January 31, 2017

Tuesday Topics: Six Blog Posts

Another Tuesday Topics and this post, I must admit, has been my favorite to put together. I started blogging in 2012. Thus far this blog has mainly been my outlet to look back on memories of my life after marrying my man. I have also tried to make it into a guide for the every girl. The every girl may not be the perfect fashionista, perfect chef, perfect wife, etc...but there are a lot of us every girls out there. I have wanted to be a reliable source for the every girl to go to.

So for this post, I was looking into and kind of updating some of my old posts, during which time I came across some older posts that I had forgotten about! Some are hilarious, some are sentimental, and some are just fun and are posts that I felt needed a comeback.

Others hopefully will stay hidden. Some of these posts were not that long ago and as I look at them, I wonder how weird I am and then just kind of ask myself...what the hell was going on here?!

So I am going to post my six favorite posts that you fellow every girls should read. But there will definitely be a volume two of past blog posts that are just weird embarrassing, lighthearted, entertaining reads.

I love flowers, but I cannot afford to get beautiful flowers all the time. Enter grocery store flowers and tips to make them last. I can't keep indoor or outdoor plants alive, but I can keep grocery store flowers sustained for weeks!

If you bloggers want a somewhat serious read, here is an affirmation that it is okay to have a post without pictures and to not worry about your blog all the time. It is okay to stay present in your life ahead of the need to blog.

Let's face it, being fiscally responsible is always something that is very important when you are #adulting. So here are things you should ten items I splurge on. Another post with ten items I save on and a post that gives you an idea of things to buy used versus new. (okay so I included three posts, but humor me).

I think a lot of us had to find our way in the world and learn some things, but one of the things that I was taught by my mother was to be respectful and a great guest when entering someone else's home. Here is a post of good things to remember when you are invited to dinner.

As a nurse, I work long hours full of emotional and physical demands. I have to keep my energy up. Here is a post on how to stay naturally energized all day.

Finally, being self taught in the kitchen, I truly believe that there are pros to having some dishes that you can make for others. I have never seen anyone look down on the ability to cook or bake! I love showing my love to people through food. You don't have to be able to cook or bake the fanciest meals or have a large repertoire, but I think anyone can learn some basics. Here are some baking basics that can help you if you find yourself in the kitchen.

Link up with Jenn and I!

January 27, 2017

Broccoli Tortellini

I love coming home after a long day to just something warm, yummy, cheesy, and easy. I mean my husband comes home to me, but I need some cheesy in my life too! (haha) This meal is not healthy, but it is a necessary evil that I am willing to make on the regular!

And in about 20 minutes, this can be yours too! Sometimes you just need fast dinners when things are busy. Right now is the reason people live in Arizona and the weather is gorgeous! So with me wanting to be outside all the time, working overtime, having friends and family come visit, the super bowl (and hopefully a ski trip) coming up, and oh did I mention working? It has been busy to say the least. I also bought a car! That was nice since I wrecked mine and really needed to get one...I love it!

Okay so catch up time with some of the longest, most random sentences updating you on my life, here is the recipe:


Ingredients:

12-16 ounces of broccoli florets
12 ounces of cheese tortellini
2 tablespoon of butter
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 cups of heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of dried parsley

Directions:

Steam broccoli until tender and cook the tortellini to package instructions.

Mix together butter, garlic, cream, and cheese in a large pan and put over medium high heat. Simmer it for 1-2 minutes after mixed.

Mix together sauce, broccoli, and tortellini and serve warm!

January 24, 2017

Tuesday Topics: Seven Acts of Kindness

There are so many ways to be a kind person. I believe that leaving a kind and happy life is what keeps my everyday life fulfilled. I think if I just try my best everyday, then that is always good enough no matter what.

So today's topic is acts of kindness. I'm just going to go over how I love to show kindness!

Show your spouse love. I love showing my husband love. He is one of the most important people in my life.

