The Mix Tape

Now, if you were born around 1994 and on, you have probably never heard of the mix tape. What it is, for those that are not in the know, is a cassette tape that looks like this:

 

 

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Typically, one would make a mix tape of all the songs they loved so that they could listen to them all in one place. One would have to record their songs from the radio (hoping the DJ didn’t talk over any of the song so you got a clean dubbing), or from another cassette tape (because back in the day, you had to buy the WHOLE THING and not just your favorite tracks). I had a ton of these mix tapes floating around my bedroom, backpacks and car.

 

The ones that really stuck with me are the ones that my then boyfriend would make for me when he was overseas in Japan. He and I would mail each other cassette tapes that we talked to one another on, and inserted songs that reminded us of the other person. It was the most romantic thing that I had in my short nineteen to twenty years of life. Now, in the age of digital downloads, the romantic mix tape has fallen to the wayside.

 

This past weekend, my husband and I had a rare afternoon alone. While laughing and driving in the car from one consignment shop to the next, a song came on the radio that reminded me of a mix tape he once made for me. I said, “You should make me a mix playlist like the mix tapes you used to make for me”. Well, he did.

 

The human brain is an amazing organ. I am always astounded by how vivid some memories are when I smell a certain smell, eat a certain food or hear a certain song. Some songs bring to mind pain, while others bring a smile and a happy tear to my eyes. There are times, (and I am sure I am not alone), that I cannot remember why I walked into a room, but I can remember every single word of “Foolish Beat” by Debbie Gibson, and who I cried over when I used to listen to it! Amazing!

 

Today, I am listening to the digital “mix tape” that my husband made for me, and I thought I would choose a few songs from it, as they played randomly on the list, and write about my memory of that song with him. Here we go:

 

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“Rump Shaker” – Wreckx N Effect
Well, this song takes me back to the night club we used to go to in Canada. We could drink at the age of nineteen in Canada, and being fortunate enough to live fifteen minutes from the border, friends and I would hop in a car and go dance and drink. Though I cannot remember the name of the club, I remember everything about the inside. Dan and I actually danced to this song at that club. Also, it is one of those dirty, 1990’s songs filled with innuendo and lust. Yes, this was a good choice for the mix!

 

“Lean On Me” – Bill Withers
This song could have a dual meaning. First of all, he and I sang in our high school chorus, which is hilarious when I think about it today, because we cannot carry a tune in a bucket! But, we did, and we rocked those letterman cardigans too! I remember swaying back and forth and singing with the chorus in high school. It certainly is a classic! The second meaning is for the obvious, he is always there for me. =)

 

“I’ll Remember” – Madonna
Wow, this one is a good choice too! This song was our song for before he actually left for the service. We were (and still are) best friends, but him leaving was like pulling the rug from beneath me. It was a heartbreaking time for me, but we had this song. Madonna sings,
“I’ll remember the strength that you gave me, now that I’m standing on my own”
Those were poignant lyrics for me at the time. We were going to be without our safety nets. At eighteen years old, that was a big deal and it certainly was a difficult feat.

 

 

“Bring the Noise” – Public Enemy & Anthrax Mix
This was the perfect mix of the two of us, and it was awesome to sing together, loudly. In high school, I listened to all types of music (and still do), while he and his friends were all about metal and hard rock. When this little ditty came to be, it was a wonderful sound for us! Head banging and rapping together. So fun!

 

That is all I will feature, but I will say that the adventure of this “mix tape” has warmed my heart on this damp, dreary Wednesday.
Do you have a mix tape memory? Any specific song you can recall that brings back memories for you?

Not Your Ordinary Banana Bread (Recipe Inside!)

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It never fails. Every week when I grocery shop I buy bananas and, it never fails, that they all do not get eaten. My son is not a fan of fruit in any form, and has recently staged a coup against his consumption of bananas. Instead, he has taken to eating Granny Smith apples. Although that is wonderful, I cannot fight my urge to purchase bananas every single week. It is a habit! I know, I should eat them more, right? 

I had eight bananas that took a turn to the dark side and I had to bake some banana bread with them. My son does not like eating nuts outside of a butter form, so banana nut bread was out. Both my husband and son would eat anything with chocolate chips, but I did not have any in my pantry. So, I took to Pinterest – the holy grail of the internet.

Can we discuss Pinterest for a minute? I mean really, how did we know how to do with ANYTHING in life before Pinterest?! I have come away with so many recipes, home and health tips and life hacks, that my life should be a breeze! I do refer to Pinterest for anything I get stuck on. Watch out Google, Pinterest is taking over!

I searched for “banana bread” in the search bar, and something magnificent popped up on my laptop screen. It is one of the most heavenly words in snack food out there – NUTELLA. Yes, banana bread with Nutella! Hot damn, I was going to make that for sure! My husband and son both enjoy Nutella, so that was the recipe I went with!
The recipe for the bread is at the end of this post. Take a look at this lovely cloud of deliciousness:

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I had eight bananas and baked two bread loaves. Since I only had one loaf pan, I decided to bake one in my round cake pan. It was the best looking of the two, so I took a picture of that one to show all of you. The bake time in this kind of pan was shorter than in a typical loaf pan, so if you decide that you wanted to use a round pan, take note!

What makes me happy about this recipe is that my son wanted this for dessert over Easter candy. I know what you are thinking, “Over CANDY?!” Yes. Over candy. That makes me happy!

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Without further ado, here is the recipe for this magical Nutella Banana Bread! Enjoy!!

