Weekend Update

This weekend absolutely FLEW by!

MG and I hightailed it up to PA on Friday afternoon to try and beat the traffic which worked out ok for us in the long run. That night we hung out with MG's parents and then his sister L came over with 2 of her kids, and then her husband came over later. It was nice to see everyone for a little bit.

MG and his dad woke up super early Saturday morning to head down to the MS bike race start area (we are talking 4:30am). His mom and I had a leisurely morning, went to see our littlest niece's field hockey game (7 year olds playing field hockey is pretty cute to watch), and then headed into Conshohocken PA for lunch with MG's two sisters, and the 4 nieces.
It was yummy food, and the weather had been so nice, but we ate outside since Cooper was with us, and under the shade, it was windy and chilly.

After lunch we went to the bridal salon and had MG's sister A, and niece decide on their bridesmaid dresses. It's a good thing we went because A changed her mind about the dress that she wanted. Everyone got measured, and my other 3 bridesmaids called in their dress sizes and styles so we have dresses ordered! CHECK MARK!

MG's mom and I jumped in the car with Cooper and headed to Ocean City, NJ to meet the guys. It was a beautiful day--perfect weather for the bike ride! The guys had already finished the race, and we were so proud of them! It took MG 5 hours of actual riding time to complete the whole thing. SO proud of my guy!

Even Coop was tired after our long day!
We stayed at a friend's house on the beach, so we went there to drop our things, let the guys change, and then headed out to dinner. Everyone was tired from the long day, so we immediately went home and everyone was asleep by 10:30.

Sunday was what we call absolute torture. We had to leave the beach and head to MG's sister A's house to pick up the van that his dad and he had driven down to NJ. Which was a good hour plus ride. But the family friend who was with us wanted to stop and have breakfast at a restaurant. He also was the slowest one to get ready and packed up so we could get moving, also. We didn't head to A's house until about 12. We got there and got our stuff out of the car, got the bikes loaded onto the van, and headed off. Then MG's other sister called to see if we could get their daughter along the way back home, so we pulled off the road, and drove into mayhem. It was their niece's track meet and there had to have been thousands of people there. So I went off to try and find our niece among the crowd. I found the school's tent that they were supposed to be at, but no one we knew was at the tent. So, I walked back to the van and we left without our niece because there was NO way to find her (and her grandmother wasn't answering her phone to come meet us). So we get on the road again after spending 30 minutes looking for her, and hit traffic. Dead stop traffic. What should have taken 45 minutes to get from A's house to MG's parents' house took us 2 hours. So we ran into the house, packed up the rest of our stuff and got on the road around 2:30. And then proceeded to hit traffic every direction we went as we got closer to home. 

Originally we were supposed to get home at 4:50, then 5:07, then 5:30...and we eventually pulled into our parking lot just before 6. Let's just say it was a day of driving torture. Poor Coop had been in the car since 10 that morning, and had only eaten half of his breakfast by the time we hit the road originally. Poor little guy was a champ. Being in the car so long, did give me the chance to have a catch up session with a long lost friend, though, so that was a bright spot.

We DID make it home, though, unpacked, did some laundry and relaxed for the rest of the night. Which means we need to do errands today after work. Arg.

All in all it was a good weekend, but yesterday was totally draining. I'm glad that MG did the MS bike ride and I'm really proud of him, and his dad, for doing it. 75 miles is no joke and they did it for a great cause, so go them!

And now it's another Monday. 
Hope you have a good start to the week!
Come back tomorrow because I have engagement pics to share!!!

5 on Friday

It's FINALLY Friday! I woke up yesterday thinking it was Friday, so today, naturally I woke up thinking it was Saturday. Cruel joke.

I wanted to link up for 5 on Friday--it's a fun way to sum up the week, and some of the stuff that's coming up, so let's get to it, shall we?

