Monday, June 30, 2014

Hopes and Plans - June 30th

I love the idea of setting some goals for the week but I have to say that I dropped the ball last week. Let's recap:

One. Take some clothes to the consignment shop. I cleaned out my closet a while back but now I have got to get all the stuff I don't want out of the house!
Two. Make strawberry cupcakes. I have had all the ingredients and I just keep putting off making them.
Three. Make front door decor for the 4th of July. I am loving the above idea!
Four. Straighten up the basement. It has been a mess from projects so I need to get some order to it.
Five. Read a couple chapters in my book.

Wow! Epic fail this past week. I only got one item done! Well at least it involved cupcakes and from what I hear, Dave's work love them.

So on to this week:

One. Clothes to the consignment shop. Seriously, I am taking it all on Tuesday!

Two. 4th of July door decoration. If I don't make it this week then it won't get done before the holiday.

Three. Pedicure. We all have to treat ourselves every once in a while right? Plus, I can read a couple chapters in my book while I am at it.

Four. Paint the steps and the door trim in the garage. That will make the project complete!

I can only come up with four goals for the week but there is no sense trying to take on more than I can possibly get done. Do you have any goals for the week?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meal Plan - June 29th

Happy Sunday yall! We had such a productive weekend! We had a sick puppy on Friday so instead of our normal date night, we stayed in and grilled out. Saturday we painted our garage and made spaghetti. Then today we finished up the garage by painting the floor with that speckled stuff (I have no idea what it is called). There will be an awesome before and after on that some time this week. We moved out date night to tonight and went out for some awesome sushi and frozen yogurt! 

So for this week's meal plan:

Sunday - Date Night
Monday - Steaks, grilled veggies, baked potatoes
Tuesday - Kale and mushroom roll ups, brussel sprouts
Wednesday - Mushroom risotto, asparagus
Thursday - Chicken tacos, black beans, spanish rice
Friday - Grilling out with friends (Happy 4th!)
Saturday - Date Night (3 month anniversary!)

I am linking up with I'm An Organizing Junkie. Drop by to check out other wonderfully delicious weekly meal plans!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Five on Friday - 4th of July Ideas

The Fourth of July is next Friday! It is my third favorite holiday (after Christmas and Thanksgiving) so I am excited that it falls on a Friday this year. Here are five great ideas to make for a wonderful holiday:

1. These votives candleholders are an inexpensive, easy, and unique. What a great centerpiece for an Independence Day BBQ.

2. Rice crispy treat sparklers are a fun dessert for everyone and would be easy to bring on a picnic or to a party.

3. This top is adorable and so comfy looking. It would be perfect for an evening with friends.

4. An American Flag pillow would be a great accessory for indoors or outdoors this summer. An easy was to add a touch of patriotism to your home especially for the holiday weekend. PS: It's on sale!

5. White Wine Berry Sangria looks like a patriotic and delicious beverage to serve at your 4th of July get-together.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Michigan...The Good and Bad...

I am a Southern girl born and raised. I spent the first 27 years of my life in The Heart of Dixie....Alabama. So when Dave told me his next assignment (after Montgomery, AL) was Battle Creek, Michigan and asked if I would move with him, I had no idea what I was in for! We moved July 31 which was quite deceiving....summers in Michigan look a lot like summers in Alabama. All was good until that first snow hit on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving!).  Then the second snow. Then the third. I was freaking out and the locals kept saying that it was nothing....just a dusting. A dusting?!?! looked like more than a dusting to me! Boy was I wrong! Like I said, I didn't know what I was in for. All this to say, Michigan has had its ups and downs...its pros and cons. Let me share some with you....

The Good:
1. We are 45 minutes from Lake Michigan and all the adorable towns that line the coast. I love that we can hop in the car on Saturday morning and spend the day laying out by the lake (no sharks!), grabbing an ice cream and wondering through the shops in all the small towns. Some of my favorite are: South Haven, St. Joseph, and Saugatuck.

2. People here are so nice. I can't remember the last time I went into the grocery, Old Navy, Home Depot, etc. and didn't spend several minutes just chatting it up with the cashier.

3. Summers up here are like a spring day in Alabama. I grew up where the summers are so hot, if you are outside you better be in a swimming pool. I love that we can sit outside in the summers here and enjoy the sunshine and mild weather. The evenings can even get cool enough to need a light jacket!

4. Our house is so cute! Maybe I am biased but I just love our house. It is perfect for us and has been such a great first home for us. It is a great size and was in wonderful condition when we bought it. Most of the changes we have made consist of painting. I will miss it most of all when the day finally comes to leave. 

5. Michigan has some of the country's best beer! I love a good craft beer and we have so many options. There are 29 breweries within 50 miles of our house including Bell's, Arcadia, Dark Horse, Founders, and New Holland.

