Friday, August 31, 2012

High Five for Friday

It's Friday again! Hard to believe that it's Labor Day weekend already. I feel like I barely had a summer! I'm hoping the warm weather sticks around for a few more months though. At least a few more weeks!

Let's get to the highs of my week and this week's link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk for High Five for Friday. I was so busy working this week that this might be a struggle!

Last Saturday I made cupcakes for a baby shower for a family friend. The cupcakes were a basic chocolate recipe, but I also put in some frozen Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Rolos for a fun surprise. The best part was the frosting - white chocolate buttercream. It was delicious! Yesterday Jessica had her baby, a healthy baby boy, so congratulations Jessica!

This week I was out in Seattle again for work. As much as I love to travel, two weeks in a row with only one full day at home was a lot for me. I'm not used to that much travel! But, I think Seattle is beautiful and I enjoyed another trip out there.

My puppies are back home! I missed them so much. They were with my parents for 12 days and I was so happy to get them back home. That was the longest I had ever been without them! The first thing they needed though was a bath. White, fluffy puppies and a farm don't mix too well!

I love this saying ...

I'm getting excited for fall clothes. I love sweaters and jeans and boots! I'm so happy that I've lost weight so I can actually wear the type of clothes that I like. Here is one of my favorite outfits that I've found ...

                                                                     Source: via Kristine on Pinterest

Have a happy Labor Day weekend! I know I'm looking forward to enjoying drinks on the patio with Amber and maybe convincing her to go out dancing!

Until next time~

Friday, August 24, 2012

High Five for Friday

This week has flown by and I am surprised it's Friday already. I feel like I'm about a day behind and constantly playing catch up this week, but if the calendar says it's Friday, then it's Friday!

Before I get into my weekly link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk for High Five for Friday, let me digress a little bit and talk about how I always seem to fall for/ pick the wrong men. Maybe not the wrong men, just the wrong timing. No matter how great the guy, or how great we could be together, in the end there is something always wrong with the timing. Seriously, when is the timing going to work out?? Ughhh ... I'm just so frustrated with this timing issue. Dear Universe, please help me get the timing right!

Anyway, on to the highlights of my week ... Washington edition!

Seeing Seattle. I've taken some great trips for work and even on my own. My favorite place I've ever been has been San Francisco, but I was super excited to fly out to Seattle. More excited than I've been in a long time for a trip. And it didn't disappoint. I loved seeing Mount Rainier in the distance, the Space Needle and just the beauty of Washington. 

Washington is so beautiful!

Catching up with old friends. This week has been a fun week for me because I've been able to reconnect with two people from high school, including one of my best friends from those years. Elisabeth (Annie) lives in Seattle now and I haven't been able to see her in years, but I was lucky enough to get Tuesday evening free and she took me out to dinner and to see parts of Seattle. I loved seeing her and it was definitely the highlight of my trip!

Fun times!

A cute bartender. On Tuesday, I had an hour to kill before Elisabeth showed up so I sat down at the bar at the Radisson and had a local beer. When I got my receipt I noticed the cutest thing on it. Seeing it definitely made me smile and the bartender got a good tip from me!

How cute??!

Tuesday night. Tuesday was just an amazing night. We went out to eat at The Crab Pot right on the ocean and had the most delicious crab. We rode on the huge ferris wheel right on the pier and had a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline. I got to feel like I had a mini-vacation, and I definitely needed it!

Perfect way to see Seattle.

The view on the plane. I was so happy to get a window seat on the plane. Although I would have preferred a window seat flying in, flying out was pretty as well. How beautiful is this?? I love Minnesota, don't get me wrong, but I'm jealous of people who get to see gorgeous mountains like this every day.


I hope you had a good week as well. I'm hoping next week I'll get the chance to post a few blog posts. I'll be back out in Washington again, and things get busy, internet connection is spotty and sometimes you just have to unplug and enjoy the scenery, but I'll try!

Until next time~

Friday, August 17, 2012

High Five for Friday

Friday, Friday, Friday! Oh how we love you! This week has gone by pretty fast, but I'm always happy to see Friday. My next two weeks are going to be pretty crazy so I tried to enjoy the calmness of this week as much as possible. 

So, let's go to this week's High Five for Friday ...

