Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Favorites: End of March

Since it is the end of the month, I thought I would change things up and talk about my favorites for the entire month, just not currently.

1.  Monthly link up love.  I feel like March was a good month for once a month link ups.  Per usual, I shared my March Goals for What's New?.  I loved the topic of March's Workin' It link up - Work / Home balance.  I think it's always interesting to hear how people handle things, especially on a daily type basis with work and home life.  Girl Chat was all about being lucky, and I went a little deep with sharing my love for my fam.  They really are great!  I always look forward to book reviews, so the second Tuesday of the month for Show Us Your Books is always a favorite day of mine.  My random topic for Tuesday Talk was all about packing trips for work travel, although really, they probably work for any travel!  And of course, things ended with What's Up Wednesday this week.  I always love putting those together!

2.  I was able to travel to sunny Florida with work, and while I was still getting over being sick and it was for work, so the days were busy, it was still so nice to be down there.  I totally understand the desire to retire there!

3.  Some of my favorite posts to read, I did myself this month - day in the life and a food diary.  What is it about people's everyday going ons that is so interesting?

4.  This one I haven't shared yet on the blog, but it is a total favorite.  Jackson (my nephew and godson) has started to say my name!  I actually heard it when I was there for my birthday.  He's so sweet and was saying mama, dada, grandma, grandpa, and Brian (his godfather) and lots of other words so I was beyond ready for him to start saying my name!  He says 'Em' and it kind of sounds like he is saying 'Em!' with an exclamation point which is the cutest thing.  I was on the phone with my brother not too long ago and he was like it's Auntie Em and in the background I could hear Jack say Em! again which just melted my heart.  

5.  My most favorite thing about March was my birthday.  My mom was kind enough to share my birth story, something I will definitely treasure, and then I just had a week long of celebrations (part 1, part 2).  Everyone says your 30's are the best, and the last few weeks have been great.  I feel like I received so much love from everyone, and am just truly appreciative!   

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.             

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Three Things You Need To Try

Smoked Gouda
Snyder's just came out with cheese crackers.  When I was grocery shopping on Sunday, I totally got sucked into the display and purchased the gouda cheese crackers.  Such a good purchase!  They are crisp and crunchy and really taste like gouda!  The crackers come in other flavors, but I only picked up the one bag.  A serving size is 28 crackers and only 130 calories - not too shabby!  I always like when there is a big serving size.  Just makes you feel like you are getting a lot!

Staying with food, if you have ever had a salad at Chick fil A, you know they come with a little packet of crispy red peppers.  I honestly go there specifically for the side salad, not even so much for the chicken, and I think what makes it so good are the little toppers.  Just so good!  I finally remembered to look at the grocery store for some and found ones by Fresh Gourmet.  They were in the salad dressing aisle, and they are such a nice add in to a salad. 

Related image
I have mentioned before about Target's Cartwheel app, but I wanted to reiterate how great it is.  The other day I saved over $5 with the app.  While not a ton of money, continued use definitely adds up!  You can search for coupons - I always make my list prior to my trip, and search the app before I go for deals.  Saves me from wasting time at the store to find things.  Even if you don't want to mess with that, you can scan your receipts after your shopping trip for points.  Once you hit a certain amount of points, you are available for perks.  I haven't taken advantage of any of them quite yet, but when I finally decide which one to take advantage of, I definitely will.

Linking up with Annie.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: March 2017


I am linking up with my usual Wednesday girls - Jessi and Jenn for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday and Shay for What's Up Wednesday.

What I'm eating this week...salad, salad and more salad!  The weight loss challenge at work starts today, and I am determined to make some good progress.  That means lots of eating better and more and more veggies.  Salads are the easiest way for me to get those in, so that is on repeat this week.  


What I'm reminiscing about...my birthday week.  It was so fun!  You can read about all the festivities here - part 1 and part 2.


What I'm loving...still obsessed with my birthday presents.  The Kendra Scott necklace my parents got me is getting lots of wear and I am still in love with my LV!  Material things aside, the weather we have been getting lately (minus the rain) has really been great.  I had the windows open all weekend - one of my favorite things! 

What I've been up to...work has been a bit hectic and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, so it's been work, work, work all day, getting a work out in the evenings and relaxing, which lately has looked like falling asleep on the couch during a tv show.


