There may or may not be a topic for today's confessions link up. I'm being a rebel and confessing some random stuff today. I hope you're ok with my rule-breaking ways!

I confess that...

....I bought a wireless mouse for my work laptop and it makes me insanely happy. Does this make me pathetic? Probably. But, I'm also not fighting with a stupid cord getting stuck on everything on my desk, either. Plus, it's little and cute, and I got a bright color rather than the dull black one.
(I tried to find a purple one, but they didn't have any....this one will do tho!)

.....this may have been the easiest first week back to work, ever. I'm not sure why, but I feel the most organized that I've felt in the previous years. The week hasn't been jam packed with pointless meetings, which I think is a HUGE part of it. I just have time to get things done, and they ARE getting done. Funny how that works, isn't it?? :)

.....our school's PTA is giving each teacher $75 for supplies for their room. I'm ECSTATIC about this. I've never been given money for school supplies (other than when I worked in DC, but that place was a nightmare), and always end up spending money on stuff that I need for my office. So happy and thankful to get a little help this year!

.....all of the meals I've made this week have been high-carb. I try and watch it so I don't overload too much (I love pasta), but this week that went out the window as every dinner I've had has had some kind of pasta or noodle associated with it.  And the bloat factor is full force! Next week has to be better....

....MG and I are going to do our registry this weekend at the store, and I'm really excited. I've already started some of it online, but I'm excited to do the little scan gun in person! (probably a little too excited if we're being totally honest here haha) Who doesn't like picking out gifts for yourself??

Hoping this long weekend has some fun stuff in store, along with some sunshine so I can take advantage of one more pool day before it closes!

Thursday Inspiration

It's Thursday, and we're winding down the first week back at work. All of the teachers and myself have been frantically unpacking, organizing, and getting ready for the new school year and our new groups of kiddos.

This year was a little less stressful for me because I didn't have to start at a new school, and I also didn't have to sort through a TON of someone else's stuff that was in my office. WIN-WIN!

But, as with anything, the first week of planning and prep can get a little overwhelming, so I wanted to just post some good quotes that I've found on Pinterest, whether they relate to school or not.

might be slightly more appropriate mid-year for teachers :)

not so applicable to teaching, but to personal life stuff

Happy Thursday!

WILW: Anniversary Edition

It's Wednesday, and not only is it my first week back at work, but today is also MG's and my 2 year anniversary! So, today's WILW post is going to be mostly about that!

I'm loving MG. Two years ago today, we finally met for our first date (the first attempt was thwarted by an earthquake in DC, and the second attempt happened after a hurricane had come through--we like to say that even natural elements couldn't keep us from meeting :). I can't believe it's been two years already. It seems like it was just yesterday, and also that we've been together forever. 
I think that's the sign of a great relationship. It feels like just yesterday, because we have so much fun together, and everything we do together is just that much better. It seems like it's been so much longer than 2 years because I feel like I've known him forever. He gets me and I get him, and we just work so well that it makes so much sense. I can't imagine my life without him.
The day we went on our first date, I certainly didn't know then that I would be going on my last first date, and that 2 years later, I'd be engaged to the guy of my dreams, and planning our wedding. I waited a while, and went through several frogs (some that were really slimy), but it was all worth it because I found my guy :)
I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have someone so caring, thoughtful, kind, funny, intelligent, easy-going, handsome and loving.
I wouldn't want to go through the rest of my life with anyone else.

Now, on to some not-so-sappy stuff.... :)

I'm loving that I've decided on my bridesmaid dresses. It was tough, but my soon-to-be sisters in law found the color I was looking for with a brand of dresses that have lots of options for my girls. I'm SO relieved and excited!

I'm loving that this work week has been productive but somewhat low-stress. Any school year start is stressful, but it's been a good mix and I haven't felt like I was drowning yet. Key word here might be "yet" haha

I'm loving that I got to have lunch with my girl (and bridesmaid) Trish yesterday. She's been working near my school site for a bit now, but yesterday we finally made it happen. Nothing beats girl time and mexican! :)

I'm loving the gift that I got for MG for our anniversary. It's funny, but practical, and I can't wait to see his face when he opens it.

I'm loving that this weekend is a LONG weekend!

What are YOU loving??

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Happy Wednesday! Two more days til LONG weekend!!
I'm off to make it through an in-service training (that I'm running--eek!) and then some anniversary celebrating! :)

Shrimp and Guac Tostadas (best recipe EVER)

I'm not even kidding you, I have THE BEST recipe for you in the history of recipes. No. Joke.

