Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Well, I have to say that my good Friday has been, well...good!

As you probably know because I've said it so many times here on le blog, I do not work on Fridays. I had all day to make cute things, catch up on blogs, and work more on that surprise.

I am very excited that Sunday is Easter. It's always been one of my favorite holidays. But really, any holiday where you get together with family and eat at the dining room table and tell stories is my favorite. (So that's like all of them, right?) Plus, pastel colors.

I'm all decorated for Easter/Spring and I'm so excited about it! I try to make a new picture to put on display for every holiday, so I'm sharing my Easter picture.

I realize it looks like a child made it, but that's half the fun!

I've got all my Easter presents for my family ready to go (yes, we're one of those families) and I just can't wait wear a cute dress and spend the whole day with family. 

My day has been exceptionally boring relaxing, so I don't have much to report. Let's add some excitement! In honor of #backthatazzup Friday, I'm linking up two songs. Gasp! I know, it's crazy. And maybe against the rules. But one is Easter themed and one is #backthatazzup themed. So here you go.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

March Cara Box Reveal!

So after I spent my day freaking out about why I hadn't gotten my Cara Box and how the Post Office lost my package, I got home and it was waiting for me. Oops.

I was paired with Julie from oh MY tookies! (she sent to me) and Chloe from All That Good Stuff (I sent to her). It was another successful month of making new friends and being able to give the gift of happiness -- and really cool presents.

The theme for this month was "What's My Name..." and so everything in the box that was sent to me had to start with the first letter of my name. I really thought Julie would have a hard time because my name starts with G, but boy did she rock it!

In my box from Julie there was SO much stuff! Here's a list of what she sent me:

-Herb Garden Grow Kit
-Glasses (cups)
-Green mini ice cream cups (good thing I bought ice cream last night!)
-Girl Scout cookies (one of my favorite kinds, too)
-Garden wind banner
-Garden stepping stone (not pictured, but it is gorgeous!)
-Glade air fresheners in my favorite scent
-Garden salad set: big bowl, little bowls, utensils
-Green apple hand gel
-Green lip balm
-The sweetest note I've ever read! And she even had a quote from one of my favorite authors at the end, but she didn't even know he was my favorite. The best.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Short Post

Today I don't have too much to say. I have yet to receive my Cara Box, so there is no reveal. I'm starting to get really irritated with the Post Office; they've taken SO long to deliver a bunch of my stuff. Grr.

Anyway, on to happiness!

There's something I want to share. Maybe it's corny, but it made me so happy! Yesterday as I was leaving work, there was a family of deer by the road. There were three cars all about to get on the same road. The momma dear darted across the road when no cars were coming, but all the drivers stopped. Then, the baby deer (it was so cute!) looked really confused. He couldn't tell if he should run across the road after his momma or not. All three cars stayed stopped and continued to just wait for this deer to make up his mind.

Not my picture, unfortunately. [via]
He did finally run across the road and catch up, and then we all went on our way. It just made me so happy to know that people have some patience and respect for animals. It was such a sweet thing to watch and I drove home with a huge smile on my face. I would've taken a picture, but I work in a restricted area and am not allowed to have my phone (boo).

Alright, sorry for the cheese-fest.

I'm still working on that surprise for you all, and I'm hoping to have it up tonight or tomorrow. It will definitely be up on Friday if I can't do it sooner. Be on the look-out!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Sorry guys. I've been slightly MIA lately. I feel like I haven't had time to catch my breath! Today I'm linking up with Lisette and Catalyn for Just Because.

Here's what's on my mind:

I've been feeling truly unmotivated to do just about anything lately. I'm not a student and I'm not a teacher. (Well technically I am a student, but it's online and so it doesn't count for this purpose.) I don't get a Spring Break. And I don't even have any awesome Spring Break stories to get me through this funk.

