Friday, August 31, 2012

What I Wore: Pinkalicious

OMG, y'all! I finally have an outfit post!

I've done this look before with a blue open cardigan.  I loved it so much, I decided to do a pink version.  I wore this comfortable ensemble to the movies one evening, keeping my accessories pretty simple; But you know me, they sparkle!  The neon pink necklace laid in such a way that it looked like it was part of the dress. Overall, I love the ease and comfort of this outfit.  I wish I had many more colors of open cardi and many more styles of belts. :-)

Maxi dress - Lane Bryant
Pink open cardigan - Torrid
Belt - Lane Bryant
Necklace - JC Penneys
Bracelets - Torrid
Sandals - Old Navy

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thankfulness Thursdays: Week 5 - Pacific Northwest Scenery

It is time for another installment of Thankfulness Thursdays.  I've only managed to participate twice out of the four weeks it has been going so far.  I just keep juggling things without really making much progress towards being prepared.  I'm going to work harder on that.

This week I am thankful for the lovely scenery here in the Pacific Northwest.  I am from the South, and even though we moved around a lot, I never really remember seeing such beautiful landscapes when I was a kid.  The mountains (Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens are visible from my area) continue to look like movie backdrops to me even though I have lived here for twelve years now.

We recently took a scenic drive to Hood River, Oregon.  The views on the way are just gorgeous.  Snow-capped mountains, tree-covered mountains, large rock formations, and the Columbia River.

I want to constantly stop and get out to take photos.  On one such drive, we even saw an abundance of windsurfers all out playing in the choppy water.  It is a wonder they didn't run smack into each other.

Even though it rains here a majority of the year, I still feel fortunate to have such beautiful surroundings as the norm.  It recharges my batteries and makes me feel at peace when I take in the pretty visions of nature.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Diva In The Kitchen: Kale and Lentil Ginger Soup

I love Crockpot meals.  It is such an easy way to have a tasty dinner ready at a convenient time.  With fall coming up, I am thinking about soups and stews and other warm, comforting meals.  The following recipe was written by me.  It is the first time I have ever cooked with kale.  This turned out to be a hearty, healthy, filling soup.  It is very tasty, if I do say so myself!

I am thinking of doing a Crockpot series of recipes.  Is that something that appeals to all of you?  Let me know!

Kale and Lentil Ginger Soup

- 2 cups dry lentils (I use mixed colors of lentils just because)
- 2 containers of sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- Big bunch of kale, sliced
- 1 Leek, chopped
- 1 Fennel bulb, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped ginger (You can slice it in small, bite-sized matchsticks or mince it)
- Grated ginger, about an inch or so section of ginger.  (When you buy it at the store, cut off the skin, put it in a baggy, and pop it in the freezer.  You can use it for a while.)
- 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- Squeeze of hot sauce (I use Sriracha)
- 1/4 cup agave
- 2 tsp Smoked paprika
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- Salt n pepper to taste
- 2-3 tsp Mrs. Dash Chicken seasoning
- 2 tsp ground sage or chopped fresh sage
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced (I use a lot of garlic because I LOVE it!)
(Optional) Parmesan cheese, sour cream, fresh lemons

Put all ingredients from the lentils to the garlic into the Crockpot.  You may have to add the broth a few cups at a time.  As things cook down you will have more room for the liquid.  Simmer in Crockpot on low for about 5 hours.

Spoon into bowls and top with Parmesan cheese and sour cream, along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Enjoy!  As always, if you make this recipe, please let me know what you think.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Q & A Monday: Tech Questions

Happy Monday, y'all!

This weekend was pretty laidback and fun.  Saturday was my nephew's 7th birthday, so we headed over to his Army-themed pool party for the majority of the evening.  It was great to hang out with everyone and watch the kids play.  Plus, he was excited about all the cool new clothes I picked out for him!  We had dinner with my mother-in-law afterwards and called it a night.

Belgian waffles started the day off on a great note on Sunday.  Sean and I watched some DVRed shows, played some Skyrim, and I made a tasty dinner.  It was pretty lazy.  After having so many insanely busy weekends, it has been awesome to have at least one day of recharging and regrouping.

