Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!

This has been a week, people. A. Week. The last few weeks have seemed to fly by, but this one crawled along and was filled with stress and more anxiety than I've had in a while. I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend and spending time with family and friends.

I had a bunch of favorites from last weekend that I thought I would start out with, so...on to the faves!

I had a delicious southwest style eggs Benedict last Friday when a few coworkers and I met up with a former coworker for lunch. Those lunches are definitely a favorite. I'm so glad we've all stayed connected. She's currently due with her first child and it's been so fun to talk all things baby with her.

On Saturday, Sammy and I made the rounds to visit a lot of family on his side. His grandfather is back in the hospital--but doing better!--so we paid a quick visit to him before letting him get some rest. We went by his grandma's after that where his parents and uncle were helping her clean the house and go through a lot of her possessions as she's recently sold her home. 

We had lunch together and I snagged these Christmas dishes she was getting rid of ;) I think the holly pattern and gold edges are so pretty and the bowls were a unique shape (you can't really tell from the picture). Plus just knowing they're Sammy's grandma's makes them extra special.

For our third visit, we stopped by Sammy's brother and SIL's house to get some baby snuggles in with our niece (whose face I have to constantly place stickers over since her parents don't want her to appear on social media--ha!) and catch up with them. Love spending time just the four (now five!) of us.

After that we made plans to see a movie with Sammy's uncle, aunt, and two younger cousins. We had some time to kill so we got some Jamba Juice (forgot how good those are!) and walked around some stores in the mall next to the movie theatre. We found ourselves trying out couches for a house we don't have. Why are couches so expensive? I just don't understand. We decided our next date is to Ikea where things are considerably cheaper haha.

This view is my very favorite.

We saw Love, Simon and I loved it. Definitely recommend. 

Part of why this week has been so stressful is because we've been trying to maintain our sanity throughout this house hunt while also managing regular life stuff. Sammy had an interview this week for a new opportunity at the police department, we have a funeral to attend this weekend and waiting for details on that had been stressful (primarily because we feel so bad for the family), I've been trying to stay on track with my personal training sessions and not stress eat (happy to report that I think I've done really well this week when in weeks past I would have just ordered fries every day for lunch from our cafeteria), practicing driving (always anxiety inducing for me, obviously). Going to therapy last night helped, but I struggled much more this week than I usually do which was a little unsettling. 

This house hunt has proven to be more discouraging than we had thought and hoped it would be. I've been dealing almost exclusively with our lender because Sammy works during the part of the day that she's most available to communicate, so it's felt like a lot on my shoulders as I've been providing her with all our financial information, relaying information from her to Sammy, and providing updates to all our parents.

We can't afford nearly what we thought we could (why do banks pre approve you for wayyy more than you can comfortably afford?!) and have switched gears from single family home to townhouse which is a big shift for us. We spent the last two years looking at houses we thought we could afford and that's solidified an image of what we thought our first house would be, so we're spending a little time getting used to the reality of what our first house will actually be. I'm actually digging the townhouse idea much more than I thought I would, so that's been exciting. There were a few on the market we really liked but, per usual, one turned out to be just as expensive as the single family home we loved, loved, loved, so we had to nix it and the other two accepted offers the same day we found them on Redfin. 

However, through this, it's been confirmed just how well Sammy and I work together as a team. We stayed positive through the disappointments, Sammy came up with this townhouse plan and had me convinced within ten minutes (and convincing me of things is NOT an easy feat), and now we're looking forward to just seeing what pops up on the market. That realization was a big favorite this week and helped to alleviate some stress.

I saw this meme and couldn't help but laugh because this process has made me feel like there's nothing about my life that's on track (even though realistically I know that's not true haha). Nothing like trying to get approved for a loan to remind you just how much debt you have or how not great your credit score is...

ANYWAY. Enough of that. 

Sunday brought more favorites in the form of dog walks, fifty degree temps, and snuggles.

