Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to stop in and wish you all a happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. This is my 1000th post!!! How crazy is that??? :)

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

Like many of you do around this time every year (myself included), I'm taking a moment to share the things that I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.

{1} MG
I'm SO thankful that I have MG, and even more thankful that I got to marry him this year!  It's truly been a whirlwind of a year for us with our wedding, buying a house and all the stuff that accompanies those monumental things, but I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else by my side. I'm thankful for the smooth and easy transition from engaged couple to married couple. He's been the person who can make me laugh when I'm having the worst day, puts things into perspective for me when people don't treat me right, and I just love how easy going he is. He's my perfect balance and my best friend. I'm so glad I get to call him my husband!

{2} My Family
This year, my family officially includes not only my parents, but MG's parents and his sisters (and their families) as well! Even though I've felt a part of their family since pretty much day one, I'm so thankful that they are mine forever. MG's sisters are the sisters that I never had but always wanted, and his parents are some of the best in-laws you could ask for.
I'm also thankful for my parents, and for my dad's continued health (and no major decline in health). Every day I have with my dad is a blessing and I'm so glad that we get to spend another Thanksgiving all together as a family. My parents are always there when I call, whether it's to say hi, or to frantically ask them a question related to home ownership haha. I'm truly one of the luckiest girls in the world to have this amazing group of people to call my family.

{3} My Friends
This year, more than any, I've truly realized who my real friends are and I'm so thankful to have the abundance of ladies in my life who are supportive, loving and always there for me. I've never had to worry about any of you talking about me behind my back or being unnecessarily cruel, because you're true friends and are always there to lift me up and remind me of what and who are important. I know I can always count on these ladies and I'm so thankful that I've got them in my life. They really are my family, too. And to my tried and true blog friends (Shay, Jess, Lynn), I adore each and every one of you. I love celebrating your joys and successes and I'm always here for you through the rough waters.

{4} Cooper
I can't forget Cooper, my doggy soul mate. We're still battling his seizures every couple of months, but he's a strong little pup. I love every wiggly little inch of him! He brings so much joy to my life, with just one tail wiggle, nose lick, and ball of cuddle. I can't imagine my life without this furry little guy because he's one of the most special things in my life :) Always love me some Coop!

{5} Blessings
This year I've had a lot of blessings in my life. I got married to my best friend and I'm (we're) now a home owner, too! We are hosting Thanksgiving with BOTH of our parents in OUR new home. And no matter what the naysayers have to say, buying our house was perfect for us. It's been so fun to do projects with MG, and take the steps to make it 100% ours. (and we haven't killed each other during the projects which is something to be thankful for, in and of itself! haha) 
I've also been blessed to meet so many new friends, both in the blog world and IRL and I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my day-to-day life.
I'm also extremely thankful that I've gotten to take part in several friends' weddings so far this year (Hey Bree!), baby announcements, and even births! (yay babies!)

This life is truly a blessing and I'm so thankful that I've gotten to be a part of each of your lives, and that you all get to be a part of mine!

I hope this Thanksgiving is full of family, friends, good food and lots of memories to last you a lifetime!

And because it's humpday.... :)
#Hashtaghumpday @ Genuinely Lauren

Complete Randomness

Need something to get you through the rest of the week before Thanksgiving?
How about some random reflections and thoughts on this Tuesday!
I said "randomness", didn't I?? :)
~there's always another side to someone else's story #dontbelieveeverythingyouhear

~a school work-setting might be the only place that you address your friends as "Mister ____" or "Mrs. _____" when other people (kids) are around

~I don't know how people paint a room without taping it off first. Even WITH tape, I still get some paint bleeds. Without the tape, I think it would look like a bad Kindergarten art project.

~sometimes as much as you ignore or block someone out, they still manage to rear their ugly head and pop up in your life again, whether you like it or not (and why is it always when you're not even thinking about them at all??)

~it's really difficult having a husband with a birthday right around the holidays...that means double the gifts and double the creativity in 1/4 of the time! (we can go ahead and hashtag this one with #firstworldproblems, I'm ok with it :)

~there are a lot of people in the world who look like animals. I've noticed the most common look-alikes are monkeys (understandable with evolution) and horses...(mainly with smiles I guess) and it's kinda freaky!

