Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve!

I can't believe Christmas Eve is already here! Seems like just yesterday we were talking about Thanksgiving, Halloween, or the semester starting... I mean really, where does the time go? Oh, right. I guess this means I'm getting old.

Well in the spirit of Christmas I thought I would share a couple things from my wish list, that I most likely will not receive...but can hopefully one day find their way into my possession!

I've wanted a KitchenAid mixer for a while now. I absolutely love this yellow color! I guess at some point I will have to bite the bullet and just buy myself one, but until then I will fantasize about receiving one as a gift or just a free one in general. ;)

This next item will most likely not make much sense to some of you, however it is near and dear to my heart. You're probably wondering why I do not already own this item. Well, it is with great sadness that I have to say I basically can't.

Wes Welker is my favorite NFL player and I would very much like to have his jersey. The problem is the men's sizes are super huge, and I'm most definitely not tucking in a jersey! I tried on a kid's and it fit perfectly, however Welker's jersey is only available in mesh form in the kids, not poly. DOH! So, you see my dilemma here?! I'm hoping that after this season more will be available... We shall see!

I'm about to go make some cinnamon rolls with mom for tomorrow morning and then watch some football and probably play some scrabble with the fam. Hope you're having a great Christmas Eve and a very Merry Christmas tomorrow!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Time :)

I just love the holidays! I mean really, twinkle lights, glitter everywhere, cheery Christmas music playing in every store, hot chocolate, beautiful Christmas trees everywhere you look, cozy nights watching old movies or reading a book... the list goes on and on and I mean really if you can't find just one single thing you don't like about the holidays, there has got to be something wrong with you.

So, in the spirit of the holidays, here are a few things I've done recently to get into (or spread) some Christmas cheer!

I made these little numbers to give out as treats for the peeps at work.
I don't really know what call them, I just saw a picture of them online and decided to make them. Super simple! Just take the waffle pretzels (small square ones) and spread them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then you just place a Hershey Kiss in the center of each pretzel and bake them for about 4-6 minutes at 170 degrees. As soon you remove them, press Christmas M&M's on top. You can let them stand for a while to cool or place the tray in the fridge for about 20 minutes and they'll firm up instantly. I packaged them in clear plastic party bags and tied them with Christmas ribbon and an ornament. I didn't take a picture of any, sorry. I thought they were pretty good, not near as great as the puppy chow I usually make, but good none the less.

That same weekend my mom and I made Christmas cookies! :)
Well, she makes the cookies and I do the decorating. This year I wanted to have more colors, so I played artist and mixed some food coloring up and made purple icing too, it turned out to be my fav! Making Christmas cookies is one of my favorite things to do every year, for those of you who aren't big bakers, you can always buy frozen sugar cookie dough or one of the mixes where you add water/eggs etc. I've used both methods before in college and we still had a blast and they tasted just fine ;)

My friend Candy had been a busy little elf these days making all kinds of garlands and wreaths for her house, friends, and coworkers! She surprised me with a wreath last week as a gift for my mom, it's super cute! She decorated it with ornaments, lights, and this beautiful material that reflects the lights. 

Last week I also made a gingerbread house. I LOVE making gingerbread houses! Usually there's a group of us making them together but this year I did mine on my own, I think it still turned out ok. It's just a kit from Target - I don't go too crazy and have to make my own gingerbread or anything that's insane! 

Thursday was our department Christmas party. This year instead of renting one of the buildings from campus, the party was held at one of our faculty member's houses. Rather than having a caterer, we did it potluck style and it turned out pretty well. I made pasta salad, which of course I forgot to take a picture of. It was pretty yummy and super easy to make! 

1 box Rotini Pasta (I used plain, colored are fine too, bowtie also work great too)
1/4 lb deli pepperoni
1/4 lb deli hard salami
2 containers olives
shredded parmesan cheese
italian dressing
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
3 tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 minced garlic cloves

The first thing I did was make a marinade for the olives. The olives I purchased came in a resealable container (not a jar) but a tupperware would work fine too. Drain the olives and then sprinkle them with the thyme, rosemary, black pepper, garlic, and EVOO. Seal the container and shake. Shake some more. And then when you think you're done, give it another shake just to make sure the olives are good and coated. Let the olives sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 5 days. I let mine sit over night and they tasted delish!  The next step is obvs to cook the pasta. Since this was for work and I didn't want to be running behind, I cooked my pasta the night before and did a light cover of Italian dressing (so the noodles didn't stick) and kept it in the fridge overnight. When you're ready assemble the entire pasta, cut the pepperoni and salami into strips and toss into the pasta with the olives and sprinkle with a handful of cheese. Using a large spoon, mix that baby up! Give it a taste, if you think it needs it, add more Italian dressing. I usually add a lot of extra dressing to mine, however since I marinated the olives this time I didn't want to over power their flavor, so I didn't add to much extra - that's all in your hands ;) The pasta salad was a big hit at the party, and it's so easy!

I also made these little appetizers for the party. I just used store bought toasties and pipped some herb cream cheese onto them and sprinkled bacon on top. The herb cream cheese is a secret recipe, sorry ;) But you can experiment with your own variations, the possibilities are endless!
Please excuse the "in the refrigerator" picture hehe ;)

Also, this weekend the Bearkats clinched their first ever FCS National Championship birth! I'm so proud of them! I went to the tailgate Friday and then came home to watch the game, it was just too cold for me, guess that means I'm getting old... I'm super pumped for the game January 7th! Get ready Candy, I'm already planning all kinds of stuff to make for our viewing party hahaha!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Giving Back.

