Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Non-Adventures in Online Dating

The single life is not all it's cracked up to be. Sure, you basically get to do whatever you want whenever you want, but there's more to life than that. Life is meant to share with someone you love, or at least that's what I believe.

I've been single and tired of it for quite some time. At 28 years old, I felt like I was starting to run out of options as far as finding ways to meet guys. High school and college are over, there aren't any single guys at my church, none at work... so what's a girl to do?! For years I thought there was no way I'd ever try online dating, but last year I finally broke down and gave it a shot.

Unfortunately, I didn't have any luck. I first tried Match.com for 3 months. Maybe that just wasn't long enough, or maybe it's just not for me. Basically, any guys who were interested in me were not remotely my type, and of course when I'd find the "perfect guy," he would never respond. So after my subscription ran out, I didn't want to shell out more money for a lost cause. I felt like a lot of the guys on the site were just "players" anyway, and that's not what I'm looking for.

So, I gave Christian Mingle a whirl last fall. This time my subscription was for 6 months. I thought the guys on Match were bad, but Christian Mingle was actually worse, sadly. First of all, I was hesitant because I thought some of the questionable guys might be on there posing as Christians. I'm not sure if that was the case, but there were only about 30 guys in my area, period. Not a lot to choose from, and none that seemed promising. Now, I'll admit that I've been known to me picky, but in recent years I've become more open to certain things. I do still have my standards, though. 

In all honesty, I didn't have a bit of success in the online dating world. But I really do want to find love. I toy with the idea of giving it another go, or maybe I should throw in the towel with that avenue for a while and try something else. But what?! I don't like the idea of hanging out at bars... 1) because I'm not a drinker and 2) because I don't think you always meet the right kind of people there. So what's a girl to do?! 

I've thought about trying a new church where there might be more young people, but it does feel kind of awkward going somewhere new by myself. I have a couple friends who have suggested speed dating, but I don't know how successful that usually is. I'm open to ideas, though. And I'm open to set-ups, as long as they're not your balding, neighbor/plumber, your friend's unemployed son, or your grandson who currently has a girlfriend.

Suggestions welcome!!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips

Imagine my excitement when I came home from a long day at work and found a box of free snacks at my door! As a BzzAgent, I get the opportunity to receive all kinds of great, free things! I was especially thrilled to try this product because it was something I could eat, and it's a healthy snack!

Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips are a delicious, smart-snack. The sweet potato chips really remind me of Sun Chips, but they're healthier and lower in sodium! They have a great multigrain flavor that doesn't taste artificial at all. These snacks also come in a roasted veggie zesty cheddar variety, and they're basically the guilt-free version of Doritos! How awesome is that?!

I don't blog about a product unless I truly love it, and this is definitely a snack that I'll be buying on my own! Visit the Green Giant Facebook page to get a coupon for these snacks. Who knew that Green Giant could make such a great snack? They're not just veggies anymore! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

America's Biggest Goon

Sure, most of you know him as a decorated Olympic swimmer who gave Michael Phelps some much-needed competition, but in real life, he's America's Biggest Goon: Ryan Lochte! 

Now, let me just start by saying that Ryan is a super talented athlete. He's also a great-looking guy, but he should never, I repeat, never open his mouth! I'm a little taken back that he actually attended college! Yes, Ryan went to the University of Florida. As a Florida native, I have several friends who graduated from UF, but they are all intelligent people can who finish a sentence without losing their train of thought.
Anyway, Ryan has a new show on E! I knew this was going to be quality TV at its finest, and boy was I right! This is one of the few shows that actually made me laugh out loud. I was still thinking about it the next day, and I can't wait for the next episode!! One of the finer moments is when Ryan is asked if he's a "player." He responds with, "Describe player." I think he answered that way because he honestly does not know.

Ryan is a 28-year-old frat boy who is no longer in college, but still lives the college lifestyle. Basically, he's a real life Van Wilder. And he even has his own catch phrase: "Jeah!!" To get a taste of what I'm talking about, just check out this clip. And be sure to watch Ryan's new show, "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" (Although he doesn't even know what he would do!) Sundays at 10:00 EST on E!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

I've always loved watching cooking shows on the Food Network. Rachael Ray has been one of my favorites for a while, but now that there are some new kids on the block, I really enjoy watching Bobby Deen, Trisha Yearwood and Ree Drummond, better known as The Pioneer Woman.
Ree is an amazing cook, and I really want her life. She lives on the perfect, most beautiful ranch and is married to a real life cowboy and has four beautiful kids. Watching her show on Saturday mornings is part of my routine. And the fact that she has a blog is even better! I'm able to keep up with her and her recipes every day! Imagine my excitement when I recently discovered that she has an autobiographical book, The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. 
This book is probably the best love story I've ever read! I've enjoyed every page of it. Ree was raised a city girl and never expected to live the life she leads, but she does it so effortlessly. She recounts how she met her husband, how they fell in love, life after marriage, and all the ups and downs in between. The stories in her book are funny, sweet, sad and anything else you might expect from a great book! I highly recommend reading it, and be sure to check out her cookbooks, blog and TV show! Plus, I just learned that a big-screen adaptation of this book is in development with a major studio! I can't wait to see the movie version!

