Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Honeymoon Throwback

I thought it might be fun to share some before the blog moments... starting with one of my favorites - our honeymoon! 

As much as I want to share these before the blog moments, this blog is also a way for me to "memorialize" things - this way, everything is documented when I want to go back to remember! :) :)


John and I left for our honeymoon two days after our wedding.  We much preferred it that way (as opposed to leaving the very next day) so that we could spend time with family and friends that were in town the day after the wedding.

We honeymooned in Riviera Maya at Secrets Maroma Beach.  We stayed for 7 days, and it really was not long enough... but then again, I'm not sure any length of time would have been long enough! :)

When we first got to the resort, it was a bit cloudy out, and we made the biggest rookie mistake possible... fell asleep outside.  Although it was cloudy, we got quite a bit of sun.  I was okay, but John on the other hand was fried to a crisp (and we had only been there a few hours!).


The poor guy was so burned that his skin started to blister.  He was quite uncomfortable (as you can imagine), and by the end of the trip he had completely peeled (and then reburned).  We affectionately coined ourselves Mr. and Mrs. Lobster.

 
Honestly, we spent the majority of our vacation enjoying the water, drinking fruity drinks, and over indulging in food.


We planned a snorkeling trip and went deep sea fishing with another couple, and it was quite fun.  The couple we went with became sea sick when fishing, and it dampened the mood a bit, but hey, more fishies for us!


John also (not surprisingly at all) participated in a trivia tournament and won.  If you know John at all, this shouldn't be shocking.


Our room had a serpentine pool off of the patio, and after about noon the pool was shaded from the sun- this ended up being a great way to enjoy the water without having to be in the burning heat (for John and his burn's sake).


My groom and I had such a great time, and I cannot waitttt to go on a "real" vacation sometime soon again (and by "real" I mean ocean, fruity drinks, and way too much food... and for at least a week!).





More before the blog:
You can read about how John and I met here.
How we got engaged here.
And our wedding here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Watermelon Margarita + Mexican Street Corn

I'm guest posting over at Perpetually Daydreaming today about these fabulous watermelon margaritas... so much yumminess - go check them out!


And to keep in theme with the south-of-the-border drink, I am sharing the most tasty (and unapologetically unhealthy) corn recipe ever.  

John and I recently ate at a great restaurant called Taco Haus.  We are both huge fish taco fans, and theirs are amazing!  In addition to their tacos, they have awesome street corn.  After dinner, I went straight to Pinterest to find a copy-cat recipe... and the one I found is equally good!

 
What you need:
- 5 ears of corn
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 2 tbs cotija cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 3 tbs mayonnaise
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 lime, juiced

How to:
1.  Melt the butter in a large skillet, and add the uncooked corn kernels and diced jalapeno; cook for 8-10 minutes.
2.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

A perfect side to complement a piece of healthy grilled chicken!



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I am // I am not

April recently posted an I am and I am not post that I thought was great fun - so I decided to do one of my own! 

Okay girls, here it goes... a blog post with no pictures! Dun, dun, dun! :) :)



I am  |  a bargain shopper.  I love a good deal, and I really don't like paying full price for things (especially clothes) unless I love them.  I was so sad when I could no longer use my student discount at J.Crew.

I am  |  a rule follower - which is why I have John use his old student ID at J.Crew to get discounts for me... I can be found hiding in the corner not making eye contact while he does this.

I am  |  active and I exercise, but do not enjoy the gym... I would much rather be outside.

I am  |  a water drinker.  I don't like to drink anything (Gatorade, juice, wine, etc.) until I have had at least 2 liters of water.  I carry a Nalgene with me everywhere, and it's a little bit obnoxious, but hey, it's what I do (I keep it in my tornado of a purse!).

I am  |  a planner.  I easily get "future sickness," and I have to check myself to make sure I am enjoying the moment (instead of planning the next five years).