My bedroom is all painted and decorated! Whoo-hoo!! I love it so much. I was hoping to do a post for a full reveal this week, but it will have to wait until next week. I put the artwork on the wall Wednesday night and stepped back and thought "this is exactly what I wanted." Here are a couple of sneak peeks ...

On Wednesday I took advantage of a free 30 minute workout with the new personal trainer at my gym. He had me do TRX. Have you heard of it? Invented by a former Navy SEAL to try to stay fit without any gym equipment available while being deployed in the field, TRX uses suspension cables and your own body weight to produce a good workout. I was skeptical at first, but after doing 30 minutes of it, my body hurt. But in a good way! I really want to take classes now. And it helps that the trainer at my gym is pretty cute!

I'm getting very excited about my trip to Washington next week. I know it will be crazy busy with work, but I'm just excited to see some place new. To get away for a few days and escape the construction noise. I'm also trying to meet up with a good friend from high school while I'm out there that I haven't seen in awhile, which would make the trip perfect!

My trip means that I'm going to miss these guys. I've never been separated from them for as long as I will be and I'm going to have a hard time with being apart from them! My parents also have never dog sat for a long period of time so hopefully all goes well with that!

This song has been out for quite awhile, but I'm still in love with "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz. I love the lyrics and somehow it fits perfectly in my life right now.   

Hope you had a great week and have a fun weekend!
Until next time~

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Sneak Peek

Last Friday I mentioned briefly that I was planning on working on my master bedroom redo over the weekend. And that is how I spent my weekend. All day Saturday I painted. Then on Sunday I started to put my room back together. The end result? I love it. I love my new billowy, soft, light pink bedding. I love my new gray walls. I love feeling I get when I see my room come together as I had envisioned. 

Want to see it? 

Well, the full reveal will wait until later in the week. I still have to get my mirror upstairs and artwork hung on the walls. But here is a sneak peek ...

Check back later this week to see more!
Until next time~

Friday, August 10, 2012

High Five for Friday

Friday - the end to another week! This week has just been a normal week. Nothing exciting. Hasn't flown by, but hasn't dragged. Typical. All I did was work, go to the gym and hang out with the puppies. I have busy plans for the weekend though!

Since it's Friday, it's time to link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk for High Five for Friday. What are the five best things of this week??

Spending time with my family. Last Saturday was my dad's birthday so I went up there for the day to celebrate with him, my mom, my brother and nephew, my grandpa and more. My present to my dad was dark chocolate root beer cupcake bites and a case of beer. Yup, I'm a great daughter!! Also, this past Monday was my mom and dad's wedding anniversary. They've been married for 35 years! They are such an inspiration!

Cuddle time with the puppies. Tuesday I had to go the doctor for a routine yearly visit and it ended up being really frustrating for me. I had issues with the receptionist and my health insurance, I had to discuss Rod, our relationship and his death, and it ended with having to get a tetanus shot since I was way overdue (ouch!). What I thought was going to be a quick appointment, ended up lasting for over an hour. So I took some time out that afternoon to just have cuddle time with my puppies. They help turn my bad mood around!

Puppy cuddles!

Finding a great deal on a mirror for my bedroom. I have been searching for a new mirror for my bedroom since January or so. I wanted a big mirror to lean against the wall. I don't have a floor length mirror in there at all and have been using a mirror that the landlords left in the other bedroom that is only about four inches wide and has weird curves to it. I kept looking at mirrors at Home Goods, but couldn't find anything under $100. I finally found one that I liked on clearance! However, it's currently sitting in my garage because it's incredibly heavy!!! I need to find someone with more muscles than me to carry it up two flights of stairs.

Isn't it normal to have to check out your outfit in the garage??

The perfect fitting pair of jeans. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a pair of jeans from American Eagle because I didn't have a single pair that didn't fall off my hips. (Not a good look!) I tried them on in the store and thought they were cute, but after wearing them a couple of times, I am in love with them!! They are the skinny kick jean; a new fit they came out with this year. (They're pictured above.) I love how they're skinny all the way through and then flare out over the foot. I never thought I would like a skinny fit jean, but the flare at the bottom helps with that. I think they're very flattering on me!

