Friday, January 16, 2015

These Things Hidden

Believe it or not, I HAVE been reading lately, I've just been slacking on posting reviews of the books.

Today I am sharing my thoughts about These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf.

Here's the synopsis:
"When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn--shy, quiet Brynn--who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her. 
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister. 
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden."

Let me start this by saying that this book has been on my reading list for a while now, so I was really excited when my sister got it for me for Christmas. But I have to say that when I started reading it, I was a little disappointed. It seemed really predictable without leaving much to be anticipated. But the farther I got, the more intriqued I because to find out how all these characters were related to each other, and what else there could be to know (since I already felt like I knew the whole story).

By the time I was halfway through, I couldn't put it down and finished it within a couple days.

The main characters are really well developed, and there is a good amount of back story to help you understand the people you're reading about.

Overall I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It didn't end the way I WANTED it to, and there were a few loose ends that I kind of wanted some more closure on. I'm looking forward to reading other books by this author.

 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Look Back

I realize that I'm a bit late with this post, but I'm finally here to tell you about my Christmas happenings this year.

I won't go into too much detail, because I know you don't really care that much about how much running around we did or what we ate where (but I will say that I am already brainstorming ideas for next year that will cut down on the number of Christmases we go to... I had 8 different locations in 2 days, which is just madness).

So here's a few scenes from my Christmas:

My Christmas table 

My sweet little reindeer beagle.

This guy driving down 405.

And then some of my Christmas gifts:

This camping chair

These slippers (and other Seahawks stuff, such as earrings, a hat, a tumbler, tee shirt, sweatshirt, and print of Russell Wilson)

These puzzles

These books

This sign (which was the quote that my sister based her toast around for my wedding)

Plus so many other cool things, like booze, Cards Against Humanity expansion packs (and a fancy case to carry all my CAH cards in so I don't have to carry around a bunch of little boxes), and gift cards.

So that's what Christmas brought me this year!

 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Reasons to Shop in the Clearance Section

I am pretty intensely drawn to clearance sections... mainly in the grocery store.
Weird? Maybe. 

BUTTTTTTT, before you start judging me for being so tasteless and cheap, let me just give you a few reasons that I think it's one of the best ways to shop.

1) It's affordable... doyyyyy!
A majority of my money after making my car payment and transferring money to Chad and my joint account (which is strictly for the mortgage and utility bills) goes to groceries. So saving 50% on some meat, seafood, or lunch meat can go a long way. Plus it means that I can afford to make something kind of fancy (like seafood alfredo with prawns and snow crab) that I wouldn't normally be able to justify. 

2) It makes it easier to try new things.
There's been a lot of times when I've found things in the clearance sections of the store that I've been curious about, but haven't wanted to spend all the money to try it, just in case I don't like it and then it goes to waste. So if I see something for 50% off that I think sounds interesting, I'll go for it. Sometimes it works out and I feel like I scored in a major way (or at least as major as you can score with a fancy cup of greek yogurt).

3) It spices up your meal plan.
When I go to the discounted meat section, I never know what I may walk out with. Sometimes there are things that I am really used to making and have some sort of preparation in mind. Other times I end up with a cut of meat that I've never used before and I have to take to Pinterest in order to figure out what to do with it. Chad also really likes it when I surprise him by coming home with 50% off fancy deli meats (like chipotle crusted turkey) and he gets a break from the regular lunch meat in his sandwiches.

So there you have it, three reasons that I like to shop in the clearance sale sections of the store.
 In all honesty, I NEVER buy regular priced meat, unless I've planned a specific meal for some special occasion. And you know what happens if nobody buys that stuff? It goes to waste. Most of the meat, seafood, and fresh pasta stuff (you know, like the bertolli tortellini or whatever) is sold with a day or two before the sell/use by date, so you can stock up, take it home, and throw it in the freezer if you're not going to use it right away.

Happy shopping!

 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Downside of the Holidays

I know that Christmas time and these end of year holidays are usually a time when everybody is so happy and in good spirits and feeling great about life.

Well NOT ME. 

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, it's tied for my favorite holiday with Halloween. I love the decorating, the music, the lights and displays, and the gift giving.

But then there's the other side. The seedy, shady side of this time of year. I don't know why, but this year I'm really struggling with some things that haven't bothered me that much in the past.

