Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Must Haves Blog Swap

In my haste to deal with all the things that fell on me in the past couple weeks, I realized today that I hadn't posted my Summer Must Haves package from Dana over at My Every Day Life.

I LOVE the wine glass she sent over -- the color is amazing and I am really into wine glasses right now.  I use it for all different sorts of drinks, meanwhile J laughs at me because there is milk in my wine glass =)
I haven't made any of the wine drinks from the book but looking through it, there are some amazing recipes that I simply must try!
While I generally don't wear gold ANYTHING -- I love the antique-y feel of the color of this bracelet. Every time I wear it I get SO many compliments!
The flower ring is phenomenal -- I feel like Dana really got an idea of what I like =) I also LOVE the nail polish colors and the lip gloss flavor.  I can't wear the orange and blue together because The Husband is an FSU fan...my girl, Christina, however, would think I was THE GREATEST if I wore them together lol. I had my toes the orange last week and loved how summer-y I felt =)
Thanks again to Krysten at After 'I Do' for hosting the swap. And Dana -- I have had SO much fun getting to know you through your blog =)
Happy Short Week Peeps!

If It Weren't Tuesday This Whould Be Titled Miscellany Monday

Welcome back to Reality, peeps! How was your weekend? Was it totally fabulous?!
I have a lot going on and lots of thoughts to share. Who knew I would miss putting it all out there for you?! Apparently writing it all down is helpful for me =)

We put an offer in on a house on Friday night. Please keep us in your thoughts today. This home is so beautiful and everything we want in a home. Seriously -- The only way it could be any more perfect would be if it CAME with the appliances lol. We should hear back by the end of today whether the offer was accepted or not.

Saturday was a 'work' day -- J did work for his company and I did chores...booo chores! Once J got home, he was exhausted, so I made a quick/easy dinner and he was asleep on the couch very early. I stayed up a little just so I wasn't WIDE awake in bed.
Sunday was spent on the lake -- well a few hours were. We had a great time -- unfortunately I didn't upload any pictures yet OR get the ones from my friends. We took Ruger out with us -- which was interesting haha. I had taken him for a 5.5 mile run that morning and then we had him swimming and playing. Needless to say he was exhausted by the time we got him home.  Sunday night we went up to Home Depot and Lowe's to start price checking to figure out how much we are going to need to spend initially to get into the home, since there are NO light fixtures or appliances.  That's OK -- we'll get to pick what we love. =) But we needed to figure out the costs IF we get the house and where the money would come from. That was a lot of fun -- I LOVE looking at light fixtures. I don't know why -- but it makes me really happy haha!
Monday we went to see what kind of deal we could get on another nightstand -- when J bought his bedroom furniture I wasn't in the picture SO he only bought ONE nightstand. We found the one he bought 4 years ago, and DANG furniture is EXPENSIVE when you don't buy it as a package deal! hopefully we can work out a deal with the next sales associate we have to deal with. For now, we are just price checking because EVENTUALLY, whichever home we get into, I want my own nightstand! =)

It has officially been about a week and a half since I cut off all my hair. I don't have the issues like I was having -- I was SERIOUSLY upset about cutting it off.  It can ALMOST go into a ponytail now. That helps. The bad thing is that I have to ACTUALLY style it every day -- so no getting up late for this girl! It is already almost touching my shoulders, so I am starting to like it all the time =) J LOVES it. he touches it a lot but I think that is mostly due to the fact that it is so different.

I have decided that I am going to run 2 halves coming up -- 1 at the end of this year and then the other at the beginning of next year.  I extended my runs this weekend -- I ran 5.5 and 5 Saturday and Sunday.  I know I probably shouldn't have done back to back long runs but I felt SO amazing! The dog really enjoyed it too =) I am really looking forward to getting back into the training.  I did realize that I am in desperate need of some new running shoes!

I also need a new bra (s) -- BAD! I just can't find any that I really love that actually hold up for a bit. I have tried VS but they don't really fit me well =/ I have considered going to the VS Pink store, hoping that since their stuff runs smaller that they would be better for me? I have been buying them at Kohl's -- they fit well but seem to stretch out quickly. Any suggestions???