We watched Dr. Strange because I need to get all my Marvel movies in before the next Avengers comes out. I just need to watch Thor: Ragnarok and then I'm good. I didn't love Dr. Strange as much as other Marvel character movies, but it definitely wasn't bad.

On Monday night I made a huge batch of Daily Dose of Pepper's chicken street tacos and I've been eating them all week. They are definitely as good as everyone on Instagram says and the easiest thing I've meal prepped by far (and only 2 WW points each!). Best part is I don't get sick of them which is always my problem when I meal prep big batches of one dish.

I loved Christina's post a few weeks ago about her family's favorite Ikea items. I pinned it immediately so I could reference it when we go to furnish our house. I was surprised by some of the items, like picture frames and glass food containers, because who thinks to go there for those? Genius! She also links to similar items on Amazon which is SO helpful.

I have to mention this book as a major favorite. Since I'm in the children's book business, the incredible John Oliver's A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo selling out in just one hour is big news in our industry. The book is a parody so it's hilarious in that respect, but it has the sweetest message of acceptance, tolerance, friendship, democracy, and love. Hugely important for all humans to read and understand, children being the group who will most easily understand it's message. 
All proceeds go to The Trevor Project and AIDS United. The book is also available on Audible where you can hear Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and John Lithgow (among many others) narrating. And if you donate directly to either charity's website, you'll receive a free ebook version. 
I immediately ordered my copy and anxiously await it's arrival as they're currently undergoing a rush printing to fill orders. 

Speaking of bunnies... I can't believe next weekend is Easter! I've been calmed a lot this week in the evenings by pinning for a little while before bed and I've been enjoying all the Easter ideas and recipes in my feed. Feel free to follow me on Pinterest (I'm completely obsessed)!

That's all for me this week, guys. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with Andrea and April.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Favorites

Friday, Friday! This week flew by and I'm not at all upset about it. 
I didn't get as much relaxing time as I thought I would, but I'm looking forward to a low-key night tonight and some leisure plans this weekend.

On to the faves...

I did some meal prep on Monday night (because I absolutely refuse to do it on Sundays) and tried the cauliflower fried rice everyone and their mother is making. I threw in some ground turkey for some added protein and ended up liking it a lot. It'll get added as a favorite in my meal prep rotation. Cauliflower is certainly not rice haha but it'll do in a pinch or when you're Weight Watchers ;)

On Tuesday I went with my mom and siblings on a spontaneous movie night. We saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and while I don't necessarily need to see the movie again, I absolutely loved it. Such smart, funny, and dark writing and the performances were incredible. The Oscars they won were very deserving. 
Frances McDormand is such a badass (in life and in this movie).
And I got to eat popcorn for dinner which is always a win and a favorite in my book.

It's definitely a favorite when Sammy sends me snapchats of houses for sale from the window of his squad car.

We threw a little baby shower for one of my coworkers on Wednesday and it a sweet little intermission in the workday. 
I made the little garland by hanging some socks and hats and our momma loved it.

How can teeny socks and hats not be a favorite?!

We ordered Panera, played a celebrity baby picture game, had some pie for pie day, and incorporated some woodland details since that's the theme of their nursery.

I ordered Panera's Green Goddess Cobb Salad and I loved it. I'm sure the dressing wasn't the healthiest of choices, but that's probably why I loved it haha. Happy to find a salad I won't mind eating!

I can't believe I'm including something Harry Potter related on here because, despite having recently read the entire series and actually not hating it like I thought I would, I'll never be like a die hard fan because I'm simply too cynical, BUT the trailer for the second Fantastic Beasts has me intrigued. I didn't see the first because I didn't hear great things, but now I'm going to watch because I want to see this one. 
If you saw the trailer, what did you think??

And because I can't possibly post without talking about books...
I finally got my library's copy of this book and I'm loving it. I'm a Marvel convert (I'm totally obsessed now thanks to Sammy) so it's easy for me to like stuff about Spider-Man, but this is even better because it's written by Jason Reynolds whom I professed my admiration for a few weeks ago during my February Book Review post.
It's so awesome to see a diverse Marvel character brought out in book form. This would be perfect to read with a fifth or sixth grader or for anyone older (or younger depending on reading level) to read on their own. Funny, yet age appropriate, and compelling. Can't wait to keep going.

