Friday, January 30, 2015

Five on Friday: My Favorite Things!

Happy Friday! What are your plans this weekend? Super Puppy bowl watching, I hope?!  
Linking up with Christina, Amanda, Jennie, and Karli to share my Friday Favorites!

I recently purchased my very first BKR water bottle! I was a little bit hesitant about the $42 price tag being worth it, but let me tell you, I love it!  Since it’s glass there are no phthalates or other bad things that come in plastic, and the silicon sleeve is easy to grip and keep clean.  The quality is great, it’s super easy to drink from (which is important for clumsy people like me!), and it’s just way too dang cute – highly recommend it!

Monogrammed Apron
For Christmas John got me a super cute monogrammed apron from Williams-Sonoma, and I’m basically obsessed (I’m talking need one in every color/print obsessed)! I’m kind of a messy baker and always seem to find spots all over my clothes, and this has been quite helpful in keeping my clothes clean... who would have thought?! ;)

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish
We all love Fresh Sugar lip treatment, but I only recently discovered the lip polish.  It is the perfect amount of exfoliation... not too rough, but gets the job done.  The Arizona air is so dry, and I am constantly applying lotion and lip moisturizer, so this scrub is perfect for some gentle exfoliating (not to mention it tastes like it smells – which is amazing!).

White Foam Board
I’ve been trying to work on improving my blogging pictures, and I can’t even believe the difference that this $2 foam board has made.  It makes for a perfect, clutter-free background.  Have you used a foam board before?  Any tips?

Aerial America
John (somehow) discovered the TV special Aerial America, and we have loved watching it together! It is about an hour long feature on each state all from aerial views, and it is a super cool combination of a state history documentary and a Planet Earth. So far we've watched Washington, Michigan, and New Mexico... highly recommend if you're nerdy like us!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Super Bowl Party Planning

John and I aren’t hosting any company for Super Bowl weekend, but it is always fun to have our own little smorgasbord of food and treats with fun decor.  

On Tuesday, I shared a soft pretzel recipe that is pretty much the most amazing thing ever.  But, if you’re looking for something a little less labor intensive, here are some yummy (and easy!) treats that I am loving from Pinterest.

And let’s not forget about d├ęcor!

Are you hosting a Super Bowl party? If you are, spill your party planning secrets, please!!
Here’s to a weekend of tasty food, funny commercials, Katy Perry… and everyone’s favorite part, the puppy bowl!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Growing up I’ve always had pretty good vision (and by pretty good vision, I mean perfect vision...), and I could never convince my parents that I needed glasses (even though everyone knows that glasses are possibly the single coolest thing ever in elementary and middle school). It took even longer to convince them that I needed colored contacts – am I the only one who went through this phase?!

Anyway, in high school (it was a long-lived phase apparently?) I was finally able to get a doctor to tell me that I “needed” a (very slight, only needed at night, but probably not even) prescription.  And ever since then, glasses have been a favorite accessory!

The only downside (with my vision insurance, at least), is that I am only allowed to get 1 pair of glasses every 2 years... how in the world is a girl going to start a collection of accessory eyeglasses if you have to wait so long in between new pairs? Cue the reason why Firmoo is so amazing.  Firmoo sells a variety of fashionable glasses at amazing prices.  Below are some of my favorites!

The best part? All of these are under $40 including standard prescription lenses, holler! They are good quality, and I was quite pleased to find that anti-scratch was included with the standard lenses.  All you have to do is pick your frames, enter your prescription, and wait for them to arrive in the mail! And with affordable prices, you don’t have to feel guilty about splurging on a pair of blue frames or trying something a bit bolder.

Glasses courtesy of Firmoo, but opinions are my own!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Football Food: Soft Pretzel Bites

In case you haven’t heard, the Super Bowl is this weekend... and living in Arizona (where it’s taking place this year), it seems to be the only thing that people are talking about!  John works in downtown Phoenix, and he will have to work from home starting tomorrow since a lot of the downtown streets are being closed for events and concerts – it’s nuts over here and driving anywhere is pretty much a parking lot!

