Monday, February 27, 2017

This & That

I have been absent from the blog for almost a whole week! Yikes! I do have some posts swirling around in my head that I have meant to work on, I'm getting there and reminding myself that the blog is a hobby---when I don't feel like it, I won't. No pressure. In other news, I'm really loving this quote lately, maybe you will too!

What's been going on? We are in that part of the school year that is long and the nearest break seems light years away. It's the tough part. Keep on keepin' on, teachers, we can do it! AJ and I had a nice weekend just relaxing together. Saturday morning we had donuts and coffee and spent some quality time with the DVR. I rested up on Saturday (I've had this sore throat I've been trying to beat) and then went to evening church and out for pizza. I love dating my husband. Sunday we meal prepped (I've been using Dr. Phil's 20/20 recipes still, but trying to incorporate some new healthy choices too for lunches. Any suggestions?), We went to see the new movie "Get Out" that afternoon (I loved it, AJ thought it was just ok....warning: super violent) and then went to my parent's house for dinner and Oscars viewing. 

Life is pretty gosh darn usual in our neck of the woods....we got plantation shutters on our front windows and we absolutely love them. We are hoping to do the back of the house this summer or fall. 

I'm on my 8th book of the year (30 is my goal for 2017). Here are the 8 reads so far:

1. Ruthless by Ron Miscavige (all about Scientology, not my fave, but super interesting)
2. Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand (easy, fun, classic chick lit with a Christmas theme)
3. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult (I really loved this one, Jodi never fails)
4. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell (I could not put this one down, about a family struggling when the mom becomes a hoarder, interesting insight into the reality of that mental illness)
5. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist (really enjoyed this one, I had to read it with a journal nearby because there were so many ideas from it I wanted to remember). 
6. Giddy Up Eunice by Sophie Hudson (This book was a delight. The resounding theme is that God gives us women to walk alongside us that we need and that make the journey of life a lot more fun. This would make a great gift for a girlfriend).
7. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (I scored this one at DI for 75 cents. I have wanted to read it for years, it's historical, set in Paris, and the main character (Ernest Hemingway's wife)  is named Hadley so I'm loving it already (about a third of the way through).
8. A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams (I am listening to this one on CD while I drive. It's an interesting story so far but I don't drive enough to make much headway. I've been at it for a week and am on disc 3 out of 10. Thank goodness the library allows renewals). 

I was meaning to do a whole "Irish Eats" post in honor of St. Paddy's Day, but thought that this post was a mish mash anyway, so I'd stick it here. Here are some delish recipes you might want to whip up in the month of March. I have my eyes on a few of these! Click the name of the recipe and you'll be linked to the website where it came from. Have a happy week! 
Crockpot Corned Beef

Irish Chocolate Coffee Bundt Cake

Shepherd's Pie
Beef and Guinness Hand Pies

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sisters Phoenix Trip Recap

Hey everyone!
      CHEERS to a 4 day weekend (I took Friday off). I went to Phoenix this weekend to visit my sister, Libby, and we had a great time! I visited last year right before life got nutty and we bought a house and got pregnant. This trip has been on my calendar since September and it was so fun having some quality time together, seeing her fave spots and hangouts, and I even developed a pretty dang excited attitude about turning 30 next month...

I arrived Friday morning at around 10 am, the flight was a bit of unnecessary drama. My boarding pass said "seat assigned at gate" so I dutifully go up to the gate to get said seat and they told me to wait a bit. So I wait, and wait, and wait, trying desperately to finish my vanilla latte before we boarded. Suddenly, every single person had boarded and they told me a volunteer had to get off so I could get a seat. Umm, no. They pitched a pretty good  spiel for giving up my seat to get a voucher and some cash, but no thank you, I do not want to hang out in the airport all the live long day thank you very much. Luckily, they got someone off and I got on and before I knew it, I was in Phoenix! Libby met me at the airport and we took the train downtown to where she lives. Guys, her apartment is SO NICE. She is living in an off campus apartment building, but it's basically all students. She was a great view and even overlooks the pool. She lives with 3 other girls, but they all have their own rooms and their own bathrooms. 
I will never ever ever not be entertained by Sky Mall 

View of Downtown PHX from the plane 

Libby's sweet view 

I got settled in a bit and then we went to the downtown ASU campus for a bite to eat. We had veggie wraps and sat outside. Then we walked to some shops and I splurged on some shorts. I think I was just so delighted with the warmer weather and sunshine that I felt drawn to summery clothes! We walked around more (I got my miles in on this trip!) and went to an adorable coffee shop for afternoon iced lattes. I am so loving the vibrant downtown coffee shop scene. I wish we had so many options and cool places to work in downtown Salt Lake. We walked around the downtown campus a bit and then went back to her place. I took a power nap (this is almost 30, guys!) and Libby did some school work. We were so beat from walking so much we decided to order a pizza for dinner that evening. After the pizza we went to go see "A Cure for Wellness." This was so weird, guys. It was interesting, but also bizarre and kind of gross. We fell into bed and got up early the next morning.....

