Friday, February 27, 2015

Favorite Moments of the Week

I started my job nine months ago and there is a nine month probation period so today is my last day of probation.  Woohooo!  Permanent employee status here I come! Monday I get my official business cards and name plate for my desk.
A few weeks ago my fiance got a promotion that goes into effect on Monday so coincidently today is his last day in his old position too.  He is not changing departments or anything quite that dramatic but he will have a new job title and a new type of work to do.  Woohoo!
We are celebrating tonight by going out to dinner and I am so excited.

My other favorite thing from this week was attending the annual Have a Heart for Students Auction at Cal State Monterey Bay.  When I lived a little closer I was on the committee that helped plan the auction but now I am just able to go down the day of to help set up.

My mom is the head of the committee this year so my fiance and I headed down Saturday morning to help her and the rest of the committee get the silent auction set up.  This year the event was in the university library so that was kind of cool.  After set up we headed to my parent's house to rest for a bit and then got all dressed up.  

Along with my parents one of my sisters and a couple of my aunts and uncles were at the auction so we had a good time catching up with everyone and talking about wedding plans.  We bit on lots of stuff during the silent auction but ended up winning a silver ring and six bottles of wine.  We didn't bit on anything during the live auction but my dad did manage to win one of the live auction items.

We don't have anything quite as exciting planned for this weekend but our dishwasher is scheduled to be delivered and that is all the excitement I need.  Yay for not having to hand-wash all the dishes anymore!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Green Shrimp Salad

This salad is really fast and easy to make on a weeknight.  Don't be fooled by the name.  The shrimp is not actually green but pretty much everything else in this salad is.  It is full of green vegetables and a little bit of pesto.  This recipe can easily be made for more than one person but all my pictures are of one serving of this salad.

 3 oz frozen shrimp (about 7 shrimp)
2-3 tablespoons of pesto (divided)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
2-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
 Half an avocado
1/4 ish of a cucumber
About 2 cups of salad mix or lettuce

I never remember to defrost my shrimp overnight in the refrigerator so I always just put them in a bowl with water to defrost them.  I usually change the water a couple of times and they are defrosted in about 5-10 minutes.

When the shrimp are defrosted if your shrimp have tails on them now would be the time to remove them.

Mix about a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of pesto and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in a bowl with the shrimp along with a little bit of pepper.  Let the shrimp marinate for 10 minutes or so while you cut up the vegetables for the salad.

Slice up the cucumber and then cut those pieces into quarters.  Cut the avocado into little cubes and scoop it out of the skin.

Place all the veggies including the salad mix on a plate to wait for the shrimp.

To make the dressing mix about a tablespoon of olive oil with a tablespoon or two balsamic vinegar together.  Stir in about a tablespoon of the pesto and taste it.  Adjust the ingredients until you are satisfied with the taste and consistency of your dressing.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot add the shrimp to the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Place the cooked shrimp on top of the veggies and drizzle the dressing over the top. If you like pepper on your salad now is when you would add fresh ground pepper.  Enjoy!

For more fun recipes I am linking up with Andrea for her Recipe Club!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Favorite Things at Target

Good thing I can have have more than one favorite thing at Target because I spend way to much time (and money) there.

Whoever came up with the idea of the Dollar Spot at Target and made the decision to put it right inside the front door is brilliant.  I get sucked in pretty much every time I walk in the door and find something I "can't live without" and I can usually justify spending the money since it is just a dollar.

I always keep my eyes out for fun holiday decor items because if I am only going to use something for about a month a year it doesn't have to be super well made.  The other great thing to look for in the dollar section is little fun things to send to my friends and family as random care packages or cheer up gifts.  Little notepads and stickers and other fun things!

One of my favorite things I have ever found at Target has to be my wooden stand/bowl thing that lives on my dining table.  Target still has this wooden bowl that looks to be pretty much the same as the one I bought last year.  I use this bowl in pretty much all of my decorating so I have definitely gotten my money worth with this one.  Pictures of my St. Patrick's Day table coming next week (or maybe even later this week if I remember to take pictures).

