Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life may give you lemons, but it also gives you someone to help you make lemonade with them.

I feel so far behind. It's been over a week since I've written! I don't like it at all, but my life has been super crazy in the last week. Sunday was my first Pampered Chef party! I had so much fun. I'll be honest that the turn-out wasn't quite as amazing as I thought it was going to be, but the people closest to me plus an extra super special girl I hadn't seen in a while were there. I've had some additional orders outside of the party so it's going to work out pretty well for my first order being placed tomorrow.

So I spent the whole weekend cleaning to prepare for all the guests at my house. I finally finished my kitchen redecorating that I started the weekend before, and it looks pretty good if I might say so myself--especially since pretty much everything was "budget friendly".  (I will post pictures sometime soon)

Also, this week I learned how hard it is for me to not get overly invested in things/people. It's like when I care about something or someone I have to give it/them 110%. I guess that's not a completely bad thing, but it starts to wear on you. It's easier to get your heart broken by people or your feelings hurt if you care so much. I do it a lot with my employees too. It's hard for me when I find out one or some them have been talking about me--I take it so personally, but then I have to try to step back and realize, everyone talks about their boss at some time or another and it's not personal most of the time. SIGH.

 I posted on facebook about this exact subject because my feelings were hurt, and I was having an "emotional day" because female hormones are so lovely and sometimes you just get upset because you feel like it--or even if you don't feel like it...

 I ended up deleting the post on facebook today--about 24 hours later because it was pretty negative and I'm not usually the one to post negative things so publically. However, the response I received in that 24 hours was overwhelming. I realized that I DO have friends or at least people who are close enough to know my heart and know that I have good intentions--even when ranting on facebook. I appreciated all the encouragement and today was a much better day. I probably offended some people with how blunt I was about them talking behind my back, but I realized if they are guilty enough to get upset about it then they probably thought it was about them because they were guilty and had been doing I feel less bad about that. It started out being in reference to a specific situation but really was more in general about how much people talk about other people and how much it frustrates me.

I have a lot of younger employees so I'm around the gossiping so much--it is exhausting sometimes to listen to all them bicker and fight with one another over the most trivial things, but I guess that's one of the joys of management huh?

On a happier note, last night AJ (after knowing how heartbroken I was over the gossiping) was even sweeter than he normally is. I have to tell you--he is a very sweet guys, but last night he let me ramble about girl stuff and didn't criticize or ignore me for "just being a girl." He genuinely loved me and held me until I felt all better, and that ladies and gentlemen is one of the 1,763,054,834 (approximately haha) reasons that I love him so very much. So thankful to have my soulmate by my side--no matter how much friends, family, or others in my life hurt my heart I know that he has it and is protecting it from the storm.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Plate Project

First of all isn't my new kitchen wall color so cute?!? Second of all I love my plates on the wall (would've taken a picture of the whole wall with the table and everthing in it to give you the whole picture, but there's still a mess from painting sitting on the table so I didn't lol).

I went to Target today and purchased 7 plates for approximately $2-4 each. When I got home (almost immediately because I was so excited that I couldn't wait), I tore off wax paper about the size of the area I wanted to cover in plates--I had to tape three long strips together--for the future I would use something thicker like craft paper instead though.

I laid the taped wax paper on the counter and arranged the plates the way I liked them on it. After I thought I had it all the way I wanted it, I traced around them with a black sharpie.

Then I took this picture so I would remember which designs I had where so that I would know how to hang them.

I then hung the wax paper to the wall and got the plates ready to hang.

This picture shows why I would use something heavier than wax paper next time.

Ok are you ready for the GENIUS way to hang these?!?! I hot glued old pop can tabs to the back like the next picture shows.

Once glue was dry on all seven plates, I put a nail in each circle on the wax paper about an inch and half or so from the top of the circles. Then, I removed the wax paper from the wall. And hung the plates by the glued pop tab on the back.

It literally took about 15-20 minutes for this easy and cute project for my kitchen wall. Can't wait for the silverware on canvas that I am going to make for the opposing wall--soon to come.