Peanut Butter Latte. SLC, please up your coffee shop game

Since we are originally from Arizona, my family has some close family friends there (most have known my parents since before I was born!). My parents friends Karen and Frank picked us up and took us to an art show of a local artist. He paints all women and models them after the lines of a Calla Lily. He has a house around an hour outside of Phoenix and displays his galleries there. It was interesting! After that, we went to Scottsdale and had lunch with Karen and Frank. This particular day happened to be raining a ton so we met up with some of Libby's friends (it's nice to put faces to names) and we went to yet another awesome coffee shop to hang out. I finished up my study of Shauna Niequist's "Present over Perfect" (enjoyed it!) and Libby did some school work. The rain was still coming down hard so we picked up some snacky foods on the way home and made a delightful dinner out of our leftovers and snack foods. It was SO nice to have some much needed relaxing time for both of us, so we got into comfy clothes and watched Heavyweights on Netflix before heading to bed. I was chatting with some of Libby's friends (most 20-22 years old) and they were saying how they are so excited to be 30 because that's the age where you "have it all figured out." Hahahaha, umm, not even close but as we talked further they were saying that it must be nice to be settled, to be done with school, to have met my life partner, to have a career, have a home. I decided, yes, they are right: all those things really are nice. It's funny that once you're in the phase where you're currently at, you can't imagine being anywhere else. Yes, there is some comfort in the big 3-0 and it was nice to see it through the eyes of some younger folks. 

Frank, family friend

art show 

We made cookies for Karen and Frank and added some Valentines cuteness

I finished Shauna Niequist's book and started this one Sunday.

Sunday morning my sister took me to visit her church. I am glad she has found a church community that she really enjoys. After church we went to a little inside Farmers market thing and then brunch at a really delicious restaurant called Breakfast Club. There was a 40 minute wait so we hit up Charming Charlie while we waited. After our brunch, we strolled around downtown a bit and hopped on the ASU student shuttle to Tempe. Once we got to campus we went to the bookstore so I could buy a shirt for AJ. We got some coffee then went to some of the cute clothing and jewelry stores on Mill Ave. We did a little shopping, then walked through campus some more (I told you, MILES) and then we went for an early dinner at a place called French Fry Heaven. I had buffalo chicken fries and Libby has bruschetta fries. If anyone wants to open one in Utah, I'd be happy to be your franchise partner (kidding, kinda). We were so very tired and were going to miss the evening shuttle back, so we took Lyft back to her apartment. 

Libby's first Mimosa! Probs one of my most fave beverages 

I bought this "Hope" bracelet in a little boutique, I love it. 
French Fry Heaven 

Monday morning (thank you Presidents for the extra day off!), we got up pretty early and took an Uber (I had never done Uber or Lyft before this trip, loved it!) to the old neighborhood where I grew up! We moved to Utah when I was around 10 years old so the Phoenix house is basically my earliest memories. We walked all around from our house to the elementary school. I haven't been back since Libby was just a newborn It was such a fun blast from the past! We got back to downtown Phoenix and went to a late breakfast at a place called Tea an Toast in DeSoto Market. IT WAS AMAZING! We went back to her place and I got my things and Libby walked me to the train and I headed to the airport and she headed to class. Whew!

when I was little I remember being pushed in my stroller along all the dips on this road. Isn't it weird what we remember? Also, I rode in my stroller proudly through preschool #sorrynotsorry 

Water World! We had season passes here and went almost every day in the summer! 

where I lined up for kindergarten! 

