Thursday, September 29, 2011

Busy Bee!

Hi friends! Happy almost Friday...aka Thursday!!

I apologize if my posts and commenting have been few & far between recently. Work is swamped (the same as last year) and I'm trying to juggle that with my regular life. Plus I have to fit in all of my TV shows, duh :) 

If nothing else, I always want to try to get my Thursday's Thoughts up! It's a chance for me to somewhat organize all of the thoughts swirling through my head at any given moment.
  • I leave in 6 days for my best friend's wedding! Besides being really excited, I haven't even had a chance to think about the details - like what I'm wearing for the bridesmaid luncheon or the rehearsal! Good thing I already have a dress for the actual wedding or else I'd be really worried! 
  • I've been obsessing over this dress (finally marked down!) for a few weeks and thought it would be good for one of the wedding events. Yay? Nay? Keep in mind that I would most definitely be wearing at least 3" wedges/heels so I won't look so short.
  • One thing I'm really looking forward to while I'm home is meeting Bronco Mom! She no longer blogs, but has been such a sweet friend and reader throughout the years so I'm excited to put a face to our friendship!
  • I'm really sad to say this, but Charlie's Angels was pretty terrible. Like really bad. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I will continue to watch (i.e., play bejeweled on my iPhone) until it's canceled, which I'm guessing will be in just a few episodes.
  • On the other hand, I am really enjoying Revenge and Ringer. Both of these shows are full of drama and very soap-y so they are definitely good guilty pleasure shows. The plot of Ringer is so absolutely ridiculous though!
  • Last night Chris & I made these sinful nachos for dinner. They were delicious! I had been craving that buffalo chicken flavor for at least a week now, and these definitely hit the spot.
  • On that note, I actually have ridden my bike to work 3 days this week already so I feel a teensy bit less guilty about chowing down on those nachos last night.
Please read this last bullet:
  • On my last post, I mentioned that I love scarves! Would any of you be interested in participating in a fall scarf swap by any chance? I participated in one a long time ago and it was so much fun! I've only hosted one swap before so I'd like to get an idea of if I would have any participants this time around. Please let me know in the comments! And just to mention, the spending limit would probably be around $15 or less so this could be a budget-friendly way to make a new blog friend and receive a stylish scarf at the same time!

That's it from me today. I hope that all of you are having a nice week - remember, Friday is almost here!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Essentials

Looks like the 90° weather is going to continue this week! I jumped the gun and wore boots last week, but it was not the best idea I've ever had. Luckily I sit inside of a cold office all day so I wasn't too miserable...

I wanted to share a few fall essentials that get me through the season!

The days of misshapen boots bundled up at the bottom of your closet are over. Simply squeeze these boot shapers together to insert them in your favorite pair of tall boots. The sturdy construction will retain the shape of your boots and keep them looking like new. Convenient hanger allows you to hang the boots from a closet rod.

Lip Balm
It gets really windy here with the Santa Ana winds in late fall and early winter. Lip balm is essential in making sure my lips stay moisturized and smooth! My favorite is still the classic Burt's Bees (which I now have a new one thanks to Alyssa!)

It would not be an exaggeration to say that I wear a scarf almost every day. I love them so much! Forever21 has some great scarf options for really good prices. I like to keep my wardrobe pretty neutral and add a pop of color or print with a scarf (all options below under $10 at F21).

Reflective Riding Gear
One of the great things about fall is the cooler temperatures (= more bike rides), but it also means less daylight. When I'm riding I want to make sure that every car driver can see me! There is a company called Relax Reflect that makes all sorts of clothing with reflective designs built right in! It's so cool, and I think I am definitely going to need a pair of star leggings for riding in the dusk/dark. Check them out if you are a runner, biker, etc. and do a lot of training outside.

Slow Cooker
It's like having an in-house chef when you use your slow cooker! Put something in it before you leave for work, and when you come home, there is a delicious meal waiting for you. It's like magic! I find recipes all over the internet, but some of my favorite sources are: The Girl Who Ate Everything, Pinterest, and Crock Pot Girls (no pictures, but lots of recipes).