Put your energy into encouraging others. You don't know what is going on in other people's life or what it is like to walk in their shoes. Therefore, a smile, can really go a long way to someone else.

Refuse to run on autopilot. This is your life, pay attention, feel all the feelings, and face your highs and lows head on. Take time to reflect, take time to ask yourself the tough questions from time to time and be okay with the discomfort of your answers. Be intentional.

Take ownership of your gifts, strengths, and creativity so that you can give and receive the most in life.

We have all heard the phrase: comparison is the thief of joy. But we have also heard: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is so easy to see what’s going on around us and compare our own life, our own decisions, and our own highs and lows to others. Be kind and intentional with your decisions in response to the decisions and values of others.

I am a big believer in contributing more than we consume. I have been consciously cutting back on how much I am consuming so I can contribute more through inspired work.

However, the biggest acts of kindness are to yourself, from yourself. It is hard for other people to love you if you cannot love yourself. Some of the ways I am kind to myself and remember all the love in my life is by making happy lists, remembering things I am thankful for, and living life to the fullest everyday.

Be kind and link up below!

January 20, 2017

Tips For Your Perfect Ski Vacation

Vacations can be stressful, especially when you are the one doing all the planning or going with a lot of people. I have had some not so great ski trips, so learn from me and read on for tips to have the ultimate ski trip ahead of time. This way you will have an amazing trip and enjoy your time on the slopes!

Prepare With The Right Equipment:
Here is a list of what you need:
Ski goggles: When picking out your gear, make sure your goggles fit to the brim of your helmet/hat so there isn’t a gap where snow and cold air can seep in. Your forehead will thank you.
Skis/snowboard, boots, poles: Make sure your boots are snug for good performance.
On and off-mountain hats and gloves.
Neckwarmer/gator/balaclava: Nothing will chill you to the bone faster than the cool air in your face as you cruise down the ski hill. Neck warmers are a must-have for any ski trip!
Inner synthetic layers: As my husband always says, cotton kills. Stay dry and warm by making sure you have lots of quick-drying layers (shirt, bra, long underwear) Also non cotton ski socks!
Waterproof outer layers: Jackets, pants, gloves, the usual!
Sunscreen and Water: Your best friends!

Build In Time To Relax
Planning time on the mountain is important, but so is time off the mountain. Plan for hot tubbing, apres ski, walking through the local town and shopping, etc...for a resting and relaxing time. It balances out the busy and active skiing.

Keep in Contact:
Make sure everyone has maps of the mountain and meeting point time and info!

Get Your Legs Ready
So many people get leg cramps because of two things: the wrong equipment and no warm up. You need both! Take your time and take that first run (an easy one) to loosen up. At any level of skiing you can take a first run making a variety of turn shapes, long and big arcs or quick and short. This will get you balanced and more ready to ski your best. A little speed and positive attitude are very handy tools too!

Take Pictures:
Let the beauty of the mountains consume you and remember to snap some pics to remember the trip by!

What are some of your favorite tips for a ski/board trip?
Where is your favorite place to ski/board?

January 17, 2017

Tuesday Topics: Eight Characters

So Jenn did pick this topic. But occasionally I read, watch TV, and movies....haha so here it goes:
Harry Potter is a major character who influenced my childhood. I wrote about that here.

Jack Builder from The Pillars of the Earth was always my favorite in the book and then the mini series came out and I absolutely loved Eddie Redmayne. Now I will tell you I have not seen Fantastic Beasts because I just think of JACK. By the way, if you have not read The Pillars of the Earth, it is an amazing book and you should! It is a historical fiction in 12th century England.

Clark Griswold (Christmas Vacation) is just the funniest character ever. He has to make this list!

Sarah Manning, Cosima Niehaus, Alison Hendrix, Beth Childs, Helena, Rachel Duncan, and more are all played by the same actress in the show Orphan Black. It is so amazing!

Franc from Father of the Bride gave my sister her nickname (bubba-la) I love him!

Merry from Lord of The Rings likes second breakfast, and so do I!