It's already December?! Oh-Em-Geee!

Hopefully you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday, whether you were with family, friends, alone, or volunteering. My holiday time started the Saturday before Thanksgiving when I joined several friends and their church to deliver Thanksgiving box meals to families in need. It's really a great thing the church is doing! Donations are made in the weeks prior to that Saturday of non-parishable Thanksgiving meal items and frozen turkeys are kept as well. Everything is put into boxes based on the number of people in the family. Essentially, each family will receive a turkey, 1-2 bags of rolls (depending on the number of people in the family) and then canned veggies (ex: green beans, corn, cranberry sauce etc), a bag of potatoes, and 1-2 frozen pies (again depending on the number of family members). This year, the church had an excellent turnout in both donations of food and delivery drivers! It was great! I hope the church is able to keep this tradition alive and continue to increase the volume as well. :)

On Thanksgiving day, my sister and I made quite a bit of food and took it up to the station so the officers who were on duty could have Thanksgiving dinner too.  They really appreciated it, and I'm sure it was much better than the drive-thru or whatever they were planning on eating during their shift ;)

Let's try to remember to give back what we can this holiday season, even if it's in donations of time or goods! Hope your holiday season is off to a great start!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

one of my favorite things

Obviously, there are have been many great/important inventions throughout history, but let's be real, one of the most awesome of recent years has to be the digital video recorder. That's right, your DVR. After having one, I could never not have one again! It's so convenient! The only downside to the DVR is that I'm sure in the end it makes me watch more tv than before, but since the shows are recorded they're not watched all in the same week- so really I think the time thing balances itself out, right? 

Since it's Sunday and two of my fav shows are on tonight (along with one of my greatest loves, Sunday night Football- did I mention how much I love this DVR?!) I'm going to give you my top three series that are set to record on my DVR.

3. Dexter.

For those of you who live under a rock, Dexter is a serial killer who makes his home on Showtime. I rented the first three seasons and watched them over a boring summer weekend. That's right, I said WEEKEND. It's. That. Good. I purchased Showtime specifically for Dexter. He's an awesome guy! I know what you're thinking- serial killer? awesome? He only kills bad people. He works for Miami Metro PD with his sister Deb (who is also one of my other fav characters). This is definitely a show that gets better with age, season 6 just started a few weeks ago and I'm thinking this is the best one yet!

2. Sons of Anarchy. 

This. Show. Is. Ah-mazing. Kurt Sutter is a genius! I really don't see how he comes up with this stuff week in and week out. It's unreal. Sons of Anarchy is centered around a motorcycle club in California who do all kinds of stuff like run guns for the IRA, back a porn studio, help organize community picnics for children (where one of the members plays Elvis dress-up with the kids), and drug running with a cartel. Plus they have family drama with girls, kids and old club history. I know what you're thinking, this sounds ridiculous! And it is... Ridiculously awesome! Trust me on this one. I do not know one person I've told about this show who has come back with a negative reaction. Even my sister, who was against it for several years has jumped on the bandwagon! 

And finally, for #1 - it's really a tie between SONS and the following but since this next gem is much newer I decided to move it to the head of the pack for now to see how it plays out. Hopefully this wasn't a horrible move.

1. The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead premiered last year on Halloween, with a small season of about 7 episodes. I didn't initially watch it. I'm definitely not a zombie kind of girl. I enjoy some scary movies and vampires and such, but zombies have always scared the bejesus out of me. Seriously, I Am Legend gave me nightmares. But, I kept hearing good things about this show. My brother-in-law told me what sold him on in (something that happens in the first 10 mins of episode 1) and I decided to check it out. And by check it out, I mean wake up super early on a beautiful Sunday morning with the sun shining and birds chirping to watch episode one around 9am. It wasn't too bad, so I watched the next 3 episodes that were available on demand immediately after. I was hooked. Season 2 premiered a couple weeks ago and even though nothing major has happened yet, I'm digging it. I think they're building for something big! You'll be happy to know it's really not that scary. I watch it Sunday nights when it airs (unless it conflicts with one of my teams playing). Even though these zombies are definitely more disgusting than the ones from Will Smith's movie I don't find them scary or anything like that. There definitely a few times when I look away from fleshy grossness, but that's just because it's gross not scary haha! I think anyone could really handle this show and you should definitely check it out! Since the first season was so short, you could be caught up pretty quickly. I highly recommend trying this one out! :)

What do you record? What are your fav shows?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Homemade Pinwheels

Here's the recipe for the appetizer (if you want to call it that) that I made for Candy's Labor Day BBQ.

I decided to try something new, rather than just buy the yummy frozen pinwheels at the lovely Walmart. I found a recipe online for homemade pinwheels using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and I modified it a little. I decided to make bacon, cheddar, and jalapeno pinwheels and then also went for plain cheddar and bacon ones too. So, I did half and half basically.

I bought 4 tubes (cans, whatever you want to call them) of the Pillsbury Creations Dough, rather than Crescent Rolls since the sheets aren't perforated. Each tube makes 8-12 pinwheels depending on how you slice them.

I chopped up 2 fresh jalapenos. Make sure they're seeded, or deseeded. I can never remember which way it is.

Take the seeds out. Yeah, that's it.

Fry up some bacon, I essentially used a whole package - but I was making extra so you could get by with less. For the cheese, I went with Sargento's Mild Cheddar annnnd I totally cheated and bought the already shredded kind.

Eh, it's faster, cleaner, and basically much easier.

So, you take one roll of the dough (if you're using multiple tubes, keep the others in the fridge until you're ready - it'll help keep the dough from sticking to your fingers or the counter) and lay it out on the counter, pushing the edges out to make sure it's a rectangle and not some sort of space man circle.

