Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Recent Happenings

Well, I have felt really busy lately.  I'm not as busy as a lot of people, but I'm still just having a hard time adjusting to all of the changes we've gone through since the move. 

Last week, I planted flowers in my mother-in-law's planters.  I was pretty excited because I bought most of the plants on clearance, and for the most part, they're perking up pretty well!  We've had quite a bit of rain lately, so they're certainly not thirsty!  These photos are from just a few days after planting, and they're even starting to look better!  Yay!

I've also had my first Smoothie King since moving back, and man was it de-li-cious!!!  Raspberry Sunrise, I love you!

Thomas and I have gone on a couple country drives so far, and I can honestly say that those are the times when I'm truly happy we're here.  The hills and valleys, the winding roads, the sunshine and shade.  Country drives are amazing.

I also went kayaking with my mom over the weekend.  It was so incredibly peaceful and relaxing.  I got a mondo sunburn from it, but it was totally worth it!

I am really loving my new job too!  The people I work with are so easy-going and fun, and I look forward to getting to go to work!  In case you're curious, I'm working for a wedding videography and photography studio.  (Of course I have no talent for filming or editing, but I get to do all of the scheduling and office work.)  I sort of really love working with artists, because I totally understand the creative side of things, but I get to be the organized calm in the middle of the creative chaos.  It's super fun!

I've been making a few changes to my fitness program, trying to find a new rhythm.  I'm getting a bike for my birthday (hopefully before my birthday), so until then, the bike riding is on hold.  I also don't have a place to swim on a regular basis, and that's the part that's making me the most nervous.  I'm fair at swimming, but I was just getting the hang of the form and breathing of lap swimming before we moved.  So, I'm going to have to figure out what to do with that.  But the running is still going well.  I've changed Wednesdays to speed days where I run a 5k and try to beat last week's time every week, so that's what I did this morning.  Mondays and Saturdays are the longer runs now.  But that's enough about my fitness routine...

Oh!  I almost forgot that I started a new scarf this weekend!  If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen a preview of that.  But now I've got the loom all warped up, and I wove the first few rows the other night, so here's a sneak peek!  (The dark blue is the warp; the white is just filler.)

That's about all I've got going right now.  I did bake a batch of the Gooey Funfetti Cake Bars for everyone to take with their lunches this week, and boy are they good!  If you haven't tried them yet, you should!  (Ha!  That kind of rhymed.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Two Super Great Movies

Ok... So I've been neglecting the blog a bit lately.  I'd like to excuse myself by saying that it was unconsciously done, but that just wouldn't be true.  I've thought about blogging...  It's been on my to-do list for a while... I just haven't felt like it.  Really, I've been "pretty busy".  And that's in quotes because I'm not really that busy.  It's just that I'm a lot busier than I was before the move.  There are so many changes that have happened that affect the amount of time I have in my day.  And those things also affect what I want to do with that extra time that isn't already scheduled for something.

So anyway... here is a review of the two movies we've seen recently (both of which I loved), and then I will work on a more personal update post for later in the week.

X-Men: Days of Future Past - Oh!  I was so incredibly excited when this movie lived up to my insanely high expectations.  The first trailer is to die for, and that made so so anxious to see the movie.  And so I am very glad that it lived up to everything I'd hoped for.  It answered all of my questions.  It dealt with all of the inconsistencies that could have created problems.  The acting was superb.  The X-Men characters that were chosen for this movie were perfect.  Pretty much every single little thing about this movie was absolutely perfect.  Ugh, just writing this post is making me want to see it again.  If you're a big X-Men/comic book lover, then I'm not sure if you'll have the same feelings about it as I did (it is an original storyline that strays away from the comic books), but you should give it a try anyway.  It was superb.  And can I just say that the two versions of Professor Charles Xavier were one of my favorite parts.  James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart together as the two different ages were amazing.  Just amazing.  I loved this movie.

Edge of Tomorrow
- This movie was Groundhog Day with aliens.  Just kidding; but that's the main idea.  Tom Cruise's character is stuck waking up on the same day every time he dies.  And while he's stuck there, he has to stop a war between humans and aliens.  Emily Blunt co-stars in this action/sci-fi flick (don't you just love her?!  I know I do.) and does an amazing job.  This is the first time I've seen her in a role where she literally gets to kick butt, and she does it!  I really loved the balance in this movie.  I can imagine that it's difficult to show the same day happening over and over again without getting boring.  Of course, the events don't happen the same way each time as Cruise and Blunt's characters take different actions.  But they still have to keep coming back to a few key scenes to remind you that this "isn't his first rodeo".  The plot was incredibly interesting, and I never would have guessed the ending (if Thomas hadn't leaned over and whispered it to me about two minutes before it happened).  I really loved the two main actors and thought that they did a great job on screen.  If you like sci-fi types of films, I would highly suggest this one!