There's the completed project again! :-)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Change is Good

Today I woke up and went to a baby shower for a sweet friend of mine--an old co-worker. She's expecting a little girl. I am so happy for her and enjoyed catching up with friends I hadn't seen in awhile. Today was a reminder that change is good. Even though I have a new job now and we don't see each other often, I know that I still have true friends I can count on. In my opinion, those are the best kinds of friends--the ones that you don't have to talk to every day, but you know that they are there no matter what because they're that good of a friend--just a phone call away.

After all the baby shower festivities, my mom came over and spent quality time with me painting my kitchen. So excited! I love the new color and my kitchen looks SO much better (even thought it didn't look bad before it wasn't what I preferred). It's now a neutral tan (rather than bright red and sage green). So now I feel like the walls need something bolder on them. Now I see that the decor that was on the bright walls isn't bright/dark enough to be on the tan walls... Well guess that means I get to go shopping. Oh, darn. I guess I will take one for the team and go shopping for stuff for my kitchen--MY FAVORITE THING TO DO!

Also, this comes at a perfect time because I am having my first Pampered Chef party next weekend. I am also very excited about this. I finally signed up to be an Independent Consultant for Pampered Chef last week. My starter kit was delivered on Thursday, and it felt like Christmas at my house! I just kept opening more and more boxes of great kitchen gadgets and products. I cannot wait until everyone is at my house next week for my party so I can show off all these great products!

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend as much as I am... Tomorrow we're headed to spend time with AJ's family for his grandpa's 80th birthday--excited to get to spend time with his family and share in the joy of this amazing milestone of 80 years....

I made a quick salsa for the birthday party that is my favorite and so very easy.

2 cans original Rotel
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chunky Rotel
half a bunch of Cilantro
4 green onions
4 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Put one can of original Rotel, Cilantro, 2 green onions (green and whites), garlic cloves, and salt into food processor until smooth.

Open the other cans and put contents in a large bowl. Add the blended mixture from food processor. Add other 2 green onions (green and whites) sliced into small rounds. Add juice of lime. Let sit in refrigerator for at least a couple hours to let flavors mix.

Serve with Tortilla chips.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The King to my Kingdom

This may be my favorite post to write so far, but now, I'm not sure where to begin. With it being Valentine's Day I figured it'd only be fitting to tell you more about the love of my life, the man that puts a smile on my face like no one else on Earth can. He is truly my other half. It's that Ying-Yang thing. We balance each other but fit together perfectly all at the same time. I never thought I'd ever fall in love, let alone have that mind-numbing, life-altering kind of love.

We met, and he never left my mind. We didn't speak again but once or twice after meeting. Then, nearly two years later we started dating, and I've never looked back. In May, we will celebrate our three year anniversary, and I couldn't be more happy. Sometime between now and our anniversary (I'm pretty sure--fingers crossed) I will become his fiancee instead of just his girlfriend. I cannot wait. I love being with him. I love everything about him. I cannot wait to plan our wedding and our future together.

I love even the smallest little things about him. I love the way he smells after a shower. I love the way he kisses me on the cheek. I love the way he drives me crazy while I'm trying to cook dinner, and he thinks he needs to come help. I love the way he looks at me--whether we're home alone or in a room full of people he gives me this smile that only he can give me. I love that he'd do ANYTHING in the world for me--like the time he drove to the store at 1am to get milk because I poured cereal and then noticed we were out. I love how he gets frustrated when I don't understand when he tries to explain things (I mean I'm a girl and some stuff I just don't get because I'm not a boy). I love that he knows how to do some many things--he's very handy, and I appreciate him for that. I love that he is a hardworking man that endures so many hours at work just to provide for me. I love that he can make me laugh even when I really don't want to. I love how goofy he is sometimes--but also how sincere he is. I love how well he treats my family--especially my sweet nephew. I love how sometimes he gets a little jealous--it's cute--not like the super creepy, scary jealousy. I love him because no matter what I know that he has my back--against anyone. I love the way he loves me--unconditionally.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Super Bowl = Super Food

I've been wanting to post about the yummy goodies I made for the Super Bowl this past Sunday, but silly me, I forgot to take pictures of these delicious foods. However, I got the recipes off of Pinterest. I will add the links from there and tell you what I did differently, if anything, to make it.