I found another recipe via that lovely time-suck of a website, Pinterest, and this one will knock your socks off. Or, maybe your tastebuds. Either way, it's AMAZEBALLS!
(Unless you don't like shrimp, or guacamole, in which case, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore :)

What You Need:

-4 tortillas (do taco sized, not burrito sized like we did), we did whole wheat
-1 lb peeled, tail off deveined shrimp
-cooking spray
-2 cups cheese of your choice (I did a Mexican blend)
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-2 Tbsp chili powder
-1 Tbsp ground cumin
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-1 tsp garlic salt
-1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
-1 lime
-package of guac (or make your own)

What You Do:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. If your shrimp is frozen, thaw it (I ran mine under cold water until they were thawed).
Then mix in a small bowl the chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt. Put on top of shrimp and toss until well covered.

3. Take your tortillas and coat with cooking spray on either side (my cooking spray was butter flavored and it was awesome). Place on a baking sheet and cook on each side until crispy. I'd check it around 2 minutes on each side to make sure they don't start to burn (ask me how I know this...)
I needed two baking trays because I used burrito size tortillas. It should fit if you use taco size
4. You can turn off the oven, and turn on your broiler. Top each tortilla with cheese and place the tortillas (with cheese) under the broiler for about 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

5. Set the tortillas aside. Grab a skillet, add in the olive oil and put the heat to medium. Add in the shrimp and cook through. Place the shrimp to the side. Do not clean out the pan!

6. With the same skillet, add in the red bell pepper and cook through until soft. Try and get the shrimp seasoning remnants all over the bell peppers.

7. Build your tostadas. Add guac on top of the cheese, then add your shrimp, and top with the bell peppers. Squeeze a little bit of lime juice over each toastada...

8. Enjoy every mouth-watering bite!

I'm telling you, I would eat this shrimp in anything--the flavors are SO good. And, I'd probably eat guac on just about anything. These combined with the bell peppers and cheese. Oh my word! You are going to LOVE this dish (and it comes together really easily).

Weekend Recap and First Day of Work

Today's my first day back to work...another school year. So, basically today is gonna be filled with torturous meetings and stuff. Boo!

To get me through, I'm gonna focus on the super fun weekend I had!

Friday night, MG's friend came into town so we had dinner with him, and then the two boys stayed up super late talking or doing whatever boys do. I had to go to bed cuz I had to be up and wide awake for Miss P!nky's bachelorette party!

I got to her place around 10:30am and we left around 11 to head to 2 wineries. When we pulled up to the first one, Bluemont Vineyards, after having a mimosa on the van ride up, the view and the weather were spectacular! It was perfect for the day's festivities!

We had our wine tasting on their outside patio, with an even better view of that scene above.
The wines were all really yummy, and we enjoyed some bread and cheese, the people around us (one of whom looked like a dude from the Jersey Shore, who asked to borrow P!nky's "Bride to Be" sash to take a picture with his partner):
Then we decided to take some pics since the view was absolutely awesome:

After a great time, we headed back into the bachey van, and headed to the second winery
SportySpice being our bachey van chauffeur
The second winery was fun, but the wines and the views weren't as good as the previous place. Luckily it was a great spot to attempt to sober up have a little picnic, and being with a great group of people made it that much more fun. So, we took our time eating some snacks, and enjoying the weather and the wine we'd gotten before we made our way back home. 

Once we got back to P!nky's place it was all decorated with pink and streamers and other fun precarious positions:
We had pizza, more drinks, and hung out, talked, and changed to go out for a night on the town in DC. 

I only made it out for part of the DC night. A day of drinking and little food intake caught up with me so I headed home after we left one bar in DC. The rest of the group went to a club in DC and had a killer time, and I made my way home to recover. 

Overall, it was an incredibly fun day/night, and I had SO much fun celebrating an amazing lady. P!nky's friends were SO nice, and it was really great to be surrounded by such friendly girls.
P!nky, thank you for coming into my life, being my friend,  giving advice and support, and for being the great girl that you are. I'm so happy that I got to be a part of these celebrations, and that I get to see you on one of the best days of your life...your wedding day. You're going to be a beautiful bride!
I love you, girl!

