Friday, August 31, 2012

Life Planning

We all know lust is one of the seven deadly sins.

But, what if the object of your lust is a day planner? I ask this very important question because I am currently lusting over the Erin Condren Life Planners. They are beautiful and perfect and everything I need in my life.

One problem, the base price is $50.00, and when I add in the extras I clearly need, my total comes to $75.00 . Now, for as much as I use my current planner, I can almost justify this hefty price tag. My husband on the other hand, does not support such a decision. And, well, he's probably right (let's keep that under wraps, shall we?)

But, since we're already talking about them, let me give you a rundown of these heaven-sent organizers.

There's really nothing else like them in the market right now. Trust me, I've spent hours googling. So, what do I do? Most likely, I will be settling for the $11.95 planner at Wal-Mart, but now that I've seen these, it's going to be such a bittersweet purchase. (BTW, When did I get so old that planners were my exciting purchase?)

Has anybody bought one of these? Is it worth the large chunk its going to take out of my bank account?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's Up to You New York, New York!

I mentioned in my post yesterday that at the end of the month, Anthony and I will be heading up to Connecticut to celebrate my cousin’s wedding. I couldn’t be more excited to see all of my family up there and get Anthony north of the Carolina’s. There’s a special place in my heart for the northeastern part of our country, and I’m hoping this trip will help Anthony understand why.

The day before the wedding, we are taking a train into NYC and exploring. I can’t wait to show Anthony around, but I’m having some trouble deciding what the highlights should be. I’ve spent a good amount of time in the city growing up (mostly in dance studios to be truthful,) but, in the downtime I’ve had during all of those trips, I think I’ve gotten to see all of the important stuff…and some of the not so important.

The thing is, I’ve got essentially twelve hours to show Anthony the city. What do we do? Here’s what I’ve got so far.

  • We’ll be taking an early train into Grand Central (which is an experience in and of itself) and will be spending some time just exploring there.
  • We will definitely take some time to walk around Times Square.
  • I’d like to take him to Central Park at some point during the day.
  • We have tickets to a matinee performance of Wicked at 2:00 (he’ll be seeing his first Broadway show!)
  • After the show, I’d like to get some shopping in, most likely in SOHO, so he’ll get a little bit of that
  • We’ll probably do dinner at The Stage Deli. It’s a landmark and oh so good!

And that’s it.

I would love to show him the financial district and the stock exchange, and stop by the 9/11 memorial (I have yet to go down there), but I’m not sure we’ll have the time.

But here’s where you guys come in. What else do I need to make sure is on our agenda? Remember we have less than a day here, so I’ve gotta really cram everything in. I haven’t been to the city in about 5 years so, if there’s some new great place we’ve gotta see, let me know about that too.

Can’t wait to see your suggestions!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WTF September

September is quickly approaching, far more quickly than I can even believe. But, its almost here, and with it brings the fall, lovely weather, and the most delicious food you'll eat all year. It also brings my cousin's wedding, which means a trip to CT and NY for me. I am beyond excited! YOu will absolutely see updates on that toward the end of the month.

This September, I'm jumping on the photo a day bandwagon, but only because I found a challenge I think looks really fun. lululemon athletica is hosting 30-Day Photo Challenge called "What the Focus September" 

Read Here for more information.
I love how these key words can be taken in any context, from playful to powerful, and are not only fun, but can really serve as a reminder to take in each day as it comes as an opportunity.

Join me, will you?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yummy Chicken Enchiladas

It's a rainy day here in Florida. Hurricane Isaac is passing through, and while we are far from receiving the brunt of it, it's going to be a gloomy, dreary week.

I don't know any better way to enjoy those types of days than with a plate full of comfort food, and these enchiladas certainly meet all the qualifications. Warm, gooey, and surprisingly pretty good for you (minus the boatloads of cheese you put on top.) I created the recipe by accident when we were low on groceries, but it's turned into one of my favorite easy meals.

Like with all of my other recipes, the measurements aren't important. You can alter most things to fit your personal flavor preferences.

What You Will Need
Fat free flour tortillas 
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
Chicken Broth
One Can Tomato paste
Small Can Tomato Sauce
2 packets of Old El Paso Hot and Spicy Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup Salsa 
Hot Sauce 
Mexican 4-Cheese Blend

1) Fill a flat-bottomed pan with Chicken Broth, cilantro and garlic. Add Chicken. (The cilantro and garlic here are just to flavor the braising liquid. You don't need to worry about the chop on either. I generally just tear the cilantro to release some of the flavor and roughly chop the garlic for the same purpose)

2) Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until the chicken cooks through (about 30 minutes.)