Sprinkle your cheese, jalapenos, and bacon. I added a little extra cheese on top - who doesn't like cheese?!

Roll up the dough, cinnamon roll style, and slice off the wheels. I cut mine at about 1 inch. That's a pretty good size for keeping the contents of the wheel from falling out while in transport to the baking sheet. It will also make biscuit size pinwheels.

Place them on a baking sheet you've sprayed down with Pam (or the cooking spray of your choice) and bake them at 350* for about 10-13 minutes depending on your oven and the pan you're using. Mine were done at 12.5 minutes flat.

After tasting the first batch, I realized the Pillsbury Creations dough didn't taste exactly the same as the Crescent Roll dough. It wasn't a buttery, flaky crust! So, I improvised and drizzled a teensy tiny bit of melted butter over the top of each one as they came out of the oven. This step is essential, as it makes them taste SO MUCH better and who doesn't love a little unhealthy butter added to their holiday weekend treat? ;)

In true fashion of my non picture taking self lately, I forgot to take some good pics of the pinwheel making process. I have two from George (my iphone). So yeah, don't judge the pics.

I thought they were pretty darn tasty! I also think they would be excellent with eggs for breakfast. Or with sausage and cheese rather than bacon. The possibilities are endless! If you try your own version, let me know what ingredients you use and how they turn out!


Thank Goodness for 3 Day Weekends!

I just love long weekends, especially when they involve Monday. Not only do you get the awesomeness of having a 3 day weekend, but there's also the added bonus of a short work week until the next weekend! Hopefully you all took advantage of having the long weekend (so sorry for those who had to work Monday :/ ) and had some fun. 

I went to the football game Friday night with Candy to cheer on Caitlyn. We lost, but it was still fun - and the weather was great! The cool air/breeze was just blowing in that night so it was the perfect time to take in an outdoor game. 

On Saturday, Candy and I went to the 'land of the woods' - we were on the prowl for a good camera she could use to take action shots of Caitlyn cheering. After several hours at the mall and Best Buy, we decided it wasn't worth it... more research needed to be done. On the way home, we stopped at Chipotle in Conroe (LOVE this place!) Seriously, if you haven't tried Chipotle you are missing out!

Just typing those two sentences has me wanting to eat it for supper tonight!

Since we, well Candy, didn't purchase a camera, we started researching online and thought we had come up with a great camera choice; so we gave up the search and started watching the OU game with Candy's hubs - one of his former players is now a Sooner!

He's pretty good, and will probably end up in the NFL. I'm just saying, he's kind of a big deal.


So, on Sunday we were having a BBQ at Candy's house. She was supplying the brisket (and her mama brought ribs and sausage) so I brought an appetizer-ish item (recipe to follow in later post) and had my mama bake some snickerdoodles.

Because let's face it, her's Are. The. Best. I could literally eat the entire batch in one day.


We had a great time hanging out on the deck in the cool moderately warm air, eating great food, and having yummy drinks. We also watched the TAMU game that night. All in all an excellent Labor Day celebration. 

Monday it was actually even cooler, don't go too crazy it was just in high 80's- but considering the 5,000 degree weather we've had for months now, it was nice and refreshing. I met Heather and some peeps at the park near the city pool and attempted frisbee golf for the first time in my life. It was actually pretty fun! 

I was skeptical as to how much fun it would really be since I hadn't thrown a frisbee in say, 20 years. I also didn't realize how similar to golf it actually is! But since I love golf, it made it more enjoyable. I'm going to pick up a couple frisbees (special ones are required, not just the kind we tossed around when we were 5) at Academy this weekend. I've been told they're about $6-8 each and with the local course being free, I consider that a good investment. I love cheap, outdoor hobbies! :)

We didn't get to finish the entire course as it was fairly windy and for reasons beyond my understanding the City built the course with a rather large gully running beside several holes. The wind made it quite difficult to keep the frisbee away from the treacherous abyss. But, like I said it was pretty fun and I will definitely be buying a couple frisbees and playing more often.

Hope you had an excellent holiday weekend and were able to get out and do something fun!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Craftiness!

I had so much fan making the pillows in the previous post for Jo and her hubs that I've been in super crafty mode! I've been contemplating creating an Etsy page and selling my stuff, and I still haven't decided on that one yet...

Etsy is a huge step and requires either a large stockpile or a super speedy creation process - that is IF you get any orders. I've come to realize that the site is basically overstocked with a lot of the same stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love Etsy and will continue to check it out, but I'm worried that it would be rather hard to break into that arena. Possibly the equivalent of selling Mary Kay in a small town where 30 people already sell it kind of thing. Soooo, in light of my realizing this, I'm making baby steps and taking aim and buyers through this here blog, facebook, twitter, and good 'ol fashioned word of mouth from those people I like to call friends.

Hopefully you've already seen the pillow in the previous post, if not, UH scroll down and check'er out!

Sticking with the crafty theme, I need to add some pics from a baby gift I made and sold to a friend back in July. If you'll recall, way back in April I made this mobile for my friend Amy and her lovely baby Everleigh.

Doesn't Miss Caitlyn make an excellent Vanna White?

This is the mobile (along with a couple outfits) all packaged up, ready for the shower! I just loved the super cute basket that Candy let me use to wrap it all up in :)

Along these same lines, Amanda wanted a mobile for her gift at a shower in July so I made another one. She also brought me some baby fabric she picked out and made a couple burp cloths with the material. I made this mobile a bit different. I used the same size butterflies (as opposed to varying sizes like the previous pics) and also added some "crystal jewels" at the bottom of each strand for extra weight since the butterflies were smaller. I really like how this one turned out too!