They don't have a huge selection of fresh fruits and veggies at my Target but their packaged food section is pretty great.  They don't have everything but they usually have the best prices on the things they do have so I end up getting random food items at Target.  My fiance has been on a tuna sandwich (yuck) kick lately and after checking tuna prices at all my normal shopping locations (Trader Joe's, Costco and Fresh and Easy) I discovered Target had the best prices.  Not the first place I would head to for groceries but it is nice to be able to grab a few things at Target when I am there anyway.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites-Healthier Food Edition Part 2

Another week down and I am slowly making progress towards losing weight and getting in better shape.

It is no secret that I love pasta (and really most carbs) but eating pasta too often is just not going to help me at the moment.  Zoodles anyone?

Zoodles is just a fancy name for zucchini noodles and it is just more fun to say zoodles than zucchini noodles so let's run with it.  I had read about zoodles a few different places and decided they sounded delicious and healthy so I asked for a spiralizer for Christmas.  Technically you can make zoodles with a mandolin but a sprializer sounded like a much safer method and as I am not the most coordinated person all the time safety is a good thing.

I was a little bit concerned about having another thing in our already very small kitchen but it folds up quite nicely into a rectangle so storage is actually pretty easy. Once I ready the instructions on how to unfold and put the thing together it was actually really easy to use.  It is kind of fun to watch veggies come out as little spirals.  I call everything that comes out of my spiralizer zoodles but I have used it not only on zucchini but carrots and cucumbers too.  I am sure there are other veggies you can use it with but I haven't gotten to them yet.  I usually cook the veggies in my cast iron pan with garlic and a little bit of olive oil for just a couple of minutes and then top them with shrimp or sauce of some sort.  Super yummy and easy.

I know I said last week that I might tell you how much weigh I have lost so far so here goes... I have lost 10.5 pounds so far since the beginning of the year.  I am not trying to kill myself but just slowly lose weight and get healthier.

I am linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for Friday Favorites again this week

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up-Valentine and Dishwasher Edition!

Let me start off by saying hooray for not having to move this weekend!  This is the first time in four years I have not had to move in the middle of February.  Oh the joys of renting!  We own our condo so I am actually staying in one place for more than a year.

Knowing that I didn't have to move, that it was Valentine's Day and a three day weekend made this weekend something I have been looking forward to for weeks.  My fiance and I started off the weekend with a celebratory dinner (more details on that later when I am allowed to talk about it) at home.  Yuuummm homemade gnocchi and steak.

Anyone who knows me knows I like to sleep so I lounge in bed whenever I get the chance.  I woke up Saturday morning and my fiance had already gotten up.  I figured he was either in the bathroom or out in our living room on the couch but then I heard the front door open.  This is what I woke up to:

Obviously I have the best fiance ever who is willing to get up early on a Saturday morning to get me flowers and a card with a queen on it.

Card by Emily McDowell

Don't worry I got him a pretty awesome card too and some of his favorite snacks in an Avengers bag.  I think he was more impressed with the card and the bag than the food in the bag.  I found this card at least a month ago and have been waiting and waiting to give it to him.  I ran errands during the day on Saturday and then we had a nice casual dinner downtown to round out a nice Valentine's Day.

My beautiful flowers on display
Sunday one of my sisters was passing though town (sort of) near us so she stopped by and she and I went out to lunch.  We randomly had a Chili's gift card floating around so we ended up going there.   My fiance stayed home to get some things done but we brought him home leftovers.  In fact I think the waiter was flirting with us because when we asked for a to go container instead of bringing us a bag to put our extra chips in he brought us a brand new full bag of chips and a container of salsa.  I guess sometimes it pays to be cute girls.  I did my sisters taxes for her and then she headed home.

We had a bonus day this weekend and I was planning to make it a gym, cleaning and cooking day.  Well two out of three isn't too bad.  The cleaning didn't really happen but we ended up buying a dishwasher instead.  Nothing says let's celebrate our presidents like a sale on appliances but hey if it works it works.  We have been looking at dishwashers for a few months and I declared March as buy a new dishwasher month but the sales were so good this month that we bought it ahead of schedule.  In less than two weeks we will have a new dishwasher installed in our condo!   I cannot tell you how excited I am and don't worry once we have it installed there will be pictures of my shiny pretty new dishwasher that will actually clean dishes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday-My Love Story

My love story aka good thing he was persistent and took the risk because I am oblivious!

