Recipe Finds

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I have always loved trying new recipes, but lately found myself stuck in a cooking rut just making the same things week in and week out. With an overflowing garden and plenty of fresh ingredients, I turned to my usual resources to find some new recipe inspiration and got to work in the kitchen. The results did not disappoint!
Sorry for the iPhone quality on these pictures, but I just snapped right before I put it on the table. The first thing I decided to try was this cucumber and strawberry salad. Recipe can be found here. I initially found this on Pinterest and it is so fresh and delicious. All you need are cucumbers, strawberries, feta cheese and poppyseed dressing (I bought store brand).
 Next up was our main dish, tomato spinach tortellini. This was so quick to make, I'm talking maybe twenty minutes total and absolutely delicious. Caroline had three baby bowls of it! This is a dish that anyone would love, even picky eaters, but you have the veggies in there for a little added nutritional value. The recipe can be found here.

This Banana Cake...There are no words. I had a few bananas that were really too ripe for anyone to want to eat and I hate throwing food away, so naturally it seemed logical that I needed to bake something. I usually do banana bread but wanted to try something I never had before and came across this banana cake and my life is forever changed. It makes a whole 9x13 cake, so it's best for making when you are entertaining because you will want to eat the entire thing by yourself, it's that good! Recipe here. 

Our Weekend

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's been a wild and crazy week and weekend around here! Juston was out of town in Arizona for a conference all of last week, then got further delayed getting home with the Chicago airport fiasco, so we were staying at my parents house until he got back. Around Wednesday, Caroline started getting a cough so we skipped her usual weekly activities like library and gymnastics and even a group playdate at the park I'd been looking forward to taking her to. But I don't want to be that mom that beings her germy kid around everyone's healthy ones, so we laid low. She didn't have any other symptoms and seems to be on the mend, but she was super clingy for a few days. 

 I always try to take a bunch of pictures to send to Juston when he's away and sleeping baby ones are his favorite and I just love this one! She does NOT sleep well when we're away from home and usually ends up in bed with me, which means I do not sleep well getting throat punched and roundhouse kicked all night long. She may be the most violent little sleeper ever!

We've had the most gorgeous weather the last couple of weeks. 80's, sunny and very low humidity. I'll take this kind of fall anytime! I'm really going to miss seeing her chubby little legs once shorts season is behind us :(

Juston finally made it home Saturday evening around 7 and we headed downtown for the local Pig Out Festival. We took two of my sisters kids with us and it was completely packed! I love seeing events do so well in our downtown because our small business district has really dwindled over the years. 

You might think Caroline snapped this picture of me and my sister since it's so out of focus, but that'd be my husbands handywork. Guess he was really excited to get some pork!

The food definitely did not disappoint! I got a sample platter and it had a little bit of everything; brisket and pulled pork sliders, BBQ chicken, baked beans and ribs. And I went smash mode and ate almost all of it haha! No shame in my game. Juston had the same thing and it was so good! There were probably 20 different tents set up selling and they all looked and smelled incredible.

My little assistant grocery shopper refuses to be constrained to the cart any longer than necessary. This is her favorite place to ride. And I can assure you that she is every bit as ornery as she looks here! We went to church and heard a really great sermon, hit the store and didn't do much of anything the rest of the day. Just the way I like my Sundays.

When I find something I love, I always feel the need to share it, so in that spirit, I got this Talenti gelato today at the store. If you have never tried this stuff, it is divine! I never thought I was really a gelato person, but I am officially converted after trying this one! 

Hope everyone had a great weekemd!

Weekend Words

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Happy Saturday!
Well, the 5K didn't go exactly as planned this morning. Juston has been at a conference out in Arizona all week and was due home last night, so he was supposed to run it with me, but his flights home yesterday were cancelled thanks to the gentleman who tried to set the airport on fire in Chicago. He still hasn't made it back yet, but he's on it way home by way of Atlanta thankfully. I wasn't really keen on him going through Chicago at all after the mess they were trying to deal with yesterday. It's hard to believe how one individuals actions can literally disrupt international travel for days. I felt so bad for the poor employees of the airlines and airports having to deal with that mess hundreds and thousands of miles away. Crazy things happening everyday.
Anyway, back to the race. I'm a very social runner. That is to say, I prefer running with someone or a small group because it makes the time pass more quickly, I tend to do better if I have someone to keep up with and I never stop, because I don't want to be the first one to do it. I debated running at all this morning, honestly, after I found out Juston wasn't coming, but didn't want to quit, so I went ahead. My goal initially was to finish in under 34 minutes, but I started thinking that I really could do it in under 30 keeping up with Juston's long legs. Well, I did awesome the first two miles with a 9:30 pace, which I've never done, but once the course went uphill into mile three I hit a mental wall. That's the point when I love having someone running with me because I won't let myself stop, slowing someone else down. Anyway, I haven't seen the official times yet, and of course, I forgot to stop my watch when I crossed the finish line, but I think I was somewhere around 30:30, which I was really disappointed in myself for. I could have done better but oh well. Now I'm itching for another race so I can beat that time. I think that's what I've fallen in love with about running, is trying to beat my own PR's. I don't really compete with anyone else (I do usually find a person that I try to keep up with that's ahead of me pretty early in a race, but that's more to pace myself), but I love doing better than I was doing a week or a month ago.
It was a beautiful morning in the 60's and the course is really cool, too, so I'm glad I dragged myself out of bed and just did it, even though I'm disappointed I could have done better. So my goal for my next 5K in a few weeks is definitely to get under 30 minutes. I think I'll run with my niece for that one, that chick can run for twelve years old!