I am so happy it is a short week -- I always have trouble getting back into it after a long weekend.
In happy news! Christina @ Lou Lou Runs Florida gave me an AWARD! WOO! Thanks sweet lady!
I have to share 7 randoms about myself and tag 7 bloggers!

{1} I can't get into the Twilight movies. I LOVED the books -- seriously, I read them 2 times. The movies...well I saw the first one and thought it was an absolute train wreck! I wouldn't have made the same casting choices they made. I was very VERY disappointed. (please don't hate me lol)

{2} I only eat mints until the stripes are gone.  Weird, right? I notice when they are dissolved based on the taste. No, Really. I think they taste different without the stripes. J usually eats the rest -- it grosses some people out that we do this but, hey, he kisses me and it is just a mint...it isn't a toothbrush or anything haha

{3}I get really wrapped up in things and attach myself emotionally very quickly.  Like this house we put an offer on, I know I will probably cry if we don't get it. I get my hopes up really high really early.

{4} I make everything a competition, even when I don't realize or intend to do so. I made picking the house into a competition. I have even done it with paint colors and who makes better eggs or washes the dishes better. It is a really annoying habit that I am trying to at least keep an inner struggle.

{5} I am very passionate -- especially about friends and family. If you do anything to wrong them, even when it doesn't involve me in any way, I get really made. I don't have a short temper, but the people who I have in my life mean a lot to me, so don't mess with them. Especially my little sister -- mess with her, I'll take you out ;)

{6} I am the sports fan in this relationship. We only go to bars to watch games because it is the one I want to see that isn't on. J couldn't really care any less but he has fun and I am determined to make him a Steelers fan yet =) This past season he actually started cheering -- we'll get there with the help of Marc and Daddy.

{7} I have a hard time coming home from work when J is home and doing my workout. I just want to chill out with him when I get home. It is really hard finding motivation to do things when he is there...I just want to do things with him =)


Well -- I think that is enough randoms for one day =) Happy TUESDAY! YAY only a few days of work and then we are back to the glorious weekend!! WOOT! haha!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Easily Distracted by the Excitement of the Impending Weekend

Happy FRIDAY! FINALLY! UGH! this has been such a long week. I'm sure it is because I have been desperately seeking the 3-day weekend. My husband is FINALLY going to get two days off in a row. I'm pretty stoked -- I'm not going to lie. TWO whole GLORIOUS days with my main squeeze! OOO I can hardly contain my excitement!

Meanwhile, here I sit, at my desk, at work. I wish we had season transition breaks -- you know, that first week of each season everyone gets a paid week off. How freaking awesome-sauce would that be?! Yeah that's right -- it would be....side tracked, what was I saying again? Oh right...
J has worked every day for at least the past twenty days. He has to work tomorrow doing HIS company work. But then Sunday and Monday he is ALL MINE. I don't even know if I want to share him.

You know what is a lot of fun -- looking at homes. all of them -- even the nasty ones, where you walk out thinking, someone would need to throw some cash at you before you would make an offer. Yeah, we looked at one of those last night. It wasn't completely bad -- had super potential and the kitchen was ultra cute. BUT yeah it was THAT BIG...it looked like the pretty slate tile was DIY...which I am not against, but it was done poorly. They also put an addition on the house that didn't have central air. The bathrooms were disgusting and would need to be immediately gutted. The master bedroom had a small window -- it felt like the timeout room! It was very interesting haha. Had it been 50K LESS we may have entertained the idea of getting it and completely re-doing the home. THAT would have been a lot of work. In theory it would be great...I don't know that I am ready to take all that on. I am tired. I don't know if I want to take on that kind of project when our days in our current home are numbered. I am tired...have I mentioned that?!
Every time I say that I think of Monster-In-Law when Wanda Sykes says:
" I am sick. I am sick, sick, sick of yo' shit. And when I'm not sick, I'm tired. I am sick and tired"

It makes me giggle, usually during complete silence and then people look at me out of the corner of their eye like I'm a loon. I'm not a loon, I just feel the need to be entertained at all times if I am not sleeping. =) It's a fun quality although I think it catches J off guard because a lot of times, the giggling or comment comes out of the blue...to him, for me I had a completely normal train of thought...

