Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Porch Renovation

The porch renovation is pretty much complete, at least the building part. I can't believe how wonderfully it turned out! I am constantly shocked and amazed by Matt's skills. We still need to get cushions and stuff, but that will come once we get home from Italy! BTW we're leaving for Italy in two days!!! Well, technically we're leaving for Maryland to be in my Bestie's wedding and then heading overseas.

So here's what it looks like:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Home Improvements

My husband is constantly doing things, he never sits still. He has OCD and a never ending supply of energy. Sometimes it really works out to our advantage and lately he has been obsessed with home improvements. I believe this is his version of "nesting" or at least the way he deals with his baby fever because he keeps saying that he has to get all this stuff done before we get pregnant. I think he knows that my patience for projects will be at a zero when a baby is in question.

The newest project is our screen porch.  We have talked at length about converting the screen porch into a year-round room and eventually turn it into a playroom when we have kids. Matt however couldn't wait, and has begun building out our custom benches. I am always amazed by his craftiness and they are really starting to come together. I can't wait until they're finished!! We're going to tag-team painting in an hour or so and we've started looking for cushions. Here's what it looks like so far:

I'll keep ya posted!

Mystery Solved

I have found the cause of my mystery headaches and I can't believe it. My birth control! Or rather, getting off my birth control. I don't know why I didn't jump to that conclusion from the get go -It probably has to do with the fact that I was actually sick right before that. So I'm not pregnant yet, and I don't have a brain tumor...both good outcomes I think. I just can't believe I have never heard anything about that before....hormone withdrawl. It explains why it's felt like alcohol withdrawl (i.e. hangover) my vagina was going through withdrawals!

 I have a vagina hangover.

The good thing is now that I have self-diagnosed my vagina with a hangover I can start treating it appropriately....with chinese food, sappy movies and water (just kidding!) I don't really know how one would treat a hungover vagina but isn't the image that pops into your head pretty amusing. I imagine my vagina slumped over a couch, binging on bacon-egg-cheese bagels and popping Alka-Seltzer. I just wish my obviously confused vagina would leave my head alone...sneaky bitch.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dinner Party Pictures and Updates

Last time I posted, our AC was broken and I was prepping for a dinner party so I thought I would start there. The event went perfectly. I couldn't have been happier with my clients, four foodies who just like to have a good time. They raved about the food and my ego did little somersaults afterwards. Sometimes I even impress myself with my skills (excuse me while I brush the dirt of my shoulder). Here are some pictures from the event so you can get an idea of the kind of food I do:

So that's me on a plate.

In other news, our AC is STILL out. Thankfully we are starting to head into fall and it is no longer 90 degrees out so we've been able to do things like put on clothes and sleep. My weird headaches are still holding strong. Yesterday was the first day I felt like a normal person again, but I woke up today still feeling achy and under the weather. I don't know what these headaches are about (several people have asked if I mgiht be pregnant....which I am NOT) but I am really over them. I've never been one to get migranes and these are just the worst! I am constantly tired and weak feeling and my head feels like it does after a marathon night of drinking. Thankfully I have the best husband in the world who has been extremely patient and attentive to me during my bizarre illness.

Tonight I am trudging through my aches and pains to see my best girl friend Tess, who has been so busy with work I haven't seen her in weeks! I am in desperate need of a girl talk session so I have a feeling it will be a long fun night. Good girl friends are hard to find and I love that we can talk about anything and we're both very kind and supportive of one another. I think women have a hard time in this world finding other women who truly support them. Women are often guarded with one another and worse than that, a lot of women want each other to fail or compete with each other at an unhealthy level.This I think is one of the main causes of high levels of depression in women. I've never really understood that, which is maybe why I choose my girlfriends carefully and get along better with men.

Just some food or thought...


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mysterious Aches

As I mentioned in my last post a few days ago, our AC unit kicked and I have been sick for the past (what feels like) weeks. I don't know what's wrong with me! I've been on antibiotics and finished them yesterday and I STILL wake up with a splitting headache every morning and it drags on all day.

Here are my theories thus far:

1) I'm pregnant: unlikely since I've been on birth control until last sunday and we haven't really been getting busy too much with my illness and the heat.

