Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just a few things

  1. Key lime flavoring + seltzer + vanilla custard = an old fashioned soda from Andy's (aka the most amazing thing ever)
  2. The Glee season finale--my tear ducts haven't worked that hard in a looong time
  3. Living with Boyfriend is so surprisingly normal (more on that later)
  4. I like my job (more on that later, too)
  5. My life is actually way more put together than I think it is most of the time (more on that later, as well)
  6. Israel posts are coming--seriously
  7. "Call Me Maybe" makes me smile every.single.time.
  8. Songify--get it for your phone (and use it for me because Blackberry doesn't recognize its awesomeness)
  9. I'm SO excited about my travels this summer
  10. Also the Cardinals game with work next weekend
  11. I'm procrastinating packing
  12. I'm going to Dallas tomorrow to see my baby brother graduate from high school--craaaaazy
  13. Having good friends nearby is
  14. I'm planning on reading Mockingjay on the plane tomorrow and Sunday--so excited
  15. Boyfriend made dinner--the best
  16. Okay, I'm really going to pack now

Monday, May 28, 2012

What We Ate this Week

I think this post is pretty self explanatory, so here's what we've been eating the past week or so:

I have no earthly idea what we ate last Sunday, which probably means that we slept in late, didn't eat breakfast, and ate a late lunch/early dinner of oatmeal or something similar.

I think I've mentioned this before, but Boyfriend gets catered lunch at work every Monday, which means he's never really hungry for dinner. Because of this, dinner is usually pretty light. This week, we stuck to tried-and-true grilled cheese sandwiches and soup--tomato for me and chicken noodle for Boyfriend. Thanks to my George Foreman, perfectly toasted grilled cheese sandwiches could not be easier!

I had a hair appointment after work on Tuesday (more on that later), so dinner was pretty simple for the second night in a row. Boyfriend used his mom's pancake recipe (below) and I made some over-easy eggs for our yummy, easy meal. Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?

Boyfriend's Mom's Pancakes

Ingredients: 1 1/4 cups flour, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 egg, 1 cup milk--Make enough batter for the amount of pancakes wanted.

Directions: Stir ingredients together until blended. Batter will still be slightly lumpy. Pour desired amount into a greased/buttered pan. Cook in pan on medium heat until light golden brown color. When cooked enough, the surface will be slightly bubbly and the edges will look slightly dry.
After our pancake feast, I got to work on Wednesday night's dinner, which would cook all day on Wednesday in my crock pot! This was the first time I used my crock pot, so I was a little nervous, but very excited that (theoretically) dinner would be ready when I got home from work on Wednesday. I used the following recipe and put my own spin on it:

Chicken with Italian Sausage

Ingredients: 10 ounces bulk mild or hot Italian sausage, 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1 can (about 15 ounces) white beans rinsed and drained, 1 can (about 15 ounces) red beans rinsed and drained, 1 cup chicken broth, 1 medium onion chopped, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, chopped fresh parsley to taste

Directions: Brown sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring to break up meat. Drain and discard fat. Spoon sausage into crock pot slow cooker. Place chicken, beans, broth, onion, pepper, and salt into crock pot slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Slice each chicken thigh on the diagonal. Serve with sausage and beans. Garnish with parsley.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, except instead of sausage, I used ground beef, and instead of chicken thighs, I used two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts simply because that's what we had in the house. Just like the recipe instructs, I browned the beef in a pan and drained and discarded the fat before putting it in the crock pot. Once the chicken breasts were mostly thawed, I put them in the crock pot whole. By the time it was cooked, the chicken was tender enough that it was easy to break up by simply stirring the "stew" in the pot. To accompany the meal, I heated up a few leftover bread sticks we had in the oven.

I LOVED everything about this meal. It was delicious, it pretty much cooked itself, and I made enough to have leftovers to freeze and bring to work for lunch over the next few weeks. I'm really looking forward to making crock pot meals on a weekly basis.
On Thursday night, I dug up a recipe Boyfriend and I made a long time ago: pan-seared lemon tilapia with Parmesan pasta. The exact recipe can be found here.

I was a little disappointed with this meal, but not because the recipe is bad--it's yummy, and I highly recommend it. I haven't mastered the art of every part of the meal being ready at the same time, and fish and pasta are two foods that cool off very quickly, so the meal was cold by the time we sat down to eat--not the end of the world, but a little bit disappointing. Oh well, can't win them all!
I accompanied this meal with some steamed veggies.
Our friends Justin and Sherbs (Kristin) came in town to stay with us on Friday night, so we went to HuHot for dinner with them and Jill. If you're keeping track, this means that we've been to HuHot three times in the three weekends that I've lived here. What can I say? We love it, and it's a good value!