The Bad:
1. The winters! I have never in my life seen so much snow! This past winter we had over 100" and I saw it get to -11 degrees. It was one of the worst winters on record in recent history. We even had to resort to buying a snow blower (which I haven't used and hope to get through another winter without having to!) for Dave! There was just too much to get by with only a shovel! When we got home from Christmas we had 16" just sitting in our driveway! Winters are the worst and some days I feel like I am being buried alive by the never-ending snowfall.

2. Once the winter is over the potholes are so huge they might swallow your car. The snow plows do a number on our roads all winter so it takes half the summer for them to be patched just for the damage to be done all over again the following winter.

3. We are 11 hours by car from my family. Before moving up here, the farthest I had ever lived from home was an hour away when I was in college. I hate that I can't just hop in the car when they need me and that they can't dash up here when I am missing them.

4. Can recycling is nasty business. In Michigan, every time you purchase a beverage in a can or bottle you are charged a $.10 deposit. You get it back when you return the bottle/can. The recycle room at the grocery store smells like a frat house that had a party last weekend and has yet to clean up! Yuck! Needless to say, Dave handles all the recycling (what a man!).

5.We are not actually based near any kind of military base. We are considered remote and there are some days that word feels so true...remote. It is so hard to find any kind of community here. Most people that live in the area grew up here with family and friends nearby. So while they might be nice they have a hard time reaching out to new people especially people like us who will only be here for three years.

While Michigan has its ups and downs, we really have loved calling it home for the last two years. With one year left until the Air Force decides our next home, we plan to make the most of it by exploring the area and finding new adventures. Where do you live? What do you love about where you live? What can't you stand?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - June 25th

This week's meals are pretty normal. I am trying to get back to healthy eating which hasn't been happening much lately. We have been so busy that instead of taking the time to come up with healthy, nutritious meals, we are eating out too much.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with peanut butter and banana

Lunch: Ultimate salad: Spinach, lettuce, tomato, artichokes, mushrooms, roasted brussel sprouts (leftover from the night before), celery, blue cheese, cottage cheese, avocado, and pomegranate balsamic (yum!)

Dinner: Veggie paninis with roasted sweet potato "fries" (I almost forgot to take a picture. That's why there is so little left!)

Snacks: Strawberry cupcakes (I used this recipe)

What have you been eating this week? I need some new breakfast ideas before I turn into oatmeal!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wedding - The Dress

Before I ever went to look at wedding dresses and I think even before I was engaged, I had a couple wedding dresses pinned to my "Wedding" pinterest board. So when the day finally came to go shopping, I looked up those dresses to see if any stores in my area carried that did. It happened to be the last of three stores that we were going to. I didn't know if I would like them in person or not but I at least wanted to see what the store had. So at the first store I tried on several pretty dresses one of which stood out as a contender but it was over my budget. I am all about a budget so it was hard to imagine spending that kind of money on a dress but it was gorgeous. I left it there though and moved on to the second store to see what they had. Again, one dress stood out from the pack. It was beautiful, in my price range, and had the look I was definitely going for. It quickly became my favorite dress and I thought it would be the one I would get. We were done shopping for the day and waited until the next day to shop at the third store.

So the next day again with my mom and sister in tow and adding my grandmother to the group we struck out for the third store. We pulled dresses off the racks including two by the designer I loved. I tried on them all saving the two for the end. When I put on THE DRESS, that was it...there was no other dress even in the running. It was perfect. It was the best price of any dress that I liked and had everything I wanted in a dress!

What a fun and exciting experience! I worried that I wouldn't still love the dress nine months later at the wedding. Tastes change and what if by the day of I wish I had gone with something else? That was not the case! I felt like the dress perfectly suited me and our day.'s the dress: Mori Lee 1906!

 I spent a lot of time looking for accessories too. The veil goes with the dress. I has beautiful beading along the edge that matches the beading in the dress. I wore these earrings from Nordstrom and these shoes.

Read about our wedding invitations and guestbook too!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hopes and Plans

Today I am going to share with you a few plans I have for my week. Sometimes I tend to push things off that aren't required and that I don't enjoy doing, so maybe this will help hold me accountable for getting a few things done!

One. Take some clothes to the consignment shop. I cleaned out my closet a while back but now I have got to get all the stuff I don't want out of the house!

Two. Make strawberry cupcakes. I have had all the ingredients and I just keep putting off making them.

Three. Make front door decor for the 4th of July. I am loving the above idea!

Four. Straighten up the basement. It has been a mess from projects so I need to get some order to it.

Five. Read a couple chapters in my book.

