Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What I'm Loving Halloween Wednesday

I'm loving that today is HALLOWEEN. Only one of my favorite holidays, no big deal ;)

I'm loving that 4 of us got together for a group costume. Say hello to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Homemade Edition :)
I'm loving that we're having trick or treating in our entire building today and then have a party in the office from 3:00-5:00. Can you say unproductive?

I'm loving that I made Rice Krispies last night for said party. 
Shout out to Kate for finding this neat recipe. 
Check out the finished product. They look tasty if I do say so myself.
I'm loving that I get to go trick or treating with my perfect Nephew this evening. Nothing makes me happier than him being happy. Oh & candy.. that, too. 

I'm loving the weather. People will say it's freezing right now (at least to us Floridians) but I'm absolutely in love. I wish it would stay this way 9 months out of the year. I still need my beach days :)

I'm loving that it may be possible for me to switch positions at my company. It's a complete maybe but the thought is fun nonetheless. 



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Due to the fantastic weather change this weekend, I was inspired to make one of my favorite recipes for dinner. 
Nothing beats a hot bowl of Chicken & Dumplings when it's chilly outside.
Not to toot my own horn, but I make a mean Chicken & Dumplings.

Kate told me that I should share my delicious recipe with you guys.
Recipe sharing is not my forte so if I'm a bit all over the place, I apologize.
Feel free to ask me any questions that you may have :)
Sometimes I use brand names, sometimes I don't. It tastes exactly the same either way, why not save some money in the meantime.
  • Rotisserie Chicken - you can cook your own chicken and tear it apart as well, but I find that this is SO much easier and makes the whole process only take about 20 minutes. 
  • Cream of Chicken (2 cans)- This time I used 3 cans because my Mom & Sister were eating over. 
  • Chicken Broth (3 cans) - I typically just buy chicken broth in bulk & then use the cream of chicken cans to portion it. (if you use 3 cans of cream of chicken, use 4 cans of chicken broth)
  •  Bisquick Complete Buttermilk Biscuits- I've tried to buy the biscuits that are pre-mixed but the dough doesn't cook properly.
  • Vegetables- I typically don't use vegetables because my taste buds are no fun, but I picked up a can of them since everyone else likes it.
Now that we have all the ingredients, it's time to get started.
1. I begin by putting the cream of chicken & chicken broth in a big pot on medium heat. 
2. Pull all the meat off the chicken and put it in the pot as well. Leave it on medium heat while you begin the dumplings.
3. Pour the biscuits and 1/2 cup of water in a large bowl & use a whisk (or spoon) to mix it up.
4. Drop tablespoon sized dumplings into the pot.  I always use my hands - it gets messy but I find that it's the easiest way. Make sure that you get close to the soup when you drop the dumplings in otherwise they will evaporate. 
5. You'll notice that after about 5 minutes the dumplings start to expand, use a fork to flip them over or just stir them so the top of them gets cooked too. Cook a total of 10-15 minutes. You can cut the dumpling in half to see if they are fully cooked. If you can still see powder substance then cook it a little longer.
6. I cooked the vegetables in the microwave (I know, fancy) & had them on the side to put in everyone's bowl after it was done. If everyone likes them go ahead and throw them in the pot and allow them to cook with the dumplings. 
7. Add some pepper to your liking & DIG IN :)
You seriously can't beat this recipe in the winter time. 

I always save some for lunch the next day, too.
If it gets too thick after being in the fridge, just add more chicken broth & you're good to go :)

Hope you like it as much as I do!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Update

My weekend came and went in the blink of an eye. Typical. 
This quote fits me perfectly today.. & every other Monday. 
Monday, it's not you, it's me. 