Fashion Friday~ Favorite Fall Looks

Friday, September 26, 2014

I'm always a little bit torn when the time for fall fashion rolls around. I love fall fashion conceptually, but just don't feel like I can pull a lot of the looks I like off without looking dumpy or ridiculous. I have an athletic build, so wide shoulders, thick legs and am never really certain about leggings with a look. And honest to goodness, I have only ever found one pair of riding boots that I can zip over my apparently abnormally large calves in all my years of searching and they came from Target. I never thought my calves were all that big until I really, really wanted some pretty riding boots. Ha! Oh well, moving on. I wanted to put together some outfits I want to try and recreate this season so I thought I'd share a few here as well. These looks are all on my Pinterest boards if you want to follow along there :)
I really love how you can just throw on these long loose cardigans over some basics like black skinnies and a tank and out the door you go. These cardigans are usually plentiful in online boutiques this time of year :)
I've decided that I basically HAVE to have one of these floppy hats for fall. They are so versatile and go with everything. Hats, in my opinion, make a simple outfit so fun and pulled together.
I love black and tan together and there's that floppy hat again ;)
Since I can't fit in riding boots, these boots would be a great alternative and offer a really different look for an outfit.
I'm not a huge fan of pattern mixing, but I think it's subtle enough with the leopard belt that it doesn't bother me with this outfit. Sometimes I see some pretty out there pattern mixing that I just don't think I could pull off!
It's hard to beat a good scarf when the cooler weather starts rolling in. I have a whole storage bin full of scarves I've acquired over the years. I feel like if you get bold colors or classic patterns like plaid, scarves can really hold up over time and be fashionable for many, many seasons. I wear scarves that my mom wore back in the early nineties and they still work today.
Another thing I'm thinking I'll end up getting soon are some patterned slip-on shoes, like the ones pictured above, but I really want the leopard. How comfy does this outfit look, but it's still publicly presentable and very pulled together!
And a fall fashion post wouldn't be complete without the J Crew excursion vest. I think these are another piece that you can use for years since they are simple and work so well with so many other pieces. I have a bisque colored solid one and a navy and white striped one. They go on sale frequently both on J Crew and J Crew Factory.
I'm hoping to tackle a yard sale today and Juston and I have our 5K tomorrow morning. I ran a sub 10 minute mile on my Wednesday evening run, so I have high hopes for a decent time in this race!

Workout Wednesday: Core Strength

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Since before I even had a baby, I had lost some of the core strength that just went along with being a lifelong gymnast and cheerleader. When you're flipping and tossing people in the air or holding two of them on your shoulders, you build up a pretty solid core. So, I decided that I wanted to focus on building back my core strength, meaning basically the trunk of your body, stomach and back. A lot of people focus on core as just being your abs, but it really encompasses your entire midsection, front and back. One of the best measures of core strength and best exercises to build a better core is the plank.
My goal is a 5 minute plank hold. I saw a friend of mine that I follow on Instagram talking about doing hers, so I decided it sounded like a fun little challenge for myself as well. Let me just tell you, this old girls strength aint what it once was, but I'm getting back there slowly but surely.
So here's my times from the first three days:

Caroline was climbing all over me the first day I decided to start this, but I don't really think it had much bearing on my time because I didn't do much better the next day haha


These planks are in addition to my regular workouts, both strength and cardio. I did come across a planned 30 day plank challenge if anyone is looking to try this with more of a method to the madness. I'm just sort of winging it to see how long it will take me to get to the 5 minutes, however, look below for a plan I found on the website linked below.
Juston and I are running a 5K here in town this Saturday and planning on hiking Sunday for a bit. The weather is supposed to be beautiful all weekend. The 5K actually takes you across the bridge over the river here in town. I'm pretty excited because this particular 5K was the very first one I ever completely ran this time a year ago. I can't remember exactly, but I think my time was something like just under 38 minutes. I barely beat the walkers across the line! haha My goal this year is to do it in under 34 minutes so we'll see. That's part of the reason I've talked Juston into doing it with me, his long legs make me run faster to keep up. Wish us luck!