My fiance and I met in grad school while we were both getting our MBAs.  I started school the semester before he did so I had my first class with him after being back in school for about a year. We had a few classes together but never really ended up in the same group for projects or presentations.  I knew who he was but we didn't really know each other very well.  I didn't know this at the time but apparently he thought I was pretty but assumed I had a boyfriend.

About 6 months before I graduated we were in fairly small class together and ended up sitting near each other.  I thought he was super nice and friendly but being oblivious I didn't think anything of it.  He was trying to fish out if I was single and if I was someone he wanted to go out with but I was oblivious so I just thought he was talking to me since he was nice.  We ended up in a group together twice (once just the two of us) during that class and through that he was able to fish out that yes I was single and that he wanted to ask me out.  Right near the end of that class he discovered that we were not taking the same class the next semester and he hadn't figured out how to ask me out yet.

After the class he tried to find me on Facebook but I have a fairly common name and to be fair neither my profile picture nor my cover photo showed my face.

This was my cover photo at the time!
Fortunately for both of us I was working on setting up my connections on LinkedIn as my time as a student drew to a close and he was one people who showed up as a suggested connection.  I sent him a request and he accepted it.  

A few weeks later I got a message on LinkedIn from him asking if I would like to be his "guest" at a MBA honor society induction ceremony/dinner thing.  I was a little thrown off by his use of the word guest but after a few messages back and forth and me rearranging my work schedule a bit it was a date.  This banquet took place about a month after he asked me to it (the RSVP deadline was early) so by the time we got to what could have been our first date we had actually gone out a handful of times already.  

Our first date was at a burrito place we both liked and I was late.  Our second date was at a sushi place and he eats super fast and I eat very slowly so he accidentally ate most of the sushi before I really got any.  Despite these not so perfect beginnings by our third date I knew this relationship was different than any other I had been in and to make an already long story a little shorter two years later here we are living together, engaged and planning a wedding.  I cannot think of anyone I would rather have as my partner in this adventure and look forward to many more adventures in the years to come.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites-Healthier Food Options Part 1

With a trip to Hawaii and going wedding dress shopping coming up in May I have been trying the time old philosophy of eat less and move more to prepare for these occasions.  Ok that and doing Weight Watchers online too for a little added help.

Here are a few of my favorite things that have been helping me on this journey

I am at a desk much of the day and blueberries are something that are easy to snack on while at my desk that are healthy and don't make a mess.  It doesn't hurt that I love them!
Coconut Water
Another easy thing to take work are these coconut waters.  They have just enough flavor and calories that they actually stop me from being hungry while waiting for it to be lunch time.  They are defiantly best cold but thankfully my office has a refrigerator.  The first time I bought these my fiance asked if he could have one and of course I said sure.  He tasted it and said it tasted like it was fermented.  I shrugged my shoulders and told him it was ok if he didn't like it.  Apparently fermented must be a good taste because now when I go shopping I have to buy extras because he keeps drinking them.

 These are another easy snack to eat at work that isn't messy.  I buy them frozen and put some in a little tupperware and put them in my work refrigerator.  By the time I want to eat them in the afternoon they are defrosted and delicious.
Greek yogurt
 Anyone who knows me knows I like Mexican food.  I have been replacing sour cream with greek yogurt for years in my homemade tacos and chilis and I don't even notice the difference. It is lower in calories and higher in protein than sour cream so it just makes sense.
I have a few more favorite healthier food options but I decided rather than make this post a million miles long I will split it up into two posts.  Come back next Friday for part 2 of this post.  I might even share how much weight I have lost so far...

I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yum Pie!

I took 3 pies to work with me on Monday and they earned rave reviews.  I brought one ice cream pie and two berry pies.  The first berry pie was gone in a blink of an eye and the second one went almost as fast so by popular demand the recipe for Summer Berry Pie.

This a recipe my mom found in one of those little cookbooks you find at the checkout of grocery stores.  With a few minor changes it has become a favorite of my family.

Summer Berry Pie

1 graham cracker crust
3/4 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 cup water
1 small package of strawberry jello (the kind with 4 servings)
3-4 cups of berries
Whipped Cream (lots and lots)

Combine the sugar and the corn starch in a medium sized pot and slowly add the water stirring with a whisk to avoid lumps.  Heat over medium to medium-high heat.  The hotter the heat the more attention you need to pay to what is going on in the pot.  When the mixture comes to a boil let it boil for one minute and then remove the pot from the stove and whisk in the jello.  Let the mixture cool until it is room temperatureish.  While you are waiting for it to cool you can prepare the fruit.