And since we're talking Marvel...
A new trailer for Avengers: Infinity War dropped today AND tickets went on sale. This is incredibly dorky but I'm alerting Sammy right now ;)

And since I can't get enough of this exchange:

I also can't wait to see I Feel Pretty. Can't. Wait.


It's looking like our St. Patrick's Day plans are super up in the air, so we'll how tomorrow pans out. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to putting in some major relaxing time this weekend.
Have a great weekend everyone!


Linking up with Andrea and Christina.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spring Awakening - 2018

One of the the things I've repeatedly written about on this little blog of mine is my love of spring, or more specifically, the time just before spring officially starts. It's the magic time, like Christmas Eve, where anticipation is bubbling under the surface. 

I've also written about how the winter season really starts to drag on my soul by the end of February, especially when those winter temps extend into March. I'm not afraid of the cold, I dare say I even like it on most days, but after awhile the dreariness paired with temps under thirty degrees gets me down.

And every year I fear these thoughts will be read as overt complaining or a lack of self-awareness in that life for me isn't all that bad, which I fully recognize and give gratitude toward every day. But the fact remains that winter, by the end, pulls me through the symbolic snow of it's path and it's Spring--that beautiful reawakening--that picks me up.

By Easter I'm left feeling so inspired and productive and well which carries me into the beautiful days of early summer.

During this Eve, the magic time, I like to make a list of all things that are going to be changing or "reawakening" this time of year. As a person who has resisted change for most of her life, this allows me to properly give thanks for and appreciate change and new things. 

I have a feeling this year, more than years past, is about to bring the most change. And finally I am excited and embracing and full.

I wasn't expecting it this early in the year, but this spring may bring us a new house. We've already learned the lesson of taking the plunge when you love something because it could be gone the next day... because exactly that happened. Who knows what will happen in the upcoming months or weeks or days. We do know that the market is crazy right now, so we're prepared to move forward with as much craziness as two inherent control-freak planners can muster ;)

If this spring does bring us a house, it will also bring us a dog, I can be sure of that because I will incessantly bother Sammy about it until I have my Golden Retriever following me all around the house. Although with my luck, she'll end up loving Sammy more and follow him around. 

This spring is also the catalyst for many, many celebrations of wonderful new beginnings. Two bridal showers, a baby shower, and a bachelorette weekend, with many more celebrations to follow in early summer. I can hardly wait. 

On a personal note, I hope I continue to see improvement weight/body-wise. I started typing this as "I hope I start to see..." and forced myself to delete. I've lost about seven pounds so far since restarting this journey at the beginning of February but am continuously disappointed that I haven't lost more when in reality, seven pounds is pretty damn good for one month of work. It means I'm almost halfway to my initial first leg goal of this weight loss journey (which is two lose twenty pounds by the first wedding I'm in at the end of June) which makes things feel more achievable. So I need to stop saying "start" when I've already started. Continuation is the ultimate goal and I'm pushing forward.

I'm starting to feel the inspiration that comes forth as spring approaches and I'm hoping to harness it in order to start working on some personal creative endeavors, whatever I decide they might be. 


Whatever spring brings, I'm willing and open to accepting. I've done the ceremonial swapping of the flannel sheets for jersey ones, and I'm ready. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Happy Tuesday, friends! But how is it only Tuesday?
I can't wait to go home tonight and do NOTHING. The last two weeks I've had something to do every single day after work and it's been kind of exhausting. I'm excited to have a few days this week to relax in the evenings. 

This weekend was a whirlwind but a really good one. Sammy's off days fall on the weekend for the entire month of March and few days in April (and then they won't fall that way again until June) and I've forgotten how good it is to share the weekends together. I saw him Friday through Sunday this weekend and by the end I was like that was so weird, seeing him for three days in a row! But it was so good. 
We spent Friday night with his family visiting his aunt who recently had surgery. We ended up having to take his grandfather to the ER unexpectedly, but thankfully, he's OK and was able to go home the same night. I got to spend all the time in the waiting room with Sammy's cousins who are some of my very favorite people on earth, so despite it not being a great locale... the evening ended positively which is great.