Cirque du Soleil came to city hall downtown for a free showing on Friday during lunch. Some of the girls from the office and I walked over and we're more excited than some of the kids, at least I can speak for myself :)
Friday night I went to the Magic game. First, because I love the Magic - with or without Dwight. Second, because a friend from high school plays for the Rockets so it was neat to see him play. 
We ended the night at our favorite neighborhood bar with darts & drinks.
Saturday I got to hang out with my sweet Nephew all day. We ran around at Chick Fila and then went to get some errands done before I attended a Halloween party Saturday night with some friends. 
Justin and I dressed up as Danny & Sandy for Grease. 
They are by far the best decorators for Halloween. The entire house looked incredible. I didn't get pictures of even half of the rooms or decorations but let me tell ya, it was ah-maz-za-zing
After all the food & drinks I had, this girl went to bed passed out happy. 
I got to babysit my little prince all day Sunday, too. We went to lunch, got a haircut, picked up a firefighter costume and went to our friends babies 1st birthday/costume party. Landyn was obsessed with his 'fireman' costume. 
After the party, I was craving a Slurpee badly. We have a 7/11 in our neighborhood so it's only about a mile up the road. Justin wanted to ride bikes up there but I'm a lazy bum who does not typically do anything that involves physical exertion. Landyn and I hopped in the attached carriage and made Justin give us a ride. We proved to be too heavy for him so it didn't last long. I had to jump on the other bike, but I got my slurpee so all was well :)

That's my weekend in a nutshell.
I spent my time with my boyfriend, friends and the sweetest of the sweet, my Landyn.
Always a recipe for the perfect weekend <3

Friday, October 26, 2012

First time for everything!

Why, hellurrr.
Another week has come and gone quicker than I could have imagined.
Just the way I like it. 

My Madres birthday was Wednesday. Without fail, she always chooses Chilis for her birthday dinner. She's not a very hard woman to please.While that's great for my wallet, it's just not up to par for a birthday dinner. Not to mention I brag about how delicious Bonefish is all.the.dang.time & she's never been.
Insert gasps here.
I put my foot done this year and off to Bonefish we went. 
We got not one but TWO orders of bang bang shrimp (heaven for those of you who haven't tried it), sipped on wine and ordered a ton of other food that filled me to the brim. Not surprisingly she loved it. 
Missing accomplished. 
When I was done, I looked like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka. Only I wasn't blue..
Last night I went to my first ever hockey game.. & got to see my first hockey fight.
It only lasted like 45 seconds but it's the main reason I've always wanted to go to a hockey game so I was pleased :)
 Oh hayyyy $8 beer.
Call me lame but one of my favorite parts of any sporting event is the dance/kiss cam during breaks. While everyone is refilling their drinks or grabbing food, I'm dying laughing at the jumbotron. 
After a few brews, Justin was hungry for some pizza.
I was beyond excited when I saw TSwift on the box :)
Heyy girl, heyyyyy. 
I've got a busy weekend planned.
If you need me, I'll be staring at the clock until it reads 4:00 p.m.
Oh how I love that we get to leave an hour early on Fridays.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Fantasy Land

We've been looking at houses for about a year now. We, meaning my boyfriend. 
He's the pickiest person to please when it comes to home buying. He doesn't understand that cosmetic issues, such as paint color should not form your opinion of a house. I keep trying to remind him that those things are the easiest to change. 

I suppose the excitement of owning a home is similar to getting a big girl job. 
You think you're going to be dressing like you just walked off the Express runway in your cute little pencil skirts, when in reality I come to work dressed like a bum 80% of the time.
Similarly, I have all these dreams about what I would do to a house, but who knows that I would ever have the money or patience to complete it. 
My excuse for not fully decorating our apartment is because it's too temporary.
There is no point in hanging a ton of photos on the wall and painting every room in the place, only to patch the holes and repaint before we move in a years time.

After signing another 6 month lease last week, we came across a house in my dream neighborhood. It was love at first sight - at least for me. After some begging, Justin agreed to take a look at it.
Long story short, an offer was signed yesterday and we're officially in the wait period.
There were multiple offers in which scares me. The only thing giving me hope is that he offered more than the asking price.

*Fingers crossed*

I haven't allowed myself to get excited that this could be it until I came across some Pinterest photos today.
Now I'm clinging to every shred of hope that they accept it.

