Monday, March 31, 2014

Bloggers Giving Back {Well Boxed}

Some days I feel like we made a huge mistake moving to San Diego.  Some days it seems that there might be a better place in the world for us to be right now.  Then, days like last Saturday happen and I realize this might just be exactly where we're supposed to be right now.

Saturday I attended another Bloggers Giving Back event with a bunch of incredible women who also happen to be bloggers.  The organizers, who have no military affiliation what so ever, chose to support our troops for their 2nd giving back event.  Each attendee chose a deployed Soldier (or Airman, Marine, Sailor) from and bought items to make a care package for that person.

We were supplied with boxes, decorations, food, wine and great company!

  It was eye opening to participate and see how non-military spouses view care packages that are such a large part of a military spouse's life.  Some of these women were super creative and had some great ideas.  During my husband's 2 deployments I sent him more boxes than I can count but I never in a million years thought to decorate them or create a theme for them (this was 07 & 09, before Pinterest).

There was so much good stuff packed into these boxes, I know the guys & gals are going to love receiving them!

I look forward to seeing these ladies each month, I just wish they weren't quite so far away.  Thankfully we're all bloggers and active on social media so even though we only see each other once a month, I feel like I am getting to know them all so well.  I can't wait to learn what we'll be doing next month (and I hope I can squeeze it into my insanely busy schedule in April).


Sunday, March 30, 2014

This Week's Eats! {A link up}

Having friends in town for a week means no time for blogging, reading or writing (except for that one scheduled post that I totally forgot about until someone commented on it).  I hope to catch up this week!  1st things 1st, back to meal planning that doesn't involved eating out at all our favorite local restaurants.  Before our friends arrived, this month's FNM arrived in my mailbox.  It sat neglected for too long, until I flipped thought it today and found the best spread I've ever seen in a food magazine!

I walked over to my husband and told him, "This is what we're having for dinner this week".  We agreed that this is a pretty much perfect week of meals for us.  Lots of international flavors, lots of chicken (I don't eat beef or pork) and they can all go into the crock pot and be ready for us when we get home from work/school.  PERFECT!  We're trying 5 new recipes this week, if any of them turn out well, maybe I'll share the details.

Monday: Chicken Nacho Soup (SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE!)
Thursday: Turkey Pot Roast
Friday: Dinner with friends at a gender reveal party (not mine) that you will certainly see more about next week.

What are you eating this week?  Link up with Jessica Lynn.

Jessica Lynn Writes


Thursday, March 27, 2014


It's no secret that cancer sucks!  I won't bore you with stats and facts about how awful cancer is because I'd be willing to bet that every single one of you know first hand how much cancer blows.    I'm pretty confident that everyone has a friend, family member, coworker, classmate, or neighbor who has fought the disease or cared for someone fighting the disease.

In the past, every 2-3 years I cut 8-10 inches of hair and donate it to a company who makes wigs for cancer patients.  (it's been 4 year since I did it last and I cannot wait to chop off this mop after my bff's wedding in May!)

This year I decided to do more.  I'm joining a team of awesome individuals (including my cousin who's been involved for a few years now) in the fight against cancer. We're participating in the Relay for Life event in LaJolla, California.  For 24 hours in June we will walk/run around LaJolla high school celebrating remembering, and fighting back against cancer.

Part of the purpose of this event is raising money for cancer research and programs that support cancer patients.  I'm terrible at asking for money from people so instead I decided to share with you the stories of the people who I'm racing for.  The people who inspire me, are important and special to me and are fighting or have fought this terrible disease.  If you feel compelled to donate, there is a button on my side bar that will take you directly to my donation page.  If not that's ok too, I'm just happy to share the stories of friends and family who are some of the most courageous people I know.

My grandfather was very instrumental in my upbringing.  I was the first grandchild and admittedly a little spoiled by my grandparents.  There were a few years in high school and into college when things weren't exactly great at home so I spent a lot of time with my grandparents.  After my parents split in 9th grade, my mom and siblings moved to Indiana and I lived with my father who worked a lot and didn't drive so my grandparents were the ones that came to my school events and sports games.  They were so supportive of my education and helped me when times were rough.  I loved them like they were my own parents.

In 2007 my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer.  My world changed in an instant.  Thankfully, at the time, I was living in Cincinnati and was able to help with rides to treatments and doctor's appointments.  It was an awful time in my life but I was so grateful to be able to spend that time with him and my grandmother.  