What are some of your fall essentials?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Favorite Things Swap

I recently participated in a Favorite Things Swap, hosted by my friend Leeann over at Join the Gossip

I was partnered with Alyssa from Ten Feet Off Beale and I am glad to have been introduced to her blog through this swap. Please check it out if you haven't already!

Alyssa is a Jersey girl currently living in Memphis. She sent me an awesome package with some of her favorite things: a Burt's Bees sampler pack, an Elvis Presley cd, and a bottle of Corky's BBQ sauce (yum)! I love how she represented Memphis with Elvis and Corky's. I went to Graceland many years ago, and was fascinated by Elvis' life. He was quite the talented man so I'm excited to have one of his cd's with some of his greatest hits! And BBQ sauce is my absolute favorite, I use it on EVERYTHING! I can't wait to try the world famous Corky's!

Thank you Alyssa for my new goodies and to Leeann for hosting such a wonderful (and well organized) swap!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DWTS: My Studio Experience!

I was expecting it, but it was still sad to see Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) be the first celebrity eliminated from Dancing with the Stars this week!

Did you watch the season premiere on Monday? Isn't the new studio amazing? It's even more amazing in person! That's right, I was there! By some crazy luck & being in the right place at the right time, Chris and I were able to get into the studio for the live taping!

I had to go to Beverly Hills for a doctor's appointment Monday afternoon so we thought we'd swing by the studio afterwards and see if we could get in. There were at least 500 people waiting, but luckily we got in as seat-fillers!

At first, we were seated in the very back facing the stage, but only sat there for one routine (Ron & Peta). Then two "celebrities" with reserved seating showed up and we had to move. For the next two routines (Rob & Cheryl; Kristin & Mark) we were standing with the crew watching on a TV screen. At the next commercial break, a stagehand moved us to the back of the right side of the stage, but I only sat there for about 30 seconds. We were split up, and I moved RIGHT BEHIND THE JUDGES' TABLE! It was insane! And Chris got a much better seat a few rows behind the entire Kardashian clan and Billy Baldwin! Haha!

It was really so much fun! I couldn't see the dances because the judges' table was in the way, but I had a good view of the critiques and the judges kept turning around and talking to us, especially Bruno. Tom Bergeron was also walking by a lot and was so nice.

I saw Courtney Cox and her daughter CoCo (so cute!), Pee Wee Herman, former Bachelorette Melissa and her husband, Ralph Macchio, Niecy Nash, Margaret Cho, and probably a few others I can't remember. Courtney was so nice to her fans! She talked to everyone and shook hands. Her and David Arquette seem so genuine and real. Unlike the Kardashian's. Kim was on her phone the entire time, Kourtney looked bored out of her mind, and Kris and Bruce just sat there like statues. Lamar and Khloe were the only ones that seemed like they were enjoying themselves.

LMFAO also performed so the segment you saw on Tuesday's episode was actually filmed on Monday night. They didn't really show it, but Bruno was going CRAZY on the table, taking his clothes off and all over Carrie Ann. It was so funny!

We couldn't take cameras or phones inside so we had to watch the episode to see if either of us would be shown. As luck would have it (being totally sarcastic here!), I appear almost every time that Bruno gave feedback or gave his score. I like to think that I was like the 4th judge. See for yourself, but blink and you'll miss us!

And that was our Dancing with the Stars experience! I highly recommend going to the show if you can get tickets. It's really well organized and so much fun!

Oh and just for fun, my favorites are JR Martinez and David Arquette! I hope that Rob Kardashian and Elisabetta Canalis go home soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Otter Box

A couple of weeks ago, I finally bought a case for my iPhone! I had a plastic-y case that wasn't doing much in the way of protection so I was always worried about dropping it and cracking the screen (this would definitely be equivalent to my worst nightmare, I love my phone!). My friend had told me about the Otter Box cases, but I didn't think they were very attractive and they seemed really bulky.

I went to Best Buy to check out the selection of cases, and what do you know? I ended up loving a case made by Otter Box! It's definitely pricey (for me at least!) at $45. But I guess when you think about it, that's a small price to pay in order to protect a very expensive phone.

I chose this case in the hot pink/black combination.

