Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Random Wednesday

Oh yay, it's Wednesday!
It's time for Random Wednesday with Shanna!

I may or may not have an addiction to Ben & Jerry's Blueberry Vanilla Graham Greek Frozen Yogurt. Words can't express how amazing this stuff is. I discovered it several months ago and can't stop. I usually get sick of "snacks" and rarely buy the same thing twice, but this is the exception. I wonder if I could replicate it in my ice cream maker, but I'm not sure it would be the same. 

I'm still a little sore from running two days ago. Maybe I need to lay off the froyo, huh?

All I want to talk about lately is food. Really, I do other things besides eat. But can I tell you how good Chipotle tasted last night after an extremely tough day at work? Amazing.

Speaking of tough days at work... It is really really hard to be a therapist some days. It's never been an easy job, but some days are harder than others. Today was one of those very tough days. It's so hard to remember to take care of myself and not let things "get" to me. I tend to take on others' problems (in both my personal and professional life) which is just exhausting. I'm working on it.

The weather here has been insane. It was 15 degrees last week and snowed... Monday there was ice... and yesterday it was sunny and 65. Please, Maryland, make up your mind! And I would prefer you settle on the warm and sunny weather!

I hope everyone has a happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taming that Frizz

My hair has been a struggle since age 12... around that age it went from sort of wavy/manageable to very wavy and frizzy. I've since been able to wrangle it in, and even decided to grow it long in the past few years. Although it's a little more "under control"now, if I don't straighten/curl it's just a frizzy mess. My hair is VERY thick and takes a lot of sectioning, time, and patience to even get it dry in the morning.

I've owned about 10 flat irons in my life. I've been through cheap Conair irons (which do nothing on my hair) and currently use a more expensive flat iron that works wonders. When Misikko asked me to review the Hana Professional Flat Iron, I had to say "yes". They claim it's the best flat iron, with a 360 degree swivel cord, hot temperature, ceramic and tourmaline plates, and curved edges. I've heard great things about Hana products, and Misikko did not disappoint with their packaging of this product.

Heat proof mat, pouch (flat iron is below the pouch in it's own snap case) and other goodies.

Here's after blow-drying completely, using a flat brush.

Keeping in mind that my ends are terrible and I'm in desperate need of a trim, this straightener did pretty well. It gets super hot (450F) and glides smoothly throughout the hair. Due to the thickness and length of my hair, I typically prefer a wider iron (this one is 1 inch and my current iron is 1.5 inch). I think this flat iron would be perfect for someone with shorter or thinner hair than mine, just due to the width of the iron. I was so impressed with the packaging and "extras" that came with this flat iron and would definitely recommend ordering from Misikko- I know I will be!

I received this flat iron to review but all opinions are 100% my own!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend Update

So, I'm not really sure what happened this weekend, but I'm sad it's over. It wasn't very eventful, which seems like the norm lately. Being so busy during the week makes me want to make zero plans over the weekends. Sometimes just sitting on the couch feels so good. Am I right?
Wine, gouda cheese, and crackers. What do you mean, it was still light outside?
And no, our pictures are still not on the walls. We are moving in another 2 months, so there's no point.
I did manage to clean the apartment up, do some laundry, and get the grocery shopping done for the week. That's pretty darn successful  It feels good to have that stuff out of the way so we don't have to worry about it during the week. Chris and I even went to the gym for the first time in a long time. I'm surprised I was able to run for 15 minutes.... for me, that's a good start. Baby steps!

We watched Pitch Perfect, which I'd already seen in the theater but Chris hadn't seen yet... I think it was even funnier the second time.

It snowed on Friday, which made for a pretty, snowy (and cold) weekend. I even got to pull out my favorite snow boots! 

I spent a while working on blog stuff this weekend and feel compelled to say a little something. I love reading other blogs and getting to know people through their writing. However, it makes me sad when people fail to give others credit for their original ideas, or even to go as far as copy off others' work. Personally, I try very hard to keep my blog as a reflection of "me". I really try to post original ideas as well as participate in link-ups (like this one) and unique idea link-ups like this one. I think it's great to use each other as sounding boards for ideas, to spur creativity, and to make connections. I think it's even more important to remember your voice and use your own ideas- what's the point, otherwise? Niki wrote a great and appropriate post on this a while back. (Unfortunately it was based off frustrating circumstances, but her point was definitely made). I think it's sad that we even feel the need to mention this on our own blogs, and that it still remains an issue. I certainly don't feel like I'm in the place to "preach" blog rules, let people know of my "blog pet peeves" as I'm a pretty small blog, but stealing others' property is just unacceptable in my opinion.

