Monday, March 30, 2015

Nails Nails Nails

I love getting pedicures.  I love the way my toes look when it is done and I definitely love someone massaging my feet and legs.  In fact I get them so consistently every 5 or 6 weeks that I honestly don't think I have cut my own toe nails since I graduated college.  Kind of embarrassing but true.

I have had my toes painted pretty much every color of the rainbow.  I tend to do darker colors in the winter and brighter colors in the summer but it really just depends on what I am in the mood for when I go to the nail place.  I tend to pick out OPI colors at the salon because I know they last pretty well because as much as I love getting my toes done I can't afford to have to get them done every week or anything crazy like that.

My fingernails on the other had are not painted most of the time.  I paint them myself every few months and get them done a few times a year unless I have a special occasion like a wedding coming up and then I am sure to get them done.  I actually got my nails done the last time I had a pedicure as a treat to myself.  I always get my finger nails done in some sort of light pink or another neutral light color like a pretty pale grey so that when they start to chip it doesn't become noticeable as fast.

I have no idea what the light grey color is called but the pretty pink is an OPI polish called "Kiss on the Chic".  You can always count on OPI to come up with the most clever names for their nail polishes.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Only 2 weeks till Disneyland

On my girl date a couple of weeks ago my girlfriend and I decided to take ourselves to Disneyland.  We have been talking about a trip to Disneyland together for over a year and she has a week in April off so after a little hotel and airplane research we decided to go for it.  We were able to find reasonable airfare and hotel rooms so we took it as a sign that we should just book it and go!

We fly out first thing Saturday morning so we should be in the park around lunch time and fly home Monday evening so we can stay in the parks until mid afternoon.

My traveling partner loves the Blue Bayou so we made our reservations to have lunch there on the Sunday of our trip.

We also made dinner reservations at the Wine Country Trattoria for dinner on Saturday night so that we can watch World of Color in the special reserved area.  We were not sure how crowded the park would be while we were there so we decided that dinner reservations that came with passes to World of Color would just be easier than trying to rush to get them when we get there at lunch time on Saturday.

My favorite little secret tip (shhhhh) for dealing with warm weather (which we are likely to have) is to have a mid-morning snack, hello churros or pretzels, and then have a late lunch at the Carthay Circle Lounge during the hottest part of the day.  The upstairs part of the Carthay Circle is a fairly fancy expensive delicious restaurant but the downstairs is gorgeous lounge that serves fancy bar food and fabulous drinks.  It is usually pretty quite in the middle of the afternoon and you can sit in the air conditioned lounge by a window and just people watch and rest your feet for a bit.  The food is good and the drinks are amazing.  The bar tenders are so knowledgeable and sitting in a 1920's styled bar drinking old fashioned drinks is enough to make even a sweaty tired girl feel swanky.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not likely to be wearing any sort lace up/tennis shoe unless I am going to the gym.  Knowing how much walking Disneyland involves I decided that this trip called for me to buy a pair of sensible but still cute shoes.  I wanted something that would look decent with a skirt or dress and not just pants.  You can convince me I need more sensible shoes but good luck getting me in pants for 3 days straight (especially in warm weather). I ended up settling on these Keds.  I wore them today (to break them in) with a skirt and they actually looked pretty cute.
Another thing I very rarely wear, except to sleep in, are shorts.  I have lost 15 pounds so far so I decided to go and try on a few pairs just to see how it went.  Knowing I was going to Disneyland in April and then Hawaii in May I decided to buy this pair at The Loft.  They are cute and girly and the major selling point is that they are long enough to fully cover my butt because really no one needs to see anyone's butt sticking out of their shorts.

While I was at The Loft I couldn't resist these colorful earrings.  They are not really for my trip but they were too cute not to purchase.

Ok so I have some outfits and we have some dinning reservations now all I have to do is wait two more weeks and I will be off on my Disneyland adventure!  Don't worry many pictures of the adventure to come after the trip!

I am linking up my preparation with Andrea for Friday Favorites

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bacon Bean and Veggie Soup/Stew Thing

Ok so maybe the name of this recipe needs some work but, no matter what you call it, it is delicious.

This can be thrown together with whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand and you can actually use sausage instead of bacon if that is what you have.  Originally I used a whole package of bacon but since I am trying to watch what I eat I have recently been just using 1/2 a package.