By the way, it's listed as $49.99 on the website, but Best Buy was selling it for $39.99 last weekend.

I wasn't asked to write this review, I just thought it might be helpful for my fellow iPhone users in case they may be searching for a good case. I highly recommend this brand!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Like all of you, I am so happy that fall is on its way! The temperatures finally dropped into the low 90's this week so I'm hopeful that fall will arrive in Southern California sooner rather than later. I am ready for sweaters, boots, the return of my favorite television shows, caramel apple spices from Starbucks (although I'll miss my moco coco's a lot), Halloween shenanigans, dark nights, and comfort food!

*Update: Katie at Loves of Life made this bucket list, and a free printable version can be found here.

I think this bucket list that is making its way around Pinterest is too cute! I think I'm inspired to make a fall bucket list of my own...stay tuned!

What are you most looking forward to this fall?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pictures from Carlsbad

Very late weekend recap - this is from last weekend!

One of our favorite places to visit while in Carlsbad is Pannikin Coffee & Tea. They have the cutest little shop and yummy breakfast options. This time we rode our bikes there and it was a perfect morning to do that. Riding along the beach just feeds the soul and makes everything that much more enjoyable. If I had my way, C & I would be saying Sayonara to LA living and moving south to the land of happy people and relaxed living. We shall see.

The outside of Pannikin

Carlsbad and the surrounding area is so bike friendly!
We saw at least 500 bikers in a span of a couple of hours.

The inside where you place your orders at the counter

The breakfast options are all so delicious!
This time we split an everything bagel with a sundried tomato/pesto cream cheese spread.

On the way back, I got a flat tire (again)!
Leucadia Cyclery was nearby and they provided great and fast service.

Quick stop at the beach to look for frolicking dolphins.
No sightings this time.

We also hit up a few breweries (C's favorite thing to do).
I got my Chick-Fil-A so I was happy (mouth full in the picture).

We love Pizza Port!
They actually had a beer this time that I enjoyed - Warm Waters Wheat

Our half and half pizza

We ventured to the Gaslamp district on Sunday and had breakfast.
Cafe 222 is where Bobby Flay gets the peanut butter & banana stuffed french toast.

(C made me wave like a dork!)

That was our trip in a nutshell. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you guys that we went to Pizza Port every night for dinner. I love pizza (and like my bloggy buddy b.e.g., i can put down quite a bit in one sitting. thanks b.e.g. for inspiring me to "keep it real")! 

We also went to Green Flash Brewing Company and checked out their awesome facility. It was so nice.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts

I am NOT excited about Ben Flajnik being chosen as the next Bachelor. He was a strong contender for me early on in Ashley's season, but his charm quickly faded when I realized how boring he was. Not even being a winemaker can save him.

But JP and Ashley are still going strong! That makes me so happy! I really do think they are going to last. Here's a cute story (and pic!) about Ashley's dog being besties with JP.

I am so excited for Dancing with the Stars this season! Will you be watching? I could care less about the "controversy" surrounding Chaz Bono. I don't think his life or choices should be an issue or make people stop watching the show. Maybe some of you disagree, and I'd love to hear your thoughts (in a nice way, please).

Did any of you watch the season premiere of Ringer? I love SMG from back in the day so I'm excited that she is returning to TV. I am not expecting much from this show, but I think it will become a guilty pleasure. I'm hoping that the pace slows down a bit and that the characters really start developing.

This weekend, C & I are using a Groupon that I bought a few months ago for a Korean BBQ restaurant in Los Feliz. I hope it's good!

Have you tried the new Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucino from Starbucks? It is delicious! They even sprinkle sea salt on the top of the whipped cream...that's the best part!

Tom Brady is hot. And fun to watch, especially when throwing touchdowns. Which is pretty much ALL THE TIME. Mark Sanchez* can only wish he was as good as Tom. As if. He also probably wishes he could do cool commercials like Tom. Case in point:

*Sorry folks, but I am not a fan of the Jets!

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's already almost Friday again so that should put a smile on your face!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall TV Dates

My bloggy BFF did a post similar to this recently, we think alike!