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at All The Weigh, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

 Tech Questions
1.  PC or Mac?  
PC all the way.  Sure Apple things look sleek and such, but I've just never been interested in changing.  I don't really have a lot of issues with my PC and have a computer nerd husband who can fix it when there is an issue.

2. When did you get your first computer?  
I paid for my very own computer when I was about 19/20.  It was the first computer that was really "mine".  Otherwise, I had to use my parents' computer or get hand-me-down CPU, keyboard, speakers, etc. when I needed a computer for school and such. (So maybe 17)

3. Do you use cable, DSL or something else?  
Cable.  I get cranky without my fast internet connection.

4. When choosing a laptop, do you think it’s more important to choose the fastest one, or the lightest one?  
I guess it really depends on the person.  What are you going to use it for?  Where are you planning on taking it?  When my husband bought me a laptop, I decided on a 10-inch Acer Aspire One.  I wanted something small and lightweight.  I work at home, so I don't need it for everyday use or anything fancy.  It works well for me.

5. What kind of cell phone do you own?  Do you like it? 
I have an LG Optimus V.  I went with it because I love the pull-out keyboard.  There aren't really a lot of options in phones with a physical keyboard nowadays.  It does the job for me.

6. How do you carry your laptop when you travel?  
I couldn't find a small enough bag for my lil laptop, so I found a small purse and made a foam insert to protect the laptop.  I usually carry it this way for casual use, road trips, etc.  For flying, I would put it in my carry on that I keep under the seat.

7. How many e-mails do you send on an average day? 
I don't know that I've counted.  It depends on the day.  I receive a TON from my various accounts.  Most don't require a reply, so I probably send out a handful or so per day.

8. Do you ever blog using your iPad or similar tablet? 
No.  I need a physical keyboard.  I enjoy blogging from my desktop computer because it is easier and I feel more focused.

9. What do you use more often – a desktop or a laptop? 

10.  As a blogger, are there other gadgets that you need to get the job done?  If so, what are they? 
Phone for notifications, internet access on the go.  I usually bring my iPod with me for using Wi-Fi hotspots.  With the iPod, I can use Instagram and Facebook easier.  Digital camera for taking photos and videos. And you could also count the Webcam for vlogs, even though I haven't done that much.

So there you have it!  It is your turn now, so link-up and answer away!  Have a great week!

Friday, August 24, 2012

How Many Lip Products Are In Your Purse?

This week Birchbox shared the results from their Beauty Pulse Survey, reporting that more than half of the over 10,000 women surveyed had three or more lip products in their purse at all times.  I'm definitely guilty of being one of those women.  Quite often my husband and friends tease me about all the lip products I choose to carry around.

I thought it would be fun to take a moment to show you the seven lip products I typically have in my purse and why.

Product #1 - MAC Lustre Lipstick in Lustering - My go-to lip stick colors are bright pink or coral.  Those two colors go with just about any outfit I might wear.  MAC's Lustering is a bright pink lip stick I received through their recycle program.  Once you use 6 MAC products, take them to your
local MAC counter and choose a lip stick of your choice.  I didn't own a bright pink at the time and chose this one.  It isn't neon or crazy bright, but it lends me a good amount of color and really helps brighten up my face.

Product #2 - Smashbox Lip Gloss in It Girl - This is one of my first Smashbox lip glosses.  My husband put a lip gloss set in my stocking last Christmas.  I really love this bright fuchsia color.  It goes well with my MAC lipstick and adds a nice shimmer and shine to my lips.  It's also great on its own.  Once I ran out of my Birchbox Pink lip gloss, I started using this one.

Product #3 - theBalm Stainiac Lip and Cheek Stain - This stain is a sample from one of my recent Birchboxes.  I love a good lip stain!  This one doesn't leave my lips feeling super dry and when it eventually wears off, the "ring around my lips" is very faint and can be remedied easier than other stains I have tried.  This one is great for adding color when I know I won't be able to continuously apply lip gloss or lip stick.

Product #4 - Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Polish in Monica - This product and the below Buxom lip stick came in a travel set together.  I love Buxom products, especially the lip gloss.  This is a very pretty peachy-pink shimmery gloss I use over the coral lip stick.

