Friday, March 30, 2012

Professional Chef in Training

The other night I made dinner for Jeff and I at his house. The last time I attempted this, I nearly smoked us out of the house by trying to pan fry breaded chicken in the wrong kind of oil, at a temperature that was too was not a good thing. The chicken was burnt, it took forever, I almost ruined a stainless steel pan, and it was a tricky night.... Luckily for both of us though, this time it went a little bit smoother.

The main dish and the side dish didn't exactly match each other, but I didn't really care about that. I made Cilantro Lime Shrimp (sans cilantro actually because Jeff doesn't like it) and Cheesy Quinoa. I'd give this meal a 7 out of 10. It was good, but could use some sprucing up - which I will address at the end...

Here's a little info about the shrimp dish...

Cilantro Lime Shrimp - sans cilantro, but add basil.

Start by cooking diced onion, minced garlic and a fresh, diced jalapeno (seeded) in some butter and olive oil. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and oregano after onion starts wilting. Add in a can of diced tomatoes. Then add in 1 pound of fresh shrimp (peeled and de-veined), followed by lime zest and lime juice. Cook until shrimp are opaque and pinky, but not overcooked! Add in fresh chopped basil, stir whole dish a little more, and serve! We squeezed more lime juice on top right before eating, and it was quite yummy. I will definitely make this again. Next time though, I just want to make it a bit spicier by adding more crushed red pepper flakes and probably another jalapeno!

Sweat onions/stuff. Add Shrimp. Chop basil. Add tomatoes.
And here's what we ate with the shrimp...

Cheesy Quinoa.

Cook quinoa as directed on package - but use chicken broth instead of water. While that is cooking (boil then simmer on low for 20-25 minutes), saute any sort of veggies you would like in your quinoa. (Quinoa is kinda of starchy - like rice or pasta - but it's healthier for you. Especially if you get organic like we did.) Start with some olive oil, saute minced garlic then add veggies. We had onions, carrots and yellow squash. Once the quinoa is done, stir in 4 oz. of cream cheese, your sauteed veggies, and some fresh, chopped basil! Top with shredded Parmesan cheese for extra cheesiness.

Cook quinoa. Chop/Saute veggies. Mix all together. Add cheeses!

Even though they didn't exactly "go together," they still ended up being pretty good. There are a few changes to each dish I will make the next time I cook them, but overall, it was easy to cook and tasted good enough. Next time though, after a few changes and a bit of sprucing up, I'm sure it'll be delicious!! 

Changes for shrimp might include - drain tomatoes and use less of them, use more of the spices listed and add another jalapeno for a bit more of a spicy kick. (Also, I think I will use a bit of cilantro, and just keep it a secret...) Quinoa changes might be - use feta cheese or Gorgonzola instead of cream cheese, add another garlic clove and experiment with veggies.

All done cooking, and ready to serve!
I am nowhere close to being a professional chef, nor will I ever be. I do however enjoy cooking and trying new recipes! I'm getting better at "ad-libbing" a recipe and making things a bit more freely. I'm not quite so scared to stray from the recipe as I used to be. With more practice though, maybe I will be a chef someday! (But I'm thinking definitely probably not...)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Popcorn Tin Face Lift

As a part of my spring cleaning rampage, I have been working on a ton of random projects. This one I did the other night over at Jeff's house, and I absolutely LOVE how it turned out. It was super simple, incredibly cheap (felt like it was free since I already had all the stuff on hand) and since it's functional, it makes my life easier. 

Materials: scrapbook paper, scissors, Mod Podge, foam brush, old book pages, magazine clippings, and a popcorn tin (obviously after you've eaten the popcorn).

The reindeer just wasn't cutting it...

I was given this tin for a Christmas present, since popcorn is my favorite snack. I saved the tin for months, not knowing how to use it, but just knowing someday I would think of a good craft for it!

Finally, I figured it out. I started by washing it a couple of times to make sure I got all the butter and stray kernels out, then went to town "measuring" and cutting and snipping and placing and gluing. Then before I knew it, the project was all done! My lovely (and super particular) boyfriend went behind me and used an x-acto knife to make the edges all match up perfectly under the top rim. And by the way, he totally volunteered to do this on his own. Such a sweet guy. :)

Isn't he just so cute?! ;)

The whole project took probably no more than an hour or so, and now I have a super cute bin to store all of my headbands in. Before they were just all willy-nilly in an unruly pile on top of my bookshelf. No more of that nonsense. Now they are stylishly stored in this lovely upcylced popcorn tin! And now they are much more convenient in my bathroom.

