Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blogtober Day 21: Dream Vacay

Oh man, is this the perfect topic for today, when it's just a bit too chilly for my liking and I'm at work after a pretty stressful weekend and days leading up to it. So, let's escape life's drama and focus on something much more fun--my dream vacation!

Helene in Between Blogtober

At this point, I think my dream vacation would be going to Greece. If you go on my Vacations board on Pinterest, I'd say the vast majority of pictures are of Greece and the Maldives, which is also another dream vacation. I'd love to see Athens, and then head over to the beautiful islands of Santorini and Mykonos. So many of my friends have been heading to Greece recently (and MG even had a work trip to Athens and Cypress earlier this year), that I would love to go and experience it for myself. All of the pictures of Greece look almost magical and I would not mind being able to soak it all up myself. The views, the food, the history, the people...I'd be all over it!
Who wouldn't want to see this??

Realistically, any trip that MG and I go on together is usually a dream vacation, or at least one for the memory books. We always know how to have fun no matter what we end up doing, and we know each other's strengths and weaknesses when it comes to travelling which makes it so much easier to do. We also tend to have the same balance of interests: we can sit pool/beach-side and just relax, and then we like to do an adventure here or there. He's the best travel partner I've ever had, and I'd go pretty much anywhere with him. (Especially if one of those places was Greece or the Maldives ;)

What's a dream vacation of yours? 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blogtober Day 19: Happy

Today's topic is a nice and easy one: things that make me happy.
Luckily this list is pretty simple.

Helene in Between Blogtober
Again, I'm not going to do the obvious and talk about people. You all know my husband, my family and my friends are the most important people out there to me so I figured I'd do a list about the small things in life that make me happy!

In no particular order:

~morning text messages from my husband before he goes into work

~emails/phone calls from my friends

~cards in the mail

~just-because flowers

~Cooper cuddles, and when he stares into my eyes while I'm petting him

~weather that lets me roll down my windows and open my sunroof

~getting a pedicure

~date nights 


~Scrolling through Instagram

~drinking wine 

~snuggling on the couch and a cup of coffee in the morning

~our home

~holding hands

~reading outside on the deck

~Loft...yeah pretty much everything at Loft

~sleeping in your own bed after being away from home

~when you're craving something particular and finally get what you've been wanting 

~laughing so hard that you cry

That's just a taste of some of the small things in life that make me happy.
What are your happies??

Friday, October 17, 2014

Oh Hey, 5 on Friday Favorites!

You see what I did there in my header? :)
It's Friday which means the end of the week is finally here and it's time for some awesome Friday link-ups!
This Friday I'm going to tell you about some of my Favorite moments from our trip to Minnesota last weekend for our annual visit with our friends Kev and Michelle, and their two boys Will (who was our ring bearer) and Gabe. You might not have known I was there since I didn't write anything about it, but...SURPRISE! 

Here are 5 of my favorites from last weekend:

{1}-Friday night double date and exciting news!
MG and I flew out to Minnesota Friday evening and arrived around 7. Our friends Kev and Michelle picked us up at the airport and we went straight out to dinner at an awesome restaurant called Coup d'Etat (if you live in/near Edina, you HAVE to go here--soooo good!!). The food was yummy, the company was fab (as always) and we found out that Michelle is pregnant with their third!! Baby #3 comes in April!!

{2}-Soccer game and apple orchard
We got to watch the oldest, Will's last soccer game of the season. It was adorable watching all of the 4 year olds play, and Will was a soccer master with over 6 goals.
Afterwards we went to the apple orchard where we did a hayride, a corn maze and watched the boys go on cute little rides.

Mornings that involved hide and go seek, chase, football and tickles are pretty much the best mornings ever.

{4}-The Vikings Game
Even though the Vikings lost pretty badly, it was still fun, as always, to watch the game in the players' family section (where the weather was thankfully really pleasant), get to go into the players' family/coaches lounge, and then to tailgate in the players and coaches parking lot before and after the game, watching all of the athletes come out, and drive off in their nice cars/SUVs.

{5}- Having Michelle tell me on Tuesday, the morning after we left, that on Monday night at dinner, her youngest, Gabe, looked across the table and goes "{MG} and Jenn are missing." Melted my heart :)
(I mean, who wouldn't miss this??...
how stinking cute is he in his little PJs???)
All in all, the trip was so much fun--hanging out with great friends is always a good way to spend a weekend. And when you get two super cute little boys added to the mix, it really doesn't get much better!

I hope your weekend is filled with good friends and happy times!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blogtober Day 16: Fall Fashion

Today's Blogtober topic is Fall Fashion
Helene in Between Blogtober
As it's gotten closer to Fall, I've been scoping out some cute Fall outfits, and of course, Pinterest has helped a ton (or really, just made me want a ton of clothes all at once)

Here are some of my favorite Fall looks from Pinterest:
Super cute dressy/casual look. I could totally wear something like this to work
I need to find this shirt. Like, now.

I really need to find a vest for this fall!
especially loving the polka dot shirt

love this combo for a laid back look!
*All of the above looks can be found on my Pinterest board here

If you couldn't tell, I pretty much love any look that involves brown boots and/or some kind of scarf.
What are some of your Fall Fashion picks?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blogtober Day 13: Fall Recipe

While MG and I are making our way back from Minnesota, I thought I'd leave you with another blogtober post.
Today's blog topic is a favorite fall recipe.

