This and That

A little bit of this-and-that coming at you on this beautiful Wednesday..

At least, beautiful in Minnesota. I can't stop thinking of all of those poor people affected by Hurricane Harvey. The pictures of people (and children!!) wading in water, and pets left behind are breaking my heart. I read an article regarding a nursing home where 90+ year olds were maneuvering around in water that was up to their chests, and another on a family with four little children who all lost their lives when their van was swept away into a bayou. It makes me feel so incredibly sad and helpless. Families without homes, and babies without formula and diapers. It makes me feel guilty for enjoying the sunshine here.

However, in times like these, it really shows the gracious and extraordinary things people are capable of. Like the man who owns a furniture store who is proving food, water, and a place of rest in his store for victims who have have lost their homes, or the brave individuals out in the flood waters saving trapped animals. People are risking their lives to help this community, with no regards to race, religion, politics, or anything else that we have been told should divide us. While the flood won't cease these conflicts, it's a reminder of what humanity is capable of when we come together - and that is the beautiful thing among all of this destruction and sadness.

Just my two cents.. moving on...

We went on a nice, long walk Monday evening and tried a local ice cream joint - Big Dipper Creamery. We were so impressed by all of their flavor choices! Andy settled on snickers ice cream in a waffle cone, I decided on raspberry-chocolate in a sugar cone, and Bosco got a cup full of whipped cream! Needless to say, it was probably his best day ever.

Andy whipped up some naan pizzas last night - a BBQ chicken one with avocado and buffalo ranch, and a pesto, Mediterranean chicken one. They were awesome! If you've never had homemade pizzas on naan bread, you have to try it!

We're in the process of booking a little getaway to Denver in October! Any and all recommendations of where to go would be lovely. I'm trying to convince Andy that we should rent a car and drive over to Rocky Mountain National Park as it's on my bucket list! We'll see what the verdict on that is...

Wedding Weekend is upon us! I'll be taking a half day tomorrow to get my nails done with the girls and head up to St Cloud where the grooms dinner is. Friday is the wedding and I am so, so excited. It is going to be a beautiful day, and I can't wait to stand by Chelsea's side as she says "I DO!".

Also on the agenda for the weekend is another State Fair trip..

I'll be back Tuesday for a recap! Happy Wednesday, Happy Labor Day, Happy WEEKEND!


Weekend Rewind

We had a really good, relaxing weekend and I'm happy to say that I was able to sleep in until 7:30 both Saturday and Sunday. Sleeping in has been a huge treat these past few weeks. I'm still tired at my desk today though and could have easily slept in another three hours this morning. I blame it on this deary weather we've been experiencing lately.

Friday I went to the MN State Fair with my family and we had so much fun! We had cheesecurds, an eggroll on a stick, the new Pie in the Sky malt, cherry bombs (deep fried licorice with a powdered sugar dusting), and Sweet Martha's Cookies (an absolute must). Andy and I will be going on Sunday and I have another couple things on my list of must-try. Thank God pay day is right before ;)

Saturday we enjoyed our favorite homemade breakfast sandwiches (english muffin with egg whites, turkey bacon, extra sharp cheddar, avocado, and hot sauce) and coffee, and looked into some cruise options for our winter vacation.

I spent the day watching my friends sweet baby girl - and my mom and grandma came over to visit and hold sweet Harper.

Thanks to my mom for capturing this sweet moment. 

Sunday morning Bosco and I were up early (Andy was working all weekend) to clean house. We were both feeling pretty sleepy all morning but I managed to get everything done on my to-do list for the day.

Andy got off work and we treated ourselves to steak for dinner. We also watched a couple episodes of Friday Night Lights which has turned into my favorite. It is the perfect show to watch right now with football season starting back up.

Hope you all had great weekends, xx. 

Five on Friday | 8.25.2017

Can you believe this is the last Five on Friday until SEPTEMBER?! Where in the heck did this year go?? As of September 1st, my mind is immediately in fall mode. I would love to say that I am feeling extremely prepared this year - but I'm not! I am going to be having Andy help me take down our falls bins and going through them next week.. aka figuring out what decorations I'm in need of for this year. Fall decorations are my favorite ones to buy!

ONE // We were so busy this month that I failed to mention our little getaway to County on the River in Prairie du Chien at the beginning of the month. We camped out there with Andy's sister Kali and her boyfriend Justin. We had an absolute blast and got to see a lot of cool artists! We can't wait to go again next year.

TWO // Last Friday we took Bosco to our most favorite restaurant in the world - Stanley's NE. They pride themselves on having a "pawtio" where there are dogs galore. Bosco loved sniffing all the other dogs there and was such a good boy while we ate. After dinner, we dropped Bosco off at home and checked out a cocktail bar called Hola Arepa. They have such cool and unique drinks! Unfortunately by this point we were pretty tired so we called it a night after one drink. I can't wait to go there when it's light out so I can actually get some blog-worthy pictures. But these will suit for now..

