Monday, October 27, 2014

Four Month Move Update

(Warning: Long Post! Don't say I didn't warn you!) :)

John and I have been Arizona residents for just about four months now… and it feels so much longer and shorter all at the same time.  There are a lot of things we like, and some things that we are still getting adjusted to. 


The weather, for example… It seems like just about everyone else in the country is experiencing lower temperatures, yet we’re still rocking the 80s and 90s.  Thankfully it’s cooling down, because the heat makes it difficult to get out and do the hiking and biking that we enjoy.  My poor hubby and puppy have been going stir crazy since we moved here due to the fact that we haven’t been able to get out of the house much.  Most of our weekend adventures have been out of town in Flagstaff or Sedona, so there will be a ton to explore around here this winter!  Although the summer weather was tough, I know I will be thankful when everyone else’s winter comes (especially if there is a polar vortex repeat…).


John is enjoying his job and the work that he is doing a lot.  He has good work-and-life balance, which is pretty incredible considering he works in corporate/mergers and acquisitions at a large firm… and most importantly, he is gaining very valuable experience!  I’ve been at my job for a little over a month now, and I really like the company, my coworkers, and the work that I do.  The company that I work for gives its employees Fitbits, and we have the opportunity to earn $10.50/week in giftcards for logging normal daily things like eating meals, drinking water, etc. in the Fitbit app.  On Tuesdays the company orders food and someone comes in to talk about the nutrition, and on Thursdays we have exercise classes in the afternoons.  How fun is that?!


When we lived in New Mexico, there weren’t a ton of career opportunities (since it is such a smaller place), so the fact that we are both able to do things we enjoy is really exciting!  And Scout seems to like her puppy daycare, which is super important to her, so that’s good. ;)


Despite everything going “right,” moving is still a transition.  And I feel like the four month mark is when you really start to feel it… everything is settled, put away, and life here has “started”… yet, we are still getting used to our surroundings and working on meeting out-of-work friends! Ahh, someone please be our friend!! I know it takes time, and we both have friends at work, etc., but we don’t have any “hey, let’s go out to dinner friends” – someone please go out to dinner with us. Please.

On thatttt note… Look at how cool and normal we are! ;)


Just kidding, but in all seriousness, John and I have been incredibly blessed over the last four months, and we are settling in quite nicely.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five on Friday!

It's Friday! Finally!

This past weekend and this early week was pretty busy with my parents being in town, so this weekend I'm looking forward to catching up on some housekeeping items... my to-do list is over flowing.  And speaking of to-do, don't forget to enter this Kate Spade giveaway!

Linking up with Darci, Natasha, April, and Christina!



ONE

Having spent the majority of my young life in Michigan, I grew up watching Tim Allen (and everyone’s then-beloved Jonathan Taylor Thomas) in Home Improvement.  From the show I became aware of Bob Villa (my parents have since informed me that he is better known for his show This Old House)... anyway, I was quite excited to find out that one of my DIYs was featured on his website! 

You can check it out here.




TWO

Amanda has posted a few times about her Spiralizer, and I've been dying to try something similar.  I was wandering Crate and Barrel when I came across this handheld version... Spirelli Spiral Slicer.  Basically, it makes "noodles" out of veggies (carrots, zucchini, etc.)!

I plan to try it out this weekend, and I'm hoping it works - it could be a great alternative to pasta.




THREE

On Tuesday Cait, Katie, Annie, and I hosted a holiday linkup, and it was so much fun to click around and see all of the fun things shared.  Below are a few of my favorites.


Aimee shared her beautiful fall mantel and front door.
Kelly shared her amazingly carved pumpkin.
Myla shared her perfectly styled front porch (come decorate mine, please!)
And Jess shared perhaps the world's cutest DIY mummy.

You can view what others shared here!



FOUR

I am sure you all heard the glorious news, but for the first time in five years, Starbucks is coming out with a new holiday drink... the chestnut praline latte (CPL).  

Although I will likely stick with my beloved non-fat no-whip pepper mocha, all the talk of holiday drinks has me quite excited!




FIVE

Speaking of coffee... this mug. Amazing. I don't drink coffee, but I would consider it if it was out of this baby.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Confessions!

 I’ve had fun doing these types of posts, so I thought I would keep the trend going and post another one!

 ***

Somehow I always end up in the slowest lane on the freeway.  I don't dare to try and switch lanes, because I know that as soon as I do, the lane that I left will start moving.


Speaking of driving, I'm a terrible backseat driver... Gasping and grabbing door handles is not uncommon.  I do my best to contain myself, but it just happens.


