Friday, April 28, 2017

Five on Friday | 4.28.17

Oof-da it has been quite. the. week. I might even go as far to say the most hectic one I've had yet.. so lets just jump right into Five on Friday where I can give more details.


- ONE -

I woke up at 5am on Wednesday morning to approximately 10 text messages, 7 missed calls from my mom, and a missed call from my friends mom. Instant panic. When I glanced at my text messages there was a picture of a newborn baby with a description "born in the ambulance at 10:38". My dearest friend Chelsea gave brought her sweet daughter Harper Christine into this world via ambulance at 36.5 weeks in the BREECH position in route to the hospital. Apparently she had been laboring all day, and thought it was pre-term contractions. It is quite the story though - and to say she was very very lucky blessed is an understatement. They are doing fine though and sweet baby girl is absolutely beautiful and healthy.

I drove straight to the hospital Wednesday at 6am to be with them, and Andy and I stopped in that night as well. 












- TWO - 

On Sunday I picked up L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara at Target and am super impressed with it. I would even compare it to the amazing They're Real mascara by Benefit. It's that good. And you can't beat an under $10 makeup deal.


- THREE -

Hallelujah I've finished another one of my classes on my journey to getting my Masters. Guys. I am getting so sick of school I can't even express how much. I've got a two week break now, before hunkering down until August. Until then I'll just be repeating, I can do it I can do it I can do it.


- FOUR -

Myself, Andy, and my parents are taking a road trip next week down to Asheville, NC for a wedding. We rented a vacation house through VRBO and it is just gorgeous. Some of my other family will be there as well. This northern gal has never been down south (with the exception of Florida) before, so any and all recommendations of restaurants/things to do are much appreciated!


Hoping to experience these kinda views :)


- FIVE -

Andy and I are dog sitting Axel all weekend at my parents house - so another low key one in the books for us. After this week though, it's more than welcomed :) Also it will give us a little practice for when we get our puppy come August.




Have a good one guys!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Meal Prep Monday

Since it's the start of a new week, I thought I would pop in to share a post regarding meal planning. Now meal planning is a relatively new thing for myself - since the New Year started, Andy and I decided to start prepping lunches for the week on Sundays to make our mornings quicker and easier, and our lunches more nutritious. We have successfully stuck with it every week and have it down to a science. It only takes about an hours worth of time on Sundays and makes a world of difference during the week.



To start off, we purchased these Ziplock sectioned containers from target. They have one large section, a medium one, and a smaller one. I like these but would love to try new brands. These are just the easiest and cheapest option at the moment :)



We use the large section to make our main lunch course. We have tried a bunch of different things, but have found that wraps are honestly the easiest because they require no microwaving. We like to change the flavor of wrap (tomato basil and spinach are our favs), and add chicken (HyVee has the best pre-marinated selection from their deli), cheese, two kinds of veggies (onions, peppers, cucumbers, etc.), and some spinach. In the medium section we put mixed fruit, and in the small section we put some sort of crackers.

Other things we have found that work the best:

Main course: Meatloaf muffins, quinoa burrito bowls, baked chicken, cut steak, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, Brussel sprouts.

Fruit: pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, kiwi, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes

Crackers: wheat thins, Annie's organic bunnies, triscuits

We also bring a separate afternoon snack, which is much needed if I have a workout between lunch and dinner. Typically this is graham crackers with peanut butter (or any sort of nut spread) on it. A cheese stick is good too.

Tips when meal planning:

- Always, always meal prep on Sundays. Set aside an hour or two. This way the food is fresh and ready to grab come Monday morning.

- Figure out what you're going to make before going to the grocery store.

- Prep what you like!! Make your lunch something you look forward to. I'm not a fan of salads for lunch (unless they're Panera salads), so I never meal prep those.. nor do I pack raspberries because I know I'll pick around them.

- We've found the best way to prep veggies for lunch is to steam them. Steam them just under what you normally would so they're still a little tough. They will soften up when you microwave them.

- Make prepping fun! Blast some music, listen to a podcast, catch up with your significant other/child/parent and do it together!

- Designate a specific spot in your fridge for packaged meals.

- If you're making wraps, wrap them up in tinfoil before you place them in your Tupperware.
 It prevents them from becoming soggy.

- If you want to include sauce or dressing, you can buy little disposable containers that come with lids. Never put the sauce/dressing on before, as this will make your food soggy too.

- Switch it up once in awhile! Eating the same thing becomes boring.


Like I said, I'm no expert when it comes to this. But these tips and tricks have worked for us, and have saved a lot of money which is enough motivation for me!




And here's a literal picture of my lunch I just ate - so yummy!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017

We had a beautiful Easter Sunday this year - complete with some amazing, unseasonably warm weather. Buttttt I barely got any pictures so bear with me!

We started the day with Easter mass at the Basilica of Saint Mary. This huge basilica is absolutely breath taking and the service was too.

My parents hosted Easter at their house this year. The spread of food was incredible, complete with ham, smoked ribs, scalloped potatoes, corn souffle, cooked carrots, asparagus, broccoli salad, and fresh rolls.

My mom and grandma did an excellent job on their table (with a little help from me ;) )




For dessert we enjoyed the best homemade carrot cake ever (recipe to come) and individual lemon trifles.



My mom still fills our Easter baskets every year, and I was so excited to get some new coffee to try complete with a ceramic to-go mug, body spray and lotion, a new purse, and these Nike flipflops that I have had my eye on for awhile now. Oh, and candy galore :)


Andy and I like to exchange a little something special too every year. I got him a gift card to buy some new golf clubs, golf balls, and a new coffee cup. He sent me on an egg hunt (he is one creative guy) and I was surprised with new springy colored kitchen supplies that I cannot wait to break in, lots of candy, a Wiccy Magic Muscles bar from Lush, and all of my favorite treats, including a one pound bag of my favorite gummy bears, ever (that I only mentioned to him like once)! He is one in a million..

