Thursday, February 28, 2013

What I did.. February Edition

I can't believe today is the last day of February!

Here is a recap of some of the things I did/accomplished this month!

1. Made it to track out! I work at a year round school so instead of a summer we work 9 weeks/ off 3 weeks. It was so nice to have the month off!

2. Celebrated my birthday! Hooray for being 24!!

3. Completed another book! I made the new years goal to read a new book each month and this month I read The Lucky One.

Any suggestions for next month would be great!

4. I am consistently exercising. I am averaging around 3-4 days a week and have made my runs up to 3 miles! I am hoping to run an half in August with my Aunt when we go to California!

5. We made the switch to Gluten Free. Based on some health issues I have it was the best for my body. I am noticing some great changes and have found some product I love! Thanks Trader Joes!

So thanks February you have been great! 
Can't wait to see what March has in store!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hair Do or Don't

So I am having a dilemma, specifically a hair dilemma.

I am debating of dying my hair!
I got annual birthday haircut 
(A girls got to look her best on her birthday)
And I began talking to my hair dresser about switching it up.

No worries I am not thinking about going blonde..
been there done that
This was me my senior year in high school and lets just say I wasn't born blonde for a reason!

But what we were talking about is putting a tone on my hair to give it a more dark red/ auburn tone.

Think these girls:

So what do you think? 
Can I pull of the auburn hair??

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday- Gluten Free Black Bean Cakes

I have seen Black Bean Cakes floating around on other blogs, pinterest and restaurants like crazy lately. So what does that make me want to do, give it a stab of course. We eat beans almost everyday at our house since we don't eat red meat. Also with it being lent and our recent decision to go gluten free these black bean cakes seemed like the perfect meatless meal for us!

1 Can of Black Beans
1/2 of can corn
1/2 onion diced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 tbsp chili powder/ taco seasoning
(I used a homemade seasoning that I use for chili and tacos)
1 egg
1/3 cup gluten free almond flour

Rinse and drain your black beans and then mash them in a bowl
( I mashed until it was a texture where some were mashed and some were whole)
Next add all remaining ingredients and mix
Form your black bean patties and place on a place covered in wax paper
(should make about 6 patties)
Refrigerate for 30 minutes
Heat a little EVOO and pan fry about 7-10 minutes on each side or until they are heated all the way through
Serve with some fresh pico and enjoy!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Birthday Weekend Recaps :)

So this weekend was my birthday and if you follow me on Instagram you saw my photo blow up from the weekend 


Andrew and I feasted on gluten free black bean cakes, fresh pico and grilled avocados. In the process of cooking I sliced my finger open. Should I have gotten stitches maybe, but our friend is an ER nurse and she came over and checked it out and said they won't give them to me because of its place on my finger.

(My actual Birthday)

I came home from class Saturday to some wonderful gifts. I pulled the "it's my birthday card" to get Andrew to hang up some frames in our room that I picked up from IKEA over Christmas. Then we checked out Dean's Seafood in Cary and it was amazing. Finishing up our night we met friends at Cafe Caturra Wine bar.


We woke up and ate breakfast and as you can see by picture number two ended right back in bed lounging with the pups. Finally Andrew and I rejoined the world for Oscar night. We made up another batch of Pork and Ginger Wontons, made some Bunny bait popcorn and poured a glass of wine and waited to see who picked the most correct answers!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend! 
Here's to another Monday, next week I wont be as happy as my track out will be over and I'll be back at work!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday!
I am 24!

I will be off celebrating with my husband and friends!
Enjoy your Saturday :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

DIY Gel Manicure

I think Audrey Hepburn said it best

Now lets put the emphasis on the words manicures, primping, pink and happy :)

I love primping and manicures as much as any girl but then there's this thing I have called a husband and he doesn't like the price tag that comes along with it.

At about $40 a visit (x2 per month)
I can see where he is coming from but doesn't mean I don't enjoy it!

So for Christmas we found a compromise:
I could get manicures without polish once a month
( did you know it will only cost you about $15??)
And I will do the gel at home if Andrew bought me a set.