Product #5 - Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Stick in Athens - The first Buxom lip stick I tried was the big version of this one.  I loved it so much, I bought this mini as well.  It is a fantastic matte coral lip stick that isn't drying.  I love the easy application from the finer point and it stays put quite well.

Product #6 - Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Passion - The tinted lip treatment is another product I've started using in the last year.  I love this pretty pink shade.  It is a little deeper than my natural lip tone, so it adds some natural color to give me a more polished look with ease.  There are currently five different colors in this brand, including the newest coral-tinted one that I cannot wait to get my hands on.

Product #7 - Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment - Last, but not least, is my clear lip balm choice.  It is so hydrating and smooth.  Both this lip treatment and the above tinted version have SPF 15.

So there you have it!  My arsenal of lip products in all their glory.  Dare I show you my drawers and drawers of other makeup products one day?  What lip products do you carry in your purse?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What I Wore: A Month or So In Review

I know it has been quite some time since I did a proper outfit post.  Truth be told, I haven't taken any real outfit pictures in a while.  I'm trying to remedy that soon, but I thought I would at least show you some of the stuff I have worn.  It isn't crazy awesome or exciting.  I typically live in my denim capris in the summer, so I just add different tops. 

Sean and I, Family friends, and my In-Laws
My top is from Avenue and capris are from Lane Bryant.

Sean and I
Top - Kiyonna, Tank - Lane Bryant, Necklace - Maurices

We've had such a busy, well...I guess the past year has been crazy, but the last few months have been all over the place.  When my father-in-law left the hospital after his last round of chemo, he was given a month or two time limit.

After that, we tried to spend as much time with him and my mother-in-law as possible.  My in-laws had family friends and family visiting from out of town, so everyone could see my father-in-law before he passed away.

Us with the In-Laws, aunts, and uncles.
Short-sleeve hoodie and capris - Lane Bryant, Tank - Avenue

 Posing on our beach trip to Lincoln City.  My father-in-law's fused glass artwork is in the glass gallery there.

Sean and I posing with his other uncle on a trip to Hood River, Oregon.
Short-sleeve hoodie - Torrid, Tank - Old Navy, Capris - Lane Bryant

I didn't mean for this post to get so heavy, but basically, it has been a busy few months where clothes haven't really been a priority.  I still like to look cute, but I haven't paid too much attention to wearing new things.  It has just been casual and easy and quick.

Sean and I at my father-in-law's memorial.  It was a celebration of his life, so we all wore color.
Top - Kiyonna, Denim skirt - Old Navy, Sandals, Necklace, and Bracelets - Torrid

Me posing with the beautiful scenery on another drive to Hood River, Oregon.
T-shirt - Lane Bryant

And the last few weeks, I've only left the house when I've really had to.  I haven't had much motivation to go anywhere or do anything.  Things will perk up in time.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to explain my lack of outfit posts.

Be well, y'all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Birchbox Review: August 2012

If you don't know about Birchbox, it is a monthly subscription service.  For $10 a month, you get a box of 4 to 5 high-end skincare, makeup, and/or hair care products to sample.  Sometimes there are also "lifestyle samples", like an organic granola bar, tea, etc.  Some products are even full-size!

It is a really fun thing to get in the mail!  Plus, I am a product junkie and love being able to try all these different products.  Check out the website for more information!

This month's theme is Beauty School.

Birchbox August 2012

Products Included:

1. DDF Brightening Cleanser -I haven't used this too much because I keep forgetting to put it in my shower.  It is a light cleanser with a chamomile-like scent.  I haven't used it enough to speak on any skin-brightening results.  It does have a warning on the back to limit your time in the sun when using the product because of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid.  
UPDATE: Upon using the cleanser, it actually smells more like anise, or licorice almost.  Very faint smell.

2. Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur - I usually don't like the perfume samples as I am very picky about my perfume.  But this is a nice, light fruity floral scent.  I quite like it.