Although professional football isn’t really my thing, delicious and not-good-for-you food definitely is... and for that reason, I can totally get behind the Super Bowl.  I was perusing Pinterest when I saw these soft pretzel bites, and although they are kind of a labor of love, they are to. die. for.  I’m not being dramatic.  I had to fight John to get these things in my belly.  They are the perfect game day food!

You might be able to find some sort of short cut (and if you do, let me know), but here’s how I made mine (...the work was worth it, y’all!) 

What you need:
1 1/2 cups of warm water
2 tbs of brown sugar
1 package of active dry yeast
3 ounces of butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp of salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups of flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts of water
1/2 cup of baking soda 

How to:
1. Combine water, sugar, yeast, and butter in a mixer, and mix with a dough hook until combined; let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt and flour into the yeast mixture and mix on a low speed until combined. Continue mixing the dough until it begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. (Add more flour if needed.)
3. Let the dough rise in an oiled boil for about 1 hour.
4. After letting the dough rise, divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring, and cut the dough into 1-2 inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. 
5. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and dump the baking soda in (careful, it will bubble!).
6. Boil the pretzel bites in the water in batches (15 or so at a time); boil each batch for about 30 seconds.
7. Remove the pretzels with a large slotted spoon, and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
8. Brush the tops with melted butter and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake at 425 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with mustard or cheese.  To make the cheese dip, melt 1 tbs of butter in a pan, add 1/2 tbs of flour, 1/2 cup of milk, and slowly combine 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese.

These little suckers are way too tasty, and they even kind of look like mini footballs (which was totally an afterthought, but no one needs to know that!).  I can tell already that it is likely to be a weekend full of tasty food, funny commercials, and Katy Perry!

If you’re looking to lighten-up after the game (I know I will be...), check out these yummy zoodle recipes: kung pao chicken and edamame avocado salad!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Scenes from the Weekend!

This weekend left me with such a full heart... it was my birthday on Sunday, and my sweet hubby really spoiled me! Friday night started with dinner and a bit of shopping.  

There is something about Scottsdale at night that is so fun - all of the lights make it feel very resort-y, and it almost feels like vacation with the warm weather!

Saturday morning I met my friend Jennifer for a barre class at the DC Village Health Club.  Y'all - it was much tougher than I thought it would be... not only was I terrible, but I was confused! I can tell by my muscles (that are so sore) that I certainly got my workout on... and the good news is that I can only improve (really, there is no possible way that I could be worse).

After the barre class, we relaxed a bit then headed to a spin class.  It was a really great time, and I'm glad we ended our workout with it! The health club facilities were absolutely beautiful, and I'm slowly working on John to joining! ;)

Saturday evening, John and I had reservations at The Melting Pot. We have been going there on my birthday for the last few years, and it is always such a yummy yearly treat... I still can't decide if the cheese or chocolate fondue is my favorite part - but I'm going to have to go with cheese!

Speaking of fondue, did you know it's not only a style of serving food?  I discovered that at my barre class earlier that morning (like I said, it's only up from here!).

Creme Brulee fondue!

On Sunday it was completely necessary to get out of the house and get my muscles moving again.  We went on little trail walk with Scout, and it was absolutely beautiful outside.  

There is something so cool about the Arizona winter - you can wear shorts and not be too cold; or, you can wear pants and a jacket and not be too hot... basically, it's pretty perfect!

Force cuddles for the birthday girl with Scout... she's loving it, I swear.

The high on Sunday was 79, so we made sure to spend some time by the pool... I've been feeling a bit pale, and am looking forward to getting back a little bit of color!  John did some swimming... while I did some watching!

The evening was perfectly ended with some birthday Sprinkles cupcakes and Downton Abbey (I did suggest we watch the Miss Universe pageant, but John wasn't into the idea... shocking, I know!).

His, her (and her and her) and pup cupcakes!! 
Calories don't count on birthdays, right?! (just say you agree!)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday!! Keeping it short today, and linking up with Christina, April, Darci, and Natasha!