That being said, I've also done some clean-up. I will only be posting my own pictures on this blog- no exceptions. I've taken down many of my posts and taken out a lot of pictures that weren't mine. Although I always give credit to my sources, this is something I'm trying to be extra careful with. 
I hope that others will try to be a little more careful with using other bloggers' ideas. Imitation may be the greatest form of flattery, but stealing is not.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and has a fantastic week. I'm excited to be linking up with Sami and Leeann as usual!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday's Letters

Happy Friday, loves.
I decided to link up for Friday's Letters today...have to switch things up a little bit sometimes :)

Dear Snow, thank you so much for making an appearance this season. It's about darn time. I hear you'll be back later today which should make for a fun rush hour. I won't complain, you are pretty to look at. At least you make this temperature more bearable...

Dear former co-workers/friends, it was good to see some of you this week. I really really miss talking to you all every day!

Dear Chinese food, Thank you for warming my freezing cold tummy last night. Your fortune cookies suck, though. Chris and I got the same fortune and the cookies taste like cardboard.

Dear sweaters, I've worn you every day this week and you've kept me so toasty and warm even when it's 30 degrees in my office (not really)
Why does my front camera always take blurry pictures?
Dear impending cold or flu (let's really hope it's not the flu), please go away. You hit me like a truck last night and I really just want to see you leave before the weekend begins.

Dear flannel sheets, thank you for existing.

Dear homemade whipped cream, you were a good idea in my hot chocolate the other night. Maybe not a great idea for my waistline.

Dear weekend, thank you for arriving.. I hope you're fabulous!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Random Wednesday: Freeze Edition

Happy Wednesday!
I'm so excited to be linking up with Shanna for another Random Wednesday!

It's SO cold here. 15 degrees. Windy. Feels like -2 with wind chill. That might not seem so cold to some of you, but it was just 60 degrees over the weekend. Silly Maryland weather.

Cold weather and sweaters belong together. Obviously. I bought this sweater a few weeks ago at Old Navy. I'm considering going back and getting a few more because it's so darn comfortable and warm. It's just the right length, too, which can be difficult with sweaters and their tendency to ride up. When I find something I like, I tend to buy a gazillion colors. I have the same Gap tee in about 10 different colors. Some colors are even duplicates.

Hot chocolate tastes much better with homemade whipped cream!

I'm seeing some of my old co-workers this evening and am SO excited. It's been about a month since I've seen most of them and that's just way too long!

I am so excited to say that as of this week I've completed all the requirements to earn my next license (my LAST ONE and the highest one possible!) Now all I have to do is fill out this darned application, pay some money, and sit down and take a test. (I say "test" as if that isn't a big deal... I'm actually super nervous). Hopefully this will all happen sooner rather than later. Then I'll be one step closer to "hanging my shingle" (as Chris' mom says) and opening my private practice in the future! I've worked so hard for this and have to say I'm pretty proud of myself.

I live in Baltimore (near) and am not excited the Ravens are going to the Superbowl. Sorry, I'm not sorry. I am a Redskins fan and just can't root for the purple birds. Just.can't.
This also means I'm avoiding wearing purple for the next couple weeks. It's kind of annoying as purple is one of my favorite colors to wear. I just don't want to be mistaken for a Ravens fan.

Chris informed me that I say "like" a lot, especially when I'm excitedly talking. Ughhhh, no. Obnoxious.

That's enough random for one day. Can't wait to read everyone else's random thoughts!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The facts.

Ok, I was totally going to skip blogging today but really couldn't miss out on talking about myself. Let's be honest here.

Linking up with Whitney for her one time nosy link-up. Genius much?

~I was born in Texas. I still consider myself a Texan even though I haven't lived there since I was 3. Also, I was a cute child.

~I was (and am) obsessed with everything "Princess". I also love Disney. I know the words to every single Disney song and sing them while watching Disney movies. Yeah, I have no shame.