3) Remove Chicken from the pan to a cutting board. Shred the chicken and put into a separate bowl.

4) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

5) In another bowl, combine tomato paste and tomato sauce. Fill the tomato sauce can with water and add this to the bowl.

6) Add both packets of taco seasoning, salsa, and a few dashes of hot sauce if you like extra heat. (I've used both homemade salsa and store-bought here. Both work equally as well.)

7) Coat shredded chicken with 1/2 of the sauce mixture and stir well.

8) Line Casserole dish with a layer of the sauce mixture.

9) Assemble enchiladas. Fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture and place in the dish seam side down. (I can usually fit six enchiladas in my 9x13 dish. They are hearty and I can only ever eat one.)

10) Cover enchiladas with the remaining sauce mixture.

11) Generously sprinkle with cheese.

12) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble.

13) Remove and enjoy.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams

I am a vivid dreamer. I am the type of dreamer that wakes up several times a night startled from my dreams. I often wake up and can’t differentiate between what has actually happened and what was just my imagination. I remember most of my dreams, and if I had any good sense, I would be that person with a journal next to my bed because I could certainly capitalize on the crazy ideas that whirl through my head in the middle of the night.

For example, last night I dreamt I was on a date with the hubs at a beach. I’m not sure what beach exactly, but I’m assuming it was a Pacific Coast beach because there were mountains in the background, and whales splashing out in the water. The best part of this beach is that every visitor received a free otter. Yes, a free baby otter to take home as a pet. My baby otter was of course the most precious of them all.

If I had a baby otter, he would look like this little munchkin

After choosing our otter, the hubs and I made our way into a movie theater, which just so happened to be showing “The Little Mermaid.” But this version was so much better. The film had been completely redone in 3-D and Imax so you felt like you were under the sea. It was incredible. Seaweed drifted by as ariel swam, there were vents pumping in saltwater air (not difficult for a movie theater on a beach,) and there was a light misty breeze in the theater which gave the feeling of a moving current.

If Disney steals this idea and profits from it, I hereby request 5% of the royalties. And I imagine that 5% of the royalties on such a clearly brilliant idea will be just enough for me to retire on.

My dreams aren't always so lighthearted, I dream a lot of dinosaurs and zombies, sometimes of the apocalypse, often of roller coasters and theme park rides. They are however, always adventurous.

Alas, I don’t have a journal next to my bed, and in the mornings, I’m far too tired from my nightly dream escapades to write anything before I get out of bed, take a shower, and get on my way. My dreams make for great stories, but also make for one tired girl.

Do any of you dream so vividly you can’t sleep? Do you record your dreams?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Belated Honeymoon Post

As I was updating the "Our Love Story" Page (aka finally putting something on there,) I realized I had never talked about our honeymoon on here. I ended Wedding Wednesdays pretty abruptly, and now that I really think about it, the honeymoon probably would have been an appropriate way to wrap up that series.

But regardless, for the sake of sharing memories, and by virtue of the fact that it just happens to be a Wednesday, here it is, several months late.

We left for our honeymoon on a Monday morning, and though that day seems insignificant, it actually played a huge role in setting the tone of our whole week. We chose to go on a cruise to celebrate our marriage. So much time and stress and planning had gone into the wedding, we wanted something foolproof, with little to no thought required for the honeymoon. Thank you Carnival for giving us that.

Anyways, the reason Monday was so important is because maybe thirty minutes before our ship left the port, my mom started calling. Now, your first thought when your mom calls you and you are on your honeymoon is not to answer, but after three calls, I figured it must be important so we answered. Turns out, she was calling to let us know our short sale had been approved, we were one month away from being homeowners.

The excitement of that news carried with us for the length of our honeymoon. We were newlyweds and soon to be homeowners and we were on cloud 9.

Our cruise traveled to Half Moon Cay, Freeport, and Nassau and we found plenty to do in each of the ports. Overall, Nassau was my favorite by far. We got off the ship bright and early and walked around the island before anything was open. After wandering down alleyways, doing exactly what any travel guide would tell you to avoid doing in a foreign country, we stumbled upon the national art museum of Nassau. Had it been open, I absolutely would have gone in. My favorite things on vacation? History and Food. Hands down.

