Happy Early Weekend!

Cheers to the weekend - a day early! 

My weekend started today at noon and I sure was ready for it.  It has been one of those days where I feel like nothing is going quite right.  However, a storm just blew out and the sun is shining, so I am taking it as a sign that my day is going to improve, just like the weather!

Hope everyone makes it through tomorrow and has a great weekend.  I will be back on Monday!

What's Up Wednesday 5.27.15

I love a good link up.  Today, I will be linking up with these ladies...Mix and Match Family, Pinterest Told Me To and The Larson Lingo for What's Up Wednesday!

What I am eating...salads!  In an attempt to eat healthier, I have been trying to go the salad route.  I have a favorite salad at Crazy Bowls & Wraps that I am tweaking to make my own!  Once I get the recipe down, I will definitely be sharing.
What I am reminiscing about...summer break.  I sure do miss having the summer off. 
What I am loving...this purse.  I recently bought this purse because I needed a small, crossbody purse.  I wanted to buy something that I would like for a long time, which is why I went the Kate Spade route and spent a little more money.  I thought the clock tower color was a great neutral and I could use it all the time.  The color is darker in person which I am so happy about because I was worried it would be hard to keep clean.  Even if I do make a mess, it seems like I could just wipe it off!
What I've been up to...shopping!  When I was home this past weekend, my mom and I went shopping.  I got quite a few things I needed, like more work out clothes and shorts for the summer, but I think I need to cut back for a bit.
What I am dreading...humidity.  We have already had some humid days here - I feel like it is too early!  I am definitely not looking forward to dealing with the humidity on a daily basis.
What I am working on...blogging!  Last week I posted all five days! 
What I am excited about...summer.  Although I am dreading the humidity that comes with it, I am excited to get out and enjoy the city this summer.  There are so many fun things going on, I hope to take advantage of all I can!
What I am watching/reading...Chopped.  I am a little obsessed with this show.  I think it is amazing how chefs are able to take these random ingredients and make a dish out of them, especially under time constraints!
What I am listening to...anything and everything.  A little pop, a little country, a little rap.  Whatever is on the radio!
What I am wearing...these shoes.  I love these Converse shoes.  They are definitely one of my favorite buys this year.  I think they are more feminine since they don't tie up all the way.  And I LOVE the cloud gray color.
What I am doing this weekend...having a girls weekend!  It should be a ton of fun!
What I am looking forward to next month...two things - my sister-in-law's baby shower and my dad's car show!  Both are going to be so much fun!
What is my favorite thing to grill...pretty much anything!  I don't actually have an outside grill, but I used a grill pan on the stove.  It's not quite the same, but it does hit the spot when I want something grilled.  Right now I am craving some shrimp.  I will have to share the recipe...it is super easy and SO yummy.
Have a great Wednesday!      

Planting My Flower Pot

Happy Tuesday!  I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend!  Back to the grind today...luckily it is a short week.

This weekend I went back home to visit my parents.  It was really nice to spend some time with them, especially with it being a three day weekend. 

One thing my mom and I do every year is plant a flower pot for me to have at my home.  We have done this since I was in college and living in an apartment.  I love having a flower pot because it breathes a little life into the place and adds some fun color to the outdoors.  I don't always have the greenest thumb like my mom (my parents' yard/flowers look AMAZING), but we pick some pretty hardy plants that can withstand me forgetting to water them!

This weekend we picked out three plants and put them together - I thought it turned out super cute and wanted to share!

We started with my old pot, giving it a good wash since it had been outside all winter.  My mom gave me a piece of a broken terra cotta pot to cover the hole at the bottom so that the dirt doesnt fall out, but still allows the water to drain.  I filled the pot about 3/4 of the way full with Miracle-Gro potting soil.  Then I started adding my plants.

Below are the three I decided to go with. 

Creeping Jenny

All of the plants I picked should work well with the amount of sun/shade they will get.  When you are choosing what to plant, make sure you take a look at that!  One time I tried gerber daisies, even after my mom told me they would be hard to grow, and it definitely was a major fail!

I added the coleus to the middle since it will be the tallest.  I then brought in the creepying jenny to one side.  The four begonias were evenly spaced around the coleus.  After everything was packed in there, I watered until the water was draining out of the bottom.  I actually do this most times I water - that way I don't have to do it as often.  