You can come up with the 3-4 cups of fruit any way you wish but I generally use a big clamshell of fresh strawberries and a package or two of frozen mixed berries.  I try to buy the frozen berries that don't have strawberries in them so the pie doesn't get overly strawberryish but whatever combination of fruit you want will work.  I generally take the frozen fruit out of the freezer first thing to give it time to defrost.  The crust can be homemade but I generally buy the pre-made grocery store kind that says 2 extra servings.

When the jello mixture is cool (the more frozen berries you are using the less cool it needs to be) mix the berries into the mixture and just pour the whole thing into the pie crust.  Be careful not to over fill the pie because the mixture is still quite liquid at this point an has a tendency to run over the edges.  I may or may not have firsthand experience in this tendency.  Put the pie in the refrigerator for at least a few hours (preferable at least 4-6) to let it set up and then enjoy topped with lots of whipped cream. Enjoy!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up

Hello Monday! You are not my favorite day of the week but I will make the best of it with a recap of my weekend.

Friday night I came home from work with my fiance and had a nice quiet evening at home.  It was windy and raining so the was a perfect way to spend the evening. I was going to cook something for dinner but we ended up just having some hummus and pita chips while watching a new episode of Blacklist.  I spent the whole episode holding my breath or speculating about the plot twists but that is pretty normal for me.  I won't ruin it for anyone who hasn't watched it but it was a good episode!

I woke up fairly early for a Saturday to head down to Pacific Grove to get my hair done.  I know I know yes that is a bit of a drive (a little over an hour) just to get my hair done but I love my hairdresser and I usually try to combine my appointment with something else down there.  I forgot to take a picture of my hair on Saturday after I got it done but here is a day old/slept on picture of my hair.  I am growing my hair out so I have lots of options for my wedding but I still have to get it trimmed to keep it looking fabulous!

I met one of my sisters for lunch at the mall in Monterey before heading back home.  Yay for sister time!  Saturday night I was giving myself a bit of a panic attack because my eye had been hurting all day and I was worried it was something serious since it was really hurting by the end of the day.  I woke up Sunday to my eye feeling much better.  Crisis averted.

Sunday I had a lovely morning lazing in bed listening to the rain outside my window and talking to one of my best friends on the phone.  I eventually got up and got dressed to go look at an open house with my fiance.  More details on that if it becomes anything...

After the open house I dragged my fiance (ok he actually volunteered) on my typical Sunday afternoon errands to such exciting places such as Target and Trader Joe's.  He stayed in the car while  I shopped in Trader Joe's but decided to come into Target with me.  We only came out of Target with a few things that were not on the list.  He is not allowed to shop alone (especially at Costco) because he would come out with random things we don't need and not get everything on the list.  Once in a while he comes shopping with me but our budget is much happier when I shop alone.  

My manager at work had a birthday on Saturday and in our office we like to have a little afternoon desert to celebrate birthdays.  There are a little over 30 people in my office so that leads to at least one birthday almost every week.  Sometimes the desert is store bought and sometimes it is home made.  I volunteered to make something and here is what I ended up with..

Summer Berry Pie

Thin Mint Ice Cream Pie

Eating a piece of one of these pies should brighten anyone's Monday!  Happy Monday!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Clothing Basics-Friday Favorites

Now that you know all about my undergarments it seemed only appropriate to share some of my other favorite things to wear.   These are things I either buy over and over again or like so much I have bought multiple of.

Friday Favorites

Despite being super short waisted I usually like to wear a cami under my sweaters and thinner shirts just for the extra layer of coverage and length.  This is a cami I buy over and over again.  It comes is tons of colors depending on the season but I go back and buy the same four colors over and over again.  I buy it in white, off white (they call it Whisper White), navy and black.  I have it in a grey and a pretty emerald green and while I wear them I don't have multiples of those colors.  I have at least 2 of each of my basic colors and as soon as one starts to near its retirement age (a year or two for the dark colors and a bit less for the whites) I immediately buy a replacement.
Clean Cami at The Loft

If I am not at the gym I am almost always in some sort of ballet flat.  These are one of my two favorite shoes at the moment.  The other is a pair of cute shiny silver flats.  I don't know how but I always manage to walk through my flats in about 6 months of wear so I am constantly on the hunt for a new pair of flats.  I try to always have at least one black pair in my rotation along with a neutral color (like nude or silver) that goes with everything.  Once I have have those two colors set the more fun and/or sparkly the better!  A couple of times I have actually found little ballet flats covered in glitter.