Here's some decorating inspiration I found today via Pinterst

The kitchen is probably the most expensive part of the house to update. It may take awhile to make it perfect, but it can be done. Slow & steady wins the race. 
I usually LOVE dark cabinets with a coordinating backsplash and granite, like this kitchen below:
But this white kitchen is soft & elegant
With just a few small upgrades the master bathroom can turn into a sanctuary of vanities and bubble baths. 
 
I'm a photo fanatic and I've always wanted a wall of photos. I'd most likely put this in the dining or living room.
How adorable are both of these spare bathrooms?
 
I'm in.love with patterned accent walls. Sure it might be a little difficult to create, but I"m up for the challenge. I mean just look at how beautiful she is. 
My closet would obviously look exactly like this. 
Decorating in white always gives a room a classier feel.
Like, here..
There ya have it, a list of things that have been keeping my attention today.

I could be decorating a home for Christmas.
How incredibly awesome would that be?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Glam Bag

Look what I f i n a l l y got :)
My very first Glam bag!
This Glam Bag was a total 180 from when I used to subscribe to Birchbox. 
The products they sent were ones that I would actually use. Win. 
And, there were no health bars in it. Double win. 

Let's take a look, shall we?

1.) First and foremost, the bag is just adorable. Shockingly, it's good quality, too. I was expecting a cheap plastic bag type thing, but this is you typical make up bag that you would purchase. You get a different bag every month filled with awesome products. If you're not in love already, just wait...
2.) Be a Bombshell Onyx Eyeliner worked extremely well for me. I use pencil on my bottom, but this was perfect for my top liner. You can make it as thin or thick as you want. The application was smooth and dark with one swift motion. 
3.) The Balm What's your type? Black Mascara. It lengthened my eyelashes and made them thicker. Exactly what a Mascara is supposed to do so I was sold instantly. I'm going to check on the full size price of this one for future purchases.
4.) Mirenesse Lip Bomb #4. This is a very thick/bright stain for your lips. You'll definitely get a ton of use out of it because you only need a little bit to cover your full lip. At first, I put way too much on but now I'm getting the hang of it. I top it with my favorite gloss just to lighten the color a bit and I'm ready to go. The color is beautiful & it stays much longer than any other stain I've used. If you're like me and hate reapplying your lip color every 30 minutes, I would definitely suggest trying this out. 
5.) Coastal Scents Eyeshadow 4-pack. I haven't had the chance to try these out just yet. I do love how you can create your whole eye look with just the 4 colors they send you. 
6.) Couture Colour hair treatment oil. My hair only gets washed twice a week, sometimes less (I know, embarrassing) so I haven't given this a try yet. Moroccan Oil is my jam right now so it may be awhile. I'll have to do more research to see what the exact recommended use is for it. Stay tuned for what I find after my weekly wash ;)

I got ALL of this for only $10. You seriously cannot beat that.
The best part was that I signed up after this month's glam bags already went out but I had mine within 2-weeks of signing up. 
I'm officially a fan of Glam Bag. After my disappointing days with Birchbox I was reluctant to give another monthly beauty box a try but I'm so glad I did!
Thank you to Whitney for giving me the nudge I needed to sign up.
If you wanna sign up, you can do so here :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Update

As always, I picked up my sweet Nephew from school on Friday. Later that evening, my boyfriend and I went to Chilis for dinner, came home began watching 20/20 while waiting to figure out what to do that night and fell asleep. I was a happy girl because this is exactly the kind of Friday that I always want but it just never seems to happen.

On Saturday we woke up early, dropped my car off to get an alignment & oil change, went to my BF's parents house, my Aunt's house and my Mom's house to visit with everyone. 

It was ridiculously beautiful this weekend here in Orlando so I had to snap a photo of the pretty weather.
My little cousin had to decorate a bear and I had flashbacks of when I did the very same thing back in my day. Of course her bear would be reppin' Garnet & Gold. What cool bear wouldn't be? I  only helped with the final touches but it definitely brought back memories. 
We had a local fair in town this weekend. My Mom and I took my Nephew to the fair and he absolutely fell in love with it. My big boy went on 3 different rides :) Love him <3
Around 8, they left and my boyfriend & friends came up for some fun. We played Bingo, drank wine, danced along with the band. 
We finalized our costume shopping on Sunday. Danny & Sandy here we come! :) 
My Mom and I caught some AMAZING deals at the Mall which made me extremely happy. 
After cooking this amazing Chicken Piccata recipe and watching 'Failure to Launch' it was off to bed for this girl.
Today it's back to the work week.
Luckily for me, it's girls night tonight so I have something to look forward to :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Nail Files