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Nutella Banana Bread

2 – cups flour

3/4 – tsp baking soda

1/2 – tsp salt

1/4 – cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 – cup sugar

2 – large eggs

1 1/2 – cup mashed ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)

1/3 – cup plain low-fat vanilla yogurt (I used 1 personal container of Chobani brand yogurt)

1 – tsp vanilla extract

3/4 – cup Nutella

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Beat together the sugar and butter.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Add banana, yogurt and vanilla.  Beat until well blended.  
  4. Blend in flour mixture until just incorporated.
  5. Microwave Nutella for about 15 seconds or until soft.  Add 1 cup off the banana bread batter to the Nutella and stir together.
  6. Take turns spooning the Nutella batter and the plain banana batter into the loaf pan.  Swirl the batters together with a butter knife.
  7. Bake the batter for an hour, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

 

“The Red Room”

I was trying to decide where to start with my posts, and after much thought, I decided to talk about my favorite room re-do in the house so far.

When we first moved in, we remembered that this particular room was used by the previous owner as a formal sitting room, which housed a piano, love seat, tables and a corner curio cabinet.  The color, in my opinion, was not so nice, as you will see in these pictures:

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My husband and I pondered what to do with this room!  We have an eat-in kitchen and we have no need for a formal dining room with it being just the three of us.  So, we decided to make a den-like room, where we could have a desk, some bookshelves (to show off all my books!), and a love seat that we were getting with our furniture.  We decided to take the color of the room in a different direction and make it warm.  We used this color from Behr paint from Home Depot:

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We like using the paint with the primer in it, if possible, and Behr paint is really a great product for that.

I have to admit, I was afraid to put this color on the walls.  Not only was it a bold choice, but it was going to be the only color on all four walls, not just an accent wall.  We decided to trim the room in white and make sure the ceiling color was white as well, ensuring that there would be a decent color contrast.  So, we bought the paint and away we went!

Now, had I had blogging in mind when we began this project, I would have taken pictures of the family affair painting this room became.  My husband painted the ceiling and taped off everything high, and my son and I painted everything lower.  It really was fun having us all working on this together!  A lot of laughs were had!  For instance, my husband, losing his balance, stepped right into the paint tray, sliding across the floor and almost doing a big-man split!  I, of course, laughed at him before asking if he was all right.  Nice wife, right?!  We had to take his shoe off of him BEFORE he stood up so that he didn’t paint the hardwood floor white with his sneaker drips!  I can happily report that he is all right and no damage was done to the floor…or him lol.

So, you are probably wondering how the walls turned out?  Well, here they are:

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It turned out wonderfully!  The contrast of the red and white is beautiful!  The red is deep like a cherry, true to it’s name.

Now that we were all painted, we had to fill the room!  I am a Target shopper (or, for the fancy, Tar-ggay – French accent, of course!) and I watch their ads religiously each week.  I have just become a lover of their Cartwheel app as well!  It is an app that has in-house coupons in it that you can “clip” and have one code scanned on your phone at checkout. BAM! instant money off!  LOVE saving money!  But I digress.

I found book shelves and a desk from Target in a dark espresso color, which would go well with our furniture.  I am proud to say that my son and I put together the shelves and desk together!  We did need the assistance of my husband a couple of times, but we did it on our own!  A feat that earned me my very own pink tool set =)

Finally, we had to order curtains, which in my opinion is b-o-r-i-n-g!  I am not one to want to spend hundreds of dollars on curtains, or hours shopping for them.  So, Kohls.com was my savior!  My best friend, Lisa, told me about a huge sale online and I took advantage of it!  With coupon codes and Kohls cash, I spent $50 on four panels!  We went with a pattern in a lighter color, as to not conflict with the color of the room.

Well, here are pics of our finished product:

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We do not have any pictures hanging on our wall yet, but we do have a picture in mind for above the love seat.  We are just trying to figure out how to have it enlarged without ruining the quality.  If you have any tips, I would love to hear them!

So, this “red room” has now been re-named our den.  I am not a decorator in any sense of the word, so the fact that this room came together so nicely tickles me!  It is amazing what a coat of paint can do!  We were fortunate enough to come into a very structurally sound home, having only personal cosmetic things to worry about.  This room is amazing to me, and is the room I blog in every day!

Do you have a favorite room in your home?

Welcome To My End of the Bend!

I am very excited to begin my journey into this new blog!  I am not a stranger to blogging, having had the infamous “Get Fit” blog over a year ago.  It was fun to do that, but I didn’t feel like I could be human and slack on my diet and exercise routine, so I stopped blogging about it.

Here, I hope to make you laugh with stories of parenting woes and successes, some DIY projects, offer book suggestions that I have read, offer recipes that were awesome, etc.  There really will not be a rhyme or reason to why or when I post things in the beginning, but I am sure as time goes on I will become a bit more organized!

So, let me tell you a little bit about me.  I am <gasp!> 39yrs old and I am not dreading 40 in the least! <I hope you sensed the sarcasm!>  I am a transplant to Virginia from Buffalo, NY.  I am happy about the move here because it has gifted my family and I with many blessings of amazing jobs, a brand new home and opportunities for my son that he would not have had in New York.  Yes, I do miss some family and friends, but I am excited to begin anew here in Virginia!

It has been 1 month since we bought our first home, and we are moving right along with making it our own!  Here is a pic of our home:

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This is before we put our stamp on it, but you can see it is beautiful!  It was overwhelming at first to go from an apartment into this large home, but it wonderful now that we are getting used to it!  I plan on posting about some DIY things that we did inside and outside, so stay tuned!

In closing tonight, I do want to say that I am a positive and passionate person.  At times, subjects of my blogging may hit a nerve with some people, and that is all right.  I do not mind debates or even heated exchanges, as long as they are respectful and kind.  Please be respectful of that!

Until tomorrow!  =)