What I'm dreading...a few things at work.  Not necessarily dreading, just nervous about them.  An outside person came in for a quick meeting yesterday, which just makes me nervous for the small talk - I honestly prepare a few questions in my head in case the conversations stalls so it isn't awkward for like the 5 minute elevator ride.  Goals were due this week, which isn't a bad thing, but I always get nervous for performance review / goal type talk.  There is always the change you are on a different page than your boss, so just the lead up to it makes me a bit anxious.  Then, this afternoon is a big meeting, so I am just praying everything goes smoothly!  I often times get way more nervous and anxious about things than necessary, which is why everyday work stuff has fallen under the category this month.


What I'm working on...getting back on the health track.  Not that I really got off it, but just have been a little lazy at times.  Now it's full speed ahead with this challenge as extra motivation.  Also, still working on cleaning things out.  I got through purses and dresses last weekend!


What I'm excited about...I am happy to see spring is here.  Although it bring lots of rain, the warmer temps are much appreciated.  


What I'm watching...a lot of the same shows with a few new ones - Imposters and Home Town.  I had DVR'd Imposters since it started, so I binge watched them one weekend and really got sucked in!  Home Town is a new HGTV show - the husband/wife duo seem super sweet and I love her style.


What I'm listening to...I was loving some soft rock this past weekend when I was doing chores.   


What I'm wearing...I shared a work week's worth of outfits last Wednesday, and then yesterday I wore what I think is a new favorite outfit.  Just a simple pencil skirt with this thin sweater tucked in, my favorite heels and my birthday necklace.  I got this sweater from Banana Republic on Black Friday and really liked it just with jeans and pants.  I think I love it even more paired with a skirt!  It keeps me warm in the office and looks very classic.  This sweater comes in a variety of different styles and colors - I may need to add another one or two to my wardrobe!



What I'm doing this weekend...I have plans to meet with a friend to get outside and enjoy the weather at a local park.  It's not going to be AS warm as it has been, but high 50's / low 60's still sounds pretty great!  A movie may be in the works, too. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...a friend invited me to join the book club she is in and I am really excited about that.  Really, as it looks now, April is going to be a relatively low-key month for me.


Bonus Question: What is your favorite spring wardrobe piece...I have more than just one favorite!  I have been loving these UGG slip ons I received for Christmas - they are perfect for running errands.  I picked up this Madewell utility jacket from the Nordstrom anniversary sale last year and have a feeling it will get worn a lot this spring.  I found a few tops at Old Navy awhile ago and I know this v-neck is going to be worn non stop - I love how it has a bit longer sleeves.  I participated in my first Lilly sale earlier this year and can't wait to break out the fun dresses I picked up!  Seriously, the list could just go on and on!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day in the Life: 2.21.17

A Day in the Life posts are my favorite posts to read, and I know many of you feel the same.  While my days are nothing very exciting, I still wanted to share, because know others whose days might not be 'exciting' per say are always enjoyable for me to read.  I think it will be really fun, too, to look back on this day in a year or two (or more) and see how things have changed / stayed the same.

My day starts at 5:00.  I have always been a bit of an early bird and like getting that head start to my day.  I spend about 45 minutes or so linking up, and reading blog posts.  After I shower and dry my hair, I give myself a bit of time to cool down - does anyone else get super warm from drying your hair?  Usually I scroll through social media, or lately I have been getting sucked into playing Sudoku on my phone.  Or, like this morning, I used that time to unload the dishwasher, and get my lunch together.  Ideally, I would put my lunch together the night before, but that doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.  I prep a lot on Sunday, so some things are just grab and go into my bag, while others I just need to portion out into containers.  Last week I had picked out my clothes for the week for my work wear post, so I spent zero time debating what to wear and had a little more extra time in the morning.  One thing I do before I head into work is make my bed.  Even those days where I may be running late, making my bed always is worth it.  I just feel like things are off to a good start and I am more put together.  And I like coming home to a made bed.  However, days I wash my sheets, I leave it unmade, as somewhat of a reminder to do the laundry when I get home.  It's off to work - I snapped the last picture as I was waiting at the light to turn into the road to the building.