Just moved that teal table in here, and it's perfect!

And here's a huge collage of the whole thing so you get a nice little mental image. When viewing the collage, look at the photos from left to right, working down, and that's how it would look if you were spinning the tin in your hands. :) Well, and then tilting it at the end to look inside!

I am so in love with this tin right now. I'm already trying to find more things to do a similar project with... Small coffee can? Old vegetable can? Tiny tuna can? I don't know. But I'm thinking I will repeat something like this soon!

Love and smiles and spring time to everyone :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Put A Spring In Your Step

This cute image below is from a lovely little blog I follow. She's kicking off a two week project called "Put A Spring In Your Step" and dedicating blog posts for the next two weeks to mood boosters, cheeriness and uplifting spirits. She's also using it to link bloggers together, and so you can add your own link to her post. (Check out the end of her post to see the one I added, as well as other blogger girls.) She encourages, as do I, other bloggers to use this image, and join us in the cheerful spring posts for the next few weeks! Here's a link to her kick-off post : Wake Up, Lovely: Stepping Away From Technology


My first spring post will address the major spring cleaning bug I have acquired. I don't know if this urge to purge that comes with this new season exists on it's own in nature, or if we invent in our heads because of the suggestion of others. Either way - it's bitten me hard this spring, and I'm about to go on a spring cleaning rampage in my bedroom and bathroom. (And one car project.)

Here's the giant list I will be working through for the next 34(ish) days:
1. Super duper scrub entire bathroom (floor, shower, counter, sink, toilet) DONE!
2. Change shower curtain liner
3. Hang up new pictures and frames
4. Empty and reorganize entire closet (DONE 4.24.12)
5. Clean bin under my nightstand (DONE. 3.26.12)
6. Completely clean out under my bed
7. Make a cute new bookmark for myself (DONE. 4.27.12. Made 8 total.)
8. Organize/straighten pile of things under my vanity (DONE 4.9.12)
9. Purge old clothes and donate to Goodwill DONE!
10. Create cute storage for headband collection (DONE. 3.27.12)
11. Go through (and streamline) old magazine collection under my dresser
12. Print photos for collage frame and new green frame
13. Move teal side table into bathroom for more "counter" space (DONE. 3.27.12)
14. Clean out drawers of nightstand and vanity (DONE. 3.28.12)
15. Straighten up bookshelf
16. Create place to collect mail for whole family, with specific slots for each person
17. Clean fabric and upholstery in my car

Both my bedroom and bathroom are generally clean and tidy, but there are definitely neglected spots that I use as a catch-all to shove random things into that have no specific home of their own. Those spots are now driving me crazy. So on Monday I created this very giant list of things to do and gave myself a deadline. By April 30th, my life will be more organized and streamlined, and purged of some additional hoopla and unnecessary clutter. Oh, and I've added some crafts/projects to the list as well, to give myself some fun stuff too :)

I encourage you to look for ways to Put A Spring In Your Step, then feel free to share it with others as well (and on your blog, if that's your thing). Love to you all, and Happy Springtime!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Project: Easter Garden

The Project - create a tiny Easter Garden, depicting an empty tomb! So cute, but very meaningful.

Pinspiration for our "Spring has Sprung" project. :)

My Aunt Q and I work together at Dept. of Corrections. One of our co-workers found this on Pinterest, made it herself, and then showed it to my Aunt. Then she and her family made one for themselves, and two more to give away as gifts. She showed me the project, and I was "pinterested" immediately!

She had leftover supplies, and so she brought me a bag to church on Sunday full of potting soil, tiny pebbles, a big rock, a little clay pot and the rye seed. All we had to get was the container to put it in, and we were set! (That ended up being quite a hassle actually, but finally found a good enough Terra-cotta tray at Hobby Lobby.) Last night was our weekly Family Dinner Night - and my Mama was doing a "Spring has Sprung" theme. What a perfect theme to incorporate this fun project!

Supplies: tray, potting soil, pebbles, tiny pot, rye
grass, twigs, twine (scissors), & a large stone .