This weekend MG and I are making our way up to Philly/NJ. MG decided, last minute, that he was going to participate in the MS bike ride with his dad. This is no joke--it's 75 miles on a bike. Needless to say, I see some sore hineys in the near future! But, it's for a good cause, so go them!
This will also give me a chance to hang out with MG's family, go to the bridal salon with his sisters and help them pick out A's dress and my soon-to-be niece's dress styles. And then we'll be ordering everyone's bridesmaid dresses! Another check mark on the list! (Oh, how I love clicking the check mark on theknot.com's check list!) And, as crazy as this sounds, I'll actually get to SEE the dresses in person in the color we chose, rather than just in pictures. 

{2}-Save the Dates
They are designed and ordered! We decided to do magnets because they were cute, easy for people to keep without losing them, and inexpensive. (How many times can you say something is inexpensive while planning a wedding? Let me tell you: not very many.) And, I got free shipping (score!) I can't wait to get them back in a little over a week, and then send those bad boys out!

{3}-Fall Weather
I don't mind Fall, but I'm sad to say good bye to warm days. We still have those right now in DC, but the mornings start out so cold, it makes it hard to figure out what I want to wear for the day. I either dress for the warm afternoon and freeze my butt off in the morning, or I dress for the morning and sweat in the afternoon.
That pin pretty much sums it all up!

{4}-TV Overload
I know I complained when all of the tv shows had their season finales and went away until the Fall (now), because I had nothing to watch really but Bravo shows (which, is not really a bad thing, either), but now that the shows are ALL back, and ALL at once, I'm having a hard time keeping up with everything. And now that I'm writing this "out loud" I realize what a first world problem I'm having. And that maybe I should just shut up. Yeah. I'm gonna do that.

MG is so supportive. I had a dream the other night about possibly writing a book (I won't get into details cuz I doubt it will happen, and if it does, I don't want my ideas stolen haha), and I mentioned it to MG. He immediately said it was a great idea and that I should look into it. The next day he told me he looked into what it would take to make it happen that day at work. I didn't ask him to. In fact, when I mentioned my dream is was more of a "this could be cool" rather than "I totally want to do this" and he just took it and ran with it. I love that he supported me, encouraged me, and then took a little action to see what it would take to help me. Love that guy!

Hope you have a fan-flippin-tastic weekend ahead of you! 
Catch you up on mine, come Monday! (and hopefully have some engagement pics to share with you!!)


I saw this blog post on Samantha's blog yesterday and thought it was a fun idea. 

5 things I'm looking forward to: (sorry, most of these are wedding-centered)
1. The 6 month mark to our wedding date (Oct 12th). Yesterday was 199 days and counting til the Big Day!
2. Posting some of the pics on here from our engagement. Especially the ones with Coop! (For now, this one will have to do.....) What do you think?
3. Seeing MG's family this weekend, making final choices on the bridesmaid dresses for his one sister and niece, and placing the order for all of them! Purple wedding, here we come!
4. Getting a paycheck this Friday. We get paid monthly in my school district, which totally blows. And I haven't gotten a regular school year paycheck since last June. #thankgoodnessforsummerschool
5. Having my wedding dress come in mid-January and trying it on in my actual size! Fingers crossed it's everything I've pictured and hoped it to be!

4 things you might not know about me:
1. I hate bananas. They are the devil. The consistency, the flavor. Ew. Just ew.
2. I saw the movie premier of the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid at the school I worked at when it came out. The author, director and the two main kid stars came and had the red carpet there. The movie studio turned the gym into a movie theater, too. It was really cool. (Too bad it wasn't Channing Tatum, but you can't win 'em all...)
3. I'm one of the few people in the DC-MD-VA area that was actually born here, went to school here, and now lives here. Most others are transplants, but I'm a real local.
4. I've written this in other posts, but I am addicted to chap stick. I have a stick of it in every bag I have, on my nightstand, etc. I can't go to sleep without putting it on.

