Sunday, March 31, 2013

here comes peter cottontail...

On the way to Easter Mass last year.
A little sore from the night before.
Won't be making that mistake again.
This year I am forgoing church and spending some time at my Grandparents. My Grandpa has been in a nursing home for a while due to his Parkinson's Disease, and they're letting him come home for the day to spend some time in a happier environment.

But first, I wanted to pop in and share with you my favorite part of any holiday, scary pictures. OK so not really, but these sure were hilarious.


Are you horrified? Because I am. However you celebrate, I hope it does not include a creepy bunny. Unless you're into that.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dear Readers, Penny for your thoughts?

This is one big fat Dear Readers, edition of Friday's Letters.

In the past few weeks, my little blog has gone from a few followers and page views here and there, to dozens and dozens of people following along and reading every day. While this pales in comparison to many others, to me, it seems like a pretty big deal.

While I think this blog will always remain first and foremost a place for me to rant and rave, I also have bigger dreams for my little space. I hope to one day use it to promote a business (if I can ever come up with a good business idea). Or maybe promote a cause. If my wildest dreams come true, maybe one day this blog itself will be the business. Only time will tell.

What?! We're not already famous?!
Whether I never gain another reader or follower, or if I grow larger than I can even fathom today, I want to know something.

What do you think?

What makes you come back to read my posts? How did you find my blog to being with? What's your favorite topic or post? What made you decide to follow in the first place? Is there something you'd like to see more or less of? Anything you've wanted to ask me? That you enjoy seeing on blogs or new blogs in general? I'm pretty much an open book.

Whether you follow or not, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment in regards to any of the above. Or just introduce yourself so I can get to know your blog too!

I need to be a little more...

Grateful. Patient. Gracious.

Does anyone else ever feel like this? Seriously, I live the most charmed life. I work very hard, and have all my life, but the blessings and gifts I've been given far outweigh any bad day or sour moment I've ever had. And there have been some sour ones. I could sit here and brag for days, but I'll save that for another post :). Just make no mistake about it, life for me is far above and beyond good.

So WHY in the world am I constantly losing my temper? Having road rage? Cursing this person or that person who takes up too much of my time on the phone? I know these people deserve respect (usually). I know they could be having a bad day, have just lost a loved one, or maybe have a disability. IDK what it is, but today I feel like Hillary Swank in P.S. I Love You. Right after she has a melt down on Gerard Butler, and then he dies.

Point is, no matter how much I cognitively acknowledge that I am blessed beyond belief, I cannot get that school of thought to stay embedded in my every day attitudes and actions.

Does anyone else ever feel this way? Please tell me I'm not alone. I am on the hunt to live my life as an overall more grateful and gracious person. Any tips out there for ways to take a little more time and smell the roses?

Happy almost Friday!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

what i'm lovin + blog design freebies

Last night, I attended my third Hot Yoga class since joining Moksha. Last night's class was a little more strengthening based than the others I'd taken, and much more fast paced. Take it from me, someone who hates working out, that this is honestly worth the many pennies it sets ya back to take a class. I love the intense workout that's still relaxing at the same time. My final gush about class is this- it's 100 degrees. With this weather, it may be the only warmth I feel for a long while.

I'm loving my fiance a little extra today. Last night while I was at yoga, he cooked us up a Mexican feast, complete with Bud Light Lime. It's the little things, that's for sure. When we first moved in together, I enjoyed the novelty of cooking dinner for us. And sometimes, I still do. Other times- it just feels like a chore. I was glad to have that responsibility off my plate for a night :) Thanks W!

I'm loving that we're just six weeks away from my big day! Once all this wedding craziness dies down, I'm going to have to find something new to be obsessed with blog about. My garter came in last night and I can't wait to pick it up! We're getting to the nitty gritty with planning details, and everything is becoming so real. I can't wait until that part is done and I can just relax and enjoy every moment up until I marry my best friend.

just because this is a great quote

Last but not least, I'm loving my new blog design! Thanks to three eleven design, I now have something happy and bright for Spring, if it will ever come.... AND if you purchase a custom design and mention you heard about her here in the "notes to seller" box, you'll get a free signature and favicon. Brielle was quick, easy to work with, and of course created a great design.

That's all for today folks. What are you loving? Linking up with This Kind of Love.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

lessons learned: timing is everything

Note: I'm also being featured today on From California to Kansas by Mallory today! Be sure to check it out to learn some of my favorite things. There are lots of new faces around here lately, and it'd be a great way to get to know yours truly a little better.

Now on to today's post.

I'm no expert on anything, but I know a little about a lot of things. There are a few life lessons I've learned in my years that I really value. One being, timing is everything.