The finished product! 

Also, if you want some addition boost, my mom swears by this Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster Flower Food.

I look foward to seeing this outside my glass door this summer, especially when it fills out.  I think the colors will be SO pretty together.  

Now if I only remember to water it...wish me luck!  

Friday Favorites 5.22.15

Happy Friday!  I missed last Friday, but today I am once again linking up with these bloggers: Momfessionals, A Little Bit of Everything Blog, and Grace and Love Blog.

I am just so happy it is Friday.  Wednesday felt like Thursday, and then Thursday felt like Friday.  I was all messed up!  It is SO disappointing when you realize that you got your days mixed up and you are further from the weekend than you realized.

Anyways, moving on...here are my Friday Favorites:

Memorial Day Weekend.  Yay for the long weekend!  I am going back home to visit my parents this weekend.  Sounds like they are going to enlist my help to do some yardwork, which will definitely be nice since there isn't any of that with apartment living!  I am also hoping to indulge in one of my hometown favorites - Mario's Pizza.  Fingers crossed that is on the menu!   

Provident.  I mentioned Provident, Inc., in this post, and I am just so happy to be part of the Young Friends group.  We had an event earlier this week and it was a lot of fun.  I was able to meet some of the board members, Provident staff, volunteers, and catch up with some other Young Friends.  It is amazing to see such a diverse group of people come together for a sole purpose.  My desire to help and make a difference became even stronger after this event.  I am really looking forward to what the Young Friends can do to help raise awareness and funds to ensure that Provident continues to make a positive impact on the community and achieve its mission.

Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale.  I did this post yesterday regarding items on my wishlist from this sale.  Nordstrom just has such cute stuff!  

My sister-in law.  It is my sister-in-law's birthday this weekend!  Although I won't be there to celebrate her, I am definitely sending her birthday wishes.  Jen - I hope you have a wonderful day!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!   

Nordstrom Wishlist

Nordstrom is having their half yearly sale!!!  This makes me VERY excited, as Nordstrom is one of my favorite stores.  And you can't beat a good sale!

I have rounded up a few items on my wishlist to share with you today.  

I love this cuff.  The silver would be my choice, although I really love the gold iridescent, too!

These cluster earrings are so fun!  They would brighten up any outfit!

I have been wanting a new wallet for some time now, and I think this one would be perfect!  I love both of the colors it comes in.

I have TOMs bootie wedges that I absolutely LOVE.  They are so comfortable.  I think these sandals would be great - they are neutral enough to go with anything, but still have some interest with the pattern.

These are my very favorite t-shirts.  I have 3 of them and can definitely see myself buying more.  The fit is loose and comfy, but not in a way that you feel it is too big and baggy.  The material is super soft, too!

I bought this chambray shirt in blue and it is the best.  I had been looking for a shirt like this for literally years - I don't know how I didn't come across it before!  This purple color is on sale and I think it is the perfect shade for spring and those cooler summer days.

Happy shopping!

What I'm Wearing...On My Nails

I may or may not have a nail polish problem...

I have all these nail polishes, but I usually gravitate to wearing just a few of them.  My nail polish collection has definitely evolved throughout the years...I went from painting my nails all different colors you can imagine, to more neutrals and pinks/red/purples (with a few others thrown in there).  It is funny because when I was younger, I used to think my mom had more "boring" colors of polish.  Now we have a bunch of the same colors - what can I say, I am definitely my mother's daughter! 

I usually stick to a more neutral color on my fingers, and then do something more fun on my toes.  Right now, I am loving these two Essie colors - Cute As A Button and Sand Tropez

The Cute As A Button is a great coral color, which is perfect for the warmer weather. Sand Tropez is a great biege neutral. One of the problems I find with certain neutrals is that they are a little more sheer and don't cover as well. This one has great coverage and is perfect for any time of the year.
I came across these ecards as I was thinking about this post and had to share...because honestly, who doesn't love a good ecard?!  Especially since these are SO true!
What are some of the nail polishes you are loving these days?  I love getting recommendations from others and trying new colors!