After dinner, we walked next door to Andy's to meet up with our friends Amanda and Ian, and Boyfriend and I shared some ice cream. Sherbs, Jill, Amanda, and I chatted about traveling, weddings, and all kinds of girly things, while Boyfriend, Justin, and Ian talked about manly things like computers, work, and video games.
On Saturday morning, Boyfriend and I had to wake up early to take his car in to be inspected, so we picked up donuts from Dixie Cream Donuts for everyone to munch on once they woke up. We stuck to the breakfast basics (sprinkle, glazed, chocolate, and crullers), but I was in awe of the donuts in the shop! They had every kind of topping, filling, and doughnut type you could ever imagine! It took a lot of will power to not buy more than a dozen.
For lunch on Saturday, I broke out the George Foreman again and made tuna melts. I just mixed two cans of tuna with mayonnaise and a little lemon juice, toasted four slices of bread with a piece of American cheese on each, washed some lettuce, and put it all together for an easy and filling sandwich. Saturday was kind of a lazy day for us, and dinner followed suit. I had tomato soup and Boyfriend had cream of wheat.
After dinner, Boyfriend and I said goodbye to Sherbs and Justin, and I went to a local bar with some of my sorority sisters who were in town for a wedding. It was so fun to spend some time with some sisters that I haven't seen in a while.
Yesterday morning, I woke up and made us cheesy scrambled eggs and toast. Then, we went back to sleep for a little bit before running some errands and putting some stuff away in the apartment. For dinner, we treated ourselves to Chipotle before going to see Men in Black 3, which I actually really enjoyed!

I hope everyone is having a fun and relaxing Memorial Day weekend! It's so nice to have a day off from work today. If the weather cooperates, we'll be spending the day at the pool and then cooking out tonight!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Birchbox

The theme of this month's Birchbox was Gossip Girl.
Even though I've never seen an episode of Gossip Girl, I was really happy with my Birchbox this month!
First Impressions:
  • Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer: One of the things I love about Birchbox is that I'm able to sample high-end beauty products each month. It's easy to see that this moisturizer is in fact a luxury product. I will definitely use this sample down to the last drop, but even if I love it, $90 is definitely more than I'm willing to spend on a beauty product.
  • Arquiste Flor y Canto: Like I've said before, I'm very picky when it comes to perfume, and I'd be totally fine if I never got another perfume sample from Birchbox ever again. I'm sure I'll try this sample at some point, but I don't expect to love it.
  • beautyblender blendercleanser: I could not have been more excited when I opened my box and saw this product inside. A long time ago (at least 7+ years ago), I received a set of Bare Escentuals makeup brushes as a gift. Even after using them on a daily basis since then, these brushes are almost as good as new and they work so well. Seriously, I swear by them and could not recommend them more. The only thing is--and I'm embarrassed to admit this--I've never cleaned them. Not once. Thanks to this little bottle of cleanser, however, that will be changing some time in the near future, and I'm so excited about it.
  • stila sparkle waterproof liquid eye liner: I've never tried waterproof or liquid eye liner, but the stila brand is great, and I'm a sucker for dramatic eyes, so I'm pretty sure that I'll use this sample up and love every second of it. Plus, this sample is about as close to full size as possible. Thanks, Birchbox!
  • Notecards: Stationary--especially beautiful stationary--is kind of my thing. This bright green notecard is going to go to good use.
What did you get in your Birchbox this month?

Monday, May 21, 2012


If you've been following along, you know that one of the biggest concerns I had about moving into our new apartment was that we had no furniture. Between Boyfriend and I, all we had when we moved in was a small dresser, a bed, a small desk, and a table and four chairs--and thank goodness we had that.

Since we moved in exactly two weeks and two days ago, we've acquired almost everything we need. How? Simply by the kindness of others.

Last weekend, my best friend Jill was in the process of moving out of her one bedroom apartment and into an almost-fully furnished apartment with a few other people. To put it simply, there was no room for her futon. Knowing we were in need of a sofa, she offered it to us for a few months. It really is a win-win situation; Until August, we get a sofa and she gets a place to store her futon free of charge.
Since the above photo was taken, I've removed the purple blanket, which was just there for convenience, and replaced it with a navy and gold plaid blanket that matches quite nicely. Photos of the completed living room to come (you know, once the living room is actually complete).

