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Sunday, May 29

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1. I'm happy that I got to spend the weekend with my buddy Rob. He came down here this weekend to help me with some stuff in the office and to take us boating to see the spider lillies. This is one of my favorite spring outings, and we're going to have a great time.
Lansford Canal 2007
2. I'm happy that we had a great cookout last night. It included good beer, burgers and company. The Mister does a lot of work to keep our yard looking good, and it was nice that the weather cooled off enough in the evening to sit out there and enjoy the evening.

3. Yesterday while the Mister was working in the yard, he found a cardinal's nest with babies in one of our trees. It's fun to sit outside and watch the birds playing in the birdbath and chase each other about. These babies were so cute.


4. One of the friends who came for our cookout yesterday brought Seasons 2 & 3 of Mad Men. Did I mention that we got hooked on that show last month? It's pretty awesome. I love seeing the fashion of the 60s, but as a working woman, I'd never be able to deal with the sexism that occurred in the workplace.



5. We mail our packages for the Flip Flop Swap this week. I'm excited to see if Joanna likes her swap package! It's always fun to send and receive good mail.




If you want to play along, click the button at the top of the post to link your Happy List up with Mamarazzi.

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Wednesday, May 25

“Dress to please yourself…Forget you are what you wear…Wear what you are.” ― Elizabeth Hawkes
Even if that means a sundress and bug glasses because it's so darn hot outside! It was 91 on Saturday, 95 on Sunday and 97 on Monday & Tuesday. It's going to be a hot summer. Pray for me =)

I have a hair appointment this weekend, maybe I should cut all my hair off? I loved how short it was for the wedding last spring.
Photo Credit: Chi Photography


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Tuesday, May 24

Because of all the rain we've had this spring, our herb garden has been exploding. I thought this Real Simple recipe would be a great way to use some of the basil. I'm looking forward to making this again when we have ripe tomatoes from the garden, too.

Serves 4
Hands-on Time: 25m
Total Time: 25m 

Ingredients
12 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds beefsteak or plum tomatoes, chopped
6 ounces bocconcini, halved, or 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Directions
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
 2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the beef to the skillet and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 5 to 7 minutes more (add up to ¼ cup water if the pan is dry).
4. Add the beef mixture, bocconcini, and basil to the pasta and toss to combine.

My alterations: I used whole-wheat pasta and ground turkey. For a prettier presentation next time, I would toss the sauce, basil and mozzarella separately and then serve it over the pasta.






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Monday, May 23

Every couple months, I mention a friend who is supporting a cause that I believe and ask my blog friends to help her out. Some of you follow these ladies too, and therefore, you already know about this. But for those of you who don't, please take a few minutes to read this post and consider supporting their efforts.
Dallas 2007

Janna and Amy are participating in the Susan G. Komen Foundation's 3-Day Walk. The foundation raises money to fight breast cancer.

I don't think there's a single one of us who doesn't personally know someone who's been impacted by breast cancer....for the Mister and we recently lost a friend and previous co-worker of mine who succumbed to breast cancer after more than a decade of fighting.
Boston 2008
Participants in the 3 Day walk 60 miles over the course of a weekend. They also each raise $2300. It's a huge commitment to fight a disease that affects us all.For Janna, this walk in Washington DC will be her fifth walk. By the time she finishes her 60 miles in September, she will have raised more than $11,000 to fight breast cancer.
Atlanta 2009
That means that Jules' Warriors needs to raise $4600 collectively....they're going to have to rely heavily on the support of family, friends and community to help them meet these goals. I know that money is tight for everybody these days, but since most of my readers and blog friends are ladies, I think we owe it to ourselves, our families and our children to support this cause.
Chicago 2009
I have about 170 public followers...if we all donated $20, then Janna & Amy would be more than halfway to their goal.If we all donated $50...or the cost of a new pair of heels, they would raise nearly double their goal. This would also be a great time for some of the etsy shop owners to donate an item or portion of proceeds to the cause.

Who's up for the challenge of stamping out breast cancer? If you want to support the team, you can visit their fundraising page directly by going HERE. You can also contact Janna directly to get an address if you'd prefer to mail a check.

Spread the word. If you're supporting Janna and Amy, please grab the button and spread the word.




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Saturday, May 21

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1. Last nigh we attended a party to celebrate our neighbors' 30th anniversary. They rented a restaurant, which was at the top of a building and rotates. There was a deejay, lots of good food and nearly a 100 guests. We had fun, mingling and meeting new people. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the happy couple together, but I did get a decent on of the Mister and I together.
A friend loaned me her Kate Spade cocktail ring. I hate to give it back.
And since I've been all about the shoes this week, I wore these babies.
It really is a blessing to be included in celebrations such as these. And we're wishing our friends 30 more years of happiness together.

2. The Mister and I usually go out for brunch on Saturday mornings, but today he made omelets for breakfast at home. It's nice to spend a quiet weekend morning together....and it's more friendly to the wallet.