My workday is 7:30-4:00, usually.  I get in a few minutes early and sometimes work a bit later.  This was one of those later days, so I got out of work about 4:40.  I had to stop at the store on my way home, and of course, as I leave and start heading home, it begins to rain.  The rain picks up as I get home, leaving me a bit wet and cranky getting out of my car, because wouldn't you know, as soon as I get inside my apartment, it stops raining.  



I was really excited to get home on this day, because my Hello Fresh box was set to be delivered.  Sure enough, it was there! I snapped some pictures for a post where I plan to share my Hello Fresh experience, then put everything away.  I started a load of towels and then had a snack.  On this day I was just so hungry all day, I needed a little something to tie me over til dinner.  




The evening seemed to fly by (mainly due to working later, waiting in line at the store, and then getting my Hello Fresh box organized), and before I knew it, it was a little later and I still needed to work out.  I like when it stays lighter later, but it also can throw me off - sometimes I think it is early when it's actually a lot later.  I decided to start another round of the 21 Day Fix the day before, so Upper Fix was on deck for this day.  My arms are one of the areas I would love to improve on, so this is one of my more favorite work outs, even if I hate push ups.  



After showering, I made my Hello Fresh meal - chicken tacos with pineapple salsa and radishes.  I'll save the details for my post, but my first experience was success.  It was pretty easy to do, and delicious.  (Don't forget, use the code EMILYANND for your first Hello Fresh box and you will get $40 off, and full disclosure, I will also get a $20 credit.)  




I watched an episode of The Pioneer Woman that I had on the DVR while I ate - I just love her show.  Side note: the show was all about comfort food, and the first recipe she shared of tuna noodle casserole.  It actually looked really good, but it's been years since I have had it.  I am curious to hear if you are a fan or not!

The rest of the evening was spent blogging.  I usually try to get blog posts done on the weekend, or work on them little by little when I need a quick break at work.  However, with being gone the past weekend for my birthday celebration and then the past two days have been busy at work, blogging ahead did not happen.  I put together my Work Wear for the Week Vol. 3 post, and also worked on this one - that way I wouldn't forget details about the day later on.

I got sucked in the social media / Sudoku trap after blog work and before I knew it, it was after 10.  I washed up and snapped a screen shot before going to sleep. 



Linking up with Whitney and Lindsay.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekend Recap

This weekend was a good one.  I mentioned on Friday that I was dealing with a little bit of the post-birthday blues, and this weekend definitely helped to remedy that a bit.  

Friday night was all about basketball and pizza.  Unfortunately, the team I was rooting for, Butler, couldn't quite get the leg up they needed, but it still was an exciting game.  With the weight loss challenge starting next week, I indulged a bit and ordered pizza for dinner to pair with the game watching.  I love ordering from Domino's because they have the order tracker, which I think is so neat.

I started Saturday with the windows open and some cleaning.  There is something about having a clean house, windows open and a candle burning.  Although Saturday brought bouts of rain, it didnt hit hard until the evening, so I was able to keep things open pretty much all day!  I got re-energized and knocked a few things off my organizing list.  I had previously gone through my sweaters and was able to consolidate them into one under the bed storage, freeing up the other.  I decided to use that one to store all my gift wrapping materials, that were otherwise just scattered in different places in my closet.  It's going to make things much more convenient when putting together gifts!  I also caught up on some DVR shows, watching the new HGTV show, Home Town.  I think this couple is super sweet and really like their style.

I found the best time to go to Target - when it first opens on Sunday.  I think I saw maybe 3 other customers in the store?  It was great - in and out!  I rounded out the morning with grocery shopping and a walk outside.  I know it's spring, but the temps almost remind me a bit more of fall, with those crisp days.  Either way, I am loving it!  As I write this now (Sunday afternoon), the rest of the day holds a little more organizing and sorting, ending with seeing Beauty and the Beast!  I have only heard great things about the movie and am beyond excited to see it myself!

Image result for monday motivational quotes
via 

Linking up with Biana.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites: Post-Birthday Blues

Happy Friday!  I feel like I always say that, but it's so true - is there ever a not-happy Friday?  Of course, as I type that, I come up with a bunch of different ways that Friday can be bad, so I digress. 

To be honest with you, though, this week has been kind of blah.  I have been feeling a bit 'off' all week and just eh for no real reason.  I realized this funk was probably brought on by my birthday passing.  It was such a great week, such a high all week long with loved ones and then this week it has been back to normal.  Nothing is really planned for the next few weeks to look forward to, work is about to get busy and stressful - just back to reality!  Here's to hoping a relaxing weekend will help to recharge and get me out of this funk!  Now for my favorites. 