Every once in a while, I still watch the train wreck of Teen Mom on MTV.  And even more shamefully, Teen Mom 2.  Someone please tell me I'm not alone on this.


And speaking of MTV, I follow LC and Lo on Instagram... I wish we were all bffs.  For real though, gotta love Laguna Beach!


I heard someone at work say they dropped a $10 bill on the floor. My first thought (honestly) was, oh, I totally forgot about $10 bills. I mean, obviously there are $1s and $20s, but I forgot there were $10s and $5s… that is a sure fire sign that I need to lay off my debit card, and start working with “real” money again.


I carry a Nalgene with me everywhere I go. One time, someone asked me if I ever washed it - I was all like “Yeah, duh! That’d be so gross"... then I went straight home and washed it.


As a child, I would wear my winter coat around the house... and sometimes sleep in it.  Weird, I know, but I was never really into pajamas.


I love Olive Garden... there! I said it! It's true! And I can't take it back now! Mostly their salad and bread sticks... but I just can't get enough!


Bread service is usually my favorite part about eating out.  No bread... no go.


I lay my clothes out the night before I go to work... I did this growing up and still find it highly necessary to avoid a morning of "I have nothing to wear" frustration - my brain does not start fully functioning until I have been awake for at least 2 hours, ha!

***

Don't forget to enter these two great giveaways!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Link-up!

I'm not going to lie, I'm not huge on Halloween.
Witches and ghosts kind of freak me out, but when Halloween is styled Lisa-friendly, I quite enjoy it!  As with most holidays, Pinterest is my go-to for festive inspiration... here are some tasteful - and not too spooky - Halloween ideas!

Easy-peasy desserts



Festive home decor


Now it’s your turn!
Link-up any holiday related post below and click around to get festive ideas from others!


Holiday Linkup

<div align="center"><a href="http://lisalovesjohn.blogspot.com" title="Holiday Linkup"><img src="http://i1359.photobucket.com/albums/q792/lisampray/holidaylink-upbutton_zps47581a5e.jpg" width="250" height="250" alt="Holiday Linkup" style="border:none;" /></a></div>






Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekending... with the parents!

Happy Monday!! :) :)

My parents are still in town and don’t leave until tomorrow, so I’m soaking up our last little bit of time together before they leave.  

Here’s a quick picture recap of our weekend exploring Scottsdale, Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon!











Friday, October 17, 2014

Five on Friday

It’s Friday!! Linking up with Christina, Darci, Natasha, and April.


ONE
John has been out of town for work since Tuesday night, and he finally comes home late this evening.  I look forward to catching up and having a mini date night.


Total cheese, I know... but what can I say, I love my hubby! :)


TWO
Anddd, my parents come to visit tomorrow! Whoop whoop!! My dad has a work meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona, and he decided to come a few days early with my mom for a visit.  I cannot wait to see them – they will be our first visitors since moving!

 Lookin' a little wind-blown during our last visit together.



THREE
17 Things From Target No Human Can Resist Buying
Have you seen this article?

 
Among the items... a fake leather crossbody purse, holiday anything, $5 DVDs, and a swimsuit - #guilty


FOUR
After seeing this plaid peplum on Jessi's blog, I seriously spent 4 hours looking for it online.  I found some super sketchy Chinese website that is selling the lighter color, but I need to wait for John to get home before I start handing out my credit card numbers to some random website.


Apparently everyone owns this but me!! If you can find a great look-alike, please let me know!!



FIVE
Don’t forget about the holiday link-up that starts this Tuesday.  The link-up will be on the third Tuesday of each month… October for Halloween, November for Thanksgiving, and December for Christmas.

Share any holiday related post – yummy eats, DIYs, décor, festive get-ups, traditions, etc… Anything goes!

Holiday Linkup
<div align="center"><a href="http://lisalovesjohn.blogspot.com" title="Holiday Linkup"><img src="http://i1359.photobucket.com/albums/q792/lisampray/holidaylink-upbutton_zps47581a5e.jpg" width="250" height="250" alt="Holiday Linkup" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Bars + Link-up Info

It’s super hard to believe that October is just about half-over… anyone with me?!  The temperatures are still in the upper 80s here in Arizona, and it blows my mind to think Christmas is almost two months away!

With the holidays quickly approaching, Cait, Katie, Annie, and I are hosting a holiday link-up which kicks off one week from today!  The link-up will be on the third Tuesday of each month… October for Halloween, November for Thanksgiving, and December for Christmas.  Share any holiday related post – yummy eats, DIYs, décor, festive get-ups, traditions, etc… Anything goes really!

