Dinner Last Night: Tacos…Again


If I haven’t the slightest idea (or the funds to get inventive) what to make for dinner, chances are I’m going to make tacos.
No one complains, certainly not me, and there’s plenty to go around.
Like last time, I did double decker tacos for myself. So good.

Well, it’s already Friday. Crazy for me because I really just started the work week. But that’s fine with me!
I have to work tomorrow, which is a bummer, but I have an engagement/housewarming to celebrate with some friends so that will be lovely!
Also, I really need to get cracking on some of my projects for Christmas…looks like I’ll have to get out of my usual PJ and TV routine that consumes my weekend and break out my gear (or at least use my hands while I watch some TV ha ha).

Have a great weekend, y’all!




I talked about the Afterglow app a couple of times in the past. My obsession has only grown stronger.
I love iPhone photography apps, but I have a bunch already (Hipstamatic, Instagram, PictureShow, Camera+, VSCO Cam..) so, if you’re gonna make me want to download your app (especially one that you have to pay for…even if it’s only .99!), you better have something special.

As a big Instagram-er, I started to notice a lot of circular photos popping up on my feed. My sister told me that the app Diptic, which allows you to combine a bunch of pictures together in a variety of frames, also had this option. (Hipstamatic’s limited freepak made for the movie Gangster Squad also has a film that does this) But I kept seeing the hashtag Afterglow, so I couldn’t resist.

It’s such a great app. You can edit all kinds of details. Contrast, brightness, exposure, color, vignettes, light leaks, filters, cropping.
You name it, it’s probably on there.
But they also have the frames. And yes, the circle is probably the most popular, but there are a variety and they keep growing.
I didn’t like it at first, or I wasn’t sure, but now I’m in deep. So I thought I’d share my life lately, seen through Afterglow frames.





1. Circle – A glass of wine, sweats, and comfy slippers, watching Ruby Sparks
2. Curved Square – I like to call this picture “Heartie” because the way Artie’s legs/paws form a heart shape. So cute.
3. Triangle (There’s also an upside down triangle, I settled on this one) – Slouchy socks and booties
4. Diamond – A snack of Pink Lady apple slices and sharp cheddar while watching Moonrise Kingdom
5. Oval – A cute, cuddly miniature poodle named Suzie.


A Happy List


Coffee with International Delights creamers (Salted Caramel Mocha FTW), especially in my Hello Kitty mug.
Picking out Christmas presents for the people I love.
Adding more and more books to my list of must-reads.
Turning off the alarms and sleeping in.
My hot pink fleece jacket from Old Navy, a steal under $10.
Comfy, thick men’s socks, especially when worn over jeans and peeking out of booties.
The Friday night ritual Brad and I have started, where we go to Michaels’ and buy craft supplies.
Lana Del Rey’s new EP, Paradise. Every song is gold.

Never take a great mood for granted. I’m in a good place, so I thought I’d share a list of the things making me so gosh darn happy at the moment. It’s always good to put that pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and say what you’re thankful for.


Monday Montage

Unlike most people I know, I wasn’t given a Thanksgiving break (aka Black Friday off). But I did have the whole weekend free and a bunch of PTO stocked up, so I decided to take a belated break and asked for yesterday and today off. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. It started with a surprise party for Brad’s cousin, Christmas shopping, zip lining, and cuddling with Brad, and is ending with so much lounging in PJs, zoning in front of the TV and reading my current book. It is just what the doctor ordered. If only I could relax like this more often!

Brad asked for Monday and Tuesday off like me, but ended up having to do some work today.
So yesterday was our completely work-free workday.
In honor of that, here are some photos I took of our little day of R&R.


Brad and I spent a lot of time in PJ pants and our super comfy socks from Old Navy.
Cali all sleepy, guarding the top of the stairs.
We had dinner at 12:30 a.m. Monday morning. Brad made pork chops and apples. So good. And why not eat late? It’s vacation!
The only time we got out was to take a nice, long walk around the neighborhood. Foliage is basically gone, except for some headstrong leaves.
Christmas decorations popping up!
Dairy Queen is closed. No need for ice cream when it starts to get icy!