2) I have a brain tumor: much more likely, although highly improbable.

3) I am sleepwalking in the night and drinking myself into a vicious hangover the next morning and recall nothing.......somewhat likely, although there are no empty bottles around the next day and being a messy person, there is no way I clean up after myself in my sleep.

That's it. Those are all my options. I have to find a solution soon or I am going to go crazy!! Not to mention we leave in a little over a week for D.C. and then Italy and I CANNOT be sick ( or pregnant yet).


Saturday, September 14, 2013

88 and Rising

Our air conditioner broke yesterday. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if we didn't live in South Carolina. It is now 88 degrees inside and mounting, because I also happen to cook all day for a living. Even our dogs have fled to bathroom tiles to get cool....can you say, domesticated?!

I've been prepping all day for a dinner party I have booked for tonight. Here's the menu:

Mini Charcuterie Plate: 
warm mozzarella, tartufo salumi, EVOO and crusty baguette
Creamy Mushroom Pecorino Risotto
Pan Seared Mahi Mahi, Farmers market Succotash, Purple Cauliflower Puree
Herb Crusted Lamb Chops, Eggplant Capponata, Whipped Feta
Dark Chocolate and Orange Bignets

Sounds fabulous right?! I think so...although I am biased because I am the chef. The dinner isn't until 8:30pm so I have all day to prep and enjoy this lovely fall heat wave I have brewing in the house. Matt is coming with me tonight to be my sous chef and server, which will make it a lot of fun. I am so glad he enjoys doing things like that with me because it means we don't have to spend our Saturday night apart. Hope it goes well! We could use the money.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Sick and Stressed

There has been a lot of activity this week. My deal in GoCharleston Deals (a local groupon-esque website) ran, along with a blog post all about me and my business.



Also, I got a last minute dinner party booked for Saturday, and on top of it all....I'm sick. Not throwing up sick, but throat hurty, head-achey kinda have a fever sick. It's been pretty crappy for the most part which is why I haven't blogged since girls night. I had little to say other that....I feel gross.

But now I'm on some meds to kick it out of my system and I am already feeling better.

In other news, Matt and I are heading to Italy in two weeks after we hit up my best friends wedding. I have to admit I am super excited but this couldn't have come with worse timing. Money is getting pretty tight and Matt had a few deals fall through so we're both a bit more stressed than we would be normally. We're going to have to rely a lot on credit cards in the next few weeks and I hate credit cards. I have to be quite honest, I love the life Matt and I have together but the ups and downs of us owning our own businesses is pretty stressful.

In baby news, I am officially off my birth control and really excited about it. This BC has given me the worst mood swings and skin problems of my life and I am happy to be rid of it. Also, I found a new baby name that I love for a baby girl: Cressida.

That's all for now, back into the kitchen!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Girls Night at The Grocery

Every piece of literature on marriage always says that it is important to maintain relationships outside of your spouse. For a while I didn't necessarily see why it is always talked about with such importance, of course you're still going to have friends other than your husband! Right?

Matt and I are that rare couple that is ALWAYS together and prefers it that way. We both work out of the house and there are days in a row where he will be the only other person I see on the planet. But, we like it that way. In fact, we prefer it that way. We genuinely want to be around each other all the time. This makes it difficult to find time apart. Thus, I only have a few girlfriends in the area. But I've always been a proponent of quality of quantity.

So last night I finally had a girls night out with a few of these quality ladies. What's funny is that I've met all of them through Matt. They are the girlfriends/fiance's of Matts' buddies. I guess things like that just work out. Anyway we went out to dinner for Charleston Restaurant Week, a fabulous event that takes place almost every six months here and something not to be missed. We settled on this relatively new and trendy restaurant, The Grocery. All farm-to-table quirky goodness that I love with exposed brick walls and abstract paintings of serene marshlands.

So five of us girls,  my two friends Lindsey and Allie, and their two friends Julie and Chandler. pile into a booth and begin what is to go down as the best restaurant week dinner I've ever had.

