Friday, September 30, 2011

This Sunday ... it's WAR.

Things are going to be slightly crazier than normal this weekend with the impending loss of one of our beloved football teams.

You see, B and I are both big football fans (although B some would argue that I get WAY more emotionally involved than he does). If you've been here before, you probably know that I'm a pretty big NY Jets football fan. Call me a female fanatic. My loyalty to this team over the last ten years has gone from once a week viewing to listening to ESPN radio on the way to work every morning and talking out loud to Mike and Mike (as if they can hear me). I probably shouldn't have admitted that, but this season? It's the truth. 

Well, the stage is set for the Jets and Ravens to face off Sunday night. And I am fully aware that no matter what the outcome of the game is, there will be one less than happy person in our household that night. It may even bleed over to Monday morning. But, that's what football is all about, right? Good, old-fashioned rivalries duking it out on Sundays. Fans all over the country getting together with friends, sharing food, cold drinks and a little smack talking? That's what we'll be doing this weekend. Lucky for me, we're watching the game with some good friends, and the Jets fans will outnumber the Ravens' 4-2. Hey, you have to start somewhere, right?!

Game day, baby! IT'S SO ON.

Who will you be rooting for this weekend??

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Need to Pump the Brakes On Life

Has anyone seen my sanity? Or my blood pressure levels? It seems that I have let the busyness of our life totally take over and leave me grasping for solid ground lately. So, I feel like this requires a bit of a brain dump from me today, because I've already "dumped" all of this on B too many times this week. Please bear with me!
  • Why aren't there 28 hours in each day? I feel like this would leave so much more time for things like sleeping, and checking things off of my to-do list.
  • The whole house buying process is super stressful, and has given me a bunch of anxiety recently. I have heard so many stories about things going wrong so close to settlement for other people, that I almost haven't allowed myself to be excited about our first real home.
  • Due to our impending purchase, I have been on strict money lock down this month, and I think I'm developing a "can't have it, now I want it more" complex. I am DYING for some new fall threads. Jeans? Tops? Boots? Oh well, a place to live is more important, right?! 
  • We had to postpone our anniversary trip to prepare for the above mentioned impending purchase, and I know it was the right decision, but I am pretty bummed about it. Especially with all of the stress that I've been under lately, this vacation would have come at the perfect time! 
  • We had to take Riley into the emergency vet last night after she had another bout of seriously upset stomach. I like to consider myself a rational person, but my "Momma Bear" instincts come out when I know she is really sick. Thank God B is the calm one, because I am afraid to see what I'll be like when we have actual human children. Luckily, after about two hours of non-stop sickness, an injection of fluids and some anti-nausea meds, Riley is totally on the mend and sleeping the day away.
Are you tired of hearing me complain yet? I'm sorry for the droning on on a Friday, but I had had to get all of these thoughts out somehow. I was listening to the radio yesterday, and heard a woman talk about a process she uses when the stress of life starts getting to her. She simply writes down all of the things that are bothering her on a napkin or piece of toilet paper, crumples it up and flushes it!! Now, doesn't that sound relieving?! I might be trying that this weekend. 

It's times like these that I try and make myself focus on all of the positives, because the truth is, I am one lucky lady. A wonderful man by my side, a healthy and loving family, the anticipation of a new home and the best friends a girl could ask for! God has given me so much, and I am working on praising him for that, rather than nit-picking at all of the things that are "wrong" at the moment. This is a challenge for me, but I'm still a work in progress!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I'll be back next week with some more positive posts, promise!! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Wish List: Fall Things That Make Me Swoon.

Well, I think it's safe for me to say that Fall has arrived and is here to stay. Other than the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. Football is back, my birthday is around the corner (did you remind B yet?), and everything is covered in foliage and pumpkins!! 

Every year, without fail, when September comes around, I get the itch to break out my dark wash jeans, leggings and boots. Even if it's still 80 degrees. I mean, don't we all?! There is something so refreshing about wearing the clothes that I haven't seen for a few months. Fall fashion is contagious, the colors are vibrant, and I can't help but add a few things to my "I-want-but-don't-need" list each year. This year it's all about leggings, boots, sweaters and tunics for me. Kinda the same as last year. What made the list this year?

JCrew Dark Star Sequin Popover
What's not to love about this sweater?It's cute, light, and sequined! Perfect for a casual day at the office, or a night out with friends!

JCrew Academy Coat
Swoon. Love the color, love the cut, too bad it comes with a $325 price tag!

JCrew Deck-Stripe Boater Tee
I just love the layering and the colors of this outfit. Although, I'm not sure if I could pull off olive green pants?!

My fall wardrobe wouldn't be complete without accessories! There is no room in the budget right now for a new bag, you know, with trying to buy a house and all, but I sure would love one!