Mingle 240
Sami's Shenanigans

5 on Friday

It's Friday, which, under normal circumstances, would be mega exciting. For me, it's a little sad, since this is my last official day of summer vacation. And it's cloudy and looks like it's gonna rain today. Boo!
So, instead of sulking, let's look at some 5 on Friday...

centerpiece idea
{1}-Wedding Stuff....kicking butt and taking names! I've accomplished a good amount this week. We signed our DJ contract (need to fax it over), I ordered my wedding dress and veil (MEGA MEGA exciting!!), we started the process of picking out the dude attire, and we're making final decisions on the bridesmaid dresses (thanks to my awesome soon-to-be sister in law who's gone out of her way to help me out...and to my other bridesmaids for bearing with me when I email them multiple times about millions of different styles of dresses!) I should be getting the centerpiece that we are using today, and let's keep fingers crossed that it's nice, since this is what my florist has been designing things around! And, we placed our deposit on our rehearsal dinner site! Phew, I'm tired. And so is my wallet.

{2}-Remember MG's and my "friend"...who our friends/family now refer to as 'bridezilla'? Well, since
then, at social gatherings, she simply ignores me. When I hosted book club at my place and it was over, she just left--didn't say good bye or thank you. And now, we've hit another low. She's sending out emails and invitations to things to our group of friends. She adds people to the list in couples, and now MG is ALWAYS the last on the list, and my name is never on it. I'm amazed at the catty-ness here, especially when SHE is the one who asked US to change our wedding date, and our wedding colors, bridesmaid dresses, and groomsmen attire. I'm debating writing her a letter and handing it to her the next time I see her, asking her if she's put herself in my position, and how she would react if someone asked her to change those things about HER wedding. Ugh....

{3}-Reality Tv--how am I going to keep up now that work is starting again, and I don't have the morning time to catch up on the shows from the night before? These are major first world problems, people. I've already actually started thinking about which ones I'd be willing to cut out. I feel like a junkie. Probably because I am. 

{4}-Bachelorette Party-tomorrow will be spent celebrating this lovely lady's last few days/weeks of singledom. We'll be hitting up some wineries, giving her skanky fun gifts (hehe) and dancing our hineys off. I can't wait!

{5}-Back to School-as good as it will be for me to actually have something significant to do during the day, I'm really not ready to go back to work, especially when next week is going to consist of the long meetings that seem to never end, and very little time to set up my office and look over my caseload. Plus, I have a 2nd school to go to this year, which is going to stress me out complicate things. I'm definitely going to soak up my last day, even if it consists of sitting on my butt for the ENTIRE day! :)

Happy Friday!

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta w/ Spinach and Blackened Chicken (Two Recipes in One)

That was a mouthful to say, wasn't it? 
This one is also a yummy mouthful, as well!

I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest, via Bake Your Day

This post is actually going to be two recipes in one from that site: the recipe for the meal, and then the recipe for the pesto used in the meal.
Feel free to just use a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto bought at your grocery store (I saw some at Target in the pasta section). We'll get right into the main recipe, and then I'll post the recipe for the sauce at the bottom if you want to make your own.

What You Need:
-1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you may want to pound these down so they are thinner and cook through a little easier)
-3/4 pound of linguini or another pasta
-1 tsp paprika
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp onion powder
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1 shallot, minced
-1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp from jar)
-2 cups baby spinach
-3 tsp grapeseed oil, divided (I used EVOO since I couldn't find grapeseed oil at the store)
-2 cups (1 recipe) sun-dried tomato pesto
-1/4 cup pasta water

What You Do:
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When draining the pasta, reserve 1/4 cup of the water for later.

2. Mix the paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub it on both sides of the chicken breasts.

3. Heat about a 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook through, about 7 minutes on either side if your chicken isn't too thick (mine was, so it took almost 10 minutes on both sides). The outside of the chicken should be kinda blackened. Set them aside.

4. Using the same skillet, add in the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp of oil and add in the shallot and garlic. Cook through until soft and fragrant. Add in the spinach and cook until it becomes wilted. Stir in the sun-dried tomato pesto until warmed and well combined.
5. Add in the cooked pasta, along with the 1/4 cup pasta water. Mix until combined. Plate it up, and top with the chicken:


Recipe #2: Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto:
 What You Need:

-1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I used a 9 oz jar, also found at Target
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese
-1/4 cup fresh basil leaves*
-1 clove garlic (or 1/2 tsp minced garlic from jar)
-1/4 cup olive oil (can use the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar)
-salt and pepper to taste

*to be honest, I couldn't figure out how many basil leaves translated into 1/4 cup so I used half of the package seen in the photo above. If you like it extra basil-flavored, use the whole package.