Planning a master bedroom redo. This is how I'm keeping busy this weekend. I finally decided to bite the bullet and spend some money making over my bedroom. I haven't really liked my bedroom in a long time. It's full of hand me down furniture, bedding that's too large and nothing really matches. Some of what I want to do will have to wait for awhile due to my small budget, but I'm starting with painting, changing bedding and adding some new artwork. And my new mirror, of course! Look for my makeover blog this next week. I've been using this photo as my inspiration. So pretty!

Check out the bedroom here!

I hope you all had a wonderful week! 
Until next time~

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Homemade Chicken Burrito Bowl

I've been craving Chipotle for a long time. I've wanted one of their delicious, way too huge for one person chicken burritos or a chicken burrito bowl. I haven't tasted one of their burrito bowls before, but I figured it would taste pretty good. How could it not?? But then I looked at the calories on those things. A chicken burrito bowl has over 600 calories. A chicken burrito has like a 1,000 calories. CRAZY!! So, I did what a healthy person should do and made a burrito bowl at home.

I don't know why I've never made one of these before. They're not hard to make and taste super delicious. And also, they're very filling! The best part, in my opinion, is that you can alter the recipe to your own tastes and what you have available. 

Here is how I did it using this recipe as a guide ...

The Rice:
1/4 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth 
Fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1/4th of a lime's worth)
Chopped Cilantro
1 tsp butter (I used light made with canola oil butter)

Cook rice according to package's directions using the chicken broth in place of the water. Once cooked, squeeze in the lime juice, add fresh cilantro, the teaspoon of butter and salt, and mix together.

The Beans:
1/4 cup black beans canned, rinsed and drained
Splash of chicken broth
Sprinkle of cumin, chili powder, oregano and cayenne pepper

Stir together and heat in microwave.

The Chicken:
2 oz. chicken breast (I cooked a 4 oz. chicken breast, but only ended up using half)
Season with cumin, chili powder, oregano and garlic salt

In a skillet, cook the seasoned chicken, then cut into bite sized pieces.

The Pico de Gallo:
1/2 tomato chopped
1/2 jalapeno chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Sprinkle of chopped cilantro
Chopped onion to taste
Salt & pepper
Juice of 1/4 lime

Mix all ingredients together.

The Burrito Bowl:
Layer all ingredients together in a bowl - rice, beans, chicken and pico de gallo. Top with other fresh vegetables and/ or cheese. Mix together and enjoy!

Since sweet corn is in season, I added some fresh corn to mine along with about an once of shredded cheese. Next time I might try avocado as well.

When I put the ingredients in my calorie counting app, I got 401 calories with everything including the corn and cheese. If you add more beans or chicken, or top it off with sour cream, obviously your calorie count will go up. But I like this 400 calorie version! I thought it was a good amount of each ingredient. Next time I'll aim for a little more spice in the pico though since I like my food a little more spicy. I know I could make it healthier by substituting brown rice for the white rice and I might try that next time, but otherwise I think it's a pretty healthy meal. 

Until next time~

Monday, August 6, 2012

What a Girl Wants

Venturing back out into the dating world is a scary thing. At least for me it is. It's stepping out of my comfort zone. Putting myself out there. Facing the possibility of rejection. And there's the whole issue of meeting some weirdo. Which I think is inevitable. 

I thought it would be fun to check out to see what's available in my dating pool of single men in my area. Have you ever looked at the profiles on there? Hilarious!! And also kind of scary if those are the only guys I have to choose. From the names guys can come come up with to the number of cliches in their story, I didn't see too many prospects. I'm sure the good guys are out there, but I'm not sure I'm ready to weed through online dating profiles yet!

But it got me thinking. What do I want in a date/ potential boyfriend? What are my standards??

Well, let's see ... 

I want a non smoker. I want him to be healthy and fit (wanting to work out with me would be great!). Must love dogs (or at least tolerate mine). Be ambitious and not lazy. Financially stable. Doesn't live his mother. Likes to travel and explore new places. Loves to go out and have fun, but also loves nights staying in and cuddling on the couch with a good movie. Should be well groomed (you know, showers daily, brushes his teeth, gets hair cuts, etc.). Likes sports and going to sporting events. He has to make me laugh. Ask questions about me and really get to know me. Share things about his own life, goals and dreams.

