A Bunch of Randoms

It’s been a while since I rambled about random things going on in my life. I’m having one of those evenings where I just felt like writing, so here I am.

This past week was our fifth wedding anniversary. I can’t believe that it’s been five years already! I can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring. It’s been a crazy five years…we became homeowners, parents of a furbaby, and have been for each other during quite a few doses of “good and bad”.

To celebrate, we decided to have a mini vacation over the long weekend and drove to Houston. It was so nice to have a nice dinner date and just enjoy each other’s company with no stress or worries. I even splurged on a new purse and passport wallet at the Kate Spade outlet! So fun!

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I’ve been baking a good bit lately, and I was pretty stoked to discover that Amazon carries a 32 oz. size of vanilla paste (vs. the 4 oz. I tend to purchase at kitchen stores) for just under $30! I love using vanilla paste from time to time in baked goodies and especially in frozen treats.

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I was recently sent these chocolate bars from Chuao chocolatier to sample, for a review. So far, the S’mores bar is a favorite of mine! I really like marshmallow with chocolate, and when you add in graham cracker? Holy moly! It’s so good! I also gave the sweet and salty bar a try, and it’s such a simple bar. I love the hint of salt in there, because it really brings out the flavor of the chocolate. :-) Randoms

Recently, the office I work at had their company crawfish boil. It was such a nice day, and it makes me so grateful to be in a job that I 100% love. It was wonderful.

On a random side note – as a food blogger, I just had to take a picture of this crawfish display. Usually everything is thrown on newspaper, but I found this display to be so nice. I wish I could have taken that pirogue of crawfish home with me. :-P

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A couple of weeks ago, I found out that I won a case of Sabra hummus on Cooking with Books‘s blog. I’ve been eating hummus like crazy, and I recently discovered how much I love hummus in wraps. I usually just eat hummus with carrot chips or pita chips, but with all of this hummus in the house, I’m looking for more recipes to use up this tasty spread. :-)

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My nephew recently had his first communion. I found myself scrambling around the house for appropriate gift wrap for what we got him (I was assuming bright, colorful patterns wouldn’t be super appropriate), and I remembered my favorite/simple way to wrap a gift is with tissue paper and yarn. :-)

I tend to have quite a stash of tissue paper, because I usually raid the Christmas section for colorful tissue paper after the holidays on major discount. I know I’m not the only person who does this. :-) I also try to find generic wrapping paper in the Christmas section, and while it’s a bit hard to sift through the clearance rack of Justin Bieber Christmas paper and other random character wrap, I usually luck out with a couple of rolls. :-P I’m way too cheap to pay $5 for a roll of wrapping paper during the year.

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Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Disclosure: I was sent chocolate bars at no cost to me for a review. I also received the hummus at no cost to me, as the winner of a giveaway. All opinions are 100% my own.

A Bunch of Randoms

1. Well, life has been a bit hectic lately. Some great changes are happening in my life right now (thank you, 2014….2013 stunk a big one!), and I’ve just been so busy getting ready for these changes. I can’t exactly explain what the big news is, but I will in a couple of weeks (hint: it’s not a baby). :-)

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2. Yesterday, Millie received her last BarkBox. I purchased a 3 month Groupon for her for Christmas, and she has LOVED everything that has been included in the box. I’m thankful that the toy included in every box wasn’t what we like to call a “5 minute toy”, meaning it’s shredded to bits in under 5 minutes. She also loved all of the treats that she has tried so far from her BarkBoxes. :-) We probably won’t continue though, because she still has about 10 bags of treats unopened, and she has a whole basket of toys. This gal is beyond spoiled. :-P

I took a picture of her when we got the shipment. You can’t tell in the picture, but she was in the middle of barking at the box. She doesn’t like boxes very much (she was found in a box as a puppy…poor thing), so she refuses to grab anything out of boxes and she won’t go anywhere near larger boxes. No worries…she got a treat and the rope toy a few seconds later. I just wanted a picture of her with her last BarkBox. :-)

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3. Last weekend was the Mardi Gras Mambo 10K. I’ve heard great things about the race, and at $25, it was a no brainer to register. I have to admit, I went into this race thinking it would be no big deal. I mean, I did a half marathon the month before. However, I haven’t gone for a single run since the half. Since my strength training program says to avoid cardio in the first month, I didn’t run at all. Big mistake..it’s amazing how quickly I lost my endurance and also, I had leg day at the gym a couple of days before….my hamstrings were on fire after mile 2. :(