3. I love my pets. They are always happy to see me when I get home, whether I'm in a good mood or not. There's something so unconditional about a dog's love. My girls are too sweet.

4. Feeling inspired about my home. I've written so many times about how I'm too tired to clean up or played hooky on doing laundry, blah blah blah. This past week, I really have been feeling good about nesting around the house. And the results always are always feel good boosters.

5. Being busy at work. Yes, it means that sometimes I have to stay late or work on Saturdays....but I'm in sales so busy is a good sign. And I'm thankful that we both have jobs with growing companies.


Want to play along? Click the button at the top of the post to link your Happy List up with Mamarazzi.
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It's been a while since I've participated in Maxabella's Grateful Saturday linky, but I thought I would join in today.

A couple weeks ago we got to spend Mother's Day weekend visiting our families, and it was such a relaxing, refreshing weekend for me. Since then, I've really been thinking about our moms and the part they play in our lives. Maybe it's because the church sermon that Sunday was about Ruth and how her daughter-in-law Naomi stayed by her side even when she could have left, or maybe it's just because God's really laying it on my heart to recognize my blessings.

As I've mentioned before, my own mother passed away while I was still a teenager and, of course, I miss her everyday. I've commented to my husband that it seems like I notice absence more as an adult, partly because I notice how many of my friends have developed such close relationships with their own mothers at this point in their lives. And I'll probably feel that even more keenly when the Mister and I decide to have children.

 But I have to say that circumstances being what they have really helped me to appreciate and cherish the other mother figures that I have in my life.

Chi Photography

I have a wonderful step-mother who makes my father incredibly happy. She loves and accepts me and my siblings. Looks out for us and gives good advice without trying to replace our moms. She's generous and happy and really is a fantastic blessing in our lives.

Halloween 2010

I have two mothers-in-love through my husband who are just fantastic women to be around. I have a lot of friends who don't have great relationships with their MILs. And that's just not the case with mine. The Mister's mom looks out for me just like her own daughter. I can go to her with any insecurities and challenges that I have and know that she won't judge...even if the problem has to do with her own son.

The Mister's step-mother is just fun to be around. She's had a some health challenge in the last five years; so we have to put that in perspective when we spend time with her, but she loves her family and believes in the abilities of all her children, step-children and grandchildren.

Washington Trip 2008
I have absolutely wonderful aunts on all sides of my family whom I adore...especially my mom's older sister, who is my godmother. The only sad spot here is that she lives on the west coast so I don't get to see her that often.
Emily's Wedding October 2010

And finally, both my best friends' moms look out for me like I'm their own. Kate & Emily's mom even took me on vacation with her daughters last summer. And Rob and I still laugh about how his mother grounded me in high school.

It's true that I can't pick up the phone and call my mom whenever I need a little comfort or an encouraging word. But I know she's looking out for me. How else would I have all these wonderful women who bless my life?

If you want to play along with Grateful Saturday, click the button at the top of the post to link up with Maxabella.
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Friday, May 20

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Because confession is good for the soul


I confess...

I'm fed up with my skin being all over the map. I'm turning 30 29 again this year, and my skin still breaks out like a teenage girl's. I have a blemish on the bridge of my nose, and yesterday the Mister called it my "third eye." He thought it was cute; I didn't think that was very nice.

My MIL and her sister are both aestheticians. They help me take care of my skin; so I'm ready for the breakouts to go away.

I confess...

I'm jealous of the Mister. Today his boss is taking the entire company to go whitewater rafting on the Chattooga. This is a reward for them having such a good sales month a while ago. I want to take the day off to play on the river. It totally doesn't count that I get a Friday off in a few weeks because I have to get a filling that day.

I confess...




I was a little concerned about my dress for the party I'm attending tonight not fitting. I've fallen off the bandwagon on my Spring Movement Challenge, and I can definitely tell by the way my clothes are fitting these days. Luckily, the dress still zips. Now I suppose I ought to keep up with my workouts or I'm going to be shopping for new pants.

I confess...
My husband is really going to regret introducing me to Shoe Dazzle. They introduced three more pairs to my showroom this morning, and I want them all. My wallet is going to regret this too, even if the shoes are reasonably priced. I'm wearing my new pair again today and loving them.

I confess...

I'm ready for the work day to be over. I have a lot of primping to do before the party tonight =)


Want to play along with Friday Confessional? Be sure to click the button at the top of the post to link up with Mamarazzi & Glamazon.
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Thursday, May 19

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Janna mentioned this fun little linky today, and I'm playing along. If you want to play to, be sure to link up with Jenn.

Current Book(s):
My sister-in-love Mireya just finished Having a Mary Spirit and thought I would enjoy it. It arrived in the mail the other day along with a post card from her and my brother's honeymoon in Maui. (Let's all take a moment to be jealous and then leave her some comment love.)


Current Playlist: 
This week, I've been all about Linkin Park. Rob just gave me a cd with all four of their albums on it. I've been especially enjoying their most recent album, A Thousand Suns. It released in late 2010, but I hadn't heard it until now.

