Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Weekend Recap: MLK Weekend

Hey all!  Hope you enjoyed your extra weekend day as much as I did.  Wouldn't it be lovely is all weekends were 3 days?

The forecast for St. Louis was supposed to be bad all weekend.  Fortunately, it really just hit us Friday and that was it!  I ended up working from home, which was a good idea, because it got icy out there.  My balcony was just a sheet of ice, so I could only imagine the roads.  Luckily the various news stations really prepped us for the potential ice.  I was a bit sad though - one of my favorite things about a big storm / bad weather is the storm coverage on the news.  I seriously can watch it all day.  While we did get ice, it wasn't near as bad as I think they were anticipating, so the extreme storm coverage did not happen.  I guess that is a good thing, though!  After working, I did my work out and relaxed in front of the tv.  

Before the ice melted - so pretty on the trees!

The temps rose enough on Saturday to melt the ice, and while we did have rain on and off the rest of the weekend, the epic ice storm did not come to fruition.  I still hunkered down inside and made a big dent in my DVR.  Last week was one of those busy ones, both at work and outside of work, so it was nice to just relax.  

Sunday was pretty uneventful, too, with some organizing and reading.  I did finally get out of the house to see a movie - Hidden Figures.  I can't say enough good things about this movie.  It's a must-see!  I think everyone in the theater felt the same, because we had some clapping at the end.  Just very powerful.

I enjoyed the extra day off with sleeping in a bit.  I did that more than normal this weekend, which was both good and bad.  I think I needed the sleep, but I also felt like I got a late start to the days which put me off a bit.  I headed out for lunch, and then spent the rest of the day meal prepping and doing laundry...all that fun stuff.  Overall it was a really low-key weekend, but sometimes that is just what is needed.  

Linking up with Biana, Whitney, Ashley and Erika.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Favorites 11.13.17: Lunch at the Federal Reserve

Yay for Friday!  Did anyone else think this week seemed extra long?  In all actuality it was, because for a lot of us, it was the first full week back at work since the holidays!  Things are gearing up for me at work, so I am happy to have the long weekend to look forward to.

This Wednesday, I went to a lunch event at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  It was so neat!  I absolutely love old buildings, and this one is gorgeous.  The lobby was amazing - marble everywhere, and the most gorgeous ceilings and chandeliers.  The lunch was basically a networking event, with a presentation from one of the Fed's economists.  It was nice meeting other people in my profession, as well as a few others outside of what I do.  The presentation was very interesting - an economists look at the global and U.S. economy, with a bit of local color sprinkled within.  It didn't hurt that the food was delicious, too.  Definitely the highlight of my week!

My Lilly items came in the mail this week and everything fits!  I was a bit nervous, just because there is a no return policy with the sale, but they are perfect.  Now we just need spring to come so I can start wearing them!

I made Andrea's Pulled Pork yesterday, and it really never disappoints.  If you are a pulled pork fan, you need to make this recipe.  It's ridiculously easy, and is the perfect thing to come home to after a long day at work.  One of my favorite ways to serve it is over rice with some shredded monterey jack cheese on top...yum!  

With it being the first of the year, so many people are posting about their goals and resolutions.  I have come to realize that these are some of my favorite types of posts.  I find it really interesting to see what everyone is working on for the year.  It helps motivate me to stick with my resolutions, as well as provides some food for thought on new things I can work on.

An ice storm is heading our way this morning / afternoon and will be sticking around through Saturday.  I decided to prepare myself for the possibility of being stuck inside for 2 days and headed to the grocery store earlier this week to stock up on my groceries, and made trip to the library to get some good reading material.  I am ready to go if it really does hit us like they are saying, not to mention, my weekend meal planning and grocery shopping is already done and out of the way.  More time to read and relax.  

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chicken Poliverde

Hey all!  I was honestly struggling for post ideas for today (when I planned in my head, I somehow forgot about the work week being 5 days and not 4...), and realized I hadn't shared one of my favorite recipes with you.  Like most of my favorite recipes, this is a tried and true one that my mom made growing up.  I am pretty sure she got it from her aunt, so when a family recipe is passed down like that, you know it's got to be a good one.  Even my little nephew, Jack, loves it, so it appeals to the masses.  So flavorful and delicious.  My mom actually made this when she came down to help me decorate for Christmas, and we paired it with a bowl of our copy-cat version of Portillo's Chopped Salad.  It also goes great with potatoes and a veggie.

Chicken Poliverde
1 bottle beer or 1 1/2 cups dry rose wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup oil
4 Tablespoons water
2 cloves sliced garlic
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
8 chicken thighs

Arrange chicken thighs in a baking dish.  Combine all other ingredients, mixing together well.  Pour over chicken.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.  Enjoy!

Hope you like this chicken as much as I do!