So there are two great movies you could see this weekend.  A couple of others that I haven't seen yet but am planning on seeing are:  How to Train Your Dragon 2 (of course!!!), 22 Jump Street, and The Fault in Our Stars (I seriously need to read the book too.).

Like I mentioned, I'll be back later this week with some updates on what I've been up to!  Feel free to follow me on Instagram to get more "instant" updates!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Yahweh-Yireh (Again)

I wrote a post last April about how the Lord provides in ways we often don't expect.  That's what "Yahweh-yireh" means: the Lord will provide.  And though more than a year has passed since that post, the Lord has not stopped providing for Thomas and me.

Our decision to move to St. Louis was so fast and so sure that we just knew God was laying out the path before us.  When we prayed for God to basically smack us in the faces with the plan, He obliged.

And He has continued to assure us that this is His plan, and we are safe in His arms.

The biggest way He has provided since we got to St. Louis is with jobs.  Within five days of moving here, Thomas and I both interviewed for and were offered jobs!  Within five days!  Now, if that's not proof that God still works miracles, I don't know what would be!

So we are getting settled in our new town, new home, and new jobs.  It's still tough though.  There are a lot of little things that hit me periodically to make me miss Florida and the life we had there.

The weather here certainly isn't helping.  It has been cloudy and rainy pretty much everyday since we got here.  And that's probably one of the things that's bothering me most right now.  I sincerely miss the brilliant sunshine.  But instead, this is what I've got:
I snapped this photo on my way home from work yesterday afternoon.  Yes, in the middle of the day, this is how dark it was.  Now, don't get me wrong, it did rain and storm occasionally in Florida, but not for a whole depressing week.  I just have to keep remembering that the sunshine will return eventually.

...And that the Lord provides.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Gooey Funfetti Cake Bars

I made these delicious cake bars last week for the wonderful friends who came over to help us move out of our apartment in Florida.  I knew they were going to work so hard (and they did), so I wanted to make sure that I had something special to treat them with.

As I was scouring through my dessert boards on Pinterest, I saw these, and I just knew they would be perfect!  Lots of sprinkles, chocolate chips, and of course, a super gooey center.

They could have been slightly better if I hadn't gotten them a little over done in the oven.  Of course, I set the timer when I put them in, but then I went and worked on packing.  So when the timer went off, it didn't register in my brain until a few minutes later, at which point, I screamed and sprinted into the kitchen, all while Thomas was frantically asking "WHAT???" and looking at me like I was crazy. 

So they were a little crunchy on the outsides (a little crunchier than I'd prefer) but still gooey and delicious in the center.  I will definitely be making these again!!!

Gooey Funfetti Cake Bars
Adapted from: Crazy for Crust (You should really go check out her pictures; my one snapshot does not do these delicious things justice.)
Makes: 16 squares (a 9x9 pan)

1 box Funfetti cake mix (just the dry mix)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sprinkles
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (out of a can)
1 cup chocolate chips/chunks (You can use any variety.  I used half white chocolate and half milk chocolate.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a metal 9x9 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine cake mix, softened butter, and the egg in a bowl.  Blend with a mixer until a thick dough forms.
  3. Divide dough and press 2/3 of it into the prepared pan.  (I used wax paper to help me make it a little more even.)
  4. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips/chunks, the sprinkles, and pour the sweetened condensed milk on top.
  5. Roll the remaining dough into balls and then smoosh them flat and lay them on top of the mixture.  Try to cover as much of the pan as possible.  (Once again, I used a sheet of wax paper over top to smoosh it all together.)
  6. Bake the bars for 30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
  7. Remove from oven, and use the parchment paper to remove the bars from the pan.  Place on a wire rack to cool before cutting into 16 squares.
Like I said, even slightly burnt, these were amazing!  If you like gooey butter cookies, chess squares, or whatever else they're called, you should try this fun variation!

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Funny Story

Ok... So I have to tell this story, mostly because I can't hardly believe it myself.

I had an interview today for a job I was pretty excited about.  So, naturally, I was so nervous I could hardly think about anything else.  (I get incredibly, stupidly nervous about a lot of things.)  And when I'm nervous about things, I tend to "kind of" dream about them.

Now, here's what I mean about "kind of":  If you didn't know me, and I just walked up to you on the street and told you about the dream I had last night, you would think I was on acid or something.  Literally.  My dreams are insanely weird.  I promise that I couldn't make this stuff up or make it weirder if I tried.  I don't know what happens to my brain when I go to sleep, but it goes nuts!  (I guess it's all the crazy I cage up during the day seeping out at night.)