On our first venture to Sam's after we moved in, we were in panic mode about literally having no place to put our stuff, so we scooped up two of these dark brown shelves. They're not the nicest shelves in the world, but they're decent enough and they do their job. Plus, at approximately $25 each, the price was right.
Right now, there's a shelf on each side of our bookcase/TV stand. They're still in need of some purposing and styling as they currently hold our movies and Boyfriend's Wii and Nintendo 64. At first they held all of Boyfriend's video game controllers and games, but that quickly changed when...

We got a bookcase/TV stand (plus other beautiful furniture) from Boyfriend's boss! Backstory here: At work one day, Boyfriend was talking about how excited he was to move in with me (obviously) and how, unfortunately, we were in desperate need of furniture. Well, the heavens opened up when Boyfriend's boss mentioned that she had a garage full of furniture that we were more than welcome to. The cost? Zip, zilch, nada. Yep, this beautiful furniture was completely FREE! Thanks to Boyfriend's boss, we are now the ecstatic owners of the following set of matching chocolate brown wooden furniture with silver hardware:
Bookcase/TV Stand
Dresser and Mirror
Tall Dresser
We love our new furniture, and we're so thankful that Boyfriend's boss and her husband were generous enough to give them to us free of charge. These pieces are without a doubt much nicer than what we would have purchased ourselves, and we can't wait to build our home around them. To thank them for their kindness, we gave Boyfriend's boss and her husband the supplies for the perfect date night: movie passes, a gift certificate to one of the nicest restaurants in Columbia, and an offer to babysit their adorable six-month-old little girl.

Once we got the new beautiful furniture, our old stuff needed to be relocated. Right now, Boyfriend's dresser is in the closet of the second bedroom waiting to move to a TBD destination. He's using the new desk--seriously, this thing is a monster--and I'm using the desk he already had, which is much better for a laptop and my short little legs. :) Right now, both desks are in the second bedroom, which is where they'll stay, but we need to figure out a better arrangement for them.

Obviously, the apartment is a total work in progress. In fact, all that's set up right now is the kitchen. My wonderful aunt was kind enough to buy and send us a coffee maker, a toaster oven, a glass cutting board, and kitchen towels, so now we have everything (kind of) that a fully-stocked kitchen needs! I'm pretty happy with the kitchen right now, but I'm sure I'll change it a few times before it's really the way I want it.
Speaking of our kitchen, here's what we've been eating lately.

On Monday, we had one of my favorite meals: grilled cheese and tomato soup! Well, Boyfriend isn't a fan of tomato soup, so he had chicken noodle instead. We used my George Foreman grill for the first time to make the grilled cheese sandwiches, and that thing is magical! The sandwiches were done perfectly in just about two minutes!

Tuesday was my first day at my new job (more on that later), and because my office took us out for lunch, I wasn't very hungry for dinner. Boyfriend and I just munched on cereal that night.

I made tuna noodle casserole and green beans on Wednesday night using this recipe:

Ingredients: 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free), 1/2 cup milk, 2 tablespoons chopped pimientos (optional), 1 cup Birds Eye Sweet Garden Peas, 2 cans (about 5 ounces each) tuna drained, 1/4 of a 12-ounce package medium egg noodles (about 2 cups) cooked and drained, 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon butter melted

Directions: Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir the soup, milk, pimientos, if desired, peas, tuna, and noodles in a 1 and 1/2-quart casserole. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Bake the tuna mixture for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Stir the tuna mixture. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 5 minutes or until the bread crumb mixture is golden brown.

I left out the peas and pimientos and substituted the egg noodles for wheat spaghetti simply because that's what we had in the house. We didn't have bread crumbs, but I got creative and toasted some bread and a leftover bread stick in the oven, waited until they were nice and toasty, and broke them up by hand. The bread crumbs ended up being a little big, but they tasted just fine!
Boyfriend had a big fun and food-filled retreat at work on Thursday, so he wasn't hungry for dinner that night. I, on the other hand, was starving, so I had leftover tuna noodle casserole.

On Friday night, we broke out the George Foreman once again and Boyfriend made delicious cheeseburgers. I contributed to the meal by heating up a can of baked beans. I wish I had a picture of the burgers, but we gobbled them up too fast. They were so good--probably my favorite meal we've had in the apartment so far. Boyfriend is the official burger maker from here on out.