But I also want things you can't tell from a dating profile. 
I want a guy to bring me flowers. To tell me that I'm beautiful, and makes me feel like I'm beautiful. I want a guy who challenges me - to try new things, to branch out and fights for things that are important to him. He needs to understand that my family is very important to me. He needs to like doing things together, but also lets me have my independence. I want a guy to take charge of a date rather than making me make the plans. Cook me breakfast in the morning. Bring me ice cream when I'm having a bad day. Stand up for me. I want a guy to take care of me for a change. I want to be treated as a priority, not an option. 

I might have a long list of standards. And I'm okay with that. I know I am a little high maintenance and I need to meet someone who is okay with that. I just want to find someone that treats me as amazing as I will treat him. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Until next time~

Friday, August 3, 2012

High Five for Friday

This week has seemed to have flown by. It's Friday already?? Not complaining, but it doesn't seem possible. Where has my week gone? And since it's Friday, that means it's time to link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk and many other great bloggers for High Five for Friday.

Let's get to it, shall we??

I finally got my order from Nordstrom. First, for a high end store, they have the slowest shipping ever. It took forever for my order to be shipped! However, once I received my goodies, I was very happy. I got a new iPhone case in this super cute chevron print and my love script ring. I am in love with this ring!

This dress I found at Target is so adorable! I was stressing on what to wear on my first date, and then I came across this little number and knew it was perfect. I love the colors and the fit. I paired it with some heels and my jean jacket for the perfect first date outfit.

I just found out that I get to go to Washington this month. I'm so excited! It's for work so I won't be able to sight see at all, but it will be fun to see some place new. I wish I had a few extra days to explore Seattle and visit a friend that lives out there, but I don't think that's going to happen. I'm happy to travel nonetheless.

I found out how amazing it feels when this happens. Seriously, if I could start every day with a text like this, I would be so happy. It put the biggest smile on my face.

Today was weigh in day and I lost another two pounds. Whoo-hoo!! I have only five more pounds to lose to hit my goal weight. Some days it's hard to believe; I still see myself as chubby when I look in the mirror. However, I did go shopping for a few new pieces of clothing this week and I had to buy size 3 shorts at Target and size 4 jeans at American Eagle. Somehow though, I don't see myself as being thin. I feel like I still have a long way to go before I can rock a bikini. 

I hope you all had a good week and have some things to be grateful for, even the small things. Enjoy your weekend!

Until next time~

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dating as a Widow

The time has come to enter the dating world again. I know it is the right time for me, but it definitely isn't easy. After six years of only ever going out with my husband, I have to sit with a stranger and make conversation, be flirty, be cute and somehow come across as way more confident than I feel.

In preparation for my first date, I did a little research on dating as a widow. Things written for people my age was hard to find. Not surprising, I guess. All I could find were tips such as "do things in your own time," "don't rush into things" and "try to get over the guilt." Not helpful. I was looking for advice on when to tell a potential date that you're a widow. Can you talk about what happened? How do you explain that part of your life?

Here's the thing. As a widow, I believe that people have preconceived notions about you. That you're still grieving every day. That you're not "over" your husband. That you'll break down and cry if they ask you about what happened. Truth is, I miss him, of course, but I am not a "grief stricken widow." And no, I'm not "over" my husband nor will I ever be. He was a huge part of my life and when our relationship ended, it ended without a reason or a goodbye. I don't think you ever get over that, but you do get past it. I am ready to move on and take what I learned and apply to what's next in my life. And if someone wants to know about what happened, ask. I will not break down in tears. To me, that night is a blur and I have had to explain over and over again what happened, that it's easier to tell now; it's just part of my life story. 

Honestly, I dread telling someone that I'm a widow. But I guess if someone can't handle that, then oh well. He's not worth my time.

In this situation, for my first date, I told him up front that I was a widow. I found that much easier to do via text message than face to face! I struggled with knowing what to do. But I figured that if I was going to get rejected, I would rather get rejected prior to the date than on the date.

So how did my first date go? I will say that the first date was awkward. Or, rather, I was awkward. I found myself consistently over thinking everything I did. Everything I said. Over thinking what was going to happen at the end of the date. Do you know how difficult it is to be fun and flirty when your mind is constantly churning? I felt as if I was horrible at it. But, as with all things in life, it's a learning process and things will get easier. Luckily for me, I had a date with a great guy who is super understanding of the situation. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Until next time~