3 Fall shows I'm extremely excited for:
1. Nashville (agreed, Samantha!)
2. Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (and the spin off Vanderpump Rules)
3. Grey's Anatomy (yes, I'm one of the 3 people who still watches this show)

2 things that frustrate me:
1. Weekends are only 2 days. They should be 3.  End of story.
2. That I couldn't put Downton Abbey on the list above because in the US, we have to wait until January. No fair!

1 of my favorite words:
"kerfuffle," which I wrote about in this post about words I love. Kerfuffle sounds fluffy and happy, which makes a 'commotion' sound so much nicer. And if you look at it long enough, it looks totally weird haha.

What's Cooking? Wednesdays: Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

We're back with another edition of What's Cooking? Wednesdays
This is a link-up where you can share your favorite recipes that you've tried, or just some of the ones that you'd like to try, like what you might find on Pinterest.

I have a good one for you this week that I found from Pinterest. It's really easy, really tasty and really healthy. Did I get you hooked yet? If not, here's a picture to get your mouth watering:
Mouth watering yet?? Mine is!

Note: this requires you to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes before cooking it, but you can marinate it overnight as well. Whatever you prefer.

I didn't get a picture of all of the ingredients together like I normally do, but it's a really short, easy list.
What You Need:
-1 lb chicken breasts
-1 bunch asparagus
-1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
-4 oz mozzarella
-1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp olive oil
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 2Tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp black pepper

That's it!

What You Do:

*Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Mix 1/2 C balsamic vinegar, 1/4 C olive oil, garlic powder and black pepper. Put chicken in a ziploc bag, and pour this mixture over the chicken. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, for as long as over night (I would do overnight if I had read the directions for this before I started making it).

2. After marinating, grill the chicken. I used a grill pan since it was too chilly to use our outside grill.

3. While the chicken is cooking, line a baking sheet with foil. Add the asparagus and drizzle olive oil over it. Sprinkle it with salt (I used sea salt). Add it to the oven (that's already been preheated to 400 degrees F) on the top rack, and cook for about 10 minutes, until you can pierce it with a fork.

4. Use a frying pan and add in the 1 tsp olive oil, the 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, and the cherry tomatoes. Cook these guys over low-medium heat until they are soft and can be squished with a fork. Mine took about 5-7 minutes.

5. Add the chicken to a plate. Add the asparagus and place the cherry tomatoes on top. Drizzle the remaining balsamic sauce from the tomatoes on top. Add mozzarella.

The tomatoes really soak up the balsamic vinegar and really make this dish super flavorful. We will definitely be making this dish in our house again!

Link up below and share what you've been cooking!

Here's a funny to get you through the hump day:

Laser Update

That title sounds weird, but if you saw on Friday, I was going in for laser hair removal for my underarms.

Several of you asked me to tell you how it went, so what better thing to talk about on a Tuesday morning than armpits? :)

I'd gotten a Groupon for laser hair removal services (I bought 6 sessions since everything that I read said that that is the average amount of sessions you need for it to be fully effective), and the reviews on the place that I used were good.

The office was nice and all of the people working there were really friendly. I told them I was a little nervous since I'd never done this before, and they quelled my fears. The owner of the place, Sheila, is the one who performs the electrolysis and came out to consult with me beforehand. She asked me if I had any plans to tan my underarms (nope!) or if I had had any anti biotics beforehand (nope!) You're also not supposed to wear deodorant before you get this done either--just some helpful things to know!

I went back and laid down on a comfy chair thingy, and lifted my arms, and she cleaned my underarms with something and picked up the handle of the laser. At the end is a cooling piece that helps to numb the area that is about to get zapped. In total, for both arms, it took only about 5 minutes, and it wasn't continuous zaps, it was more of a zap and then 10 seconds or so before doing the next area. I won't lie, some of them hurt, but not like "I want to cry" hurt, just more of "that pricks and is uncomfortable hurt" but it happens so fast and then it's over. People have likened it to getting snapped with a rubber band, but it feels more pointy than that. It felt like two small pointy prongs that jabbed at me real quick. Sheila tried to distract me with talking about my wedding and honeymoon, which helped a little bit (but, to be honest, I was sitting there thinking "oh crap, the next zap is coming..." haha).