While I was browsing Target the other day for anything that I just "had" to have,
imagine my surprise when I stumbled across e.l.f nail polish. 
Target usually only has a small collection of e.l.f products so I've been forced to order the majority of things online.
Not this time! 
I quickly grabbed this nail polish and headed home to get painting. 
The color looks darker in person but with natural light or a flash, it's a pretty purple. 
Here is what I think about e.l.f nail polish:
1. The color comes out smooth and beautiful
2. The nail polish is thick. You'll be good to go with 2 coats (& I like my nail polish extremely thick)
3. The applicator could use a little work. I found it difficult to get far down on my nail bed without touching my cuticles because the applicator is pretty thick. 
4. With the use of Seche Vite base coat & OPI's rapid dry top coat, the color stayed on for 5 days. In my world, that's one for the books!
5. The dry time is pretty quick also. Always a plus!
6. At only $2, it's right up my alley. They have a ton of colors online to choose from too :)

Do you guys have any favorite nail polish that works amazing but doesn't have a huge price tag attached?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Do you have just have one of those days?
Yesterday was one for me.

I know my "friend" is here, but she really threw me for a loop this time.
While I typically only have one or two, I had ALL of the classic symptoms:
Cramps, backache, eating everything in sight.. & I was an emotional wreck.

While all of that was going on, I decided that I desperately want a new car. 
I bought my current car brand new in 2006 and finally paid it off this past May
It's just no longer age appropriate. A Tiburon doesn't really scream "I'm an adult!" Ya feel me?
I voiced this idea to my boyfriend & he started asking about my budget and if I could really afford it right now. 
At first, I was defensive. How dare you tell me how to spend MY money.
If you were paying for it, you would have a say... but you're not. 

We talked about it & I realized I really don't have extra money to be spending on a car payment right now. 
(Damn you $300/mo student loan)
After that discussion I proceeded to have a full on meltdown about money. How poor I am. How my life is unfair, blah blah.
I know none of that is true, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel that way from time to time. 
Do you have feel like you just need a good cry to snap you back to reality?

After dinner & a movie, my eyes were exhausted from the cry.
I literally could not keep them open so I fell asleep on the couch with the debate in the background. 

Anyhoo - I think it's time for a WILW post to show my appreciation for all the things that I DO have :)
I'm loving my Boyfriend. He single handedly shifted my mood from miserable to grateful last night. 
Our relationship isn't always rainbows & butterflies... it's compromise ♪ ♪ 
If you say yours is, that's great, but I'd still be inclined to call booshit ;)
The boy gets on my last nerve daily, but I love him & I'm so thankful for him in my life. 

I'm loving my job. No I'm not making what I want to be making and I'm having trouble adjusting to this salary after being in the service industry for so long making a killing, but I do love my job and the opportunities that it's given me. 
Especially having my nights and weekends off :)

I'm loving that I have friends that give me advice when I need it or just listen when the only thing I want to do is vent. 

I'm loving that I'm healthy. There are people that could care less what number their bank account is reporting or what kind of car they are driving. They are fighting for their life due to a horrible illness. Tomorrow & Friday I'll be participating in 'Paint the City Pink' in honor of Breast Cancer awareness. Don't forget to wear your Pink :)

I'm going to stuff my face with more cookies while getting some work done.

Thanks for letting me get all that out :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Update

Mi amore Stephanie came in town this weekend.
YAY for a break from law school!