**Not all these pictures are not my own. They belong to the original poster. Please follow the link with the recipe to see the Original Post.**

Let's start with dessert--it's my favorite, and I've never really been a fan of "saving the best for last" anyway.

S'mores Krispy Treats
Link to Recipe from Pinterest
Although these do not have "Rice Krispie" cereal in it, they are made about the same way and are even more delicious.

The recipe calls for:
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 oz) bag regular marshmallows (I used mini marshmallows because I think they melt faster)
1 box of Golden Graham cereal (I broke up the box inside the bag to make both smaller and larger sizes before putting it in)
1-2 cups Chocolate Chips (I used semi-sweet mini chocolate chips)
Magic Shell (optional) (I did not use this)

Before I started I put my chocolate chips and about a cup of the marshmallows in the freezer. I melted the butter in a large pot, and then melted the marshmallows in the butter continuously stirring (just like in Rice Krispie treats). When the marshmallows had melted into a smooth mix, I added the partially broken up Golden Graham cereal. I let it stand for about a minute then I stirred in about 3/4 of the frozen chocolate chips (if you do not freeze them, I learned the hard way that it becomes a big chocolate mess instead of a pretty treat--still yummy but not pretty) and the frozen marshmallows. The chocolate and marshmallows start to melt a little but do not spread throughout the entire mixture, and I enjoyed this better than the last time I made it. I spread it into a buttered baking dish (I think mine was a 9"x11" pan) then topped it with the remaining frozen mini chocolate chips.

Next, I made Pizza Muffins. I have made these twice now and been a big crowd pleaser.

Pizza Muffins
Link to Recipe from Pinterest

This recipe calls for:
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
pinch of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I just realized that I did not add Parm but it was fine without it)
1 cup cubed pepperoni
1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce (I used a jar of Marinara from the spaghetti sauce aisle instead of the pizza brand because I like it better)

I doubled this recipe and made 24 regular sized muffins... the recipe called for 24 mini muffins without doubling anything.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
This is not in the recipe, but I browned up some Italian Sausage (the bulk kind not in the casing) and let it cool and drain on a paper towel covered plate. Then, I mixed up all the ingredients (I also added some garlic powder and onion powder--about a half of a teaspoon each) in a large bowl (including the sausage). Let stand for a few minutes--I took this time to spray cooking spray on the muffin tins and to chop up some cooked bacon (also not in the recipe). I then scooped out the mixture into the muffin tins (1/2 - 3/4 full--they do not rise much). Then I topped the muffins with chopped cooked bacon and shredded Colby and Montery Blend Cheese (also not in the recipe). Bake for 18-22 minutes. Then put on serving dish with heated marinara.

I also made some homemade buttermilk ranch dressing to go with this. I used Hidden Valley Buttermilk Recipe Packet with 1 cup of real mayo and 1 cup of buttermilk. Wisk together and let it stand in refrigerator for at least half an hour before serving.

I also made some Spinach Dip, but I will save that one for another day because I did not like the way it turned out and am looking for a new recipe.

Hope you all enjoy... Have a great weekend...

Monday, February 6, 2012

"New" Friendship

I have been doing a lot of heavy thinking tonight. I'm not sure what the deal is, but I'm sitting up late tonight with so much swirling through my head. This quote reminds me of one of my dear friends. So thankful to have her back into my life. We were the best of friends for so long in high school and immediately after. Some heartache happened, and we lost mostly all contact for about seven years. Life went on. We grew up. Things still reminded me of her from time to time, and it made me smile sometimes, cry sometimes, but mostly it made me remember.

I would remember all the good times we shared. I would remember all the tears we shed. I would remember all the laughs.

After all this time, through more heartache, we have come back to a place of friendship again. I know that things will never be the same again. I am not going to be unrealistic and think that all this time can pass and things will just "go back to normal" because normal isn't the same anymore. I guess the best way to explain this is that I don't want to "fix" our old friendship, but rather, I'd like to enjoy our whole new friendship that is currently developing. I am enjoying re-learning things about each other. I'm enjoying becoming friends as we are now--as adults. She's now a mother of two beautiful children, and I am a grown-up on the verge of engagement.