3. Miss Jessie's Original Pillow Soft Curls - LOVE THIS STUFF!  I have been using Redken Curl Wise 14 Curl Defining Cream   for over a year now.  It works well, but it is moody because when I use slightly too much, it makes my hair crunchy.  I HATE crunchy curls.  I've been using Pillow Soft Curls since it came in the mail. It has a fresh, clean scent and is a light gel-like formula.  It defines my curls better than my Redken lotion.  It also seems to hydrate my hair because my hair feels a lot better since I have been using it.  And best of all, NO CRUNCHINESS!!  YAY!  I bought the full size product.

4. Whish Three Wishes Body Butter -This is a creamy, non-greasy feeling body butter that leaves my skin feeling very smooth and soft.  Plus, it has a wonderful pomegranate scent.

5. Schick Hydro Silk Razor -I haven't used this yet, but people seem really excited about it.  Maybe I will give it a whirl this weekend.
UPDATE: I do NOT like this razor.  I used it on my legs to try it out.  I had a lather of body wash on them but didn't use shaving cream to test out the moisture strip.  The razor cut my legs all up.  It was crazy.  I use the Venus Embrace razor and haven't had many issues with nicks and cuts, but the Hydro Silk was terrible.

Birchbox Exclusive Key Chain - I received the Birchbox key chain as a one-year anniversary present from Birchbox.  I've officially been getting Birchboxes for a year now :-) It is a pink leather key chain with a little pocket for lipstick or whatever other samples you may need to easily access.

Q & A Monday: Inappropriate Questions

Happy Monday, y'all!
This weekend was very nice, a much needed very nice.  Sean and I had dinner with friends on Friday night to celebrate one of their birthdays.  Happy Birthday, Allison!  On Saturday, we spent time with my mother-in-law, saw Bourne Legacy, and went to dinner at a new-to-us restaurant with super tasty food.  

Sunday was spent doing laundry, washing dogs, doing dog laundry, catching up on DVR shows, and playing some Skyrim.  I'm still playing catch up and trying to feel normal again.  Making progress on any front is very helpful.

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at All The Weigh, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

 Inappropriate Questions

1. Will you vote in the upcoming presidential election?  
Absolutely.  I vote in every election because I like my voice to be heard.  Lots of women fought for my right to vote and now I am fighting for women to not have their rights taken away.

2. Do you say curse words? 
lol Yes.  I have a sailor's mouth from time to time.  I try not to cuss in public, although when I get really pissed off it can just come out.  But I try to limit the curse words or amount thereof when I am not in my own home.

3. Have you ever kissed a stranger?
I have.  And he tasted like mustard, which is why I haven't consumed regular yellow mustard in 10 years. Ick.

4. If you could choose to meet only one fellow blogger in person right now who would you choose?
Oh my gosh, that is tough.  There are so many awesome people out there that I have yet to meet.  I guess the easiest choice is Jessica Kane from Life and Style of Jessica because she probably lives about 5 minutes from me.  I'm always wondering if I will run into her somewhere, but no such luck yet.  She's part of the reason I started blogging again.

5. What is the most inappropriate pick-up line that anyone has ever used on you?
I don't think I've had too many instances of inappropriate pick-up lines in person.  Aside from the standard jackasses and weirdo dude who followed me through the mall to ask me what time it was, I can't really think of anything too over-the-top.
When I tried my hand at online dating, however, that is when they were completely inappropriate.  Instead of starting off by saying hello, they would simply ask "How much do you like sex?"  To which I would reply that I was blocking them from speaking to me further because I don't discuss things like that with strangers.  They'd usually try to get some barb in about calling me a bitch or a prude, before I could get them blocked.  That kind of crap happened ALL THE DAMN TIME.

6. Do you sing in the shower?  
On occasion.  When I have my shower radio on, I will definitely sing along.  Lately though, I have appreciated shower time as quiet time to just zone out, so I haven't had the radio on.

7. How often do you get drunk?
I haven't been drunk in a long while.  I have a lower tolerance now that I don't drink often, so I try to be careful.  I get tipsy, but I try to not go over that line.  I hate throwing up and having a headache.

8. Have you ever been fired from a job? 
I've been indirectly let go, but no one has had the balls to just fire me.

When I lived in Boston, I worked at a hospital doing reception work.  I worked through a temp agency.  The manager of our area of the hospital wanted to promote me to be a secretary for a doctor, but wanted to pay me much less.  I couldn't afford to take a lower paying job, so I turned down the offer.  After that, she had it out for me.  Eventually, she made up some story about me and told the temp agency she didn't want me to work there anymore.