Wouldn't either of these bags go just perfectly with that wallet I've been after?! Ahem.

And, as far as boots go, I'll be getting another year out of my favorites, and dreaming about adding a pair of these some day ... me and every other girl I know.

Frye Paige Tall Riding Boot

Please excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my chin after seeing all of these items in one place!

Although Fall may bring the greedy fashion-obsessed out in me, it also has it's simple pleasures, things I just couldn't live without!


What's inspiring YOU this Fall?!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Healthy Recipe Link Up!!

If you're a frequent visitor of our little home on the web, then you're probably used to seeing recipes pop up on most Tuesdays. It's no secret that I love to cook, play housewife, whatever you want to call it. Have you seen my "About Me" description lately?

So, in keeping up with one of my passions, I thought it would be fun to try my first ever link up, and create my first ever (slightly boring) button to share with all of you! I'll try to make this a weekly thing around here, so keep the kitchen inspiration coming!

First up, Authentic Maryland Crab Soup! Fall is here, and in our house, that means soup for dinner once a week! Warm, savory and fresh Maryland crab? What more can you ask for!

Authentic Maryland Crab Soup
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 cups chicken stock 
1 29 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano (can sub 1 tsp. dried)
Cayenne pepper to taste
2-3 potatoes, diced
2-4 carrots, diced (I love a lot of carrots in my soup!)
1 cup fresh green beans, chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 - 1 lb. jumbo or lump crab meat
1/4 cup parsley, chopped (can sub dry)
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. of Old Bay seasoning (don't worry, I never used Old Bay before moving to MD, it's like a right of passage around here)

Cook onions, garlic, and celery in half cup of chicken stock to soften, or for about 5-10 minutes. Add the remaining stock, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, cayenne, potatoes, carrots and green beans and cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Then, stir in corn, crab meat and parsley and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve with ground pepper and Old Bay to taste. Makes 6-8 servings.

Serve piping hot with fresh rolls! ENJOY!!

Want to link up and share some of your favorite healthy recipes (OK, they don't have to be healthy, I don't really discriminate in my kitchen)?? Grab the button below share away!

Wanna link up and share your recipe?

1. Blog your recipe.
2. Share a picture of it (if you have one!)
3. Grab my button and add it to your post.
4. Add your (direct) link to the linky at the bottom.
5. Start collecting new inspirations for your kitchen! 

Our Love Nest

Ready, set, link up!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Necessary Birthday Shout Out!

Today, Friday, September 16, 2011 is my younger sister's 26th birthday. We are almost exactly two years apart, and I think it goes without saying that she is my oldest and truest friend. Growing up together, I never really considered her my "friend" like the friends I had from school or church. She was my sister, and that was just fine with me. Except for when we got into knock-down-drag-out fights over who had been stealing the others' clothes. True story. But? Now we're mostly grown up and have a wonderful friendship to show for it. If you don't know Amanda, here's a quick list of "awesome" about her ...
  • Absolute trend setter
  • Magnificent shopping buddy
  • Accomplished wedding photographer
  • Natural-born leader
  • Devoted Christian & friend
  • Above all else, a sister and friend anyone would be lucky to have :o)

  Happy Birthday, Sissy!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Keeps You Fit? I Need a New Fitness Friend!!

Thanks to Walgreens for sponsoring my writing. While this post is sponsored, all of the opinions are my own. Help Walgreens help others! Visit their Facebook page here to learn about their charitable partners and decide which cause Walgreens will donate to with a quick vote!

Well, bathing suit season is coming to a close, and what do I have to show for it? At this time last year, I was checking the last few items off of my wedding to-do list, and B and I were about 6 weeks into P90X. The difference in my overall wellness since last year may not look like much, but it sure feels like the gap is widening.

2010 Honeymoon
2011 Beachin'
 One of the things that I have noticed since tying the knot is that I now feel partially responsible for my little family's wellness. You all know I love to cook, and I try to pay attention to what we're eating and what is stocking our cabinets on a regular basis. But there is so much more that goes into staying active and healthy.

One of my priorities while we're still DINK's is to get us into a healthy lifestyle. I want to start running every morning, to continue our family walks with Riley, to build my collection of healthy recipes, to get more sleep ... sounds easy, right? My husband is active, our dog has plenty of energy, so I should always feel motivated, right? Truth be told, most some days are harder than others. But, this has been a silent goal of mine for the past few months since I've let it slip, and I need to kick it into action.

Are any of you in a similar situation? You used to have the time and motivation to work out consistently, but life has changed and gotten busier, and somehow, one of the most important things has taken a total back seat? I mean, I ran cross country in high school for crying out loud, you would think I could jump right back into the running groove. And? Those P90X DVDs are sitting right next to our TV every day, how hard is it to pop one in? Very difficult, let me tell you.