Funny Seasonal Ecard: At my age, Spring Break means taking my full 30 minutes for lunch.  I'm completely envious of people who either have a Spring Break or are taking a vacation in the near future. I need one! With snow on the ground -- in Maryland, no less -- at the start of the season, I'm just feeling super icky. All I want to do is lay around and eat soup. Really, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But I love being outside, and this weather is NOT conducive to that.

Sorry this post is pretty much just me complaining about the same thing that everyone else is complaining about. I'll suck it up tomorrow.

On a happier note, I have a surprise coming your way! I haven't quite decided when it will make its debut, but it'll be within the next week. I'm hoping that it will be successful and get the intended message across. Meep!

Alright, I think that's all I've got for you today.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sweet, Sweet Giveaway!

Northern Belle Diaries March Sponsor ad giveaway

It's time for the monthly sponsor giveaway. This month I let my sponsors choose what we wanted to give away, and they chose to give away ad spaces! Who doesn't like ad space? 

Without further ado, here are their beaming faces:
Northern Belle Diaries - March Sponsors

Who's giving away what:

1// Lisette - 200x200 "Northerner"   2// Samantha - 150x150 "Specialist"   3// Sara Elizabeth - 300x300 "Pearl Kinda Girl"   4// Elizabeth - 200x200 "Sweet Tea Ad "   5// Stephanie - 300x150 "Large ad"   6// Amy - 200x100 "Little Mama"   7// Jenna - 200x200 "Home Run"   8// Shana - 300x300 "The Big Time"  9// Rachel - 200x150 "The Postcard"  10// Nadine - 200x200 "Regular"  11// Melissa - 200x250 "XL ad"   12// Gayle - 200x200 "King Triton"  13// Amberly - 150x150 "The Simple Life"  14// Marquis - 150x150 "Small ad"

Giveaway details:
Winner MUST follow Northern Belle Diaries.
Open worldwide.
(Entries will be verified.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Questions Answered!

Yesterday I just wasn't quite feeling like life. Ya know? So I left it up to you -- the people -- to ask me anything you wanted. I fully expected to not have anyone ask me anything, so I really appreciate that I don't look like a complete idiot today. Thanks! Now...for my answers.

Beth asked: How'd you get into blogging and what's your favorite part about it? 

How did you get your little pup?

I'm not really sure what prompted me to start blogging. I think I had a general idea of what it was and I decided I wanted to do it too! I never kept up with it, so this is really round four of trying. So far so good! My favorite part (as cliche as this is) is meeting other bloggers. Whether actually meeting them in person, or meeting them online and forming friendships, I love it all. I also love being able to have a platform to express myself every day, whether people read it or not. I got my pup from a breeder in Baltimore. There's actually a long story behind it, so maybe I'll post the specifics one day. It took some convincing and about two years of waiting. 

Stephanie asked: What's your favorite tv show? What food will you never ever eat? Where are you going on your next vacation?
Hmm. My favorite tv show is probably The Walking Dead. I also love Glee because I have a performing arts background, but the drama on that show is getting really old. I will NEVER eat raw fish, so that leaves out most sushi. It's non-negotiable. I've had a few vacations recently, so I'm not sure where the next one will be. I will be going to Florida in May for a wedding, so I guess that counts. 

Mia asked: What's your favorite book and/or author? 

That's a really difficult question to answer. I think my favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye. Or Grendel. Both are totally awesome. As for a favorite author, I'm not sure I have one. I've been reading a lot of Sarah Dessen books lately (a young adult lit author), so maybe we'll go with that. Background info:  I originally studied education and had to take a YA lit class; I've always loved that genre, but that class made me love it even more. So usually I gravitate toward those books. Yes, I know I'm 23. I don't care. 

Ashley asked: What is the last movie you saw in theaters and do you recommend seeing it?

 What are your favorite shopping websites?

 What was your favorite toy as a child?

The last movie I saw in theaters was Burt Wonderstone. NO. I don't recommend it. It wasn't funny and it was slow. I was truly disappointed. My favorite shopping websites are Amazon and Etsy. Pretty predictable, I guess. My favorite toy used to be the sit-n-spin. I wish they made them in adult sizes. Seriously. 