I have a ton of recipes that I love to eat during the fall (check out my recipes tab to look at them all), but to me, nothing says Fall more than a hot bowl of soup or chili. So today I'm refreshing your memory with this recipe I posted in December 2012 that I got from A Year of Slow Cooking
Pasta fagioli in the crock pot--this recipe has a slight kick to it (nothing too spicy, just a little hint of something) that soaks in the longer this soup sits (hello, leftovers!!)

This isn't a recipe you'd make before leaving for work because the prep takes a bit more than dumping everything together. It's perfect for making on a Sunday afternoon so you have dinner ready for that night, and quite a bit of leftovers for the next day (or days).

What You Need:
-6 qt crock pot
-1 lb lean ground beef
Imagine salt, pepper and oregano are in the picture
-2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (we did no salt added cans to take away some of the sodium)
-4 cups (32 oz) beef broth
-about 1 cup of dry pasta
-26 oz pasta sauce
-1 can kidney beans
-1 can small white beans
-about 1 cup of carrots (or slightly more if you like), chopped
-about 2-3 stalks of celery (or more if you like), chopped
-1/2 large red onion, chopped
-1 Tablespoon of Tabasco sauce
-2 teaspoons oregano
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp salt

What You Do:
1. Brown the meat and then drain it well. Set it aside to cool.

 2. Chop up the carrots, celery and onion. Add it to the bottom of the crock pot.

3. Drain and rinse the cans of beans. Add them to the crock pot.

4. Add in the tomatoes, with the juices.
Im not sure why these look like neon tomatoes in the picture.
 I swear, they were totally not radioactive.
5. Add in the pasta sauce, beef broth, oregano, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

6. Finally, add in the ground beef and stir everything to combine it.

7. Set the crockpot to LOW for 8 hours, or HIGH for 4 hours. About an hour before it's done, add in the dry pasta (I used more than one cup of dry pasta in mine--closer to 1 1/2 cups). Cook for another hour until the pasta is tender.
Serve with Parmesan cheese if you have it.
(Try it with the grated parmesan--like what you'd put on spaghetti-- instead of the shredded like
 I have in this picture. It gets pretty stringy with this kind of cheese.)
This made two meals for dinner for us, and 5 servings worth of leftovers. Possibly more if you don't go back for seconds *cough cough...MG!*

It's SO yum!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blogtober Day 12: Advice

Today's Blogtober topic is the best advice I've been given

Helene in Between Blogtober

Some of the best advice I've been given is to cut the people out of your life who don't deserve to be in it, rather than giving them chances time and time again (something that's been difficult for me for a long time). Ironically, this advice was given to me by someone who I had to cut out of my life because our friendship turned into a relationship that just wasn't supportive or healthy anymore.
We have enough hardships in life as it is without being around people who drain the energy from you, or take away from your happies. Surrounding yourself with a fewer number of really good, loyal and true friends who are a constant support is something I would pick any day over someone who plays nice to your face, but when it comes down to it, isn't there to support you during the fun times or hard things in your life.
Sometimes it's not easy, and definitely not fun, to cut someone out of your life in the short run, but in the end you'll be so much happier and have more energy and time for the positive people in your life. And, when one door closes, another one tends to open that holds bigger and better things for you :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blogtober Day 10: Blogging

Helene in Between
Today's prompt is "I never thought blogging would..."

This one is super easy for me, and is probably the same for a lot of us. I never thought blogging would connect me with so many incredible women. I've made friendships online that have gone beyond just commenting and turned into real-life friendships. One friend I met in the blog world even traveled all the way from Texas to come to my wedding, and super soon we'll be celebrating her wedding and new baby!!

 One friend, I've known in the blog world since before she was pregnant, and now she has the cutest little nugget of a one year old who I've loved watching grow up. She's always so positive, even when things aren't going super easy for her, and she's supportive, too--I always know she's gonna give me good advice and a positive outlook on things. Not to mention some great baby advice when that day comes! ;)

Another friend I truly connected with from the moment we started talking....and even though we haven't met in person yet, she totally "gets" me and we literally talk every single day, either on g-chat or the phone. She helped me with a ton of stuff for my wedding  (programs, place cards and table numbers), not to mention a bunch of other 'life' stuff too. I can complain to her or share my joys with her, and she's always there. She's also a fur-baby mama and we share doggy pics with one another all the time occasionally, hehe. And now she's gonna be having a baby in the next month, and I can't wait!!!

I made another blogger-to-IRL DC-area friend, when we met for happy hour (with plans to do so again soon!). We've discussed a lot of wedding-related stuff since we were both wedding planning over the last year and she even used my florist for her wedding--the joys and connections that blogging gives you :)

And recently, I've found another blog soul-mate-ness (sure, that's a word!) with this girl who is also a Virginian, a Skins fan, doggy mama, and just a downright cool chick. Hopefully a blate is in our future, too :)
I remember when I went through my last break up and I was really torn up about it, but then the blog community reached out and gave me so many shoulders to lean on. Hearing everyone's stories and support honestly helped heal me so much, and so fast because I knew I wasn't alone. It's been incredible to be a part of such an amazing community. It's one of those things that you don't get unless you're a part of it and I'm really thankful that blogging and the blogging community is a part of my life.

Hope you have a great Friday and a fabulous weekend!