So, even though it's already September (when did that happen?!), I'm making it my "rest-of-the-year-resolution" to get back on the wagon and take responsibility for my family's wellness. God only knows when this little family of ours will start growing, and I want to be well on my way before that happens.

I think I'll start with scheduling our flu shot appointments, one of B's favorite past times, I can assure you. At least I'm a stickler for some things, right? And? Did you know that you can pop into any Walgreens for your flu shot without an appointment? Just sayin'. I'm trying to look out for everyone like that :o)

I'm also taking volunteers to be my personal accountability partner. You know you wanna.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's birthday shout out to my sister!

Don't forget to help Walgreens help others! Visit their Facebook page here to learn about their charitable partners and decide which cause Walgreens will donate to with a quick vote. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bachelor Pad 2 Shenanigans

Raise your hand if you've been watching Bachelor Pad? If you didn't raise yours, you're probably smart, or just lying. I kid. Maybe.

image via

For as long as I can remember, or since ABC's "The Bachelor" series started about 9 years ago, I have been hooked. Sure, there were a few seasons here and there that I didn't get into for some reason or another, but I always tune in for The Bachelorette, and now, Bachelor Pad, too. Well, I think it goes without saying that ABC prides themselves on the drama that these shows now have to offer. I mean, there is a professional blogger that has an actual JOB spilling Bachelor secrets! Hello, Reality Steve. Sure, I was disgusted when Jason broke up with Melissa only to get back together with Molly the very same night. And the Jake and Vienna public breakup? I guess it doesn't need a ton of explanation. Let's just say I've decided I'm Team Jake on that one, somehow. But every time, I still go back for more.

Enter this year's Bachelor Pad cast. Hot guys, love triangles, crazy people. How can you go wrong? Well, I never saw the Blake and Holly getting engaged thing coming. What's up with that? My jaw was on the floor for about 65 of those 120 minutes that they brought the whole cast back for during the finale. A few thoughts:
  1. Did Ella get a nose job? She looked different, and sort of strange? Love her though.
  2. Are Kasey and Vienna really still together?
  3. What in the WORLD happened with Ames and Jackie? Ames siting "differences" as the reason for the split left me confused. And sad. 
  4. I absolutely think that Michelle & Graham make a pretty hot couple, and may or may not have a tiny crush on Graham. Sue me
  5. Even though Holly told Michael on LIVE TV that she and Blake had gotten engaged, I was still excited that her and Michael won, and loved that they split the money.
image via

So, until next time. And by next time, I mean January 2nd when Ben F. is officially the next Bachelor!! I know, I'm pathetic. Who's with me?!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Once Upon A Time, I Wrote in This Blog & A Quick Recipe!

Afternoon Lovelies!!

Before I go ahead and explain where I've been hanging out most days as of late, I'll just ask one simple question - how many of you have bought (or tried to buy) a house recently?! Whew! Over in our little corner of the world, that's what we've been up to lately (other than every day stuff like work, travel, chores, blah, blah, blah!).

What I can say is that the process has been pretty exciting and overall, I have really enjoyed it. We looked at a slew of places (single family homes and townhouses), and actually made a few offers before our latest offer was accepted. If all continues to go well, we will be the proud owners of a four bedroom townhouse in ONE MONTH! Gasp! I won't go into all the details just yet, because I can see a slew of "before and after" posts coming your way this fall! But, for now, wish us luck over the next 30 days that there are no unforeseen bumps in the road, and that we're well on our way to creating our "real" first home!

And, since I've been lacking in the recipe inspiration department lately, I wanted to pass along a new banana bread recipe that was given to me just last week. It's healthy, simple and yummy! I actually haven't made it myself yet, but it's on my list for the next two weeks! If you bake it before I do - send me your pictures!

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

*Tip:  If I have ripe bananas and do not want to make bread that week, I will take a freezer quart size ziplock and peel banana(s), stick into plastic bag squeeze it to puree, then add a squeeze of lemon and pop into freezer. Just mark how many bananas you leave in the bag, that way you match the recipe. When I am ready to make the bread  I just sit take the bag out of the freezer to thaw for 30-40min or pop them into the microwave for 15 seconds..

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup wheat germ  - (At the store, it usually comes in a glass jar (toasted wheat germ) you cannot taste it)
½ - ¾ cup chopped walnuts (you can omit nuts, sometimes I do!)

Preheat oven to 375. Using an electric mixer, blend together butter and sugar. Add mashed bananas and lemon juice and mix well. 
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt together. Then, blend in wheat germ. Toss dry mixture into wet mixture and stir well. Add walnuts, and stir, do not over mix. 

Pour the mixture into 8x4 loaf pan that has been lightly sprayed with baking spray. Bake for 35-45 minutes (check at about 35 minutes). Insert knife to check - bread is ready when knife comes out clean.