After dinner on Friday, our friends Harrison and Alex came over and we enjoyed a few drinks and good company. On Saturday, we spent the afternoon at Harrison and Alex's pool before taking them out to dinner at HuHot to thank them for helping us move all of our heavy furniture up to our third-floor apartment. After dinner, we went next door to Andy's for some ice cream. We couldn't believe that after about ten years of coming to and living in Columbia, it was Harrison's first time to have Andy's. He loved it, of course.

I have to mention how proud I am of us that we've been eating breakfast regularly (okay, for the past week). Neither of us are really breakfast people, but we're making an effort to eat better and be healthier, and eating breakfast is a part of that. Because Boyfriend's schedule varies slightly from day to day, we take turns making breakfast for each other. This past week, breakfasts were oatmeal, cream of wheat, and cereal. Now that we have our awesome coffee maker, mornings will be even better!

Here are a few pictures from the last week or so:
Just because flowers from Boyfriend :)
Dollar Quads at Bengal's
Other things we've been up to: going to the pool, getting Trops, having a hello/goodbye lunch with my friend Jamie, going to Walmart on a near-daily basis, spending time with friends at a moment's notice, setting up the apartment, working, and falling into a routine....Things are good. :)

Happy Monday, Everybody!

Monday, May 14, 2012

On Living with a Boy

I've officially lived with Boyfriend for a little over a week now, and here are just a few of the things I've noticed.

He never leaves the toilet seat up. Extra kisses for you, Boyfriend.

He tells me everything I cook tastes good, and he always thanks me for making dinner.

He says he'll do the dishes because I cooked, but I usually end up doing them. When I'm done, he'll thoroughly re-rinse the semi-rinsed dishes I already put in the dishwasher.

He cleaned up all of his computer stuff because he knew I wasn't happy about it being all over the kitchen counters. Thanks, Boyfriend. :)

He takes off his shoes in the entryway as soon as he comes through the door, and that's where they stay until it's time for him to leave again.

He asks me if the noise from his computer game will bother me as I write and then tells me that he can put on his headphones because he wants me to stay in the room with him. :)

He didn't give me a lecture about money when I told him I needed not one, but two Pyrex baking dishes. :)

He was smart enough to splurge on super speedy Internet. I seriously don't know what I would have done without it.

He has the worst allergies ever. :(

He lined all of the burners on the stove with foil so that we don't have to clean them as often.

He likes to buy in bulk.

He calculates everything at the grocery store, which means that I don't have to.

He watches a lot of the same television shows as I do, which makes TV time easy and fun.

He immediately set up his Wii and Nintendo 64 in the living room.

He doesn't mind if I fall asleep early because that means he gets some uninterrupted computer game time.

He's resembles Superman when he moves furniture all the way up to our third-floor apartment.

He kisses me and tells me he loves me first thing in the morning and as he's falling asleep at night, which I have to say is quite possibly the best feeling in the world.

Of course, there will be more to come, but so far so good, right?

Sure, there are a few things I do that annoy him, but I have to say that I have been extremely conscious of washing makeup residue out of the sink and taking stray hairs out of the drain after I shower. I've even been making the bed every day, so I think I'm doing a pretty good job if I do say so myself. :)

Also, just because I don't want to get too far behind, here's what we've been eating over the past week or so...

On Tuesday, I made spaghetti and meat sauce! I obviously didn't use a recipe for this, but I did make some brownies for dessert using this recipe:

Easy Brownies

Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup nuts (chopped)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and let cool. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Stir cocoa and flour together. Blend into creamed mixture. Fold in nuts. Press into greased, floured 8x8 baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool pan on wire rack before cutting into squares.
They turned out ugly, but they taste good!
On Wednesday night, I made baked salmon, mixed veggies, brown rice, and the breadsticks I meant to make with the spaghetti but forgot about. The salmon came already marinated and seasoned, so I can't really take credit for that, but everything tasted good, was the right temperature, and was ready at the same time, plus it was a pretty healthy meal, so I'm happy!
On Thursday night, we went to Boyfriend's boss' house to look at some furniture (more on that later), and I had plans to go out with some friends to celebrate their graduations, so dinner was quick. Boyfriend made some mac and cheese and tossed in the leftover ground beef from the meat sauce and corned beef from the camel's eye eggs. Simple, hearty, and delicious!

