So I was reading my friend Amanda's blog (click here to see it!) and she was homesick for Tejas recently and posted this video. I thought I'd share the same one! I'm not very versed in Texas Country music but sometimes I'll relate to some of the songs. Since the Hubs is a tried and true Texas boy, I mostly appreciate the music because it reminds me of him :) His home town is even mentioned in this song! Enjoy and happy Friday!!
This week I'm thankful that I got time to finish three books. I'm especially thankful for my relaxing weekend (that I mentioned a couple days ago) that I spent reading in a calm, quiet house :) Sometimes things get so hectic that I don't have a chance to just sit back and relax. If I want to read, I have to sneak it in between whatever obligations I have. This week, I got some genuine "me" time and it was fabulous! I'm so thankful for the free time I have right now.
Love S & B and Gossip Girl so I chose this pic :)
I'm also thankful for the girl time I had this week. So far, I have had dinner with two friends (my friend Kristen made me dinner - isn't that sweet??? and my best friend came over last night to catch up and eat with me!). I also had lunch with a friend from college on Monday (whom I hadn't seen for YEARS and it was great to catch up!) and yesterday, I had lunch with Erin, my old college roommate. I mean, seriously, this has been a great week! Who else gets to see THAT many friends throughout the work week??? Lucky me!!
Speaking of girls (and friends), I'm thankful for lasting friendships as well as those that come back after many years. Each of the friends I spent time with this week have been in my life for years. Some of them I lost touch with for a few years but have reappeared recently and some have been there all along. I think it's incredible when you can have friends with history. Whether you went in different directions for a while or you grew WITH them, it's amazing to stay connected to people. When looking back, I don't know what I had expected for this point in my life, or who I expected to be a part of it, but either way, I'm thankful for the blessings I have today!
Lastly, I'm grateful to work with Husband and have the opportunity to go to lunch with him when I want and share downtown life with him. His mom and brother came in town last week and met us for lunch downtown. We got to show off our office and give them a taste of what it's like to work in a big city (they are not from a big city!). Husband's mom took this pic of us waiting for them to meet us! Aren't we cuuuuuuute????
I love the Fourth of July! It's one of my favorite holidays! (Thanksgiving is number one and Fourth of July comes in a close second!). Since next Wednesday is the great birthday celebration for America, I likely won't be posting recipes for you. Soooo, to prepare for next week, I thought I'd share a few fun holiday recipes! Hope you can use one for your celebrations!
Star-Spangled Fruit Tart Recipe
1 slice equals 213 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 25 mg cholesterol, 177 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Nation's B-day Nachos
All-American Bacon Cheeseburgers Recipe
1 burger (calculated without optional toppings) equals 472 calories, 25 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 98 mg cholesterol, 947 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 33 g protein.
I haven't done a Pinterest post in a while so here goes - things I love today!
Happy Monday, Everyone!
I hope you all had a great weekend! I made an effort to take it completely easy this weekend and it was amazing.
Most of my weekend revolved around relaxing in my (clean) house and reading. The hubs and I went on a date Saturday afternoon/evening and saw Brave which was way better than I expected! I already had high hopes for the movie but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the story was much better than the previews had advertised. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend going as soon as you can! It also has a great soundtrack!
Both mornings Husband and I woke up and had breakfast outside on our deck. I recently fixed our espresso machine and it was a treat to enjoy a homemade latte and watch the golfers play in the morning (we live on the golf course). Saturday morning had a bit of cleaning and Sunday we went to church, but come lunch time (both days) I was free! I spent my free time reading Never Let Me Go (review coming soon!) while snuggling with my cat and enjoying the quiet of our house while Husband worked outside. It was so great to just relax while indulging in one of my favorite hobbies. I seldom get weekends with free afternoons and I made sure to cherish every bit of it. I even forced myself to take a nap! (Unfortunately, that energized me and I couldn't fall asleep last night!).
What did you all do this weekend?? What is your idea of a perfect weekend?? Would you prefer to get away or stay home?
I swear, I should be a Goodreads spokesperson. I talk about them often enough that they should pay me!