Tea & Toast in DeSoto Market
Foodies, brace yourselves: Top=smashed avocado/hard boiled egg/sea salt/pepper
Middle=Ricotta/blue agave drizzle/melon/mint
Bottom=bacon jam, fried egg, spinach 

We had such a fun time and I walked into school today refreshed and energized. Some traveling does the soul good. Thanks for hosting me, Libby! College life for a weekend was pretty awesome, but I'm also pretty thankful to be 30. And now if you'll excuse me, I need to mositurize, take a vitamin, and go to bed. After all, It's after 8:00 already. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Don't Deposit Cash In An ATM

Hey Everyone,
    The title of my post is my well earned piece of advice for you. You're welcome. I went to deposit some cash today and the machine ATE MY MONEY. I always tell AJ, "What would you do if the ATM just like took your deposit from you?" Well, folks, my question was answered today. It started making this whirling/spitting sound and then said "malfunction." I logged onto my bank app and saw nope, no money was deposited buuuuut my cash was eaten by the machine. Fortunately the bank was still open and everyone was nice and they made some calls and we have a happy ending. All that to say, nothing too earth shattering this week but somehow it feels kinda nutty/running around too much, too. But this sunny, warmer weather has been a GIFT, I am loving it so much!

     The DVR is far too full for my liking and so tonight is popcorn, my shows, sweatpants and laundry (I know, I know, it is prrrrrrretttty glamouous). Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I don't know like what in the world clicked (answered prayers?) but I am just so delighted with my class these days. They were adorable at their party (making of love monster boxes and a pancake bar!) and one of my boys even brought a bouquet of flowers to a girl he liked and I almost died right there from all the cute. It was a fun and festive day and I'm shocked that we're already done with our big major class party of the year.
saw these teacher conversation hearts and had to laugh #truth 
Monday was our angel baby's 8th month birthday and I am convinced no matter how much time passes, every single month on the 13th, I will think about her (more than usual) and wonder how big she would be. The day she was born was the best day of my life.

So folks, that's all I've got for the blog today! OH, and I almost forgot: I popped into Target and they have their spring shoes and clothes out (adorbs!) so if you don't take my ATM advice, at least trust me on the Target thing.
My style in shoe form 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Life Lately

Hi Everyone!!
    February is officially underway and Valentine's Day is Tuesday! I just love love love it (Especially with teaching....I imagine I'll get my fair share of treats, tattoos, and erasers in my Valentine box this year). I got Troll Valentine's for my little crew. What's been up with us lately? February is a busy month, but I kind of love it.
Last weekend we got up bright and early to get our taxes done. Gah, that "practical stuff" is hard on a grieving parent. The guy who does our taxes probably expected us to show up with a baby in tow...instead we brought piles of medical bill receipts and her birth and death certificates. He choked up a little and I was so so so overjoyed to be done with that task and able to check it off my list! We went on a double date with my cute parents and went to dinner and a Utah Jazz game that night.
the 'rents twinning 

Super Bowl Sunday we went to a party at a friend's house. I made 7 layer dip and mini pigs in a blanket. We arrive at the party and the other family assigned to bring appetizers brought the exact. same. things. What are the odds?! Good thing everyone loves hot dog piggies and tortilla chips and dip! I am not a sports girl (at all), but did thoroughly enjoy Lady Gaga!

I did a day in the life post last week and documented the day we went to the Harlem Globetrotters (So much sports for me! haha). We had a great time! We also went to dinner with some friends last week at an Italian restaurant called Oregano, it was delicious! This weekend has been pretty chill, I got my hair done Saturday morning and we put chili (check out our family recipe here)  in the crockpot. The house is cleaned from top to bottom and I even managed to spend a good chunk of time reading! Saturday evening AJ and I went to dessert at a cute restaurant called The Chocolate. The advertised a special "Cake By Candlelight" evening but there was no special ambiance, just really yummy cake, so we didn't mind a bit!

Today (Sunday), we went to church, came home and meal prepped, then went for a nice long walk in the sunshine! I hope this sunshine is here to stay, but if not, that's okay, because I am Phoenix bound at the end of the week!
we brought Valentine Cheer to our girly! As soon as we put that pink bear balloon in the ground it just went wild moving back and forth (we see you baby girl!). 

On the TV front: This season the Bachelor is just NOT doing it for me. I was always on Team Nick, but find him to be really arrogant and boring this time around. The girls are so desperate it seems like they are making themselves "fall in love" when it's just not there. I need a good turnaround on this show. Come through for me, Chris Harrison! I'm PUMPED that Girls is back on tonight. I am obsessed with this show and have a feeling this will be a great final season. I'm still loving This is Us (catch up and dive in now if you haven't already), American Housewife, and Counting On. I'm anxiously awaiting the return of Pretty Little Liars (spring), Stranger Things (not till Halloween!), and Westworld (2018, HBO, you're killing me).

Happy week of LOVE to you! It's not just about romantic love, but love in all its beautiful forms!