I’m in a totally happy place.
Usually I’d be completely bummed about going back to work, but I feel so renewed and refreshed, I’m ready.
Plus, it’s a short week. Not too shabby!


A Weekend Adventure


You see that photo? That’s me, zip lining!
We did it yesterday at the Skytop Lodge, and it was challenging, crazy, thrilling, and one of the best experiences.

I am currently nursing some swollen hands and some achy joints. I didn’t expect to work so many different parts of my body. But it was 
a 3 hour adventure, different courses filled with crazy bridges and ropes and swinging wood planks to get across, culminating with a zip line.
We had to wear harnesses with carabiner clips, and we had to make sure one was always hooked to a line.
I really didn’t know what to expect, but it definitely turned out to be more than that.
Even though I thought I was going to die a couple of times (It wouldn’t have happened, being that I was connected to a wire at all times and would only fall a couple of feet in the air and hang there), and I’m sore, and I haven’t worked out that hard or that much in forever, and it was about 30 degrees, it was a total blast. Something that everyone should experience. I’m a mess when it comes to heights, and I screamed a lot, but it was thrilling and excellent. It’s always good to fight your fears.

Afterwards, we stopped at a cute country store on the way home and ate at Old Country Buffet, which might sound a little gross or weird, but it really hit the spot. All the comfort food you can eat after freezing and working hard? Necessary.



All photos edited with Afterglow.

Did you have a good weekend?
I couldn’t be happier that I asked for the next couple of days off.
It’s been a while since I had a nice mini-vacation, and it’ll be nice to rest my achy joints and bones.

Here’s to a great week!


Dinner Last Night: Thanksgiving Edition!


How was your Thanksgiving (if you celebrate)? Mine was delightful.
I’ve really enjoyed just spending time with my family, the four of us cooking and eating together. Less stress than traveling around.


We had a most delicious brined turkey, our usual asparagus, biscuits, and stuffing. But Maria and I contributed dishes too! I made my favorite green beans and a to-die-for twice baked potato casserole (Paula Deen is a genius). Maria made glazed carrots.
And yes, we had some wine. From a box. We’re on a budget.

It was a great day! I love the holidays.

And now I get to enjoy a little mini-vacation, 4 days work free! I have to work today, but I took Monday and Tuesday off.
I just need some time away, to relax, sleep in. I’m actually going ziplining on Sunday!
Should make for an interesting long weekend.

Happy Friday, everyone!




Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful everyday for so many things, but today is the day we share those feelings.

I am obviously thankful, and always will be, for my family, my friends, my boyfriend. They all go under one category of people I love, people who shape my life, people who are there for me and teach me and help me grow. I am thankful to have a job, even if it’s not the dream or I don’t make a lot of money, because I have some and I can pay my bills. I have a roof over my head.

But there are silly things, too. And here we go…

I am thankful for…

Music and movies and TV shows. My iPhone. Cameras and film and SD cards. Books, the authors who write them, the libraries, book stores, Amazon, Kindle. Chicken wings, queso dip, tacos and burritos. Michaels and craft supplies and anxious hands that want to learn. Imagination and ideas that zoom through my head and ache to be let out. Blogging, bloggers, people who share their lives good and bad, who inspire from simply being themselves. Lana Del Rey. Mark Duplass. Misfits. Wine. Flavored coffee creamers. 

And so on and so forth…

Enjoy the holiday!


Recent Reads: Dare Me


After Bel Canto, which took me around 2 weeks or so to finish, Dare Me came as a super-quick and engaging read right off the bat, and I finished it in less than a week. It’s less than 300 pages, so that might have done the trick, but I kept wanting to pick it up, even during times when computer, crafts, or friends would have me otherwise occupied.

Dare Me is the story of a group of 16 year old cheerleaders, all rail-thin but toned, the beautiful girls everyone loves and hates at once.
Addy Hanlon is our narrator and lieutenant to Beth Cassidy, her best friend and the captain (and queen bitch) of the squad.
Things begin to change rapidly for the squad, especially Addy and Beth’s friendship, when the new coach Colette French arrives. She is 27, just a shade of a decade older than them, beautiful, perfect, demanding. Addy longs to be her favorite cheerleader, along with the rest of the squad. But because Coach French has taken the reigns, the only position Beth will settle for, Beth is unimpressed. She has always been on top, and she will do whatever it takes to stay that way. Then a suicide forces coach and the squad into an investigation that only proves to aid Beth in tangling people in her twisted webs, getting what she wants in any way she can.

