Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Ramblings

Yay for Friday! This week has been INSANE when it comes to work, but in a really awesome way (if that makes any sense).

This week went by really fast and was 95% fantastic, but N getting confirmation Tuesday that a great job he applied for was dead in the water did put a damper on the week. He has about a year until his company gets pseudo-bought out (long story), and all I can think about is him finding another job before then. For the first 2 1/2 years of our marriage he traveled 80% of the time and it was SO not fun. Since the non-traveling jobs are harder to find, I had my hopes up. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, and he still has he majority of the year to find something. I'm just the type of person that loathes uncertainty, so I'm hoping he finds something sooner than later. 

But onto this weekend. Oh, actually, let's discuss last weekend instead.. Last weekend was magnificent. One of our family goals for 2015 is to get some major student loan debt paid off, so we've been pretty tight in the budget department. To get out of the house last weekend sans spending money, we went with my parents to a furniture store since they were in search for a new sofa and bed. Luckily they had a promotion where if you bought a mattress you got a store gift card, and my parents were awesome and gave it to us to use. One of my favorite things, hands-down, is buying home goods and such, so I was pretty pumped to say the least.

I picked up a shabby-chic mirror that I just couldn't pass up, some lanterns that could keep the mantle company, and a spring-y vase with flowers that are perfect for our living room.

Mantle before redecorating

And after!

A vase with some pretty flowers = all a girl needs

This weekend N and I are going to see Book of Mormon in the city Saturday night (we got tickets as a Christmas gift from his mom), and then Sunday I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we get some snow. 3-6 inches is in the forecast, but the weatherman has rarely been right recently this winter. I know everyone else is over the cold, but being snowed in with some comfort food and hot cocoa sounds wonderful.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Fives

Another week in the books! After surviving a dentist checkup yesterday (put that down as one of my least favorite things to do), I'm ready to start the weekend a little earlier today and get to relaxing. To kick it off, here are my five's for this week.

1. Penny the lost dog being found. Penny is a foster dog in my city and ran away  this week. She was wandering in the cold very pregnant and afraid. After she was lost my social media feed started flooding with people trying to find her, and within a day there was a Facebook page dedicated to her being found. It felt like our whole city was on the lookout, and after a couple days, she was rescued Stories like this where my community rallies around a lost pup make my heart happy. Good work, Lawrence, good work.

2. Rustic picture frames like this one. Slowly (but surely) Nathan and I are working to get some pictures of family and friends printed so we can put something on our walls, only two years after moving into our house. I'm kind of in love with the shabby-chicness of this frame, and definitely bought it last weekend.

3. The dollar store. I have a baby shower at work today and not wanting to spend $10 on wrapping the gift, I hit up my local dollar store. $1 for a gift bag vs. $5 at the grocery store = an extra Starbuck's trip mo' money saved.

4. Speaking of cheap finds, I also went to Target this week (because in my life at least one Target trip a week is a necessity) and I picked up some more cute decorations. I'm thinking the banner could be easily used for parties and other fun stuff, but in the meantime it's styling up my cube a bit. The egg tree was just a little somethin' somethin' for Easter. I'm thinking I need to go back this weekend to grab some decorations for my home.

My bargain finds for this week

5. Planned dates including only me, myself and I. Nate will be home late tonight, so rather than sit around waiting for him to get home, I've got a date planned with myself. First on the agenda is grabbing my books on hold at the library, and then settling downtown for a cup of coffee and an hour (or two) of reading. Afterwards I plan on using the $10 coupon burning a hole in my pocket to Kohl's to pick up some picture frames or some clothes, whichever suits my mood. Finish it off with making myself some protein pancakes for dinner (trying out the Kodiak Cakes mix I found at Target - hoping it's good!), and then watching some trash TV.

What got you through this week?


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Greek Food, Uno and Outdoor Lights

Ah, once again I realize this weekend recap is a bit on the late-ish side, but alas, it's getting done. 