Come back in a few days when I'll post about a recipe of hers that I recently made and loved!! You'll want to make it several times this summer, I promise!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Update: My First Time Juicing

Over the weekend, I decided to test out my new juicer for the first time! I went to the grocery store and bought tons of fresh fruits and veggies so I could make a couple different combinations. On Sunday, I made my first juice. It consisted of a beet, an apple, 2 carrots, half a lemon and a piece of ginger. I found this recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook, It's All Good.
Surprisingly, it was really fun using the juicer! It was simple to assemble and other than the beet, it wasn't too messy. When the finished product was ready, I was anxious to taste it before I put it in the refrigerator. It definitely had a "different" taste to it, but I thought it was decent. Well, the more of it I drank, the more I didn't care for it. By the end of the day when I had finished all of it, I decided that I won't be making that particular combination again.
My next recipe I had planned to try involves lemon, kale, celery, cucumber and pineapple. At this point, I don't know if I'm feeling adventurous enough to try such a combination again. I wonder if it might be safer to do the pineapple by itself and eventually ease into some other combinations. I like the idea of adding kale and other veggies that I might not typically cook, but to be honest, I'm a little afraid of creating a disgusting concoction! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My New Juicer

Monday evening I came home from work to my brand new juicer at my doorstep! I am so excited to try it, but I need to find some great recipes and go buy a bunch of produce!
I've never juiced before, and basically got a wild hair a few weeks ago, thinking it would be great to have a juicer so I could eat even more fruits and veggies, and maybe use some things that I otherwise would've thrown away.
I didn't want a huge apparatus sitting in my kitchen, so I bought the Breville compact juice fountain. This baby has great reviews and can be put away so it doesn't have to sit out on the counter top. 

If anyone has juiced before, please share your recipes with me! If I come up with some great combinations, I'll be sure to share them as well. Can't wait to drink a bunch of yummy and healthy goodness!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Steel Magnolia

On Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend an acoustic performance at my local radio station by country duo Steel Magnolia. I've always loved the personal up-close performances like this much better than the huge concerts, and it had been a while since I'd been to something quite so intimate. Plus, as an added bonus, I interned at this particular radio station 5 years ago, and it was my first time going back since then!

Unfortunately, Steel Magnolia was coming from Alabama and running late, so we had to wait a while until they arrived, and they only performed 4 songs. Luckily, my cousin happened to be in town, so she went with me and we were able to gab and nosh on snacks. After the performance everyone lined up to get their picture taken with the duo. The radio station wouldn't let you use your personal camera; they took the photo for you. Well, let me just say that their photographer is not top notch. I knew immediately that I had blinked when he snapped the picture. For some reason, my eyes have become so sensitive to light and anytime I take a photo in a dark room, I seem to blink! Instead of the photographer offering to retake the photo, he just said, "Awesome!!" Yeah, right. I knew it was going to be awful, and boy was I right!  There I am with a huge smile on my face and my eyes completely closed. That photo won't be making its way anywhere, not unless someone has some mad Photo Shop skills and can open my eyes for me!

At least I had a good time and was able to snap a few photos of my own. I even filmed a short little video of part of their performance! Enjoy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Confessions From a Runner-Turned-Walker

Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner Blog for some fitness talk. I'm definitely no expert when it comes to fitness. I hated P.E. when I was in school, so of course everyone was shocked when I joined the basketball team in the 8th grade. It turned out to be a disaster, and not because of my lack of athletic abilities. I finally convinced my parents to let me get my ears pierced for my 13th birthday. Of course those earrings had to stay in my ears for weeks so the piercings could heal. I had to be extra careful, too, because my mom developed keloids after getting her ears pierced, and I was trying my best not to have the same thing happen to me. Well, little did I know that no jewelry was allowed on the basketball court, not even my newly pierced ears with the small gold balls! Needless to say, I was a bench warmer the entire season.

Fast forward to high school. I decided that I wanted to join the cross country team during my sophomore year. Actually, I didn't really want to join. I only did so because a guy I had a major crush on was on the team! (By the way, that never worked out!) I found that I was a decent runner. It didn't require a lot of skill... you just run until you feel like you're doing to drop! 