These was taken at about 9pm, so the lighting in the house was pretty terrible. The only shots I could get to make the butterflies pop were in front of the ugly beautiful brown door here.

I was trying to show the little sparkling jewels in this one. Eh, maybe it kind of sorta worked haha!

Since the mobiles are rather hard to transport, I worked gift wrapping into the price and had it all packaged up for Amanda the night before the shower.

Here's everything all ready to go. The shower color was pink, so since I hate adore the color pink that's what I wrapped the goodies up in!

Anyone that might be interested in ordering a mobile, burp cloth, or pillow feel free to contact me! There will be varying pillow options coming soon, so keep checking back for updated pics of the pillows you'll be able to buy.  I have numerous color available for mobiles and can do varying options other than butterflies. The pricing obviously varies depending on what you're looking for so just let me know what you would like and I can get a price to you. For those of you who do not live locally, I can ship items to you as well!

You can leave a comment with inquiries, email me at klg2525 AT yahoo DOT com, facebook me, send a tweet, call or text, send a smoke signal, a message in a bottle...

Basically what I'm getting at is feel free to contact me in any manor you are able to!

As I finish the projects I'm currently working on, I will post pics of those as well. Until then, spread the word - I'd love to get some of my stuff out there!

Hope you're having a great week. Happy Hump Day!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Project Reveal.

Remember when I told you about a project I was going to be working on and gave absolutely not details about it? Well, I finished it last weekend and delivered it last night, so I can now tell you about!

One of my oldest and dearest friends Jo, and her cooler than cool hubby, relocated to a much closer area - which is Ah-Mazing! I wanted to do something nice for them to commemorate the occasion and was having trouble deciding what to do. I didn't want to purchase any decorative accent pieces (ie wall hangings or vases etc) since the hubs is an artist and has decorated their space in a fairly rad manner. The obvious place to go from there would be a plant, eh BORING! Having visited several weeks ago and got a feel for the colors and decor I decided my best bet would be to make something. I settled on decorative pillows since I knew Jo had been looking for some. However, since I didn't want her to purchase any before I could complete the project and get it to her, I had to tell her I was making pillows. I know, I know it kind of ruined the surprise, but I didn't show her the fabric or anything so there was still somewhat of a shock value.

The first step was finding some super awesome material. I searched for several hours at numerous stores one day and ended up actually buying some upholstery fabric at Hobby Lobby of all places.

Before I share the photo let me just say, I seem to be relying a lot on my iphone camera rather than actually taking out my real camera.

Therefore, I apologize for the less than stellar quality/lighting/angles/overall goodness.

Here's the fabric, straight outta the shopping bag.

If you can't tell, it's black with a kind of tan-ish pattern. The pattern itself is actually flowers, but I love them because they look like starbursts :)

After talking to Jo and telling her my plan, she mentioned that she really needed pillows for her bedroom too. Since her bedding is dark, I decided to make the pillows larger than previously planned so she could use them in either the living room or bedroom.

First things first, I laid out the fabric and cut it into 4 matching panels (each measuring 21"x 21"). I then pinned the edges, right sides together. I reeeeeally need to purchase a serger - hopefully soon! But, since I don't have one yet, I did a double seem for extra strength (hence the 21", the pillow itself is 20"). I also backstitched on every corner to ensure major stability. I left about 3" open on one side of each pillow, this is where I will turn it right side out.

Here's what they looked like at this point. (They look brown because they're inside out!)

Before turning the material right side out, I pressed open the seems so the pillow would have better shape once stuffed. So, once they're pressed open, turn the fabric right side out by carefully pulling it through the 3" opening.

They should now look like this!

Now, comes the fun part. Stuffing. Fiberfill. Yay. Since these bad boys were rather large, I had to use 3 16 lbs bags of fiberfill on each pillow. It actually took me longer to stuff the pillows than it did to complete the entire previous section! It's not as bad as it sounds, just tedious. I planted myself on the coffee table and watched some baseball while stuffing and stuffing and stuffing.

Did I mention it took 3 bags for each pillow?

No? Ok, just checking.

Once they pillows are nice and plush with fiberfill, it's time to close up the 3" opening with a good 'ol needle and thread. I actually went over the opening twice to ensure stability, especially since I did a double hem on the rest of the edges.

Here's the finished product!

Again, I've become a horrible picture taker and forgot to get a shot of both pillows together.

I had a ton of fun making these for Jo and the Hubs and already decided on my next project! You'll have to wait and see for that one as well because I'm thinking of gifting it too ;)

Hope you've all had a great week and are planning a super awesome weekend! I'm heading to watch Candy's daughter cheer at a high school football game tonight. LOVE the Friday night lights - can't wait for some fall weather to go with it! :)


Friday, August 19, 2011

Sacrifice Saturday

Since I was late with last week's post, I decided to be uber punctual this weekend and post a day early.