This is the kit I got for Christmas and I have to say I am impressed.
It comes with everything you see for about $50 and you can get 8 polishes per bottle.
Additional bottles are $12
( Andrew got it at during a sale but if it's not on sale you can buy it at Walgreens)
It takes a few tries to get used to painting your own nails but I get about 1-1.5 week each time I paint my nails.

Here is my first attempt on the left and a week later on the right

Like I said I usually get 1.5 weeks before I begin picking the polish. However if you aren't a picker you could get the full two weeks!!

I bought a new polish Monday and I painted them and I love the color.

You can tell that I am ready for spring by my polish choices!

Well if you are looking into your own set go to Walgreens now and try it out!

For those of you that have a set, what do you use? 
Can you mix and match polish brands?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

To Paleo or Not to Paleo?

We eat pretty healthy at our house. 
No processed foods, nothing artificial, no corn syrup, low sodium.
I make almost everything from scratch.
**It drives Andrew nuts at times cause it calls for a lot of dishes**

So lately we've been thinking of making the paleo switch.

Cutting out the carbs is fine, I am okay with that.

I can even semi deal with the dairy
I don't like milk so really I'm just cutting out cheese and yogurt.

The one thing I will have a hard time with is the beans.
No black beans with my Mexican, no kidney beans with my chili, no chickpeas in my salads?

So here is where I am coming to you blogger friends, have you switched to the paleo lifestyle?
Do you love it or hate it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Let's Swap

So I finally joined the blogging word and got a button.
I am not good with things like this so those who can't ask!
Luckily for me Tamara was willing to help me out and create a button for the blog
<a href="http://" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="" width="125" height="125" /></a>
So lets swap. I would love to swap buttons!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday Link Up --Valentine Blondies

Tamara and I are so glad you are back to join us for our second week of the Tasty Tuesday Link up!
If you aren't a inspiring chef you can still connect with other bloggers to get some amazing recipes! 
Spread the word. We would love to get 10 people to link up with us!

Let's talk dessert. With Valentine's Day last week everyone has some spare candy laying around and if you don't its on sale at Target or you could spring for the Easter Candy that they have already put out!
Seriously though, one holiday at a time!

I showed off these desserts on my Valentine's Recap but I am happy to say that by Saturday they were gone. I guess Andrew enjoyed them.
So here is the recipe, make them for someone you love!

1 cup of self- rising flour
(if you don't have self rising use one cup of all purpose, 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt)
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla extra
1 cup of Valentines M&M's

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Mix together Flour and baking soda in a small bowl.
In another bowl add brown sugar and melted butter and mix until combined. 
Allow to cool slightly then add 1 beaten egg and vanilla and mix well.
Then add your flour mixture a little at a time and mix well.
Add 1/2 -3/4 cup of m&m's
Pour mixture into a greased 8x8 pan 
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of M&M's to the top
Bake for 25-30 minutes

**When it comes out they will still be a little gooey. allow them to sit if you like them firmer**

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend Recap & A Winner!

This weekend was exciting because Andrew was back from a week long work conference in Orlando.
The fur babies and I had a great week relaxing but we missed him!
So here is a look at our weekend

Cooper was enjoying having Andrew back. He was in full protection mode while Andrew was gone and at any noise he was up and investigating. So he was in need of a good nap!

This is 1.5 weeks into my DIY Gel Manicure. 
I am really impressed. At this point its starting to grow out so that is when I start picking the polish off.
I will do a full review of the kit I have later this week!

Snow in Raleigh! I was very excited to see flurries of white falling from the sky but I was really sad when none of it stuck! My poor pups wanted to play!

My outfit for dinner Saturday night. It was our belated Valentines Dinner. 
We don't like the crowds!

On Sunday we went to Mexican for dinner with out small group from church.
After we walked to the shop next to it to get dessert from the Mexican bakery.
Warm up the pastries and serve it with dessert and its so good!

Also the winner of the Sin<less cocktails giveaway is Marianna Dunn!
Congrats. Email me and I will set you up with your free cocktails!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's #7 ( Recap)

This year was our 7th Valentine's Day Together.
I can't believe it.
I love him more every day!
( Here is a picture of us on our first Valentine's Day. We look so young)

We have never been huge Valentine celebrators. 
Why, because we make it a point to go on a date at least once a week. So fighting the restaurant crowds on Valentines Day to eat the pre-set menu most restaurants put out is not our thing.