The darkness. Literally.
Normally daylight savings time doesn't do anything for me in the winter. It's never really bothered me that it's dark when I leave work. But for some reason this year, it's practically crippling me. It's dark when my alarm goes off in the morning. It's dark when I take my dog outside. It's dark when I get off work. It's like I forget what daylight looks like. And the fact that it's so dark all the time makes it really hard for me to do anything that requires me to leave my house. I don't go grocery shopping. I don't go for walks. I don't workout... I literally feel like I should be sleeping all the time. I got home from work today, sat down on the couch, and promptly fell asleep for about 10 minutes. AT 5:30.

The goodies.
I don't usually go to too many holiday parties, so I'm not really talking about going to a party and having some cocktail weenies and a cookie or two. I'm talking about the stuff that people bring to you or send you. At work, we get all sorts of stuff sent to us by vendors and companies that we work with, and members bring us cookies, and I can't seem to pass them up. Go to the bathroom = eat a chocolate. Fill my water cup = grab two cookies. Grab a loan file = eat a cookie on the way in and a chocolate on the way out + one for the road. This is particularly troublesome when you refer to my previous point that I don't feel like doing ANYTHING before or after work, so I'm not getting my necessary cardio in to work off these extra calories. My doctor will NOT be happy with me in January.

Breaking the Bank.
Every year, I try to plan ahead. I take advantage of the opportunity to skip a loan payment and use that money for Black Friday shopping. Yet EVERY YEAR, I find myself struggling to get everything purchased and still put gas in my car. I've been better this year and have actually given myself a budget for everybody on my list, but it adds up so fast... hopefully I get that deed to a platinum mine that I'm always singing to Santa about...

Anyways, with all that said, I do love this time of year, and I'm looking forward to having a week of vacation next week to do my own holiday baking, working out during the daylight hours, and getting all my pretty decorations up. Maybe I'll even have more DIY stuff to post like last year.


 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Friday, November 14, 2014

If I Stay

Linking up for...

Today I'm sharing If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left - the most important decision she'll ever make.

Sister got me this book for my birthday, and i was really excited. I've had it on my Goodreads wish list for a while, and then with the movie coming out, I wanted to read it before it was ruined for me by all the movie-goers.

It was such a fast read... I couldn't put it down. The way it's written is really great... it jumps back and forth between what is happened after the accident, when she is stuck between life and death, and the back story. 

My only complaint was with the actual printing of the book. At the end of the book there's probably 30 pages of excerpts from other books. So as I was reading, I was thinking there was a lot more book to go, so I really wasn't emotionally ready when it ended abruptly. I was also really pissed off with the lack of closure of the book. Until I saw that there's a second book in the series, so now I can sleep better at night knowing that there is a continuance of the story.

This was a great book. I give it 4.75 out of 5 stars.
 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I know we've all heard of the whole Mo-Vember movement, where men across the US (maybe the world?) let their faces grow thick with their manliness in an attempt to raise awareness of men's health. 

I don't know if that actually is successful (I did just ask Chad if he knew what it was all about, and his response was "it's about guys learning about prostate cancer or colon cancer or something..." so at least he's up on current events...), but that's not really what I'm here to write about today. 

I decided over the weekend that, rather than November being about Men's Health for me (since I'm not a man), I will make it MY Health November. 

You see, after getting married, I really feel like I took myself on a dietary honeymoon, if that makes sense. In my weight loss journey, I tend to set little goals for myself, and having a specific event that I want to be at a certain weight for really helps me stay focused. So after the wedding, I think I let myself relax too much. I stopped thinking as much about what I was eating. I wasn't working out every day. I was spending my evenings drinking leftover wine out of the box.

So, I am taking My Health November to refocus myself. My life and goals for myself didn't end when I got married. I still have so much to look forward to with a healthier body, with a body that I am comfortable and confident in. I don't want to take pictures for our first Christmas card as a married couple (maybe... I haven't quite decided if we're those people yet) and have people get it and go "why is Chad taking a Christmas picture with Buck and Santa and not Carly???" I don't want to be in Kristine's bachelorette party and wedding pictures and be the fat friend. I don't want to go on our belated honeymoon to Hawaii and be wearing a mu-mu and yoga pants the whole time.

Time to refocus.

 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Right up My Alley

I went over to check out what the topic for #Blogtober was today, and I was very pleased to find out that it's Pet Peeves... such luck!

The Daily Tay Blogtober14

I'm going to try to keep this list short... may be hard for me though.

1. Clean clothes being put into a laundry basket. I don't know why, but this just makes me cringe. I really think that it makes the most sense to just fold or hang your clothes as you pull them out of the dryer. Otherwise they're wrinkly! And how the heck do you plan your outfits out if you can't see easily what you do and don't have available? The madness!!!!