Crockpot Mediterranean Pork Chops

These pork chops are delicious and SO easy to make.  Because you cook these in the crockpot, this meal is the perfect dish for any time of year...great in the summer when you don't want to heat the kitchen up, and equally great in the cooler weather when you want to come home to a cozy meal.  I like to pair these pork chops with rice, but they would be as good with just about anything!

Crockpot Mediterranean Pork Chops
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups water*
2 chicken bouillon cubes*
4 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
4 boneless pork chops

Place pork chops in crockpot.  Whisk all other ingredients together in a medium size bowl.  Pour mixture over the pork chops in the crockpot.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

How easy is that?! 

Like I mentioned above, I like to eat these pork chops on top of a bed of rice.  I think they would be just as tasty with a side of these potatoes and these brussel sprouts.  Enjoy!

*can use 2 cups chicken broth instead of the water and bouillon cubes

Movies & KFC

Happy Monday!

This weekend was pretty low-key for me.  Friday, I ended up taking half a day and went to see the new Avengers movie - I really enjoyed it!  It was super action packed and had me on the edge of my seat.  To cap off the evening, I decided to splurge and get some KFC.  I haven't had KFC in such a long time.  The whole reason for going was because I wanted mashed potatoes.  Give me some mashed potatoes and gravy, and you will have one happy girl.  I hardly ever have them, so it was going to be a big treat.  Well...like I said, I haven't been to KFC in awhile.  I was trying to order and the chicken tenders came with two sides because I wasn't getting a drink.  I decided to go with coleslaw...but then I started thinking...I should just get more mashed potatoes.  So I was that person at the drive thru who gets up to the window and asks for the order to be changed.  It seemed like no problem...I got the food and headed on home.  It smelled SO good and I was SO hungry.  I open up the box...and there were NO mashed potatoes.  I ended up with two coleslaws instead!  Guess that is what I get for eating bad AND trying to change the order last minute.

It was a movie-filled weekend for me.  I saw Pitch Perfect 2 on Saturday.  I loved the first one and was really excited to see the second.  To make it even more exciting, I tried out the Wehrenberg 5 Star Lounge.  The Wehrenberg 5 Star Lounge has big, comfy, reclining chairs with heated seats, an extended menu with waitstaff and is 21 and over.  The experience was great AND so was the movie.  There are some really funny parts, as well as some very heartwarming scenes, too.  I would definitely recommend going to see this one, if you haven't already!

Sunday was a great, lazy day.  Although, it never fails that I wish there were just one more day to the weekend.  

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday Thoughts

My random thoughts for this Thursday...

The struggle is real.  I love food, but yet I want to get into better shape.  Definitely a fine line, one that I am still trying to figure out!

I have learned that life is so much fuller when you surround yourself with the people and things you truly love.  Quality - not quantity.

This is so true.  I feel like we underestimate the impact a smile.  Someone could be having such a bad day, or going through something, but because you smiled at them their day got just a little better.  So always be the one that smiles...even if they don't smile back!  

It is so important to get outside of your comfort zone.  You will be able to achieve so much more, if you only take the chance.  I am so bad at asking things...I let my nerves get the best of me, or I just assume I know the answer will be no.  Just take a chance -  sometimes you fall, but sometimes you succeed.  You never know until you put yourself out there!
Happy Thursday!  

Binge-Worthy Shows

This weekend was the perfect weekend to start a new TV series.  It was rainy on and off all weekend, which to me just screams sitting on the couch, indulging in some serious television time.

I am definitely guilty of getting hooked on a series and watching it from beginning to end without wanting to watch anything else.  Some people get bored or burnt out on the same show, but I get sucked into the story and cannot stop watching!  I have done this with quite a few series, so I thought I would share my favorites below (in no particular order).

1. Sex and the City.  I have watched this show over and over.  I received all the seasons as a gift from a friend back in college and I just LOVE it.  I watched them all back then, and decided this past weekend was the perfect time to start from the beginning.  I am already working my way through season three!

2.  Friday Night Lights

If you have not seen this show yet...go buy the box set NOW.  It is truly one of my very favorite shows, EVER.  I watched this last year and it is just so, so, so good.  You literally get addicted!  You will want to be Tami Taylor (Connie Britton never disappoints) and you will want to be married to Coach Taylor.  The show sucks you in and then leaves you so very sad when it is over because you just want more!  Definitely a must-see. 