I am sorry but if I am paying for my food I want to pick it out!

We also don't do gifts. Valentines to us isn't like our birthday, its about celebrating love.
So we just enjoy our time together, put away our social media and cuddle on the couch, this year while watching Peter Pan.

So with that being said I am not a Scrooge or a bitter old person, we just prefer to celebrate Valentines in the comfort of our own home :)
So here is a little look into our night
1. Tesoro Della Regina Pinot Grigio 
**My favorite wine**
2. Crab Stuffed Flounder, Parmesan Gnocchi and Broccoli
3. Peter Pan
4. Valentine M&M Blondies
( Be on the lookout for the recipe for these on our Tasty Tuesday Link-Up next week)

So how was your Valentines Day?
 I hope you felt love from everyone special in your life!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My View On Lent

As we all know Lent officially started yesterday.
I grew up Catholic, I went every Sunday to Mass and even attended Catholic school until I was in HS.
In my family we always participated in the Lent Season. Giving up something and no meat on Fridays.

It wasn't until Andrew and I started dating that I began to examine the real reason of lent.
Andrew isn't Catholic so in his mind he didn't see a reason to participate.

( Side note: I am no longer Catholic, we believed that part of marriage is finding a church where we were both comfortable and happy and we now attend The Summit Church)

I wanted him to so I began to ponder the reasons while all believers should participate in Lent.
(We both participate in lent now)

This is when I realized that lent has become just as commercialized as every other Christian Holiday.
It has become a day to "better ourselves" 

Lent is supposed to be a season to prepare our hearts for Easter.
A time to grow and rest our faith in a deeper relationship with God.
A time be truly grateful for Christ's ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.
The idea of giving something up is to make a lifestyle change that will make you lean on God daily.

This year we have taken a new approach to the season of Lent. 
I can't think of one thing in my life that I can give up that will make me grow daily with God.
However I can think of a way I can increase my time I spend with God Daily.

Our challenge for our family is to read the Old Testament in 40 days. 
This will mean we will have to give things up to dedicate more time to God.
It maybe TV, time with friends, video games, blogging, or something else.
However by spending more time in the word we will be able to allow God to work in our lives and prepare our hearts for Easter.

What about you? Do you celebrate Lent? How do you prepare your heart for Easter?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tales of the Worst First Date

With Valentines Day being tomorrow, I figured I would do something a little different from the typical we were meant to be and it was love at first sight post.

Andrew and I had our first date when I was a Junior in high school. Yes I was 17 and Andrew was 20 and no at that point in my life I didn't realize this was the person I was going to marry.

And if our first date was any sign of what was to be in our relationship, it wasn't a good sign. Yes my worst date ever was with Andrew.

No it wasn't his fault, it wasn't my fault, it was an unfortunate series of events.

So lets start here. I was so excited this college boy is taking me out. Yes that was the high school girl in me. Andrew picked me up and we went to a very nice dinner at Firebirds. 

*Disclaimer, we had hung out before at the gym and cookout but this was our first official date**

We got to dinner and it was going great until we got the waitress from hell. Her name was Cassandra ( yes I still remember because we still joke about this date) and she talked our ears off. Constantly tell us her life story and interrupting every time we got into a conversation.

After dinner we didn't have plans but Andrew randomly asks if we could continue our date and go to the movies. I was ecstatic so we walked to the movie theatre and bought two tickets to the next movie.

Here is where the epic fail came from the person at the ticket counter. She failed to mention that this movie was for the hearing impaired. In case you don't know that means there is no sound. So yes we sat in a movie that was completely silent with just subtitles. 
Luckily there was no one else in the theatre so Andrew acted out all the words and eased the tension.

After that we ended with Coldstone and then he took me home. I have to say it was one of the worst dates but fortunately we went on a second and a third and now well spend the rest of our lives dating!

