Thursday, April 30, 2015

Eight Things I'm Loving Right Now

1. Poached eggs. Oh.My.Goodness.Oh.My.Goodness. Why did it take me almost 29 years to give these a try?! Why didn't anybody tell me about these??! (Mama, you're excused, but everybody else.... I'm looking at you.)

2. My latest guilty pleasure readings seem to be Christian Romance. I am such a sap. Such a romantic at heart. The Dandelion Field. A Marriage in Middlebury. I just finished Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter and am starting Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck. It's fluff. It's all lovey-dovey. It's fairy-tale-ish. It makes me cry. It's my current kick.

3. And speaking of... My new Vera Bradley reading glasses in Slate Blooms. And I'm not sure I even need these. But they were only $3.99. And they were cute. It's been almost a decade since I last went to the eye doctor. Mama took me and the doctor said my eyesight was fine, but with all the reading I was expected to do in college I might want some reading glasses. So we purchased some really cute, stylish red ones, which I wore mainly to coordinate with a red outfit every once in a while. Actually, I haven't wore them since unmarried life?? Maybe. I feel like my eyes are fine. Always have been. But these glasses are super cute! Maybe I should schedule an exam....

4. Polka dots and dresses. After the 70 degree-weather tease a few weeks ago, then the 40 degree-drop last week, spring seems to be poking it's head out today. We're in the 60s, people! Time to celebrate with all things spring! And let's hope it stays longer than three days. My dresses are growing impatient in the closet, and boots and tights just don't look as pretty or make them happy like sandals and heels.

5. So, through my Robeks app, I was notified about their new FITNESS SMOOTHIES made with maple water. As soon as I saw the peanut butter one I knew I had to have it. Last weekend I drove to the nearest location for a taste test. Honestly, it tastes like Teddy Grahams (the original, y'all) with a bit of peanut butter. Teddy Grahams! I loved those as a snack in my college days childhood. Yet, I could do with more peanut butter. Shocker, I know. I can always do with more peanut butter. Fitness fuel, my friends.

6. Grinding my coffee beans. Since my new coffee pot purchase a few months ago, now I wake up to the smell of coffee beans. Programmable coffee pots are the best thing since sliced bread, you know? I know. And my additional grinders are perfect for those days I want French pressed coffee. Like this past Tuesday. French pressed and Cabela's. Yep. That's my thoughts on Tuesdays in a nutshell. Time to be productive, but I'm not happy about it.

7. These Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins. Made with oat flour, dark chocolate, halved sugar, fresh raspberries, protein powder, and Greek yogurt. Healthy. Tasty. Breakfast-pleasing. Snack-pleasing. Dessert-pleasing. I had more than one, definitely. Check out Katie's book for the recipe!

8. This ballet core workout on DVD I borrowed from my library. I was at another branch killing time before a program, and while walking around I spotted it. It's pretty basic, but leaves you with a great burn. I'm really, really liking it. And it's something different. (Also, something I'm in need of if I keep eating muffins.)

With Love and God Bless,

Monday, April 27, 2015

Photo an Hour

7 AM

8 AM

9 AM

10 AM

11 AM

12 PM

1 PM

2 PM

3 PM

4 PM

5 PM

6 PM

7 PM

8 PM

9 PM

10 PM

Yesterday, Jessica and I went on a teeny, tiny road trip down to my parents house for a jewelry party. Jessica being friend, shotgun-rider, entertainment, and jewelry lady. Actually, party isn't the right word. Chatting with Mama and my grandma while my aunt perused the rings, and Daddy, grandpa and I hoarded the caprese salad is more fitting. It was a fantastic day-trip. And now it's Monday....

But at least it's National Tell a Story Day.

And I'm a fan of picture stories.

With Love and God Bless,

Saturday, April 25, 2015

6. Vera Bradley

Vera Bradley, how I love thee.

Love might not be the word I'm looking for.

Obsessed. Devoted. Addicted. Huge fan. Avid collector. Yes. All of these, yes.

I can't help it. It's so beautiful. Whenever I walk into a store I want to BUY ALL THE THINGS. Pattern after pattern. Style after style. Item after item.

Multiple patterns of the same style. Multiple styles of the same item. Yes. ALL THE THINGS. My coworkers laugh at me. On an average day, I come to work with a dozen patterns between all my things...purse, tote bag, lunch bag, tumbler, lanyard, sunglasses, wallet, and the list goes on.... Hey, we all collect and like something. Right after all things coffee and all things Starbucks, I collect Vera Bradley.