THREE // Taco Tuesday never fails.. this week we had shrimp tacos with black beans, avocado, red bell pepper, sliced cherry tomatoes, and salsa verde.. my mouth is already drooling just thinking about them.

FOUR // Bosco's ear is officially lifted! He has to be at least 13 pounds by now.. he is getting big too fast!

FIVE // Charming Charlie had a huge deal going on this week with clearance. I was able to pop by on Wednesday during my lunch break and walked out of their with two long necklaces and six pairs of earrings only spending $17!

A little peak and hastily taken picture at work of one of the necklaces I got. I'm in LOVE with it!

Also speaking of deals this week, if your a fan of Aerie bras (if you're not, you're crazy and you should be. They're the best.) they have a deal going on online that's 40% off all of their bras, bralettes, and swimwear. I got two new ones last week for $20 each (YAS.) and am patiently waiting for them to arrive today! All of their products are amazing and are a million times better quality than Victoria's Secret and about half the price.

Cheers to the weekend! Have a good "last weekend of summer" ;)

Strawberry Basil Whiskey Smash

Andy and I actually made these cocktails about a month ago and I realized today I never got around to posting about them, which is surprising because they were so delicious! It's a perfect end-of-summer cocktail (insert crying face..) and are super quick to mix up. Plus they look pretty fancy and I'm pretty sure you could really wow some guests with your bartender skills. They're a great combination of a sweet and herb flavor, which is my new favorite thing to do with cocktails.

Strawberry Basil Whiskey Smash

3-4 strawberries chopped, plus whole ones to garnish
3 basil leaves, plus more to garnish
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces bourbon (we used Southshore)
3/4 ounch fresh lemon juice
Soda water to top

In a shaker, muddle the strawberries and basil with the simple syrup. 

Add bourbon and lemon juice. 

Add ice to fill shaker. Shake and strain liquid into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with stawberry and basil leaves.



One-Pot Chili

It has been unseasonably cool for August in Minnesota lately, which has me craving alllll the fall foods. My favorite and consistent go-to recipe for this type of weather has always been a nice, warm, spicy pot of chili. I am 100% confident that this is the best recipe chili recipe that I've made. Both of my parents have extremely different but delicious recipes, and my recipe combines the best of both theirs to make a gloriously spicy and flavorful combination.

It makes a huge pot, and were able to get five (!!!) bowls out of it together last night and still have a batch to freeze and a batch for leftovers this week.

One-Pot Chili

2 cans chili-ready tomatoes, undrained
1 can light kidney beans, drained
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can chili beans, undrained
1 lb hamburger
1 yellow onion, diced
Chopped cilantro
4 cups tomato juice
Chili powder and Cayenne pepper to taste
Fry hamburger and diced onion in dutch oven until hamburger is cooked through and onion is soft. Drain grease. Add in tomatoes and beans. Mix to combine. Add tomato juice until desired consistency (we add less because we like ours chunkier). Heat through.

Once heated, turn stove down to low.  Add in chili powder, cayenne pepper, and cilantro. Cover and let simmer for at least an hour and a half.

We like ours served with tortilla chips, sour cream, and sharp cheddar cheese. 

Last Sail Before the Veil

I am tired today. We had a long, busy weekend but it was a complete blast and I wish I could do it all over again.

On Saturday it was Chelsea's bachelorette party. Awhile back we decided to go with a nautical theme, and center our time around that. We rented a pontoon for the day on the ginormous Lake Minnetonka (the best and most fun lake in all of Minnesota). We had all sorts of snacks and drinks, complete with strawberry-lemonade jello shots, butterscotch schnapps, and mini bottles to pass around. We couldn't have been more lucky with how the weather turned out! We even ended up parking the boat at Big Island, and jumped off. We got a little crazy to say the least and I'll spare you from the more raunchy photos.

Unfortunately our boat ended up dying right in the middle of the chain of lakes, and a worker had to come get us and tow us all the way back to the marina. Luckily we got some money back and a giftcard to use next time.

After all that sun, we were in need of some food and water so we headed over to Maynard's. The rest of the night was spent playing games and opening all the funny and typical bachelorette party gifts at the hotel.

We were a little dehydrated and a lot exhausted by the next morning, but we had so much fun celebrating our girl!

Five on Friday | 8.18.2017

We've made it another week!

ONE // We had a fun little traveling dinner party on Tuesday night with some of our couple friends that Andy works with. We started at our place with homemade strawberry daiquiris, an array of Mexican beer, and chips with our homemade salsa recipe, guac, and queso. After our happy hour, we headed over to our friends Brian and Alex's place for a puppy playdate and some pizza and dessert. It was a fun way to mix up the week, and Bosco slept a full 7 hours without making a peep! Those big dogs sure wore him and his little legs out!