Linking up with Annie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 New Year's Resolutions

I love the start of a new year.  It always feels like a fresh start, and goes hand in hand with setting new goals - my favorite.  Last year, I went with 3 main resolutions for the year, while setting smaller goals each month (see my January 2017 Goals here).  It worked relatively well for me, so I thought I would do the same this year.

Image result for 2017 resolutions

1.  Read the Bible, find a church.  Re-establishing my faith is something I have been thinking hard about the past year or so, maybe a bit longer.  I purchased the One-Year Bible (it's set up so that you can read the entire thing in a year) last year, but my OCD had me waiting until January 1 of this year to read it, so that the days matched up.  So far I have kept up with it, reading before bed, or in the morning.  As far as church goes, growing up, we went to church regularly, and I remember feeling so great after going.  I loved the music, and while some of the sermons could go on, you just feel a sense of good after being in church.  I have a few options around here that I want to try out and see if they are good fits for me.  

2.  Organize everything.  Last year, many of my monthly goals were cleaning out this, or cleaning out that.  While some of my reorganization / purging projects went well and are still working for me today, like my bathroom reorganization, my closet feels like it back to a mess, as does all my filing / paperwork.  I want to really focus on organizing in such a way that it will stick for the long haul.  Not only does it make things easier to find, it also just helps with my state of mind.  Lizzie shared this article which speaks to the fact that the way women feel about their homes comes across in other aspects of their life.  I can 100% say that is true for me, and would love to cut that unnecessary stress from my life.  

3.  Continue to improve my health.  This is a carry over from last year, but I feel it is just still so important.  I think I have a good thing going with the 21 Day Fix (review here)  as far as work outs go.  Once I am done with this round, I am going to see where I am at, and then decide if I want to switch things up a bit, or go ahead with another round.  I just love the ease and convenience of the work outs, so we will have to see what is up next for me.  The main focus of this resolution, though, is definitely on eating better.  Doing the 21 Day Fix, I have realized that I needed to get in a lot more veggies, less carbs (so sad!) and more protein.  Part of the problem is the fact that I love to cook, so I want to try out all these different recipes, and some just aren't as good for you.  I think the key is just to balance those with the good meals and eat appropriate portion sizes.  For example, I love ordering pizza.  But I have found that if I order a salad to go with that pizza, I can have my salad and my pizza, too, without feeling crummy afterwards.  Or, if a dish I make is really rich, then take a smaller portion add some extra veggies, and eat cleaner with my other meals.  All about the balance. 

I have been loving reading everyone's resolution / goal posts.  Definitely a favorite this time of year!  If you are like me and you can't get enough, you can see my 2016 New Year's Resolutions here, and how I actually did on them here.

Linking up with Shay, Erika, Jenn and Jessi

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year, New Planner

Last year was my first year since college to use a paper planner.  I always had a mini calendar book in my purse, but not an actual planner.  I loved having one throughout my school years, and even had a sweet American Girl planner when I was younger.  I went ahead and purchased the Emily Ley Simplified Planner after a little bit of research.  I was a big fan of the planner, but after using it for almost a year, I decided I wanted to switch things up a bit.  The two main things I was looking for was a weekly set up (originally I loved the daily set up, but I felt like I was only looking a day, if that ahead, and I just think the whole week at a glance might be best), and something that was a bit smaller and in turn, lighter.  My plan was to just get a weekly Simplified Planner, but the only weekly set ups were the 2016-2017 planners.  Thus, my search began.

I checked out Target, because Kelsey had told me that she got a super cute planner from there for a fraction of the price as others, but I couldn't find one that exactly fit my needs.  I kept my eye out, but didn't find anything until Small Business Saturday, when I was out with my parents at Fabulous Affairs.  They had a small, hard-bound Rifle Paper Co. 12-Month Agenda.  I had originally looked at this planner at Paper Source, but wasn't crazy about the price tag in the store (more than priced on the website).  Fabulous Affairs was having a sale, so my mom was able to pick this up as a Christmas gift for a really great price.  
2017 Midnight A compact design featuring a book cloth cover with gold foil accents
I love that it has the monthly calendars, and then the weekly breakdown of the month.  Each line has a little box to check when completing an item, which I love.  While it doesn't have the break out of the hours / dinner / to do / and notes, like my old planner did, I find there is still plenty of room to write things.  There a is a notes and a contacts section in the planner, which can be handy, and the back cover has a pocket for loose items.  The book comes with two ribbons attached to the spine, which is perfect to hold your place in the monthly section, and then in the weekly.  The weekly section includes the monthly tabs, which was something I found lacking in other planners.  Because it is hard-bound like a book, I was a bit worried about being able to have it lay flat for writing, especially because I am left handed.  However, the spine is such that it does lay flat, without feeling that the binding is messed up, if that makes sense.  

I still need to update my planner with important dates and notes, but for right now I really am loving it - thanks Mom & Dad!  