We all began working on it after dinner, and everyone took turns helping and contributing to our project. A thin layer of soil goes first, followed by your little pot, then more soil in order to form a hill over the pot. Place little stones at the entrance of the tomb, and a big stone off to the side to look like it's been rolled away from the empty grave! However, one of us were particularly fond of the big rock we had, and we wished we could find a "better" one.

Papa jokingly suggested we leave and go find a new one, and we all jumped at the idea. It turned into a little scavenger hunt/competition - complete with deadline and everything. We left in teams (couples), drove around the neighborhood and surrounding Midtown, and all returned with our finds! Turns out it was a great idea, and we came up with some good options.

Testing out the options. Meg & Bo won the impromptu competition.

All that was left was to tie some twine around twigs to form the crosses. This was easy enough, but Jeff was definitely the best at it. Place your crosses at the top of the hill. (We made "Jesus' cross" a little larger than the other two.) Then simply throw the rye grass seed all over the soil. It doesn't have to be "planted" necessarily, but just scattered all around.

Jeff tying twine around twigs for the crosses.

We may have planted entirely too many rye seeds, but we'll have to wait to find out after they start sprouting in a few days. I plan to mist it with some water every morning, and hopefully get it outside every now and then for some real sunshine. Right now, we think it's super cute, and can't wait to see it once it starts turning more green! It was definitely a fun project, and was done in perfect timing for Easter in a couple of weeks.

Final project. At least for now until the grass finally grows! (We're not feeling very patient about that...)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pool Season

 Here in Florida, Spring just barely peeks out at us, then very speedily sprints away to other, more welcoming parts of the country. Spring officially began on March 20, but I'm pretty sure we've already moved past that. We're well on our way to full-blown summertime at this point. It's currently 82 degrees right now, with a high of 84. Tomorrow's high is 86. Get what I mean about our Sprinting Springtime? Outta here in a flash.

But with the warmer hot weather, also comes some of my favorite things: beach trips, tan skin, super long days, BBQ's, watermelon, fun youth activities, fireworks, and pool season. Laying out by the pool is one of my favorite things in the summer. I grab a magazine, some tunes, a giant glass of ice water and some sunglasses - and I'm all set. We have a pool in our back yard, and I absolutely LOVE it. For real.

As fun as laying out is though - I actually really, really enjoying she swimming part of it as well. Even better than the laying part in fact. I can stay in a pool for hours and hours and hours on end, only getting out occasionally to change the music or take a quick potty break. I then come out all pruny and wrinkly, and it's the best.

Right now unfortunately, our pool is in absolutely no condition to swim in. Our philosophy is to not really do much in the winter for upkeep, but instead just go chlorine/cleaning/crazy once the weather changes. And so now's the time to commence on this state of pool preparing frenzy. This afternoon when I get home from work, I'm hoping to start the process.

Today will only be a few quick, easy steps but will get us started in the right direction: 1. Take off the net over the top (that catches almost all the leaves),  2. Begin cleaning/sweeping/clearing up the deck a little and 3. Removing some of the leaves from the water that found a way to squeeze through the net. Easy enough for one quick work day. It will take about 3 weeks total for the process to get it totally swim-able again (which seems like forever now that I'm ready), but at least by then the water should be getting nice and warmed up!

Oh, and at least by then I may have lost a few more pounds, and my body will also be more prepared for pool season... I did find out last week that I have re-lost 5 pounds over the last month. And I was excited - I knew I had been trying, but hadn't weighed myself since mid-February. It was a very nice surprise! There will be more on my weight-loss journey though in another post...this one is already very long... ;)

Love to you all. Happy Summertime!

Aaaandddd there may be a few too many pictures, but I had a hard time deciding which ones to delete. So enjoy some photos from last summer's pool season! :)

We always like silly pictures - even underwater. :)
I love my little Seester! :)
3rd grade Sunday School party. (Parents & Meg teach this class.)
Lily likes swimming too!
Squirt doesn't like the pool, but sometimes we force it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Play Time Needs to Hurry

This time next weekend, I don't know exactly what I'll be doing, but I know who I'll be doing it with - and that's way more important. Next weekend is GIRLS' WEEKEND! We are meeting up in Moniticello, FL (change of location from previous plans), to enjoy a fun and relaxing weekend at Kaley's farmhouse.