After it's all done, it stung for a little bit--not bad tho. My right underarm recovered super fast (by the time my left one was done, my right one didn't hurt at all) and my left underarm felt more like I had pulled a muscle. Sheila asked me to wait to make sure the pain went away and so that she knew what level of the laser to use the next time. She put aloe on both of my underarms and after a little bit both of them were a-okay. I can already tell a difference after just one treatment, so I'm really hopeful that after 6, I'll be hair-free in the underarm region! (There's a sentence I never thought I'd say...) I have my next appointment in a month, and I'm already looking forward to seeing an even bigger change after that session.
{via}  Yep, that's exactly how I'm gonna look after this....at all points of the day....lol
(sorry, I couldn't resist putting one of these funny pics in here!)
At this point, I can say I would recommend it if you're thinking about it. I can also say, I don't know how people get that done on their lady parts. I can't imagine that sharp pricking feeling down in that sensitive region...but maybe that's cuz I'm a big wuss (totally possible!)

So, there you have it. My experience with laser hair removal. For all of the interwebs to see and read. :)

Blogtember: Life Lately

Instead of doing a weekend recap post, I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and do a life lately post for Blogtember, which captures my weekend happenings as well! Genius!

Monday, September 23: A "life lately" post. What you're up to, how you're feeling, how you're doing on your goals, etc.

Life lately has been pretty good. I've settled into the beginning of the school year relatively smoothly, my kids at work have been great so far, and already provided me with several funny stories. Not starting a year totally new to the school has allowed me to start off the year with friends at work, which is always nice.

Wedding planning has been going great! We have pretty much all of our big things done (except the guys' suits/tuxes....MG is slacking on that one), and we just had our engagement pictures done this weekend. (The weather ended up being absolutely PERFECT for that, so thanks to any of you who put out some positive vibes for me on that one!) So, our Save the Dates will hopefully be done and mailed out in the next couple of weeks and then we're off and running. I'll give you a sneak peak of Cooper's involvement in the pics...
this was at our house, not the actual engagement pics
Coming up on the 6 months mark for the wedding day and I'm feeling pretty good. 
The drama with that other couple has subsided for now....fingers crossed it stays that way (but, realistically, I'm not holding my breath).

My goals for working out more consistently have been good. I've been able to keep to working out 3 times during the work week, and usually I'm a lazy butt on the weekends, but this weekend I did a little workout on Sunday morning which made me feel good (especially before the engagement pics haha). I'm trying to eat a little better as well, altho that was slightly thwarted on Friday when I ordered a pizza (for my dinner and knowing MG would be hungry when he got off his flight from Vegas). When I ordered, I got a large, not realizing we usually order a medium. So...when the pizza arrived and it was DOUBLE the size that it normally was....that lead to more pizza consumption than I had anticipated. Oops! (Hence workout #4 on Sunday haha). 

Overall, life lately has been pretty good. I'm hoping it continues in this positive direction, with as little to no stress as possible. Here's hoping the engagement pics look good, the Save the Dates get done quickly, and all things sunshine and roses! :)

Five on Friday

It's FRIDAY, thank goodness!!!
Before the day is done and we head into the weekend, here's my 5 on Friday...

{via} yes, I googled "elephant stampede for this post haha
"What's Stompy?" you might ask. Well, Stompy is what MG and I have nicknamed our upstairs neighbor. She is a small little Asian girl but walks around with the force of a herd of stampeding elephants. She also apparently does laps around her bedroom at 5am, and at night into the 1am hours (thinking about it, this means she only sleeps 4 hours...). The other night she dropped something that had to have been super heavy because it crashed on the floor (my ceiling), woke Cooper up who started barking, and then she proceeded to stomp around her room some more. At 1am, you can only imagine the death glares that I shot at the ceiling. Stompy needs to stop it.