I also worked for a very well-known company that sells perfumes, body sprays, candles, and the like.  I was hired as a seasonal part-time worker, but they only gave me 4 hours a week. I probably physically worked there a month.  They usually put me in the back to work on stock.  I don't know if it was always because I was fat, but I know they hated that I wasn't skillful in peddling their wares to unsuspecting customers.  I'm not a salesperson.  I will tell you what is on sale. I will help you find everything you need.  I will answer any questions you have about the products and make sure you have a great experience.  I will be as friendly as you can imagine.  But I will not hound you as soon as you come in the store and I will not try to talk you into buying things you don't want.  I personally hate when salespeople are up my ass at a store.

Anyway, after that initial few weeks of 4 hours a week, I would call in to get my hours and they would be all sweet and enthusiastic saying, "OH Lucky you! You get this week off! You have a little vacation!"  And I'd tell them, I didn't get a job to have a vacation.  I wanted hours.  This happened for another few weeks.  Every time I called in I was the lucky recipient of a WHOLE WEEK OFF! *rolls eyes*  So eventually, I got the message and stopped calling in.  I did use my discount a few more times though. lol

9. Were you popular in high school? 
Well, I went to three different high schools, so I had three different experiences with this.
I wouldn't say I was popular in any of them.  I was probably more well known in the first high school because I had already been going to school with most of the students for 4 years.  So a lot of people knew me, knew who I was.  Someone found out who my big crush was and told everyone, so that made people talk about me.  I was active in drama and plays, had lots of friends, and such.
The second high school was hard for me because they barely had any kind of drama program to speak of.  I did involve myself in a one-act play competition and had a few friends.  It was always really hard for me to make new friends when we moved around.
My third high school was 3000 miles from the others.  It was a lot harder for me to make friends, at this point.  I did, eventually, make some friends and get through my year of electives.  This high school had a decent drama program, so I was happy with that.

10. Who is your current celebrity crush?
Always Joe McIntyre and Nick Carter, also Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Gates, Harry Connick Jr., Anne Hathaway, Claire Danes

Alright, so I rambled a bit this week, but sometimes that is kind of the point of having a blog.  As always, link up with Kenlie at All the Weigh, let me know you were here in the comments below.  You can answer the questions on your own blog or in the comments.  Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thankfulness Thursdays: Week 3 - Being a Homemaker

Another installment of Thankfulness Thursday, linking up with Ashley at Domestic Fashionista.  Check out Week One. (I'm still catching up on Week Two.)

"One of life's gifts is that each of us, no matter how tired and downtrodden, finds reasons for thankfulness".--J. Robert Maskin

I had to think for a while about this week's Thankfulness Thursday.  What I initially wanted to write about is something that also makes me quite sad.  Maybe next week I will find a better way to touch on that topic.

This week, it has been really hot outside (103 today!) and I've been tired, mildly cranky, depressed, and lazy.  I don't constantly dwell in those negative areas.  They come and go.  I've spent time watching some television, catching up on emails and blog stuff, editing pictures, doing some housework, catching up on sleep, and the like.  The two weeks between my father-in-law's death and his memorial really drained me.  I'm finally starting to feel like myself again.

So this week, I am thankful that I don't have to work outside the home.  I am thankful that I am able to stay home and take care of my elderly fur kids and feed my soul with the things I love.  I am also grateful to have a husband who agrees to this and never makes me feel guilty for being a stay-at-home chihuahua mama.  He continues to be a loving, supportive, and understanding source of light in my life.

When I feel down, I just have to look at these precious faces:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Diva In The Kitchen: Kung Pao Spaghetti

Hi, y'all!

I finally have another tasty recipe for your consideration.  It was given to me by a friend.  While it is very tasty and definitely worth your time, it does take some extra effort.  If you are new to cooking, try this one on the weekend when you are feeling adventurous.

That said, it is still pretty easy, just has some extra steps.  It is a really popular recipe in my house and makes a TON, so I make sure to share with friends or set aside all the yummy leftovers.