I also wanted to share the link to a different planner that my cousin's wife (Hi, Casey!) sent me - XO Planners.  At the time she shared, I had already known I was getting my current one for Christmas, but I definitely plan on checking this one out for next year.  While it kind of goes against the two things I wanted this year (weekly and smaller size), I am obsessed with all the fun extras related to goal setting, which is exactly why she sent it, because she knows that's my thing!  I really like the page layouts, too.

What planner are you using this year?

Linking up with Whitney.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekend Recap: Taking Down Christmas

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend.

My Friday was pretty uneventful.  I tried catching up on some blog reading.  I got so behind way back in December and am still playing catch up on seeing what everyone has been up to.  It was a wild night that ended with me falling asleep on the couch - getting crazy over here!

I was up bright and early on Saturday to get my workout in before a quick breakfast date.  My goal for the day was to get down all of my Christmas decorations.  In my mind, this would take like 2 hours max, but in reality it took almost alllllll day.  I took a break to meet my best friend for a late Christmas / birthday lunch.  We ate at Pho Manchester, which was really good.  She has been telling me about pho for a long time, and I was excited to give it a try.  Really though, you can't go wrong with noodles, beef (and broth) and some extras.  It was so nice catching up, and seeing her little guy.  He was just all smiles and the best little one for the whole lunch.  After I made it home, it was back at it with the decorations.  I finally got everything back in place and all cleaned up.  Putting them away is definitely not near as fun as putting them up.  I gave myself a break in the evening and read The Woman in Cabin 10.  I will be doing a review later on, but spoiler alert - I was a big fan!!

Sunday morning started off with a headache which is never fun.  I finally made it out of bed, did my work out and started on some homemade spaghetti sauce.  It's my very favorite thing, and makes a ton, so lots to eat for the week and freeze!  The only downfall is that it takes about 3.5 hours all in all.  Laundry, meal prepping and a small bit of organizing were all accomplished while it cooked.  I had big plans to purge and organize a bunch this weekend, but honestly, that Christmas stuff just wore me out a bit!  Once the spaghetti was finished I headed out to run errands.  My trip to the grocery store reminded me why I usually try to avoid shopping on a Sunday afternoon - always such a madhouse!  I felt like I hadn't been to the movies in forever, so we headed out late afternoon to check out Rogue One.  I didn't think it would be too busy since it had been out for awhile, but the theater was packed!!  It was a really great movie.  I was a little upset at the ending, but in reality I should have known how it would end, since I have seen all the other movies.  The Golden Globes were the other highlight to the evening.  I love, love, love seeing all the dresses and really enjoyed the opening.

It's going to be a busy week, but hopefully a good one!

Image result for busy week quotes

Linking up with Biana.   

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Favorites: First of 2017!

We made it through the first week of 2017!  As I am writing this, I am coming off the high of my first Lilly Pulitzer After-Party Sale, so be prepared for more exclamation points than normal!

Let's start my favorites off with the After-Party Sale.  I was introduced to the Lilly brand a little under two years ago, thanks to blogging.  I got my first dress last year, which I wore on repeat starting with the warmer spring days through those unseasonably hot fall days we had this year.  Needless to say, I was hooked, but not necessarily on the price point.  I read about the sale last year (again, via blogs), and decided I would participate this year.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but it did not disappoint!  It took me forever to get in, we are talking like 4 hours, but I picked out some super cute dresses, at super great discounts!  I definitely think I will become a regular after-party sale shopper!

I shared about the girls day I had with my grandma, mom and aunt before Christmas, but forgot to include the items I picked up from our excursion.  I thought my purchases would be a great favorite, because I still am really excited about them!  I picked up a pair of ice skates to hang on my sled for Christmas and winter decor, found a sweet little nativity scene, and a foldable ruler, for which will hopefully be turned into a DIY decoration this Christmas.  Thinking back at that day, it makes me feel very grateful to have the opportunity to spend time like that with some of the ladies in my family.  The only way it could get better is if my sister in law and cousin could join, too!

Being back at work hasn't been as big of a struggle as I thought it would be.  I am going to attribute that to my new little mantra.  Every time I think "I don't want to go to work", or any type of negative thoughts about work, I have instead been saying "I like work."  Silly, yes, but seemingly effective...at least for now.

We had snow this week!  It was just a small amount, and while it didn't affect the roads too bad, I still decided to go in a little early.  It was still a bit dark outside, but made the snow just so pretty.  Big flakes, that almost looked like glitter.  The building where I work is floor to ceiling windows, so it was like we were in a snow globe all day.  As I said, the accumulation wasn't much, but it was still super pretty!

I have big plans for some purging, cleaning and reorganizing this weekend.  I am probably overly optimistic about what will actually get done, but as long as I get a good start on things, I will be happy.  I hope to work in my closet.  I did a good closet clean out last year, but it seems like things have multiplied so quickly and it is time to do another go around!  Christmas decorations are going down, and while I love all the coziness they bring, I don't mind the clean slate.  I have a few other odds and ends I would like to work on, but those are the two big ones.  Wish me luck!

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.