Saute 1/2 (or a whole) package of bacon until it is almost cooked.  Don't worry if it is not 100% cooked because it will be added to the other pot later.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a large soup pot and add the carrots, onions and celery (about 1 cup of each) to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes stirring periodically.  Add 2 cloves are garlic and cook for another minute or two.  While the carrots etc are cooking I usually cut up whatever other veggies I am adding.  This time I added 2 zucchini, an eggplant and some mushrooms.  Depending on what other veggies you are using add the ones that take the longest too cook first.  I added the zucchini and eggplant and let it cook with the cover on for about 10 minutes before adding the mushrooms. After I added the mushrooms and let them cook for about 5 minutes I added a couple of good splashes of white wine to deglaze the pan.

After the veggies are mostly cooked I add in 3 drained cans of white beans (or whatever you have on hand), the cooked bacon, a little pepper and a couple of palmfuls of rosemary. Stir to combine everything together and continue to cook until everything is cooked and nice and hot.  This can be eaten alone as a soup/stew or you can add some croutons or pita chips on top for a bit of a crunch.

Happy cooking!

Joining the Recipe Club today and Share your Creativity

Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Decorations!

Pretty much as soon as St. Patrick's Day was over this year I broke out the Easter decorations since there is only about 3 weeks between the two days this year I wanted as much time enjoy my Easter decorations as possible.

I got these cute springy Easter kitchen towels at Target and I think they brighten up my little kitchen.  Well they try!  There is only so much that can be done when the cabinets are a lovely shade of yellowy beige

I don't normally decorate the TV stand but I had extra eggs and extra grass after I decorated my normal places I decided to make a little nest.

Instead of using that neon plastic grass that is all the rage this time of year I went to the fake flower department of the craft store and bought some dark green grass.  It just looks so much better than it would with neon grass!  I think that bunny is meant to be put outside in a garden but oh well.

Don't mind all the random other things that are on our bar but look at how cute that tree is.  Thank you Target dollar spot!  I had a vase of flowers that my fiance gave me on the bar but I forgot to take a picture of them before they died.  The flowers just made the display so much more springy but oh well I guess I will just have to get more. Hint hint fiance.

I have an egg garland that I have not put up yet but other than that my condo is all decorated for Easter!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Finally!

I am so glad it is finally Friday.  This week has been long and chaotic for various reasons and I am so glad that the weekend is here. This weekend I have a few errands and things planned but my two missions for this weekend are to relax and to find a pot to plant my new flowers in.

My future mother in law came to dinner on Wednesday night and brought me some flowers.  What you can't see from these pictures is that this is not just flowers but live flowers in those little plastic six packs.  

I am totally a purple girl so I think these are flowers are beautiful so I am determined to do my best to keep them alive.  I am by no means a gardener and have no green thumb but hopefully I can find a pot to plan these in and manage to keep them alive for at least a little while.  My fiance is skeptical of my ability to keep these flowers alive but I think I can do it!  I helped my mom plant vegetables as a kid so I have a little experience in this. Any recommendations or tips on keeping this type of plant alive?  I will let you know how my planing adventure goes.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Cheer Exchange Link Up

While the rest of the country is digging them out of the snow we in California are hoping for rain.  Any rain please? Please? Just a bit?  In hopes of sending some spring cheer to someone and making some new friends along the way I signed up for Floral and Fudge's Spring Cheer Exchange.  I sent a box of fun little spring goodies to Ellie and I got a box of my own in the mail from Penny.  How fun!

Look at how much fun springy stuff fit into one little box!

I love how everything had such a cohesive pastel floral theme.  I almost didn't want to take it all out since it looked so pretty all together in the box.

I love pretty note pads and sticky notes.  Everyone at work knows when I have left them a sticky note because mine are never those boring standard yellow ones.  These spring ones will make their way to my office today and bring spring cheer to everyone at work!

I have christmas clings and valentine's clings but these spring window clings will be a nice addition to my collection.  You will see them in action soon but you will have to wait until Monday when I show you my condo all decorated for Easter.  I know the suspense is killing you!  Happy Thursday!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Weather Was So Hot and a Girl Date

Ummm attention Mr. Weather Man: This is not summer.  In fact it is still technically winter for a few more days.

Apparently the weather man did not get the above memo because on Saturday it was over 90 degrees here and on Sunday it was an oh so cool 80 degrees.

I went to the gym on Saturday morning and when I came out of the gym a wall of heat hit me.  It was not pleasant.  I drove though Starbucks to get a cold drink and ran into Trader Joe's to get a few necessities before coming home to eat lunch and take a shower to cool off.

After cooling off I got dressed and made my best attempt to wear something I wouldn't be too hot and and headed out to meet one of my girlfriends for a girl date.  Dinner and a movie!

We went to Mimi's for dinner and I decided the weather warranted a margarita.  One thing I will never understand is why when you are served a margarita with salt on the rim are you also given a straw.  How do you get the salt in your mouth if you use a straw??  This always puzzles me!