~Also, I can sing pretty well. I've always been afraid to do this in front of anyone except my family/friends/Chris but I've been told I have a decent voice. Also, in middle school my best friend Liz and a couple of other friends created a "band" called "Celestial". We didn't really make any music, but we created a website (yep, this girl "blogged" for a while!) and took "promotional photos". We were cool.

~I have a sarcastic sense of humor. Usually that doesn't come across in this blog, but I really do. Half the things I say aren't serious. I like being ridiculous and not taking life seriously.

~However.... I sometimes have a hard time with this. I tend to worry about things too much and do have anxiety. I'm learning how to manage this.

~I love my job as a therapist, but when I'm having a bad day, I find it hard to counsel others. It's really challenging sometimes and there are times I feel like I'm lying. Sometimes I want to say "Oh wow, I didn't want to get out of bed today, either! We are just alike!" I guess that's called being human.

~I love sweets. As if that weren't obvious from reading this blog.

~I want children. 2 of them.

~I can kind of be a slob. But when it comes to my office, everything has to be in its place and completely clean or else I can't work. It's like I'm a different person at work.

~If I don't drink coffee in the morning, my day is shot. Just one cup, or I'll get too jittery. If that doesn't do the trick, I can have another around lunchtime.

~No matter what time I eat breakfast, I get hungry for lunch at 12.

~I have the worst hair (naturally). If I don't straighten or curl, it's a disgusting rat's nest. I don't even want to show a picture of that mess.

~If anyone messes with my family or Chris, I will go crazy. Just ask my friends- once while we were out, Chris tripped in a puddle outside the bar (didn't fall thankfully) and some random guys laughed. I screamed at them, told them to mind their business and to shut up. That was definitely one of my "finer" moments ;) 

Are we still friends???

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Update

The greatest thing about this weekend is that it's not over yet! 
I'm so grateful to have today off work. This weekend was so nice and I love having an extra day to just extend the fun (or, in reality, do laundry because I've been putting that off all weekend)
Here's our weekend in pictures...

On Friday evening we found a new wine/liquor store and spent about half an hour tasting, browsing, and learning about different types of whiskey (this was Chris' doing) 

We came home and cooked spaghetti and homemade meatballs. Yum.

This wine was one of the ones we tasted... so delicious and perfect with our Italian meal!
This is what I get with an Italian boyfriend. Yum.
Pretty flowers

Saturday was our 6 year "anniversary" (of dating) which is pretty darn awesome.
We ran errands and just spent some time together, which was really nice.
The weather was like this all weekend...
Nice and sunny after so many rainy days lately
We went out to dinner... Sushi!
We "discovered" sushi together when we first started dating, so we thought it was fitting to have a sushi meal on this day.

Sunday was spent hanging out, taking a long walk in the sun, and going to the movies.
We saw Silver Linings Playbook which was amazing. I just LOVED this movie and could watch it again a million times. 
Instead of buying candy at the theater, we stopped at this candy store beforehand. Do you think there's enough selection there?!
For dinner we made homemade jumbalaya. It was SO good!

I also have a funny(ish) story. We were in Hobby Lobby over the weekend. I normally love this store, but this was the most frustrating visit. The store was a mess, the lines were SO long and I couldn't find anything I needed. I managed to pick up a few things, Chris and I were waiting in a line that just wasn't moving. I decided to pop over to another line while I still could. Trying carefully not to hit anyone with my basket (that's how packed it was), I squeezed between someone and the magazine display. My basket brushed against the magazine display, I didn't think twice, really because it didn't hit the display that hard.
Then in happened.
The whole display wobbled. Dozens of magazines went flying to the ground, on both sides of the large display. I immediately started picking them up, Chris ran over and started helping me, and so did a couple extremely nice customers. I managed to laugh it off, but I just wanted to sit there and cry! I felt ridiculous for even thinking that, it was just one of those moments that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So, I laughed even though I was flustered, and might have almost cried once I got to the car. Now I think it's just kind of hilarious. Only I would do that.
I was amazed, though... NONE of the Hobby Lobby employees came to help out. The cashier I ended up checking out with must have seen the whole thing and didn't say a word about it. I was pretty shocked about that. If you've ever been in this store, you know it's packed with displays all over the place- you're constantly dodging displays and people everywhere. It must happen all the time. You'd think they would arrange their store better instead of making the whole place claustrophobic and frustrating.
Anyway, I'm glad I can laugh about this now. And now I really need to get on that project I bought supplies for!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you have a wonderful week!
Linking up with Sami and Leeann!

