Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New face wash

HOW did I go so long without using Cetaphil?!?! I have heard other people say that they use it in the past but I never tried it because I assumed that I would need more heavy-duty skin care. Then, when I was on a weekend getaway, one of my friends let me use hers (I always forget face wash) and I was hooked from that moment on! The wash is so gentle on my face that I don't feel bad washing it multiple times a day. My skin looks and feels more moisturized. I am now a convert.

What face wash do you use?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pie Making Sunday

This past Sunday, I decided to try to make some pie. I had been craving the stuff for two weeks since Pioneer Woman announced her contest for a pie class on her blog, so I decided that it was worth the calories to try to make some of my own.

I decided to make the crust with butter rather than shortening because I did not know if I actually had shortening.
I used this pie crust recipe, this strawberry pie filling recipe, and this peach pie filling recipe.
Once my crust was finished, I decided to make everything in muffin pans so that the pies would be miniature.

The peach pie was pretty good, but I did not follow the recipe exactly and I thought that the strawberry pie turned out better.
Really, pie making was no trouble at all and I would highly recommend that if you want to give a try you do. The most intimidating part is the crust, but I used my food processor to help with the mixing and it was super easy. You do make quite a mess, though!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Our weekend

I had another wonderful weekend. We were home all weekend, which was much-needed and relaxing. On Friday evening I went to yoga and we went out with friends that evening. On Saturday morning I woke up and decided to take a long run. I was gone for two hours and unfortunately did not bring any water....I won't be making that mistake again! I was SO thirsty when I got home.

On Saturday for lunch, I went to Sheridan's Unforked with a friend. It was SO weird to be in a fast-food restaurant where you order and they call your order because I have not been inside of one for years. The food was very delicious, though. I had a hamburger, fries, and a delicious ice cream treat. Yum!
That day I finished all of my weekly house cleaning and after mass we watched our nieces and nephew. They were a lot of fun! We are glad that they live so close to us so that we can baby-sit them.

On Sunday I went to yoga and ran and then came home and cleaned my closet. After that was over, I didn't know what to do with myself! I couldn't believe it: I was actually bored. This is a good thing (all of my law school friends can attest to this) because I have not had that feeling in a LONG time. I decided to go outside and read with my favorite puppy:
Later that afternoon I made some pies (more on that later) and relaxed. It was a great weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Brain Dump

  • My husband is vacuuming right now while I write this post. I secretly dislike vacuuming a LOT, so this is a treat for me. I just dusted, which I actually enjoy. What house chores do you like and dislike?
  • The weather is gorgeous here....today it was not too hot and not too cold. Perfect!
  • Even though we had gorgeous weather, I was in a funky mood today. It all started when I went running. I did not feel like running and was grumpy throughout my workout session. When I got to work, I wasn't grumpy, but felt draggy all day today. My co-workers said that they felt the same way, so maybe something was in the air. Weird.
  • When I got home, though, Paco greeted me with a wagging tail because he was so happy to see me. Who could stay in a draggy mood after that greeting?
  • I started reading The Help this evening, which is as good as everybody said that it was. I plan to read it after I finish writing this post.
  • My kitties are calling out for a snack, so I better go! Have a happy Thursday evening!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creamy Pasta


On Sunday I stopped in Target for a few items and saw a magazine about Italian cooking, which made me immediately crave a creamy and delicious pasta. This craving did not leave me all day so I went to the grocery store and bought ingredients for my pasta!

I threw everything together from our fridge, so this is a little random, but I hope you enjoy it!

Creamy Shrimp Pasta
- 1/2 box whole wheat pasta, cooked and drained
- 1/2 pound shrimp, cooked and peeled
- one strip of bacon
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup whipping cream

Dice and fry the bacon in a large pot. When the bacon is crispy, remove some of the bacon fat and throw it away. Remove the bacon pieces from the remaining bacon fat. Add the olive oil and add the onion and red pepper. Let these saute for 5-10 minutes, until soft. Add the mushrooms and let them soften. Add the white wine and the spinach. Once everything is soft, add the whipping cream, let heat, and toss in the pasta.

This is SO good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bad kitty

Kitty Thorina has started hunting again. One evening last week, we heard a loud meowing, meowing, meowing coming from the garage. David opened the door and Thorina came trotting in with a lizard hanging out of her mouth! Gah!

I screamed and jumped on top of the furniture while Thorina released the lizard from her jaws and began to play with it. Eventually, he went under a plant in our living room. I didn't want him to get lost, so I lifted up the plant. I thought that would be a good idea until he started heading toward the air conditioning vent! We tried to grab (along with Thorina) but the lizard was just too quick.

Realizing that now we had a lizard in our air conditioning vents, we decided to close all of the vents and open the windows for a few days. Once David convinced me that the lizard was gone a few days later, we enjoyed air conditioning again.

