cook it: winter salad

Last week, the boyfriend and I decided to get creative while making dinner. We made a delicious winter salad. We used the following ingredients:
  • organic baby spinach and red cabbage
  • chicken
  • turkey bacon
  • smokehouse maple seasoning (for the meat)
  • corn
  • chickpeas
  • extra virgin olive oil (to cook the meat in & for a light dressing)
Simply cook the chicken and turkey bacon as normal, seasoned with McCormick’s smokehouse maple, and mix it along with the other ingredients. Use whatever dressing you’d like. We just used a little bit of olive oil.

What new recipes have you had lately?

weekly gems

the view outside my window
How was everyone’s week this week? Mine has been full of ups and downs. I’m looking forward to a weekend of chilling at home, getting a lot of planning done, baking, and catching up on sleep. How about you?
  • Adore everything about what it means to be a Matchbook girl. Can’t wait to devour the first issue of the magazine this weekend!
  • Have you seen Up? Check out this “premake” trailer of it. Awesome!
  • A fascinating article on dogs’ understanding of language.
  • Love this photo & quotes post.
  • While I do occasionally see movies in 3D, I totally prefer 2D & thus cheered at this article.
  • This tumblr makes me want to travel Europe for years.
  • Have you heard of or played the app/game Angry Birds? I’m addicted to it, & thus adore this cake.
  • I smiled so big when Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld talked about a supportive teacher : )
  • Interested in fashion and fashion journalism? Check out The Coveted.
  • The photos and accompanying stories to all three of these weddings made my heart swell: one, two, three.
  • This week brought big up-and-coming movie news…Willow Smith as Annie, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, and Beyonce in a remake of A Star is Born

new year’s all year: non-goals

Hey, everyone! I hope your Thursday is treating you well so far. This week has been crazy busy and today will be my busiest day of all – but that’s okay, because tomorrow is Friday! : )
I think it’s really easy to get discouraged when you’re tired and have been busy for days on end, especially when you still have things that you want to do or need to work on. I think it’s also really easy to give up on any big goals you have if (a) you haven’t made substantial progress on them for awhile and (b) that lack of progress is all you can focus on.
So, today I am inspired by a couple of things: (1) my busy week, (2) Erin’s post about her “non-goals” for 2011 and (3) Kendi’s confession that she puts things she’s already accomplished on her to-do list in order to feel less overwhelmed about the things she has ahead of her. All this inspiration has lead me to make my own list of non-goals, or the things I’m proud of and want to keep doing:
  • Staying organized & thus less stressed
  • Eating more fruits and veggies
  • Keeping my room semi-tidy/clean
  • Thinking more intentionally about how I spend my money
  • Making quality sleep a priority
  • Blogging regularly and making connections
  • Putting family first
  • Dreaming big

The boyfriend & I after an awards ceremony this
past spring – to remind myself of what I have
done & I’m capable of doing

What are your non-goals? What do you do when you get discouraged during busy times or when struggling with goals?

LOL: kids say the darnest things


Hello everyone! I hope your week is off to a good start. Mine is busy but going well!

A dear friend of mine teaches elementary school and recently asked her students about keeping cheetahs as pets. Here was the exact question and some of the students’ responses:



Do you think that is a good law that now prevents cheetahs from being kept as pets? Tell why or why not.

  • “Yes, I think it is a good law that cheetahs are not pets because they might kill you.”
  • ‎”Yes, I think it’s a good law because if you have a baby it might wake it up when it is sleeping.”
  • ‎”Yes, I think it is a good law because some cheetahs may eat people.”
  • ‎”Yes, I think it is a good law because they will need to be outside for so long that they will run away and it is going to be hard to catch them because cheetahs are very fast cats. They can run faster than you.”
  • “Yes, I think it is a good law that prevents cheetahs from being kept as pets because the cheetahs could eat all the meat in you house.”
  • “Yes, I think it is a good law because you might forget to feed it.”
  • “No, I don’t think it is a good law because cheetahs are good protectors.”
  • “I think they should not have that law because cheetahs can ride kids to school quickly.”