This looks exactly like the one I used to have.

Aaaaaand because it's Friday, it's automatically #backthatazzup Friday. So here's what I've been listening to. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Cop-Out

Guys. I have absolutely nothing to say today. So I'm taking the blogger's cop-out and allowing you to ask me anything. This is what happens when you don't sleep for a week and can no longer think.

Let's hope you actually do ask me things, otherwise this is gonna look realllllly stupid come tomorrow. You can either email me or leave your question in the comments.

If I come up with something better to say, you better believe I will post it. But for now, this is what you get.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Can't Believe...

It's not butter! Just kidding, I can.

Just kidding again! I'm joining this girl for a brand new linkup today, called I Can't Believe. (Can you believe it?) Onward!

I can't believe... today is only Wednesday.

I can't believe... my mom will finally be home from Florida on Saturday after being gone for two months!

I can't believe... my little pup is almost two!

I can't believe... I still can't get rid of this cold.

I can't believe... it's already almost April!

I can't believe... my computer at work limits me from doing just about everything.

On that note, I'm out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Liebster Award!

Hi all! I've been nominated for the Liebster Award(!) by the wonderful Kayla from Green Mountain Couple. This is incredibly exciting for me because I am a nerd and I care about these things. (Don't judge -- you know you do, too!)

My liebster award

My 11 Facts
1. I was born with a club foot and had to have surgery as a baby. (Google it. Freaky.)
2. I am ambidextrous. But I mainly write and eat with  my left and do everything else with my right.
3. The smell of peanut butter makes me gag.
4. I have known my boyfriend literally for my entire life. (So cute, right?)
5. I used to take Lexapro for my anxiety.
6. I plan everything.
7. I average reading about 5 books a month, sometimes more. (This month I'm closing in on 10.)
8. I totally regret chopping all my hair off. It's still a sore subject.
9. I have house fever!
10. I will not leave the house without wearing mascara. My mother gave me her lovely non-existent eyelashes.
11. I have zero patience. This isn't random if you know me, and I may have mentioned here before, but seriously. Temper-tantrum city.

Now I will answer the questions Kayla asked her nominees:

1. Why did you start Blogging?
I needed an outlet. My job wasn't really fulfilling, so I started this. I have a new job now, but I don't plan on leaving the blog behind. Ever.
2. How long have you been Blogging?
On-and-off (mostly off) since 2010. Consistently since January.
3. What is your opinion on "Prepping"?
I'm not really sure what this means. I'm a prepper in general, but if you mean for blogging, not so much.
4. How many states have you been to/in?
Eighteen. And I had to sing the state song to count them.
5. Do you have and tattoos? If yes, of what?
No, but I want one.
6. Favorite color?
Red and yellow.
7. Favorite Holiday?
Thanksgiving. Hands down. The whole season from Thanksgiving to Christmas is THE BEST.
8. Favorite Board Game?
 9. How many siblings do you have? If you do, are you Oldest, Middle or Youngest?
Technically I'm an only child. I do have three step-siblings, and I'm the youngest. I've never lived with any of them.
10. Have you ever broken a bone?
Never. But I was in a cast as a baby because of the foot surgery.
11.  Ultimate Goal for 2013?
Live more in the moment and stop waiting for things. This is more of a day by day goal, but I'd like to feel like I accomplished it by the end of the year.

I am nominating the following blogs:

Jayme at Young Mum's Guide to Survival
Cody at Catching Cody K
Krystle at Life Revolves Around Them
Taylor at Confessions of a Busy Busy Bee
Lindsey at Life on Countryside
Chloe at All That Good Stuff
Courtney at Marriage With a Baby Carriage
Kelly at Kelly Elizabeth
Martha at A Southern Transplant
Ashley at Cup of Ash Tea
Niki at Dreaming is Believing

The 11 questions I'm proposing are:

1. What is your goal with your blog?
2. What is something you are passionate about other than blogging?
3. What is one CD you can listen to over and over again and not get tired of?
4. Do you wear contacts and/or glasses? If yes, which do you prefer?
5. What's your favorite way to relax?
6. What is your biggest pet peeve?
7. Would you rather be hot or cold? Why?
8. Do you have a vice? What is it?
9. What is the best blogging advice you've ever received?
10. If you could hang out with one living celebrity for a day who would it be and what would you do?
11. What attracts you to a person? (Male or female, not necessarily a significant other.)