On Wednesday, mom and I went down south in search of provisions for my new project. We stopped at several stores along the way, the second of which being Joann's Fabric. I had an AH-mazing coupon and was really hoping to find what I needed there, but alas, no such luck. I did however find a cute little family that was shopping for a ton of fabric and gave them the fantabulous coupon. So, even though I had not found any of the supplies I needed after 2 hours of searching, I felt good about sharing with those peeps. (More about the project to come after the weekend)

I've been doing the usual daily/weekly chores of recycling and whatnot and realized while at Walmart yesterday we need reusable bags. I have a large, canvas Fossil Eco bag which I take on shopping trips to the mall or just for quick errands at Kroger. However, I do not have a set of reusable grocery bags for actual grocery shopping. Mom was with me at Walmart too, and we had a discussion in the car about how we BOTH need reusable bags (although she's a little hesitant to commit to using them religiously). The big task at hand was finding ones we liked that were machine washable and not $20+ each. I remembered one of my fav ladies Sophia Bush did a blog post about eco friendly gift ideas around the holidays, so I searched her site and found the post. She listed two brands, one of which was super cute and definitely looked the part of an eco friendly grocery bag but was rather pricy. The second option was terrific as well and perfectly priced! 

Let me introduce you to BAGGU. These guys are amazing! They're made of ripstop nylon so they are not going to stretch out/tear and after you send them through the washing machine they will dry extremely fast hanging on the line. The bag itself comes in a teeny tiny little 5" by 5" pouch, so you don't have to lug around a bunch of empty bags before you start your shopping trip! The little pouches will fit nicely in your purse/handbag or even a pocket for small trips. The Baggu itself opens up to be 15" wide by 25" high by 6" deep. About 5 Baggus can pack up an entire cart filled with groceries! The best part is, they can each hold up to FIFTY POUNDS! Now, I don't know what kind of groceries you're buying, but I know I would not need that much weight in each bag. But it would most definitely be useful for many other things, the possibilities are endless. They come in a variety of colors and have several patterns as well if you want to be a little different (I love the polka dot and stripped patterns). As I mentioned earlier, they are perfectly priced. One regular Baggu is $8, however to encourage everyone to use the bags more often, the price goes down as the order increases. If you order 6 or more Baggus, they're only $6.50 each! The company also has a great shipping option - standard flat rate shipping within the U.S. is only $5, and you will receive the Baggu within 5 business days. For those of us who know we want several bags, they offer the "X5" pack. The "X5" comes with 5 Baggus in a nice little drawstring pouch. I think this is a great way to always have reusable bags with you, just leave the pouch (and the 5 Baggus inside it) in your trunk, that way no matter what your plans are, you will always have reusable bags handy. 

Other than the regular Baggu, they also make several other sizes and models that very in price, color, and  pattern. I will definitely be getting one of the Baby Baggus, which is only $6, because it will make an excellent lunch sack. Baby Baggu would also work great for a last minute trip to the store for the 3 items you forgot to buy misplaced for tonight's supper.  What's even more great about Baggu is they really encourage local business, you can call their 800 number (or send an email) and they will be happy to tell you any stores in your area that sell Baggu so you can support local vendors. I called in yesterday and spoke with Joe (who answered right away, no "Press 3" business here!) who was extremely nice, and found out there's a store in Houston who carries them. I've sent my pal Melissa on a mission to check them out this weekend so I can decide if I want to order or just go visit the store. Baggu also offers a recycling program. Once your bag is "old" you can return it for recycling and they will give you a credit toward a new Baggu! 

And did I mention they are machine washable?! So, after you bring home all that meat you're going to grill up you can just throw that bad boy in the washer and not worry about germs.

Sophia is the one who introduced me to the Water Bobble, which I absolutely LOVE, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to dig Baggu as well. I will definitely keep you posted once I have one in my possession. But in the meantime, you should at least check out their website and hopefully get a couple Baggus of your own! 

Let me know what you think!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Love Veggies!

There are a lot of people out there who will not eat their veggies, for reasons beyond me. Veggies are so yummy! There are so many ways to go about obtaining your daily requirments, I actually think it's fun! ;)
Since I've been on a huge vegetable kick lately, some might think I've tried the vegetarian angle again, I'm going to post the first ever food/recipe section on this here blog.

The pills I've been taking for my eye make me SUPER hungry, as in I imagine my hunger is exactly how a preggo woman feels just before meal time. In the hopes of not becoming a cow with these meds, I've been trying to eat extremely healthy the past few weeks. This entails cooking up a ton of veggies at the beginning of each week and using them for lunch/dinner throughout the rest of the week. This typically involves roasting some of my fav veggies in the oven, after tossing them with olive oil and select seasoning. I then eat them over steamed brown rice and sometimes add a dash of Salt Lick BBQ Sauce (if you haven't tried SL BBQ, you are most definitely missing out!).

Last night I had a hankering to try something different, here's what I did:

I took a good amount of broccoli, carrots, asparagus, and onion and cut it all into bite size (about 1" pieces) and placed them in a large mixing bowl. Then, take a bottle of olive oil (evoo, whichever) and do a couple of passes over the veggies, and then add your seasoning - I used only cracked pepper last night. Lay the veggies out on a jelly roll pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray and back at 425* for about 25 minutes, stirring them halfway through.

Next, I decided on a whim to make homemade salsa for a topping. After rummaging through the cabinets I decided there were some ingredients that could possibly make an OK salsa. I used a can of tomatoes that had green chilis in it, along with a can of Rotel. (Pour all juice from cans!) I added a small handfull of chopped onion, about a tablespoon of cilantro, and 3 garlic cloves. All this went into my trusty mini-prep mixer and was all blended together. I then added a little lime zest and lime juice and did a quick spin of the mixer again. I was pleansantly surprised that my little "made-up" salsa actually had some spice and was pretty darn tasty! Some of you know, I'm definitely not a chunky salsa kind of girl so if you are, this version is not for you.