After wandering the island, we hopped in a taxi to Atlantis. I had never been and was so excited. Anthony had and assured me it was worth the trip. We may or may not have found some secret routes around the resort to allow ourselves into the places reserved for paying day guests. Ooops. Sorry I'm not sorry.  In a word, it was amazing.

Freeport, while certainly not my favorite island, provided what may or may not be the highlight of our trip. With little to do on the beach (that the taxi driver literally told us to sneak into,) we found a small stand for water activities. Now, I've always heard it's safer to purchase your excursions through the cruise line, but clearly, we are rebels, so  we chose to go the local route. And in Freeport, the hubs and I each took our first stab at parasailing. Outside of the running start we had to take (this is no joke. We were literally on a platform and were told to run as we lifted off,) parasailing was incredible. It was surprisingly peaceful, and yet thrilling at the same time. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Off the islands and on the boat, we spent a lot of time eating (and doing other honeymoon activities.) The food was incredible, I ate chocolate lava cake every night, and I probably came back five pounds heavier than when I left.

We have so many incredible memories from our first trip as husband and wife, and I simply cannot wait to make more in the years to come.

What was your favorite moment from your honeymoon? Or, what was your favorite vacation (I need new spots)?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Will to Finish

I am an ideas girl. I get excited at the prospect of new and intriguing adventures. When a project is first handed over to me, I can't wait to take a crack at it, and really put my spin on this new endeavor.

Fast forward three months, and I'm bogged down in details, fighting every urge in me to cast aside what I'm doing and peruse Pinterest for another hour. Tell me I'm not the only one.

For example, like many other bloggers out there, I have a goal of writing and publishing my own novel. In fact, I started this here little blog as an outlet for my creativity and as a way to fire up the little writing bug inside of me again. Unfortunately, writing about daily life and developing entirely new to you characters are not the same thing.

I've started three fiction novels. They're all saved on my desktop. Each one is about ten pages long. And therein lies the problem. Like most everything else, the excitement for each new novel quickly fades as I attempt to determine what makes each of these characters unique in their own right, unique enough to go on for another 150 pages. And when I don't want to develop that thought anymore, I move on to the next cast of characters, promising myself to come back to each one when I get excited again. I rarely do.

What I need is a good dose of follow-through. I need to manipulate myself to feel the same excitement at the end of a project that I do at the beginning. Heck, I need to create excitement in the middle of a project, particularly for those detail heavy to-dos. Perhaps, I 'd reach a whole lot more of my goals that way.

Here's to all of you other procrastinators out there. To all of you idea people. We can do this. Let's stop throwing ideas out into the world without following up on them. Think of what we could do if we made those ideas real ...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The "I'm Still Alive" Picture Dump

It's been over a month since I've blogged. And I miss it, this little internet home of mine. But I swear, though I've been pretty non-existent around these parts, I do still have a life. So rather than divulge all of the details of my absence in a long, drawn out thesis, I decided just to share some photos of what I've been doing since you last heard from me.

The hubby lounging with our friends' puppy. Our impromptu trip to visit them in Sarasota was way too much fun and only made me wish they lived closer.

I love this guy so much!!

My amazing friend (or should I say big sister?) Joanne came to visit from England and brought her adorable little boy Jake with her. As you can see, the apple does not fall far from the tree. I love them!

Our two day venture into running together. Florida and July weather do not make for the optimal running conditions.

The hubs helping me with my Pinterest craft dreams. The most important thing I've learned from Pinterest is that anything can be made from pallets.

The results of a lovely blood test to find out why I've been getting sick so often. Pale skin and needles don't mix.

Some of the results of that blood test. Lots of fun, yummy supplements for me.

The hubby worked late one night so I decided to meet up with him for dinner on that side of town afterwards. This is what I was greeted with. Good thing I thought ahead to bring him a change of clothes. "Yes, I'd like a table for two. You probably want to seat us as far in the back of the restaurant as you can."

Birthday lunches in the office. Yes, we celebrated all three together so we got three free desserts and three lovely sombrero wearing pictures.

That's about it for today's recap. While you're perusing the internet, be sure to check out this post by the lovely Rachel Held Evans. Just a little daily reminder that I think everyone can relate to.