That One Time I Went on a Cruise

I was 20. We're just gonna get that out of the way so you don't make fun of me in the pictures. I mean, it was only three years ago, but a lot changes from 20 to 23.

Helene had this amazeballs idea for a link up where we all talk about our worldly (or not so worldly) travels. So today I will fill you in on a little cruise I took. It's also the only time I've been out of the country. GASP!

I had never seen a cruise ship up close and personal before, so I'm sure you can imagine my surprise. Immediately I compared it to the Titanic, because that makes sense. I also really wanted my mom to be the Jack to my Rose:

Anyway, there is a really long version of the cruise story, but today we'll keep it nice and short. Here's the run-down. I won a contest my first night on the ship (seriously, do not ever battle me in a pop culture challenge, especially about music), my family and I won another contest the next day, and I won a lot of money in the cruise casino. Hey, hey! You only have to be 18 to gamble in international waters! I'm a master at Black Jack, just sayin'.

This is me winning the sh*t out of that contest. And looking at that guy like, "Really?"

Oh, I should mention -- this was a Christmas cruise. Not important, but it adds to the ambiance.

Unfortunately, I don't really have any funny stories about the trip because I was too busy being a badass and winning everything. Although, I was hanging out with a friend I met on the ship (yes, a boy) and some children were running around unattended. We were standing there alone and this kid comes busting out of some door that I was totally unaware of, and all of a sudden I hear him say, "Oh sorry dude. Didn't mean to cockblock you." I just about lost my shtuff. Hilarious. Kid, you're twelve. Where did you learn that? Who are your parents? Where are your parents?

See? Barely made it out of the USA.
And that about concludes my cruise story. Mostly it was just five days of eating, lounging, dressing up, walking around, and then more walking around. But I highly recommend it.

Peace in the Middle East!
(PS - If you can name that song/singer I will love you forever and maybe send you a present.)

Monday, March 18, 2013


Also known as shenanigans. It's that time again (I truly can't believe it). Linking up with Sami.

(Does anyone else think of that episode of Spongebob with the little fish yelling "Hooplah!" when they hear that? Oh. I'm the only one who still watches that? Well, okay then.)

Let's get to the goods. No, not those goods.

Friday: Nothing. I'm just going to start leaving Fridays off of my list of weekend shenanigans.

Saturday: Took my stepdad to the airport. *Induce panic* I hate driving. So naturally, airports cause me to have a near panic attack when I have to navigate my way out of them BY.MYSELF. I can't even talk about it anymore. I'm alive; that's all that matters.

Saturday night: Partied hardy.

Kidding. But I did go to a St. Patrick's Day party. Meh. I stayed for about an hour and a half, and then Erich and I decided we wanted to see a movie. We saw Burt Wonderstone. We got THE WORST SEATS in the entire movie theater (right side, all the way up front). I tweeted to Jim Carrey and Steve Carell asking if it was worth it. They didn't respond -- I think we have our answer.

Sunday: Laid around for a good portion of the day. I caught a cold on Saturday, which in my world means I can't breathe. Basically I didn't sleep Saturday night and I was a grumposaur on Sunday. We spent the afternoon with Erich's parents. It was a win-win. Change of scenery and free food.

Sorry that this was probably the most boring weekend update ever. Sometimes you just gotta be boring.

PS - There was snow on the ground this morning. Like almost two inches. Spring is in three days. WTF is this?