{2}-MG returns
I didn't mention it on the blog, because I don't like the public to know when I'm home alone, but MG was out of town for work this week in Las Vegas. Let's take one step back for a second and let me ask, why can't I get a job that sends me to Vegas for work? I digress. Anyway, I'm super glad that he's coming home tonight. I've adjusted to the times he has to go away during the week for work, but it stinks when he's not around on the weekends, so I'm glad he'll be back. When he's gone, I also get to drive his new car and feel like a cool kid. But, again, I'm glad to have him back so he can drive to places and I can play passenger :)

{3}-Engagement Pics and Rain?
Our engagement pictures are supposed to be this Sunday. We're cutting it close with this since we need to get the pics back, and then quickly order our Save the Dates so they can be sent out ASAP (before Oct 12th I'm hoping). But, of course, as MY luck would have it, the weather forecast went from complete sunshine and mid 70's to Showers. Son of a.....keep your fingers crossed that this doesn't ruin our session, because I really want to get these done! Also, what the heck am I going to wear??? Gahhh....

{4}-Laser Hair Removal
{via} Ok...maybe not THIS kind of laser...
Again, you're probably thinking "what???" but, I've decided to laser my underarms. (Don't worry, I'm not a hairy beast or anything, just something I've wanted to do.) I had bought a groupon for it a while ago and then decided against it. But, as my wedding is approaching, and now that it's getting cooler out, I kinda want to do it as my own personal treat to myself (as much as zapping your underarms with a laser can be considered a "treat"...) My friend did it and says she loves the results, and the timing is just about perfect that it will all be done by wedding day. Anyone had experience with it? I'm getting my first treatment after work today! Zap zap! 

{5}-Kids At Work
They make me laugh. Almost daily. Last week I had one of my 2nd grade girls come into my office, see that I had a wooden basket with a bow on it from my teacher appreciation gift last year, and go..."So YOU'RE the Easter bunny?" After a moment I figured out what she was saying, and she goes "Why else would you have that basket??" Yep, no other reason, kiddo. Now do your speech work so the Easter bunny doesn't get mad (just kidding I didn't say that) :)
I also did my Kindergarten screenings for one class the other day and when asking one kid about his siblings, he said "my sister is old," and I asked "Very old?" and he goes "Well, she's not dead or anything." Thank you for clarifying.
When the paperwork gets overwhelming, and parents stress you out, these are the moments that make my job super enjoyable.

That's all I've got for today. Wish my luck on my underarm zapping! (Looks like my weekend is off with a bolt...or a jolt!)
Have a good one!

Blogtember: Creative Writing Day

Thursday, September 19: Creative writing day: write a (very short) fictional story that starts with this sentence: "To say I was dreading the dinner party would be the understatement of the century."

To say I was dreading the dinner party was the understatement of the century. I really had no desire to run into Michael again, and I knew he would be there. He's Stacy's brother-in-law, and, no matter how awkward it's going to be, I can't bail on Stacy, my best friend in the entire world's, good-bye party dinner. Ugh, another reason to dread this dinner party. I don't want to be saying good-bye to my best friend. Her husband, Aaron, got a job in California in the entertainment industry in a big-wig position, and he couldn't very well leave her behind. Although, selfishly,  I'd be okay if he did.

There's a big chance Michael will bring his new girl friend to this dinner party, too, and I have no desire to make nice with a 20 year old college girl. Michael is 33. What he's doing with this 20 year old, I have no idea. Well, I have some ideas, but I'd rather not think about those.

See, Michael and I have a past, if you couldn't tell. We met through Stacy and Aaron, and ended up dating for 2 years. Most of that time, I now know, he was a big time cheater. What actually ended our relationship, was a girl named Tiffany contacting me and telling me she was pregnant, and that Michael was the father. Can you imagine what a delight that message was?

This dinner party won't be the first time we've seen one another since we broke up, though. We saw each other at Aaron and Stacy's wedding a year ago. And, of course, I was the maid of honor, and Michael was the best man. It made an exciting night a bit awkward, to say the least. Especially when he tried to get me to go back to his hotel room at the end of the night....