I thought that it would be the end of the lizard saga for a while (I hoped that we wouldn't see another for at least a year since the last time she caught one was a year ago). However, this weekend, while I was at a shower, David texted me the above picture and said, "You'll never believe what she brought into the house...."

ANOTHER LIZARD. This kitty is crazy. David rescued the newest victim and released him outside, even though his tail had been dismembered in the garage. I am proud of Thorina's hunting skills, but I wish that she would just take care of her prey outside. The most hilarious part is that you can tell that she is so proud of herself when she brings the lizards into our house. We try to praise her and give her lots of attention for her hunting skills (besides screaming).



Monday, August 22, 2011

My weekend!

I had a fun weekend full of celebrations for brides! Of course, was is imperative that we send them off to married life in style.

On Friday I got to leave work a bit early and went down to the Lake of the Ozarks for my friend Colleen's bachelorette party. We enjoyed yummy treats and floated in the lake. Later that evening, we played some fun games (including "Pin the Junk on the Hunk") and enjoyed some champagne. The next day, we ate a delicious breakfast and I waved goodbye to everybody and headed off to St. Louis!

That evening, I went to a shower for my cousin Emily that was bedroom-themed. Here was the cake:Isn't it amazing?! One of Emily's friends made it for her. The friend isn't even a professional baker, but we all agreed that she could make a living owning a bakery. Don't you agree?

I think that both brides enjoyed their bachelorette weekends! Did you have a bachelorette party?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Abbie Dress

I get emails from Kate Spade almost daily and one day I was bored, so I decided to click through the top trends of fall 2011 and guess what I saw....Source

The Abbie Shift Dress!

Too bad I don't love it and too bad it is for $375, but it is pretty cool to have a dress named for me!

Have you ever found any clothes or styles named after you?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cleaning out my closet


I want to totally revamp my closet by painting it, cleaning it out, and organizing my jewelry into some sort of manageable and working system. But it is SO hard to start!

I tried reading some books about cleaning out your closet and figuring out what to keep, etc., but the task seems so overwhelming. I think that I first need to purge, then clean, then paint it (if I decide to paint it after all...David says I'm crazy for painting a closet, but I think it would look cool in a soft gray color!).

Do you have any tips? Help!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dirty Rice and Fresh Corn Salad

Sorry for the blurry picture!

Last week, I read this post from Annie's Eats and was inspired to try making my own Dirty Rice. I love the stuff from the box, but I figured that I would try a homemade version like she did in her post! I made it on Sunday and it was a big success. I also made a fresh corn salad because by Sundays evening on the weekend, I always crave a nice fresh salad full of good veggies.

Here are my recipes!

Dirty Rice
- 1 1/2 cup brown rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 green peppers
- one large can diced tomatoes, plain
- one half of a yellow onion
- one pound hamburger
- one jalapeno
- paprika to taste
- hot sauce to taste
- salt to taste

1. Cook the rice in the chicken broth.
2. Brown the meat, remove from heat.
3. In a large pan, saute the onion, green pepper, and jalapeno.
4. Add the diced tomatoes.
5. Combine everything and season to your taste.

See? Easy peasy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend

We had another great weekend! This one was wonderful because I was at HOME and it was great to relax and enjoy a good weekend at home. On Friday night I went to yoga and then came home and made a pizza for us to enjoy.

On Saturday, I decided to try to run a really long run, so I ended up running an hour and forty minutes straight! It was nice, but I have no idea how many miles I went. The morning was beautiful and I figured that I should enjoy the great weather! For lunch on Saturday I went out to eat with friends on the Plaza and we did a little shopping. That evening, our friend Matt came to visit and we went out to eat with him and then came back home and reminisced about old times. Some of you followed Matt's blog while he taught in Abu Dhabi. It seems like he really enjoys it and he is going back for another year of teaching!

On Sunday morning, I went to yoga and ran and we went to eat pizza to celebrate my niece's third birthday. That afternoon I watched The Nanny Diaries (the book is way better, IMO).

Our weekend was wonderful and relaxing...I hope yours was too!

(Side note...happy birthday to my dad today!!!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brain Dump

I love it when other bloggers do brain dumps, so I thought that I would give it a try today!