We drank, we chatted, we cried (happy tears), we danced.
Sounds like the recipe for a great weekend :)
 We planned her trip to ensure that she was in town for a UCF tailgate. 
I'll be the first to admit, I'm the worst UCF fan in the world. 
I didn't even know who we were playing until we were almost there.
Just because I got my degree there it does not mean I have to care about the team.
However, if you give me an excuse to day drink, I'm your #1 fan :)
Shout out to Kate & Whitney for being my dance partners during the day ;)

After a LOOONG day, we got home to find out that a couple of our friends were engaged. 
We headed to the neighborhood bar to grab drinks and celebrate.
They are a beautiful couple and the ring is just gorgeous.
SO happy for them :)
All I wanted to do Sunday was relax and decorate for Halloween. Instead, I finished a DIY project I started awhile back for my Mom, took care of my sick Nephew and got some Halloween costume shopping done. 

There's my weekend in a nutshell.
Can't wait to see you again, weekend. 97-hours & counting (down)!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Nail Files

One of my least favorite things to do is wait for my nails to dry.
Unfortunately, that's a true statement. 
#FirstWorldProblems

I'm always looking for new tricks to speed up that process. 

You might be wondering "what do those things have in common?"
Yesterday on Pinterest I found something that said you can spray your nails with 
Pam after you paint them and it will completely dry them.

Pinterest=God
Certainly it must work.

I had to give it a shot but I wasn't about to mess up a fresh full mani if this trick turned out to be bogus.
I decided to just paint my thumb, spraying it with Pam a mere 30 seconds after polish. 
I waited another 30 seconds and wiped it off. 
Good news - the Pam came right off. Bad news - so did the nail polish. 

After researching a bit more this morning I found that waiting a minute or two after painting your nails to spray the Pam can make a huge difference in the results.

I just wanted to throw this to you ladies to see if you've heard of this trick or if you've proven it to be a myth.

UPDATE: PAM contacted me letting me know that they have a section on their website of all the different things you can do with it. I'm heading over to check it out now! :)

I'd also love to hear if you have discovered any other tips on getting your nails to dry faster.
Hook a sista up. 

Chirp Chirp

A little birdie talked me into creating a Twitter account specifically for my blog. 
Since I'm easily persuaded, I did just that. 

My blog is a secret from most people in my life.
Mainly because I want to be free to share whatever I'm feeling at a particular moment. 

Good.Bad.Indifferent. 

Just to ensure my 'cover' wasn't blown, I was limited when connecting with other bloggers through my regular Twitter handle so I'm really excited to have this new account.

If you're feeling like taking a quick detour, come find me over at:

@SparkledSteph


I'd love to hear from you :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Food Truck Date

Have you ever been to a food truck before?
It's one of my favorite low key things to do over the past few months.

Food trucks gatherings are popping up all over the place here in Orlando. 
Every Wednesday a whole bunch of trucks get together over at Lake Lily in Maitland.
Last night, Justin and I decided to head up there to walk around and get some grub.
There are a variety of trucks parked in a line with all different kinds of food.
Sure beats having to agree on a restaurant ;)

I only opted for cheese fries since I met my Sister & Nephew at Buffalo Wild Wings after work. When Landyn didn't eat any of his dinner, I was there to save the day ;)

Every time I've gone to a food truck gathering they have someone playing music.
If you didn't already know, live music melts me.
It makes me the happiest person in the world - particularly piano or acoustic guitar. 

The weather has been super kind over the past 48 hours. 
I'm not going to get used to it because I know this city, 
but I'm appreciating it while it's here. 

Beautiful lakeview, live music & a variety of food.
Could it get much better?

All-in-all, I'm a food truck fan. 
#SorryImNotSorry

In.Love.


Remember that wedding I was in back at the end of June?

You know the one where we sang Call Me Maybe at every different location that we visited that day?
This would be the one I'm referring to. 

Well the video came back yesterday. The Bride and I, along with everyone else that has viewed it are just OBSESSED.
They did such an amazing job putting it together.

If you didn't plan on having a videographer at your wedding, I bet this will change your mind. Sure pictures capture individual moments, but from what I know now, you can't truly get the feel of the whole experience unless you have a video. 

Take a gander. 

& they lived happily ever after... :)

You can read more about their story over at Kate's blog, Sweet Southern Sunshine. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Instead of the normal WILW, I decided to participate this week with some funnies that I found.

The dumbest things make me laugh.
Hope you enjoy these as much as I did. :)