I pretty much despise Michael, for a lot of things. Wasting my time, destroying my trust in him, and any other guy for that matter, and for making things really tense with Stacy and Aaron for a while, which only made me feel guilty. 

Nevertheless, I'm going to go to this dinner party, and be there for my best friend. I'm just not sure how I'll make it through seeing him, and "celebrating" my best friend leaving....

Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwich Recipe

I hope you're ready for another edition of What's Cooking? Wednesday!

This week I have a really easy and really yum lunch idea for you! MG and myself are buffalo sauce fanatics, so any time we can get buffalo anything, we will eat it.

When I saw this recipe for buffalo chicken salad on Pinterest (and that it was healthy!) I knew I had to try it!
{via} because my picture wasn't nearly as good as the original pic
What You Need:

-5 oz plain Greek yogurt
-2 cans (12 oz each) chicken breast
-1/3 cup Frank's Red Hot Wings buffalo sauce
-2 celery stalks, chopped finely
-some cilantro, minced (original recipe says 1/2 cup)
-2 oz blue cheese crumbles
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp garlic powder

--Imagine two cans of chicken in that pic-->

What You Do:
1. In a large bowl, stir together the greek yogurt, buffalo sauce, garlic powder and black pepper until mixed smoothly.

2. Add in the chicken breast, celery and cilantro. Mix together well.

 3. Add in the blue cheese crumbles and mix through.
 4. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to use it. Or, like I did, dole them out into small Tupperware containers to use for lunch portions (to add to bread during lunch so it doesn't get soggy).

The sandwich is SUPER yum and gives you that awesome buffalo flavor. The greek yogurt takes the place of mayo and you can't even tell. And the blue cheese is a yummy treat when you bite into it! Definitely an easy and delicious lunch idea!

Link up below with your own recipe, or some that you've seen on Pinterest that you want to make!

Blogtember: Relive a Memory

Tuesday, September 17: A memory you would love to relive.

This post will probably not come as much of a surprise to you all, but the memory I would love to relive is when MG proposed. I still play it out in my head, but I would love to actually go through it again. I was hoping he was going to do it during the weekend that he ended up proposing, so I had been on the lookout for a proposal. After a bit, I figured it wasn't happening, let my guard down and put my investigator hat away. And BAM, that's when he did it.

It all happened so fast, and I was so surprised and overwhelmed that I don't vividly remember the whole thing. I DO, however, remember saying "Oh my God" and "shut up" through his entire proposal. So, if I could relive it, I would shut MYSELF up, and really focus on what he was saying.

But, even if I did nothing differently, I'd love to go through it again. It was a moment I had waited my whole life for, and one I had looked forward to happening with MG, so when it came, it was SO exciting and overwhelming.
I still have this picture as one of the backgrounds on my computer, and when all of my screens are minimized, and this one happens to pop up, it makes me smile every time:
I was saying "shut up" or "Oh my God" here...lol
There are tons of other moments I would love to relive, but this one is my most recent favorite, and I would relive it again in a heartbeat!

Weekend Recap

This weekend was fun-filled, mixed with a bit of drama...

Friday night MG and I were both pretty beat from the work week so we decided to grab dinner locally and eat outside since the weather was stunning out. I had two glasses of wine with dinner, which meant that when we got back home that night and sat down on the couch to watch tv, I fell asleep. #oldladyproblems

Saturday my friend Emily had a bridal shower brunch in the morning so I went to that and avoided the girl who's created all of the drama in my life (and she pretended that I don't exist). The shower was great--lots of time to mingle, and the bride had requested that all of the presents come un-wrapped so that she would have more time to socialize with all of us. She ended up opening presents for a bit, which was fun (and went by fast since there was no wrapping paper). There was TONS of yummy food and drinks, too.

I did a few errands that afternoon, including getting a new pair of sunglasses. MG was sweet enough to buy them for me--love that guy!