1.  My birthday!
It is my birthday this weekend and my sweet coworkers decorated my desk! I'm not going to lie, I was actually pretty surprised... it was super thoughtful!

2.  Sleepy pup!
Scout has been so sleepy in the morning, and it absolutely melts my heart! She doesn't want to get out of bed and likes to stay under the covers - she takes after her mom! ;)

Have you tried this stuff?! It's amazing, and I absolutely love how it applies.  AND, the colors are fabulous... lots of nudes that are perfectly opaque - just how I like it! You've got to check it out!

4.  Barre
I'm going to my first barre class with a friend tomorrow, and I have zero dance experience... please comment and leave me all your tips so I don't look like a total fool!! Ahh!!

5.  Warm Quinoa and Chicken Salad
John and I have started back up with meal planning, and one of our meals this week was a delicious warm quinoa and chicken salad with peas and asparagus - soo yummy!! Recipe on the blog soon!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A 25-point Introduction

When blogging, I feel like it is a good idea to reintroduce yourself every now and then so that people who just started following along can get a better sense of the person behind the blog.  

Some of you may already know the things below, but I tried to throw in a few new facts for some of you that have been following along for a while!

1. My name is Lisa and my hubby’s name is John (shocking, I know).

2. I will be 27 this weekend!

3. I live in Arizona, but grew up in Michigan (with a short tour de New Mexico).

4. When people ask if I’m a night owl, my response is always no, not really.  Then they ask if I’m a morning person, and my response is always definitely not.  I guess I’m just an afternoon kind of girl.

5. We have a pup named Scout and kitty named Winnie.

6. I have an older and younger brother, and my hubby says that I am a middle child through and through (whatever that means?).

7. I don’t drink coffee or tea, but I do enjoy a good froo-froo drink from Starbucks.

8. John asked to guest post on my blog about his wild quail recipes... hmm, let me think about that one... Does it include spiralized zucchini noodles? ;)

9. I prefer vanilla over chocolate (but I cannot resist a Butterfinger).

10. I love National Parks, and I love exploring them with my hubby!

11. I love to shop, but I don’t like to pay full price for items... I am a total sale shopper!

12. I am terribly obsessed with the Y2Kountry satellite radio station (who doesn’t love good ‘ole Shania Twain?!).

13. I work in regulatory affairs at a medical device company, and I am very thankful to enjoy what I do.

14. Other than my husband, I’m not much of a hugger... I'm so bad at them, and they are always so awkward!

15. John introduced me to mountain biking and hiking, and it turns out I quite enjoy those activities!

16. I’m pretty sure I could eat pizza every day of the week. And cheese.

17. My hubby proofreads the majority of my blog posts to make sure they are “career friendly” ...And I have been forced to remove something “edgy” (...?) every now and then...

18. Downton Abbey is my favorite TV Show.  It’s probably the only show where I could watch the same episode more than once.

19. Every year on my birthday John takes me to the Melting Pot... I’m not sure that he actually likes it, but he knows that I love it!

20. John and I will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary this year.

21. When in college, I was an exchange student in South Africa for six months.

22. John and I have immediate family in Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Mexico... all over the country!

23. I took my driver’s ed test using a stick shift.  And passed (feuf....!). There was, however, minor panic around parallel parking.

24. I played volleyball competitively in high school, and I miss being part of a team. (God bless overly tan and overly blonde high schoolers.)

25. I’ve been in 2 small(ish) fender benders (both of which were my fault) and been pulled over twice... yet I have never gotten a ticket! Holler! Evading the law since ’88!


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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Zoodle Kung Pao Chicken

So, it's true... I've become a bit zoodle obsessed!  Although it's not pasta, something about zoodles really hits the spot for me.  So send of all your tried and true zoodle recipes my way, please!!

This past weekend I made kung pao chicken zoodles, and this recipe will definitely be on repeat!

Recipe from Skinny Taste!