We plan on laughing, playing games, maybe cooking a little, definitely eating some good things, having lots of conversations and playing catch-up, and just generally having a blast and enjoying each others' company. It's been far too long since we've all been together, and we could all use some time to reconnect again :)

So this time next weekend I will most likely be laughing or talking or both, with some of my bestest girls: Kaley, Nicole, Dani, Cally, Jeannine and Jenni. I love these girls so much and I can't wait another week! Play Time Needs to Hurry.

Old barn on the back property of the farmhouse. 
New Year's Wkd. 2010. All these girls for next weekend, plus Nicole!

Peeta Vanilla

Today is finally Friday! It has felt like a seriously long week. Don't know exactly why - but it has definitely seemed to drag on and on forever. I think it's because it's high school spring break around here, and so my schedule has been off, and I haven't known what to do about it! But thankfully, the week has come to an end. And it's about time.

Photo borrowed from Pinterest, originally from HERE.

Here are some things I'm looking forward to for this weekend:

1. Going to see "The Hunger Games" tomorrow night!!! I didn't do the whole midnight premier thing, and I was OK with that - until I saw everyone else posting all their excitement and pictures and statuses, and then I was jealous. But I've moved on and I'm better now, and we're going to see it Saturday sometime. Until then, I'm speed-reading the book for a second time, just as a refresher :)

2. My favorite cupcake shop, Lucy & Leo's Cupcakery, is featuring Hunger Games themed cupcakes all weekend! Among the flavors are: Peeta Vanilla, Gale Chocolate and Deadly Nightlock. And they say there are more surprises in store. So Saturday before the movie, we will absolutely be splurging on these delicious treats :)

3. Saturday morning I am going to a bridal shower for a lovely girl who I've been friends with since we were about 5 years old. We went to school together for 13 years, cheered together for four of those in high school, and got really close during all of that. She is probably the sweetest girl I know, and I'm so excited for her wedding in a couple of months, and for her shower tomorrow morning!

4. At some point this weekend - I don't know when yet - I WILL be going to a pool or a beach or a park or something so I can bask in this glorious Florida sunshine.

5. I'm craving some new clothes for spring time, and I still have some Old Navy and Kohl's gift cards from Christmas. So I'm thinking a little shopping trip is in order to check out the new spring clothes available.

Oh, and as a bonus - it's pay day Friday! So this is a pretty good day, all-in-all, and nice start to another weekend. Happy Friday to everyone else as well! Love to my wonderful friends and family :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Perfect Spots

These are the places that make me the happiest (in no particular order). They are a combination of peaceful, relaxing, energizing, fun, loving or hilarious. All of them make me feel a little bit, and sometimes a lot better, about my life and myself and I need them all for different reasons. 

1. St. Augustine
2. Panera Bread
3. Movie Theater
4. New York City
5. Books-A-Million
6. Cuddling on a couch
7. Cabin in the Mountains with Family
8. Kaley's farmhouse or lake house with all of our friends
9. The Beach (I'm not super particular, I like most all of them)
10. Driving in my car with windows down, music blaring, singing at the top of my lungs

Took this on my graduation trip to NYC in May 2010! (With my Mama, Sister and Aunt.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Partitions Will Be Needed

Sadly, I have to move away from my beloved little cute cubby at work. I'm not moving very far away - just down the hall - but I will no longer have my cute little private space all to myself. I am going to be moving closer to the lady who I work for as her assistant though, so that part will be good.

My current cubby. Pics taken last fall - hence the pumpkins! Things look even a bit cuter now actually!

That bad news however is that I'm moving out into an open space, which is currently being used by a receptionist-type position. That part of our area is a lot bigger, and so there are more people, and it's a much higher traffic spot than my current cubby, that hardly ever gets passed by or disturbed by random people. So now there will be so many distractions!

Luckily though - I've been told that we have some partitions around here somewhere, and that I can probably have them. Keeping my fingers crossed that we can actually find them, and that it all works out. Other wise, I can see myself being driven crazy by the change of people, and scenery and environment outside of my cubby. I will miss it down here, but working closer to my supervisor will make being her assistant a bit easier - at least I hope so!