Cancer is an ugly disease that ate away at my grandfather for a long time.  It changed him in so many ways but the most significant to me was his attitude.  It softened him.  He was a Marine who fought in the Korean War and never lost that hard, thick shell that Marines are known for...until the cancer.  He was still stubborn to no end but he softened a bit in those final years.  When times were bad they were bad but when they were good they were really good.

He fought hard for 2 years before the illness overtook his body.  Those last few months were a difficult but special time in my life.  Jason was deployed and I was able to spend countless hours with my grandparents.  I would take my grandmother out to lunch and we'd spend hours at the nursing home visiting my grandpa or waiting for him to wake up.  She was my best friend for years but I never felt closer to her than I did during that time.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss him/them (she passed away 2 months later).



Friday, March 21, 2014

Donut Bar

A couple weeks ago, a friend from high school posted about this breakfast spot while she was visiting San Diego.  As soon as I saw it I knew I had to check it out!  Once glance at their website and I knew I had to check it out ASAP!

Each evening they post the next day's menu which is constantly changing.

There were so many unique and intriguing choices.

I finally settled on two.  Cake batter (that was almost the size of my head)
and red velvet cake.

Jason opted for a chocolate bacon and a boring cinnamon and sugar.

I cut mine in half and it was still huge and I could only eat half of it.
I finished the rest over the next couple of days.  They were delicious but I definitely recommend eating them fresh.  Next time I want to go with a group so we can get a bunch and share because it was really just too difficult to choose only one!  This will for sure be a spot we take guest who come to visit!  Rebecca, I hope you and Seth are ready for a donut tasting morning while you're here!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Blogiversary, Kara!

Today myself and a couple other gals are helping my good friend Kara celebrate the anniversary of her blog!  Stop by and wish her a happy blogiversary then enter to win some great prizes!

Katie - Going Coastal // The Sassy Seamstress Facebook / Instagram / Twitter // Shop / Facebook / Instagram
Jes - $10 Target gift card Katie - $10 Starbucks gift certificate The Sassy Seamstress - $20 store credit I'm throwing in a $50 Target GC Chelsey - Mini Facial and $30 gift certificate to Rodan + Fields
Exfoliate- First step is exfoliation with R + F Micro-Dermabrasion Paste to polish your skin with our high-glide sugar-and-salt formula featuring Vitamins C and E. Night Serum- Smooth on the Anit-Age Night Renewing Serum which visibly reduces the signs of aging with a potent blend of peptides and retinol. Lip Serum- The Anti-Age Lip Renewing Serum helps lips retain natural moisture, smooths lip texture, and reduces lip wrinkles.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stitch Fix 2

I was so excited when I got an email from Stitch Fix letting me know my second fix was.  I raced home from work and tore the box open.  I knew immediately it was going to be a disappointment.  Remember those awesome jeans I got in the last fix that I loved some much, well I don't know if I mentioned it on here or not but some jerk stole them out of our communal dryer just days after I got them.  I was so angry!  I emailed Stitch Fix and begged them to send me another pair.  I couldn't wait to get them.  When I saw the replacement pair I could have cried, they're the same but different.  Part of the reason I loved the original pair so much was their color.  Stitch Fix had informed me that there was no guarantee but I was so hopeful.

{The jeans were awful.  The stitching on them made it look like I had a .... I don't want to say it because I know it'll bring some weirdos to my blog but it has to do with a part of a hump backed desert dwelling mammal.  It was NOT attractive!  RETURN}

{The top was ok.  Not great, not terible. RETURN}

{I don't even know what to say about this top.  It was an attached sweater and tank which I hate and it's pastel which I hate.  I actually don't think it looks bad in the photo but it just isn't me.  RETURN}

{I don't like tops that are 2 different fabrics, I don't know why, it just irritates me so I thought for sure I was going to hate this.  I put it on and actually really liked it...
 so much so that I took another photo and seriously considered keeping it.  Part of the reason I started doing this was to step outside my fashion comfort zone and this was definitely it.  It's hard to tell in the photos but the front is actually super thin and see through.  That was the deciding factor for me.  I'm too old to wear see through clothes and it looked bad with a tank underneath.  RETURN}