read it: everyone worth knowing

I love to read. Do you? My favorite books to read are chick lit, YA, mysteries, memoirs, and fantasies, but I will give almost anything a try. Over the past few years, I haven’t been able to read as much as I used to due to the lovely demands of college. I’ve mostly worked on my ridiculously long to-read list on breaks, and this past winter break was no exception. I read Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger (borrowed from my fellow book-loving friend, Elizabeth!).
Everyone Worth Knowing was actually the first book of Weisberger’s that I have read, and it definitely has encouraged me to bump her other books to the top of my to-read list. A brief summary: the heroine of the book is Bette Robinson, a twenty-something living in NYC. One day she becomes frustrated with her banking job and quits. After a couple of weeks of enjoying unemployment, she agrees to take on a public relations job her uncle put her up for. She struggles to fit in with the ultra-hip crowd at her new job, which essentially consists of planning huge parties, going to parties, making celebrities happy, and getting the PR firm press in any way possible. The book tells the story of Bette attempting to succeed at her new job while also not sacrificing her friends, her family, her love life, and what will make her truly happy. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would, and I definitely recommend it for a fun and charming read. Overall: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Have you read Everyone Worth Knowing or another one of Lauren Weisberger’s books? What did you think? What books have you been reading lately?



weekend wrap-up

Hi! How are you all on this fine Monday morning? How was your weekend?

Mine was pretty darn good. Friday night I worked, and then went to go see a movie with the boyfriend. We saw No Strings Attached, a new romantic comedy with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. It was very enjoyable! It was definitely funny and somewhat touching. I thought Portman and Kutcher had great chemistry, and I loved the supporting cast (especially Kevin Kline, Mindy Kaling, and Jake Johnson). If you plan on seeing it in theaters, make sure you are on time because the first 10-15 minutes of the movie reveal important background information about the dynamic of Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher)’s friendship. Overall: ★ ★ ★ ★
Saturday I worked, and I spent the afternoon with my wonderful friend Elizabeth! We decided to go on a mini-road trip to a coffee shop called Red Rambler, but it turned out we got the hours wrong and it was closed when we got there (meaning another mini-road trip will have to occur in the future). We had fun chatting anyway and ended up getting coffee at Panera instead.
On Sunday, the boyfriend and I went to church and treated ourselves to Starbucks and catching up on episodes of our favorite shows. I worked, and I had one of the most productive afternoons/evenings that I’ve had in a long time.
This week should be pretty busy for me – teaching every day and something going on every evening – but ‘m feeling pretty optimistic about it. What’s going on with you this week?
Photo 1, Photos 2 – 4 author original

weekly gems

Tree at the Ohio State Fair, August 2009 (edited)
Well, this has been an interesting week! Monday off due to a national holiday, Tuesday the first day of student teaching, Wednesday an amazing snow day, Thursday a terrible horrible no good very bad day, and today T.G.I.F. How has your week been? What do you have going on this weekend? I’ll be working, planning various things, spending time with my boyfriend and friends, and hopefully cooking or baking a new recipe. In the meantime, weekly gems!

new year’s all year: thursday tip

Hello everyone! How are you? I’m doing well! Yesterday the school I am placed at for student teaching had a snow day, and I greatly enjoyed having a surprise day at home with my super cute dog. I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening tonight before wrapping up the week tomorrow!
Today I have a New Year’s, All Year Challenge tip for you all! I found out about this awesome website, habitforge, a couple months ago.
Here’s what the site has to say about its mission: “You provide a Goal and Desire, and we’ll send you a customized daily email asking how you did. Simply click ‘yes’ or ‘no’ daily. Succeed for 21 days, and the new action will be easier than ever. Skip a day and the clock starts over at day one.”

It’s a free and super easy to use service. I highly suggest checking it out! What kind of habits are you interested in forging?

2011 golden globes red carpet

How are you all on this fine Tuesday morning? Today is my first day officially teaching all of my assigned classes for student teaching. I’m nervous, but excited! My classroom mentor teacher said my unit outlines looked good and to just trust myself, so that’s what I’m trying to do!


I love movies and TV, and I really enjoy award shows. I briefly mentioned in yesterday’s post the winners I was most excited about, and today I’m looking over the fashion of the Golden Globes.

Angelina Jolie’s Versace gown might have been my favorite.
Natalie Portman’s Viktor & Rolf gown was perfect choice for her baby bump.
Loved Anne Hathaway’s glitzy look in Armani Prive.




Love Scarlett Johansson’s old Hollywood look!




I greatly enjoyed Julia Stiles in a dramatic black gown.
Oliva Wilde’s Marchesa gown was simply fantastic.
Sofia Vergara rocked her curves in Vera Wang. Loved it!
What Golden Globe gowns were your favorite?






Photos found here and here