2. Senseless noise making. Yes, you read that right. Noise for the sake of being noisy. I do NOT like whistling. Or clapping for no reason. Or people talking much too loud in small places. I immediately become agitated. We've had construction going on at our office and I swear to the almighty God above that I almost went bat shit crazy with all the hammering at odd intervals.

3. Empty ice cube trays. Okay, you take an ice cube tray. Remove the ice. And you put it BACK in the freezer, EMPTY?! What kind of remedial learning school did you go to?! In the name of all things that are holy in the world, walk your ass to the sink and fill it back up before you put it back in the fridge!

There, I managed to keep it to 3. Three things that I'm sure thousands at least one other person are equally annoyed by. AmIRight??

 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pacific Northwest Mex...?

I was trying to come up with a fancy name for this recipe that I'm going to share with you, but that was the best I could come up with... my apologies.

Anyways, this is a recipe that I made up a couple months ago that I've made quite a few times since because it's SO easy and we usually have everything in the house that we need.

Let's get started, mmkay? Oh, and please don't be mad at my pictures... I didn't want to dig my real camera out, so celly pics are the best you get.

The good stuff:
14 oz bag of C&W Ultimate Southwest Blend veggies (or whatever brand your store has)
2-4 chicken breasts (depending on how big they are and how many people you're feeding)
Taco Seasoning
Salsa of choice (I personally recommend salsa verde)
Shredded Cheese
Optional: Sour Cream, Guacamole, tomatoes, etc

First step, take your casserole dish and your veggies. I mean, after you preheat your oven to 375.

Dump those little tasty nutrients in and put a couple globs of butter on top and sprinkle with taco seasoning... you can use a lot or a little, depending on personal preference

Lay your chicken breasts on top of the veggies (if you end up with some sort of freakishly thick chicken breasts, I would slice them and open them up so they cook faster and more evenly).

Spread some of your salsa over top of the chicken

Then pop it in the oven and cook it until it reaches 160 degrees (you will also want to check it after about 25 minutes to lift the chicken up a piece at a time to stir the veggies around a bit so they get cooked evenly also)
Once you've hit the 160 mark, sprinkle shredded cheese of your choice on top (we get the mexican blend at the grocery store) and put it back in the oven until all pieces of chicken reach the temperature of 165.

This is what you should be looking at when you pull it out of the oven

Serve it up and top it with sour cream, guacamole, or whatever your heart desires... maybe more cheese, cilantro, tomatoes... 
I had to stick with just sour cream, since that's all I had in the fridge...

And there you have it. It's easy, fairly simple, and delicious

 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Trick or Treating has No Age Limit

This is a really hot button topic for a lot of people for some reason, and I suppose it is for me too.

Is there an age limit on when you can trick or treat?

I don't mean trick or treat with your kids or whatever, I mean when, as an individual, you can go knock on the door of strangers and get candy.

I don't think there should be. My personal opinion is that there shouldn't be any holidays that are ONLY for children or adults. If you are willing to put out the effort to get together a real costume and you want to get in touch with your inner child and go trick or treating, there's no reason you should be turned away at someone's door!

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that teenagers dressed up as a high school cheerleader or a 'rapper' should be able to go knock on someones door for their free candy, but if you and 4 of your friend show up at my door dressed as the gosh damn Spice Girls, I don't care what age you are, Imma give you some candy! 

So, tell me how you feel. Do you think that once you're a teenager you should grow up and stop trick or treating? Or are you a fellow kindred Halloween spirit who thinks that trick or treating should be for anybody who still has the drive and desire to put together an awesome costume and take a stroll through your neighborhood?
 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png

Monday, October 13, 2014

Let's Be Real Here

I've started about 10 posts in the past few weeks to get back into blogging and to tell you about everything I've been up too, but they all end up being really time consuming (I'll give you the cliff notes version: I got married, some other people got married, I've gained weight back, found out my dog has cancer... ya know, the usual), so instead I think I'll just jump back in and link up for Blogtober.

The Daily Tay

The topic today, if I'm not mistaken, is favorite fall recipe.

It's hard for me to narrow down ONE favorite food for fall, so instead I think I'll just tell you about one of my go-to fall desserts, Turtle Pumpkin Pie.

This is an easy, no bake dessert that adults and children will both like. It combines the traditional flavors of pumpkin pie with a much more universally liked sweetness from cool whip, vanilla pudding mix, and caramel drizzle.

To save us all time, I recommend that you go here to the Kraft website (where I also got the picture), and check out the recipe yourself. It's so easy and delicious.

So there you have it, my grand entrance back to blogging.

 photo 284877b_zps8b820ec3.png