4. Confession: Valentine’s Day candy (heck, ANY holiday candy) on clearance is my weakness. I totally purchased 6 bags of candy (I know…crazy), but I’m super proud of myself for not going over my calories with all of this candy in the house. I’m learning that two small pieces of chocolate is enough for a snack, and a good trick for me to make it last is to freeze the chocolate. It takes longer to melt in my mouth, so it feels like I’m getting more than two small pieces of candy. Totally a mental thing, but it works for me. It’s good to have some semblance of willpower back. :-)

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5. Last month, my husband and I went to a local shoe store to get him some new shoes. There was apparently a big clearance there, and we had a coupon for an extra 50% off clearance, so we figured it would be a great sale for him to stock up on shoes. We didn’t see that it was for ladies and kids only, though. :( While I wasn’t planning on getting any shoes before we got there, I couldn’t resist after seeing the prices. I purchased $190 worth of shoes for $50. I’m really excited about rain boots, which were $12 after coupon…my dog will NOT use the facilities in the rain without me standing out there (boo), and sinking in the mud in nicer shoes is not fun at all. Yay for rain boots!

Also, yeah…black flats…those are work staples. I’m not coordinated enough for heels, and frankly, at 5’10″, I really don’t need the extra height. :-)

A Bunch of Randoms

It has been quite an odd week in Louisiana. It has snowed twice within a week, and I’m just a tad bit tired of the cold weather. Remind me that I said this when it’s 110 degrees outside in a few short months.

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1. I became THAT runner. My car now has a 13.1 on it. As cheesy as it is, I think I earned it. :-)

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2. I’m falling more and more in love with Trader Joe’s lately. These chocolate covered powerberries are amazing. OMG..and they’re healthy, right? So I can feel no guilt at all for eating the entire bag over the course of three days? Great!

Also, my addiction to their dried mango is nothing short of ridiculous.

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3. Here’s evidence of the snow. This was just the start of when the snow started last night, and I couldn’t help but take a picture of the paw prints. It took Millie a little while to understand what this snow stuff was, but after a while, she was running through it like crazy. :-)

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4. This tank top just gets me. OMG. I just had to get it for my upcoming 10K, and while it’s a little tight right now, I think I’ll be OK in a few weeks for the race. Weight loss motivation? I’m gonna wear the heck out of this in the summer for my runs. :-)

5. I’m completely loving this song. I mean, it’s probably because Idina is singing it. I need to babysit someone’s child so I can watch this movie in the theater without being judged. I haven’t been this excited about an animated movie since “Princess and the Frog”! I just love Disney. :-)

A Bunch of Randoms

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1. Um…OMG…Christmas is 13 days away. I mean, don’t get me wrong…I’m ridiculously excited, but I also don’t want Christmas to just come and go. I could listen to Underneath the Tree on repeat 490834 times right now.

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2. I got my very first Kate Spade accessory last week. While I love my Otterbox, I wanted something a little prettier. Is it blonde of me that I had to YouTube how to open the phone cover to put my phone in? There were seriously no instructions in the box…I felt like a doof, but I really didn’t want to break the case.

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3. When we were driving home from Thanksgiving, my husband and I both noticed how pretty the lake we always drive by from Baton Rouge to New Orleans (Lake Pontchartrain) was. The picture probably doesn’t do it much justice, but this normally murky lake looked like water in the Caribbean. I know it had something to do with the sunset reflecting off of the water, but oh man, it was gorgeous. It made me long for another Caribbean vacation…..

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4. This is probably the only Christmas project I can show y’all right now (since I’m making gifts and family tends to read the blog from time to time). This afghan was ridiculously simple to make, and it’s so cozy. I will say that the size 50 needles aren’t as natural to knit on, but man, projects knit up SO quickly! It took me longer than 6 hours, but it was a casual knit. I think I’m going to make a couple of these for gifts in the future.

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5. Does anyone else own this palette? I bought it a year ago or so, and I’ll admit, it hurt a little to spend $50 on eyeshadow. However, I find myself constantly surprised by this palette. I feel like every eyeshadow looks amazing on me, and all of the colors look great together. I can’t say it’s going to look amazing on everyone, but for me, it’s perfect.

6. I know I haven’t done Training Tuesdays in a while, but I’m in week 7 of training for my half marathon. I have to run 7 miles this weekend (gulp)…I still can’t believe my race is a few short weeks away! Eek!

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1. This past weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the naming ceremony for the Carnival Sunshine. The Sunshine is a ship that had a multi-million dollar renovation, and it was making it’s US debut in New Orleans this past week. This is the first time we’ve ever attended something like this, and we had a wonderful time! As many of you may remember, we went on a cruise last year with Carnival and we had a blast. We enjoyed it so much that we’re going on a cruise on the Sunshine as well, and we cannot wait! We could use a vacation after the year we had. :-\

They also had the Saints game on the big screen….now THAT is the way to watch a game (along with a punchy rum drink with a cute umbrella). :-)

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Oh, and do you want to know how to gain a ridiculous amount of weight in a day? Run 5 miles, and then eat a dinner like this. Whew…I wanted to eat nothing but carrots the next day!