So I'm not 100% sure about what we will do this weekend. My boss invited us out on the lake on Monday with some other people from work. He wants to see J, it has been a while since they got to hang out and he really likes J. I guess it depends what we do on Sunday and how late we are out and whether or not I'm tired...

I have decided that I am going to run a half marathon in December and then the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in February. I am really intimidated because after the first marathon I ran, I couldn't run for about a month. I'm hoping it was just my body adjusting. I am consistently running 4 miles so I figure if I start training now, I can take a little more time and be Little Miss Amazing by the December race. Then I can sorta take it easy and just keep up my miles for the February race. Anyone else try to run 2 halves that close together? I am hoping to motivate my dad into it and maybe train a little with him. I think I would like to set the goal of running better than my first half. I also didn't sleep or eat well the night before my first half -- seriously may have only gotten 3 hours of sleep. SO I am hoping that I can figure out better eating and get more sleep. I think that all really had an effect on my time.

I realized last night that EVERYTHING in my life becomes a competition. It is ridiculous. While looking at homes, I was so hell bent on making sure everyone loved the house I picked out not the house J picked out. I was being so stubborn I couldn't see good things about the one he picker OR bad things about the one I picked. How silly of me! J and I walked back into the homes on our own to discuss with one another what we did and didn't like about each house. We also discussed furniture position and use of each of the rooms. That helped me not be SUCH a baby and though I pouted inside for a long time, before we made the trip home, I found myself being excited no matter what because it was a new start for J and I and we were looking at beautiful homes that WE liked as a couple. YAY!

I hope you have an amazing 3-day weekend. I can't wait for the day to be over so I can make my way to the store for some wine and head home to snuggle with the man...although after his LONG LONG day, I am pretty sure he will sleep from the moment he gets home until the alarm goes off on Saturday haha. Oh well, I like to snuggle with him anyhow =)
Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Surprises Are Happy

Ever read that book as a child:
“Alexander and the Terrible-Horrible-No-Good-Very-Bad Day”?
That is how some of my recent days have felt. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing to be down about. Things are moving in the direction we want and things are gradually starting to fall into place. I have an amazing family, an unbelievably fabulous husband who thinks the world of me, a great group of friends. I’m fully employed, my car works and my puppy thinks I’m the greatest owner ever.
Still, I have struggled – yesterday I struggled a lot. There is this silly little thing that keeps popping back up in my life. It frustrates me. It makes me want to scream; it makes me want to cry. Yesterday was tough. I wanted to post about it because I want y’all to know that my life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine, I want to be real…As you know, I didn’t post about it. I ate a double cheeseburger and went running instead after work. By the end of the day I was happy.
I still considered posting about some of the struggles of late, but then I logged on this morning and there is a LOT of negativity out there in bloggy-land. SO I decided to forego my struggles for this Friday Eve and share with you the surprise birthday dinner I helped organize for my MF (Medium Friend dirty minds!) on Tuesday night.

Her husband contacted me late last week to try to set something up for her actual birthday. Her family had plans and John (her husband) was supposed to playing softball in his Tuesday night league. She was convinced that she wouldn’t be able to have a birthday dinner on her birthday. BUT she was being supportive and being ultra positive about the situation. Meanwhile, we (John and I) were contacting as many of her friends as we could to have them surprise her at her favorite restaurant – Kobe’s Japanese Steakhouse. First – how amazingly sweet is her husband for setting up a surprise birthday dinner for her?! Yeah he’s pretty awesome in my book – major cool points for him =)
John even wore his softball uniform to trick Christina haha
She was VERY surprised. He had told her they were stopping there to get Sushi to go…and there we were – waiting for her in the bar =) I am so glad I could be a part of this surprise. After dinner a bunch of us went to get some yummy FroYo. FYI -- don't go to a frozen yogurt place that is right next to a Tijuana Flats on Taco Tuesday...seriously -- it was a ZOO! But we all enjoyed our froyo and the birthday girl was happy. Priorities were met -- and we had some great friend moments.
Now if only we could get through the rest of the week so we can start our three day weekend! WOO!!
Oh and Tonight The Husband and I are going to look at homes!!! I am SO excited I could pee! but I won't. aren't you happy?! haha
Happy Friday Eve!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