Later that night I drove him to his friends' place so they could watch college football, and then got ready to go out for Emily's bachelorette in Georgetown that night. I headed over to my friend Jackie's place beforehand to hang out and have a couple glasses of wine before meeting everyone else out.

The bachelorette party was a lot of fun, too. I love love love the girl who is getting married--she's one of the sweetest and funniest people I know (not to mention she's also helped me BIG TIME with my own wedding planning). I just adore her.

And then I find out that drama bride is talking crap about me because a group of 4 guys was talking to me at the bar. In fact, they were asking about what we were all there for, and then asked if I was single and I said no, that I was engaged. So, it's not as if I took my ring off of my finger and said "nope, I'm single!!" Not to mention, the same guys were talking to the bachelorette's sister as well. But, it's only a problem when I do it.
And then I see that SHE is talking to some random guy. But, it's ok when she does it, right? Ugh, enough on her. 

I had a nice night celebrating that sweet friend. And then I felt like terrible terrible crap the next day haha. Unfortunately I had to drive out to Leesburg (about an hour away) for my hair consultation. I did NOT want to drive, at all, let alone 2 hours that day, but I did, and now I have my hair person for my wedding day.

And then this morning I got the best news of all!
My friend Bree is ENGAGED! Her fiance popped the question yesterday at a winery and I'm SOOOOOOO happy for them! Yay for more friends getting married, and another person to plan a wedding with!! So excited for you, Bree! Love you!

And with that happy note, I'm off to see my kiddos and get this Monday started!

Sami's Shenanigans Mingle 240

Friday, September 13: A self portrait

This should probably be a scary face since today is Friday the 13th, but instead, I give you this... (sorry Instagram friends, you've already seen this one)...

Me and my own personal pillow pet. Except mine breaths, eats and poops. And spends the majority of the day sleeping. I may be a little jealous of that one.

Slightly more messy than a regular ol' pillow pet, but much more snuggly and fun!

Happy Friday! 

Blogtember: Blogging's Impact on Me

Thursday, September 12: Discuss ways that blogging or social media has changed you.

I started my blog as a kind of creative outlet for myself. I've always enjoyed writing, and at my job the only writing I do is reports and other things related to school and kids. Nothing too creative, and certainly not personally related. So, I think from that standpoint, blogging gave me a way to get some of my creativity, thoughts, etc out.

The unexpected part of blogging that has had a HUGE impact, is the support network and bonds that are formed through blogging. When I went through my long distance relationship breakup, the outpouring of love, kind words and support was overwhelming. Hearing that others had gone through what I was going through, only to find happiness on the other end, made me believe that I would be ok and have my happy ending eventually, too.

Since I've recently been dealing with my wedding drama, you guys have all been there to let me vent about it, support me, and let me know that I'm not crazy in that whole situation. That alone makes the whole thing better for me.

Not only have people been there to help pick me up when I'm down, but when I got engaged, the outpouring of love and excitement made me that much more happy and excited. I have this HUGE group of people to share such happy times in my life with, and that's pretty freaking awesome!

I've discovered new friendships that I otherwise never would have made, like with P!nky for example. We lived right around the corner from one another, and never would have known it without blogging. We became good friends over the past almost 2 years, and just this past weekend I was at her wedding and she'll be at mine in April.

Blogging has brought a lot of blessings into my life. The creative part is cool, and I love that, but my favorite part is the relationships and connections that I've made with so many of you. I can only hope that that continues and grows as I continue to blog.

Chicken Orzo Skillet Meal Recipe and link up idea

I'm thinking of doing a link up for recipes on Wednesdays. It could be something that you've made and want to share, or it could be something delicious that you found on Pinterest that you want to share!
Let me know what you guys think about the idea, and I might start a link up for us all to participate in and share some yummy recipes!

Now, getting back to business....

I'm here with another great recipe that I got from my good blog buddy, Shari at The Daily Dish. I've gotten SO MANY great recipes from her and her blog, and I love that she lets me share them with you whenever I try a new one! If you haven't checked out her blog, go do it...and make sure you have something to wipe your face with, because you WILL drool!