Follow the hosts, and share the button below or link back to one of our blogs – it should be fun!

Holiday Linkup
<div align="center"><a href="http://lisalovesjohn.blogspot.com" title="Holiday Linkup"><img src="http://i1359.photobucket.com/albums/q792/lisampray/holidaylink-upbutton_zps47581a5e.jpg" width="250" height="250" alt="Holiday Linkup" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


And now for the tastiest pumpkin bars ever!


These bars were originally intended for breakfast, but they really could be eaten just about any time of day - and in reality, they actually are more like dessert (…which is my favorite kind of breakfast!).


 Also, this recipe makes a ton, so plan on sharing.  We brought half of them for friends at church, and I brought the other half to my small group.

What you need:
- 1 15oz can of pumpkin
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of nutmeg
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup of oil
- 1 2/3 cup of sugar

How to:
1.  In a large bowl combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until light and fluffy.
2.  Mix together the remainder of the ingredients, and slowly combine into the pumpkin mixture.
3.  Spread batter in a greased 12x17 pan, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
4.  Once the cooled, top with icing.



Friday, October 10, 2014

Five on Friday!

This week went by surprisingly fast… which was quite a lovely surprise (I’m all about more weekend time)! John and I don’t have anything on the agenda this weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m looking forward to sleeping in and relaxing. Whoop, whoop!

Linking up for Five on Friday and the giveaway with Darci, Natasha, Christina, and April!


ONE

Have you guys tried the most delicious treat in the world? 

I’m a firm believer in dessert, and these little guys are a perfect after dinner sweet.  They are only 100 calories per pack (and if you can limit yourself to only one pack, then you’re a stronger woman than I am).



TWO

It has been full-on fall in our house lately, and I’m loving it.  There have been a ton of recipes and DIYs around blogland that I can’t wait to try. 

Here’s what I’ve been up to on the fall front.

one  |  two



THREE

Homeland has started!  Is anyone watching?  

John and I will buy (and then cancel) Showtime specifically for this show.  I’m hoping this will hold me over until my beloved Downton Abbey starts back up in January.



FOUR

You know what I love? Snail mail, packages, surprises… and easy meals! 

This past week I was surprised by John’s step-mom with possibly my next go-to cookbook.  I love me some crockpot and dutch oven meals, but I have taken a break from them since I OD’ed on them this time last year (yes, you can OD on your crockpot)… and I’m feeling ready to break it out again. 

I’ll be sharing some of my favorites!



FIVE

Like when her hair was crafted by actual angels...




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

DIY Gourd Soy Candles

Think of this DIY as the adult version of pumpkin carving! I had some left over wax from my lotion bars that I was looking to use up, and I had planned to make some sort of fall candle. While I was looking for inspiration, I came across the brilliant idea to use gourds for the shells of the candles. 


 I didn’t have enough wax leftover to make as many candles as I wanted to make, so I bought a 2lb bag of soy wax from Hobby Lobby for $9.99 (and then you can use your 40% off coupon on top of that!), I also bought 5 long wicks for $2.99… so it was quite an inexpensive DIY – the gourds were the most expensive part!


 How to:
1. Begin by picking your gourds and washing any dirt from the outside.  Make sure to pick gourds that stand up very sturdily.
2. Next, cut the top of the gourd off, and clean out the inside seeds and gunk.  Make sure you do a very thorough job getting the inside clean… you don’t want any remains getting into the wax.
3. After the insides are cleaned, start to melt your wax.  I melted mine in the microwave, but a double broiler works great too.  Once the wax is melted, you can add any sort of candle scent that you want (this part is optional).  I added an apple pie scented oil that was only $2.99 from Hobby Lobby – it smelled like heaven!
4. Place your wick in the center of the gourd and pour over some melted wax with a spoon.  Hold in place until the wick sets in place with the dried wax.  Once it is dry, add a spoonful more and let dry.  Repeat 3 or 4 times.
5. Once the wick is anchored by wax, slowly pour in wax to fill the remainder of the gourd (I used forks to help keep my wick straight).  Once the wax hardens, you add another spoonful of wax to the top to fill in any cracks.  To make 5 medium size gourds, I used about 1.5lbs of wax.
6. Let sit for 24 hours before burning.  Finish by cutting the quick to about a 1/4-1/2 inch.


 Keep in mind that these are fresh gourds, so they aren’t going to last forever... My small pumpkin started getting soft in 4 or 5 days, but the gourds lasted much longer. You can probably count on them lasting 1-2 weeks (but hey, there is some luck involved with getting good pumpkins/gourds).