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2. If you’re from the New Orleans area, you probably nodded your head so many times while reading this that you now have a headache. Am I right?

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3. This was a whole handle of vodka. Well, it was a whole handle of vanilla extract. It took me two years to use it…..you think I have a baking hobby? Maybe a tad… Another handle of vodka is being made into extract at the moment, and it should be ready any day now. I couldn’t have planned that better if I tried. Ah, holiday baking!

4. Do you LOVE holiday movies/shows as much as I do? I don’t know about y’all, but this Holiday TV Guide is going to be printed and take permanent residence on our table next to the sofa.

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5. That rope toy? I’m pretty sure that’s something dogs dream about. I wonder how our dog, Millie would react….hmm…maybe Santa will leave this for her since she’s such a sweet girl. :-P

Disclosure: My husband and I attended the Carnival Sunshine naming ceremony at no cost to us. There was no blog post required, but we had such a great time, I thought I’d just share how it went!

A Bunch of Randoms

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, hasn’t it? I sort of miss doing these on a weekly basis. :-)

1. I’m head over heels in love with this foundation. I got it for Christmas last year, and sparingly used it, because it was so pricey. Whatever…I’m now using this every single day. I love it…I use it with a makeup primer and I hardly have oily skin anymore. It’s awesome!

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2. The cooler it gets, the more Millie wants to jump on the sofa and cuddle with me. This pose especially melts my heart….she rests her chin on my leg? Ugh…I can’t help but smile and move my laptop over for her.

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3.  I love our front yard garden right now. Just love it…I’m proud to say I haven’t killed anything yet. Perhaps my thumb is taking on a more green hue?

4. This made me laugh so hard today. I think #26 would go perfectly with those gross Harry Potter earwax-y Jelly Bellys (anyone remember when they came out with those?) for a Halloween party.

5. I hate to say it, but I think I finally gave up on Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve been watching that show since the college days, and it was SO great back then. The show is just so boring lately, and I think it’s because Shonda is rocking the something out of Scandal. She can only really write one good show at a time.

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6. This arrived in our mailbox the other day. Y’all…it’s SO close to the holiday season! Eep!

7. I’m doing a DietBet right now, and I’m so happy to see great results again. 4.4 lbs. down so far, which I’m probably ruining with the Gobstoppers that I’m snacking on. Darn you, Halloween candy!

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8. Here’s our annual picture of Millie with her “pupcake”. Yes, I’m that puppy mom who drove to a cupcake bakery just to buy a pupcake. Isn’t she just the sweetest? I love that dog.

9. Our local Trader Joe’s opens today. I’m SO excited. While I won’t be going there for at least another week (crowds), it’s exciting that good ol’ Baton Rouge is getting some cool franchises. I also read our first Costco is opening in April! Whee!

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10. I know it’s not anywhere close to Christmas yet, but I like to mess with my coworkers. I’ve been putting up a new Christmas decoration each week. We, as a team, had a nice tree in past years, but since the coworker who owned that tree retired (and took the tree with her), I thought it would be fitting to put up a pathetic Charlie Brown tree. All it needs is Linus’ blanket. :-)

Hope everyone has a great Halloween!

A bunch of randoms

It feels good to get back into blogging again. While things have been going a bit crazy around the house, we still try to find some normal moments to feel a little more at home.

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1. I’ve been knitting like crazy lately. It’s not cold yet, but all I want to do is knit. It’s so comforting and fun to be starting on holiday gifts this early. Here’s two (tiny) hats that I threw together in the past week. I used the duplicate stitch to add in their names right after to make them a little more personal. :-) Also, how fun is it to knit baby things in pastel college colors? I love it.

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2. Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, we’re well prepared for the fall. We have candles like crazy in the house…hope it’s enough to last us the whole season. :-)

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3. It was National Dog Day this week. I told Millie to SMILE PRETTY for a National Dog Day picture, and this is the face I got. She was definitely in a leave me alone mood.

4. Big Bang Theory Fans…I give you the best BuzzFeed of the week! I can’t stop laughing at these…I love that show! So glad my husband introduced me to it.

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5. Dear Target, why are you selling this? In Louisiana….10 minutes away from LSU. There’s a reason this is on massive clearance..it’ll only sell as a gag gift.

 

A Bunch of Randoms

Another week bites the dust! I’m excited about this weekend, because IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON!