It's wonderful because I get to share new experiences with her. We get to share the things we "missed" in the seven years we weren't friends, and I'm enjoying the new "normal" in our lives. So far it was worth the seven year wait, and it is an exciting journey of "re-knowing" each other. So thankful for this opportunity in our lives. I know that we needed that time apart to become who we are today in order to have the friendship now that I do so very much cherish.

Thank you for letting me share a little of my heart with you tonight. Hopefully next time I write I will be a little less sad and heartfelt and a little more cheerful and entertaining instead.

Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Success--or my version of it...

Another wonderful day in my life has me sitting here pondering life's most deepest thoughts. I ran across this quote on Pinterest, and it has me thinking... 

I love Reba--she's a good Oklahoma girl, and I love this quote.

My "wishbone" has me dreaming all the time. I think I've always kind of been a dreamer. When I was younger I wanted to be an editor for some big fashion magazine--wouldn't that be cool. Then, I wanted to write a book--still think it'd be fun. I got a little more realistic and decided it'd be exciting to own my own restaurant--by the way, I have since thought about it and realized it would be a whole lot of work and not realistic being a woman that would like to start a family...just have to have priorities I guess (and the older I get the more those priorities change). I would like to own my own business someday, but I guess that will be a bridge I will cross when I get to that point in my life.

My "backbone" is something I'm not sure I had for the first 20 years of my life. I was so nice (not that I think I'm a jerk now), but I was nice to a fault. I let people walk all over me. I would do anything anyone wanted/needed me to do without getting anything in return. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do things for people because I think I'm still pretty good at helping people, but I think if you are doing for others so much more than for yourself, you start getting taken advantage of and no one really respects you. There is nothing worse than not being respected in my opinion. It is an awful feeling when you realize that people will do or say anything to you because they know they can "get away with it", and you will still be there for them the next day because you don't stand up for yourself.

I'm not sure the exact moment that I found my backbone, but I remember the slow process of finding it. It was a rough battle that included a lot of heartache. I don't think I've cried so much in my life, before or after, than I did when I realized that no one was standing up for me--including myself. I found my self-respect and picked myself up off the floor and decided then and there that I would not be treated the way I had been treated most of my life anymore. I would not let my sweet spirit come across as a push-over any longer. I am much better at that now than I was then. I think working in restaurants has helped me a lot with getting thicker skin and being a stronger person in general. Waiting tables was something that really showed me people's true colors. It showed me that not everyone is nice, not everyone has good intentions, and not everyone is honest. I am thankful of everything I have learned, and that I have come out on top.

My "funnybone" is something I didn't always know that I had either. My brother has always been "the funny one." I don't know how many times in the last 10-15 years I have said "My brother is the funniest person I know" because it is true. He is hilarious. He can tell a story better than anyone I know. He can make me smile on the darkest of days. I love him so very much, but I kind of have him to thank for finding my humor I think--both making people laugh and being able to laugh at my own expense. My brother is only 17.5 months younger than me so we grew up very close, and he has picked on me for years. He cracks jokes about me/to me all of the time! Listening to him used to get to me. It used to hurt my feelings that he'd joke about me all the time--until I learned to "fight back" and learned how to better "take a joke." Now, I can tell one-liners and come-backs like nobody's business. He can pop off a joke, and I'm right there with him--back and forth every time we're together. The best though is when he and I have a mutual target such as a cousin, parent, friend, etc. We can pick on that person together all day long--aren't the funniest jokes at other people's expense (all in good fun of course--we're not bullies).

So, I guess my point in all this is that I feel like a pretty "successful" person these days. I don't see success as wealth or power. I see it as being a good-natured, dreaming, self-respecting person. A person that is an asset to society. I feel like I sometimes help make this world a little easier to live in for some people some days, and I feel like I appreciate and love the people around me. I don't think that's too much to ask for or expect from others--just a little mutual respect and tolerance in today's society is good for us all, in my opinion.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and enjoy the rest of your week.