The third and basically final step in the process was the black beans. Over the last few weeks I've been on a huge edimame kick, but wanted to try black beans this week - hence the salsa idea. I've never made black beans before and my favorite ones to eat are from Chipotle so I decided to go with a cilantro/lime black bean mix. I just used a can of black beans (I hear cooking the real thing takes forever). In order to add my extra flavor to the canned beans, I sauteed half a large onion in some EVOO with a little cracked pepper and then added the beans, 1 cup of cilantro, zest and juice from 1 lime. I brought the mixture to a good simmer and then turned the fire off and let it sit while the veggies finished roasting.

I use frozen brown rice that comes in microwavable bags, that way I can heat it up easily and then divide the leftovers into single serving containers for future use. Once everything is ready, just scoop the rice onto a plate, top with veggies, and then cover with salsa.

I know what you're thinking.

Salsa on broccoli, carrots, and asparagus?!

Trust me though, it's really good!

I have one picture, next time I'll try to take pics throughout the process, but it's not a super nice picture. In fact, it's rather bad and doesn't really do the meal any justice. Also, please excuse the paper plate and platsic fork - I was tired from working out and ready to eat my food so I just grabbed the first thing available ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Music Monday!

Late, again. You wouldn't know I'm a super punctual person by these last few posts...

Emily Browning - Sweet Dreams

Roger Waters ft. Van Morrison & The Band - Comfortably Numb

Adele - Rumor Has It

Fun New Project!

This is going to be super vague and probably annoying to many of you, but oh well, you'll just have to get over it! I have a new project I'm really excited about starting. I can't really go into any details as the recipient of this project is most likely reading this blog post. Soooo, one of my really awesome friends is going to be gifted said project in the near future and I'm totally stoked to get this show on the road! Tomorrow morning Dottie (my car) is heading to Discount Tire for some new shoes and then after work my mom and I are heading down south to gather the materials for this project. At the moment I'm really hoping for Option #1, as long as I can find the right stuff this shouldn't be a problem. If not, then Option #2 will come into play. Either way, I'm super excited and can't wait to start work! I'll post a sneak peak of the supplies later in the week and see if anyone can guess what I'm doing. Other than that, you'll have to wait until my buddy receives this project before any finished photos are posted.

So yeah, super vague and annoying. Don't you just hate when people give a tiny bit of information and then leave you hanging? :P

slacking this week...

I'm definitely lagging this week with posts, oops! Last week was a little busy. I spent Tuesday afternoon filling out and dropping off an application for a second job at my gym. I'm actually really excited about this idea and hoping I get a call soon! The gym was recently sold and the new owners are making some great changes that are going to really benefit the club. The first order of business which I'm really excited about is a cycling club. I CANNOT wait for the weather to cool off a bit so I can start riding again... When you can feel the heat rising off the pavement on your legs as you pedal, it's just too damn hot. I think this venture would be awesome since it would not only put some extra cash in the pocketbook, but it would also let me continue to do the things I greatly enjoy every afternoon/weekend.

Wednesday was a much needed hair day. I left work at 12:00 and hauled it down to The Woodlands for my 1:00 appointment with Raymond. I love him! He got me all colored up and trimmed with a little flare in the front (face framing). I had some delish Freebirds for lunch, at 3:00, and then headed back home. I spent Wednesday evening making cake balls. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of eating a cake ball, They. Are. Delish. One of the girls from work was having a birthday lunch Thursday so I made her fav flavor *chocolate* for the cake balls. I also spent late Wednesday night getting ready for an interview on Thursday. We shall see what comes of it!

Thursday was a crazy day at work, but Candy, Dana, and I had a fun lunch in the conference room with pizza, cake balls, and some serious chatting. All in all, I think it was a good birthday celebration for a work lunch! Friday was crazy with errands, and then Saturday I got to go visit two of my favorite people - Jolene and Daniel! I saw some projects they're working on (which are turning out fabulous!) and can't wait to see the finished products. We had a yummy lunch at Chipotle (LOVE!) and then headed to Daniel's parent's house for some pool, relaxing, friends, and food. Jo's parents came down for a while as did my seester and her hubby, Joeann, and couple of Daniel's friends- it was great fun! Daniel cooked up some meat and we just enjoyed the nice (although a little warm) evening. Can't wait to do it again, and more often especially in the fall.

So, I'm sure you're wondering why I am chronicling my week... well, this week's Sacrifice Saturday post is a little lacking because of the busy week/weekend. I know that's not really an excuse, but there ya go. I have been doing my usual recycling and trying to cut back on energy (lights, AC, etc.) but there are no big "I did ____ this week"posts. Sorry! I did finally get to sit down and catch up with Heather and in the midst of gossiping, chatting, and playing with Miss Ellie we did talk about Thanksgiving Meal Deliveries. I'm very happy to report that the church is doing this again and I am most definitely going to assist! She also mentioned a few other things her mama is doing with the church and I am going to try and help out in some way. Obviously Sacrifice Saturday, just like any form of philanthropy, is a constantly evolving scenario and needs constant attention. Hopefully this week brings some new opportunities!

Monday, August 8, 2011

my week in collage

Oldies and Newbies.