Welcome Fall~Porch Decorating Ideas

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, it's been filled with talk of Fall for weeks now. I always eyeroll that business so hard! I am a summer chick. I absolutely love fall, don't get me wrong, but after fall comes winter, which I do not love so much outside of the holiday season. So I try to milk every last bit of summer, but it is now officially fall so I wanted to share some really fun porch decorating ideas I love. I found most of these through Pinterest and they are all so pretty, so I wanted to share them.

image via Southern Lady Facebook

image via Southern Lady Facebook

We don't have much of a front porch on our home, more of a stoop really, ha! But I really like the idea above for our stoop since I just put a nearly identical bench there a few weeks ago. I'm browsing Etsy for some pillows I like and so far, I'm thinking these black toile and these black gingham together would look cute with a burlap initial pillow. 

Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia

Monday, September 22, 2014

So I mentioned last week that we had some plans for the weekend that I was pretty over the moon about...well, on Wednesday evening last week, Juston asked if I'd want to go to the Georgia vs. Troy game, that there were still some good seats available. Ummm OF COURSE I want to go to the Georgia game! 
Juston and I have a sort of Bucket List goal of wanting to go to a football game in every SEC stadium over the next few years, but this was far and away the one I was most looking forward to and the most special to me. I am a HUGE UGA football fan, so I've wanted to make the trip to Athens on gameday for years. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

We left Friday afternoon when Juston got off work and trecked to Commerce, Georgia where we stayed the night Friday. We got up bright and early Saturday morning ready to hit Athens! We got to Athens around 9:00 am and got parked and were off ready to explore. The University of Georgia is in an absolutely gorgeous part of the southeast and I could not have loved it more. 

 How gorgeous is this campus?!

I was so excited when I saw this Uga driving around downtown so we went to find him as soon as we parked. There are Uga's to be found everywhere around Athens and I love it! We walked around the shops and just people watched a bit before heading to the stadium to catch the Dawg Walk. 

 I really could have cried when I got the first glimpse of Sanford Stadium. It is a thing of beauty. 

We had great seats right up front for the Dawg Walk so I got some great shots of the players heading into Sanford. It was such an electric atmosphere with the band playing, the pom dancers doing the fight song and the cheerleaders leading the team in. Another chill bump moment. 

After the Dawg Walk, we headed to the bookstore to grab some things for Caroline and our t-shirts (we get family shirts from every stadium as we visit and I'm hoping to make them into a quilt for Caroline's high school graduation to send off to one of these great SEC schools with her when the time comes). The bookstore was a madhouse, I would definitely recommend going before the Dawg Walk or after the game. To spite how busy it was, we were able to get in and out really quickly. 

I got within a stone's throw of Uga a couple of times, but never enough to get a good picture of him, which was kind of a bummer, but there's always next time! How cute is his house on the field?! Complete with his own air conditioning unit! A dog's life he lives.

There just aren't words to describe the atmosphere at a college football game, especially this one, that I have looked forward to for so long. I really did tear up during the pre-game festivities. When the cheerleaders led the team out onto the field through the band playing, the crowd erupting in cheers and everyone on their feet...there's just nothing like it. I really do love college football, Georgia football especially. 

 One of my favorites parts of pre-game is watching the cheerleaders! Georgia's were amazing. They have all-girl and co-ed, both of which were so talented. And how great were out seats!!! Three rows up on the 50 yard line. Juston really outdid himself. 

Obviously, we had to get our picture by the hedges :) I even got my Tennessee football loving fella to wear red! Go Dawgs!!

I shot this one on my iPhone from our seats. I still can't believe we were in Athens a couple of days ago!

The game was a complete blowout in case you missed it, 66-0. I could have cared less though, just to get to be in Sanford Stadium and in Athens on gameday was the most incredible thing. We didn't take Caroline since it was going to be a lot of car time in a short period and then a lot of sitting at the game, My sister kept her for us. I do think that maybe in a couple of years, she will enjoy the whole experience and they have a good space behind the hedges where kids can get their wiggles out if need be. 

After the game, we stopped a Chik-Fil-A, because I really can't pass it up when we're close. Once we grabbed a bite to eat, we saw a place called the Bottle Shop nearby, so we made a pit stop in there in search of some Muscadine Wine and bourbon. My husband loooooves bourbon. I think it must be in the male genes at birth in the state of Kentucky. We found a little bit of KY in Georgia when we stopped :)

We came on home Saturday after a couple of stops since we didn't have Caroline with us. I think she approved of her little Uga we brought her back and she hasn't taken off her Georgia jersey since I gave it to her. She calls it her "Go Dawgs Shirt". Start 'em young, raise 'em right :)