Monday, September 30, 2013

5 NEW Facts

Happy Monday! Welcome to your fresh clean slate: you get to start the week new!  Think of it like New Years day instead of Monday.  So Happy New Year! ;-)

I think most people consider bloggers to be open books (or open blogs? however that works).  Well as with you, I’m sure there are plenty of things I don’t know about you.  So today I wanted to share five random facts with you about me. 
Are they stupid facts? Absolutely!
But that doesn’t make it any less fun, right? (crickets chirping?)
Five Facts
  1. Pet Peeves- I can’t stand mouth sounds.  This of course includes people chewing with their mouths open and clicking their teeth, etc.  But most importantly, what grinds my gears the most, is when I can hear someone chewing even when your mouth is closed (i.e. chewing carrots, crackers, or chips).  It drives me up the wall! I’m all about table manners! Also another pet peeve is being respectful.  I firmly believe that we can expressing differing opinions without being offensive.  We can respect those that are different from us & still be respectful; I feel like this is hard to find in our society lately.

  2. Phobias- Okay I know this is weird, I have been told this many times before, but it doesn’t change how I feel: I hate elbow pits.  You know, the inside space where you elbow bends? Yea, that makes my skin crawl.  I don’t like looking at the elbow pits of others, or talking about it (even writing about it right now is making me anxious).  You can imagine how horrible it is for me to get blood drawn or to donate blood.  I think this phobia stems from a traumatic car accident I was in right before I entered the second grade (yes this phobia has been with me for decades).  Oh and my other phobia is sharks.  Unless I can see the bottom of the ocean I am not going deeper than my knees.  So yea, I don’t frequent many Texas beaches!

  3. Allergies- I am allergic to some material in disposable diapers, I'm not sure what the material is exactly though.  As a child it irritated me and my mother switched to reusable diapers.  Even now disposable diapers make me break out.  Something else that irritates my skin to no end is glitter.  I love the look of glitter, but I can’t be around it or else I break out in itchy hives for days.  And lastly, I’m truly a girl who loves her jewels.  I can’t wear cheap jewelry.  The nickel that is often in cheap jewelry makes me break out in hives also. 

  4. Shower Schedule- (See I told you this was going to be a random list of facts lol)  I shower twice a day: as soon as I wake up and right before I go to bed.  Even though I shower 2x a day, I still, never fails, drop my soap in every. single. shower. 

  5. Middle Name- My born middle name was Frances.   It was my grandfather’s mother’s name.  While I appreciate the sentiment of the name, it just isn’t me.  Do I look like a Frances to you?  I don’t see it.  So when I got married I dropped my middle name.  My new middle name is my maiden name, which happens to also start with an F so all of my monogram is still the same, and we all know how much I love me some monogram :-)
So now you know a little bit more about me….random facts, but still all me lol
Tell me something new & random that I don’t know about you!
Happy “New Years”!!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Food Network’s #1 Recipe

My best friend Katie, whom I met in college, is one of my pledge sisters, & was a bridesmaid in my wedding, gets me the subscription to the Food Network Magazine every year for Christmas.  This is seriously the perfect gift for me, and it keeps on giving throughout the year.  Every time I open a new issue it makes me think of her.  Thank you Katie!!!

Ok I’m done being sappy!  In last month’s issue, there was an article celebrating the anniversary of the Food Network and they shared 20 unknown facts about the company.  The number one fact was the most viewed and requested recipe, Alton Brown’s Mac and Cheese.  So of course I had to try it!  Holy cannoli! This mac and cheese is life-changing; seriously, a deal breaker!  No wonder it is the most viewed recipe!  This stuff is so delicious I had it for breakfast one morning!

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but nothing this tasty has ever come out of my kitchen.  You must try this!!! I noted my changes to the recipe in case you want to try this exactly the way I did.Baked Macaroni and Cheese; Alton Brown
Alton Brown’s Mac and Cheese
Ingredients:
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced OMIT
1 bay leaf OMIT
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Topping:
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
  4. Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.It will look really soupy (like you did sometime wrong) when you put it in the dish, but after you bake it, it will be fine :-)
  5. Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
I promise you will fall in love with this recipe.  
It’s so yummy!!!
Have a great weekend friends!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Smokin’

This is not what you’re thinking: I do not smoke, nor do I LOVE smoking lol But I do love when the Mr. gets to cookin’ on his smoker!  I absolutely love it when we go shopping for some meat and then he tends to it for the next day or so. 
In the spring the Mr. purchased an electric smoker and we have had the most fun with it.  Well I guess I have a lot of fun because all I do is watch and eat.  But who wouldn’t love that?! 
When the Mr. smokes meat over the weekend, it is an all weekend affair.  On Friday night the meat is purchased and marinated overnight in the fridge.  Saturday evening the meat goes into the smoker and the Mr. tends to it throughout the night while I sleep (I seriously have the best role in this entire operation).  Then on Sunday after church we have an awesome mid-afternoon supper, and I make some baked beans and some corn or loaded mashed potatoes (like this recipe).  It is pretty much one of my favorite weekend activities!DSC_0552DSC_0548Sorry, this picture is so fuzzy, but it was really foggy the morning I took this picture.DSC_0550DSC_0551DSC_0554DSC_0202
Despite my typical hate for left-overs, I love left-overs when the Mr. smokes a brisket or pork butt (which is shoulder not actual pig booty, just to clarify).  I love to take the meat and chop it up with red onion and cilantro, then add it to a tortilla and top with some guacamole.  Oh my goodness my mouth is watering!  Seriously this was an awesome investment (from Craigslist no less!). 
Do you or your spouse smoke dinner? 
Do you have any recipes that you would recommend?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blog Elevated 2013