Funny Seasonal Ecard: Sorry I forgot to wish you a happy spring because it didn't happen again this year.

eShakti Review

Hiiiii guys! So a while back eShakti contacted me about doing a review for them. This may not be news to you if you saw my post about their discount code. Anyway, I finally received my clothing item, so I guess it's time to tell you what I think!

B.T.dubs, I have pictures that will be uploaded later, but I'm at work. Sorry. I know it's hard to get the picture (no pun intended) without the pictures. Just try.

If you aren't familiar with eShakti, let me tell you a little bit about them. They offer clothing items such as dresses (including bridesmaid dresses), shirts, skirts, jackets, and sweaters. They allow you to choose an item and then customize it! If this isn't the coolest thing, I don't know what is. You can change the length or type of sleeves, the length of the skirt or dress, and the neckline of your clothing item. Now, along with customization, they also allow you to embellish your item. Their prices are pretty standard, and now I can officially say the quality is a match.

I chose a poplin dress that originally had long sleeves and was below-the-knee. I chopped off the sleeves entirely so that they are now tank top width. I also shortened the dress so that it is above-the-knee. I chose to have the neckline changed slightly so that is is a wide square. (This was a mistake on my part -- it doesn't lay quite right, but that has nothing to do with the company.) I think I will definitely order from them again, but I will choose a different fabric; I'm not entirely thrilled with the poplin. style poplin dressV.jpg
The dress I chose is orange, but that one is no longer on their site.
The shipping was faster than I expected. It did take about two weeks for them to create the dress, but as soon as I was notified of the shipping, I had it within two days. And it came from India! They mean business.

Warning: The dress is a bit wrinkled from shipping, and I haven't had time to iron it, so when I upload the pictures, please excuse that.

*This dress was given to me c/o eShakti for review purposes. I did not receive any other compensation. The opinions are mine entirely.*

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Elephant in the Room

Let's address the elephant. Google Reader and possibly GFC will be no more after July 1, 2013. Of course this notice gives us all a few months to prepare, but I love a bandwagon as much as the next guy, so here's my obligatory post.

If you don't already, please come follow me via Bloglovin.

You can click on the link in this post, or you can check my left sidebar and click that button instead.

For the longest time I couldn't get Bloglovin to work for me, so with the impending doom I was finally motivated to fix whatever the issue was. I still have no clue what it was, I'm just glad it works now.

Alright, since it's also Friday (Dear Jesus, we finally made it!), it's also time for a link-up with Whitney for #backthatazzup Friday!

Today's pick is inspired by the upcoming Maroon 5 concert (that I did NOT win tickets for). April 3rd will forever be a sad day. Tickets sold out super fast -- because who doesn't want to see Adam Levine shake that thing on stage -- and now all of those crazy websites are trying to sell them for like 91384759817x the original price. So I'll just cry about it instead. And don't even think about telling me that you're going to see them on this tour. I don't want to hear it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ginkgo Biloba

Every time I hear or think of Ginkgo biloba I want to start singing "Baby Beluga." I swear my brain thinks it sounds exactly the same. Just me?

Today, ladies and ladies, I want to talk about a little problem I've been having recently. I would also like to put it out there that I have not ever popped out a kid, nor is my eggo preggo. So please keep that in mind.

I can't seem to hold on to a thought. Seriously. The thought will form, last about 2.5 seconds, and then it's gone, never to come back again (now my brain has moved into singing Jesse McCartney. C'mon guys, keep up.). I will have some great idea and I'll start to act on it, and then be all, "Wait. What was I doing?" For example, I'll think about looking something up online. I'll pull up Google and immediately forget what I was going to look up. AND THEN I NEVER REMEMBER.

This is not mommy-brain. I can only imagine how bad my mommy-brain will be when that time comes. Dear Lord.

Speaking of the Lord, we have a new pope! That's all. That's probably the only speak of religion you will see on this here bloggity blog.