Today was exciting because I was invited to a chat with Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (the authors of The Nanny Diaries and several other novels!). All afternoon, we have been swapping posts and they have answered any questions I've had about their lives, working together, or anything at all! It's really exciting to have an opportunity to speak to authors that you like and receive personal attention. It's great to get to know people who have influenced you in some way.
The other day, I mentioned to my friend that we should write a book together since she is an amazing writer (check our her blog and you'll know what I mean!) Though the suggestion was partly in jest, I also would love to do something like that. Emma and Nicola were my inspiration for the joint-authorship idea but I was curious how they made it work. Sometimes I feel like it would be tough to write with someone else because there is so much individualism behind writing. Each writer has their own voice and ideas.
It takes truly special people to make it work and it's hard to believe how well Emma and Nicola have done that. Turns out, REALLY wrote their books together. It wasn't a writer-editor type relationship but even their dialogue was written by both authors (yes, I learned this today during my chat). I find that really impressive and I'd love to be able to work with someone so well! I asked they can make their writing relationship work so well and how they began. It's so much better to hear it from the author instead of trying to research someone else's version online.
Basically, I really enjoyed my chat and I'm excited about some of the advice I received! Also, I'm going to buy their newest book Between You and Me! I'll let you know how it is!
I used this recipe as inspiration for our Father's Day dinner over the weekend. Instead of the sweet Italian sausage, I used spicy (I just think it adds more flavor) and I also used garden picked yellow squash to add to the zucchini. Other than that, I follow the recipe pretty closely. I found it at the Whole Foods website and the Hubs raved about all the flavoring!
Sweet Italian Sausage with Zucchini and Tomatoes
6 links sweet Italian sausage*
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil*
4 to 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried oregano)
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 pound mixed red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper
Prepare sausages according to package directions, either in a sauté pan or on the grill. While they are cooking, heat olive oil in a large heavy sauté pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and oregano, stir for a few seconds, then add zucchini and cook 3 to 5 minutes.
When sausages are cooked, cut into large bite-sized pieces and add to pan along with tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Continue to sauté until tomatoes are just softened, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a large platter and serve.
Per serving: 310 calories (220 from fat), 24g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 55mg cholesterol, 640mg sodium, 8g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 16g protein
Dad graduating with his PhD when I was 3
I hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day and were able to spend time with their families yesterday. For those who could not spend Father's Day with their dad's in person, I'm sure you were in their thoughts yesterday (or they were proudly looking down at you from Heaven).
We had a wonderful day with my dad and I was so happy to get to spend time with him. In the morning we went to breakfast at the country club and then the Hubs and I went to church and they had a wonderful service with a sweet tribute to fathers. During the service, they asked us to put our hand on our father, husband, or a single man who is next to us in the room while they said a prayer for them. I put one hand on Husband and the other on an older man's shoulder who was sitting next to me. He looked so happy to have someone someone reaching out to him (literally) and after the prayer, he became choked up and said thank you as he wiped a tear from his eye. It meant so much to touch someone like that and know that I could have made such a difference. Who knows what he was going through but I know it meant a lot to him to have a complete stranger be there. Honestly, I don't know if he helped me more or I helped him more. All I know is that I felt a moment of peace and love.
Anyway, moving along... I spent part of the afternoon shopping with my parents for something for dinner and then they came over and I cooked a delicious meal for my family. See a picture below - I'll have the recipe on Wednesday! While we ate, Hubs and Dad watched the US Open and we had to drag them away from the TV to get to the movies on time! My dad wanted to see Snow White and the Huntsman (which I saw two weeks ago but it was totally worth seeing a second time!) and we had a great time!
All in all it was a wonderful Father's Day and I feel so blessed to have spent it with my dad and family. And my dogs even got Husband a Father's Day card! :)
As you know, I attended Syracuse Law School for a year and after many tears and lots of pro-con lists, I decided to take a leave of absence from the study of law (with no intent to go back). It was a difficult decision because I had worked so hard to go to law school and then receive enough scholarships to actually justify paying the rest of the enormous tuition costs. At the end of the day, though, I realized it just wasn't what I wanted.