I am joining Amanda's link up over at Marry-Mint!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Meal Plan - June 20th

How was your weekend? I had a garage sale with a friend, painted the garage (before and after pictures to come soon!), did some chores around the house and chilled. It was just a nice weekend with tons of productivity. I dropped the ball on our meal plan for last week. We ate out A LOT so several meals are rolling over to this week. But, I feel like life is going to calm down and get back to normal this week so I am excited to cook some yummy stuff! Also, our patio furniture arrives this week so I will be living outside for the rest of the summer...which means even more GRILLING!

Sunday - Jalapeno poppers, Sweet potato fries (we never got around to them last week)
Monday - Pork chops, Brussel sprouts, Wild rice
Tuesday - Veggie stir fry, Brown rice
Wednesday - Chicken pot pie
Thursday - Veggie paninis, Sweet potato chips
Friday - Date Night!
Saturday - Steaks, Veggies, Pasta salad

What are you cooking this week?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five on Friday - Summer Must Haves

Summer is in full swing up here in Michigan so, I thought I would write about five of my favorite things to make for a wonderful summer!

1. Floppy hat:  When I get out in the sun I always bring a hat but a big floppy hat is so much more fun and fashionable then a baseball cap! Throw it on with a bathing suit for a day at the lake or with a maxi dress for a BBQ with friends.

2. Oversize tote: This tote is great to use for a weekend getaway, the beach, or even a trip to the farmer's market. I got one with my new married monogram and find myself using it all the time!

3. Grill: We cook most of our meals on the grill in the summer because who wants to be stuck inside when the weather is this nice?!

4. Summer scarf: Even when its warm outside, I like to keep a scarf in my purse. Car rides, planes, and movie theaters can get chilly in the air conditioning so it's nice to have something to throw over your shoulders.

5. Fun drinks: From mojitos to margaritas we love to sit on the patio and enjoy an adult beverage while the dogs play in the yard.

My 9 to 5: I Work From Home

Helene and Sarah are doing a link up this week so we can all share what we do for a living outside of blogging! What a great idea! I thought you might like to hear about what my day-to-day work life is like.

When I lived in Birmingham, I worked for my family's property management company doing accounting. I started working there right out of college and had varying jobs and tasks over the years. When we moved to Michigan, I quit the job, however we quickly discovered that there was plenty I could do remotely!

So now I work from home. I have a range of jobs that would probably bore you to hear but I mainly spend my days working with property managers all over the country, helping with computer programs, keeping up with property inventories, working on the website, etc. It definitely has its pros and cons. I love that I can work in my pajamas if I want and my dogs get to hang out with me all day. It's also great that I get to set my own hours. Some days I may work a full 9-5 while other days I may only work a couple hours or not at all. It all depends on what else I have going on. However, sometimes I can't put it down and I'll find myself watching television and working in the evenings when I should be spending time with my husband. It's all about balance though which I'll continue to master.

What do you do for a living? How did you get into that industry?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WIAW - June 18th

We are using the grill like crazy now that summer is in full swing! My favorite meals include throwing a much of veggies on the grill with some kind of meat! Easy and so yummy....I am all about an easy meal these days!

Breakfast from the Bagel Beanery here in Kalamazoo. We splurged and split a cinnamon roll....wise decision. I am all about their "The Works" bagel with sundried tomato cream cheese...yummy in my tummy!

We grilled one night while my parents were in town. Dave got us a hamburger stuffer so the other night we made hamburgers. I stuffed mine with blue cheese and topped it with sauteed mushrooms and onions...heaven yall! We had some grilled veggies and baked potatoes with it.

I have to tell yall about these awesome buffalo chicken paninis! We love buffalo sauce on anything in this house and this seemed like such an easy idea! I put one large chicken breast in our small crockpot with buffalo sauce. Then I shredded it and spread it on sourdough bread with spinach, mozzarella cheese, and blue cheese and toasted it with the George Foreman. That's easy and super flavorful dinner. We made green beans to go with it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Taking Stock

 I discovered this list the other day while blog-hopping and decided to fill it out for myself. What a great way to keep up with what my day-to-day life is like. I hope your week is getting off to a great start!

 piles for this weekend's garage sale.
Cooking: buffalo chicken paninis for dinner tonight...yum!
Drinking: lots of water.
 blogs instead of working, which is what I should be doing.
Wanting: a new chair for our den. Hopefully ordering this week!
Looking: for a place to stay in Niagara Falls.
 with the puppies.
 time snuggling with my hubby is the best kind of time to waste.
Sewing: soon! I have about five things I want to make alterations to.

 it was the weekend.
 the beautiful weather we have had lately.
Waiting: for my next beach trip in 43 days.

 sangria as a fun, refreshing, summer beverage.
Wondering: if my sister is having a boy or a girl! ~two weeks until they find out!
my husband more and more each day.
 to declutter our lives with a garage sale this weekend.
 at the natural beauty of Michigan summers.
Needing: some new jeans!