***


I am not  |  much of a movie watcher.  John loves movies, so I have started watching them more recently, but life before John consisted of very few movies.  Lately, we have been using Redbox - it's great because it is so inexpensive, but then we don't return the movie for a month... and then it isn't quite so inexpensive anymore.

I am not  |  really interested in getting an advanced degree.  Some days the idea of going back to school really interests me... and then I am like yeahhh, no thank you.

I am not  |  an overly healthy eater.  I am very blessed to be tall and slender, and let me tell you, I did nothing to deserve this.  Girlfriend loves bread sticks and sweets.

I am not  |  a speeder.  I have never had a speeding ticket - which is a good thing, because John has too many to count... and every time he gets one, he acts super surprised and like he was totally wronged!  (This is not a joke... as I was writing this post, John was out running errands and got out of a speeding ticket - he asked for a high-five when he got home for saving us money, really?!)

I am not  |  much of an app person.  I hardly have any apps on my iPhone, and I like it that way... I hate clutter and the thought of a bunch of games on my phone stresses me out! I am a clean phone and clean counters kind of girl.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy, Happy Monday!

John and I had a great weekend, and we hope you did too!

Source

On Saturday we visited Scout at her puppy bird camp, and it is very clear to us that she does not miss us one bit.  We had her rattlesnake trained which was a bit traumatic to watch, but other than that, she only had one thing on her mind... running around and finding birds! 

Scout showing us her bird coop!

On Sunday we went to our church's "First 5" class which is a Sunday school class for young couples in their first five years of marriage.  The class was wonderful, and we were so surprised with how many people were there - it was packed! We look forward to getting connected and meeting people.

After church we went to Barnes and Noble and then had a sushi lunch - it really doesn't get much better!

By the way, as many know, the pumpkin spice latte comes out today, and I for one plan to indulge!  To be honest, I don't think they taste that great but I can't help but enjoy the festive-ness of them!

Source

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bacon Tomato Muffins

This weekend John and I dropped Scout off at bird dog camp in Prescott, Arizona (about 1.5 hours from Phoenix).  She will be there for two weeks, come home for two weeks, and then go back for another two weeks.  We were so sad to drop her off, and we don't really know what to do with ourselves without a tornado puppy making us crazy all day at home!

Since I had some time on my hands, I decided to make bacon tomato breakfast muffins for John to eat this week - and these bad boys are tasty!!

 
What you need:
For the dough:
- 5 cups of flour
- 3 tsp. of dried yeast
- 9-10 fl. oz. of milk
- 3 1/2 fl. oz. of olive oil
- 1 tbs. of salt
- 1 tbs. of sugar
For the filling:
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Creme fraiche
- Tomatoes
- Basil
- Shredded cheese
- Bacon

How to:
1.  Combine all of the ingredients for the dough and knead until pliable; cover the dough and let rest for 45 minutes.
2.  Roll out the dough into a long rectangle; spread the desired amounts of the filling over the dough leaving one inch from the edge clean.
3.  Roll the dough and filling length-wise and wet the edge of the dough to seal close.
4.  Slice the dough into one-inch pieces and place in a muffin tin; top with a small amount of shredded cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.


These muffins are amazing fresh, but can be frozen for up to 3 months.  This recipe makes 3 dozen, so I froze two dozen for John to microwave in the morning for 30 seconds for a perfectly yummy breakfast!

 
I'm not a huge breakfast person, but if John doesn't eat as soon as he wakes up, the man gets hangry... and no one wants that!  Zapping these in the microwave for 30 seconds is a great and easy alternative to bagels, etc.  
   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

26 Things About Me

Whether you are new to my blog or have been following along for a while, it's always fun to learn a little bit more about the person behind the screen.

So here are 26 things that you may not know about me!


***


1. My hubby and I have been married for just over 3 years.  He is the most thoughtful person I have ever met, and I love doing life with my best friend!

 
2. My faith and relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing to me... It's where I find my hope, strength, and joy in this world.