Meet Kait and her husband, Joe. 
She has the sweetest blog called Letting Love Grow -- she is one of the strongest, most beautiful women I know. Check her out -- she is such a sweet girl and now her and her handsome hubby are having TWINS!!! I am so excited for her!
Kait and Joe had a beautiful winter wonderland wedding at the Fox Valley Country Club.  The Bride was praying for snow, which didn't end up coming, but the day was bright and crisp and perfect for their December 5, 2009 wedding.
Every aspect and detail of their gorgeous wedding incorporated their Winter Wonderland theme -- it really is the most wonderful time of the year for them! Stop by her blog and wish her and her hubby congratulations!
*Photos by RB Photography

Happy Halway through the week!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jambalaya Casserole and Drunken Cupcakes

On Sunday I was feeling very ambitious...I think that is due, in part, to the fact that I have kind of been a lazy wife. =/ Not a lazy person mind you.  I have a lot going on -- I'm involved in a lot of planning, most of which I can't discuss...yet.
Anyway -- I have fallen a little behind on my wife-y 'chores'. J had to work ALL weekend this past weekend so I really felt motivated.  I hopped online and searched for new recipes to try.  I had to find the recipes before I could make my trip to the grocery store -- duh I needed to know what to buy!
The first recipe I decided to try was:
Jambalaya Casserole
I found the recipe at allrecipes.com
J LOVES Jambalaya...I have only had it ONCE and I loved it. but it was a super secret squirrel family recipe that belongs to my dad's friend.  I am trying to get my hands on it to try on my own.  In the meantime, here is this casserole recipe that was uber yummy!

1 large onions, chopped
1 large green peppers, chopped
1 celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup butter
1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon browning sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
*the original recipe is for 24 servings -- I adjusted mine to 8 servings

1.In a large skillet, saute the onions, green peppers, celery and garlic in butter until crisp-tender. Place in a very large bowl; stir in the remaining ingredients.
2.Transfer to three greased shallow 3-qt. baking dishes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring twice.

For dessert, I wanted to try some new cupcakes. They are DELICIOUS!!! I made them Sunday and they were better after sitting YESTERDAY! YUM!!
I found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen.

Drunken Cupcakes
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

For the 'Alcoholic' Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)  <-- I used Cruzan Aged Rum
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof) <-- I did 2 Tblsp Baileys and 1 Tblsp of cream

Special equipment: A piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

[This is a fantastic trick I picked up while working on the cupcakes article for Martha Stewart Living; the test kitchen chefs had found that when they added the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frostings got less grainy, and tended to require less sugar to thicken them up.]

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar. Ice and decorate the cupcakes.
The original recipe calls for a ganache filling.  I attempted it but I thought it was awful.  I MUST have done something wrong.  So I didn't go through with the ganache and I thought they were amazing.  J can't stop eating them -- reminding me why I don't bake...although I think the novelty of these keep us eating them.  You know, since they aren't the same ol' cupcakes =)
You should try them! They are so good! I would love hear about your baking/cooking adventures! 
PS: Thanks Honey for taking a bite out of one and leaving it on the plate! It made for a perfect picture =)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beautiful Lengths