Funny St. Patrick's Day Ecard: The only Catholic announcements I'm interested in this week are St Patrick's Day bar specials.
It's cool, guys -- I'm Catholic.
Maybe I can't hold on to a thought for very long because my brain moves too fast. That doesn't make any sense. Please forgive me these ramblings. I'm flippin' tired. Oh, and hey. I have an audition for a play tonight, so tell me to break a leg. Thanks y'all.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Target Tale

Today I want to tell you a story. It's about a journey that's taken me forever about a month and a half to complete. It is a tale of patience and perserverance. This journey begins at Target.

Picture it:  The electronics section at Target. The wonderful aisle full of iPhone covers and iPad accessories and all-around fun stuff. I knew I would soon be getting the iPhone 5 (yay!), so I started scouting cases early. PS - I'm not one to generally buy into trends, but this one got me. I saw the most perfect case that I knew I couldn't live without. I mean, really couldn't live without. It was $25.00. TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS?! For a piece of plastic I'm gonna cover my phone with? Noooope. So I sadly put it back.

Meanwhile, I complained forever about it. It hurt my heart to leave the store without it! (Shopaholic. Truth. Buyer's remorse? Never heard of it.) A few days later, I had a revelation! That item would go on sale eventually, just like every item at Target does. And I stalk the clearance section like. it's. my. job. So of course I knew that one day I would be rummaging calmly looking through the clearance section and it would be there. Duh. Have some faith.

Maybe a week or a week and a half later I was back at Target (seriously, though, I'm there like once a week). I ran to the clearance section to see if the coveted case was there yet. IT WAS! But wait. $17.48? No thanks. So again I left without it.

Fast forward another week(ish). Still there. No one had taken it! And the price went down again! Um. $12.48? Too expensive. Again I waited.

Saturday. As in the one that just passed. I was at Target ogling all the things. I made my way to the clearance section, this time by chance, oddly enough. I noticed they had added quite a selection of iPhone 5 cases to the display. I flipped through them and found THE ONE. The one I had been waiting for! You would think someone would have bought it by now. I mean, this journey started at the end of January. NOPE! And -- get this -- the price had dropped again.

The chosen iPhone case was on clearance for $7.48. Less than $8.00. THIS is affordable. An originally $25.00 case and I stole (c' feels like a steal) it for under eight bucks!

So. Please learn from this tale. While all things at Target are perfect and it's difficult to not buy them, WAIT. They WILL go on sale. And it will be worth it.

Side note:  I realized that I needed the plastic case with all the clearance stickers on it so I could take pictures...after I already threw it away. So yes, I dug through the trash for it just so I could prove to you that this really happened. Never again.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend Shenanigan

You'll notice that my title of this post is NOT plural. Really, it's because I only had one shenanigan this weekend. But it was a good one! So I'll keep the rest short. Linking up with Sami!
Friday: I sat around. All day. As usual. Erich and I did go to Bonefish Grill, which was totally exciting expect for the fact that our reservation wasn't until 9:00 and I could barely stay awake. (Grandma status.) Oh! And this is only relevant because of my Lent post, but I ordered fish (duh) and it came with a chickpea side dish which was absolutely delicious. The side dish had chopped up sausage in it. So I guess I'm really failing at this no meat thing.

We also hit up the liquor store. Finally. We've been in our apartment for almost a year and have never been fully stocked on the necessities -- or anything, for that matter. Except wine. So now we finally have the goods:  whiskey, vodka, and Skinny Girl (don't hate).

Saturday:  I honestly can't remember Saturday. I think shopping was involved. I was up at 8:30 a.m. and went to bed at 4:00 a.m. Sunday, but really it felt like 3:00 because of the time change. And I didn't even take a nap! If you know me, you know this is news-worthy.

