Saturday, June 30, 2012

A cause for celebration

This is a reason for a happy dance!

Guess what I just learned

I have an iPhone and I am forever learning new tricks and ridiculous uses for this incredible little machine. Today's tip; if you press the home button and sleep button at the same time it will take a screen shot - which is how I took a picture of today's weather report! This is probably old news, but it is new to me, so I'm sharing with you. Here's a picture of my home screen:

This is how I spent my Friday...

It's not officially summer around here until we've had my husband's concession trailer out for some event or another, and I got to help on Friday. I have no problem being paid in ice cream and slushies!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Call me a wimp

Go ahead, I'm not denying that I am a wuss, but Zumba class in an un-air conditioned building when it is 102 degrees outside is not something that I'm up for. I chickened out. Looks like I'll be hitting the elliptical later - in the air conditioned comfort of my home. For now I am chilling (literally) on the couch and trying to keep dehydration at bay.

The silver lining to the insane heat, my husband met me at the ice cream store for lunch today. Gotta love spontaneous dates!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Insanely cute!

Oh my goodness. I cannot get over how ridiculously cute my nails are! So glad I tried something new. The trick to the polka dots is to use a tooth pick, which I'm sure is old news, but I am in love with how cute my toes look! How silly is that?!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trying a new look

The athletic look is not a style that I typically go for, see, I'm a dancer at heart, so whenever I attempt to participate in any other kind of athletic endeavor I look like a fool with my pointed toes and gracefully stretched arms. But today my new shoes were calling to me, so this is what I came up with for the day; capris, a pink tank, the cute lace top that I got in Chicago and hadn't worked up the courage to wear yet, and some jewels.

I didn't want to go over the top with th jewelry, so I chose the very trendy Grace necklace, which actually looks pretty subtle against the lace tank, along with my Laura studs to accentuate the rhinestone necklace.

Great American Pastime

I have not been to a baseball game in years, despite the fact that we have an award winning AA baseball field less than 20 minutes from our house, baseball is just not the sporting event that I would typically choose to watch, I'm more of an auto racing kind of girl - I need a little more energy in my sports!

But we were offered free tickets to a baseball game, and I am so glad we took advantage of them, we had a great time and got to spend the evening with my parents. We enjoyed some serious people watching, great ballpark food, and a couple of really good plays, not to mention fireworks after the game. There is not a better way to get into the summer spirit!

This weekend has been exactly what I needed after a really tough week, a Friday night with the girls and Saturday at the ballpark, now it's Sunday and I am poring my heart into getting one of my quilts done so that I can enter it in our county fair!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The verdict

Ok, I tried them, and the verdict is in: YUM! So good! Now I have to write down the recipe before I forget what it is.

I originally started with a recipe for Nutella cookies, however I didn't actually have any Nutella, I used World Market Vanilla Hazelnut spread (pictured below) and Hershey's Cocoa powder. So we'll call them cocoa hazelnut chip cookies.

Cocoa Hazelnut Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vanilla hazelnut spread (or nutella)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (omit if using nutella)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Beat in hazelnut spread, if using cocoa powder, add now and mix well. Add baking soda, salt and flour. Mix in chocolate chips by hand.

Spoon onto baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

It's what I do

It's my day off, and after running about a million errands, I still had a little bit of time (I know, it's a miracle). Since I've been in a bit of a funk lately, I thought it might help my mood to do the one thing I love more than anything else: bake cookies!

I tried a new recipe today, and I made quite a few alterations, so I won't share until I try them, but I must assure you that they smell much more appetizing than they look!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's for dinner tonight?

Pizza. Delivery. With a coupon. End of story.

Sorry, I wasn't feeling the super-woman thing today, I got home at 7:30 and have a to-do list a mile long, so sue me. We've all been there, thank goodness for take out and a husband who was willing to pay for it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Feeling frivolous

I promised light-hearted, and you can't get much more light-hearted than this story.

This weekend we finally had the opportunity to visit the new casino that isn't far from our house. I actually managed to win $50 bucks! That might not seem like a lot, but I think it's that perfect amount, it's substantial enough to do something with, yet small enough that I don't feel guilty about spending it frivolously.

So I bought new shoes! Now to be fair, this wasn't an impulse buy, I've been drooling over these beauties for a couple of months, and I really do need new tennis shoes, but I just couldn't bring myself to justify the purchase, until now! I ordered them from zappos, I can't wait to wear them!