Being the nerdy, non-athletic, non-cheerleader girl I am, I felt a distance from the story. I am lucky enough to have never felt the need to starve myself thin. I don’t know what half the stunts or positions they do are. But that’s not the important part of the story. The important thing is about growing up, about the ties that bind. About changing from a girl to a woman, about becoming the best you hope to be.
It’s about lust and anger and despair and proof that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. All of these uncomfortable emotions, the fear of losing your friends, of them destroying you, of you hurting them, of wanting to be the top girl, the most popular. Those are relatable. Being lost and completely submerged in technology, that is something I relate to.

But Megan Abbott also adds a mystery to the story, which I really enjoyed. I couldn’t wait to see what else would unfold, to try and solve it myself, to see if it ever would be solved. To find out, you’ll just have to read.

I shouldn’t be surprised, but the book was dark. Heavy. And I had a hard time believing that a 16-17 year old girl would speak the way Addy narrates. But then again, teenagers have a way of being overdramatic, and perhaps that was the goal?

If I could compare it to something else, I would say the movie Black Swan. That doesn’t mean it’s anything like it, that you should expect it to be. But both tell the story of young women testing themselves, changing and molding in ways they didn’t think possible. Attempting to grow up, to be better, do better, and spiraling and getting lost along the way.

It’s not one of my favorite books, but it hooked me like gossip magazines and was so easy to read, and sometimes you need that escape.


At the moment…

I have a massive crush on Joseph Gilgun, who plays Rudy on Misfits.


That’s all.



In keeping with my simple goals (I’m doing okay so far), I used my Canon a bit more than usual this weekend. I decided to play with my
50 mm lens, even though it’s a bit restricting. It made the challenge that much more challenging. These are some of the photos, and they represent some pieces of the weekend.


Some cute fox nail art I did for my sister. We were inspired by these.
Wine and my current book in bed on Friday night (I’m exciting!).
Cali getting super comfortable on Brad’s bedroom floor.
Wearing the headband Maria crocheted for me on a Sunday shopping trip with Brad.
A cute new planner for next year. I plan (haha) on keeping my posts organized in it!

And that’s some of what happened this weekend! It’s fun taking photos with my camera, even if it’s little simple things around the house.
That’s part of the challenge and fun anyway.

It’s Thanksgiving week! Yay! Here’s to a great start!


Dinner Last Night: Chili and Cornbread


Chilly night? Eat chili. It just makes sense. Maria asked for it a few days ago, and it was basically cemented that that’s what I’d be cooking on Thursday. I’ve made chili quite a few times, it’s nothing unique. But the best part is adding and subtracting things from your recipe to find your perfect chili mix. I’m still working on that. But this was probably my favorite so far. I have to keep it on the mild side for my mom, but the rest of us added Tobasco…heck yes.


I suppose I could go all out and try and make my own corn muffins, but this classic mix is less than a dollar a box. So, yeah. That’s what I’m going to do. You can’t fail with it. I learned this week that I’m not really the best at baking. You need to be super patient and by the book…I struggle with that when it comes to cooking. So baking will take some time. So thank God for these super easy mixes. Jiffy, you’re the best.


Are you ready for the weekend? I am. I know I had a short week, but that actually made it harder. I got super-relaxed during my 3 day weekend, and it was difficult to get back into the swing of things. What am I going to do when I have my 4 day weekend next weekend?
I may never want to go back to work again!
Then again…I don’t really ever anyway. So what would be the difference?

I work tomorrow, but afterwards I’m going to see Breaking Dawn Pt. 2! I’m both super-excited and super-sad to see one of my favorite series come to an end. I know it’s guilty pleasure material, but I’ve loved the books since I read them in London and I love the movies and own every single one. I’m pretty sure I will be shedding some tears (like I did with the last movie). I just hope everything wraps up nicely and they do it justice. The end of the book is beautiful. So I’m hoping for the same here.