The last hour has been filled with a very random collection of music streaming from my laptop as I perused a few of my fav blogs. In case you haven't noticed from last week's Music Monday, I am loving Adele. Here are a couple of the tunes I've been singing along with today:

Adele - To Make You Feel My Love

Florence + The Machine - Cosmic Love

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

The Monkees - Daydream Believer

What have your speakers been blasting lately?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Feed A Child

In case you don't know, I love Twitter. It's like Facebook, but without all the unnecessary stuff. Twitter is also a great medium to get the word out about anything. I follow a few of my fav celebs who use their Twitter power for good (#1 Sophia Bush and #2 Ian Somerhalder). Those of you that use Twitter and actually care about things, should definitely consider following these cool kids. Yesterday Miss Sophia Bush tweeted about the famine going on in the Horn of Africa and added a link to a great way to help the World Food Programme. It's an excellent way for the average person to make a small contribution. Here's how it works, you take a quiz. That's. It. Literally, it takes less than one minute, and I actually did it from my phone! CLICK HERE to take the quiz and feed a child. The quiz is only 5 questions and all they ask at the end is your name and email. The WFP doesn't share you info, they simply send a "thank you" email with a link to share with everyone else. They have also added a nifty link to Twitter and Facebook in the email as well, so if you would like to share the quiz information via one of those routes you can. I hope you all take one minute of your time to participate and help feed some kids in desperate need, and then take one extra minute to pass the link on to any and all people you know.

As for this week's Sacrifice Saturday post, I've been doing some major research all week! I knew it was going to be hard to find things worth while, that also fit into my areas of interest, in this little town, but I had no idea it would be THIS HARD. I do have several plans in the works for future tasks, and am currently working on getting some help from friends or anyone else that would be interested. I will hopefully have more information in the next few weeks. A couple years ago, I helped a friend and a few of her family/church members deliver boxed meals the weekend before Thanksgiving (basically a kit to make dinner for their family). I thought it was great! The recipients of the boxes were so appreciative and it felt amazing giving someone the ability to make a Thanksgiving meal who would not have been otherwise able to do so. I'm not sure if Heather and/or the church will be doing it again this year. I definitely want to! So, I have to get with her and see what the plans are. I really want to get organized with it and try to have a lot more meals than we did two years ago. I will definitely keep you posted on this one!

I'm also thinking about doing something for Halloween. Has anyone ever used it to collect for charity before? I was thinking about collecting canned goods for the Good Shepherd Mission. If you have done anything similar, let me know how it went!

Earlier in the week, I spoke with my good friend Cori about getting involved in the community. Through her work, she is very much involved with child safety - battered women and children especially... Which is amazing! She told me about CASA (CLICK HERE), which is a national organization founded to help children in the foster care system. Please check out their website by clicking the above link! I would loooove to do this, however, since I am currently on the job hunt and not sure if I will be in the area for an extended time (they ask you to be able to commit to a year and half) it's not a good time for me to join CASA. If you have the time and are able, you should definitely look into it!

That's all for this week. Get out. Get involved. Help someone or something!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Who needs two eyes?

As a few of you know, I've been having some vision problems with my left eye. Well, today was my second trip over to see the retina specialist in CStation. yay. Don't get me wrong, I really like him! But, driving an hour to see a doctor is rather annoying- hopefully he can fix me up soon!

For those of you who don't know, I've had a pretty significant blurry spot basically covering the entire left side of my field of vision, in my left eye. Which is all kinds of an annoying hinderance in itself, then add to it the super sensitivity to the bright, shining Texas sun and you basically have a bundle of joy. The blind/blurry spot(s) are caused by a bunch of little inflammation spots in the very back of my eyeball. These spots are putting severe pressure on my retina and therefore causing the spots in the front of my eye. So, I've been taking some super potent meds and apparently the swelling has gone down some, but it will take a lot more time for my vision to return to normal. There are obviously no guarantees that this will fix the problem or that it wont come back, but Dr. K seems pretty positive about this treatment and healing process. We shall see in another three weeks when I head back over to see him again!

I'm sure some of you have your own vision problems, I wear glasses at night for driving (or on lazy days at work!). But, this experience has been just crazy for me. I mean, not being able to basically see out of 1/3 - 1/2 of my eye?! That's just ridiculous! I've been trying to stay positive and not dwell on things like, not being able to go to the pool since the sun is too bright, or having to stop running for fear of tripping and falling (again!). I'm trying to get back to the gym Every. Day. again, but I'm having to stick to the elliptical, which makes me nauseous with the up/down movement and the blurriness. So, hopefully soon I will be able to get back on track! When the fall semester classes start at the HKC, I'm going to start doing yoga a few times a week, and I'm really looking forward to that.

My eyes are still dilated, so I better end this now before my eye and head start hurting. I hope you are all having a great start to the week!


Music Monday!

I know, I know a day late with the Music Monday post... But, it's better than nothing right? ;)

Adele - Someone Like You

Lady Gaga - The Edge of Glory

Jake Owen - Barefoot Blue Jean Night

I've been on a HUGE Christina Perri and Adele binder lately, so I'm sure there will be plenty more from them next week. If you haven't checked out their tunes, you are definitely missing out!

Friday, July 29, 2011

and the winner is... Sacrifice Saturday!

(I'm leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow to watch Candy's daughter Caitlyn perform at a cheer competition and not sure what time we'll be returning, so I'm loading Saturday's post

As you know, I have been wanting to work more on my philanthropy, reading the article about Rachel on Wednesday, and having one of my fav vamps (Ian Somerhalder) testifying in front of Congress today on behalf of some endangered animals, finally sent me over the edge into "do mode".  Before I get into this weeks Sacrifice Saturday deeds, I want to give you a little insight into where I stand on the whole saving the world thing, just so there’s no confusion with these posts. :) 

We all know there are several different categories people fall into when it comes to do-gooding. Tree Huggers, Heartless Bastards, and then there's me, somewhere in between. Obviously, we all have insane visions of the "hipster tree hugger" - some of which are most definitely true! And then there’s the heartless bastard who seems to actually be trying to ruin the world on a daily basis. Most of us average gals and guys fall somewhere in the middle.