What You Need:

-1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
-12 oz uncooked orzo
-2 tomatoes, chopped
-3 cups baby spinach (or one salad bag of baby spinach)
-juice from 1 lemon
-1 tsp olive oil
-1/2 cup white wine
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-2 tsp tomato paste
-feta cheese crumbles for topping
-1/4 cup reserved cooking water from the orzo

What You Do:

1. Cook the orzo according to package instructions. Drain and set aside (remember to reserve that 1/4 cup of cooking water)

2. Season the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the chicken. Saute the chicken until it's cooked through. And remove it from the pan.

3. In the same skillet, add in the reserved cooking water, tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 2 minutes.

4. Add the orzo, chicken, wine and spinach to the skillet and mix until the spinach has wilted (this may require you to put a lid on the skillet for a little bit).

5. Add in the lemon juice, and stir. 

6. Add the feta cheese, mix, and serve.


Thank you, Shari, for another yummy recipe! 

Blogtember: Pivotal Life Moment

I'm linking up again with Jenni for another Blogtember post:

Tuesday, September 10: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

This one might be slightly surprising to you guys. You might think that it was the moment that I got engaged, and as important of a life moment as that was to me, my life didn't really CHANGE, it just got better.

The moment that I can pinpoint in my life where things took a turn was when my 2 year (almost) long distance relationship ended, quite suddenly. For those of you who don't remember or weren't around then, we'd been planning on me moving to St. Louis in 1-2 months time. I had already told my job that I was leaving, told my apartment complex that I was moving out, and I'd just gotten a job interview for the county that I was going to be moving to.

And then my world came crashing down in one unexpected phone call.
All of a sudden, I didn't have a relationship, a job for the next year, or a place to live. I was devastated.

In that moment,one thing that I realized was just how powerful my friendships were. My roommate at the time, and now best friend, was kind enough to stay home from work the next day with me to make sure that I was ok, which was incredibly sweet of her. The following day, I went back to work and a friend there let me spend the entire day with her class. We talked and it helped. It was a hard 2 days, but after LOTS of tears being shed, I reached a place where I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. You're probably thinking "2 days?? Yeah right!"

But in reality, during that 2 year relationship, I had been worried constantly. I knew that he had cheated on me (still not sure if it was physical, but I know emotionally at least) at least once, and possibly more. I worried all the time about him being faithful and if I didn't hear from him, what was he doing, and with whom? It was a constant state of stress for me. And once it was gone, I realized that I didn't have to worry about it anymore. And that if I was worrying THAT MUCH, that it should have ended sooner. I just wanted my happy ending so badly, that I was willing to talk myself out of what I was truly feeling.

It was also the first time after a break up that I got the overwhelming feeling of "everything is going to be ok....this is what's supposed to happen." Now, sure, I had TOLD myself that with other breakups, but this was the first time that I FELT it to be true.

And then cut to a few months later, I had gotten back out into the dating world, signed up for Match, and I got a nice email from a cute guy who happened to live about 5 minutes from where I lived and we went out on a date...

....and now we live together and are getting married in April!
The pivotal point for me was realizing that I KNEW what I deserved and I KNEW that I wasn't going to settle for what I had been accepting up until that point. I wasn't going to make excuses for someone else anymore. And once I told myself that, and learned a couple more lessons along the way, the universe gave me the guy I've been waiting my whole life for. Someone who never gives me the slightest reason to worry, listens when I'm upset, and works to make our life better. As cheesy as this is (feel free to make gag noises, it's ok), he's the guy that made this quote....
...100% true. 

On top of everything else, if I had moved to St. Louis, I wouldn't have been close by when my dad had his heart attack that October, and I would have been tortured not being able to drive to see him.

In the end, it was a painful time, but one that I felt like I got control of my life back and learned that I was strong enough to stand up for myself and for what I deserved.