  • My eating habits have gone by the wayside again. With all of the vacations and fun weekends, it is really hard to eat in a healthy manner. For instance, this past weekend on Saturday, I ate enough Starbursts to feed a small lion. And why did I do that?! I don't even love Starburst! I wouldn't mind so much if what I was eating excessively was actual, real food. Instead, I snack on chocolate fun size candy bars, chocolate sauce at work, and Starburst. When I get home, I eat cookies and my husband's stash of brownies, M&Ms....the list goes on. I have heard of people getting off sugar cold turkey and I tried that one week....on Monday I said that I was not having any sugary sweet items (I could eat fruit) until Friday. There is no sense in limiting myself over the weekend, but that plan worked! Perhaps I will try it again next week. I hate how I feel after indulging in sweets.
  • Last night I went to a law school reunion happy hour. The entire time, I kept thinking of how grown up everybody looked and how weird it was that it was over a year ago that I graduated. I seriously cannot believe it. I love my job, though, so it is good to be in this new stage of life...just weird that I will probably not be a student again.
  • I am back to trying to spend only $50 a week in groceries. Last week, I spent $77, but that included some big-ticket items. For a while this summer, David went grocery shopping and kept going to Costco. I know that in many, many situations that store is a smart move, but we ended up spending way more money than budgeted during the summer months. This month I am trying to get back to the more frugal grocery shopping.
  • Last night, I used a Shout Wipe on my suit for work. It left a big watermark! Durn. I decided to handwash the suit because it said that I could on the tags....we shall see how that turns out. I hope I didn't ruin it.
  • Speaking of my work attire, I really need new work shoes. However, I just don't want to spend the moolah on them right now. It seems like it would be smart for me to invest in a really, really good pair of black heels, since I wear them every. day. Any suggestions? I always love Sofft brand but none of them really screamed "work appropriate" to me.
  • This weekend I really, really want to clean out my closet/drawers. I doubt that I wear 60% of the clothing in that closet, and it is always junky. I would love to get some sort of home organization system going in there. I would also love to paint my closet, but David says that it sounds like a waste of time. We shall see!
Those are all of my major thoughts right now. How is your week going?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

High School Girls' Weekend: Brewery and dinner

After we finished at the winery, we decided to head to the Crown Ridge Brewery. I sampled a beer tasting with Rach, which was absolutely delicious and fun! We got a large sheet of brews and got to pick eight from the sheet of paper to try. I love tastings anyway, but the added bonus of choice made it all the more fun.

After that, we all gussied up and went to dinner:
We just ate at the Crown Ridge restaurant at our hotel- Tiger Pointe. I enjoyed bison chili and pasta (oink, oink). After that was over, we decided to try to take more pics with the tigers:
After this picture, we realized that the bag in Rach's hand contained her leftover bison stroganoff. The cats were getting agitated...they began to pace back and forth in the cages! Our imaginations ran wild as we recalled that cats can smell over 500 smells and scents from something like a million miles away. THEN we realized that the bag was leaking gravy! We began to run back to our room, which was about the time at which the bag completely broke. We shoved it into a trash can, looked at the pacing tigers, the gravy trail, and our dinky door to our condo, and said a little prayer for the fences of the tigers to REMAIN STRONG.

It is always fun to enjoy time with friends and I am so lucky to have so many great friends! Rach planned the entire weekend and it was just divine. I also enjoyed seeing a different part of Missouri...I don't think that I have ever been south of STL on the east side of the state, especially to stay and enjoy the views. There are some really gorgeous parts of Missouri....the flat plains by where my parents live, the Ozark hills...I would say that I am lucky to live in such a gorgeous state! I love to travel to faraway places, but I also think that it is fun to simply enjoy the scenery close to home.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

High School Girls' Weekend: Winery!

On Saturday morning of our girls' weekend, we woke up and went to breakfast:



And then decided to take a big cat tour! Our bed and breakfast was also a Tiger Sanctuary, and they offered guests tours of the tigers and lion. The tour was a lot of fun and I can honestly say that I had never been so close to tigers and lions as I was this weekend! They certainly hammed it up for the camera:I loved hearing them roar and seeing them play:


I tried to videotape the roaring. I hope this works!


After that was over, we went to Crowne Ridge winery and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. We sampled the wine (delicious!) and had lunch. After that, we decided to jump on the winery wagon tour:


While on the tour we were able to enjoy MORE gorgeous scenery!We were certainly spoiled with the bucolic scenery!

Monday, August 08, 2011

High School Girls' Weekend: Ste. Genevieve, MO!

I had a great weekend this weekend! I had a girls' weekend with my high school friends, which was a much-needed break from city life. We drove to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri and stayed at a Tiger Sanctuary. I took so many pictures that I thought that it would be best to do a multi-day post. I have to be honest: I was happily anticipating seeing my friends, but not happily anticipating the drive. The drive ended up being just fine and I loved the area. It ended up being one of my very favorite weekends of the entire summer!