1.  I saw this super cute dress on another blog and feel in love.  I think it would be perfect for work and play and it's on sale!  Nordstrom also has it, but in limited sizes.

2.  I received my Hello Fresh box this week.  I was super excited to give it a try and it did not disappoint!  Everything has been relatively easy to make and super delicious.  Just a reminder, you can get $40 off your first box (and I get $20 in credit) if you use the code EMILYANND.  

3.  We have had some really nice weather here lately.  Monday was in the 80's, Wednesday was in the 50's and so was Thursday.  Today is another warmer day, so the weekend is off to a good start!  I have been taking short walks around my apartment complex after work and it's been nice to just get out and enjoy the weather!

4.  There is a weight loss challenge at work starting next week and I am super excited about it.  A group of co-workers and I got together to form two teams for the competition.  It's going to be fun to have that added bit of rivalry between our teams - I expect a lot of trash talking.  Also, I am looking forward to having a bit more accountability when it comes to working out and eating better.  

5.  I have become obsessed with playing sudoku on my phone.  I loved doing it on paper and added an app to my phone awhile ago, but didn't really get into as much until very recently.  Now I choose it over reading!  If you are a fan, too, definitely look into downloading the app.     


Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.  

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Food Diary: What I Ate Yesterday

Day in the life posts are my very favorites, but a close second are food posts - specifically ones that share exactly what you eat in a day.  I love food and I love to cook so that isn't super surprising, but I also just really find it interesting to see what people eat.  I first saw this type of post on Kristin Cavallari's app, and since, I have seen it on lots of other blogs and have been wanting to do my own.


Breakfast:

I took this picture before I bagged up my little egg muffins and headed to work (wanted to avoid the awkwardness of coworkers seeing me take food pictures at work).  I actually eat at work, because I have found that if I eat at home, right when I get to work I am hungry again.  Especially when I smell all the yummy food (like bacon) that people bring to their desk from the cafe downstairs.  Totally a mental thing, but it works for me.  I make a pan of these egg and spinach muffins every Sunday.  I put them in little baggies, keep three sets of two out for the start of the week and freeze the rest, pulling them out of the freezer as needed.  When I get to work I just pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds and they are at the perfect eating temp.

Lunch:

This picture is actually from Tuesday night, but I had the same exact thing for lunch on Wednesday.  Chicken tacos (seasoned chicken, sauteed red bell peppers and onion) with radishes and pineapple salsa from Hello Fresh.  Yum!  I seriously was thinking about this lunch since the night before, because I liked them so much.  

Snack:

I try to have a snack around 2:00 or 3:00 - this day was right in the middle at 2:30.  One thing I learned from the 21 Day Fix is that I needed to get in more protein and Greek yogurt is the perfect way to do that.  I combine the yogurt with lots of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of blueberries. 

Snack:

I had a butterfinger custard concrete as a little pre-dinner snack.  Just one of those days where you need that extra special treat!

Dinner:


Another Hello Fresh meal - Steak Tagliata.  This was super delicious.  Steak, arugula, warmed tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette, and thyme and garlic roasted sweet potatoes.  

This is pretty close to how I eat on a regular basis during the week...minus the custard.  Breakfast is always the same.  Lunch is usually leftovers, or a basic salad and grilled chicken and the addition of fruit (this day I unfortunately forgot my strawberries at home).  Sometimes I eat the fruit I packed for lunch as a snack in the morning, on those days where I am being good and ignoring all the food here at work but I need something to get me through to lunch.  Dinner always varies - occasionally I will save leftovers for supper, but I do like to cook a lot so I tend to make something different for dinner most nights during the work week.  

What does a day of your meals look like?

Linking up with Annie.
    

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Work Wear for the Week Vol. 3

It's that time of the month where I share a peek at what I am wearing this week!  


Earrings - Kendra Scott / Shoes - Calvin Klein

Earrings - Kendra Scott / Shoes - Calvin Klein

Necklace - Kendra Scott / Shoes - Calvin Klein

Earrings - Kendra Scott / Top - Express / Shoes - Calvin Klein

Necklace - Kendra Scott / Shoes - Calvin Klein

This week has been a crazy one when it comes to the weather.  80+ degrees on Monday, and now today it's like winter is back.  Luckily the temps rise again at the end of the week, hence the short sleeves.