3. I am originally from Michigan.  I moved to New Mexico almost a year ago, and about a month ago moved to Arizona.

 
4. I am a closet 19 Kids and Counting watcher.  I can't help it, I love the show... John's worried that I'm going to want 19 kids someday - I assure him that 5 will do. ;)

5. I love beef jerky. Very lady like, I know.

6. I am not ticklish.  For real, John thinks it's very strange, but the idea of someone grabbing my sides or touching my feet definitely does not make me laugh - it's just weird! I think being ticklish is a mental thing, and I decided at a very young age that I wasn't ticklish.

7. I have the cutesstttttt kitty in the entire world named Winnie. She is almost 13 years old, and is such a lady... It's crazy to me to think she's almost a teenager! I also have the cutest dog in the entire world - she's a total tornado, and I absolutely love that about her!

 
8.  I am terrible about keeping my nails painted.  I really have no problem sporting (very) chipped nail polish around town.  A perfect manicure? Ain't nobody got time for that.

9. My car is a manual, and every once in a while when I am driving John's car (which is an automatic), I will accidentally slam on the brake with my left foot thinking it's the clutch. It gives John quite the scare! But I can't help but laugh every time it happens... It catches me off guard! 

10.  I like things very organized, and am super, super OCD about my email organization.

11. I love fresh flowers and really want to take a flower arranging class.  How awesome would it be to have gorgeous flower centerpieces for a dinner party that you designed yourself?! Until then, I'll have Whole Foods do the arranging...

12. In college I was an exchange student for six months in Durban, South Africa... I had some of the best and most life changing moments during that time!

 
13.  Growing up I just haddddd to have a giant trampoline, so I vacuumed and dusted our house a million times to earn and save up enough money to buy one - my parents were thrilled!  It broke/collapsed several times from neighbor kids being too rough with it, but my dad would weld it back together for me - good as new!!

14.  I am a middle child with an older and a younger brother (both of whom contributed to the collapsing of my trampoline, see #13).

15. I've always been a math and science person, and not big on reading and writing... I wish I was more of a reader, but I have a hard time getting into books that I don't find informative.

16.  I am 5'9" and am the shortest person in my family. My husband is 6'2" and he is the shortest man in his family (John looks tiny next to his "little" brother!).  Tall genes, I tell ya'!

 
17.  My favorite movie is Father of the Bride, and my favorite TV show is Downton Abbey (it makes me so sad that I have to wait another 6 months for the next season to start!).

18.  I love buying people gifts, especially my momma!

19.  I am a terrible speller, but I am great at Scrabble - I really take advantage of words like "Xi" and I make sure I always save the X for a triple letter space!

20.  I am horrible at drawing and painting, but I love to craft! There is most definitely a difference between the two.

21.  Growing up I really didn't like camping or the outdoors, but I've recently found out how much I enjoy being outside, hiking, and biking.

 
22.  I went through this terrible phase of piercing my friends' ears for them (they asked me to, obviously - but I'm unsure why... probably because I offered and it was free), and letting them pierce mine.  Surely it wasn't sanitary, but we all turned out okay which is the important thing.

23.  I enjoy working and have from a young age.  My first job was at a farmer's market when I was 14 - my mom would drop me off and pick me up everyday!

24.  I love to dress up, but when I'm around the house, I can be found wearing a pair of crazy-patterned Nike tempo shorts. Since I am currently working from home, I pretty much live in these babies... And if you buy them online, there are always great clearance options, holler!

25.  In our family, we have nicknames like "Lisagirl" and "Johnnyboy" and "Scoutdog" ...it's just what we do! :)

26.  A couple days ago, my husband asked me how old we were... We are 26 years old, Johnnyboy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Arugula White Pizza

I've mentioned in the past couple recipe posts that I am finally cooking my way through some of the cookbooks that John and I received as wedding gifts.  One of my favorites so far has been Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.

Firstly, I wish Ina was my best friend, and secondly, her arugula pizza is amazing.



