Halloweenie Friday

In the words of R. Kelly, it's the freakin' weekend baby!

Five of my favorite things this week include:

{1} Early Release/Semi-Long Weekend
Today is the last day of the 1st quarter at school which means the kids leave 2 hours early, and on top of that we have 2 teacher workdays on Monday and Tuesday. I only have one meeting on Monday afternoon for 2 hours (and the meeting is right down the street from my house), but otherwise I get to work from home. We'll basically call that a 4 day weekend, and I'm 100% ok with doing progress reports in my PJs on my couch at home :)

{2} Massages
{via} that's gonna be me this Saturday
Since MG and I have been working hard at house stuff (guest room painting done as of last night and this weekend we'll hopefully finish up the entry hallway), I decided to book both of us a massage for Saturday afternoon. I told MG and he was beyond ecstatic! Best wife award? Sure, I'll take it :)

{3} Trick or Treaters
This year will likely be the first year that we actually have trick-or-treaters come by the house since we no longer live in a condo or apartment, and there are several little kids in our neighborhood. I'm kind of excited about seeing all the costumes and outfits and getting to pass out candy for the first time with MG in our new digs.
{4} World War books
I finally picked up a new book after taking a break when I finished reading Fall of Giants (865 pages) which revolved around World War I. I've been reading another Jojo Moyes book called The Girl You Left Behind--so far, so good--which also centers around WWI (historical fiction). (Last weekend I saw Fury which was about World War II...I've been all about the world wars lately by happenstance.) I really like reading about this time because I feel like I don't know enough from what I learned just in school. Obviously, I'll do a review of the book when I'm done, but right now, I'm liking it, and Jojo Moyes' writing style is wonderful.

{5}- Halloween Costume
At work today it's "dress up as a character from a book" day. In reality, if I had planned ahead, I would be Hermione Granger from Harry Potter but in my limited time to pull a costume together, I'm going with Arthur:
 My converse shoes are brown and not red, but oh well. It's the effort, right?

I hope you have a semi-spooky, but not TOO scary weekend with more treats than tricks!
And just to make sure your weekend gets started on the right foot, here's a collection of cute/funny pets on Halloween I put together for you:
You're welcome :)

Blogtober Day 30: Facts About Me

Helene in Between Blogtober

Well, we've been together on this journey off and on for a whole month, so I'm guessing you know a decent amount about me by now, but in case you wanted to know more....here's a list of  15 random facts about me:
1) I hate bananas. The consistency and texture are just...ew. 

2) Listening and putting myself in someone else's shoes are some of my strengths. Some days I wish I had become a psychologist/psychiatrist instead of a speech therapist because I enjoy giving people different perspectives when they're dealing with tough situations.

3) I'm a lover of all things bottle-nosed dolphin.  One of the more memorable days of my life was when I got to swim with dolphins for the first time.

4) I love sarcasm and I especially love people who get my sarcasm and are sarcastic back (which may explain why I enjoy someecards so much.....and Shay) hehe
5) Purple is my favorite color and has been for as long as I can remember (which is why it was a primary color in my wedding) :) I'm a little envious of Myla because I totally wish we could paint our front door purple (but I'm not sure our HOA would approve it)....
Wouldn't that be pretty??
6) I never give gifts with the intent of getting a "thank you"--I give from the heart without expecting in return. Is it nice when I get one? Absolutely. Do I always show my appreciation when someone gives me something or does something nice for me? Definitely! But my intent in giving is never to get praise for it.

7) I bruise easily. Most of the time when I have a bruise, I have zero clue as to where it came from or how it happened.  

8) Instagram is my favorite social media app. Mindlessly looking through photos is more fun to me than reading a bunch of updates on facebook or re-tweets on twitter.

9) I've lived in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area my entire life. It's really hard for me to actually see myself living somewhere else, despite really wanting to sometimes.

10) Most days I'm a walking advertisement for Loft and/or Target. And sometimes when I go to Target, I realize that all of the things I'm wearing that day are from Target. It should embarrass me, but in reality, I'm totally ok with it :)

11) I love the Redskins. I always have. I used to sit on my dad's lap watching the games with him when I was little. Even when they have a tough season (or, let's be real, seasons), I'll never stop rooting for my dad's and my team.