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1. Weight loss is so crazy. My body is changing before my eyes, and I find that I’m getting so much stronger with every work-out. I just finished Week 2 of Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer, and it’s amazing to see baby muscles. I’m seriously addicted to taking “gun show” pictures, like the one above. Can we talk about how much some of the moves suck? Narrow push-ups and preacher curls, especially. OMG, the burn!

2. Another funny with weight loss. I hope this isn’t too personal. I’ve been switching out clothes like crazy the past 70ish lbs. However, one thing that I realized is that I have yet to get a smaller size of are my sports bras. Oops. WORLD of a difference… the smaller size definitely supports me better. Ladies: Target has their C9 bras for $12/pair until Saturday (regularly $16.99). I stocked up. I should be good for another 70 lbs. (haha….just kidding).

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3. I’m looking to purchase a larger camera bag, since I really only use mine when traveling and I’d like more room for a computer or iPad. So, I’m selling this one, since it’s kind of crazy for me to have two camera bags (as a hobbyist). This is a Kelly Moore Posey bag (first edition) in muted teal…purchased in 2011. I’ve only used it a handful of times, but it’s still in very good condition (there’s a couple of spots that are slightly worn in the faux leather but other than that, great condition). I’m hoping to sell it for $90 (paid $159), but I’m willing to take a reasonable offer too. Email me at niftyfoodie at gmail.com if you’re interested. :-)

4. Goodness. I need Kate Spade to stop having major online sales. Every single time there is one, I see a bag (or 2) that I want, and I have to tell myself no. Not until Onederland. 30ish lbs. to go! :-

5. Yes, indeed.

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I haven’t written one of these posts in a while, but I’ve taken quite a few photos on my phone since then. :-)

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1. You know you’re an adult when this is on your Christmas wish list. Hello pretty pantry storage! My husband thinks I’m a weirdo for wanting this set as a gift, but oh man, I really really do!

2. This is truly a random, but one of my favorite things about SNL is when the actors break down and laugh. It just makes them seem more normal. :-)

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3. I REALLY lucked out a couple of weeks ago, and won a giveaway for a Masterbuilt smoker from NWA Foodie’s blog. I seriously still can’t believe it, but we spent last weekend cleaning out our patio area and finding a place for it. We pre-seasoned the smoker as well, so it’s now ready for us to break it in! What should I make first? I’m seriously eye-ing some brisket right now. :-)

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4. This never gets old. The green top was something I got for my trip last year to San Diego, and it’s just way too big now. I know I take pictures like this a lot, but it seriously doesn’t get old. Sorry.

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5. Now that I’m fitting in regular sized clothing, I’m constantly surprised by the choices I have. I’m also learning what shapes flatter my body. Dress on the left…no. Dress on the right? Heck yes. I promise you these were taken on the same night in the same fitting room (Kohl’s).

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6. In case you don’t follow me on Instagram, you probably have no idea what this is. Back when I was losing weight for the wedding (on Weight Watchers), I learned about a great motivation idea to make a paper clip chain. Add a paper clip for every pound, and it’s a constant reminder of how far you’ve come. My coworkers just think it’s paper clip bunting….to me, it’s so much more. I hope I’m never asked to take this down.

7. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chocolate collection from Sucré!

Have a great weekend, y’all!

A Bunch of Randoms

Hope y’all had a great 4th of July! We ended up having an easy-going day, which was definitely welcome. :-) It was probably the most difficult on Millie, since she got her summer fur-cut yesterday AND had to deal with 3 neighborhoods in our area FULL of fireworks lovers. Poor gal. :(

1. This might not seem funny to some, but to this dog lover, I was laughing super hard. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

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2. When I see this in the grocery store, it pretty much makes my day. Banana biscoff protein shake, anyone? Banana “ice cream”? Yes please!

3. This is completely awesome. Completely…maybe I should do this to my sisters when they get married? I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t claim me anymore. On another note, I want those shoes she’s wearing. What are those? Sparkly Converse shoes?

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4. I was looking through old iPhone pictures yesterday, and came across my Couch to 5K collages. I found one from the 4th of July last year, and decided to see how it compares to one from my last run. I’m hoping y’all aren’t getting tired of the progress picture comparisons…they motivate the heck out of me to see a huge difference in my face like that!

5. This made me ridiculously happy. My career is in the IT & science fields, and as a woman, I’m definitely in the minority. I have no problem working with men (just sayin’), but it’s something I notice a lot at conferences and in training classes.  If I have a daughter one day, I’d love for her to have toys like this! :-) I used to LOVE playing with my brother’s toys as a kid (sorry bro), and was a huge sucker for science kits/books/games. I hope this toy idea sticks around for a while!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! :-)