For more of my work wear looks:

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy, Jenn and Jessi.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

5 Packing Tips for Work Trips

Last year was the first time I had ever traveled for work.  It was a bit stressful, trying to figure out what to pack, especially because I knew I wanted to fit everything in a carry on.  Going on a few trips within in a relatively short time span really helped me get my packing down, so that whenever work travel comes up again, it's a much, much easier process.



1.  Packing cubes.  I honestly use these anytime I travel, but I bought them specifically when I started traveling for work.  I usually use a larger cube for clothes, one for shoes, and then sometimes another small cube for undergarments / socks, if my clothing cube is full.  I just love how organized and contained everything is in my suite case.  And while they don't really compact things, I do feel like there is a little flattening aspect to them, which saves a little extra space.

2.  Make packing lists.  I always make a toiletry list and then usually a clothing list, too.  For toiletries, I going through my morning / getting ready routine and night time routine in my head, and write everything down.  Then, as I pack I cross it off.  This especially helps when I have an earlier flight, and I need to keep things unpacked to use to get ready in the morning.  I am super forgetful, and add in the anxiety of traveling, I am bound to forget something important that I might not want to purchase on my trip, like a new straightener or something like that!  For my clothing list, I think about what is going on during the days, if there is down time where I need more casual clothes, if I plan on working out - all that stuff.  Which leads me to my third point...

3.  Limit your shoes!  I feel like shoes can take up so much room, so I basically only pack two pairs - a pair of heels, and then tennis shoes to work out in.  I usually wear slip on shoes in the airport, so all in all I have 3 pairs of shoes.  When I make my clothing list, I make sure that everything will go with one pair of shoes, either black, tan or navy, and stick to it.  I also do this with my jewelry.  I usually pack an additional pair of earrings - again something that goes with everything.    

4.  Pack dresses.  You can never go wrong with a dress.  They can suit so many different occasions and can be often worn without jackets / blazers and still look very professional and put together.  I usually had a blazer if we have a special meeting, but often a dress is enough.  Takes up a lot less room!  Dresses usually mean panty hose in a business professional setting so my extra note here - pack two more pairs that you actually need.  Those things tear like no other!  I am speaking from experience.

5.  Keep your purse to just the necessities.  I am guilty of carrying EVERYTHING in my purse.  However, when I travel, it is bare bones.  I have a small wallet that fits a few cards and cash, chapstick, Kleenex and sunglasses.  Occasionally a few other things make their way in there, but it all fits neatly into a little pouch.  My phone, along with a charger, some type of reading material, whether it be a book, magazine, or my Kindle goes in there, and then my laptop.  

Really, these tips work for any type of travel, but I find them super helpful specifically for work.  What are your best travel tips?

Linking up with Erika, AshleyWhitney and Lindsay.
         

Monday, March 20, 2017

30th Birthday Recap: Part 2

Happy Monday!  I had the best weekend, finishing up my birthday celebrations.

We headed to Indy late Friday morning.  On the way, there is this restaurant called Blue Springs Cafe that has foot high pies.  I am not a huge pie fan at all, but I have always been so curious about this place, so this time we finally stopped there and had lunch.  Verdict?  Nothing special, at least in our opinion.  The interior of the place was super cute, but the food was just ok, as was the pie.  Just one of those, glad we finally went and tried it, but won't be back type places.  The rest of the drive was uneventful, which is always a good thing, and we got to the hotel no problems.  Side note - one of my very favorite things to do on a longer drive is play the license plate game.  I thought to do this about an hour into the four hour drive, and between the whole trip, we saw over 30 different license plates.  So neat!  We had plans to meet my brother and sister in law out for dinner at Four Day Ray, a new brewery / restaurant that opened up not too long ago.  Since it was St. Patrick's Day, it was pretty crowded, but we got in at the right time and only had a short wait.  They had a special menu for the holiday, and I had the bangers and mash which were so, so good.  Seriously, I am still raving about them.  It was a neat place, and one I can see us going back to when in town, especially when things aren't as crazy.