This is something I think about quite frequently. What if I do this, or would have done this. So many things could be different. I live my life kind of flying by the seat of my pants. With little preparation or research. I just do what feels right. So timing is big for me.

The other day I was driving home from work thinking "I can't believe this weekend is my bridal shower. I'm just over a month away from marriage." I didn't feel any disbelief, or fear, or nervousness. It just feels right. As much as the day before I met Will, I could have never imagined my life would be this sweet, this full of love, this domesticated- I also cannot imagine it any other way now. The mere glimpse of a thought that somehow, our relationship could be totally different, or not even be at all, is truly a nightmare.

So many things could have altered where I am (we are) today. Isn't it always that way? The acceptance or decline of a job offer. Choosing one restaurant or bar over another. Deciding to stay in instead of go out. All of these are things that in retrospect, have really altered my course. But was it really those things? Or would God and the powers at be have stepped in regardless and led me here, to where I needed to be? One will probably never know. What I do know is this.

Timing really is everything. Had I met Will three years ago, no chance in HELL I would have been ready for what we have now. I ended up graduating from UC, but had I not had stints here and there at other schools, I never would have made some of my favorite memories. Met some of my best friends. Learned some of my most cherished lessons. I despised moving around so much while growing up. Bouncing from state to state, city to city. But those moves taught me that there is always a new beginning. And sometimes, it's better than the last.

I'm really not going anywhere with this, but I will spend some time today thinking about the timing of things. We spend so much time worrying and rushing and complaining (I do at least). Today lets try to take some time and think about how God, or whoever/whatever you believe in, is sometimes more in control than we think :)

Do you have a story about how timing totally changed your day? Your life? Share it with me!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Bridal Shower Recap

Spring has sprung in the world of g squared. No mind that I'm in the midst of a supposed snow storm. Between the new blog design (more to come on that in another post), and my springy bridal shower- I am officially done with winter.

My word people. It was amazing. And getting to spend some time with my Mom and sisters was even more amazing. No matter how much time passes, when I see them there is always lots of laughing and cuddling and togetherness that can only take place between a family of girls.

We kicked off the weekend with Mom making beef stroganoff (one of my favorites) and some shopping. Many calories were consumed, and we found the finishing touches for everyone's shower outfits. Friday night Will was a great sport and slept downstairs, so we could all crash sleepover style in the master.

Saturday morning our house exploded with clothes and makeup and flat irons. After getting pretty we headed to the shower to meet my bridesmaids and start setting things up. I'd been minimally involved with the planning so I wasn't sure what to expect. My MOH seriously knocked it out of the park.

My mini-mes
When people started to arrive things got a little cray. I'm not the most comfortable with having the attention on me, so I was kind of panicked. The mimosas helped ;) We played a few games that turned out to be pretty hilarious, and the food and deserts were delicious.

Overall I was truly just overwhelmed with gratitude. The amount of people that showed up, even travelled from out of state, to support me/us and our wedding is hard to fathom. And the presents. Lord, the presents.

Me and my amazing Grandma!

Centerpieces we brought home

Adorable sign made by one of my maids
All of our swag organized back at home
We've opened and set aside a few to enjoy right away, but are going to save most of them until we can get a little more organized and get rid of some of our old things. I am so so so thankful for every single thing we got, but the Keurig, heated blanked, sewing machine, my silk robe, and some of the kitchenwares must be put to use right away. Some of them may have already been enjoyed ;)

Afterwards the bridesmaids came over to pick up their dresses and shoes. I am beyond thankful for all of their help and support, and everything they did to make my day special. There was something like 50 shower guests, and everything went off without a hitch!


I got a ton of compliments on my dress, and I am SO glad this hellacious excuse for a spring cooperated long enough for me to wear it. It's from Banana Republic, but I bought it months ago, so I can't find it online anywhere to share.

One party down, now just 48 days of life and a bachelorette party stand in the way of me becoming a married lady. Guess I should get to finishing my planning!!


Friday, March 22, 2013

22 degrees on March 22nd... at least it's Friday?

This has nothing to do with my post, but since it's Friday, and this is how I feel 90% of the time, it seemed appropriate.

Happy Friday people! It's wedding shower weekend around these parts!

And there's still time to enter this baby. KitchenAid giveaway = amazing and clearly necessary.

I love my job, but work has me at my wit's end. It's only 21 degrees, and I am in the office instead of waiting at home from the arrival of my mom and sissys on the couch like I should be. So as usual. Friday, you are my saving grace. Is it 5pm yet?

Enough griping, let's get to it.