Otherwise, the weekend is wide open. I’ll probably work on my chain and single stitches some more. And hopefully break out the camera.

Here’s to a good weekend!


Recent Reads: Bel Canto


Yesterday, I finished reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. After reading This is Where I Leave You, it was very hard to slip into serious material. But it was so worth it. I wouldn’t normally read a book like this, but it was a recommendation from my sister’s friend and I’m trying to branch out into different genres anyway.

Bel Canto is a very beautiful but subtly terrifying story. A party is held at the vice president’s home  in a small, less fortunate country for the 53rd birthday of Mr. Hosokawa, the head of a big electronics company in Japan. The hope is that they can convince the man to build a factory in the country, create some jobs and make a name for the place. To do this, they invite opera soprano Roxane Coss, Mr. Hosokawa’s favorite artist, to get him to come to the party. As expected, he attends, but with no actual intention of creating business with the people.
Everything is going well, the food perfect, the music beautiful.
Until the terrorists arrive.

They come in search of the president, to hold him captive in an attempt to start a revolution. But he isn’t there. So they improvise, holding all of the men and Roxane Coss hostage. What happens next is best left to the reader. But it is a very complex story about the different people who stay in the house, both hostage and captor, and the complicated relationships they create under the circumstances.

It was really beautiful and tragic and I very much enjoyed this.
I’m glad it was recommended to me, and I would do the same.


My List of Must-See Shows

Winter is coming oh so quickly. The weather is positively chilly here, and it makes you want to cuddle in a blanket and watch hours upon hours of mindless TV. But why watch crappy TV when Netflix and Hulu provide so many awesome options? I decided to list my top 5 favorite TV shows here, ones that I highly and consistently recommend, and, lucky for you, they are ALL available for streaming on these sites.
You have no reason not to watch them now.


How I Met Your Mother

For whatever reason, I didn’t start watching this show until about 4 seasons in. This is weird because my obsession with Jason Segel is widely acknowledged and borderline creepy. But really, I didn’t have any friends who watched it, and therefore there was no pull. Finally, I caved and started renting the discs from Netflix (this was a couple of years ago, now there are 6 seasons streaming on the site) and instantly fell in love. Yes, there’s a laugh track. But it’s filled with so much heart and chemistry within the group and the jokes make me laugh for days.
It’s by no means deep, but it’s a wonderful, fun show that will keep you occupied for hours.



Who doesn’t know about Lost? Seriously. Words can’t explain it. I don’t even bother trying. But I really loved this show. I still do. I think it’s worth experiencing, even just the first season. I know a lot of people complained about the craziness of the show, of the ambiguous ending. But I am not one of those people. I believe the show has, from the beginning, been about human nature, faith, fate, destiny, and how we respond to extreme circumstances. The sci-fi/fantasy/crazy aspects are icing on the cake. But the stories about the characters’ pasts, their relationships, their grudges…that’s what it’s all about and it does it so well.


Parks and Recreation

This show is fantastic. If you like(d) The Office, you will LOVE this. While they have the same show set-up, they aren’t similar. Every character is inspiring and hysterical in their own way. It has made me cry more times than I’d like to admit. There’s always some amazing moment in which I smile so hard my cheeks hurt. It’s such a positive show, and Leslie Knope is the greatest TV heroine of all time.



This is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life. Action-packed, hysterical, emotional…it has it all. If there’s one show I could recommend to anyone, it would be this. I haven’t met a single person who I’ve recommended it to who hasn’t fallen hard for it. You can catch it on Hulu. And I highly recommend you do. Please. That’s all I’ll say.


Freaks and Geeks

This show only lasted 18 episodes, which was a huge mistake on NBC’s part. So many familiar faces. (Yes, that’s a super adorable young Jason Segel…melts my heart every time) This show is just so well done. I hate that it ended so soon, but I’m kinda glad it did.
There was no time for it to go down a bad path. Every episode is gold.


A Few Goals

As a fan and follower of A Beautiful Mess, I have been inspired to try many different things.
One that’s really resonating right now is a list of  4 Simple Goals to accomplish in a short amount of time.
Nothing crazy or completely unreasonable. Just a few things I’d like to do before the new year begins.