Friday night we cooked dinner for my SIL, her husband and our 7 month old nephew. It was a short 2 hour window of hanging out and eating (the kid has a pretty strict schedule he has to adhere to), and then Nate and I bummed on the couch the rest of the night. One of these Friday's we'll be more exciting, but this wasn't it.

For the big V-day, we bummed around some more and then went out for Greek food at one of our favorite restaurants downtown. When we we got to the restaurant we noticed that people were really dressed up. Like corsage-and-gown dressed up. I didn't understand it (the restaurant we went to was by no means fancy, dinner was maybe $35), but I guess it's a given since we live in a college town. We just looked at each other, shrugged and ate our gyros. 

After dinner we were planning on meeting up with my parents and little brother for a drink at the speakeasy that's just a couple blocks down from the restaurant, but we had about an hour to kill after dinner so we went in search for coffee. Since I wasn't going to walk around Hell's half-acre freezing my bum off, we settled on the Starbuck's that just across from the bar we'd be going to. Nate and I sipped coffee and played Uno while listening to elevator music, and it was most definitely my favorite part of the night. It reminded me that while Nate isn't the show-stopping, big romantic gestures kind of guy, he's romantic in his own way, every single day. 

We met up with the fam for some drinks after our many rounds of Uno, and I ordered the Valentine's day special to sip on. It was some kind of moscato concoction that I could've really cared less about what it tasted like because it came with an orchid blossom in the drink. My true girl came out and when it was served to me I exclaimed in the highest-pitched voice "prettttttttttttty!" while my brother and husband gave me a strange look. After a couple drinks and some fun conversations, we called it a night and headed home.

It was dark so this was the best shot I got, but still, pretty!

Sunday was a "meh" kind of day. There was nothing inherently wrong on Sunday, but I was in a serious funk. I finally snapped out of it late afternoon and made How Sweet Eat's Creamy Chicken and Buttermilk Dumplings (do yourself a favor and make it this week - best. comfort. food. ever.), and then we called it an early night after lounging on the couch. 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Five's: Valentine's Edition

Hola friends! All I can say this week is TGIF. There's something about looking forward to a holiday that makes the week go by that much slower.

I'm super excited to be spending a low-key Valentine's day with Nate this weekend, filled with Mexican food and froyo (two of my other great loves in life). Although, I have a feeling I'm going to be excited for every holiday in 2015 since Nate and I are officially in the double digits when it comes to putting up with each other! That's right, 10 years ago I somehow conned this shy guy into taking me out on a date, and 5 years later we tied the knot. I couldn't imagine having anyone else as my PIC in this life, so what better to kick off our 10 years of dating bliss/5 years of marriage with a fantastic V-Day.

And of course, leading up to any holiday one must be prepared with favorites in which to celebrate, so without further ado, here's my five fave's for this week!

1. Since at least one of my fave's is consistently from Target, why change things up this week? I found this mug yesterday in the Valentine's section (note to self - shop this section more than 2 days before Valentine's day - all the moms were out in full-force last night buying for kid's V-Day parties). I honestly couldn't say no, plus it was $3. I debated giving this to Nathan as part of his Valentine's gift so I could justify the purchase, but let's get real, this mug was all for me.

2. This note from our neighbors next door. Two of the five (yes, FIVE) kids next door come over daily to take the pugs outside and play with them every day. It's an easy way for them to get a little extra side money, and then Nate and I don't have to worry about rushing home at night if we get caught up at work. Yesterday I came home to this kibble/leash heart on our counter with a hand-written note saying they were training the dogs and "they are very good pigs" (my heart. too cute.).

3. Piggybacking off of #2, I then totally had an excuse to go buy some Valentine's for said kids, which was super fun. Not to be out-done, I grabbed a little something for each of them at the dollar spot (seriously, Target, stop taking my money) along with a treat. The lip and heart-shaped sunglasses were particularly my favorite.