Dear Will, Thank you for being so amazing and selfless. On any given day I find myself ranting and raving about one thing or another, and you take it like a champ. Please, please, forgive me. I'm working on it. Speaking of working on it... Dear Hot Yoga, Excuse my language- but holy shit. You are not a joke. 75+ minutes of stretching, not speaking, holding difficult positions, in a 100 degree room, while remaining calm? I hate you so so good. I will be back. But next time, I probably won't drink a beer first. I read that you burn 800 calories a class. I hope that this is true. Dear Bridal Shower Hosts, EEEKK!! That's all I can say. I am so thrilled, excited, and thankful for all that you have done. Tomorrow officially kicks of my wedding celebration, and I can't wait to get the party started :)

Speaking of TGIF, did anyone used to watch One Saturday Morning? I really miss "Pepper Ann Pepper Ann much too cool for seventh grade, Pepper Ann she's like one in a MILL-ION! " I also miss Recess. When weekends meant literally 100% freedom, as long as you came home by dark. The good old days.

Later ladies,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just a few things...

Just a few things today.

1. It's my momma's birthday! Happy Birthday Mom!

 Bunny ears courtesy of little sissy 1, photography courtesy of little sissy 2

2. Said momma and my sisters will be headed east from Chicago bright and early tomorrow. Can't wait it to be in a house full of girls again :) I am still adjusting to Will and his male dominated family!

3. I was hoping the weather would break for my bridal shower on Saturday. I just knew it would come around. Doesn't appear it'll be the glorious Spring day I'd imagined, but I'll take 51 over today's 32 degree temps in a heat beat.

4. I am embarking on my second hot yoga adventure tonight. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Perfect (and easiest) Meatloaf

This is what's going on at my house right now.

Please don't judge my grandma plates. We have LOTS of hand me downs.

Anyway, that so good it's almost gone meal on my plate, was meatloaf. The best, most delicious and easiest meatloaf of all time. W and myself both love this dish, so I have tried about 7 different recipes for it over the past year. Some with different combinations of meat or veggies or sauces, and this is by far the most successful. And surprisingly one of the easiest. Don't you love when that happens? You will need...

1 small/medium onion, diced
1 box of stove top stuffing chicken flavor (I used Kroger brand)
1-1 1/4 lb of ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2-1 cup ketchup
2 eggs
1/2 cup water

Step One

Mix everything together, except 1/2 of your ketchup and 1/2 of your brown sugar.

Step Two

Form mixture into a loaf. Place in a greased/kitchen sprayed glass baking dish or loaf pan.

Step Three

Top with remaining ketchup and brown sugar. Bake for one hour at 350.

Boom. Amazing meatloaf. I didn't take a pic of the whole finished product, because no matter how amazing, meatloaf is not pretty.

Some tips I have learned in all my attempts at this deliciousness are

1. Add chopped carrots or banana peppers or whatever vegetable you like. Almost anything will work, depending on your family's preferences.

2. Know your oven. A lot of recipes say to cook this at 350, mine seems to do better if I set it at 375.

3. This is a GREAT freezable. I usually make a full recipe, bake half, freeze the rest, then whip it out when I'm too lazy to cook.

4. Baking the mixture in a muffin tin for about half the time makes it even easier and more convenient! It's all the rage on Pinterest.

For dessert, these two suggest Frosty Paws by Purina.

Any tips you've discovered on your attempts at meatloaf?

My First Hot Yoga Class + KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Let us start with the hot yoga. OMG. That is basically all I can say right now. I have played sports all my life, and experimented with different work outs and classes, but this was by far my favorite. It was energizing and relaxing at the same time. I'll be writing a separate post about how my lazy butt actually decided to get some exercise, the studio I chose, etc, at a later date. For now just know, if you have been debating hot yoga- DO IT!

 On to more important things :) If you read Newlywed Moments you already know how great Emily and her posts are. If you don't, then start, because she's pretty awesome. I'm joining up with Emily and some other awesome bloggers to give away a KitchenAid Mixer!

KitchenAid mixer giveaway

This is by far the most coveted item on all wedding registries and wish lists for those of us who like to cook. I don't have one myself, but if someone doesn't gift us one for the wedding, it will be purchased ASAP.

For a second I thought to myself "do you really want to do a giveaway?" Yup. I do. Hello, it's a KitchenAid. And it's a great group of bloggers you will get to know, so it's a win-win. Enter away ladies!

One lucky reader will win this white-colored KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer! Rules & Information: -- Giveaway is open to U.S. readers only. -- The winner will be verified, so please enter honestly. -- The winner will be notified by email on 3/27/13 and will have 24 hours to respond.
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