Which will be here before we know it.

So here goes…


1. Learn to crochet. And be patient with it. It’s not going to happen the first time I go at it (or the 15th, as has been proven thus far). But practice makes perfect, so don’t give up! I also don’t want to expect to go from a simple dish cloth to an infinity scarf in an instance. Baby steps. I’ll be happy just to have a simple square of crocheted fabric as proof that I accomplished this goal.


2. Break out the Rebel at least once a week. I love my camera, I love the crisp photos it produces, it wasn’t cheap by my standards…and yet I let the poor baby sit in a camera bag 99% of the time. I’ll admit I’ve allowed myself to get discouraged by my photographs. And I become uninspired because I don’t leave the area much. But the best way to challenge yourself with photography is to search for the little wonderful things in life. I am thankful I have an iPhone that takes some excellent photos (I wouldn’t have half the photos I do without it), but this piece of equipment, and the few lenses I have, need to be utilized.


3. Clean out my car. I’m too embarrassed to show you what the inside looks like. Basically, it looks like a bookworm who eats things wrapped in aluminum foil lives back there. It is a total mess and I’ve let it get too far. The funny thing is, I don’t think it will take that long to clean out. But I just can’t get myself to do it. So I really must.


4. Stay active. Whether I utilize my dance DVDs, continue taking long walks with my sister (which is a little tricky now that it is pitch black by the time I get home from work), or going to the gym (though I don’t see that happening), I would like to workout at least 3 times a week.
Sure, it would be great to lose weight or get toned. But I also want to do this for my mind. Winter is such a rough time, with long nights and short days, cold weather and storms that keep you indoors, and the post-holiday blues (or pre-holiday shopping stress). Exercise helps boost those endorphins and release any tension. It’s a great relief for my mind and body, so I want to keep that up.

And there are my 4 goals for the next couple of months! Let’s see how I do…


Weekend via Afterglow


I am such a sucker for iPhone photography apps. I’ve been seeing a lot of Afterglow hashtags on Instagram, and I finally caved (it hasn’t been out that long, so I guess I didn’t really wait that long) and downloaded it this past weekend. It reminds me of VSCO Cam, but there are more filters and frame designs. I love both apps. They are so great because, unlike Instagram’s small list of filters, you can really edit your iPhone photos. Things like contrast, highlights, shadows, sharpness, etc. Very cool. I get upset with myself regularly that I have a love DSLR sitting in a camera bag, wanting to be used. But it’s hard when everything is right at my finger tips on one tiny, pocket-able device.


I had a lovely, simple, sweet weekend. I’m still enjoying a day off (with much appreciation and thanks to the troops, past and present, who have protected and defended our country and we can be eternally grateful for that). But we all know Saturday and Sunday are where it’s at.

The goal lately is to spend as little money as possible. Things have been very tight lately, so I have to find my fun for super cheap or, even better, free. Which is what lead me to the library on Saturday. This is a place I need to utilize more. It bums me out to no end, because I love building my own library, whether it be with paper or on my Kindle. But there are a lot of new books I’d like to read but I just can’t afford right now. The library will simply have to do.


This is an example of what the Afterglow app can do that some others can’t. I have a love/hate relationship with these frames. I kind of wish they weren’t only in white. But then again, you can’t really tell her on the site! I could walk around the library all day.



Backtracking a bit to Friday, Brad and I enjoyed a quick bite at Arena Bar and Grille, and then met up with his cousin (the newlyweds!) for a couple of drinks, which lead to card games back at Brad’s. Super fun, but I was wiped out.

So thank God for lazy Saturdays!
We ate leftovers, went to the library, Brad’s mom made us a super delicious stromboli, I watched a beautiful film, and painted before bed.


Then Sunday. A day for cups of coffee, cleaning the house (the boys did such a good job…and I kinda helped?), watching too much TV, and making killer sandwiches that keep you stuffed for the rest of the day.




I also went ahead and tried a Broadway (done the Rachael Ray way, black cherry soda and lager), which is pretty good.

So, I might not have gone crazy, have weird stories to tell, or did anything out of the ordinary.
But I had a perfectly peaceful weekend and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.