Kung Pao Spaghetti


For the Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (You can substitute vegetable stock)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 3 tbsp red chili paste with garlic
- 1/4 cup sugar (You can substitute agave)
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

For the Pasta
- 1 lb dry spaghetti (I usually use rice noodles.  You can find them in the Asian area of the grocery store.)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb of chicken, cut into cubes (I use shrimp)
- 20 whole Chinese dried red chili peppers (You can find these in the Asian spice area in bags or possibly in your grocery produce section near the onions.)
- 1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup minced garlic
- 3 cups chopped scallions

Egg-White Cornstarch Mixture
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt

Make Sauce
Whisk chicken stock and cornstarch until cornstarch has fully dissolved.  Stir in all of the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Make egg-white mixture
In a mixing bowl, use a small whisk to stir together the egg whites, cornstarch, and salt until thoroughly blended.  Take care not to beat them into a froth.  Set aside.

Make Pasta
Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes. (Rice noodles only need about half that amount of time.)
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat, heat the olive oil for about a minute.  Add chicken (or shrimp) pieces to the egg white mixture and toss to coat them.  Add the coated chicken to the pan and cook like a solid pancake until the egg mixture sets.  Then, using a large spatula, carefully flip the chicken pieces over together and, with a wooden spoon, gently separate the pieces.

Carefully stir in the Chinese peppers and roasted peanuts into the pan.  As soon as they darken in color, after no more than 1 minute, stir in the garlic and scallions.  Once the garlic begins to brown, after no more than 30 seconds, add the kung pao sauce and toss and stir to coat the ingredients.

When the pasta is ready, drain it well and, in a large serving bowl, toss it thoroughly with the sauce.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Q & A Monday: In The Kitchen

Hello, again!
Another Monday already??  Well, the good thing about today is I can start getting back to a normal schedule.  When my father-in-law passed away two weeks ago, we started all the preparations for his memorial service.  I've really tried to help my mother-in-law and husband with as much as I could possibly take on during this time.  I made a photo book and a huge picture collage project and gathered photos for the slideshows.  Plus, I ran errands with my mother-in-law to get flower arrangements, cremation arrangements, etc. taken care of.  And we also had a full day of hanging out together and going shopping.

This past week, while juggling a few sleepless nights working on picture projects and all the last minute details for the memorial, my husband's uncles and aunt came into town.  It was great to see them again, although obviously not under these circumstances.  We had some time lined up to spend with them before Friday.

Friday was the actual memorial service.  It turned out beautiful.  I intend to write a more detailed post about it.  It has just been a really difficult month so far, so I appreciate my down time today.  On Sunday, we drove out to Hood River with everyone to enjoy the scenery and spend a little bit more time together before they all flew home.

I hope y'all had a wonderful weekend!

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at All The Weigh, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

In The Kitchen

1. How often do you cook at home? 
When things are on a normal schedule, probably three or four times a week.  We love leftovers for other dinners and sometimes lunches.  Now lately, since things have been so hectic, I've cooked at home about four times in the last three weeks.

2. Do you eat more fresh produce, frozen or canned produce? 
Mostly fresh.  I LOVE salads.  I could eat a salad every day.  And while we were having the frozen steamer bagged veggies, and they taste good, we realized that the sodium is still pretty high in those.  We bought a rice cooker/vegetable steamer and are starting to steam our own fresh veggies.  I still buy some frozen veggies for quick meals though.

3. What are a few unusual staples that can always be found in your kitchen?  
Okra - pickled or frozen, pickled ginger, Gruyere cheese, Collard greens (perfectly seasoned ones in a can),  etc.  I don't know what is unusual to you. lol 

4. Look in your fridge, then tell us about the healthiest thing in there. 
Salad mix and cabbage mix?  The salad is an herb mix, though I have really been into arugula lately.  And the cabbage mix I like to add to my salads for some crunch.

5. Now share the most unhealthy thing in it.  
Butter and Cherry Coke.  I don't cook with butter as often as I used to.  In fact, I almost exclusively use olive oil instead of butter nowadays.  But it is still good to have around for the occasional baking adventure or for the now and then that we buy bread.  We also don't have carbonated soft drinks anymore, but we bought the Cherry Coke as a mixer for our alcohol on Friday night.