12) Sometimes when I really like something I say I want to marry it (ex: "this is so good, I'd marry it"). MG is well aware that I have several "cheese husbands" that I'd 'marry'....and then proceed to eat. It would be a short-lived romance. But a delicious one.

13) My favorite weather is one in which I can open my sunroof. If the weather is nice, I have a hard time being in a bad mood.

14) Dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives (and/or crazy feta stuffed olives) is one of my favorite adult bevvies. They take me down mighty fast, too, but boy are they delicious!

15) I have the best memory for the smallest of things, but when it comes to remembering why I walked into a room, 50% of the time, I can't remember #gettingoldproblems
There! 15 new and probably useless, but fun facts about me!
Did you learn anything new?

Wednesday Confessions

I confess that....

.....having 80 degree weather yesterday, during the last week of October, was amazing.

.....I broke out my white pants and wore them, despite all of the Labor Day "rules" about white

.......watching the Redskins beat the Cowboys on Monday night, AT Dallas, with our 3rd string quarterback, was so fun to watch! (I don't care where we are in the rankings, because that feat alone is still awesome). Going in, even I didn't think the Skins would do it--rival games are always unpredictable.
.......listening to the silence of the Cowboys fans after running their mouths all week was even more priceless, right Jessi?? ;)

.....I've cursed our house's previous homeowner several times throughout our house projects for the stupid stuff he did and the shortcuts that he took. It's all do-able things to fix, but just adds one more step (or a couple) to the process which is annoying when you just want to get things done 

......after the 3 hour brunch with my friends on Sunday, I wasn't hungry for the rest of the day...and even part of the next morning #somuchfood
The full feeling was totally worth it, though, because the food was yummy and the company was fantastic

....Yesterday was the first day I'd worked out in a week (sometimes life just gets in the way). And despite my eating binge on the weekend, the scale hasn't moved. I'll consider that a win!

.....Pinterest is both the most helpful tool in planning house projects, and the most dangerous/expensive. Much like wedding-planning.

......even though we aren't completely done with painting the guest room, it's already looking really good and I'm proud of us :)

.....painting rooms in the house with your husband is made much more fun with "80s and 90s classic rock" playing in the background, and impromptu sing-alongs.

.....I'm sad the link-up on Wednesdays is done :(

What are you confessing today??

Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I teased you all last week with the broccoli cheddar picture and promised a post with the recipe, so I'm here to deliver.

If you don't already know, broccoli cheddar soup is probably my all-time favorite soup in the history of ever. I've ordered it since I was a kid going out to dinner with my parents, and I'll order it almost every time I go to Panera.
So, when I saw this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, claiming to be the best, I knew I had to try it.

What You Need:

-3 cups of small, chopped broccoli florets (About 2 1/2 heads at the store)
-8 oz freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
-1 large shallot, chopped
-1 large carrot chopped (I used the bag of grated carrot and eye balled it--much easier)
-3 Tbsp butter
-3 Tbsp all purpose flour
-3 Cups chicken broth
-2 cups of milk (I used 1%)
-salt and pepper

What You Do:

1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the carrots and chopped shallot along with some salt and pepper. Saute until carrots are tender (3-5 minutes).

2. Add in the flour and use a whisk to combine it for about a minute. Slowly add in the chicken broth while whisking to avoid the flour clumping and to make smooth. Slowly add in the milk and stir. Season with more salt and pepper and turn the heat up to medium-high to get it to a simmer.  Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring periodically throughout.

3. Add the broccoli florets and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring periodically, until the broccoli is tender (make sure your broccoli pieces are fairly small).

4. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cheese into the pot in batches (at least 3 smaller batches). This allows the cheese to melt evenly and not get clumpy. You can mash the broccoli with a potato masher if you want that consistency. Ours turned out really nice and did not need it (which worked out well because I couldn't find our potato masher). Add salt and pepper if needed, to taste.

5. We ate this for dinner with a side of toast which was delicious to dip in, and then had the leftovers for lunch the following day with croutons which was also insanely good!
You can add a little extra cheese on top for "garnish" if you want, too.

This made 4 servings for us. It was so tasty I will definitely be making this again and again throughout the winter months!