I did it!! Saturday morning I went to the salon and I donated my hair. 
I did a lot of research on the different companies who make real hair wigs for a cause.  I heard that Locks of Love charges their recipients for the wigs. I also found out a lot of foundations throw away the hair that isn't long enough -- in situations where the donor has layered hair, like I do.  I was very torn, I didn't want to cut all my hair off and then have it thrown out! No way, Jose! I kept looking around, doing my research, convinced that there HAD to a be a non-profit program that doesn't require TWELVE inches and can use all the hair I send them.  Does such a organization even exist?!
It does: Pantene Beautiful Lengths
They use every piece of hair regardless if it is long enough for a wig or not.  The shorter pieces they use in hair mats that help clean up oil spills.  As far as I could tell, they do not sell or throw away any of the hair.  AND they donate the wigs to their recipients. 
I quickly made an appointment and then freaked a little haha.  I text my friend Jess to see if she wanted to go with me to my appointment.  THANK GOODNESS she did! I probably would have backed out! She was so supportive and excited for me and when I almost had a melt down after the first cut, she was there telling me how sassy and amazing I was going to look. 

I think she took more than 8 inches, but it's ok.  it will grow back and for a good cause.
As of now, my hair and I don't have a great relationship.  I'm not LOVING it unfortunately.  I have received tons of compliments on it from friends and family.  My family has some of THE most honest people ever...so if they didn't like it or I looked a hot mess, I know for sure that they would tell me. It is going to take some getting use to.
The hair and I went on some outings trying to get accustomed to one another:
We mailed the donation to Pantene.
We went to Michael's with Jess and tried on funny visors.
We took a picture with The Husband.
We went for a run.
I styled it myself.
We went to the grocery store.
We made cupcakes

So what do you think?!
I don't know -- it has only been 2 days and I am a little sad that I hacked it all off. BUT, unlike some of the people who will be receiving donated hair, I can grow it back.  My dad has always said "the difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is about two weeks". Hopefully my hair and I start getting along. I do like it more since I have styled it myself. I really liked it Sunday, I'm not loving it that much today (Monday). We'll see how it is going in about two weeks.

How was your weekend?  Do anything drastic?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The One Where I Was Pretty Random

I have lots going through my pretty little head right now...SO bear with me if it gets a little kerbobbled up in here =)

First things -- last night while at a new restaurant, Cariera's Cucina Italiana

having dinner with my sister, future-brother-in-law and Mommy, Lou Holtz walked into the restaurant! Seriously! Lou -Freaking-Holtz! I was pretty excited.  He and his wife were having a date.  It was so cute! We waited until after he paid his bill before walking up and talking to him.
I know there are some that couldn't care less -- but I was pretty star-struck by him.  It was awesome. AND he introduced his wife of 50 years. It was really sweet and super awesome-sauce!

The Husband and I are going to look at homes tonight!! I am so excited!!! It isn't EXACTLY what we want to spend the rest of our lives in but they are really nice (based on the pictures) for what we want/need/afford right now. As I previously said, we accepted an offer on our house -- we are just waiting to get the next part of the process moving.

I am very ready to donate my hair.  I have been working myself up to it for months and now I'm just READY! I have kind of had it with the length -- especially with summer approaching and it is going to be hot. I know it makes me look young, but it is for a good cause -- I'll be donating it (as I already mentioned -- geez get it together Ash!)  Here is what it looks like short...

The above pictures were taken in 2007
OR maybe something a little different, a tad more grown up -- a la Reese in Sweet Home Alabama.
I know I LOVE my long hair but really -- it is time to change it up a bit. I would totally just have to convince The Husband that this is a good idea and besides, it will grow back. PLEASE someone give me an opinion!

I bought a new primer last weekend -- Too Faced: Primed and Poreless. If you have skin that is even a tad sensitive, stay AWAY. I love the way it feels, but after 3 days of use, it burnt my face! Like my face is sensitive to touch and feels like I have some sort of chemical burn =(  it isn't so bad that I can't cover it, but it doesn't feel good at all. Oh and it made me peel pretty badly =( I know some girls it works PERFECT, for me it didn't ... which is so sad but I'm glad the 'problem' is easily treated/fixed/covered.

Alright peeps -- I have lots more but I have to get back to work because THIS GIRL is headed to the dentist in about 2 hours. I'm not a HUGE fan of the dentist but that is mostly because I haven't found one I liked or trusted...today is a new dentist so FINGERS CROSSED!

Happy Friday Eve!