After we ate we grabbed our jackets out of the car just in case by some chance the theater was cold (it wasn't) and got to the movie just in time for the previews to start.  As this was a girl date of course we saw the girliest movie out there.  Cinderella.  The movie was actually pretty cute and the costumes were gorgeous.

We came out of the theater around 9 and it was still about 75 degrees so I knew my condo was going to feel like a furnace when I got home.  My wonderful fiance had remembered to put the fan in our bedroom window so it was actually not as bad as it could have been.

Sunday I slept in a bit and then went to the gym and Trader Joe's to get all the stuff I hadn't gotten the day before.
That afternoon the fiance and I went on a mission to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get some sort of shelving/drawer things for under our bathroom sink.

We ended up with these two sets.

Hopefully once I go though and organize everything under our bathroom sink it will not be such a mess and things won't fall out whenever we open the cabinet.  I think part of the problem is we have no other storage in the bathroom so hopefully being able to put things into two layers will help.  We have the organizers but the actual using of said organizers is a project for another day.  Before and after photos to come when the project is complete.

We finished off the day by relaxing at home and heading to bed early to prepare for the week to come.  Hope everyone had a great weekend too!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Favorite St. Patrick's Day Traditions

Growing up we always celebrated St. Patrick's Day in my house.  My grandmother was 100% Irish so it was always fun to celebrate my heritage.  It didn't hurt that my mom is a great cook and so the food was always delicious.  She loves to cook but can take or leave the whole decorating the table part so she always let me (and/or made me) set and decorate our table for St. Patrick's Day dinner.

This is the table decorations from a few years ago at my parent's house. My general thought on decorating the table was the tackier the better and there is not such thing as too many sparkles.  While I am not having a full on St. Patrick's Day dinner at my house this year because it falls on a Tuesday but I did decorate my house a bit and I can't let this holiday without my favorite St. Patrick's Day food.

Irish Soda Bread!  So yummy with butter as a savory dish and also so good with a bit of jam on it for something sweeter.  Here is the recipe I use:

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 3/4 buttermilk

Preheat the over to 375 degrees
Mix all the dry ingredients together and then cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter (or 2 knives if you don't have a pastry cutter).
Add the egg and the buttermilk to the dry/butter mixture and mix well with your hands. (put a bit of water on your hands to prevent some of the sticking).  
Divide the dough into two pieces and press into 2 greased round pans (or make 2 round shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet). 
Cut a cross into your loaves and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Linking Up

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Little Bit More Wedding

My fiance and I had our second wedding meeting a couple of weeks ago just to touch base on the details we had been working on.  My fiance has narrowed our church choices down to three and I have found a handful photographers that are possibilities for our engagement pictures.  Now we both have to start contacting these places and work out the details.

We are planning to have our wedding on the Big Island of Hawaii and it just so happens that we (along with my parents and sisters) are going there in May to celebrate my mom's birthday.  We are going to look at churches and the hotel I want to have the reception at while we are there.

Right now I feel like I have so much (almost too much) time to plan this wedding and I want it to be as low stress as possible so I am trying to get as much stuff done this far in advance so I can try to relax as it gets closer.  I figured the best way to stay organized was to buy a planner.

Of course it shouldn't surprise anyone that I picked a planner with a purple theme.  It has a two year calendar and lots of blank pages for all kinds of notes as well as pages to keep track things like bridal party/groomsman contact info and pages to list vendor information.  It even has some check lists and timelines to help as a guide.

I love stickers and this planner came with all kinds of stickers.  There are a bunch to put on the calendar pages with specific wedding events like showers and rehearsal dinner and then reminders for all kinds of other things that need to be done. There are also blank stickers so you can write your own to-dos on which I am sure I will have.  Hello buying sunscreen!

There are still a ton of things to figure out but at least it will be organized and colorful.  We are hoping to officially have picked our date (we have 2 in mind) and church by June and then we will be on our way!  I am going dress shopping at the end of May with my mom and most of my bridesmaids and I am so excited.  I love shopping and what little girl doesn't dream of wedding dress shopping.  I won't be able to post pictures of the dress I actually pick (just in case the fiance reads this) but if I end up in any really hideous ones I will be sure to post pictures for everyone to laugh at!

There are some very cute quotes spread though out the planner but I just love this one:

As sappy as it sounds I really can't wait to marry my fiance and continue our adventure together.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up-Daylights Savings Time. Yuck!

Hello Monday!  You are not making me like you any more by being the Monday after daylights savings time.  You may not be my favorite day of the week but you are here I guess I will make the best of it. 