What you need:
for the crust
- 1 1/4 cup of warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
- 2 packages of dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 3 table spoons of olive oil
- 3 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt
for the sauce
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
for the toppings
- Crumbled goat cheese
- Mozzarella
- Chicken (per John's request)
for the salad
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
- 8 ounces of baby arugula

How to:
1.  To make the crust, combine the first four ingredients and mix until the yeast is dissolved.  Add the flour and salt and mix until a soft dough is formed.  Add up to an extra cup of flour if the dough is sticky.  Cover the bowl and let rise for 30 minutes.
2.  For the sauce, combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
3.  Once the dough has finished rising, form your crusts on a baking sheet.  I made 6 small personal-sized pizzas, or you could make 2 large pizzas.  Top the pizza with the garlic sauce and cheese.  Bake at 500 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
4. When the pizza is baking, mix together the arugula, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice.  Once the pizza is out of the oven, place the salad on top of the pizza.


To make this recipe even easier, just buy a premade pizza crust.  It looks like there are a lot of steps, but it is actually pretty easy... John and I have made this recipe twice already, actually!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekending + the Grand Canyon

Happy Monday, and happy Shark Week! 

Shark Week reminds me of my senior year of college when John and I were dating... in East Lansing eating pizza, playing Scrabble, and watching Shark Week!  

John later admitted he isn't a fan of Shark Week, but it still holds a special place in my heart, ha!

This weekend John (and Scout) invited me to join them to hike Humphrey's Peak which is the tallest mountain in Arizona at over 12,600 feet.  I wasn't planning on joining until John convinced me that he needed me there to take his and Scout's photo for their blogs. ;) 

It was a beautiful day in Flagstaff with 0% chance of rain (famous last words...).



The hike was absolutely beautiful and there were wildflowers everywhere.  About half way up the mountain we started hearing thunder and started to get concerned about lightning and getting stuck in the rain.

We decided to stop and eat some lunch and see if the storm would pass.  The thunder was pretty consistent so we decided (very begrudgingly) that it would be best to turn around.


It was a very good thing that we turned around when we did because it started pouring rain.  I didn't bring my rain jacket, so John gave me his... this helped for a while, but eventually it started to hail!

It was a little bit of a nightmare and the path turned pretty much into a downward flowing stream.  Poor Scout was soaked!


When we finally got back to the trail head, we decided we should swing by the Grand Canyon (...said no one ever).  The Grand Canyon is a little over an hour from Flagstaff, so we figured we would be spontaneous and go check it out!

Since we only had a few hours, we drove part of the South Rim to several lookout points.  It was my first time, and it was absolutely beautiful.  We bought a year pass and plan to go camping at the North Rim in a few weeks.


I can't put into words how big and breathtaking it was... and pictures certainly do not do it any justice!  

The Grand Canyon is the second national park that I've been to (Carlsbad Caverns was the first), and it is such a humbling reminder of our God's artistry.


On our drive home, we came across several elk... one of which was eating right near the road, and he didn't seem to be spooked by people or cars!  Seeing so many elk was a little bit concerning, because my last trip to a national park ended by hitting two coyotes - and we certainly didn't feel like having to pay for damage from an elk!

The sunset was beautiful, and the moon was beyond bright... it was a wonderful Saturday.  And we pretty much lounged all Sunday since we were so zonked!


Linking up with Biana and Meghan!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Choconana Cupcakes

When John and I got married over three years ago, I was gifted several cookbooks for my bridal shower, and I am just now starting to go through them.  One of my favorite cookbooks was gifted by one of my best friends, Hannah - and it is only fitting that it is titled Cupcake Heaven.  

And it's true, it really is cupcake heaven.  I currently have nine recipes flagged.  
That's bad news bears for my waistline because these things are good.

The first cupcake recipe that I made has bananas and chocolate chips... and I threw in some coconut - basically it's amazing!