You can organize these pumpkins into a mantle display or arrange them with other gourds for a beautiful fall centerpiece.  These would also make awesome hostess gifts!



linking up for What You Wish Wednesday  and Keri @ www.livinginthisseason.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Macarons!

I know that everyone has been going pretty heavy on all things pumpkin lately, but we are well into the fall season, which means we have a limited amount of time left to soak (read: eat) it all up!  So in typical October style (aka, turning every recipe into a pumpkin recipe), I made some pumpkin spice macarons that are oh-so tasty! Trust me, you will most certainly want to have this recipe on seasonal repeat.

Macarons have a reputation for being tough to make, but let me assure you, they are not as difficult as you think – as long as you follow the recipe and measure your ingredients, you shouldn’t have any troubles.



To make the macaron, follow these instructions from a previous blog post. For the extract, use vanilla.  I also used a very small amount of orange food coloring for the cookie.

And the pumpkin spice filling is where the magic happens…

What you need:
- 1/4 Cup of pumpkin puree
- 1/2 Teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 Teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 - 2 Cups of powdered sugar

Mix all the ingredients together, and add more powdered sugar as needed to achieve the desired consistency.  Once you have your filling, use a cake decorating bag to help pipe out 1 teaspoon of the filling on a cookie (or, just use a spoon, if that’s more your style), and sandwich together between another cookie.


These little guys are so yummy, and they would be a pretty impressive (and super tasty) treat for a fall dinner (or any time, really)!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekending!



ONE  |  John and I are finally getting on the "updating our passport" train.  We are going to Seattle over Thanksgiving, and want to make sure we have passports in case we decide to go to Vancouver.  And I'm unsure what's worse - passport photos or drivers license photos... the whole "no teeth" in a passport photo is hard for me. 

TWO  |  Apparently this was a movie weekend.  On Friday night John and I went to see Gone Girl.  It was, well, interesting... and that's really all I have to say.  Saturday night, we decided to stay in and watch Neighbors on On Demand... we got about half-way through and turned it off.  On Sunday, we went to go see Left Behind.  So the weekend was quite full of movies!! I guess that's all you can do when it is still pretty hot out!

THREE  |  Scout came home on Saturday and our hearts were so happy to have her back!  Most of the weekend was spent fawning over our girl!

FOUR  |  Saturday afternoon we tried to do some quail hunting, but we were outside for a total of 20 minutes before it was so dang hot out that we decided to throw in the towel and head home.  I've been told the heat breaks on October 31st... so hopefully we are almost there!!  By the way, we got Scout some hiking boots for hunting since she gets all sorts of cactus and goat heads stuck in her paws... if you don't follow me on Instagram, you need to check out her trying on her new boots - such a sad, sad, but super sweet and funny pup!

FIVE  |  Our First 5 Marriage class at church was having a couples trivia competition and brunch, and not surprisingly, our table won! Whoohoo! If there is one person I know who is good at trivia, it's my hubby.  For the brunch I made some very yummy pumpkin bars! Recipe for these bad boys coming soon... it's like cake for breakfast!

SIX  |  John and I decided to have an early dinner at a New Mexican restaurant in North Scottsdale.   The food was very tasty - but certainly not New Mexican.  John has been craving a green chile cheeseburger, so the hunt will continue... :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday, and even more happy Five on Friday! SO excited for its return!
Linking up with Christina, April, Natasha, and Darci!


One
 
Believe it or not, it’s starting to feel like fall here in Scottsdale! Well, in the mornings at least… but I’ll take it! The temperature still gets into the high 80s or low 90s during the afternoon, but there has been a bit of a cold(ish) bite during the morning, and I am not complaining!



Two 

My parents booked flights to come and visit! And I cannot wait to see them in two weeks!! It feels like it has been a while since John and I have seen a familiar face, so I am very much looking forward to spending some time with them.



Three
 
Scout comes home tomorrow!  Our sweet pup has been a bird camp for two weeks, and we get to have her back home tomorrow.  We plan to do a little bit of quail hunting after we pick her up (pending it isn't too hot...) since it is opening weekend!



Four
THIS.  Pumpkin Ice Cream!! I need to make this ASAP - the best part? It's no churn, so you don't need an ice cream maker! You can find the recipe here.



Five

Mark your calendar! Katie, Cait, Annie and I are planning a holiday link-up series!  We will be hosting a link-up on the third Tuesday of October, November, and December for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas - more details to come soon - we hope you'll join us! :)




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