Anna from Downton Abbey was so decent. You felt like you knew her. She was beautiful, smart, and witty. She didn't have a perfect life, but she lived her life and loved it.

Nancy Drew took me on so many adventures and truly taught me how to read. She deserves a nod here.

Who are your faves?
Link up below!


January 16, 2017

Bringing Someone A Meal

Bringing someone a meal is always a good thing when anyone is going through a busy time in their life. Thankfully my meals lately have been for a lot of girls in my life who are having babies. But these meals can also be for people when they are hurt, sick, when a death has happened, relocated, or just cause! Casseroles are the perfect comfort food and because they can feed a hungry crowd, they are the perfect food gift. So no matter who you are gifting a meal to, every gift casserole (and really, any meal you bring to someone) needs three things that make the gift of food even better:
Disposable Pan
Do your best to give a gift casserole in a dish that doesn't need to be returned to you. For most of us that will mean picking up a few aluminum baking pans from the grocery store, but if waste is a concern, look to your local thrift store for baking dishes that you can gift. Just be sure to tell the recipient that the casserole dish doesn't need to be returned.

List of Ingredients
I like to put the list of ingredients in case someone has certain allergies or food restrictions. The list of ingredients does not need to include amounts, but try to make it as complete as possible.


Cooking Instructions
Don't assume that your gift casserole recipient knows how to reheat a lasagna. Tape the cooking or reheating instructions right on the casserole. Bonus points if you also include freezing and thawing instructions in case they have many casseroles.


What else do you think that all gifted meals need?

January 13, 2017

Recipe Failures

My blog was started when I got married. I am the normal every girl learning how to adult and live a great everyday life. I am self taught in many regards, especially in the kitchen. Every person who gets in the kitchen has failures. Nobody ever shows that. I have since experimented more in the kitchen with my blog and trust me I have had some failures.

I am not a chef, just a self taught home chef. Very different. Being an every girl and creating recipes results in a lot of trial and error.

Now there are more failures than what is listed. Some of my failures don't have pictures, they get thrown away before I can even whip out my cell phone. Probably for good reason though. I don't take the best pictures anyway and most of these not only tasted bad, but looked AWFUL!

This post is not meant to be a sob story. It shows me how much experimentation I have done and how many more there is to come!

So that’s the short version. If you want more, read on! Otherwise, happy cooking!

I absolutely loved coming up with an easy grill recipe for my husband to make on nights when I am working. I thought it would taste just as great and be colorful. Well...nope. Pineapple Foil Chicken...didn't work!

There was also this time where I tried a tomato cream sauce with chicken. No matter what I did, I could not get the kind of sauce I wanted. But it sounds good right?

Oh and bread without flour? Pretty hard too. It did not taste like bread. Therefore, it is not bread.

So in a world of perfectness, here is some imperfect to remind you that trial and error is normal.

January 10, 2017

Nine Healthy Recipes

Right now I think a lot of us are feeling the pressure of wanting to start the year off right and healthy or continue our healthy ways. In winter with the holiday season, it can be hard to find meals that fit into both categories of being delicious and comforting.

So link up today with Jenn and I for Tuesday Topics! We can all hopefully find some new healthy recipes to try! You can click the links to these recipes and find all of the instructions!

What says healthy more than starting your day with a burst of smoothie goodness!

This is one of the easiest recipes to make. Perfect for when you need a quick meal or side dish!

This salad is cool, light, and refreshing which is perfect after you have had nothing but heavy foods!

I make this for lunches during the week and hopefully it lasts that long because I always find myself snacking on it!

As long as you don't eat too many in one sitting (as I often do), these are so SO SO good and healthy!

Using zucchini as your base, this is amazingly cheesy and you won't miss the the carb noodle.

Another zucchini recipe, but you can sub zucchini for another veggie too! I like peas in this recipe too!

This is a recipe you need in your winter food arsenal! So good!