Here’s what I do/don’t do on a regular basis, Sacrifice Saturdays will be in addition to these little guys:

I recycle most things I use that are in fact recyclable; bottles, newspaper, regular paper, and if I buy magazines or anything like that those bad boys get recycled as well. I use my awesome Fossil Ecological canvas bag for shopping trips; not just to the grocery store, but Christmas shopping and whatnot as well. I LOVE shower loofah’s that are made with recycled material! They are a tiny bit rougher and leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. I do not have a compost bucket (although I think they are totally amazing!) living in the country affords me the opportunity to simply through my “trash” pieces of fruit, veggies, breads, meats, basically anything except garlic, out for the deer and other cute animals to chow down on. I try to buy organic when possible (although again, small town living makes that hard at times). I’m not able to save in the form of walking to/from places or even biking to the store, country living does have some drawbacks. Annnnnd biking 10 miles to work in 100+ degree Texas weather is not an option, and public transportation here is severely lacking. However, I do have a Honda Civic, which gets great gas mileage! I always turn off lights, TV’s etc. when I leave a room. I turn down the AC before I leave the house so it doesn’t run as often. I do not liter, and can’t stand people that do.

I figure you can get a pretty good grasp on how I feel about things from this list. If you want to know something else please feel free to ask. Now, on to Sacrifice Saturday!

I only came up with the idea of Sacrifice Saturday on Wednesday so hopefully future weeks will include a few more good deeds. A big shout out to Candy for the name suggestion! Here are the deeds of the week:

  1.  Took all plastic bottles and newspapers from the stockpile, aka recycle bins, to the recycle facility.
  2.    Cleaned out some work clothes and made a sizable donation at Elite Repeat. I love making donations here because the items are not only sold to people who really need them, but the proceeds benefit the SAAFE HOUSE – an organization to help battered women and children in the surrounding area.
  3.    I helped mom take some of dad’s old clothes to the COME Center. Which is another organization that resells clothing to underprivileged people in our community.

I believe a little research is needed to delve much further into helping out in this community. You would think that living in a small country getting involved would be super easy, like just walk down the street and see a sign or a person that will point you in the direction of someone or something needing your immediate assistance. This. Is. Not. The. Case. So, these first few weeks will definitely be a bit of an experiment on figuring out how to accomplish my philanthropy goals. Again, feel free to leave any suggestions or awesome deeds you’ve done (especially you small town folk) in the comments! I will totally give you credit, I’m no thief ;)

Hope you all decide to try a little philanthropy in your community as well!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I'm sure many of you have various news outlets you read/check on a daily basis, as do I. My go to's are always the drudge report, google, yahoo, click2houston, and the item for the local flavor. As I was perusing yahoo news earlier this afternoon, I read an amazing story written by Liz Goodwin...

"Nine-year-old Rachel Beckwith didn't live long enough to reach her goal of raising $300 to bring clean water to African villagers. She died in a 13-car accident on Interstate 90 in Bellevue, Wash., last week, the Seattle Times reported. Since then, hundreds of thousands of dollars have flowed into the charity page she set up shortly before her accident, with more than 9,000 people contributing $368,000 to Rachel's cause.
The 9-year-old told family and friends she didn't want presents for her June 12 birthday, only donations to the non-profit Charity Water.
"I found out that millions of people don't live to see their 5th birthday," Rachel wrote. "And why? Because they didn't have access to clean, safe water so I'm celebrating my birthday like never before. I'm asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater projects in developing nations."
Rachel had only raised $220 by the time her birthday came, so she closed the page. But after the tragic accident, Rachel's pastor at Eastlake Community Church, Ryan Meeks, brought the page back up andpublicized it on the church's website. As news of Rachel's cause spread, more and more people found and donated to Rachel's page, many leaving personal comments about how touched they were by her selflessness.
"Thank you for your generous heart and for inspiring such generosity in others," wrote an anonymous donor who gave $45 to the charity. Another donor who left $9 wrote: "Say hello to my Jesse."
Rachel's mother Samantha Paul posted on Monday that she was in "awe" of the flood of support. "In the face of unexplainable pain you have provided undeniable hope," she wrote. "I know Rachel is smiling!"
Rachel was on life support after the accident, and her church is raising money to help the family pay those medical bills here. Rachel's fresh water donation page is here."

This article definitely brought tears to my eyes. At the tender age of 8, Rachel wanted to make a difference in the world; to help people she has never heard of, who live on a completely different continent. I don't know about you, but I know plenty of "grown" adults who wouldn't be able to fathom this concept of selflessness at 25, 30, or 40. Some people are simply born with an undeniable gift to influence and inspire the people around them, as little Rachel obviously was. Through her tragic death she has been able to spread her message to thousands, if not more, and hopefully ignite a spark in everyone who reads her story to get out and do something that benefits someone or something else. 
I truly believe if we all focus a little extra energy on one good deed a day or even week, we would not only feel better as individuals, but our world would be a better place. I'm definitely not trying to get on a soapbox about saving the planet; by world, I mean our individual "worlds" or communities. Little things can most definitely have an impact on the world at large, however immediate benefits from little things (daily deeds as I like to call them) can be seen in your local community. Rachel's story has definitely inspired me. I'm going to focus more on daily deeds for my local area (as well as the same larger organizations I take part in). To accomplish this goal, and hopefully motivate you as well, I'm going to create a weekly post about good deeds/philanthropy that occur during each week - think Music Monday, but with it's own clever title of course. If you have any suggestions you would like to contribute, feel free to leave comments and I will definitely add them to the posts!

Want's, Have's, Need's