6. Do you eat leftovers? 
Yes.  I love leftovers.  I also don't like wasting food, so I don't throw things out right away.

7. Do you use coupons at the supermarket? 
Not as often as I would like to.  But going through a lot of coupons in the last week or so, most of them are for shitty food that isn't good for you.  They need to make more coupons for produce, shrimp and fish, etc. and I would use those.  I do use coupons for toiletries though.

8. How often do you try new recipes? 
As often as I can.  When on a normal schedule, maybe once a week, or more if I am feeling adventurous. 

9. Do you make grocery lists?  Do you stick to them? 
I make a list of our meals for the week and then make a list of the ingredients needed.  Then I put the list of ingredients and such in order based on the grocery store we are going to and the order in which we go through it. (Produce and bulk items, canned goods aisles, cold items, frozen items)
It helps our trip go faster and it helps keep us on track so we don't overbuy. 

10. If you could buy one food item that would magically be calorie-free, which item would you choose? 
The best tasting ice cream I could get my hands on.

Now it is your turn!  Link up, answer the questions, and have a Happy Monday!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Q & A Monday: A Little More Personal

Hi, everybody.
I know I haven't posted in a little while.  My father-in-law passed away on the 28th, having fought leukemia as long as he could.  As you can imagine, it has been a difficult week for us.  I look forward to writing a bigger post about this when I feel up to it.  He was a wonderful man.

It has been hard to have the motivation or initiative to do necessary tasks, like cooking, cleaning, or getting out of bed.  We've been dealing with all of the aftermath of his passing, as well as planning his memorial.  Mr. Diva and I (it sounds so dumb calling my husband "Mr. Diva" in the middle of such a serious topic....Okay, his name is Sean...) have been taking on as much as we can to help my mother-in-law.  We've been trying to help her with anything and everything and hang out with her so she stays busy.

I've been trying my best to take on as much as possible in preparing for the memorial because I hate the thought of Sean and his mom dealing with it at all.  In fact, I'm still awake (it's almost 4 AM) working on a photobook that people can sign at the memorial.  Fingers crossed it gets here on time.  I paid the extra for Next Day shipping and it still says it won't be here until Friday.  Friday is the day of the Memorial Service!!  I still have pictures to go through, copies to order, get them laminated, and then make a huge photo collage project.

So I'm still awake and thought I'd at least get the latest Friend Makin' Monday post out to you.  I hope all of you are having a happier Monday.

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at All The Weigh, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

 A Little More Personal
1. Are you a morning person?  
Hell no.  I wish I was because I have things to do, but I am not a morning person at all.  I feel much more creative and productive working through the night than getting up early to get things done.

2. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  
More of an introvert.

3. Are you addicted to anything? If so, what?  
To be addicted, by definition, means to occupy oneself with something habitually.  So I guess I am addicted to music, to NKOTB, to the internet lol, to taking care of my furkids, to spending time with my husband, to shopping (specifically for clothes and beauty products).  I am sure there is more, but my brain is becoming mush.

4. How many times have you been in love? 
Definitely once, possibly twice.

5. What is your position on politics? 
I have strong opinions on various topics, but I choose not to talk too much about them here on the blog.  I may post something now and then on Twitter, but I really prefer to keep my blogging life free of all the political junk.

6. Are you religious?  
Not really.  Another thing I usually don't approach on the blog.  I think most of my issues with religion and church in general are all the awful, judgmental, hypocritical bigots I have met when I did go to church.  I know not all people are like that and I understand why religion, in general, appeals to people, but I choose to live my own happy life sans religion.
I feel like, if you are being a good person, treating others well, being the best you that you can be, it really doesn't matter what religion (if any) you practice.

7. Would you prefer backpacking or a luxury hotel?  
Luxury hotel.  I don't camp, so I don't backpack.  I don't get the whole outdoorsy thing. (aside from chilling on the beach or taking a nice walk or what not...)

8. Do you have/want pets?  
I currently have 3 beloved fur kids, 1 short-haired chihuahua named Miss P, and 2 long-haired chihuahuas named Rusty and Kiki.  I wouldn't get any new fur kids until long after my senior babies have passed on.  (They are 11, 14, and 15.)  Sean and I have a few ideas of breeds and types of animals we would choose from when we are ready to adopt more fur kids.