I'm a self-proclaimed TV junkie! Looks like I'll be busy next week with the premiere of all of my favorite shows! Here are the shows I'll start out watching, but I may weed some of them out as the season goes on:

Boardwalk Empire (this is for C) - Sunday, Sept 25, 9/8 c
Pan Am (NEW) - Sunday, Sept 25, 10/9 c

Dancing with the Stars - Monday, Sept 19, 8/7 c
Castle - Monday, Sept 19, 10/9 c
Hawaii Five-0 - Monday, Sept 19, 10/9 c

Ringer (NEW) - Tuesday, Sept 13, 9/8 c
NCIS - Tuesday, Sept 20, 8/7 c
NCIS: LA - Tuesday, Sept 20, 9/8 c

Survivor - Wednesday, Sept 14, 8/7 c
Glee (?) - Wednesday, Sept 21, 8/7 c
Revenge (NEW) - Wednesday, Sept 21, 10/9 c

Charlie's Angels (NEW) - Thursday, Sept 22, 8/7 c
The Mentalist (?) - Thursday, Sept 22, 10/9 c
Private Practice - Thursday, Sept 29, 10/9 c
Bones - Thursday, Nov 3, 9/8 c

Nikita - Friday, Sept 23, 8/7 c

I'm excited to give a couple of new shows a try. I'm most excited about the Charlie's Angels reboot and I hope it turns out to be good. I don't have the highest hopes for it, but I also didn't think Hawaii Five-0 would be good and it's my all-time favorite show on tv now! I was intrigued by the Revenge promos so I will give it a shot. I will most likely be cutting Glee and The Mentalist this year. Neither show kept my interest last season.

I'm disappointed that Nikita got moved to Friday nights. I hope this isn't a bad sign for the success of the show because it is one of my favorites! If you haven't watched, I highly recommend getting caught up and adding it to your list this season. It's so good!

Did you hear about the Five-0 & NCIS: LA crossover??! I for one, can't wait for that episode!

What's on your must-watch list this season?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesdays at the Table (7)

I missed last week's link up with Cole for Tuesdays at the Table!


I haven't really done much in the kitchen lately so I was stumped as to what to share today. Then I remembered that a couple of you have asked me to share about the desserts I made for the dessert table at my best friend's bachelorette party.

I did most of the work the day before the party and finished up a couple of things the day of. I'm going to break each dessert down by ingredients, tasks, and timeline. I feel kind of silly doing this because everything was literally so easy, but I do hope this helps at least one person searching for dessert tables on the internet....

List of Desserts:
Chocolate Brownie Parfaits - makes 20 servings, using these mini parfait cups
Banana Pudding Parfaits - makes 20 servings
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Cheesecake Pops

Chocolate Brownie Parfaits
1 JELLO instant chocolate pudding (the large size)
1 Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix
1 lb. Freshly chopped strawberries
1/2 tub Cool Whip

Day Before - Make your instant chocolate pudding and the brownies.  You can keep the pudding in the refrigerator until needed.  Once the brownies have cooled, break into small pieces and keep in a tupperware container.
Day Of - Chop the strawberries into small pieces. Line up your parfait cups and set up an assembly line - brownie bits, pudding, and strawberries. Put a small amount of brownie in the bottom of each cup and top with a couple tablespoons of pudding. Add a handful of the chopped strawberries. Repeat until you have 2 layers of each ingredient.
Right Before - Add cool whip to each parfait and top with a sliced strawberry.
Notes - I actually had a really hard time finding mini parfait recipes so I kind of made these up!

Banana Pudding Parfaits
1 JELLO instant vanilla pudding (the large size)
1 box Mini Nilla Wafers
2 Freshly sliced bananas
1/2 tub Cool Whip

Day Before - Make your instant vanilla pudding. You can keep the pudding in the refrigerator until needed.  
Day Of - Slice the bananas. Line up your parfait cups and set up an assembly line - broken vanilla wafers, pudding, and bananas. Put a couple of broken vanilla wafers in the bottom of each cup and top with a couple tablespoons of pudding. Add 2 banana slices. Repeat until you have 2 layers of each ingredient.
Right Before - Add cool whip to each parfait and top with a vanilla wafer.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
1 bag Snyder's pretzel rods
1 bag milk chocolate candy melts
1 bag white chocolate candy melts
Sprinkles or other topping