 {This top had the most promise.  It's fun, colorful, and the pattern is not what I would normally choose (polka dots or stripes) but it fit kind of weird and I don't like the bottom half.  I would have kept it if it were all the pattern.  RETURN}

This box was a bust but I'm still confident this can work.  I'll be back again next month, hopefully with better results.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

This Week's Eats {A link up}

Another menu link up!  I love how this keeps me accountable for my meal plan each week.  Meal planning, when I stick to it, helps us save money, waste less, and it's just so nice not having to think about what I'll make for dinner every single day.  Jason doesn't often make requests for dinner so when he does it's almost a given that I'll make it for him, whatever it is.  Even though we just had sausage and kraut, he asked for it again so it's back on the menu for the week.   We have a fundraiser for our Relay for Life team at a restaurant this week (if you're so compelled, you can make a donation via that link over on my sidebar, I'll be talking more about that more in the near future) and we have friends coming to visit next weekend so this is an exciting and unusual week for us.

Sunday:  Grill
Monday: Sausage & Kraut
Tuesday: Chicken Tikka Masala
Wednesday: Relay for Life fundraiser at Rubio's in LaJolla
 (if you're in the area, come out for dinner and support the fight against cancer!)

Thursday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken and homemade coleslaw
Friday: Tasty Shrimp {this has been on my pinterest for ages and I always put it in the running for the weekly meal plan and it always gets nudged out by something else, not this week.  It better not dissapoint!}
Saturday: Rebecca & Seth arrive in SoCal!!!!!!!!!!  Late night bites will be had in LA!

Jessica Lynn Writes


Saturday, March 15, 2014

New New Blog Design

Back in September I started working with Fran of Freeborboleta Designs to design a new blog look to go with this new stage in our lives.  After a several weeks of back and forth emails (it is very difficult for me to put the images in my head into words that are coherent to others), she gave me exactly what I asked for.  Then I realized I hated my own idea!  It just wasn't me.  I was struggling to redefine what this blog would become without the strong military influence and that struggle reflected in the new design.  It was boring!  I must reiterate that this is no fault of Fran's, she literally did precisely what I asked of her.  After looking at it for a couple of months, I just couldn't take it any more.

I went back to Fran and begged her to help me again, this time with an image as inspiration instead of my horrible attempt to use design vocabulary.  Our second pursuit only took a few emails, to discuss colors and density, and she nailed it!  She started with my contact cards so I could get them ordered in time for an upcoming conference.

And today she installed the blog design of my dreams!  It's colorful and playful and so reflective of my personality, not the boring "classic & simple" design I asked for originally because, let's face it, those are not words I use to describe myself, ever!

Fran, thank you for all of your hard work, I know I was not an easy client!

Happy weekend, everyone!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Penguins versus Ducks

For a few months now, at the advice of the fabulous Kara, I've been using a couple money making apps on my iPhone.  I decided to just kept stockpiling my earnings until I found something that I really wanted but wasn't in the budget.  A few weeks ago I realized the Pittsburgh Penguins we're going to be in Anaheim playing the Ducks.  I really wanted tickets but NHL prices are definitely not in our budget right now, so I cashed in my earnings and bought a couple tickets!  The game was on Friday at 7 and even though I get off work at 430, we were still late!  What should take less than an hour and a half on a Friday evening in SoCal took 3.5 hours.  UGH!  I was not pleasant in the car but luckily this man is far more patient that me and loves me despite my faults.

One of my favorite things about NHL games is that they don't permit you to walk around while the puck is in play, 1 for your safety and 2 so you don't obstruct the view of others.  I hate when you're at a live sporting event and someone walks right in front of you just when the game changing play happens, UGH, the worst!

 While I was standing there waiting for the play to stop so I could go in search of my seat, the best thing happened, THE PENS SCORED!  I was so shocked and not really into the game yet that I failed to take a photo.  I was even more shocked that the crowd went wild!  Even though we were the away team, the arena was packed with Pens fans and IT.WAS.AWESOME!


All night Jason was cheering for "penalty shots! penalty shots!"  He didn't exactly get to see a penalty shot but the next best thing, the game went into OT then a shootout, which is essentially repeated penalty shots.  It was intense, nail biting fun and I loved every second of it, especially this awesome goal from Sydney Crosby.

In the end, the Penguins came out on top and we got to see some bonus hockey!  Plus, the tickets were essentially free, WIN-WIN!

I was a little jazzed!  I miss this game so much.