- 2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
- 1 teaspoon grapeseed or canola oil
- 6 oz skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp crushed dry roasted peanuts
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions

For the sauce:
- 1 1/2 tbsp reduced soy sauce
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2 1/2 tbsp water
- 1/2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp corn starch

How to:

1. Begin by spiralizing your zucchini; if your spiralizer has more than one setting, use a thicker option.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, balsamic, hoisin, water, Sriracha sauce, sugar and corn starch.

3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in an oiled pan until browned and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Add sesame oil and garlic to a skillet and cook until fragrant. Add the bell pepper, stir in soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened and bubbling, about 1-2 minutes. 

5. Stir in zucchini noodles and cook for two minutes until tender and mixed with the sauce. The zucchini will release plenty of water, so do not worry if the sauce seems dry.

6. End by mixing in the chicken and topping with peanuts and scallions!

Trust me, you will absolutely love it! :) :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Out and About!

John and I have been quite busy lately... here's a quick recap of what we've been up to!  

By the way, I totally have to work today - someone please tell me I'm not alone.  Even John has the day off, and I'm quite jealous! (Although he woke up even earlier than normal to go hunting with Scout... I love to sleep in, so this isn't my idea of a day off!)

Skinny Taste, Bang Bang Chicken
I am officially obsessed with Skinny Taste... last week I made a spiralized zucchini (“zoodle”) salad, and this weekend I made the ever so yummy bang bang chicken salad – amazing! John even ate the leftovers (and he is a bit picky on leftovers... he will tell you he loves them, but it just isn’t true).

On Tuesday I started Pricilla Shirer’s new study on Jonah.  I just completed the first week, and so far it is wonderful!  I am very much looking forward to getting a few weeks in.  I did her study on Gideon a couple years ago and it remains one of my favorites, so I am hoping this study will be equally fabulous.

Mearns Quail
John has been going down to Patagonia, AZ almost every free weekend with Scout for Mearns quail season. Mearns quail are a special kind of wild quail found only in certain parts of southern Arizona, and upland bird hunters fly in from all over for the chance to find them. The season ends at the beginning of February, so he is trying to get in as much hunting as possible.  His favorite spot is only about 15 minutes from the Mexican border and there are signs posted everywhere warning about illegal immigration, not to mention border patrol security checkpoints... crazy! 

American Sniper
John and I saw American Sniper this weekend and really enjoyed it.  I thought Bradley Cooper did a great job, and he has come a long way from The Hangover... (thankfully!).  Have you seen it? If you did, what did you think? Bradley Cooper was nominated for best actor in a leading role for the 2015 Academy Awards... I would love to see him win!

 My sister-in-law, Kristine, started blogging! Go say hi and check out her way too perfect baby bump!

(Can you tell this was my Five on Friday post that I didn't get around to writing/posting? I tried!)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

DIY Cord Bracelet

Happy Friday Eve!! (Can you tell I'm excited for the weekend?!)

Last weekend John and Scout went hunting in Patagonia, AZ, and as much as I miss him and Scout when they leave, it is always a perfect opportunity to work on some DIYs!

When I was growing up I always enjoyed making jewelry, so I thought I would break out all my gear and make some stackable bracelets!

What you need:

How to:

 Begin by putting a row of beads on an eye pin

Using wire tools (or your finger if you're strong!), bend the straight end of the eye pin to a circle to match the other end of the eye pin.

Open the jump rings and add one to each end of the eye pin; close the jump rings once they are on the eye pin

Cut two pieces of cord and loop them through the jump ring

Open a jump ring and add the crimp and clasp; then, open a second jump ring and add a crimp; close both jump rings

Add one of the crimps to one of the sides of the leather cord and close the crimp using pliers or wire tools; add the other crimp to the other side and close

To finish, trim off the leather that is sticking out from the crimp

And ta da!

They are quite easy to make and super inexpensive... not to mention you can make totally different looks depending on the type of beads you use!

Make a few and stack them, or wear just one at a time - either way, they are way cute!

Linking up with Annie!
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