Saturday morning came bright and early, as we headed over to the house to have breakfast with the family.  My parents drove in Friday, as well, which worked out perfectly, because they were able to hang out with Jack, while Matt and Jen met us for dinner.  We had a super yummy breakfast - my mom made scrambled eggs, bacon, monkey bread, and fruit salad.  Delicious!  We did cards / presents after breakfast - I got the prettiest necklace from my parents!  And of course, my mom had to go on theme with a $30 gift card to one of my favorite stores.  Since the weather was kind of blah, we decided to head to the Indiana State Museum in the morning.  I love a good museum, and this one did not disappoint!  It's right downtown, along the canal (which was green for St. Patrick's Day) and just a really neat place.  I definitely say it works for all ages, because Jackson had a blast checking everything out, as did we.  After the museum, we headed back for some lunch and relaxing.  My mom made my favorite dessert - cupcakes with yellow cake, chocolate frosting and round sprinkles.  After making my wish, we played a super fun game called Smart Ass.  It's a board game, where you get different what, where, who clues and have to guess the answer.  You only get one guess, so that definitely makes it interesting.  Because my mom made all the other meals, we opted for ordering out dinner - Puccini's.  We got the antipasto salad, meaty lasagna, chicken parm and garlic bread.  Oh my goodness, it was delicious!!  Since my brother and sister in law are both Butler alums, we headed out after dinner to meet up with one of their friends to watch the game.  They won, so needless to say it was a good night!  



My dad showing Jack pictures of cars on his phone.

Just a boy and his mower (he is OBSESSED)!





It was time to go Sunday morning, so we headed on out after getting some breakfast.  We made a Starbucks stop on the way, where I tried out the cinnamon almond milk macchiato, recommended by Sarah.  So, so good!  Since we were passing through Effingham around lunchtime, we stopped at the Firefly Grill.  If you are ever in that area,  you NEED to go to this place.  We went once before, and both times it has been ridiculously good.  I recommend the hummus plate, the steak burger, and off their brunch menu, the shrimp and grits.  Such a great place.  It was back in St. Louis that afternoon - the one thing about coming back from Indy is the hour you gain, but it still was a quick evening with grocery shopping, meal prepping and other Sunday to-do's.  I am glad it was productive though, because it has me ready for the week!  Hope you all have the best Monday!



Linking up with Biana.
      

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Favorites: Birthday Week!

It's been a pretty darn good birthday week, so all my favorites today are birthday related.  

1.  I had a great birthday celebration at the start of the week that you can read about here.  A hotel stay, dinner out, drinks, followed by a day off with a yummy breakfast and a movie (and movie theater popcorn!).  


Neverfull MM Monogram Canvas in WOMEN's HANDBAGS  collections by Louis Vuitton
2.  I extended my time off through Tuesday, where I picked up my BIG birthday present.  I have been lusting after a Louis Vuitton for years - probably ever since I heard about the brand / bags.  I noticed the other day that my current bag was showing a bit of wear, plus the bonus of getting my tax return back, led me to really consider actually purchasing a new bag soon.  Once that thought came into my head, a LV turned into a perfect 30th birthday present idea - a present from myself, with the helps of others.  I redid a little bit of research, because let's be real, I have thought about this forever so it wasn't my first go around looking, and made sure I was set on which purse I actually wanted.  I was in and out of the store in probably 15 minutes, leaving as the new owner of a monogrammed neverfull mm.  To say I am obsessed would be an understatement.  

3.  After I got my bag, I headed to lunch with one of my best friends.  It was great to see her and her little one.  Loved being able to keep on celebrating, even if it was back to reality / chores when I headed home after lunch.



4.  I came into work on Wednesday to lots of goodies and the infamous birthday trophy.  My company had this huge, awful traveling birthday trophy some years ago, that thankfully got tossed out when we moved to our new headquarters.  However, someone decided the tradition needed to be brought back so a new one was created shortly after we were settled in the new buildings.  It's passed around for milestone birthdays, and everyone has to add a little something to the trophy when they receive it.  I took the card I got and cut out the '30' portion, added my name and the date, and pinned it to the new trophy.  The birthday person gets to keep the trophy until it is someone else's milestone, and I am happy to say that I was only the keeper for a few days, with someone else celebrating a big birthday today!  I am thankful for generous co-workers, and even for those that so kindly remembered to get the trophy for me.  Truth be told, it does add an extra bit of fun.