Their leash heart was far superior than mine

4. Strawberry Starburst gum. Seriously, this tastes identical to the candy, and since strawberry is undoubtedly the best flavor of Starburst, I had to have it. It loses it's flavor in about 30 seconds flat, but I can still see buying this again. Plus, who doesn't want strawberry-flavored breath on V-day?

5. Valentine's day cards have stepped up their game, and there's a ton out there that are hilarious. This one in particular spoke to me...

What are your V-day plans?


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Recipe #2 Review

Recipe: Skinnytaste Cheeseburger Casserole

What's in it: Hamburger, pasta, onions, tomatoes, mustard and cheese (as well as some seasonings)

Skill Level: Partly why I chose this recipe, any novice in the kitchen could whip this up in no time flat

Rating: 8/10

After the last Skinnytaste recipe I tried was such a success (it's on the calendar for this Friday's dinner), I ventured out to try another one. I have at least 10 of her recipes lined up that I want to try, but Tuesday night this particular recipe spoke to me. Some healthified comfort food is just what we needed after a long Monday.

I followed the instructions pretty much to the T, although we did omit the pickles on top and opted for 150 calorie rotini pasta.This was new find, and we were pleasantly surprised that you couldn't tell the difference between the (slightly) reduced calorie pasts vs. the regular. The amount on cheese makes this feel like a much guiltier dish than it is, and the tomatoes along with the mustard definitely gives it a cheeseburger taste.

Cheesy Goodness

I think part of the reason I give this recipe a 8/10 and not a 10/10 is just personal preference. I'm not a big burger fan to begin with, but this was good enough for dinner and then for lunch a couple times this week. This would be perfect for a family (it fills a 9 x 13' size pan), and could even be modified with some mushrooms and bacon with swiss on top.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Library Books, Taxes and Ice Cream

Always being a little late to the party, I figured I'd throw up a weekend recap on Tuesday this week instead of Monday.

Overall this weekend was a blast, and went by too fast. Kansas gave us some beautiful weather this weekend, for which I am so, so grateful. When the weather is gorgeous, it's hard to be anything but happy.

Friday night Nathan and I were super exciting and cleaned out two of our closest upstairs (yay for being able to cross off another thing on my 15 things for 2015 list!). After we stuffed 4 contractor bags full of shoes and clothes to donate, we promptly sat our butts on the couch, ate leftovers and went to sleep before 11 pm. It was my kind of Friday night.

Saturday I ran over to KC to get my nails done with my friend, Jenny. Since Trader Joe's happens to just be across the street, I picked up a few things before heading back home. We then got our taxes done, went to the library and got library cards (watch out now!). Feeling accomplished, we decided to treat ourselves and walked downtown to get ice cream at the best homemade ice cream shop.

Pistachio-almond ice cream + 65 degree weather = perfection

We finished our day with a trip to the country to see my in-laws and their impressive mix of miniature and massive livestock (think miniature cow next to a draft horse), and from their house drove 5 miles to the nearest city town for some pub food.

Sunday started off as another beautiful day outside, so Nathan and I took advantage of the 60+ degree weather and went on a 5 mile walk. We then did the mundane stuff like grocery shopping and running errands. The day ended hanging outside with our neighbors (our favorite ones, that also happen to be moving, boo) and then going to family dinner at my parent's house.

Overall it was low-key weekend, which happens to be one of my favorite kinds.

What did you do this weekend?


Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Five's: Currently Crushing On

Happy Friday! I'm mixing it up this Friday with with a "Currently Crushing On" version for my Friday Five Favorite's.

The stuff I've been drooling over this week:

1. Target Runs (specifically the dollar section). For any holiday coming up, I always peruse this section of the store to find adorable but budget-friendly items to decorate my office at work. This week Nate was gone a couple days, so I took advantage of a free Tuesday night and proceeded to my local Target store for a glance through their clearance section as well as the dollar spot. I picked up this adorable pail and sign for just $1 each. Shopping trips without any guilt = a win win. 