3.  Chuck.  I had never heard of this show, but I REALLY enjoyed watching.  It is definitely a different show, but in such a good way.  The main character is a really smart but underachieving guy who gets a computer with CIA/NSA secrets stuck in his head.  There is a ton of action and some very interesting plot twists.  It will make you laugh and even cry sometimes.  Like Friday Night Lights, it really makes you wish there were more than just five seasons.

Definitely check these shows out - let me know what you think!  Happy TV watching!        

Friday Favorites 5.8.15

I am once again linking up with these bloggers: Momfessionals, A Little Bit of Everything Blog, and Grace and Love Blog  for my Friday Favorites!

Shopping.  Today I have plans with one of my favorites for an evening of shopping.  I can't wait to do a little retail therapy.  Hopefully it will be a successful shopping trip! 
Brunch.  I am meeting up with some sorority sisters Saturday morning for brunch and I am so excited!  It's been a long while since we have all been together.  I can't wait to catch up and see their kiddos!  Blueberry muffins are my contribution - I have never actually made them, but I am definitely going to give it my best try.  If they turn out, I will have to share the recipe.
No alarms.  Sometimes there is nothing better than NOT having to set an alarm for the morning.  By the end of the week I am so ready not to be woken up by that sound.  Even though I am normally an early riser, the morning is so much better when you wake up on your own.
I saved the best for last - Mother's Day.  Although I won't be with my mom on Mother's Day, I will definitely be thinking of her!  She is an amazing woman and I am proud to call her my mom.  Also, a little shout-out to my sister-in-law, who is a soon-to-be mom.  I can't wait to meet my little niece or nephew in August!
Have a great weekend!

Provident, Inc.

Today is a very exciting day - the non-for-profit group I am involved with is having our first awareness/fundraising event!

At the end of last year, I became part of the Young Friends of Provident Board.  Provident is an agency whose mission is to "help individuals and families to a brighter future through counseling, crisis intervention, and community support programs".  

Provident offers a variety of services.  Six counseling locations are in and around the St. Louis area for clients of all ages and backgrounds.  For clients that lack insurance, Provident provides a sliding scale fee structure based on the client's ability to pay.  In addition to counseling, Provident has nine after school sites in St. Louis and St. Louis County that serve 600 low-income children each year.  I was able to attend a program last year at one of the after school sites and it definitely opened my eyes to see how much the kids benefited from this service.

Provident also focuses on suicide prevention.  There is a crisis hotline that receives an average of 80 calls per day and about 10 of those calls are from people experiencing thoughts of suicide.  Provident's Survivors of Suicide, a free support group for those who have lost someone to suicide, is the only one of its kind in the St. Louis area.  This allows people an outlet to try and help them come to terms and heal by leaning on each other in a safe environment.        

To help raise awareness for Provident, the Young Friends is holding a happy hour event at a local brewing company.  This will give us an opportunity to spread the word to our friends and family about Provident and its mission.  With the money raised by the Young Friends, we will hopefully be able to cover next year's rent for one of the Survivor of Suicide locations, as well as purchase some much needed signage for the Provident headquarters.  

I am very excited about this organization and the services offered to the St. Louis area.  I challenge you to get involved in your community in anyway you can.  Every little bit helps! 

What I've Been Reading

A few weeks ago, in this post, I mentioned the books I wanted to read in April.  I made it through them and am ready to share my thoughts!

The first book I read was Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty.  Let me be honest with you, this was not my favorite.  I thought it had a very slow start.  I was hopeful that once I got further into the book, I would start getting more interested, but that was not the case.  I am usually a pretty fast reader, but this one took me awhile because I was just was not a huge fan.  I can see how it appeals to others, though.  I have read similar books - story location, style of writing - that have been recommended by friends because they really enjoy the book, but I have come to learn it is just not my cup of tea.

Next, I read The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks.  Let me start by saying, I am a huge Nicholas Spark fan.  I had high expectations going in, and this book did not disappoint!  This book takes you through a wide variety of emotions...you are smiling one minute and crying the next.  But it is SO good.  There are two different stories going on throughout the book and towards the end, they finally merge together.  Sometimes that can lead to a disconnect, but I really enjoyed how the book was written and thought it worked well in this case.  If you typically enjoy a Nicholas Sparks book, I would highly recommend The Longest Ride.