Monday, June 18, 2012


I, for one, am so glad to get back to a normal week. This weekend had some beautiful ups and some serious downs, and I ready for something predictable and normal.

I spent my Saturday celebrating a great friend who is starting a brand new chapter in her life and it was so nice to see her so happy, and to have the opportunity to share in that. Sunday was spent mourning for a wonderful family who lost someone they love.

It is incredible how these moments of pure joy and complete pain have brought incredible perspective to my life. It makes me want to celebrate even the tiniest little blessings, and do everything in my power to make my life happy and full.

Sorry for the serious-ness on a Monday morning, I promise some more light-hearted posts for the rest of the week!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's day gift idea

I know that this is the most popular topic in blog land at the moment, so I'm jumping on that bandwagon, but I promise not to give you a list of 10 cute things your kids can make, you can find that on pinterest!

My dad is ridiculously hard to shop for, if he had his way, we would all buy him obscure car parts on gift-giving holidays, combine that with the fact that his birthday is the week before Father's day, and I'm in need of a lot of gifts at one time for the man that I never know what to get.

Yesterday I had a forehead-smack moment, DUH! Chocolate covered potato chips! I posted a tutorial about a month ago, but here's a picture, quit drooling and go buy a bag of chips, chocolate bark, and some caramels!

Mmmm ice cream

One of the best gifts that we received when we got married was the ice cream maker attachment for our Kitchen Aid mixer (thank you A&A!). We use this thing ALL the time, like tonight for example, I made ice cream for our Father's day BBQ at my parents'.

It is super easy to use. First, the bowl is in our freezer at all times so it is always ready to use. The night before I want to make the ice cream I mix up the base, simmer 1 quart half and half and 3/4 of a cup of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. I let this mixture cool in the refrigerator overnight (this is super important, if the base isn't cold enough it will never freeze in the ice cream maker - I've tried and it was an epic fail).

The next day add half a cup of milk (the original recipe suggests whole milk, but I use skim to save on the calories and I think it tastes just fin, I swear my husband has never complained, and that man can be awfully picky about his ice cream), abd 1 to 2 tablespoons of vanilla, depending on how strong of a fLavor you want. Hook up the mixer attachment and turn the mixer to the slowest setting, pour in the ice cream mixture and run until the mixture has thickened - typically 20 minutes to half an hour.

This is the recipe that I use as the base for all of my ice cream favors. Sometimes I add extracts, candy pieces, fruit, you name it. The fun part is experimenting to see what works and what doesn't!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Character flaw

I don't like vegetables, there, I said it. I never have, but as a child I assumed that I would like them when I grew up, because my parents were grown-ups, and they ate vegetables. Well fast forward, I'm an adult now, and I'm still not particularly fond of them.

Now don't get me wrong, I tolerate them much better than I ever used to, and I generally eat them simply because I know I should, particularly in the presence of my students. But I would much rather waste calories on something that I actually enjoy eating.

And now we finally come to the actual point of this rant, there is one way that I have found to cook veggies that turn them into something that I can't get enough of (and my husband agrees, so it's not just me). Plus it's super easy, so easy in fact that it typically makes it onto my menu twice a week.

Start with pre-packaged vegetables (perfect because they are available year round and won't spoil in the freezer). We prefer a california blend (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash), but choose whatever you like. Thaw them before cooking.

Heat 2+ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add your veggies and cook until the edges begin to brown and vegetables are cook through. Enjoy, I promise they will taste like something you would get at a restaurant!

Comfy dress clothes

These are my favorite pants in the world ( and I am somewhat devastated because I got a giant grease stain on then today, but that's not what this post is about). I would wear them everyday if I could, an while I am lucky enough to be able to wear lounge pants to work, I often feel the need to dress it up a bit, so I did.

Today I put on a fitted short sleeve sweater an cute flats, and topped the whole thing of with my Swanky necklace, and off to work I went!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chicago: Day 2

Our second day on Chicago was certainly the highlight of our trip, we had concert tickets, so it was off to wrigley field to see the amazing Brad Paisley, along with Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, the Band Perry, and Jerrod Niemann. We had a blast and were absolutely blown away by the show and the ridiculous size of the crowd. You haven't experienced a country music concert until you've seen one with 38,000 screaming fans!