What you need:
- 1 cup of sweet butter
- 1 cup of superfine sugar
- 2 cups of flour
- 3 tsp of baking powder
- 5 large eggs
- 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
- 1 cup of mashed bananas
- 1/3 cup of chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup of coconut

How to:
1.  Combine the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder, and nutmeg in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
2.  Stir in mashed bananas, chocolate chips, and coconut.
3.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
4.  Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, top with a cream cheese frosting and decorate with a slice of banana, chocolate chips, and coconut.

Makes 18 cupcakes... plan on eating at least half by yourself. 



Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekending!


ONE  |  The weekend started off on a great note with a trip to Sweet Republic.  Sweet Republic is an ice cream shop that sells absolutely amazing homemade ice cream.  

Their watermelon sorbet is incredible... not too sweet and a perfect compliment to the steamy weather!


TWO  |  Saturday morning I took the hair plunge!  I have some major hairdresser mistrust baggage and after I moved from Michigan, I was too nervous to let anyone touch my hair... I absolutely loved my colorist in Michigan and I figured that no color was better than bad color.  

Well, Saturday morning I met my new colorist soul mate... and I feel alive again!!! It sounds dramatic, but I feel lighter and brighter!


THREE  |  I received so many cookbooks when John and I got married over three years ago, and I am just now finally getting to going through them all - and our dinners have been great!! 

I'm convinced that Pinterest is great for desserts and appetizers, but all of the main meals just never turn out that great - cookbooks are the way to go!


FOUR  |  After dinner I started a mousetrap DIY - hopefully I will finish it in time to post this week!


FIVE  |  This weekend John took Scout to a hunting dog training facility in Prescott, AZ.  We have been considering sending her to "training camp" for awhile, but finally decided to bite the bullet and sign her up.  

She went for her initial evaluation on Saturday, and in two weeks we will be dropping our sweet pup off for two weeks of training.  She will go back for another two weeks in September, and then she should be a lean mean quail pointing machine come the season opener in October.  We will miss our sweet girl, but we are so excited for lots of quail hunting trips this fall.


SIX  |  John and I have a fireplace in our condo (I know, a fireplace in AZ seems strange...) and we decided to build a mantle for it.  We still need to sand and paint it, but so far it looks great!

My sweet hubby is so kind to me and my many projects. :) :)


SEVEN  |  Since John and I have been swimming so much, we decided to make a pool game similar to bean bags (...or corn hole - whatever you call it).  We connected the ends of pool noodles and bought splash balls.  The rules are basically the same as bean bags.  

It's quite fun despite looking obnoxious to everyone else at the pool (they're just jealous they don't own this really awesome pool game!).


EIGHT  |  Since Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, John and I had to think of a plan B for our post-church lunch.  So we decided to try In-n-Out burger.  I haven't eaten fast food (other than my beloved CFA) since I can remember, so I can't honestly say how it compares, but let's just say that I ate the whole thing!


NINE  |  We have been getting rain lately, and since there really isn't anywhere for the water to go, it all pretty much sits and turns into big mud puddles... every puppy's dream!  Scout lovesss to splash and pounce in the water and it is so fun to watch her so we just let her live in her puppy paradise.

But every play session ends with a bath since she will have mud caked all over her.  She actually doesn't seem to mind the bath either (although the puddles are much more fun).


***


Linking up with Biana and Meghan!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Oh hey, Friday!

I'm sure everyone will be saying this today, but I cannot believe it is August 1st!

And we all know what that means... fall is right around the corner! I've come to accept (in my over 100 degree Arizona weather), that for me, fall will have to be a state of mind - since it surely won't be chilly enough to wear a scarf until December.

So in the spirit of fall, I thought I would share 5 things that I'm looking forward to!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


1. Mums!! You can't have too many... you just can't.
2. Floating apples and candles - enough said.
3. Fall DIYs - I just can't help but love a little festive decor (and in every inch of my home!).
4. Everyone's favorite fall accessories: chunky sweaters and boots.
5. Apple cider and apple cider cocktails.  Need. Now.


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Linking up for Oh hey, Friday!
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