 Friday night my fiance and I had a nice quiet night at home and we watched the last episode of Agent Carter that aired a few weeks ago.  I sat on the couch with a glass of wine and read blogs with a candle burning.  It was lovely.

Saturday we lounged in bed for a good chunk of the morning getting up every so often to switch the laundry (gotta have clean clothes) until I got hungry. After I ate brunch I headed off to the post office to mail a few packages (Liz your Christmas present should be there before your birthday!) and oh my goodness did it take forever.  I always forget that the USPS is one of the least efficient businesses ever.  Even with a line practically out the door the clerks have no sense of urgency!  

After my stressful trip to the post office it was off to the mall for some retail therapy. Ok so really I went there for a purpose but I just ended up taking a few detours along the way. My poor laptop is getting old so in preparation for having to probably get a new one sometime this year I went to the Apple store and asked the poor staff a lot of dumb questions.  I think they were glad to see me leave but laptops are expensive and I want to make the best decision for me.  Any advice? 

My fiance has been complaining of getting old because he has gotten some sun spots/age spots on his face so I went to Sephora to get him a face cream to reverse them and prevent them.  I know he doesn't wear sunscreen everyday and has super dry skin so this Clinique moisturizer seemed to be the best option.  I smelled it to make sure it didn't smell girly and since it doesn't I am hoping he will wear it and that it will do what it says it will do.  It has good reviews but I will report back later on its success. 

After I did what I came to the mall to do I decided it was time to stop by the Loft.  I had tried a really cute dress on there last weekend but I needed the dress in a petite size instead of regular.  The store only had the dress in regular sizes last weekend and even though it was available online in petite I am kind of between sizes in petite Loft dresses so I was still contemplating which size to order.  This weekend the regular sizes of the dress were completely sold out but they had gotten in petite sizes on Thursday.  Success!  I got to try it on and get the correct size without having to order 2 and return the one that didn't fit. Such a pretty dress! I can't wait to wear it on my vacation in Hawaii in May.

I ran to Costco (always an adventure on a weekend) before heading home for another quiet evening at home.  Even though I went to bed at a reasonable time I woke up Sunday morning just exhausted.  I had lots of productive things planned for the day but as my fiance had to remind me many times yesterday sometimes my body has other plans and I have to listen.  I don't think my exhaustion had anything to do with daylights saving but I can still hate daylights saving time anyway.

Friday, March 6, 2015

A few of my favorite people

One of my very favorite pictures of my sisters and my fiance

Enjoying a very warm Thanksgiving in Southern California with my fiance and his family

On our way to Seattle for a bridal shower

And now on our way to Seattle for the wedding

I have known these girls for over half my life!

Most of my college roommates

More college roommates

Having a blast with my family in Germany

My grad school partner in crime

Running while wearing fabulously silly costumes is half the fun of Bay to Breakers

One side of my family

And the other

I can't wait to have all my favorite people help me and my fiance celebrate our wedding next year! Just a little (or a lot) more planning to go to make this a reality but at this point I am just at the excited point instead of the overwhelmed point.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Random Ramblings

None of these happenings quite warrant their own whole post but combined they made a great random post.

I have been competing in two different Biggest Loser contests at work and one of them ended on Friday.  This was just a contest for people on my floor.  There were about 10 people in this contest and there were 3 of us that had definitely lost some weight but I wasn't sure who had lost the largest percentage.  Everyone weighed in (with just one person monitoring) and when the results were announced I ended up winning.  Woohoo!  Each person had put in $20 to enter the contest and I won all the money!

The other Biggest Loser contest I am participating has more people since it for 3 floors of the building and doesn't end until April 1.  I will let you know how that one turns out!

Over the weekend our much anticipated dishwasher was delivered and installed.

Isn't it so pretty and shiny?  Since there are only two of us and we don't make a ton of dishes much of the time we have only filled it up and run it once but it worked wonderfully.  You can't really tell in this picture but the dishwasher matches our refrigerator and our sink fixtures which is really nice.  Our poor stove is feeling a little left out of this brushed silver party but it is working fine so we have no immediate plans to replace it.

I know our weather here in California is nowhere near as crazy as what much of the country has been experiencing but our weather on Monday was really weird.  I woke up and it was sunny but the weather report said chance of showers.  At 10 AM when I went outside it was still sunny but my lunch time it was pouring rain.  Not showers but full on downpour.  By about 2 it was sunny again and then when I went to go on a walk at around 3 it was pouring again.  It was sprinkling when I got off at 5 and sunny 15 minutes later when I got off the train.  We defiantly need the rain but I would like it to just rain all day or be sunny so I can be prepared!

I think that is enough random ramblings for one day!