~sometimes people create their own self-importance. Like finding out someone is saying that something you do has to do directly with them, when in reality, you're just living your life without a care in the world about theirs #stopgivingyourselfsomuchcredit #youregoislaughable

~hypocrits are a real thing

~people who don't show up for appointments really annoy me. When I make a meeting with a parent, and they don't show, it drives me bananas!!! I spend all of this time prepping, getting coverage, etc all for you not to come. Thanks for respecting my time as much as your own. Really.

~where did the phrase "drive someone bananas" come from, anyway?

~Speaking of phrases, apparently the phrase "geeked out" is a big thing now (or maybe it has been and I'm just old and out of the loop--which is completely possible). My friend, who is older than me I might add, came over the other night and used it at least 4 times in our conversation. As you can tell, there was a lot to "geek out" about.
And now that this post has been random enough to include an English muffin and Big Bird, I will depart you!
Have a fantastic day :)

Weekend Highlights

Another weekend come and gone, but at least Thanksgiving is coming in just a few days!!

This weekend's highlights included:

~Friday night in with MG, pizza and a movie 

~Saturday morning installation of our new stairway carpet runner. I'm in love!
And now Cooper can go down the stairs again without falling!! Byebye Cooper's baby gate!
~Shopping at the mall and getting a new jacket at Macy's $30 off, and with gift cards!
It's a little longer in the back so that your back doesn't get cold when you sit down!
~Dinner and a movie double date to see Interstellar (really good!) and then super yummy Mexican food for dinner afterwards (where we all analyzed the movie since it was so complex)

~Sunday errands: getting food and other prep so we can host Thanksgiving for both sets of our parents this week (gonna maybe try two new appetizers too!)

~Shopping at Home Goods and World Market for holiday decor!
Our front door is ready for the holidays at least! :)
~Bought Cooper a mini stocking for Christmas (still need to get us some but at least Coop is covered haha)

~Started addressing some Christmas cards

~Downloaded two new books on my Kindle (that ended up being free) since the book Im reading right now is super slow and I'm bored with it.

~Got in some good cuddles with this guy:

~Discovered the most yummy seasonal beer at the store (pick some up for your Thanksgiving get-together! It's delicious):

~MG brought these yummies home as a surprise after being out watching the Eagles game with his friends
Best Husband Award! :)
~Watched the 3rd episode of Newsroom this season. So bummed this show is almost over!

~Woke up to mid-60 degree temps and a forecast of 75 for the high today. It's the last week of November *(but I'm not complaining!) :)

And now it's time to make it through the next few days before we can get to Thanksgiving!

Linking up with these ladies today:
Mingle 240still being molly
and Biana!!
(and Monday Morning Gossip, but something is up with their linky button)

Five Friday Favorites!

Friday before Thanksgiving, already??  One week from now we'll all be in food comas, with elastic waistband pants on, wondering how we ate so much food. How is that possible??
Time sure is flying lately, so let's take a second to stop and smell the figurative roses, shall we?
Here are some of my favorites from this week:

{1}-Holiday Cards
They arrived on Tuesday--this is MG's and my first year of sending out holiday cards and I'm really excited about these! There's obviously a picture of us from our wedding day since that was the big event for us this year--I'll be sharing with you guys in the upcoming week or two :)

{2} New Recipe
Oh my word, did I knock it out of the park this week with the new recipe that I tried! Healthy, flavorful and easy (and MG dubbed it "restaurant quality"--that's a triple or quadruple-win right there)--Panko Breaded Honey Mustard Salmon. I'll be sharing the full recipe with you next week, but for now, prepare to drool:
{3} Baby Nicholas
I got to FaceTime with my bloggy bestie on Tuesday AND on Thursday this week, and got to see baby Nicholas "up close and personal" if you will. He looked SO stinkin' cute (as you can tell by the adorable pic of him!!) It was awesome to catch up with Shay (as well as slightly scary, with all of the new motherhood stories she was telling me lol). It's so cute to see her in her new mommy role and I'm still so over the moon excited for her and her hubby. Can't wait for more FaceTime dates with her and little man!