2. This rug. 2 out of the 3 rugs in my house I've purchased from Overstock (including our headboard) and I have yet to be disappointed. I've been scouring stores and online shops for the perfect subtle yet stylish area rug for our family room (that won't break the bank) and I think this is the one. Definitely at the top of my list of things I want/need to buy for our home.

3. My Little Pink Book of Addresses. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer friend's and family's addresses to be written down in a book I can carry around with me rather than in a file or app. This book is small enough that it fits in my purse, plus it's girly and pink. 

4. Sorel's Tivoli High II Boot. This seems to be the year of the cute-but-functional winter boot, and I must admit, I fall in love every time I see Sorel boots in a store. Kansas weather has been so up and down this winter (it snowed Wednesday and tomorrow the high is 65...seriously) that I haven't quite convinced myself I need these yet. Hopefully with another Colorado skiing trip coming up in March and some colder weather here at home (if we ever get it), I can convince myself these are a necessity before they run out of stock. 

5. Tina Fey's Book, Bossypants. After losing interest in Amy Poehler's Yes Please, I decided the only way to get out of this book-rut was to find another book to read. My plans were initially to hit up the library for a library card and to check out a book (both Nathan and I tend to be book-hoarders), but I happened to walk by Bossypants during my Target run. I was hooked after skimming over the first couple pages, and decided since the library trip most likely wouldn't happen until this weekend, I needed  wanted to buy it. I've already almost finished it, and have laughed every page. 

What are some of the things you're crushing on right now? 


Monday, February 2, 2015

15 things for 2015 Checkup

With January come and gone, the first month of 2015 is officially over. To keep myself accountable, I decided to do a monthly checkup on how my New Year's resolutions are going. I figure this might be the kick I need to cross more of these of my list! 
  1. Try 6 new recipes that aren't desserts (and post the review/recipe on here). This may sound simple, but while I love baking I loathe cooking. One down, 5 to go. You can check out how my first one went here
  2. Read 5 new books. I'm currently ready Amy Poehler's Yes Please, but since I'm less than halfway done with it, I'll count it as my first one. Ugh, I wish I could say this was going better, but I'm still less than halfway done with Yes Please. Any suggestions for books you weren't able put down? 
  3. Try something that takes me out of my comfort zone. Still trying to figure this one out. Stay tuned :)
  4. Take pictures for at least 4 family functions. One down. I took pictures of my nephews birthday in January...although the pictures haven't been posted yet (whoops!)
  5. Hang pictures of family/friends on the walls (this sounds simple, but our home has had nearly bare walls...for almost 2 years). Nope, although I'm looking forward to doing this soon.
  6. Send a birthday card in the mail to 3 friends/family members. Nope, although planning on doing my first one possibly this month!
  7. Do an act of kindness. Not yet!
  8. Visit 3 places I've never been before. Trip to North Carolina in June is set! Now figuring out how we can squeeze in the other 2 places...
  9. Follow a clean eating or whole 30 plan for a week (hopefully longer, but baby steps, right?)Trying to work up to this, but I have to admit this is a tad intimidating. 
  10. Work back up to running a 5k again, straight through. Since the half-marathon we did 2 years ago (yeesh, time flies) I took a hiatus from running, and have never quite gotten back in the groove. Better late than never, right? Consistently walking 2-3 miles a night after work now, but haven't really started running. Baby steps, right?
  11. Blog at least 24 times. Truth be told I suck at this, but maybe 2015 will be the year to be more consistent! The only resolution I'm currently over-achieving! 6 posts down including this one. 
  12. Clean out/organize all of the closets in our house. Hall closet down, 500 5 closets to go 
  13. Surprise my husband in some way. Still trying to figure out something creative
  14. Do a house project. To paint the upstairs trim, or to not paint the upstairs trim?
  15. Go visit a friend that lives in another state. Settling in a college town means that the majority of our friends over the years have moved, and seeing them is long overdue.  Working on this! It may have to tie in with #8 
There you have it! Truth be told, I thought I was much farther through this list so I'll have to get on it. Only 11 months left in 2015!