First two zucchini recipes and now two cauliflower recipes. This one I got from a great cookbook and it is very yummy!

Any recipe that is easy prep, healthy, and something I can hand my husband to go grill is a winner in my book!



Link up some of your favorite healthy recipes below!


January 7, 2017

2016 Was Great!

I am always a little late in putting this together, but I enjoy it! I took a break from blogging to be present with friends and family this holiday season, and it was great! In 2016 Kevin and I celebrated four years together, got work promotions, and spent great time with family and friends. We traveled doing everything from discovering the breathtaking Cinque Terre in Italy to lounging in Mexico, and exploring Maui.

I am so thankful every day for the adventures I have had and the memories made this year while exploring new places and experiencing new things. It is a big old world out there and as much as I love the comforts of home, there is so much I want to see, explore, and experience and I feel so grateful that it's something I have  been able to prioritize with time and finances this year. 

Here is a little recap of the incredible year. I am so grateful for the life I lead and cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store!

January:
The big one this month was that I surprised Kevin with a graduation party. He graduated with his masters in Electrical Engineering! We also took a visit to Denver and enjoyed visiting Red Rocks. I also did some hiking and exploring. So lucky to be able to take advantage of amazing Arizona weather!
 
February:
I hosted my first annual Valentine's Day pizza party (because really what says love more than couples and pizza?!) and we also decided to take a trip to Italy for October! I also was able to start skiing 9 months after my ACL surgery. Oh and a trip to ski Lake Tahoe where I had never been...it was beautiful!

Another highlight was the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl. Too bad they will not be able to do the same this year!

March:
Took our annual trip to Vail Colorado for some good skiing and celebrated by one year anniversary on my new ACL!

April:
Spring cleaning and random doings happened this month. Made a hometown weekend run. My favorite part of my hometown (besides the people) is White Sands National Monument! We also finally tiled our laundry room!

May:
Celebrated Nurse's Week, celebrated four years married, and got creative with my sisters for my mom's mother's day gift!
June:
Shared some of the amazing qualities my husband and father share and celebrated my 27th birthday.

July:
We enjoyed a relaxing weekend away in Cancun Mexico and made lots of jam with my mom. My sister, cousin, and bff came to visit oh and enjoyed hiking and fourth of July!

August:
I won my March Madness bracket against Kevin and finally got my date night promised to be as my winnings. We had a visit from our cousins. Oh and explored more of Tucson this year starting with the San Xavier Mission.

September:
I roasted some green chile which will hopefully be enough to last me till next season! We also took a trip to Oregon and hiked, wine tasted, and beached!
October:
Our highlight was traveling all over Italy. I shared my thoughts for my first flight to Europe. Our trip was amazing and has us wanting to plan a big trip next year. I have found that when I embrace adventure, big or small, I am truly happy! I will be sure to share some photos and memories in the coming year!

I also jumped into a new position at work. I am grateful to work with some great people and serve the community the way that I do. I always want to give my job 110%.

Then of course wine and friend time is always something I try and make time for!

November:
I hosted my third annual Friendsgiving. It is always a good time! Also celebrated two milestone birthdays for two of my favorite people!

December:
We had a couple of holiday date nights, went to Maui (pictures to come), and spent the holidays with family. A perfect end to the year! Oh and I shared some tips for travelling during the holiday season!

I also wanted to say that I hope you guys had a wonderful year as well and THANK YOU so much for sticking with me this year following my blog, whether it has been since the beginning or two days ago. You guys rock and I wish you all the best for 2017. May all your dreams come true!

January 3, 2017

New Year, New Adventure

I am sure every single one of us says this each year, but I cannot believe how fast this year went by! For those of you who already know me, Lauren here! But for those of you folks joining in Tuesday Topics today! Welcome! I hope you enjoy the link up, enjoy my little space on the internet, and reach out! I always love getting to know more people out in the blogging community!