Current Color:
The other posts I've seen are listing what nail color they're wearing. I just took my polish off before sitting down to write this post because I need a new manicure before a party tomorrow. I'm thinking that I'll be painting my nails purple, but I have come to a firm decision on my dress so it's up in the air.

Current Drink:
Coffee. I'm having a quick cup before a meeting.

Current Food:
I haven't started making dinner yet, but I'm thinking chicken with yellow rice and kidney beans. That's subject to change, depending on how I feel after this meeting. 

Current Favorite Show:
Definitely Grey's Anatomy. I can't wait to see what happens with Meredith tonight. I'm betting it's not as dramatic as the previews are making it look. And there's no way tonight's season finale can be as good as last season.

Current Wishlist:
Well, I did a post yesterday about shoes....I always want more shoes =)

Current Needs:
This is going to sound crazy, but I need more hours at work this week. I'm seriously behind right now. It's looking like I'll be working the next two Saturdays.

Current Triumphs:
I had to give a work-related speech last weekend at a retirement planning expo, and my boss has gotten a lot of feedback that I did a great job. That makes me feel really good....especially since the last speech I gave was in college and in French.

Current Bane(s) of my Existence:
I'd have to say the domain registrar that won't release my company website because of a stupid contact technicality...but seriously I don't want to think anymore about that today. 

Current Celebrity Crush:
photo source ABC
Jessie Williams aka Dr. Avery Jackson on Grey's Anatomy. I'm especially liking that he's growing his hair out.

Current #1 Blessing:
My husband

Current Indulgence:
Shoes...come on. You knew I was going to say that.

Current Outfit:
A Gamecocks t-shirt and black pants. I like to dress down when I get home.

Current Excitement:
We're headed to a big 30th anniversary celebration tomorrow for some good friends.

Current Mood:
Relaxed

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Wednesday, May 18

I love the Mister. One of the reasons why is that while he may not understand my shoe habit, he doesn't make me feel bad about it. In fact, at this point he's feeding it.

A couple weeks ago, he came home with a website for me to check out - Shoe Dazzle. Basically, I spent five minutes selecting the items you like best amongst sets of shoes, purses and jewelry, and Shoe Dazzle creates a showroom each month with a selection of shoes, purses and jewelry based on my tastes. And every item costs $39.95.

That's my kind of deal. So I wasted no time making sure these babies came to live in my closet.


Now I wear a size 10, and my feet are wide. So I rarely buy shoes online because I worry about the fit, but these were just right. They aren't super, super high quality shoes, but for the price, I'm a happy camper. Plus, the site gives me suggestions on what to wear with my happy new shoes.

And I already have my eye on at least three other pairs, but I'm trying to practice patience and moderation.



Wouldn't these look great on my feet?

If you want to learn more about the site and how it works, head on over to Shoe Dazzle.

This isn't a sponsored or a paid post. I simply wanted to share what I considered to be a fun, affordable way to buy shoes with my readers. However, if you do join using my link, I will get points, which can be used toward free shoes down the road. Don't you want to feed my shoe habit? =)
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Tuesday, May 17

Fettuccine Alfredo is one of my favorite Italian dishes, but it sure isn't friendly to the waistline. I'm looking forward to trying this Real Simple recipe out to see if it's a yummy, healthier alternative to my favorite dish.
Image source: Real Simple

Serves 4
Hands-on Time: 15m
Total Time: 15m
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces fettuccine
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stalk peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • kosher salt
Directions
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the broccoli until tender, 3 minutes. Drain.
3. Heat the milk and butter in a large saucepan over low heat and slowly whisk in the flour. Simmer until slightly thickened, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the pasta and broccoli and cook, stirring, over low heat until heated through.
5. Top each serving with extra Parmesan.

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Monday, May 16

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1. At the top of my list this week is a beautiful wedding. Our oldest niece got married on Saturday, and family tells me the wedding was just wonderful. The Mister and I were unfortunately not able to attend, but we wish the happy couple a lot of love and blessings in their marriage.
Photo borrowed from the mother of the bride

2. The main reason that we were not able to go out of town for the wedding is that I had to speak at an event for work. I've been nervous about this talk all week, but it went incredibly smoothly. So glad it was a success and that it's behind me.

3. After the work event, I got to spend the evening with my best buddy Rob. We had a great time catching up and enjoyed a few beers.

4. Last week, the Mister and I went to visit his 93-year-old grandmother. She's been in the hospital the last couples because of a broken hip. We were happy to find her in good spirits and hear that's she doing phenomenally well in her recovery and physical rehab. We all know that an injury or illness at the age could be really devastating. So glad our Mama is such a fighter.
Photo taken at our wedding by Chi Photography
5. The Mister has shown me little baby tomatoes growing in our garden. I'm so excited about all the goodness he's growing for us this year. If you want to know more about what's happening in our backyard, check out the Mister's blog A Little Seed Grows.
The Mister is growing Brussell sprouts just for me.

Want to play along with Mamarazzi's Happy List? Click the button at the top of the post to link up.
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