My sweet god daughter who is growing up way too fast



It was a beautiful day to celebrate Jesus! Now next year's goal, get better at taking family pictures. Whoops!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Five on Friday | 4/13/2017

I finally found some time to conquer a Five on Friday post - yay! Life has been all sorts of busy lately but I had the week off of class so I am thoroughly enjoying the time off. Maybe even a little too much - Andy and I have had two late nights out this week! But they were well worth it.


- ONE -

We've officially gotten sucked into the show 13 Reasons Why on netflix.. it is just that good! It is filled with plot twists which is my kind of show. Not to mention it discusses some very relevant and significant problems in schools these days, which brings much needed attention to the issues.

Also, it's just really interesting! And I'm all about the treats we've been enjoying while watching it :)





- TWO -

We decided to switch things up this Tuesday and check out Bingo at our favorite local restaurant/bar. It was a fun way to spend the evening and Andy walked out with an extra $40! It's only $12 to play all of the games, and it goes for about an hour and a half. I am typically not a gambler but this was fun!




- THREE -

Has anyone tried these V8 energy drinks? I've been hooked! Perfect little pick-me-up during the middle of the day. They have real fruit and vegetable juice and are only 50 calories. I looove pop (soda?) and this helps curb the craving a little.

Enjoying their white grape raspberry flavor (my favorite) while meal prepping for the week!





- FOUR -

Have you gotten your Easter lily yet? I was swooning over Target's selection on Sunday. They looked so healthy and smelled like spring!





- FIVE -

I was off site for some work related things on Tuesday afternoon, and had a ton of lunch options.. Chick-fil-a holds a special place in my heart - and their lemonade, ohhhh my gosh - that stuff gives me life! It's the little things, folks!





Have a good Friday, and a HAPPY EASTER!!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Workin' it Wedneday - Spring Cleaning

Linking up with Shay and Erika today for Workin' it Wednesday! This week's topic is Spring Cleaning! And there's no secret that a clean house/desk/car/everything makes me a happy happy girl. I can't stand clutter or messes - I can 100% say that I love cleaning. Does that make me weird?? Probably.



I can't think of many things that bring me as much happiness as blasting some music, opening all the windows, and mega cleaning every inch of my place. Growing up, I always helped my mom clean and purge around the house. She taught me the importance of a clean and organized space. My mom would always light new candles and fill candy dishes with new treats every time she cleaned, so I developed that habit too. I also like to splurge on some fresh flowers to make the house seem extra
lovely!



Now I clean throughout the year, typically at least once a week. But for Spring cleaning, I always make a list of random tasks that don't get much attention throughout the year. Things like organizing the tupperware cabinet, going through my whole closet and tossing or donating things I don't wear anymore, cleaning the garbage disposal/dishwasher/oven, reorganizing the pantry and fridge, etc. I post this list on my fridge so I see it everyday, and cross off things as I accomplish them.

Now for my personal Spring Cleaning tips...


Look for Target Deals..  If you have their CartWheel app on your phone (I highly recommend this app - it has saved me tons of money already), they post weekly deals. I think back in February they had $15 off a purchase of $50 worth of cleaning supplies. Yeah - I took advantage of that one ASAP. Cleaning is much more enjoyable with new, fresh smelling products and supplies.

Tackle one chore a day... If I find myself bored while waiting for dinner to cook, instead of turning on the TV I try to check out my list and see if I can accomplish anything in the amount of time I have. On Sunday I had 10 minutes before I had to head to the grocery store, so I went outside and gave the deck a nice sweeping. It was so quick and made a huge difference.

Don't be afraid to throw/donate things.. If it doesn't bring you joy or have a specific purpose - get rid of it. There's nothing worse than unnecessary clutter!

Reward yourself.. Whether it be a new decoration you've had your eye on, or some new shorts for summer. You deserve it!

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Spring Baby Shower

My friend Emily and I hosted a baby shower this weekend for our best friend Chelsea who is expecting a sweet baby girl in May! We had so much fun planning, organizing, and putting together this event. The theme was simply spring - lots of tulips, pinks, greens, and corals, and burlap. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

I'm super bummed I didn't get a picture of the actual food. We had the most delicious croissant sandwiches, 5 different kinds of salads, assorted bags of chips, a veggie tray, and a relish tray.






Our games included Baby Price is Right, Guessing the amount of Hershey kisses in a jar, and a baby animal guessing game. They were all simple, and required little participation :)










I couldn't get enough of our dessert table. We had chocolate covered strawberries, mini fruit pizzas, caramel bars, lemon bars, an adorable baby fruit platter, and some custom cookies!





For drinks we served a cherry pineapple punch, coffee, and water.









For party favors we put together small bags of popcorn with a "Ready to Pop" sticker on them and a pink bow tied.


The hostesses and beautiful mother-to-be!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cucumber Fizz

I've been trying my hand at more "fun" drinks lately and have yet to be disappointed. I dubbed this one Cucumber Fizz (creative, I know) - it is a perfect mix of sweet, fresh, and light. If you like cucumbers, you have to give this a shot! I can see us making this in big batches for summer get-togethers.






Cucumber Fizz

1-2 oz cucumber flavored vodka (I like the Prairie brand)
1 1/2 oz gingerale
1 oz simple syrup
Freshly squeezed lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Give a few hard shakes. Pour into glass and top with tonic water. Garnish with cucumbers or limes (or both!).