So, anyway, I had a dream of my interview last night, but of course, it was super weird.  Here's the gist:

I walked in to a busy office and there were a bunch of people around having a meeting or something and generally ignoring me while I waited for the person I was supposed to interview with.  (I was also doing some sort of weird swaying back and forth thing at this point and chastising myself for swaying around inside the office with people around.)  When the guy brought me back into the office for the interview, he was talking about a lot of pop culture, movies, and books, etc.  And on his desk, he had a collection of TARDIS from the show "Doctor Who" which he pointed out to me.  (Thomas and I are HUGE "Doctor Who" fans.)  He was asking me how many of the "Classics" I'd read (like, classic old books), and I, trying to sound smart, mentioned that I'd recently read Anna Karenina (because I haven't read a ton of the classics).  Then he explained that, in his opinion, the most important "Classic" is The Lord of the Rings, which I didn't really think counted...  There's more detail to the dream, but let's get to the point of this story.

This morning when I woke up, I thought my dream was, as usual, weird, but I didn't put much stock into it because my dreams are always weird.  But when I got to the interview today...

The very first thing I saw when I opened the door was... an almost-life-size cardboard cut out of a TARDIS...  And I just stood there for a minute with my mouth hanging open...  And then I continued into the office and turned back around just to make sure I hadn't imagined it...  There it was... A TARDIS... in the office... really similar to my dream.

I can't believe that even a small portion of my ridiculous nerves-induced dream came true.  I'm still baffled by it.  You probably don't think this is as crazy as I do, but I just had to put it out there.

Anyway, I will have the dessert recipe up tomorrow.  Here's a peek (I don't have any great photos for it because I made these in the process of the move).

Gooey Funfetti Cake Bars... yummy!  Even a little over-done, these things were delish!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June Julep Box

This month's Julep box is a definite win!  Yes, I have already tried out the three new products I got in the mail on Monday.  :)

The subscription I have gets me two polishes and one related beauty product each month, so here's what I got:

  • A silvery-purple polish called Colette
  • A purpley-silver polish called Sera
  • Julep's Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat
  • And an extra:  three Pixy Sticks!  Hehe!  (And yes, there is only one in the photo because Thomas and I ate the other two the moment I opened up the box.  I don't think I'd had a Pixy Stick in about ten years or more!  Lol.)

I love that the two polishes I got this month coordinate really well.  Here's the manicure I did on Tuesday, even though its already chipped because I painted my nails and then promptly began a hardcore cleaning session... I should have known that was a dumb idea with freshly-painted, still-slightly-tacky nails.

I'm not exactly sure how well the base coat will work yet.  It is supposed to help your nails breathe and grow better with polish on.  And it also smooths out the surface of your nails so that your polish goes on more evenly, lasts longer, and doesn't stain your nails.  (Cause who doesn't hate yucky colored nails?!)  I did notice that I only needed one coat of each of these colors.  I'm not sure if that's due to the pigmentation of these particular polishes or because the base coat was being awesome, but I'll make sure to follow up on that as I continue to try it out!

If you're interested in becoming a Maven (joining Julep), just click the icon below to find out your style profile, get more info, and sign up!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello to Missouri

Well, I'm exhausted!  It has been a very tiring weekend.  Here's the snapshot:

Friday - Loaded everything we own into a UHaul in the morning, then drove 9.5 hours to Atlanta to stop for the night.
Saturday - Drove 12 hours from Atlanta to St. Louis, then cleaned out Thomas' parents' basement (where we're living for a few months) as much as we could so that we could move in the next morning.
Sunday - Unloaded everything we own into our new home, tried desperately to make everything "fit" into a much smaller space.

Ok, so now that I've written that up and read it, it doesn't really sound that bad.  But I am exhausted beyond all belief.  It doesn't help that I haven't been sleeping well for the past two weeks or so with so much on my mind.  Hopefully that will begin to remedy itself.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you would have seen the progress of our journey from Florida to Missouri.

Here are a few things I'm loving about being back in Missouri so far:

Imo's Pizza!  I have missed this delicious "square beyond compare".  This was our first Missouri meal.

Qdoba!  So, so, so much better than Chipotle or Moe's.  No comparison whatsoever!

QT!  Yes, it sounds silly to be excited about a gas station, but these are the most respectable, reliable gas stations ever.  Thank goodness we are done with Florida's unreliable gas stations.

"My" new kitchen!  Ok, so it's not actually mine.  It's my mother-in-law's.  But I get to take over the cooking while we're living at their house for the next few months, and I'm really excited to get to use her brand new, top of the line kitchen!  (I'll take some pics sometime to show you!)

Those are just the few experiences we've had since being back.

Here are some things to look forward to on the blog as I get back into the swing of things now that the move is winding down:

A review of X-Men: Days of Future Past - Hint hint:  I LOVED it!
A new recipe - That's right!  There will be a new dessert recipe up later this week.
My June Julep box - It came in the mail today!
More Missouri Updates - I'm sure I'll have more to share in this department.