Blogtober Day 27: Letter to Younger Me

It's another 2-posts in one day kinda day! (For my weekend highlights, scroll down to my next post, or click here)
Helene in Between Blogtober
*I wouldn't actually include the pictures in this post in my letter to myself, but thought I'd put them in my post to add some interest for you all :)

Dear Younger Jenn,

It may be a bit crazy to you that I'm writing to you from the future, but I am. In 2014 we now have the power of time travel so that's how I'm sending this to you. Just kidding--it's through the magic and power of your blog. "Whats a blog?" you ask? You'll find out eventually that it's a great place for you to be creative, get your thoughts "out", meet amazing people, and connect across miles. It's awesome.

If I'm to give you advice to keep in mind as you go through life, I'd put it into three categories: Family, Friends, and Love. First is family.  Make sure you vocalize just how much you appreciate and love your parents. I know you do, but it's nice to hear it, and your parents are no exception. Spend as much time with them as you can. All those fears you had growing up with an older dad, are for a reason. Call them more than you think to, even if nothing new is going on because they like to hear from you. They'll still always be there when you need them, and have all the answers you need, even when you're grown up, married and have a house. As much as you don't think so now, they know a lot. And, frankly, they're just the best :)

In terms of friends, they will come and they will go, but throughout  everything, you'll realize who the important people are. The ones who check in on you when things are rough, who support you not only during the tough times in your life, but the ones who are over-the-moon excited for you during the big, happy things. You'll continue to learn that even though people don't do things the same way that you do, that it doesn't mean it's wrong, it just means people are different. You won't jive with everyone you meet and you don't have to. Move away from toxic people in your life because you don't need their negativity, pettiness, cattiness, or drama. When you look around afterwards, you'll notice that there's a BIG group of friends still there to support and love you without those other people there. You'll meet some of the most amazing people in the most unexpected of circumstances, and they'll make your life that much better and brighter. And on your wedding day, you'll look around at the amazing girls standing around you and know that you're one of the luckiest girls around because you have some of the best friends in the world.

And lastly, love--you may have already  skipped over everything else at first to read this part, but I put this at the end because just like love, you need patience.  Know that what your mom always told you was true: every relationship and heartbreak WILL get you closer to finding the person who is perfect for you. It might not be on the timeline you had in your head (ok, it won't be), but it WILL happen, and it will happen when it's the right time. He'll be your  biggest supporter, your constant source of laughter, and your best friend. He'll be there when people hurt you, help to put things into perspective for you, and will wrap you up in his arms when you need it--you'll always feel safe with him. You'll get married and buy a house all around the same time, and even if other people who are jealous have comments about it, you two know that everything happens in your timing and was totally right for you--you guys are living your life together, for one another, not for anyone else (always remember that). He will definitely be the best thing to ever happen to you, so make sure that he knows that. Oh, and to top it off, he'll have the best sisters and parents you could have hoped for--in fact, they're pretty much the epitome of what you're hoping your in-laws will be like. And you'll be an aunt to some of the most amazing kids ever, who love you to pieces. Remember how I said before that you were lucky to have your friends and your amazing parents? The same applies to this awesome family/extended family of yours. Always count your blessings :)

Life is pretty fantastic, and definitely worth the bumps in the road to get here. I promise.

Basically, in the end, keep doing what you're doing. Enjoy things as much as possible, try new things even if you're nervous, brush things off that don't deserve to be thought about, and know that everything happens for a reason.

 Your Older Self

P.S. Look into creating something called "Facebook", or "Twitter", around 1998...get ahead of the curve, and then you'll be a gob-zillionaire. I'll send you the details in another letter.

Weekend Highlights

This weekend was jam-packed and productive--just the way I like it!

My weekend highlights included:

-Homemade pizza a la MG

-Friday night Home Depot trip (because who doesn't love spending a Friday night at the Depot?)
-Wall prep in the entry hallway (removing old ADT boxes and smoke detectors...because the previous owners had THREE smoke detectors in the hallway)

-Discovering 80s wallpaper hiding behind all 3...
Nothing but sexiness
-totally changing my paint color plans for the entryway and the guest room after getting paint samples (which actually involved flip-flopping the colors for each space) #secondguessingmyself

-Saturday morning donation drop off at Goodwill, cleaning the house, and prepping for painting

-Doors and windows open because the weather was gorgeous all weekend!