TWO // Speaking of our traveling dinner party - we sat out by the fire until 9pm which felt amazing but I failed to make a good shoe choice and if you live in Minnesota, you know how bad the mosquitos can get during the summer. So now I'm not-happily sporting about a dozen and a half little red bumps on my feet. I'm sure you can imagine how wonderful this feels at work when I'm trying to concentrate. 

But in a desperate call for relief today I looked up what essential oils could help and what do you know, tea-tree helps with the itching, reduces the swelling, and keeps bacteria at bay from getting into cuts and causing infection. I mixed a couple drops with some witch hazel on a cotton pad today and it helped so much!

THREE // I'm already starting my planning for the two glorious months of fall before winter feels like it's here. We've been looking into a haunted trolley ride in Rochester (which would require us staying in a hotel that night because of the distance - hello mini vacation!), the pumpkin patch, the apple orchard, baking something with said apples, and a day of craft sales and farmers markets with my mom. I would also love to have an early Halloween party this year at our new place. 

One of my favorite new fall traditions is me and Andy's "fall day" (see 2016's here), where we go for the whole day and knock a bunch of stuff off of our fall bucket list. It usually includes a yummy meal somewhere new, apple cider, a brewery, and a haunted house.

FOUR // In puppy news, Bosco learned how to go up the stairs! Now if we could only teach him how to come down... he seems to be able to go up the first 3 and then just leaps down all three.. something we have to work with him on.

He also had his first vet visit this week, and big boy is up to 12.8 pounds already! He will likely grow to be around 35, so lots of growing to do still - but it made us happy to get a clean bill of health for him!

Trying out his new fall sweater - a gift from our friends!

FIVE // Lots on the agenda this weekend.. tonight Andy and I are checking out a new dog-friendly patio, and then going over to Hola Arepa for some cocktails. Fingers crossed the weather holds out for us! It has been raining for weeks. Also on the books is my friend Chelsea's bachelorette party tomorrow! Details on that to come next week - can't give away any surprises!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday Coffee Thoughts

If we were having coffee, I'd probably tell you that...

I am in desperate need of a desk revamp at work. I'm considering taking over another desk area, one that is more secluded and provides more room. I have visions of a large wall calendar and a lamp for some soft lighting in the morning. I get into work at 7am and I can already imagine how dark it's going to be at that time come winter. Also I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a new oil diffuser. I just need a little refresh to my space.

This is my last full week of school. ever. Unless of course I decide to go back for my PsyD (which I don't foresee in my future, but ya never know!). There aren't even words to express how excited I am to not have to write another paper again! Also it will be so rewarding to finally have my Master's and be able to put that on my resume. A celebratory, well-deserved mojito (or three) is calling my name this weekend. I have worked hard these past two years. 

Bosco has the right idea here... I just want to sleep in. Sleeping in is a complete guilty pleasure of mine. I love just waking up slowly and drinking coffee while laying in bed. Fingers crossed that we can get some sleep this weekend.

I'm not ready for summer to be over. Wasn't it just May like three seconds ago? There's still so much I want to do. We haven't walked around the lake or eaten nearly enough ice cream. There's approximately two weeks left until September and I'm determined to fit in as much as possible. It pains me to see stores putting out Halloween candy (like seriously, is that candy even going to be good still by then?!) and Starbuck's advertising their PSLs. 

LONG LIVE SUMMER - at least another two weeks people, c'mon. Until then I will be enjoying my favorite fruity pink drink.

So that's a little of what's on my mind today.. Happy Wednesday everyone! We're half way there!

Summer Bridal Shower

On Saturday myself and two other bridesmaids hosted a bridal shower for our close friend Chelsea. Our color scheme developed from her wedding colors, with a couple hotter pinks for fun. We wanted to incorporate the "bridal" theme, and kept it feminine, colorful, and summery with lots of florals. We also wanted the shower to fit her, so we included all of her favorite foods. It was such a beautiful day!

Spending some time with Harper before the party started

My grandma and I made cream cheese rose mints (shown above). They were a labor of love, but turned out really good! We had small dishes at every table.

For our food spread we had Caesar salad, toasted bread, homemade lasagna (courtesy of my awesome mom), and a mac 'n cheese bar complete with jalapenos, tomatoes, bread crumbs,  blue cheese, paramesan cheese, bacon bits, and buffalo sauce.

We had a cheesecake bar for dessert, with caramel, chocolate, cherries, and blueberries, and custom made cookies. It was heavenly. 

And for drinks we had Trader Joe's sparkling lemonades. It was the first time I used them for an event, and they fit the party theme perfectly. Feminine, light, fruity, and delicious. 

We had a couple of activities, including a date night jar and signing Jenga pieces. We also sent recipe cards with the invitation so everyone could bring a personal favorite to fill Chelsea's new recipe box.

We had so much fun celebrating our girl! Less than three weeks until the big day. Next up - Bachelorette Party on Saturday. Woohoo!!

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