Friday, January 18, 2013

High Five for Friday!

Yay for Friday.
This week seemed to crawl.
I am so exhausted, as I'm typing this now at 9pm on Thursday night, I'm wishing I could just go to bed already. But then I'd miss Grey's Anatomy... 

~Which brings me to my first bit of sunshine from the week: New Grey's! There's never anything wrong with that. Love this show so much.

~These cute lil emerald green flats from Gap Outlet! Perfect for spring, huh?
lack of lighting doesn't do these justice! (Gap Outlet, $17)

~I wrote about this earlier in the week, but Chris surprised me with a belated birthday cake so we celebrated my fake birthday! I was sick on my actual birthday. It was so sweet!

~Pizza and beer for Thursday night dinner. Sometimes it's just easier to order a $10 pizza than cook. There are obviously no pictures of this. It was over pretty quickly.

~3 day weekend coming up!!! I have no vacation days yet at my new job, and we hardly get off for any holidays, so I'm SO happy to have this day off! Also, Saturday is our 6 year anniversary. That makes me feel old. To think that "anniversary" will re-start once we actually get married is a strange thought (if that ever happens! ;) )

I hope everyone has a great weekend, whether it's a long or short one! 
Linking up with Lauren!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

7 Foods that don't have calories!

Ugh, the dreaded word: calories.
Yeah, I've been that girl that counts every single calorie. Guess what? It was a stupid idea. Instead, I've come up with a list of foods that don't have calories. You're welcome in advance.

1) Brownies, only eaten over the sink. My mom used to joke about this and she is totally right. You should always listen to your mom.

2) Birthday cake. Just, duh. That's what's so great and magical about birthdays. No calories.

3) Halloween candy. Sitting on the floor as a adult kid sorting, trading, and shoving down pounds of candy? Good news! NO CALORIES THERE!

4) Tasting cookie dough before baking. Or tasting anything. It has to be tasted, right? Well, good thing you won't gain any lbs from that.

5) Valentine's Day candy. Eat as much as you want of that stuff. If you're in a relationship/married, how sweet of your sig other to go through all of that work to buy candy from your favorite candy shop. If you're annoyed about this holiday, just eat to your heart's content. Or, If you decide to just F it and have a great time, well, go have a few drinks. It's a free-for-all today!
these Valentine's day cupcakes have no calories!

6) Celery with peanut butter. Celery has negative calories, but is kind of gross to eat alone. The peanut butter just evens things out. -1 + 1 = 0, right?

7) Alcohol. Ok, that's a lie. There are calories...but if you drink enough, you won't care anymore. That kind of counts. Plus, I always dance when I drink and that burns calories, so maybe it equals itself out. 

I really wish I could post this entire picture, but  don't know if my friends would appreciate that. Needless to say, this was in college when I didn't even know what calories were.

So, there you have it ladies. Go enjoy your non-calories!
Disclaimer: I'm not a nutritionist, nor an expert of any sort on this topic. Have you figured that out yet?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fake Birthday + Random Wednesday!

It's time for Random Wednesday with Shanna!!!

My birthday was a few weeks ago (Christmas Eve) and I was so sick I could hardly stay awake, let alone get out of bed and celebrate my birthday. I had a really bad stomach thing, and am just recently starting to feel completely better. I was so out of it that I didn't care it was my birthday, put my phone on "silent" and just slept. What a way to ring in 25! :) I was a little disappointed this week for some reason that I never really got to celebrate. 

So last night when I got home from work, Chris surprised me. My computer looked like this:

He changed the date to pretend it was my birthday. I was so confused!!!

And there was cake!!! 

"Happy Birthday Alyssa 25 (he ran out of 5s, haha) Not late!"

obvs I've been watching too much Dexter... a little too comfortable with that knife, ya think?
Also, we'd just gotten out of the rain so excuse the appearance.