How about you? What was your worst date ever?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesday Link Up

I am so excited that our first link up is finally here.
Remember to follow Tamara and I and spread the word about the link up.
I hope you will join us and share some of your favorite dishes!!
On Sunday was Chinese New Year and since Andrew and I are huge Asian foodies I always try my hand at some dishes!!
So on our menu was Dragon Noodles, Pork and Ginger wontons and edamame!!

Pork and Ginger Wontons:
1/2 lb pork
1 small head of cabbage ( finely chopped)
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1tsp soy sauce
handful green onions
1/2 cup shredded carrots
wonton wrappers ( about 50)
3 tsp bouillon granuels or 3 cubes

Sautee your cabbage and EVOO for about 15 minutes until soft.

Combine cabbage, pork, carrots, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, and green onions in a bowl and refridgerate for 1 hour. ( This marinates the flavor)

Then put about 1tsp of the mixture into your wonton wrappers and close diagonally with water and fold over the edges

Next boil the wontons for about 7 minutes or until they float. Then set on a cookie sheet so the excess water drains out
** At this point I froze any that we were going to eat, then you can just defrost and pan fry them when you are ready for more**

Next place the wontons in a frying pan and pan fry until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside and enjoy with soy sauce!

Remember to enter my giveaway for a free bottle of Sin<less Cocktails!

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Monday, February 11, 2013

A Giveaway!

I was so excited when Zach contacted me to try out their new product. Sin<less Cocktails are mixers that are all natural, sugar free and only have 5 calories per serving. The difference here from other low calorie mixers is sin<less has much less sugar and calories. Other brands have around 24 grams of sugar so that doesn't seem like a better alternative.

Zach and his wife sent me a bottle of Margarita and Mojito mixes.
They also have sour mix and strawberry margarita.
I searched and found I could purchase sin<less at whole foods.
Andrew and I decided to try the cocktails out with our Mexican feast we had for dinner one night.
I promise they aren't neon looking in real life.

I drank the margarita since I am not a mojito fan and it was amazing. I am not a fan of the skinny girl brand cocktails as I think they are too bitter but this one was great. It tasted just like my pre-made golden margs I buy at the ABC store during pool season :)

So here is where you can enter to win your own bottles.
Good Luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tales of a Wanna be fashion blogger

So If you have been following me for anytime now you know I am not a fashion blogger.
Do I love clothes and shopping. Yes
Am I a risk taker to trying the new trends. Nope. 
I stare from the sidelines at how others make them cute and I stick to the classics. I can do classics.

So lately I have been trying to jazz up my outfits a little so here we go.

I apologize for my picture taking skills in advance.
Dress:  Nordstrom Rack- Max Studio 
Jacket: Gap
Scarf: Aunt made it 
Boots: Similar

Jacket: Nordstrom Rack
Pants: JCrew Chino Pants
Shoes: Adrienne Vittadini
Necklace: Francescas
** Also in this picture you can't see but I made an attempt at the sock bun!**

So no worries. My daily fashion posts aren't going to take over the blog. But it was fun to try and put something a little different together. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday.. Link up:)

So being the foodie that I am, Tamara and I decided to start a link up for all the other foodies or want to be foodies out there to get some new recipe ideas!!!

Helping us spread the word are a few of our favorite bloggers!
Check out their blog for some new recipes and next week you can participate in the first link up!

One of my personal favorites is Shrimp and Grits. If you've never had it before its a Southerner's dreams.

(serves 2)

8ounces shrimp
6 pieces of bacon
1 small tomato
4 green onions
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon thyme
 Cheddar cheese

Cook your Grits.
 I didn't use instant grits so they take about 20 minutes which allows you to prepare the rest of the meal. Generally for two people you would use 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of grits but follow whatever your package says.
Cook your bacon and then dice it along with your tomato and green onion.
Drain any bacon fat and in the same pan cook the shrimp with a little salt and pepper.
When the shrimp are about 3/4 of the way done add the chicken stock, tomato, green onion, bacon and thyme.
Cook until Shrimp is done.
In a bowl place half your grits a handful of cheese and half of your shrimp mixtures and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy it. 
The best shrimp and grits I have ever had was at Poogan's Porch in Charleston,SC.
 I can't say these are as good but they are a wonderful substitution for when I can't go there.