After high school, I didn't run much anymore. In fact, I didn't really have any sort of exercise regimen. A couple years ago, I decided to get back into running. I whipped myself into shape and completed a 5K run, which made me feel like a million bucks! I kept doing 5Ks and running 3-4 times per week. But then I had an injury last summer. It wasn't caused from running, though. I fell on some wet tile at my parents' house, and although I didn't know it at the time, I later found out that I had a torn ligament in my foot and a bruised bone. The doctor told me I couldn't run or really be on my foot much at all for the next few months!
This was right after I completed my first 5K since high school  (November 2011). I was especially excited that I was randomly assigned the number 84, which is my birth year!

It was difficult to get used to not exercising or running anymore after I'd become so accustomed to it again. Just recently, I started walking. My foot still isn't completely healed, so I have to take it easy. I do go for long walks (several miles) and walk as quickly as possible to get my heart rate up. I have sneaked in a couple short jogs, but then I pay for it later and have to ice my foot! I hope to eventually be able to run again, but for now, walking is the next best thing.

I will say that it's super hard to get back into a routine after you've gotten out of it. I've found that the best solution is to just put on your workout clothes! If I come home from work and change into them, I'll always go work out. But if I'm not already in my clothes, it's so easy to relax and settle in for the night without exercising. 

For those days when I don't have time to dedicate to a long walk or other activity, I simply do some housework! You can get a pretty good workout mopping, vacuuming, scrubbing your shower, or whatever else you might need to do! And I look at it this way: any physical activity is better than none!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Grilled Brie, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Sandwich

The other night I needed a quick dinner and I had some fresh wheat bread from the bakery that I wanted to use. I didn't want just a plain sandwich, so I started thinking about some combinations I could try. Then I remembered I had some brie cheese in the refrigerator! My wheels started turning when I thought of the apple I had, too! But I just wasn't sure if a grilled brie and apple would be enough. I felt like it might be lacking something. That's when the light bulb went off! I present to you the Grilled Brie, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Sandwich.

This sandwich was pure amazingness! And it's so simple! Here's how to make it. You'll need...

A couple slices of onion
Sliced bread of your choice (I used whole wheat from the bakery)
A few slices of brie cheese
Half an apple, sliced thin with the peeling left on (I used a Gala apple)

Heat a small amount of butter in a skillet and add your sliced onions. Sautee for a few minutes just until the onions slightly start to brown. But don't burn them!

Butter one side of each slice of bread, or just spray your pan with Pam. Pile on the sliced brie cheese and apples, then put your caramelized onions on top. Press the sandwich down as your grill it, then flip to cook the other side.

This would also be great in a panini press, but I don't have one (yet)!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The ACM Awards

I love a good country music awards show. The Oscars, Emmys... not my thing. But if there's country music involved, I'm all about it! Sometimes I end up sorely disappointed in the quality of the shows, but Sunday night's ACM Awards did not disappoint! 

This year Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan hosted. They were fabulous! The dynamic between those two was just fun and entertaining. Speaking of entertaining, I was super excited to see my boy Luke win Entertainer of the Year! He definitely deserved it, and the emotion that overcame him was so sweet and genuine!

I honestly enjoyed each and every performance of the night! After all, that's the real reason to watch, right?! Some of my very favorites were the opening number by Blake Shelton and many special guests, "Boys 'Round Here," Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban singing "Highway Don't Care," Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party," and Hunter Hayes' collaboration with Stevie Wonder on "You Can Feel it All Over."  I've said it once and I'll say it again: I may be 7 years older than Hunter Hayes, but that doesn't mean I can't have a crush on him! He is adorable and so very talented!! 

In case you missed any of the action, below is a list of all the award winners. 

Entertainer of the Year
Luke Bryan

Male Vocalist of the Year
Jason Aldean

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert

Vocal Duo of the Year
Thompson Square

Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town

New Male Vocalist of the Year
Brantley Gilbert

New Female Vocalist of the Year
Jana Kramer

New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year
Florida Georgia Line

New Artist of the Year
Florida Georgia Line

Album of the Year
"Chief" - Eric Church

Single Record of the Year
"Over You" - Miranda Lambert

Song of the Year
"Over You" - Miranda Lambert

Songwriter of the Year
Dallas Davidson

Video of the Year
"Tornado" - Little Big Town

Vocal Event of the Year
"The Only Way I Know" - Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan and Eric Church

Friday, April 5, 2013

Already Looking Forward to Fall

Even though I was born and raised in Florida, I'm not really a "Florida girl." I LOVE the cold weather, and when it begins to creep up to the 80s, I get sad. When it gets into the 90s, my sadness turns to misery! I can't stand the super hot weather. When you step outside and feel like you're melting and need to go back inside to shower again, it's not pretty. Plus I feel like I don't get to enjoy the outdoors as much when it's so hot because who really wants to be out there drenched in sweat?! 