So next Thursday, the 29th, is our scheduled move day. This will be my 4th office here in our new building! (and hopefully the last...) I'm really hoping we can find those partitions by then, so I can surround my desk and bookshelf in order to seclude myself from all the busyness of my new section!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pages Worth Reading

I love books and reading. And I have a whole Pinterest board that will prove it. Just in case anyone is wondering about some of the books I have read, I've made a quick list of top the 10 books (or series of books) that I loved/really liked, that I would definitely recommend. These are not necessarily in order of greatness, so check them all out randomly...

1. The Circle Series by Ted Dekker ("White," "Red," "Black" & "Green")
2. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray 
(followed by Rebel Angels and then The Sweet Far Thing completes the Gemma Doyle series)
3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (and obviously Catching Fire & Mockingjay)
5. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
6. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
7. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
8. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
9. The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright
10. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Silly bookshelf drawing - Jazzed it up with my phone :)

P.S. - Didn't want to do a synopsis of each book, or even why I like it, because that would have made this an incredibly long post. I did however provide links to each book on Amazon, where they do have a synopsis of each book, and sometimes a preview you can read. Just click on the titles of the books to take you straight to that specific Amazon link!

Monday, March 19, 2012

President Snow Would Not Approve

The Hunger Games may be a teen-fiction book - but let me tell you something - teens are not the only ones who are interested in this series. And I for one, am a big fan. Not a "huge" fan, as I will not be one of the crazy people going to the midnight premiere on Thursday night, but I do plan on seeing it at some point soon after.

In the mean time however, I'm sporting my Mockingjay pin as an essential accessory every day this week. I saw a couple of other girls with them, and really liked it. I fell prey to the hype and ordered one myself, and I love it. I will wear it every day in honor of the upcoming release later this week. And probably for a little longer than just this week. :)

President Snow would not approve of such support, I'm sure of it.

Wore it on my beach dress yesterday. 
Wearing it at work right now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Puppy Love

I may be a little biased because she's my little puppy, but I think sh'es just the cutest thing in the world!

Mollie is a Pekapoo, which is a Pekingese and a Poodle mix. She is almost 10 years old now, but she's still just as spunky and playful and loving as she's always been. She's started to get gray fur around her chest, mouth and snout, but it just makes her even cuter! We love this tiny doggie, and we definitely treat her like a real member of our family. I'm serious. She sleeps with me at night all curled up in a tiny ball, and then loves me when we wake up in the morning. She's just so cute and sweet!

And for some more random info, here are some of her multitude of nicknames - I'm not even going to try explaining them at all because they're just so random sometimes...

Mollz, Cubby, Cadet, Mollie Lou Little Foot, Tiny, Tiny Dog, Little Dog, Pupster, Cubz, Pretty Princess, Girl Dog, Grinch Feet, Tiny Pants, Crazy Pants Puppy, Queen Tut, and Little Mexican Dog...

I sure do love this sweet little puppy!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Parks Are Nice For Reading

Sometimes I draw good, sometimes bad.  This camera a bit of both...

Here's a quick list of:
"Fun Things To Do By Myself" 

Read outside at a park
Watch re-runs of "Say Yes to the Dress" through OnDemand
Go to a store and try on clothes, even if I don't buy anything
Nap (although this hardly ever happens)
Take way too many photos of random things/stuff around my house or town
Hang out in a bookstore with a yummy coffee drink

Friday, March 16, 2012

Premiere As A Movie Critic

I'm thinking about becoming a professional movie critic...I love movies, and my opinion on them must be worth millions, so ya know - it's the next logical step in my career. ;) Here's a few quick reviews of some of the movies we've watched recently, in case anyone is interested in checking out some new movies...

1. Drive - starring Ryan Gosling - is kind of a slow starter, but then gets pretty interesting. He's a mechanic and a Hollywood stunt driver, but then ends up a criminal. It's a little bit Indie than we were expecting, but it was still a decent movie. Jeff liked it a lot more than I did, but that's because I was extremely sleepy when we watched it...

2. In Time - starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried - turned out way better than expected. I had read somewhere that it wasn't good, so I was apprehensive - but we ended up liking it a lot, and when it ended I wanted to see more! It takes place in a crazy world where Time runs everything - literally. There is no money; people "pay" using time. Then when they run out, the die immediately. It's too hard to explain the whole premise concisely on the blog, but not difficult to understand while watching. I would definitely recommend this one. It also makes you think a bit about how our world actually works in reality. In the movie, it seems so silly that the "rich" people who have hundreds of years on their clock (way more than they will ever need), won't share with the "poor" people who live only one day at a time. Doesn't that sound a lot like how our world works as well?