These leggings are not just for working out!  They are great for holding everything in while working out but in the winter I wear them as often out of the gym as I do in the gym.  They work really with long tunic type shirts and boots or under dresses that are just a smidge too short to wear to work alone.  I love that they are thick enough not to be see through since as much as I love underwear I don't need the whole world seeing mine.
Zella Live in Legging at Nordstrom

These hair bows are a newish favorite of mine.  They are from an Etsy shop called Ruby Blue and the colors and styles they come in changes daily depending on her supply.  They come in sizes all the way from infant to adult and they have saved me from many bad hair days.  I know wearing a giant bow on your head may not be everyone's style but I think they are kind of fun and quirky.
You wouldn't know it from the pictures in this post but I promise I do wear lots of different colors!  I guess it makes sense that my basics are of a more neutral color palette.  Happy dressing!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What Have You Been Watching?

My fiance and I don't have the most similar tastes in television but we have found a few shows that we both enjoy.  Since we don't have cable we never watch them on the day they actually air but between Hulu and Netflix we only have to wait one day.

I love all kinds of "dramatic" shows as my fiance calls them.  I like things like The Biggest Loser, Project Runway, The Challenge and Survivor and as much as he swears he thinks they are too dramatic he generally knows all the contestants names by the end of the season, so he can't hate them that much.  Ok actually I usually watch Project Runway on my laptop with earphones to save him from that one.

What we watch together:
I used to live with my cousin and she turned me onto this show.  She went to college in Portland and always knew a lot of the places they filmed the show.  My fiance loves this show and is always asking if there is a new episode to watch.  You would think he would learn what day of the week it aired but he never bothers to remember.

My fiance is a big Marvel fan so it only made sense for us to watch this one.

We were in Southern California over Thanksgiving and my future brother-in-law and I were talking about shows we watched and he thought we would enjoy this one so we gave it a try.  We watched the whole first season on Netflix in about two weeks and then got caught up on the current season just in time for new episodes to begin again this week.  We are hooked.

When there are no new episodes of the shows I watch or when I am puttering around at home cooking or blogging I tend to watch a whole series on Netflix or Hulu.  I watched all of Top Chef this fall and have been watching all the old seasons of The Amazing Race recently.  I watch the current seasons of these shows too but it is still fun to watch all the previous seasons too.

Any recommendations on new things to watch?

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Little Bit of Wedding

I got engaged on Christmas Eve at the church I grew up in with my parents and sisters looking on.  It was just perfect and I was totally surprised since I thought he would propose either Christmas morning or on New Year's Eve.

First kiss as an engaged couple!

Now that I am officially engaged I get to plan a wedding!  We are not getting married until the Summer of 2016 so we (and I mean mostly I) have about 18 months to plan this thing.  Having so much time to plan is going to be a blessing, but also a curse.  Sometimes I feel like I have so much time that I can't plan certain things yet but I want to make the big decisions sooner rather than later.  The sooner I make the big decisions like date and place I can then start planning the stuff little girls dream of like dresses and food and decorations.

In terms of all the small details my fiance is pretty chill about all of it and has said he is perfectly happy to stay out of all the little planning unless I really want him to help.  I think he would prefer me to just tell him where to show up, but that is not happening.  To make sure we were on the same page for the big stuff and the things I actually am making him have an opinion on we have set aside time to have Wedding Meetings complete with agendas and minutes.  Laugh all you want we both have MBAs and it is working for us.  Along with being The Queen of Everything I am also the bride so I get to be the chair of these meetings!  

We had a meeting last weekend and assigned each of us topics that needed further research and are meeting again in a month to report back.  One of his big things is that he wants to get married in a church so that is his research project.  I am doing research on photographers to take engagement photos (we are aiming to get them done in June) so if anyone has suggestions in the Bay Area or Salinas/Monterey area of good photographers or good locations I am all ears!  

More details to come in the coming months...