On Saturday Sammy and I met my Dad in Crystal Lake to see two houses we've been lusting over. The experience was a roller coaster of emotions haha. Going into it, there was one house that was clearly Sammy's pick and then the second house we saw was mine. I've been looking at the photographs of my pick since before Thanksgiving, so I was fully expecting to love it and was shocked to find that we eliminated it almost immediately after leaving. We ended up loving Sammy's pick (I swear to God that guy does everything right) and decided we'd bring the rest of our parents back to look at it again this coming weekend, along with another house Sammy wants to see. 

In a super disappointing turn of events, the listing agent texted my Dad last night and told him it's under contract *insert sobbing emoji* I keep telling myself that it obviously wasn't meant to be and we'll find our house eventually (luckily we're in no rush) but I can't help but feel like it was our house. We'll keep our eye on it to see if the deal falls through, but now we know these houses move fast, so the next time we like something we better jump.

Anyway, we came back to my house and told my mom all about both houses, and then we ordered Lou Malnati's for dinner and watched Lockup for the rest of the night because I'm obsessed ;)

On Sunday we went to Sammy's cousins' confirmation and then to Zia's Trattoria in Edison Park afterward for a lovely dinner.

I can't believe we're basically halfway through March... what is happening?!
We have some plans St. Patrick's Day plans (despite my hesitation toward the holiday in general ;) ) for this coming weekend and maybe some more house visits, so I'm anxious to get through the bulk of this week!

Hope everyone had wonderful weekends!

Linking up with Biana!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, all! This week zoomed by and I'm happy we've arrived at the weekend. 

On to the favorites!

// Discussing, at length, how hot Hemingway was with my eighty-three-year-old grandmother was a definite favorite this week.


// Deciding that her and I are to have a two-person book club was my favorite too :)

// There are only two pieces for women in SJP's new line with Gap, so, naturally, I needed to have one of them. Luckily they were also having their friends and family sale so I picked this dress up for 40% and free shipping. Planning to wear it to bridal and baby showers this spring and summer, so I'll definitely get my use out of it! The tie detail on the sleeve is my favorite.

Is this model stunning or what?
// I requested an ARC copy of Paula McLain's new book, Love and Ruin, and was accepted via Netgalley, so I'm hoping to start that this weekend!

// I made these oat bars for a dessert exchange at work this week and I really liked them. Super easy and quick.

// I felt really accomplished this week outside of work and that's always a favorite feeling albeit exhausting. I pushed myself in both training sessions this week, practiced driving with my sister (yes, I'm a twenty-six-year-old who doesn't drive. WORKING ON IT #thankyoutherapy), scheduled a few dates with friends over the next few weeks, etc. Felt like a lot of self-improvement all at once, which is a little overwhelming but mostly feels great. 

I was standing in the kitchen making those oat bars at like 8 o'clock at night, having not eaten dinner yet, because I went straight to training after work, and then to practice driving right after that, and I felt like I was doing so many things in one night (even though it really wasn't all that much, but for me, some of those things are super taxing on me mentally, so it feels like a lot) that it reminded me of the scene in My Cousin Vinny when he asks if any more shit can be piled on to the outcome of the court case he's working on haha. In my dramatic fashion, I was like, can I do ANYMORE stuff tonight?!

If you know this scene, you're my favorite person.
// Perhaps my most favorite thing that happened this week was making plans to go see some houses tomorrow with Sammy :) Both houses we want to see are "hot" homes so I'm hoping they're still available tomorrow morning--they're flying off the market right now. Fingers crossed! Crazy exciting and terrifying at the same time. Who thinks it's responsible to give us keys to a house?! ;)


Have a great weekend, all!


Linking up with Andrea and Christina!