3. John Carter - starring Taylor Kitsch - big time surprised me. I didn't want to see this one at all, but I decided to give in since Jeff is usually so good about seeing girly movies with me, I thought I would return the favor. And guess what - I'm really glad I did. It was such a good movie! Wasn't expecting to like it at all, but I absolutely did. And I will absolutely watch it again when it comes out on DVD. (I'm quite sure this is one Jeff will want to buy on BluRay.) Girls - don't be intimidated by this extremely boy-ish looking movie. If you liked movies like "Thor" or the new "Star Trek," give this one as try as well.

P.S. - Click the title of the movie to go to the specific page on IMDB for that movie, where you can read more of each movie, as well as watch the trailers for each one.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pet Peeves, and more...

These posts are sometimes easy to fill out, and sometimes fun for the blogger, and I hope sometimes interesting for y'all to read... :)
Here are the ABC's of ME!

Age: 24
Bedsize: Queen
Chores I Hate: Folding and hanging clean laundry
Dogs: 2 pups - Mollie (a peka-poo) and Squirt (a beagle mix)
Essential Start to Day: I love me some bold, strong Keurig coffee
Favorite Color: Teal/Turquoise - although any green-or-blue-ish color usually grabs my attention
Gold or Silver: Usually silver, but I really like gold too
Height: 5 whole feet... :)
Instruments I Play: Piano - although not very much anymore
Job Title: Senior Clerk (at the state) & Associate Minister to Students (at my church)
Kids: In the future, yes please! right now I still am a kid for the most part...
Live: The lovely, sunny Florida
Mother's Name: Amy
Nicknames: Halez, Hazel, Habie, Big, Hazelberry, Rene,
Overnight Hospital Stays: Two nights for Giarda when I was 2 yrs. old. (Mama reminded me of this!)
Pet Peeves: Labels facing the "wrong" way (I'm actually quite OCD about a lot of stuff...)
Quote: "Live in the Sunshine, Swim in the Sea, Drink the Wild Air." by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Siblings: Sister, Megan - 21 & Step-Bro, Drew - 19
Time I Wake Up: Around 7am, although I should get up around 6:45am
Underwear: Um, yes? (This is a weird one...?)
Vegetable I Hate: I can't actually think of any that I hate - I quite enjoy veggies!
What Makes Me Run Late: Other people usually - I tend to always be on time, if not early
X-Rays I've Had: Only on my teeth I believe, I've never actually broken anything!
Yummy Food I Make: Pasta Salad. (Check out my friend's blog, where she featured my recipe!)
Zoo Animal: Penguins. Duh.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pastel Polish

Lately I've been seeing a lot of nail polish that I've been envying. Mint green, baby blue, lilac, glitter gold, pale yellow...I've seen these out in real life, on movies and around the blogosphere - and I really wanted some too.

Last night after dinner with my dear friend Amanda, I stopped at Walgreens to treat myself to some new polish. I knew I definitely wanted to find this mint green color, and I was open to a few other options as well. Apparently I was in a very spring-ish mood, and picked three lovely pastel shades.

They all look a tiny bit darker in the pic, as opposed to real life.
I also got a new bright red polish, because my old one was basically empty. The mint green one on the left wasn't price marked, so I had no idea how much it would be. The other two were both a whopping $1.99, and the red was $0.99. Turns out, the green one was on sale, so I payed only $8 for all four polishes! That's an incredible deal for those of you who don't know nail polish prices. (Good ones are usually $6-7 each!)

I did the purple one last night first, and I love it. It's so springy and lovely and pastely and I can't stop looking at my nails :) Can't wait to try out the other two soon! I'm ready for flowers and Easter and spring and lovely weather. Bring it on Spring!

I pride myself on painting my own nails semi-perfectly.
This girls' not wasting money at a nail salon! No-siree.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Practice Smoothie Making

We have been trying to eat healthier lately, so usually we just eat a Cliff bar for lunch, and maybe some yogurt or fruit for an afternoon snack. Both yesterday and today, Jeff and I went to his house for lunch. Inspired by a new blender they just got - we decided to be creative. We made smoothies! (Using our Costco fruit we still have from our fruit-shopping trip last week.)