Day Before - Set up a cookie tray covered with wax paper. Sort out your pretzels, eliminating the ones that have been broken. Melt your chocolate according to the package directions (usually 1 minute in the microwave, followed by increments of 30 seconds). Quickly dip your pretzel in the melted chocolate, using a rubber spatula to distribute the chocolate on about 3/4 of the pretzel. Be sure to apply sprinkles before the chocolate cools. Set on the wax paper and allow to cool completely, about 24 hours.
Notes - These are so easy to make, and everyone loves them! I've seen etsy sellers that sell these, but why pay for it when you can do it yourself in about 5 minutes? These also look really cute packaged up in plastic treat bags and tied with ribbon. You can change the color of the chocolates/sprinkles to fit just about any theme!

White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix + Ingredients to make

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 t. vanilla extract
1 to 2 T. whipping cream (I used whole milk)

Sprinkles or other decorative topping

Day Before - Make your cupcakes according to package directions. Allow to cool, then store in a tupperware container until ready to frost.  
Day Of - Make the vanilla buttercream frosting. Top each cupcake with a swirl of frosting and add sprinkles.
Notes - I was able to make 18 cupcakes and generously frost all of them using the above recipe.

Cheesecake Pops
1 store bought cheesecake
1 bag milk chocolate candy melts
1 bag white chocolate candy melts
Sprinkles or other topping
Paper straws or other stick, optional

Day Before - Make the cheesecake balls by using a melon baller. Place on a cookie tray lined with wax paper. You can use paper straws or short lollipop sticks (from Michael's) to make the ball into a pop. Place in the refrigerator until ready to dip in chocolate.
Day Of - Melt the candy melts and dip each pop individually. You will want the pops to be completely hard, otherwise they will fall apart. I found that 30 minutes to an hour in the FREEZER will help a lot. Sprinkle each pop before the chocolate cools down. Set on a tray and put back in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Notes - The cheesecake will get hard to work with once it warms up. Try to work as quickly as possible. I was able to make 30 pops from a store bought cheesecake.

Like I said, these are more like how-to's than actual recipes. I do hope that someone finds this useful though! And I promise I'm done talking about the dessert table now :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

to my Mom!

I hope you have a great day celebrating (even if you are one year older)!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekend Getaway

Thank goodness the weekend is finally here!

We haven't been able to fit in a trip to Carlsbad this entire summer! No fair! Luckily, we've got some timeshare points that need to be used up so we'll be heading down today after work for a much-needed weekend getaway!

I'm hoping to lay out a little (the high is only 70° so good thing there is a jacuzzi), ride my bike along the beaches, and eat more than my fair share of Pizza Port. What a great way to say Adios to summer!

Have a great weekend folks!

PS - Thanks for all of your sweet comments on my dessert table! It was a lot of hard work, but definitely worth the effort. I couldn't have done it without my mom & dad, who were both running around helping every way they could (my mom pretty much did every aspect of the table besides the baking)! I have the best parents :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts

One of my favorite things about going home involves getting to eat all of the food I miss while living in California! I drink my weight in sweet tea, eat biscuits & gravy like they're going out of style, and basically just gorge myself on one bad (but oh so good!) meal after another!

This was a short trip so I only had time for a few meals. In fact, on Sunday night I chose to have both Moe's and Zaxby's because I had run out of meal times! But to be fair, my dad did eat most of my nachos so it wasn't a complete disaster....

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel, one of my favorites!

Dinner at Jim 'N Nick's! I love the cheese biscuits and collard greens.

Dinner at Moe's and Zaxby's. I'm only slightly ashamed by this.


Another favorite thing is finally getting to meet my "nephew" Hunter! He is 6 months old now, and absolutely precious. I was so happy that he liked me :)


I'm really loving my new nails. I used a light pink OPI (not sure the name) color as the base, and added glitter to one of my nails on each hand. It's so feminine and pretty!

I hope everyone is having a great day! I love a short work week and am excited for this weekend.