Bossypants by Tina Fey was the third book I read for my "April Readings."  I read this last weekend, so technically I read it in May, but let's just pretend it was still April!  I enjoyed this book.  In my opinion, it is kind of random and all over the place, but in a good way.  I think Tina Fey is very clever, and this book definitely portrays that "cleverness."  The only way I would have enjoyed it more, was if I had more knowledge about SNL and 30 Rock.  She includes references to other actors/actresses, which were a little over my head, but still reads well.  I just think I would have appreciated these sections more had I a better background in her shows.  All in all, a very good book.

For my May Goals, I came up with a list of 4 books I plan on reading in May.  Check back next month for my thoughts on the book below!

The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush
Maude by Donna Foley Mabry
Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin


May 2015 Goals

I can't believe it is already May.  It seems like this year has been flying by!

To start off May, I decided to make some goals.  I have noticed other bloggers doing this and I think it is a great idea!  It gives you a few things to focus on for the month, as well as provide some accountability by sharing with others. 

May 2015 Goals:

1.  Take stairs at work EVERY day.  I have tried to do this on a regular basis, but there are just days I don't want to deal with it.  The company I work for recently built a new headquarters.  The building is great, but the stairs aren't easily accessible from the parking garages.  Because of that, it isn't always the most appealing idea to take the stairs.  However, I am trying to be healthier, so I am going to make a conscious effort to take the stairs EVERY day for the month of May.  Hopefully it will turn it into a habit, and I will continue to do so even after May is over!

2.  Meal planning.  This is an ongoing battle for me.  Some weeks I do really well, others not so much.  When I go grocery shopping, I like to have a few dinners in mind to make for the week so I can pick up all the ingredients.  However, I don't always do this and it is definitely something I want to be better about.  That being said, even when I do have meals planned, it doesn't always work out because sometimes I forget to pull the meat out to thaw, or I am missing an ingredient I thought I had.  This isn't a big deal, as there are a bunch of groceries stores around me, but grocery shopping isn't necessarily my favorite thing in the world, so the less trips to the grocery store I make, the better!  This is just something I want to be more mindful of that will make life a little easier for me.     

3.  Read more books!  This will be an ongoing goal for me.  I already read a ton, but want to expand my horizons on what books I am reading.  For this month, I plan to read:
  • The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
  • 41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush
  • Maude by Donna Foley Mabry
  • Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin

4.  Go through summer clothes.  This seemed like a good goal for May.  The weather is already getting warmer - supposed to get up to 86 today - and I want to make sure I am ready for it!  Going through my summer clothes will help to remind me what all I actually have, as well as give me an idea of anything I may need to purchase.  

Check back later this month, and I will let you know how I did with my May goals!  Wish me luck! 

Friday Favorites 5.1.15

I am linking up with these ladies - MomfessionalsA Little Bit of Everything Blog, and Grace and Love Blog  to share my Friday Favorites!

Friday!  I am so happy it is Friday.  I think that will always be included as a favorite.  I have a big to-do list this weekend and I am ready to tackle it.  I just hope this motivation lasts when it comes time to actually complete my list!
This weather...it is SO nice out.  I love the cool mornings and warmer days.  This weekend is supposed to be great with temperatures in the 70's and 80's.  I cannot wait to get outside to enjoy it! 
Lunch out.  There is nothing better than taking a break at work and having lunch out...especially when it is with one of your very favorite people!
Essie Nail Polish - Cute as a Button.  This shade of nail polish is great!  It is a bright coral color that is perfect for the warmer weather.  I think the name is SO fun, too.
Mexican food.  I LOVE Mexican food.  And margaritas.  I get to indulge in both this weekend. 
Movies...specifically superhero movies.  With the new Avengers movie coming out, I have been trying to catch up on all the previously related movies...that way I have some sort of an understanding of what is actually going on.  I can actually say that I really kind of like the ones I have seen so far!  To make it even easier on me, I saw that there is going to be a "Superhero Sunday" on TV this weekend...hopefully I can catch up on the ones I have yet to see and be fully prepared to watch the new Avengers. 
Have a fabulous Friday!