{4} iPhone 6
I'm kind of loving my new iPhone 6. I had the 5 so it's not that big of a change, but just the bigger screen makes everything so much clearer. Thank goodness for verizon's trade-in program which basically made the phone free (woohoo!) Even though the camera is the same, it seems like it takes much better pictures (or maybe it's just the massive screen I'm looking at!) Either way, it's a win!

{5} Bravo
I'm in reality tv heaven lately now that Vanderpump Rules and RHOBH are back on (and with the last tidbits of RHONJ as well). Love watching all of the drama on screen and staying out of it in real life! And of course discussing at length with my friends at work, too...Duh!
I'm steering clear of Real Housewives of Sydney (tried it, and hated it), Atlanta and the Euros of Hollywood (tried it, hated it). So, there's a slight limit to my obsession. Key word: slight.
We'll just say MG is less than thrilled that my shows are back on tho lol 

Don't forget to link up with these ladies!

Venus Trapped in Mars

Before I go, I'll leave you with this thought to ponder:
{via} My guess? A lot! :)
Happy Friday and weekend!!

Book Review: Fall of Giants

I realized last week when I did my review of The Girl You Left Behind, that I never did my review of World Without End, that took me a couple of weeks to read since it was just under 1,000 pages.
World Without End is another Ken Follett book (if you haven't read Pillars of the Earth you need to!), but this book is part of a trilogy, and specifically centers around World War I.
MG had read it and highly recommended it, and since it was by Ken Follett, I jumped on board (plus I got it for free from MG's Kindle which was another win!)
The Goodreads synopsis (it's lengthy, but so is this book):
This is an epic of love, hatred, war and revolution. This is a huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women. It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution. In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, "Fall Of Gaints" moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.

There are so many characters in the book that sometimes it gets a bit confusing (I had a hard time remembering who everyone was in the beginning). But, everyone is so intertwined at different parts of the book...people you'd never guess would come in contact, do. I love how Ken Follett weaves people throughout his books. He give such good details, it's as if you're right there with them. And since his books take place over years, you really fall in love with the characters (and really really hate some others).
I liked that I learned a lot about World War I through this book, which was much more interesting than just reading it in a history book (obviously these characters weren't real, but the events happening around them were, and it gives a life-like representation of what happened). 

I will say my favorite Ken Follet book is still Pillars of the Earth, but this one is still very very good.

I'm definitely going to be reading the second book in this series, Winter of the World, which picks up where this book left off and goes into World War II. I'm already so invested in these characters, I can't wait to see what happens to them next!

Tour of Blogland and Nominations

I'm sure you've seen the Blogland Tour making its way through the blog world, and last week I was featured by Jessi and Jessica (I feel so loved!!) The blog tour allows you to meet and "tour" other blogs that you might not know about, and to discover more about the person behind the blog (VH1 style...behind the music....behind the blog?) and their writing style, etc.
Aren't they the prettiest, most fashionable and adorable bloggers you ever did see?? :)
What are you working on?

I don't have any one thing that I'm working on, but usually I'm trying out new recipes every week or couple of week so I can share the good ones with you (and keep a record for myself of the yummies that I want to make again). And now I post a lot about our home improvement projects because those are a lot more plentiful lately since we moved into our new house in June.

How does your blog differ from others of its type/genre?

I'm not sure that my blog differs that much from other "lifestyle" bloggers. I just try and keep it real on here. If I comment on your blog, it's not all fluff or fake. If I read your blog, I care about what you've written, I'm not just trying to be the first person to comment on a post, or posting something only to get you to come look at my blog. My blog itself isn't all sunshine and roses either. I try and keep it real with you guys, but also try and keep it a positive space (because it's SO easy to get bogged down by the icky stuff sometimes).

Why do you write what you do?

I write what is going on in my life and what's interesting to me. I figure, if it's interesting to me, it's probably interesting to someone else. (Let's see how many more times I can use the word "interesting" in this post now :)
I like posting my book reviews, and recipes I've tried, because that's how I find new books to read and recipes to try. And then the everyday stuff is just kinda fun. I like documenting where I'm at in life at this current moment, and I enjoy looking back and reading about where I was a month ago, a year ago....etc. It's fun to see how far you've come.