-Painting the entryway ceiling and first half of the  guest room
first coat of paint for the light gray walls and almost ready for the navy blue accent wall!
-Saturday date night: Mexican food (yum) and seeing Fury in the new theater by our place with reclining seats (movie was really good and VERY intense)
-Sunday morning visit at the house from one of my besties, Crystal

-3 hour sunday brunch with these pretties
Those plates of food were just round 3 of what we ordered haha
-27 cents worth of penny mimosas....yes, I said 27 cents.

-Having friends over for the Eagles game

-Yummy, bad-for-you-football foods

-Bedtime to rest up for the work week!

What were your highlights from the weekend??

Linking up with these ladies today:
Mingle 240

Friday Stuff

Woohooo it's Friday and it's not raining, and it's a weekend at home! Just yay!

{1}- Loft Sale
Yep, I fell prey to the 50% off Loft sale on Wednesday night. Again. I ordered some super cute stuff online for the Fall/Winter (all of which can be worn for work or outside of work). And, the best part is, now that the mall by us is opened up, I can return anything that I don't like super easily and quickly. Here's my haul:

{2}-Louis V 2.0
Remember when I said hello to my loverrrr, Louis V?
Well....now it has a brother:
And all I have to say is that I have the best mother-in-law....pretty much in the history of ever #myMILisbetterthanyours #myclosetrunnethover

{3}-House Projects
MG and I have been on a break from house projects for a little bit, but after going to see his sister's new and beautiful house last weekend, and it basically looking like they've lived there forever after only 3 weeks (how did she do it??), we've gotten back into planning more things for our place. This weekend's agenda right now involves picking out paint and then painting our entry hallway, the guest bedroom and re-painting some of the doors/trim (because the previous owner decided to do some in white, and some in off-white....cuz that makes sense...arg!)
this is the color inspiration for both rooms at this point
{4}-New Recipe
Next week I'm planning on posting the recipe for the easiest and most delicious broccoli cheddar soup, made from scratch, that I've ever had. In the meantime, here's a pic to tantalize you:
Im salivating just remembering how yummy it was...
{5}- Family
Maybe you've noticed, and maybe you haven't, but I've been a little absent from the blog in terms of posting personal stuff (the Blogtober link up has helped hide that a bit). There have been some things going on lately that I don't want to go into detail about on here, but I do want to ask that you take a second and send up a prayer for MG's family. They've been going through some rough waters lately and an extra prayer here and there might be just what the doctor ordered. 

And just so I don't end this post on a less-than-happy note, just remember as you're wrapping up the week....
Hope your weekend is fun-filled, and calorie-free! :)

Blogtober Day 22: Pet Peeves

Today's Blogtober topic is Pet Peeves
Helene in Between Blogtober

I did a funny post on this back in August (you can check it out here), but I figured I'd attempt another list filled with someecard funnies for you! (If someecards are a pet peeve of yours, do not continue reading past this point!) :)

-having someone (especially a kid) tell you "actually, it's ____"...when in "actuality" it's not
Add caption
-hypocrits; when people comment about something when in reality they're the ones guilty of doing it. Drives me BONKERS!
-when people leave a few seconds on the microwave when they're done using it (I encounter this daily at work, so it was worth the repeat from the last list!)

-when people don't flush after they go to the bathroom (soooo gross...and inconsiderate for the next person who has to go in there and see your 'business')
-when your nail polish chips a day or two after getting it done
-people who can't let things go, especially when it's something soooooo small and insignificant, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things but they insist on bringing it up again and again at every opportunity....
-when telemarketers call...over, and over and over (despite being on the Do Not Call list). If I haven't picked up the last 5 times you called, take a hint and don't call again!
-pulling up to my house to find all kinds of flyers on or around our front door. Especially when it's from the same company that left flyers the previous week. #ifiwantedyourservicesiwouldhavecalled
-when people talk over you or interrupt you mid-sentence
-people who link up to link-ups and their post has nothing to do with the actual link-up
{via}  this was as close as I could get to a funny
Hopefully those gave you a giggle :)
What are some of your pet peeves??