Yellow cake with mini chocolate chips inside + chocolate frosting. Good job, Chris!
Wasn't that sweet? He's seriously the best. He never bakes. He better not think about taking over this blog, oh no sir. (Although he does want to "guest post" sometime, that should be entertaining)

So, I think a random "fake birthday" fits in pretty well with Random Wednesday's theme, dontcha think? 

Also, since I already mentioned it, we are done watching Dexter. There's no way in the world I can watch it after finishing season 4... it was just too disturbing. I was up almost all night on Sunday, we'd just finished the season that day, and I couldn't get it out of my head. I don't think I could deal with the stress and gore of that show for a minute longer! Certainly not for 4 more seasons!

Wednesday means the week is halfway over. Which means we're that much closer to a 3-day weekend. Yesssss.

I got some adorable stuff at Gap Outlet today, and Chris actually found jeans he liked- if that's not a miracle, I don't know what is. (anyone with husbands/fiances/boyfriends, can I get an "amen"?) Can't wait to share my finds soon! I seem to have no problem finding clothes I love.

Lastly, I can't stand Tierra from the Bachelor now. I really liked her in the first episode, and now.... ughhhh, no thank you. When a girl does not get along with other girls, there is your first red flag. Also, the girl in the yellow dress, I can't remember her name... not a fan of her, either. I really like Desire and think she might be "the one". Thoughts??

I hope everyone has a great Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Light Penne Alfredo

There isn't much that's better than Alfredo sauce and pasta.
Just ask my brother Zach, it's all he would eat for his entire childhood.
My version is a teensy bit healthier than the average Alfredo sauce you'd order at a restaurant.

3 tbsp butter
1 cup Half and Half (low-fat or fat free for the healthier version, or regular if you want a creamier taste)
1 tbsp parsley
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
Dash of pepper

1/2 box penne pasta (or whatever type of pasta you prefer)

Cook pasta according to directions on box. 
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add half and half, simmer about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and parmesan to pan while whisking. Fully mix. Add parsley and pepper, heat through. Simmer a couple minutes to allow sauce to slightly thicken.
Spoon over pasta, top with parsley and a little more parmesan if you prefer.

Serve with bread or a salad.
Makes about 4 servings

Obviously you can add whatever meat/protein you'd like... shrimp or chicken would be great in this recipe. Or you can load up the veggies and add whatever you want. It's versatile...and easy! Because, you know me, I'm all about the easy, convenient meals.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekend Update

This weekend was pretty uneventful. We ran some errands, cleaned, and hung out. 
I also took no pictures this weekend, except of my Slurpee, because that was pretty exciting. I haven't had a Slurpee in a while, and was craving one like crazy. It was SO good!

Coke + Mountain Dew + Cherry mix. Don't bash it til you try it.
We watched a lot of Dexter this weekend and finished Season 4. Geez, I'm going to have nightmares. We were walking through Sears in the tool section and I had a mini-freakout while walking past a certain tool... if you watch, you probably will understand. Ick. For some reason, though, I can't stop watching. I even increased our Netflix discs so we could watch it faster. 

We also finally took down the Christmas decorations.... I felt like one of "those people" who keeps them up forever! That drives me crazy! We just literally had no time to do it until now.
Sad! See ya next year!
Chris and I were at Toys R Us (which is also a Babies R Us) yesterday returning something we bought earlier in the weekend. He had all these receipts in his hand from the purchase, trying to find the right one to give the cashier, when he notices one of the receipts is just full of coupons. He looks at the coupons, asks the cashier to throw them away and loudly says, "WE DON'T NEED DIAPERS"... I laughed pretty hard. No, we do not need diapers, and for that our bank accounts are thankful.

On another note, I've really been feeling the "winter blues" lately. I'm ready for the weather to be warm, sunny, and to be able to see daylight, besides the 15 minutes of driving to work in the morning. No windows in my office and the sun setting at 5pm is really getting to me! Is anyone else feeling this way? Ok. Whine fest is now over.

So, this was super interesting. Hope next weekend's more eventful! I'm already looking forward to the 3-day weekend, and our anniversary coming up on Saturday :) 
I hope everyone has a great week!!!

Linking up with Sami and Leeann for Weekend Update!


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