Don't get me wrong. I know that most people who live in really cold climates think I'm nuts! They'd give anything to stop shoveling snow. While I do love to visit the snow, I'm sure it would get old having to scrape your windows before you start your car in the morning, and having to shovel snow from your driveway every time you go somewhere.

But I just had to write about the weather because I think today will probably be our last cool day until fall. Even though it's going to be rainy before the cool down, I'm excited to enjoy it one last time! It's supposed to be in the mid-70s once the rain clears. But then by early next week, we'll be up to the high-80s already, which equals borderline misery and lots of humidity! Dear fall, I already miss you. Please come back soon!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's in My Purse


Today I'm linking up with Erin and Mel for a Purse Party! This isn't just any party, though. We get to find out what's in each other's purses! 

Right now I'm using a pretty simple and inexpensive purse that I purchased from Old Navy a few months ago. I just happened to be in the store shopping and saw this purse on a mannequin. I thought it was a neat color and would go with everything! It definitely has, and surprisingly enough, it has held up pretty well! But, it's time for me to switch it out for something new. I just haven't quite decided what I like yet. I think I need something bright and summery.

Now, for what's inside my purse... 

I'm not one of those people who carries every possible product I might ever need in my purse. But I do have a lot of electronics!! I have my Kindle in a protective case, my camera, and my phone! No, I don't have a smart phone. And yes, I know I'm living in the Dark Ages. My brother loves to make fun of my for this, and says that if I just upgraded, I could avoid the need for a Kindle and a camera. He's right. To be honest, I never use my Kindle to read books. I use it to check email, websites, etc. Luckily, I won the Kindle in a raffle at work a few years ago, so it has come in handy for my makeshift smart phone needs! 

I also have random receipts and coupons in my purse, some Cover Girl Natureluxe gloss balm in Thistle, a tube of Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel hand cream, an empty face powder compact (because I need the mirror), my RayBan sunglasses in their case, my wallet, a nail file, and my keys. I don't think that's too bad, is it? I always think of other things I should carry, like gum, tissues, floss, contact solution, but I don't want to tote around 10 pounds on my shoulder, either!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Scents of Spring

A couple weeks ago I wrote about The Shades of Spring, where I highlighted some of my favorite nail polish colors. Today I'm going to highlight some of my favorite scents. My go-to for a while now has been Kai fragrance. I have the lotion and perfume, and I have to say that it's definitely one of my favorites. it always smells so fresh and clean. It reminds me of gardenias and being on the beach in Hawaii with a flower in my hair (even though I've never been to Hawaii)!

One of my other favorites is D&G 3 L'Imperatrice by Dolce & Gabbana. This perfume is just so feminine. It's a little floral, but definitely not overpowering by any means. I like light fragrances. In fact, there aren't a lot of perfumes I can actually wear. Many of them make me sneeze after a while, but this one doesn't, and neither do any of the other scents I'm featuring here!

My newest obsession is a scent called Pink Sugar by Aquolina. This scent is just so fun and perfect for spring. It reminds me of cotton candy or something fruity and tasty! It's really inexpensive, but it definitely doesn't smell cheap. You can find this perfume at almost any store, too. Even Target carries it!

I think all of these perfumes can carry you through summer, too. They're all perfect for the warmer months. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Get Pin-spired: April Edition

It's April 1, so you know what that means! I'm linking up again with Mix and Match MamaPinterest Told Me To, and The Larson Lingo for Get Pin-spired: April edition.

I'm having so much fun with this every month! I look forward to digging in my closet and putting together some outfits that I've never tried before. My first re-creation is inspired by Alison at Get Your Pretty On. Alison is another one of my favorite bloggers, and a super sweet person who has amazing style! When I saw this outfit on her blog last week, I just knew I could make it my own! My denim top doesn't lay open as nicely as hers, and I do like her blazer better, but I think it works! I might just have to pick up that yellow necklace she's wearing, too! And the great part... it's from Target!!

Top: Gap Outlet (old)
Blazer: LC by Lauren Conrad (old)
Red skinny jeans: NY&Co. (old)

For my next look, I used the same pants and blazer, and just changed up the top! I love that I can create so many different outfits out of many of the same pieces! 

Top: LOFT (old)

My next look is nice and bright for spring! I've worn this blue and white striped top multiple times... with shorts and jeans... but I never thought to pair it with my coral skinny jeans until I saw this picture on Pinterest!

Top: LOFT (old)
Coral skinny jeans: Gap

That's it for this month! Time to start thinking about what I can put together for May!