Here are some pictures from our day!

Chicago travel tips

As a total newbie to the city of Chicago, here are some do's and dont's for visiting the city:

Do check out the Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Even if you don't stay here, it's worth it just to stop in and check it out, especially if you are into historical architecture. We booked our room on and got a great deal!

Do purchase a transit pass, they are available at any CVS Pharmacy on the city, we got three-day passes for $14, and it was completely worth it - your feet will thank you!

Don't go out of your way to see "the Bean" in Millennium Park. If it is on your way, by all means, take a look, but if you have to make a special trip them don't bother. There are so many amazing things to see in the city, I was not impressed by this giant mirror.

Do venture into stores that you aren't familiar with, you may find a new favorite place to shop! Our favorite was A'Gaci on State street.

Don't forget your sunscreen and comfy shoes, both are complete necessities!

Do have an idea of what you want to do each day. We thought we would decide what to do once we got to the city, this was a bad idea on our part because we were completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of options.

Do ask if your hotel will hold your luggage before you check in or after you check out. Thankfully ours did, so we were able to continue to enjoy the city even after we had checked out of the hotel room, without having to lug everything around with us.

Hope these tips are helpful (many would apply to other popular destinations!) if I think of anything else I will certainly add to the list!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Chicago: Day 1

We finally made it to Chicago! Despite a 2 and a half our delay on our bus trip, we got off to a good start, slightly exhausted, but psyched to be in the city. I am loving the amount of things to do and all of the shopping, but there are certain things that remind me why I love living in a rural area.

I miss my car, being able to drive to where I want to go, I am completely overwhelmed by the amount if people everywhere, and while I fully realize that farms smell, the city smells too.

Here are some pictures from our first day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Time to relax!

I managed to get all of my pre-vacation to-do list done (it only took me 7 hours!) and now I have 2 hours to do absolutely nothing. My big plans include catching up on my all important blog reading and kill some time on pinterest, and then maybe I'll take a cue from the dog and just enjoy the beautiful weather!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chicago countdown: 2 days!

Ahhhhh! It's almost here! I have to get through 1 more afternoon at work, 1 jewelry show tonight, an a day of errands and full to-do list tomorrow and then I will be city bound with the girls. I am so not ready :)

I have a jewelry show tonight that I am so looking forward to, but I haven't let myself think about Chicago because I want to do this show do much! So tomorrow is my day off to get ready for the trip and I can't wait.

I love love love to pack, and I fully intend to spend the rest of the day in a frenzy of laundry and errands and possibly a little treating myself!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Isn't it crazy what a difference a day makes? Yesterday was terrible, luckily I was able to attend a very inspiring Premier training last might, where I was entirely inspired by a group of very determined, successful women. Wow, this morning I woke up in a great mood, despite the disgusting weather I feel awesome.

I will say that it is 7:15 and my day had barely started but we'll see how it goes!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Creative jewelry

This was originally supposed to be a post on what to wear when the weather is warm, not hot, not cold, just warm, however after playing with my jewelry for 20 minutes to get it exactly how I wanted it, this turned into a post on using your jewelry creatively.

Here I am wearing my It's a Wrap bracelet as a long necklace with my baroque enhancer. I also have on my Morocco necklace, which I had to play with a little to get it to be the right length to go with the enhancer, but after some finagling (and finally just tying a knot in it to get it to stay), I think it looks amazing!

I accented with my Chantilly earrings, Milan bracelet, and Love Knot ring.

The sun is shining

Thank goodness for the gorgeous weather, because it just may be the only thing good about today. Now don't get me wrong, I love my job, but sometimes we all just have a day, the kind where you think it couldn't possibly get any worse, and then it does. This is definitely one of those days.

I'm looking forward to this afternoon only because it means the day will eventually be over. Honestly, in comparison to some of my other bad days in recent memory, this is not the worst, but it always seems like the worst when you're right in the middle of it.

I've got about 10 more minutes of my lunch break and I plan on fully enjoying the silence and sunshine!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

You can do it!

See! I wear jewelry with t-shirts all the time! There you go ladies, no more of this "I never wear jewelry" business, if I can do it you can too!

Here I have on Runway and Grace, yes, with yoga pants and a t-shirt.