How does your writing process work?

It varies. Sometimes I get an idea while I'm driving to and from work. Other times I see something online that sparks my creative juices (like my Who Has the Time/Whyyyyy posts). Other times, I just write about what's going on in my life right now. And sometimes, when there's nothing going on, or I'm super busy and just don't have the time to put into a post like I'd want, I don't post.  I guess it's not really a "process" as much as it is a brain dump sometimes, that I hope makes sense and that someone connects with!
I do love that this blog is a creative outlet for me. I've always enjoyed writing and being creative, and the blog has definitely given me the space to do so. Plus, meeting all of the awesome ladies in the blog world (the two of whom nominated me included) is the biggest bonus of it all!

Now for my nominations....
Meghan @ Me as Meghan

Now go check out their blogs and say hi! :)

Holiday Link Up: Thanksgiving

It's a cold Tuesday here in VA, but instead of dwelling on that, I thought I'd warm my spirit (and hopefully yours) by joining the holiday link up with Annie to talk about Thanksgiving.

This is gonna be a mix of things I'd love to do, in combination with some of the things we've done in the past.

Last year was the first time my husband and I (my fiance at the time) hosted our parents for Thanksgiving in our one-bedroom condo, but this year will be the first time we're doing it as a married couple in our new house (and the 3rd time that we've done Thanksgiving together, the 6 of us) :)

Here are a few things I'd love to do...
For the outside of our house, things like this would be awesome to decorate with:

We'd have details around the house like this:

Our table would look something like this:
...with smaller details like this:
(I might actually do the above for our place settings because I think it's adorable)
And on each plate, I'd like to print this out, as a nice quote for the holiday:

Maybe MG and I can get ourselves together enough to make at least SOME of these happen! (and definitely in the future, when we're not DIY'ing ourselves all over the place around the house)

In terms of food, it is tradition that my mom and I always make squash casserole (it's a recipe from my aunt who's no longer with us)--it sounds kinda bland and boring but it is SO good and possiblyeven my favorite food for Thanksgiving.
My mom also makes some incredibly tasty stuffing, too, so that's always a must for our dinner table.

We are also an apple pie family. Pumpkin pie has never been a big thing for us, but apple pie is ALWAYS served during our Thanksgivings.

Neither of our parents have seen all of the updates we've done to the house, so I'm super excited for them to come over and see everything that we've been working hard at around the house for the past couple of months.

Here's a shot from our first Thanksgiving all together, up in Philly, from 2 years ago:

No matter what food is cooked, it will be so nice to have both sets of our parents with us, in our new home, celebrating everything that we have to be thankful for...and thankfully that list is a long one! :)
*most of the above pictures can be found on my Pinterest board, Holiday Ideas

Weekend Highlights

It's Monday already??? Where did the weekend go??
I guess I'll give you some highlights from my weekend to cheer myself up that it's Monday.

My weekend highlights included:

-Friday night massage (love my Massage Envy membership!)

-Early to bed Friday night

-"Abundant sunshine" on Saturday, which made the 45 degree high for the day so much more bearable
See that rain and cold? That's today and tomorrow :( Womp womp...
-Group winery trip with these peeps:

-Buying a bottle from Stone Tower Winery for Thanksgiving and enjoying a glass with the girls:

-Taking advantage of the beautiful scenery

-Tasting at Cana Winery, and hanging out on the outside deck

-Limo bus ride home

-Sunday errands including tons of healthy groceries for some mega healthy meals this week (new recipes to try!)

-Installing the new entryway light
it's quite the upgrade from the 80s gold fixtures we had throughout the house before
-Buffalo chicken wrap, with home made blue cheese, from one of our favorite restaurants for lunch 

-Finally getting my hands on my new iPhone!

-Started a new book on my Kindle

-Sunday night tv

Linking up with these ladies today:
Mingle 240still being molly
and Biana!!
(and Monday Morning Gossip, but something is up with their linky button)