Morning friends, and happy Monday!  We had a great weekend and I hope y’all did as well.  Friday we had dinner with some of our best friends, and on Sunday we watched football (duh!) and got a new desk for the guest room (I can’t wait for my sister to be able to use it in October when she visits).  But I’ve got to tell y’all about my Saturday.  Over the weekend I told y’all that I was headed to Houston’s blogging conference, Blog Elevated.  This was my entire Saturday and it was totally worth it….plus when I got home my husband had completely done all of my housework for me.  I’m talking sweeping, vacuuming, laundry, dishes…. I was one happy lady!

After last year’s blogger symposium, I knew that I just had to attend again this year, and it did not disappoint.  I was a little upset that I didn’t get to spend all three days there (because I had to work), but I did get there on Saturday, and it was a fabulous experience. 

I took four really great classes: branding, social media tools, making Pinterest work for you, and working with props and lighting in photography.  The branding course was really inspiring and encouraging; it was a new way of thinking in a streamlined fashion to make the dots connect better.  The social media class? Well let’s just say I used to think I was pretty decent at social media….I was wrong.  I still have A LOT to learn; I was humbled. In fact that session was so overwhelming to me; so many websites I had never even heard of lol My favorite two sessions were on Pinterest and making my photos better.  I really enjoy this aspect of my blog so learning about them was so much fun.  I have to say that all of the speakers were incredibly well-versed and I gleaned so much from each session.  I am very grateful for what I learned at this conference.  Being a student at heart, I took pages and pages of notes and I can’t wait to work my way through them to make this space the best I can.

Yes the courses were great, and the location was fun (and super convenient for me), but it wasn’t my favorite part.  The absolute best part of the conference was getting to see my friends who started out as blogging buddies but have become some of the best friends, and finally getting to hug my new friends.  At the very end of the day, all blogging is about for me are relationships.  Of course other parts are really fun, but it’s about the people for me. 

And now for some pictures, right? Isn’t that what everyone wants to see?  Here are my un-edited blogging conference photos (which is probably not something I learned in my photo class, but I’m feeling lazy)DSC_0003The only place where it’s perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to be on your phone while at the table? A blogging conference :-)7b62ce7e22d711e38fec22000aeb222c_7DSC_0006DSC_0009DSC_0010DSC_0013DSC_0015DSC_0017DSC_0018DSC_0022It was so much fun working with a bunch of new equipment.  Also learning that some of the things I have purchased were actually great purchases!DSC_0023DSC_0026A cupcake….get it? lolDSC_0030Check out all of this swag!! Seriously, so awesome….and a Rooney photo-bomb lolDSC_0032
Overall it was an awesome experience and I’m looking forward to next year.
What did y’all do this weekend? Fill me in!! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Yes, I Judge

Happy Saturday folks!  
I know crazy to find me posting on the weekend, right?
I've been in the classroom all week teachering and now it's my turn to get to studenting.  (two new words in that sentence!)
I will be at the Blog Elevated conference this weekend learning everything I can to make this a better place for you and me.

Enjoy your weekend and watch all the football you can!  
I will be back on Monday with a nice weekend recap (get excited!)
You better believe this is true ;-)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Be More Awesome

Congratulations!  You made it to another Friday!!!!
You made it through another week and you might need another pep talk before going into the weekend.
Kid President is visiting again (see his last visit here) .  
You know what? This kid is so wise!
This pep talk is for the teachers and the students out there......this means this is for EVERYONE!
"It's time to be more awesome"
"Time to wake up people; time to get your learn on"
"YOU matter"
"Life is school, but you've got to show up"
"If you want to change the world you've got to know about it"
"Seriously, read a book, any book"
"What are you teaching the world?"
"No matter who you are, someone is learning from you"
"Everybody is a teacher and everybody is a student"
"Let's make some history together"
"Get your learn on"

Happy Friday friends!
Thanks Kellyn for sending me this link!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What I'm Lovin' Wednesday: This is my Prayer

We all have seasons in life that are less than desirable.  
This song has been proving me with so much encouragement lately.
Opposition is not bad, it makes us stronger for The Kingdom.
I hope this song provides you with the encouragement that no matter what you're going through on a daily bases that you are NOT forgotten, but are valued and loved.
Since the video isn't really anything but singing I have posted the lyrics below for you.
This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
And weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me lord through the flames

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and he is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on his promise I'll stand

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and he is here

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and he is here

And this is my prayer in the harvest
And favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I received I will sow
lyric source

Have an awesome Wednesday my sweet friends

Monday, September 16, 2013

I am guest posting for myself!