I love the study of law. I met some truly amazing people while in school, and I experienced something that only those who attend law school can (the sleep-deprived, brain-over-stimulation, classmates-turned-family, love-hate relationship that is law school). I don't regret for a minute that I went to law school, but I also don't regret that I left. When I looked at my priorities and how I wanted to spend my future, I realized that what I truly want is a family and the opportunity to write.
My background is in Public Relations and I love it! I love writing in general and, since I was 8, I've declared my dream of becoming a writer. Though Public Relations is a different type of writing, it's a creative outlet that allows one to write and work with people. For now, it's exactly what I want to do! And, in the future, I hope to maybe write a book -- something creative, not legal or dry. I also want a family. To me, family is the most important thing in the world and I can't imagine a future where I can't spend time with my family like I want. I don't want to be married to my job; I want to be married to my husband. At this point, I do Public Awareness for a company that I've wanted to work for for years and I am married and have two childdogs. One day, we hope to have children and when that happens, I plan to be available to them. I couldn't guarantee that had I further pursued a legal career.
Since I attended law school and went a different direction in life, I love hearing stories of successful people who made similar choices. You would be surprised how many actors and writers there are that went to law school and either finished and went another direction or completed part of it and left to do something else. Lately, I've noticed that I've appreciated authors who chose to write and raise a family instead of continuing a legal career -- and I love it!
Today, I won a copy of Emily Giffin's newest book (release date 7/24!) Where We Belong. I'm excited to read it because every once in a while, you just need a little chick-lit in your life. I started to read a little more about her and found out that she was a lawyer who practice in NYC and then decided to pursue writing. She now has 3 beautiful children. Her legal career inspired her first book Something Borrowed (which I watched with some of my law school friends and completely related to some of the flashbacks to 1L days!).
I also told you guys about how much I loved The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin who also practiced law for a while before deciding to write and stay at home with her family. I guess part of the reason I enjoy reading authors like this is because I can relate to them. I also respect people who can turn down esteemed job titles and take a chance to share their writing with the world. It is never guaranteed that people will like a book you write and there is no job security like that of a corporate legal career, but that doesn't matter.These women probably got push-back, like I did, when they announced their decisions to leave the legal world but they didn't care. And look at them! They are successful writers that can do what they love while sharing their lives with their families. Now, THAT is something I love!
Gretchen and me enjoying a Syracuse blizzard!
This week, I'm thankful for my friend Gretchen and her creative support in my life! Haha. She's an amazing artist (if you don't believe me, check out her website here or the post I did about her a couple weeks back!)
Gretchen has been helping me brainstorm ideas for my Sicilian kitchen and she's even going to do some of the artwork for it! She's so incredibly creative and I love everything she makes! She's also bubbly, free spirit that always puts a smile on my face. Today, she has an interview for an amazing job and keep your fingers crossed that she gets it!
Today I had a "girly lunch" with a couple of my coworkers and it was so much fun! There were three of us and one found this pic that doesn't totally look like us but shows off the good time we had! I love girly lunch dates - they give us a chance to relax and talk about things that the husbands probably wouldn't care about!
I mentioned that I'm nursing a strained IT band and by the end of the day, my knee is usually aching. My doctor prescribed this anti-inflammatory gel that you can apply directly to the injury and it's great. Now I don't have to take Advil every four hours and upset my stomach. Instead, the medicine can start working directly where it's needed.
Lastly, I'm thankful for Pinterest. It sounds shallow, I know, but it's not the site that I'm thankful for, it's what it provides! I can look up something funny if I'm feeling down or I can look for decorating ideas (been doing that a lot this week!) or crafts or presents to make for people. I can also find delicious recipes and learn cool tricks about my new gardening endeavors. Today, my friend Kim and I were sending each other laughs back and forth with all of the hilarious pins we found. Sometimes it's nice to just laugh out loud (for real) and then share it with a good friend.
Loving and learning a little more each day.