I started with the bouillabaisse which was warm and soothing , which was just what I needed since I've been feeling a little under the weather lately. It had pieces of fish, shrimp and squid in it and came with a crunchy piece of bread for dipping, a nice touch.

For my main course I had the braised short rib with creamy farro, peas and oyster mushrooms. Side note, the waiter described it as coming with chanterelle mushrooms...a VAST overstatement which only I would notice, but still worth mentioning. For those that don't know chanterelle mushrooms are the most delicate, expensive mushroom around. Not something you usually see on a 3 for $30 restaurant week menu. Anyway, despite the miscommunication about the mushrooms the short rib was excellent. The short rib was juicy and tender and shredded apart with and ease it was like an erotic striptease. The combination of the earthy farro and mushrooms just upped the ante for this dish, making it rustic and warm and extremely satisfying.

To finish, there were churros. The Latin American version of the funnel cake, these crispy, sugar coated ropes came with three dipping sauces: a salted caramel, a creme englaise and an orange chocolate sauce. The salted caramel was by far the best of the bunch and although I was stuffed, I managed to take down two ropes of goodness before calling it quits.

It was a fabulous night. A night filled with laughter and wine. A good reminder of why girlfriends are so important to a newly married, contantly coupled girl like me.


Monday, September 9, 2013

The Folly Float Frenzy

On Saturday My husband and I participated in a uniquely fun activity, an annual float race called the Folly Float Frenzy. The premiss is simple, teams of up to 12 people create, build and man a floating device down the Folly river, starting at the boat landing and ending at a marina bar called Sunset Cay.

The picture on the right is our teams float. Easily the simplest of the designs. Some other people had some serious structures that they floated down the river. One team had actually constructed a giant turtle out of plywood and fit all 12 people on it with ease.

The Floating Turtle
Before we even got out of the boat landing, Matt got stung by a jellyfish and his dad, my-father-in-law fell out of his tube and lost his sunglasses. We were pretty much a motley crew of mess. The race was over in about an hour and everyone involved was entirely intoxicated. By 1pm my husband and I had partied enough and called it quits at the after party and went home. We couldn't believe it was only 1pm!. In our state, we truly believed it to be early evening (woops!).

Needless to say the rest of the day was spend on our couch with a glorious sack of Chinese food (my guiltiest of pleasures) and an entire season of Spartacus on DVR.

It was a lovely little Saturday.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Mini Van Madness!!

I am now the proud owner of a Chrysler Town and Country mini van. Yep. A mini van. The story behind the aquisition of this mini van wonder is pretty simple. I have owned the same Hyundai Tucson since I was 17, a graduation gift from my parents. My husband had a car loan on a Lexus IS and was paying out the ass every month for the pleasure. We were over at my parents house a few weeks ago and my now empty-nester parents asked us if I would be interested in their mini van for work purposes. As I've mentioned in other posts I am a caterer and need a good amount of space in my vehicle for parties, events and all my equipment.

At first, Matt and I laughed about the thought of the mini van, but then we really started to think about it. We had just taken it on a long road-trip up to Maryland and had marveled at its superior gas mileage and useable storage space. The more we talked about it the more we thought it would be a really great idea for now and in the future. Matt came up with the plan to sell my car and buy an older luxury vehicle  outright, sell his car back to Carmax and leave us with one mini van, one Acura TL, and ZERO CAR DEBT!! Woo Hoo!!

The plan is to trick this puppy out with lots of marketing images and text for my catering business, use it for comfy road trips and then far down the road, have the perfect baby-mobile.

Did I mention we have no more car debt!?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

End of Summer Salad

For lunch today I made an end of summer salad for my husband and I. This salad is perfect for these hot afternoons, packing a lot of flavor and freshness into every bite.

It is super simple. Anyone can throw this together in 10 minutes and really impress your roommate, significant other, or dinner guest.

serves 2

1 grilled chicken breast, cubed
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small red or orange bell pepper, diced
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
6 starberries, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
 juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Toss everything together and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Before Baby Body

As with all before, during, and afters I thought I should post a few "before" pictures. Now, I know there are those blogs where there is this rediculously skinny girl in $100 Lululemon leggings talking about how she eats all she wants and can't get her weight above 115.