Some pictures from my night out at Piano Bar!:
We decided to go out on our first living-together date night on Friday, so we hit up Olive Garden for soup, salad, and bread sticks--so yummy! Afterwards, we saw The Avengers, which was really good and a lot funnier than I anticipated. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from our date night, but it is nice to know that just because Boyfriend and I are living together, it doesn't mean that all romance has to go out the window. :)

On Saturday, we ventured to St. Louis to celebrate Boyfriend's sister's college graduation. I even got the chance to see my high school friend Vanika on campus after the ceremony! Afterward, Boyfriend and I went with his family to Canolli's in Florrisant for dinner. I had spinach and meat stuffed shells, and it was so good! I'm excited to eat my leftovers for lunch one day this week. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with Boyfriend's family, and I like that I'll be able to get to know them better now that I'm living here.

Yesterday, we spent most of the afternoon moving furniture (again, more on that later) and most of the evening unpacking and getting the apartment set up, so we just grabbed a pizza for dinner. Not the most nutritious meal ever, but it was easy and we have plenty of leftovers.

This week, I'm excited to break out my crock post and George Foreman grill. I think breakfast for dinner is going to happen one night, too!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You've gotta act like a big person now, so...

As I write this, I'm sitting on the floor (because we have no furniture) of my messy apartment. Well, it's not really messy, it's just that nothing has a place at the moment. Boyfriend is working hard at work, and I just got back from an interview that went pretty dang well if I do say so myself.

See those words above in the title of this post? That's exactly what my dad said to me before Boyfriend and I hit the road on Saturday. Sure, this whole moving away from home thing is a little scary, but so far so good. Boyfriend and I are slowly getting accustomed to our new life together, and the apartment is coming together little by little.

After making the drive from Dallas to Columbia and unloading the car on Saturday, Boyfriend and I relaxed for a little bit before we got ready to go to dinner with some of my college friends for Cinco de Mayo. Mid-Mo Mexican food will never live up to my beloved Tex-Mex, but I guess I can't be too picky when a queso craving strikes. After dinner, we went over to Harrison's and Alex's apartment and enjoyed a few margaritas while playing with their new puppy. Then we went home (our home--still need to get used to saying that) and promptly passed out.

We slept in and took our time getting ready on Sunday before heading out to Sam's and Walmart to pick up just a few of the basic necessities. It was difficult to stick to a budget and buy somewhat decent and attractive things for the apartment, but I think we did a pretty good job. Basically, our refrigerator no longer looks like this (see below) since we have real food, and we have kitchen items to actually cook with.
Basic necessities?
Just a few of the goodies we picked up
My first meal in the apartment--Check out our cute blue and white dishes!
Furniture shopping
All in all, mission accomplished. Sure, there are a million more things we'll need--specifically a dresser, a couch, and a desk for starters--but it will all happen in time. After shopping on Sunday, we went to Boyfriend's old house to pick up some of his stuff and enjoyed dinner at Huhot.

Yesterday, Boyfriend got up and went to work, and I got up with every intention to go work out only to remember that my tennis shoes are currently in a box being shipped from Dallas to here. Thoroughly disappointed, I took a shower, cleaned up a little, and sat down to work. Unfortunately, I couldn't get much done because the wifi that comes with the apartment is awful with a capital A. Looks like Boyfriend and I will be paying for better internet. I got as much done as I could and then washed all of the new stuff we bought and set up the kitchen (pictures to come). Then, my friend Anna came over to see the apartment and chat for a little bit until Tom came home.

Once Tom came home, it was time for dinner. Neither of us were very hungry, so I just made this simple recipe:

The Camel's Eye

Ingredients: 2 slices of bread, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, salt and pepper

Directions: Cut circle from center of each bread slice. (A biscuit or round cookie cutter is good for this). Set aside. In a small frying pan, melt butter. Place bread slices in pan. Crack one egg gently into each center of bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, turning after five minutes. Cook to desired firmness.

At my going away party, my coworkers gave me canned food, including canned corned beef. Boyfriend and I decided to try it, so I just fried it up in a pan with a little butter. Besides being salty, it was pretty decent. I'm no whiz in the kitchen, so I'll be making simple recipes like the one above until I get the hang of things. We gobbled this right up, so there are no pictures to share. Sorry!

On the menu for tonight: Spaghetti and meat sauce, garlic bread, and brownies...probably need a veggie in there somewhere.

So, yes, we're settling into cohabitating life quite nicely, but we still have a long way to go until our little apartment is our little home. As always, I'll keep you posted!
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