Saturday night, or as I like to call it, the Shenanigan: Erich's sister alerted us to a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with a shadowcast at a theater in DC. I freaking LOVE RHPS, so the three of us went. It was my first shadowcast, but clearly not my first time seeing the movie. It was E's first for both. He was absolutely horrified. And I loved every minute of it. I think I watched his face more than I watched the movie or the cast. We danced the Time Warp in the aisles, we ate "gourmet" movie theater food, and got yelled at by the emcee (but he was just yelling in general). A good time was had by two. Hahah, obvs I can't say all. I truly thought I would fall asleep at this midnight show, you know, because of my lack of nap and all... but there was WAY too much going on to sleep. There was also this completely obnoxious guy who made up lines to yell at the movie and talked through the whole thing. I mean, I'm all for the audience participation, but really?! Alright, I'll move on before you guys start thinking I'm a freak. (Or is it too late?)

Please familiarize yourself with this movie. And the cast. Seriously.

Sunday: A gorgeous day in Alexandria. Erich and I walked around Old Town all day. Nothing really worth mentioning except that we found the best -- I'm not kidding about this -- olive oil at a tasting room. Rosemary Lavender. Let that sink in. He went for a bike ride and I made white chicken chili. Then we watched The Walking Dead. Suuuuper exciting. PS - That might have been the worst episode this season. I'm getting really bored. If nothing happens soon I'm giving up. And really, when will they get rid of Andrea? Ugh.

Alright lovelies, I'm off to pretend that I'm working. But really I'll be reading a book. Can't complain.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Let's Talk About Lent.

Today I want to talk whine a little bit about Lent. I hope you don't mind.

I've never really been one to stick with it, mainly because it just wasn't a big deal growing up. (Which is totally weird because my mom's family is REALLY Catholic.) This year, since I'm living in sin with my boyfriend and not with my parents, I decided to take part. I am crazy and I gave up Starbucks. This girl, who needs her daily fix, even if it's just for the tea. Insane.

Oddly enough, that's not the part I'm having trouble with. Starbucks is no longer on my daily route to work, so it's much easier to avoid than expected. The hard part is not eating meat on Fridays. I was really great about it the first week, and then the two weeks after that I totally screwed up. I went to visit my mom in Florida and she made bacon for breakfast (again, the really Catholic lady who raised me). So I ate it. I mean, I was following the Fourth Commandment. Then last week I went to lunch with some friends, but it was so hard to find anything on the menu that didn't involve meat. I ended up getting a salad with chicken in it.

It's not like these have been accidents. I totally knew what I was doing. I keep telling myself that I don't need to feel totally crappy about it because this is the first year I've actively participated, AND I haven't had any Starbucks. Totally legit, right?

(I already know this post will get me hate mail. Oh well.)

I guess the point of this is to tell you all that this is how I ended up talking Erich into taking me to Bonefish Grill tonight for dinner. Score. Fish = not meat. Also, date night and free dinner/drinks. Win-win-win.

It felt good to get that out. Thanks, guys!

And now, to link up with the wonderful Whitney, I will seamlessly segue into a rap song. Well, not exactly a rap song, but Britney Spears featuring the Ying Yang Tweeeeeaaaaaans. (Full circle. Love that.) So really we're getting the best of both worlds, here. (Hannah Montana, anyone?) Please enjoy this musical selection and the rest of your day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Quick Recipe - Orzo with Parmesan and Garlic

Guys. I'm about to make a bold statement. Last night, I made the BEST SIDE DISH EVER.

Orzo with Parmesan and Garlic.

Let me tell you, I don't even really enjoy cheese, but this was perfect. I mean seriously perfect. *Full disclosure, E and I had a little tiff last night, but all was forgiven after I made this. So not only is it the best side dish ever, it makes people happy and solves the world's problems.

I based the recipe off of one I found here, but just barely changed a few things. I wanted mine a little creamier, so I used more butter and more broth.

This, unfortunately, is not my picture. I was too busy eating to remember to take a picture. But this is what it will look like.

You want the details? Here you go:

- 3 quarter-inch thick slices of butter
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 2 cups (plus a little) chicken broth
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I used the freeze-dried kind from the store)

*You can use more/less Parmesan and basil depending on your taste.