I am not one of those girls. I was super slim my whole life, but since age 23 or so, it has become more and more of an effort to stay that way. Going to culinary school didn't help, I gained about 15 pounds over in Italy and then moving to Charleston where drinking is a daily occurrence and everything is fried also did not help my cause. At my heaviest I was about 127 pounds. It may not sound like much but I am a 5'3" girl with a generous backside so trust me, it looked like a lot more.

I started working out for the wedding. My husband and I did the INSANITY videos together and believe me, those work. They may kill you, but by God you will drop weight in a hurry. Since the wedding however, I stopped exercise all together, until last month. Last month I finally had enough of being out of shape and joined Gold's Gym with a goal of getting in super shape before getting pregnant.

So here I am. All 120lbs of me. This is my "before" body. Whether I'll get in better shape before getting knocked up, I dunno. But I am enjoying the gym a lot and do a good amount of yoga, spinning and general cardio and weight lifting. All activities I plan to continue whilst pregnant.

So this is the begining of the journey. I can't wait to see my progress!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Starting Off Under The Weather

Today hasn't started off the way I had planned. I went to my Bodyflow class at the gym, hit the grocery store, and by the time I made it home I had taken a turn for the worse. Throat closing, head aching, I have all the budding symptoms of getting really sick. Who gets sick in the summer?!!?

Anyway I had planned to get all of my cooking done in the afternoon for my meal deliveries tomorrow. (One of the services I offer with my business is gourmet meal deliveries that seem to be really popular with housewives and working moms alike). So my delivery days are Monday and Wednesday which gives me Tuesday to shop, cook, and prepare meals for my clients.

This being my first official day of blogging, I'm not off to a great start. Hopefully I will get my health in check and be back to normal tomorrow. For now I am headed into the kitchen to make Baked Chicken Alfredo Penne for my clients tomorrow.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome to Married Life

I've decided to start this blog to chronicle this new chapter in my life. My name is Lisa, I am a 25 year old private chef and owner of my own catering business: Dolce Vita Cuisine www.dolcevitacuisine.com. I grew up in Scarsdale, NY and have been living in Charleston, SC for the last two years. My husband and I are a classic love at first sight story and we got engaged six months after beginning dating. My only explanation for this is that we were born to be together because neither of us he as ever been happier.

A little about my husband: he is 31, a financial planner with his own business and a divorced father to two brown mutts whom I've grown to love. He is generous with his time, money, and love to anyone he meets and has taught me in the short two years that we've been together how to be a kinder human being. It is also worth noting that he is one of the funniest people on the planet and we are constantly laughing.

Matt Pontius and (the then future) Mrs. Lisa Pontius

Matt and Me at a lovely Charleston Sunday brunch
We got married on April 27th 2013 and I have now entered what is to be the most exciting time in my life. My husand's name is Matt, and he is my soul mate in every sense of the word. We finish each others sentences, we both work at home and subsequently spend every day together in our small three bedroom one-story house that we share with three adorable dogs. Since this is a chronicle, it's probably good if I start with some pictures. These are from our engagement session:

Presently, my husband and I have decided to move forward with our desires to start a family. We are in the last few weeks of actively preventing a pregnancy (i.e. I'm still taking my BC pill regularly). This is my last week of birth control before my "off" week, a.k.a my period and I have to admit I am really excited. This month is going to have a lot in store for us. At the end of the month is my best friend Katie' wedding in D.C. and after that we are taking our dream trip to Florence, Italy for 8 days. This is our big trip that we wanted to go on before getting pregnant and I can't believe it is going to be here so soon! This is my last chance to drink wine, eat unpasturized cheese and eat whatever-the-hell I want!

So this blog is to write the story...to document my thoughts, our worries and hopes for the future, my ever-changing body, mood swings and weight gains and hopefully the growth, birth and life of a healthy and happy beautiful baby.

Here. We. Go.!

p.s. I will post pictures from our wedding soon. I have submitted some to a few wedding magazines and they are very touchy about them being "previously published" online or otherwise. So stay tuned.