What You Do:
1. Take the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil leaves, and parmesan cheese and put them into a food processor (and if you're me, you realize that you need to add a food processor to your wedding registry because all you have is a Magic Bullet). Pulse it a few times to combine them a bit.

2. Slowly add in the olive oil and continue to pulse, until it's well combined and look like a pastey sauce. You may need to scrape the sides of the container to get it all combined evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*I know this doesn't LOOK that appetizing, but it really is yummy*

I hope you find these as yummy as we did!

WILW and Oh How Pinteresting

It's Wednesday, which means many things, but the main thing is, that it's time to link up with these ladies:

I'm loving that yesterday I got measured for and ordered my wedding dress! Now I just have to wait anxiously patiently for my dress to get here (come on, January!)

I'm loving that I was able to catch up with some great friends this weekend. Weekends are quickly filling up with friends' weddings, bachelorette parties, bridal showers and other activities so it was nice to have some time to hang out with some good people before the crazy busy weekends start.

I'm loving that I have a supervisor who goes out of her way to help me. She looks out for me, and I admire the heck out of her. Dunno what I would do without her.

I'm loving checking things off of my wedding to-do list!

I'm loving my recent purchases from Loft! Gotta get ready for Back to School!

And, as always, I'm loving Pinterest! This is what I've been pinning lately...
Me likey!
I love this color for the living room. A cool/interesting pop of color
Blue Cheese and Guac Stuffed mushrooms with  Buffalo Sauce
Holy Moses....taste bud explosion! 
All of my teacher friends understand this...
welcome to the start of the year!
SO cute!!
Follow Me on Pinterest  ......You know you want to....:)
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Have a hump-tastic Wednesday!

Wedding Planning Update

For those of you not into hearing about the wedding, I'm sorry. Come on back tomorrow when it won't be all about the wedding, promise!

In the meantime, I wanted to rehash all of the progress that we've made on the planning front. I feel like we're doing a really good job, and wanted to share (and maybe a little for myself, so I can look at the list and be proud of myself since this whole thing can get kinda overwhelming sometimes).
~we have a venue which is catering our food and providing the booze and other bevies

~we have our church which includes our musician for the ceremony

~we have our photographer. Contract signed, deposits given. Need to schedule engagement photo session.

~we've ordered and received our invites (a little early in the game, but my vendor had a deal  for 25% off and I jumped on it. Money saved will go towards postage!)

~we've ordered and received our wedding favors. I went with glass photo frame coaster sets that are really nice and good quality! I think people will like them and actually USE them (worst case, we have 100 coasters around the

~I know what my bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, groom and groomsmen bouts and flower girl/ring bearer and parents' flowers will all look like. And I LOVE them. I'll give you a hint, these will be involved:

~we've figured out a candle holder/vase that we'll be using for our centerpieces. Still working on finalizing a florist and the actual flowers for them but we have about 3 florists to choose from right now.  I think I know which one we're gonna go with, but a lot comes down to what the final cost breaks down to.

~I've found my dress AND my wedding shoes! Officially ordering my dress (and veil) today!

~we've decided on our honeymoon spot (Antigua) and our hotel and flights are booked!!

~we found/decided on our rehearsal dinner location!

~I have some of my gifts for my bridesmaids

~we met with a DJ last weekend and we're signing a contract with him this week!

So, as you can see, we've done quite a bit. Some of which is totally out of the normal "order" that things get done (invitations ordered before Save the Dates, for example), but honestly, when something comes up, and I can get it at a discount, I'm jumping on it. Our budget on my teacher salary needs all the help it can get! :)

What's next?

1) get bridesmaids dress styles  decided on by the ladies and ordered (we have the designer, length and color chosen, just need them to pick out their own styles)

2) get suits picked out and ordered for MG and his groomsmen

3) taking our engagement photos and then sending out Save the Dates

4) finding a cake person and getting that ball rolling

5) find a hair and make up person/people

6) book day of transportation

7) register for gifts...seriously slacking on this one

8) buy our wedding rings (but probably not for a little bit)

So far so good! Still have some things to do and I'm sure this list will get mega longer as time goes on, but for now I'm feeling like we've accomplished a lot, and I've used my summer well :)