9. Are you a sports fan?  
No.  I really could care less.  However, I do play Fantasy Football (and I am really good at it!!), so I have to pay some attention to things when the time comes.

10. How often do you brush your teeth? 
Twice a day.

11. Do you have tattoos and/or piercings? 
I have two piercings in each ear and 3 tattoos.  All my tattoos are on my ankles.  They include: a shooting star, a bumblebee, and a martini glass.

12. What’s your favorite clothing brand?  
I own a lot of things from Lane Bryant and Torrid.  Kiyonna is a favorite that I've worn.  There are quite a few companies I have yet to make a purchase from to try them out.

13. Should a man open doors for a woman? 
Absolutely.  If he has a brain in his head, he should have manners enough to open the door for a lady.

14. Which season is your favorite?
Fall is probably my favorite.  I love the fall colors of changing leaves and jewel-toned fashions.  I love the smell of the air and fall foods (boiled peanuts, soups, everything pumpkin!, etc.) and activities, like corn mazes, pumpkin shopping, baking gifts for people, etc.  Spring is second, followed by summer, and then winter.

15. Would you rather eat less or workout more? 
I guess I'd rather eat less, so I wouldn't have to do any working out. lol

16. What’s your idea of romance?  
I find romance more in the little things than big gestures.  My husband brings me flowers every Friday.  I find that romantic, not so much that he buys me flowers but that he remembers to make this gesture of love on a regular basis.  He tells me he loves me and gives me hugs and kisses aplenty.  He also goes out of his way to make me happy, to help me, to ease my burdens or comfort me.  He takes the time to understand me.  I find all of those things romantic.

17. How often do you do things that are outside of your comfort zone? 
From time to time, I suppose I push my boundaries a bit.  It usually gives me too much anxiety, but I have been known to power through.

18. Christmas or Halloween?  
I enjoy both holidays.  Halloween is one of my favorites because I love dressing up and being silly.  Christmas is a fun holiday surrounded with family get-togethers, yummy food, and presents, plus it is Sean's birthday.  I have great memories and traditions with each one.

19. Would you rather live in the country or the city?  
Probably mid-way between the two.  I don't like the noise, hustle and bustle, and close proximity to people of a city, but I do like being close to stores and entertainment.  On the other hand, I don't want to live out in the middle of nowhere without technology (ie internet and television and electricity) and I don't like a long commute, so out in the country is not for me either.

20. Share your life philosophy. 
Be kind.  Do what makes you happy.  Spread love, not hate.  Keep being a better person each day.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions. Don’t forget to link up in the comments.  Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thankfulness Thursdays: Week 1 - A Short List

Starting this week, I am linking up with Ashley at Domestic Fashionista to post about thankfulness.  From now until Thanksgiving, every Thursday I will share something I am thankful for.  Ashley wrote a very thoughtful post about starting this series over on her blog.

It is a challenge to think more positively and show gratitude more often.  Considering all the sadness going on around me lately, I think it will be a helpful exercise for my mind.  I will probably approach it a little different each week.  Sometimes I may make a list, other times I may talk about one thing.

If you would like to participate too, you can link up on Ashley's weekly posts.

What am I thankful for this week?

1. I am thankful for the amount of time I had with my father-in-law.  He was a really amazing person, with a fun personality and a great sense of humor.  He always made us laugh.

    I don't even have the words right now, but I'm thankful for the time we had and that my husband had a chance to spend time with his father.  I never had that chance when my father passed away.

2.  I'm thankful for my amazing husband, his kind heart, and his love.

3.  I'm also thankful that I have a wonderful and loving mother-in-law.  She's going through quite a lot right now, but she is still so kind and thoughtful.

4.  I also couldn't do this post without being thankful for my friends/family.  My local cousins and aunts and friends have all been so kind and supportive and helpful.

5.  And last but not least, I'm thankful for my sister Crissy who has been talking me through a lot of emotions and just offering her hugs and support from 3000 miles away.

Hopefully, in the coming weeks, I will have a chance to include photos and more fun things.  Take care, everyone!

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