On Friday, we arrived and promptly got lost (because of me---once I saw signs pointing to the ferry service to Illinois I knew we were in trouble...). We finally reached our hotel and then decided to head back to Ste. Genevieve for supper. We ate at a delicious local joint called Big Field Cafe. I devoured gumbo, a turkey and cranberry chutney sandwich, and a pickle:Yum. The gumbo was SO delicious. Sausage, yummy chicken, and spiciness combined to make a perfect combination. The turkey sandwich was also delicious, although I liked the gumbo better. I washed it down with a homemade sweet pickle. Everybody at my table loved their food.

After that, we decided to explore the town a bit while we let the food in our stomach settle:and stalk fake kittens hiding in store windows:


At least they are patriotic!

The girls!
After our walk, we stopped at Sara's Ice Cream shop. I ordered a chocolate malt and a vanilla phosphate. OH MY. The malt was by far the best malt I have ever experienced. The ice cream was SO creamy and I could taste the malt in tiny chunks in my drink. People, this was ice cream heaven:
The phosphate was also delicious. For 94 cents it tasted exactly like my favorite $4 creamy Italian soda at Latte Land. Ste. Genevieve was a charming town full of really friendly people. We had so much fun walking around and enjoying the scenery. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip! If only we had a Sara's here....

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Song



I love this little love song. It reminds me of my college days with David!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Favorite Summer Items

I love so many things about summer...personally, I do not mind the hot weather and the sticky humidity. I try to enjoy it while it is here because I know that in a few months I will be dreaming of heat! (Truthfully, I love all four seasons and could never live in a place that does not experience winter, spring, summer, and fall.) I thought that I would share a few of my favorite summer things:
1. Fro Yo....delicious.
2. My morning runs in the heat...I have been seeing a lot of wildlife this summer! This morning, I saw a doe and her fawn with a cute spotted rump. A few weeks ago, I saw these ladies:
3. Gelato (can you have two forms of ice cream on one list?)


5. The cicadas singing at night
6. Yummy BBQ homemade
7. Walks outside with the dog
8. Pool time!
9. Long and light evenings
10. The HEAT!

What do you love about summer?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My summer makeup

Since I am trying to post more beauty-themed posts, I thought that I would show you all my makeup bag this summer!
I love my Vera Bradley print...it is Riviera Blue and from a few years ago. I am glad that I invested in the full travel set! I love the fun pattern and the bright colors. Shall we?

First up...my primers/moisturizers:
From left to right:
1. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion: After using it for a year and a half, I love this stuff. I've only gone through one full potion bottle (that gives you an idea of how long it lasts!). This stuff WORKS. My eye makeup will still be visible after I go through a yoga class. That is powerful stuff!
2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF 35: I always hated moisturizers with SPF because I found them greasy. My dermatologist recommended this and I love it! The moisturizer goes on very evenly and does not make me feel oily.
3. Bare Minerals Prime Time: I began using this when I started with Bare Minerals. So far, I like it. I used to use Smashbox Photo Finish Light, and if I were to ever switch out of Bare Minerals I would probably go back, but I found that the Smashbox did not work as well with my powders so I decided to keep it.

Bare Minerals system: I still love this stuff. It covers my acne and I usually do not worry about re-applying during the day.
NARS bronzer in Laguna: They say that this shade is the perfect shade for everybody, and I like it. I feel like I need to blend when I use this on top of the Bare Minerals bronzer, but overall I like it.

This is a Clinique eyeshadow set from last year. It was a Nordstrom exclusive, so I don't know if it is really available anymore. However, (as you can tell) I love the brown color. It is a perfect brown for my skin tone and looks professional when I wear it to work!For my eyes, I generally use Lancome products. I love their eyeliners, and I obtained this particular eyeliner when I got a bunch of samples for spending enough money at the counter. I also really like the Hypnose Drama mascara in black. It stays on for a long time! Finally, the long tube is waterproof mascara. Seriously, this stuff is waterproof. If I forget to take it off with remover, I can sleep in this stuff for days!

Those are my favorite summer makeup products. I really want the Urban Decay Naked Palette this fall...maybe I can get my hands on it!

Monday, August 01, 2011

My weekend!

I had a great weekend! On Friday evening, we went out to eat with some friends here in town. We sat around, enjoyed some good wine, and then went to gelato after it was over! Yum!!!

On Saturday morning, I ran and went to yoga, which I loved. Then, my friend Jancin and I drove to St. Louis where we met up with our other friends Colleen and Amy! We saw Colleen's gorgeous new home and then went out on the town! We hit up Momo's Greek Restaurant and then went to The Loop and Central West End. Is it totally sad that my favorite "bar" was the Fro Yo place where we got cookie dough, fro yo, and chocolate? Hmmmm....
On Sunday morning, we got up and went to Colleen's bridal shower. She is getting married this fall and we had to send her into married life in style! After the shower, Jancin and I drove back home. The drive was SO long but it was totally worth it to get to see my friends!

How was your weekend?