By night I am a blogger, 
but by day I'm something completely different.
I am a behavioral neuroscientist.
This means that basically I research how the brain interacts with our environment, and how our environment may impact our brain and behavior.
(You can read about my career path and choices here and here)
Specifically I am interested in the toxic AND beneficial aspects of stress (yes believe it or not some forms of stress are actually good for you!)
As a professor at my university we have to post on the schools blog twice a semester, so I'm guest posting for myself today!
Head on over to hear me briefly chat like a nerd!
Just as a common courtesy reminder: the blog I am referring you to is conducted through my professional institution; please keep your comments professional.  If you would like to bash me, please do so here :-)
Blogger by night
Happy Monday folks!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Just Cruising Along

I know that on Monday I posted about the fall…..and yes I’m totally stoked about it.  But in light of that discussion, this post may seem a little ironic, or even backwards.  Don’t hate that I’m all over the place lol

The Mr and I are celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary at the end of this year.  For our honeymoon we spent a week on Montreal, Canada and it was nothing short of spectacular.  However, that was our last vacation.  SIX YEARS AGO!  It is waaaaaayyy past time to go on a trip with my hubby, and we have decided that this year we are going to skip the holidays and take a cruise.  Neither one of us has taken a cruise before but we’ve always wanted to experience a cruise, so we’re giving it a shot.  b7ed38480b08e3409c9170d6f6c71b2a
This is where YOU come in :-)  What do I need to do to prepare for a cruise? What do I need to pack? What are the best cruise lines? How long is just long enough to be on a cruise? Do I schedule excursions via the ship or book them ahead of time on my own? How much extra cash should I bring with me? Will I get tired of being on a ship? How do I deal with the water and motion sickness?

I admit I have a bazillion cruise questions, but here are some of the things I have been longing for in a vacation for the past six years:
a good book in the sun,Summer Book Reading
new swim suits and summer fashion in December,Cruise Fashion
sunsets over the water,8519dedde41fedda54c90c1ef8b88116

cold tropical drinks with chunks of fruit in them (preferably with an umbrella as well)107f73d0faaf01da03f64a1eec572d3f

and lots of naps in the sun :-)Cruise  Sun Bathing
b99b0b41796ec89908e314cd29bd0747
I think these cruise thoughts are going to propel me through the semester :-)
What else do I need to do to prepare for our trip?
What else should I be looking forward to?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Living Embellished

It’s no surprise that I love all of life’s fun embellishments: I’ve got accessories for every outfit, room, and holiday. 
You know it,
I know it,
and my husband knows it- thanks hubby for helping me load, unload, & reload boxes of decorations every season :-)Living Embellished
Recently I stumbled across one of my sorority sister’s Etsy shop, Living Embellished, and was totally wowed.  She adds little embellishments to your everyday tools to add some fun.  Let me tell ya, I’m lovin’ ‘em! 
Check out these spoons! I just love the ombre! 
I’m dying for some of these blue spoons in my new kitchen!
Doesn't every kitchen need a kiss of color?!
Living Embellished- Collage 1
I love how she matches some of the spoons up with kitchen tea towels. So cute and fun!
This rolling pin with the red handles has me gah-gah!
 Gimme gimmie!!!!Living Embellished- Collage 2

There are various colors to choose from so that every tea towel and kitchen can have matching spoons.
I think color choice 11 would match my kitchen and dining room best. Don’t you think?
Who doesn’t want matching spoons?!?!Living Embellished-1
The embellished items in her shop would be awesome housewarming, wedding, or bridal shower gifts.  Also don’t forget, Christmas is right around the corner so you could also get some gifts checked off your list.  Painted spoons would be an adorable stocking stuffer
And hey, if you’ve been good lately, get some and treat yourself! 
You work hard!
You deserve it!
Everything is reasonably priced and looks great!
Seriously GO check out Living Embellished!!!! You will love it!
Happy Wednesday my sweet friends!
Obligatory Blogger Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post; I just really like these products.

Monday, September 9, 2013

They Say It’s Almost Fall {{Fall Revisited}}

They say that fall is right around the corner.  While that may be true in other parts of the country, I promise, in Houston it still feels like the sweltering summer.  Physically I feel like summer, but psychologically, I’m in the fall (no not really experiencing psychosis, but you know what I mean: I’m dreaming of & planning for the fall whether the weather is on board with that or not). 

As you get ready for the fall this year I want to recap and inspire you with what fall has been like around here in the past.
Fall Food Revisited 2
Fall Revisited 1
Woah after revisiting all of these projects I am SO ready for fall!  I can’t wait to pull out my decorations and have our first fall in the new house :-)
What plans do you have this fall?
What is on your fall bucket list?
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