Anyway, our first topic starts today with Ten Resolutions. In 2016 I was lucky enough to pursue my love of travel and have adventures and ending the year unwinding in a festive holiday season with loved ones. Whether you were able to celebrate the holidays or not this year, I hope you had time this year to relax and recharge and spend some time with your favorite people too!

And now onto next year! Let's have an even better next year! Looking ahead to 2017, I want to share my 10 hopes and possibilities to resolve in the next 12 months ahead. Every year brings new travels, work, challenges, etc. Ultimately in 2017 I hope to stay healthy, fulfilled, and inspired.

Work out consistently and eat better: I plan to do this by working out at least three-four times a week and ensuring that I meal plan my lunches and breakfasts. I already do my dinner and if I can pick up the other two meals (and snacks), I think my body will thank me.

Travel somewhere I have never been: I am a creature of comfort and often travel, but to places I have already been. I am thinking somewhere I have never been like The Grand Canyon, New Zealand, England, or the Caribbean are on my wish list!

Earn more money: Even millionaires are looking for ways to earn more money and I know I could use an additional source of income for some comfort. So I plan to try and finally put money where my time is. This means doing the opposite of what people are probably resolving to do, but I will spend more time on social media and keep learning and connecting.

Dress better: The way you dress says a lot about you. I feel more confident and powerful in the right outfit. It is easy for me to skip the stores since for a living I wear scrubs, but I would like to have a good first impression when not at work as well.

Continue to learn Spanish: I have been learning Spanish and I want to really take the next step to speak more fluently. Spanish will improve my communication skills with patients at work. I would love that.

Volunteer/give more up to charity: I think devoting time and energy to a cause is noble, an opportunity to meet new people. and learn new skills. I have a couple of causes I would like to further my involvement in to meet this goal.

Get and keep my home clean and organized: I have a decent handle on my organizational skills, but there is always room for improvement and I think by using a bullet journal style for when things have been cleaned/organized, I can better keep on top of it!

Redo my backyard: Ask me to design a room, I am on it! Ask me to design a landscape and I just procrastinate. I will ensure it gets done this year!

Take better pictures: I have had a DSLR that I have really never invested the proper time to learn and utilize to its full potential. This will be the year that I do that. Life is too short for blurry memories!

Do the best I can each day: Above all, I will do what I can when I can. I resolve to be the best person I can be.
I wrote the other day the secret to resolutions. Essentially, they need to be measurable and realistic. I think I outlined these pretty well for a successful 2017!

What are your resolutions for the coming year?

Don't forget to link up your 9 favorite healthy recipes next Tuesday!
This will help give everyone ideas for to help the lose weight/be healthy resolution I am sure we all have made!

January 2, 2017

Holiday Weekend Look Back

Can we please go back in time to Christmas weekend? I had too much fun and would like to relive it. But then again, who wouldn’t want to relive a weekend full of festive festivities? So since I can’t go back in time, I will just have to do this whole reliving thing through pictures. Of course I took no pictures with my DSLR. So there is some work to be done..

We started the holiday with the reason for the season and went to church with my family. One of my favorite traditions my family has is mass and then coming home, getting in PJs, and watching a Christmas movie with appetizers. My mom makes all the favorites and we enjoy! Plus, her trees and decorations are spectacular!



Christmas Day was split between mine and Kevin's family. We also enjoyed lots of sports, spoils, laughs, and food. My mother in law also finally was able to teach me how to make a pie crust. I cannot tell you how many times I have failed in my kitchen at pie crusts. Good news is I successfully made TWO! What?!?

Growing up in New Mexico we are used to a lot of the yummy Hispanic traditions. We did skip making tamales this year, but my sister spoiled us with a meal of beans, rice, burritos, chile, and posole. 

I have 10 pounds to remember the weekend by. I will try and get rid of that. But the laughs and memories were nice! My mom, sister, and I decided to spend some of our Christmas cookies calories by going on a short hike.


This weekend was jammed packed with just about everything and it made me one happy girl. It was also filled with hours of driving as going home often is.


How was your holiday season?
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