1. Melt the butter in a deep pan over medium-high heat. Add orzo and saute until light brown.
2. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium or medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until orzo absorbs the broth.
4. Turn off heat and stir in Parmesan and basil.
5. Serve. (I served it out of the pan, but you can put in on a plate or in a bowl or whatever you'd like.)

*Note: This is super, super easy to make. Just make sure that once the orzo starts absorbing the broth that you stir from the bottom of the pan so nothing sticks or burns.

This was SO good. I made really simple baked chicken to go with it (yes, I planned the main dish around the side -- I was excited to try it!). It was truly a great meal. And I'm so thrilled to have leftovers for the next two days!

I also want to note that after I put the basil in the pan, I thought it was going to be really overpowering. It wasn't. It was just the right amount to be the perfect complement to the dish.

I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did (and will again at lunch today)! If you make it, let me know what you think.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Shenanigans...Or Lack Thereof

Is it really Monday again already? I mean, my weekend was loooong, but it was busy. I'm ready for the next one so I can sit around and do nothing. Is that bad? Yes, that's bad. I'm so lazy.

So here we are. Linking up with Sami for a recap of my shenanigans (if you can call hanging out with a two-year-old shenanigans). {Pictures to come!}

Friday:  I had a wonderful lunch date with some friends that I haven't seen in MONTHS. We decided to keep this tradition and set up another lunch date for the end of the month. And a movie/girls' night. Because why not? Then I had to run errands (but not the fun kind -- don't you hate tax season?). My afternoon was then spent watching tv and doing a lot of nothing. Busy morning = lazy afternoon.

Friday night:  Erich and I went out to dinner, as is the norm. We went to Outback and I ordered the same thing I always order. Get ready for this saga. First my order was fine. Then the waitress came back and said they were out of the food they needed to make my order, so I had to order something else. Then about five minutes after that the waitress told me that -- oh, no -- they found what they needed. Great. Spectacular. So then my food comes out to me still with parts missing. The veggies weren't there! And those are actually the best part of this meal. Ugh. Alright, I can deal with that. I go to cut into my meat; I ordered it medium-well. I swear to you it was medium-rare. Obviously I'm not going to eat a cow that is still mooing, so I sent it back. When it came back out to me it was BURNED. *insert loudest sigh you've ever heard* Anyway, we ended up getting my whole meal, including the drink, for free. And one of Erich's drinks was taken off the check. Terrific. We still tipped the waitress really well because it totally wasn't her fault that all of that nonsense happened, and she's the one who told the manager to give me my meal for free. Hooray for people who understand good customer service. Moral of the story:  Uh, there isn't one. I'm sure I'll still be eating at Outback within the next two weeks. It's just what I do.

Oh my gosh, that was only Friday.

Saturday:  I did a lot of nothing for most of the day. Simple enough.

Saturday night:  I went to babysit a friend's kid. He's adorable and I've been watching him since he was an infant; he's 27 months now. The night was pretty laid back. He's an easy kid to handle and he was in bed at 8:15, so the rest of my night was spent on my friend's couch watching Joan Rivers and taking naps (yes, multiple). Any time I babysit for them I spend the night because it's kind of a hike from where I live. Which brings me to...

Sunday:  Woke up at 8:00 to happy toddler sounds. Sat on the couch in my pajamas until 5:00 when I decided it was probably time for me to go home. It was a great day of catching up, making cupcakes, playing with the child, and eating and drinking coffee. Pretty much the best. Oh, and I totally watched The Walking Dead because I'm obsessed with it.

That concludes my weekend. Now I'm at work. Buh.

March Challenge?

Hi friends! I'm a few days behind on this, but better late than never, right? This month, I am going to try my very hardest to stick to this challenge calendar. I'm sure people out there have seen this (especially in the age of Pinterest), but I wanted to put it on here so you all can join me if you wish -- and also maybe hold me accountable. I'm terrible at exercise.

We're getting closer to Spring, Summer, bathing suits, dresses, and just wanting to wear less clothes in general. Or maybe that's just me. Whatever. I'm pretty excited to try this calendar this month, so I'll keep you posted!