Smelling: fresh flowers on the kitchen counter.

Wearing: grungy clothes this morning while I work around the house.

a recipe for strawberry cupcakes.
 that we all get busy. Sometimes it is nice to slow down.
Feeling: excitement for our future.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Adventures from the Weekend - Mom and Jim's Visit

My mom and stepdad came to visit for the first time since we moved up here almost two years ago! This little town is not easy to get to so they drove the trip staying out one night in Louisville along the way. I had a lot of fun filled activities planned but we ended up doing a lot of bumming around the house was nice to just chill and catch up! We grilled out, ate too much cheese (is there such a thing as too much?), worked on projects around the house, ate out, visited South Haven on Lake Michigan, etc.

Thursday we met Dave for lunch and he gave us a tour of his building! I have been in it a million times but I still love it. It was a sanitarium and an army hospital before it became a government building so it has beautiful architecture and a neat history. After lunch Mom, Jim (stepdad), and I headed back to the house. Since we moved in our dishwasher has never worked right, so Jim agreed to look at it. OMG! was gross. What's funny is that Dave and I thought we took it all apart and cleaned it really good. Well it turns out, there were big sections we didn't know came off. I am happy to report that it is working so much better!

While Jim fixed/cleaned the dishwasher, Mom and I put a new rug down in our den. They brought it up from Alabama so it was FREE for us! Woohoo! And I absolutely love it!

By the time we got done with all that we were exhausted so instead of eating out we had snacks on the deck while the dogs played. We are wild, let me tell ya!

Friday was another relaxed day getting stuff done around the house. I took Mom for a drive and showed her the area. Then that evening we took them to one of our favorite restaurants: Epic Bistro. Mom and I split a Wood Grilled Vegetable Roast that I would love to try and recreate at home! It was delish! After dinner we got drinks and dessert next door....salted caramel pretzel bread pudding...this stuff is life changing!

Saturday morning I got up and made a breakfast casserole. It was good, easy, and got high reviews! I highly recommend if you have a brunch planned in your future.

 After we all got ready, we took a little drive out to South Haven on Lake Michigan. This was one of the first towns we discovered when we moved and we just love it. It's quaint with adorable homes, cute shops, and great food! I always swing by the Olive Cart to pick up new balsamic for salads and Dave always gets an ice cream to enjoy as we wonder the streets.

Saturday evening we grilled out with this wonderful grilling tray that my mom got us at Sur La Table and enjoyed Sangria! That store is trouble! I could spend a lot of money on some fun cooking gadgets in there!

It was a sad good-bye all around when they left Sunday morning but I get to see my mom again in 45 days for a girl's trip and I can't wait! How was your weekend? What did you get into?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Meal Plan - June 15th

Sorry for the radio silence! My mom and stepdad came to visit and have been here since Wednesday! We had a great time showing them around town and enjoyed catching up! Swing by tomorrow for a full recap of their visit!

We have been eating pretty badly lately so it's time to get back to cooking, eating our weight in veggies, and laying off the sweets and alcohol! Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday - Stuffed hamburgers, grilled veggies, sweet potato "fries"
Monday - Homemade pizza
Tuesday - Buffalo chicken paninis, green beans
Wednesday - Jalapeno poppers, baked potatoes
Thursday - Pork chops, brussel sprouts, wild rice
Friday - Date Night!
Saturday - Veggie stir fry, brown rice

None of these are really unique or excited but all are things we love to eat! What are you making for dinner this week? I'd love some new ideas to jazz up our menu for next week so let me know!

I am linking up with OrgJunkie! Go check out some other great weekly meal plans!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Trader Joe's

I am having Trader Joe's withdraws! The closest one to us is about an hour and a half away. Normally I go to the one in Louisville when I am visiting family or passing through on my way south. Whenever I travel I look to see if there is one nearby. Basically I am obsessed! I am contemplating a day trip over to Ann Arbor next week just to get a Trader Joe's fix! Here are some of my favorites:

Coconut Oil - This stuff can be used on anything and everything! Hair, skin, and sweet potatoes are a few of my favorites. :)

Animal Crackers - We love to snack on these while we are on road trips but they don't last long.

3. Salt and Pepper Pistachios - I love these! They are salty and spicy and such a delicious snack!

4. Chocolate Covered Powerberries - I am beginning to sense a theme...these are a yummy sweet snack that I can't put down!

5. Salsa Verde - We go through some salsa in this house. Chips and salsa are my absolute favorite snack!

6. TWO BUCK CHUCK! - How can you go wrong with $2.00 wine right?? haha. 

If I do make it over there next week, I'll be sure to show ya'll my loot! What are your Trader Joe's must haves?