We may be a little behind the times, because this was the first time either of us had actually made them ourselves before. And they were so very yummy. Yesterday we did strawberries, kiwi, OJ and some crushed ice, then blended it all together. It was a little acidic though, so we chatted about it, and figured out some changes for today.

Our lunch smoothies today were, strawberries, kiwi, a banana, a little less OJ than yesterday, and some cherry vanilla yogurt. Well, and ice too obviously. Today we liked them even better. They were creamier and smoother and just tasted better. I think next time we'll probably just skip the OJ all together, because the kiwi are really juicy themselves.

So I'm considering these last two attempts as Practice Smoothie Making - before we get into the "real deal." I am going to look up a couple of "real recipes" to see how other people make them homemade! I've heard that adding in fresh spinach leaves is really nutritional, and doesn't really make it taste all that different.

After making them today I said to Jeff, "You know - I'm going to want to do this all the time now, right?!" And he said yes of course I would, but he was OK with that, because he likes them too :)

Have any of y'all made homemade smoothies before? Did they turn out super delicious? If so, you should leave me the recipe below, and we'll try it out! :)

P.S. - After this post, I will most likely have a total of 3,000 profile views! Seems like so many! I'm excited to hit (what seems like to me) such a big number :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Places I Want to Visit

My extremely simple sketch of Italy -
made cheesier by adding the colors of their flag...


1. SWITZERLAND. I want to go to Switzerland because that's where my ancestors are supposed to have been from. I would love to see some of the beautiful countryside, and imagine what life might have been like a few hundred years ago for my very distant relatives.

2. GREECE. Greece - duh - who wouldn't want to travel there? It's beautiful, and the cities and homes and architecture is so different than what we're used to here in the states. And Greek food is very yummy.

3. ITALY. Pasta is my favorite food. (We should all know that by now though right?!) And what better place to sample the best pasta, but in Italy? It's also a beautiful country, with an old history, that I would love to learn about and experience.

4. IRELAND. I'm sure most of us have all seen "P.S. I Love You," right? It's set in an incredibly gorgeous country - Ireland. Also, my boyfriend's ancestors are from Ireland, so I'm sure one day he would love to go check out his roots as well. (He's even got the red-ish hair and tons of cute freckles to prove it.) 

5. TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS. Really, there are tons of islands and tropical locations that I would be perfectly happy with visiting. I just picked some beautiful ones that aren't too far from home. The Turks & Caicos Islands are absolutely stunning, and I could only dream to spend a couple of weeks basking in the sunshine, swimming in the crystal blue waters.

In addition to the places listed above, some of the other locations I would like to visit include (but are not limited to): Paris, California, Brazil, Fiji, South Africa, Germany, India, Alaska, Hawaii, New York City (for yet another time) and I'm sure there are more I've forgotten.

There are many places all over the world that I've dreamed of one day visiting, or drooled over the sheer beauty of  in pictures. I know that I probably won't ever be able to actually see them all, but a girl needs to dream of pretty things and beautiful places.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Picture Every Hour

This past Saturday we took a quick trip over to Jacksonville for the day. I had a Groupon I needed to use before it expired, so we decided to make a full day out of it with beach, shopping, yummy food and fun-filled adventure. Here is a picture (each one has been Instagram-ed of course) from every hour of our trip - with a brief description :)

8-9am. Breakfast on our way out of town.

9-10am. Quick rest stop.

10-11am. The driver's gotta stay alert - with a ton of caffeine.

11-12noon. We like holding hands in the car :)

12noon-1pm. Shopping at some cute little stores.

1-2pm. Put our names on the list at this very busy local hot spot.

1-2pm. Had brunch at a nice little local hot spot.

2-3pm. Walked on the beach, even tho it was cold and crazy windy.

3-4pm. Shopping at the St. John's Town Center!
Side note: those sunglasses were the only thing I bought. He picked
them out for me, because he just got some aviators too,
so he wanted us to match. :)

4-5pm. Shopping still. Drooling over pretty perfumes in Sephora.

5-6pm. Looking at eye shadow now :)

6-7pm. Yummy dinner at MiMi's at the Town Center.

7-9pm. Driving home. (Not a lot to work with in the dark...)

9-10pm. Finally turning off of I-10, he dropped me at home, then he left!