5.  The fun just doesn't stop there, though.  I am going to be spending the weekend with my family and I cannot wait.  It will be so nice to see everyone.  My mom is making my very favorite cupcakes (yellow cake, chocolate frosting and round sprinkles), and I am just looking forward to hanging out and spending time with my favorite people.

Before I end, just wanted to throw this out there.  Rachel, over at Rachel Emily, had some free Hello Fresh box codes, and I was lucky enough to get one before they were all gone.  My first box is set to arrive next Tuesday, and I am super excited to give it a try.  When I signed up, I was given a referral code.  If you use EMILYANND on your first box, you will receive $40 off, and I will also receive $20 in credit.  To give you an idea, the box I am getting is 3 meals for 2 people, which cost just under $60.  So if you go for that option, then you are getting 3 meals for 2 people for $20 - pretty good deal I think!  They have other combinations, too, like a veggie option, family option, more meals for more people, etc.  Anyways, just wanted to let you know in case you had been wanting to try Hello Fresh, but would rather test it out at a discount.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Zaatar Bread

Today I have for you a delicious recipe - for any time of the day.  Traditionally a Lebanese breakfast (and my favorite meal to eat it), it is also perfect for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.  


Zaatar Bread
Pizza Dough (I use the kind found in the refrigerated section)
Olive Oil
Zaatar Seasoning 
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (optional)

Cover a baking sheet with sides in foil, spray with cooking spray, and spread out pizza dough.  Bake according to package, usually 8 minutes.  Drizzle olive oil over the dough, then add on za'tar seasoning, spreading with the back of a spoon to even it out across the dough.  Top with cheese.  Bake, referring back to the package for time / temperature.  Let rest for a minute, then cut into squares.  Enjoy!

For the zaatar seasoning - below is a picture of what my container looks like.  I got it at the local international grocery store, but I am sure you can find it online, as well.

  
I like to serve this with hummus and some cucumbers.  Adding an egg, like in the picture makes it a bit more hearty - either way you can't go wrong!

Linking up with Annie.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

30th Birthday Recap: Part 1

I celebrated my 30th birthday on Monday - you can read all about how I came in the world here.  Thanks again to my mom for putting it together - LOVED reading it and knowing my story!

To celebrate my birthday, we decided to stay close and spent the night at a hotel in town, The Cheshire.  It's a really neat and historic place, with themed rooms based on English authors / characters.  We had the James Bond room, which was super neat.  The hotel itself just has a really cool atmosphere, which we loved.  Unfortunately, the service wasn't great, and a few things in the room were kind of annoying, like a phone that didn't work, so I don't think we will be back again.  Still super glad we tried it out though.  Boundary is right across the parking lot from the hotel, so we opted there for dinner.  We have been for brunch before, and I have to say, the brunch was better than the dinner.  They did have a super good cocktail, a 1904 Mule, that we both enjoyed.  After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and got drinks at the bar in the hotel, Fox & Hounds.  It was SO NEAT in there, very dark, with lots of comfy chairs, a fire going - very small and intimate.  I can definitely see stopping there again for post dinner drinks some night out.  






I chose Southwest Diner for breakfast.  We started with the sopapillas which is ridiculously good, and then I went with the huevos rancheros for my meal.  Again, very good.  I love going to the movies, so next on our list was the movie theater to see Logan.  It got such great reviews, and I have to say it was very good.  A bit more sad and deep than your normal Marvel movies, but I think that was the point, since it's the end of an era, really.  They gave us a taste of Deadpool 2 before hand, which was great.  Ryan Reynolds is just great in that character, and I cannot wait to see what the second movie brings, because the first one was so good!  I was on a Mexican binge Monday, so it was off for some margs and cheese dip, before heading home to relax for the rest of the evening.
  

It was such a great birthday, and I am excited, because it's going to be a full birthday week.  Lots of love Monday from family and friends, lunch with my best gal pal yesterday, a big birthday present / purchase, and then celebrating again with my family this coming weekend.

I think when you hit a milestone, it brings you a lot of reflection.  When you are younger, you have an idea of what your life will be at these ages, more than year-to-year birthdays, and often times, what you think will be is not.  But then you think of all that has happened and where you are now, you realize that, although different, it's just as good, if not better than what you originally had 'planned'.  So cheers to 30 - may you be the best year yet!  

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.