden, crispy tops that you see here.

4. Sat Counter-side at Our Favorite Italian Joint

My husband finally found an italian restaurant up to his New Jersey standards.  For the last 11.5 years of marriage, we've had issues finding adequate restaurants that meet the New Jersey seal of approval, and we've finally found a few that he can eat at and not feel unsatisfied.  This place is one of the few that has met his high standards.

As you can see by the "aftermath," we really tore into the mussels and clams (two separate dishes, one end result), and my daughter enjoyed her white pizza with sausage, mozzarella and fried garlic.

I also like sitting counterside at this restaurant for two reasons:  1. easier to get seats without waiting and 2. because the executive chef is often making pizzas right in front of us and likes to chat with us.  We've grown fond of him and learned he, too, used to live in Jersey, then in Chicago (boo!) and has high standards for his italian tastes.  I've also learned secrets to rolling out dough without flipping it in the air.  Bonus!

5.  Attended a Block Party for Labor Day (and Brought Monster Cookies)

I have loved Pioneer Woman for years now.  Her recipes are so effortless and really take no modifications on my part (which is practically unheard of).  So when the neighbors arranged a Labor Day get together, I turned to my favorite farm girl and decided to make Monster Cookies.

These cookies have EVERYTHING in them:  chocolate, peanut butter chips, m&ms, rice krispies, oats

I loved that the entire recipe was so easy to make, and even better, they kept the neighborhood guessing what everything in them was!

(image courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)

I made another version of them yesterday, this time with dairy free/soy free/gluten free chips for a sleepover guest and they turned out just as good as the original.

I like that I can just throw whatever I have in the pantry into them and they'll work!

6.  Dyed My Hair 3 Different Colors in Under 24 hours

(This is the no-makeup mom look on a Sunday night.  Yes, I'm being real!)

So this one is really a complete mistake, and included some tears and frustration and several trips to Sally's Beauty Supply.  So here's what happened:

I went to dye my hair.  I had done it about 8 weeks ago with permanent hair color from Sally's and it turned out great.  (look at the photo at the top - good color right?)  Well, I wanted to go a bit redder for fall.  I typically go red for the fall, and well, I think red it synonymous with feisty and I'm was feeling feisty this weekend!

So... I went to Sallys, and picked out a color with the Sally rep and Avery.  I went home, processed the color and, O.M.G. my roots were ORANGE.  Like carrots orange.

Well, I thought it must be that the roots are just dryer than the rest, so I dried my hair completely.  Nope.  Well. I left it overnight because Sally's was closed and it was almost midnight.  (I know what you are thinking:  why is a sane woman dying her hair at midnight on a Saturday evening? Well, I can't answer that one...)

I woke-up on Sunday, and started  googling/you tubing/pinteresting the heck out of what happened.  I found a few solutions, but most of them said to go to Sally's and pick up a Demi permanent color to cover it.

So that's what I did.  I picked up a burgundy demi permanent color, processed it and well.... the roots weren't orange anymore, but then they were RED.  Fire engine red.  (insert scrunchy face and a few sighs)

I went back to Sally's and this time spoke with the GM for awhile and we theorized about how to fix it.  I decided to do a Dawn dishwashing detergent rinse x5 and then if that didn't work, I would try a neutral brown shade.  Well Dawn turned me back to orange roots (eek!) so then I decided to move on to the brown.  But this time, I just put it on the roots and let it sit for 10 minutes, and then proceeded to blend it into the rest for another 10 minutes.

And that worked!

So I am not quite a super redhead, but certainly not orange or fire engine red either.  What a roller coaster ride of emotions, even though it's "just hair."  And I do think its a lovely fall color too.

Thank goodness for quality conditioning products in between!  My hair actually is healthy and shiny, despite all of this.   And only the permanent hair color had all the bad chemicals (ammonia, bleach, etc) - the demi is a lot kinder and gentler to hair, which is why my hair could handle getting processed twice.

So yes, these last 10 days have been a whirlwind.  Kevin is now back home in California, and we're settling back in to our old routine.  And that includes getting back to this blogging thing!

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