But last Monday was special.

Last Monday, I walked through the door with a record 21 patterns. Grant it one pattern was a gift for my coworker, and my new pack of pencils, which contained four different patterns.

The other 16 patterns?


BUTTTTTT(!) in my defense, I had just come back from my annual trip to the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale. And this year it was killer. I adore everything I purchased. I adored my time with Jessica (it was just the two of us this year). I adored our traditional Cheddar's vegetable platter and drinks dinner and our Jimmy John's lunch. I adored our multiple trips to Starbucks and sleeping in a bed all of my own. I adored the hundreds of dollars I saved. Which is why I go. I go so our bank account can breathe.

This is what I tell myself. And my husband agrees. He'd rather I spend only $20 on a purse instead of closer to $100. We are all winners here.

Hello, VBOS 2015!!!!

This year was a blast as usual. We are all about the Vera. We hopped on that bandwagon years ago.

And my haul this year!!! So happy to see VB makes more patterns available for the weekend sessions. We we get back to the hotel room, I like laying out all my new purchases just as much as I like shopping the actual Sale.

My first-day haul.
SOME of Jessica's haul ;)
Apparently, our hotel room wasn't full enough. We realized we were short a few things. Like the small spinner I had my eye on the entire time we were there. It's originally $299, but when we walked in it was only $169. As we headed to the registers, the price dropped to $139.

Oh my stars! Think what it could drop to on the last day? On Sunday?! I promise, y'all, another $30-drop and I was walking out of there with a brand new, beautiful carry-on.

Yes, we went back Sunday morning....

....just out of curiosity.

While we were there, from 10-11 a.m. the price did not drop. The session did run until 8 p.m. though. Imagine the final cost come Sunday evening....???!!! Unfortunately, we both had to work Monday and could.not.stay.

I was bummed. But I snatched up another $118 purse for 20 bucks, and another $40 purse for 5 bucks. A successful trip indeed, my friends.

And since I'm sharing with you all my love for VB, check out these mash-ups of our previous trips these last four years.

This huge love affair all started with Java Blue. I fell in love with this pattern. I just had to have it. But at the time, a college student's budget is not Vera Bradley friendly. It was tough. The struggle was real. For my birthday, Jessica bought me my this lunch bag in Java Blue. I finally owned a piece of VB!!! Eventually, I bought a purse, wallet, and a curling iron holder all in Java Blue. <--- That was back when I wanted everything to match. Now, I'm all about equal pattern love. I'm all about ALL THE THINGS.

I still own my first piece of Vera. I don't use it, but I can't bring myself to toss it. It's sentimental to me.

Once I decided I was writing a post just about my obsession, I figured I might as well rummage through the entire house in search of anything and everything VB I owned. As displayed in the very first picture of this post, there is a lot. And by a lot I mean A LOT.

I counted 40 different patterns in my possession.

Oh, and that picture doesn't count the few VB things in my office or are currently on loan. (Cough, like my Kindle cover, Mama, cough.)


I'll admit, I have a problem. It's a beautiful and fashionable problem. But I might need help. I need VB Addicts Anonymous. We can compare our purses, talk about our deals, and I can pass out homemade VB cozy sleeves for our coffee.

Gahhhhh. She's a beauty!

With Love and God Bless,

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Favorite Black Bean Burger Salad

So, you know those black bean burgers I love?

Put those babies on a salad!

Over these last few weeks, I have been addicted to my burgers atop a beautiful plate of greens. I think it's spring fever. However, as I look out the window this morning and see the snow falling, I'm sure, completely, that it's SPRING FEVER.

Hello? Sunshine? Where are you??

But, you know, it's Ohio. We go straight from winter to summer. Always. ALWAYS. I think Ohio has a thing against spring time. I think it's the chirping birds at 6 a.m. Or maybe that's just me.

But, my point. And I do have one.

These beauty burgers are even more beautiful in a salad and drizzled with a white balsamic vinegar. Right now, I'm all about this peach version I found at the Market District. So good.

The slightly warmed burger with a sprinkle of feta is enough to get anyone to eat this salad. Trust me.

Black Bean Burger Salad

Serves 1

1 black bean burger, cooked (follow the link for the recipe)
2 cups spring mix greens
1 large tomato, sliced
1 cup English cucumber, chopped
1/8 c crumbled feta cheese
1 half of an avocado, chopped
White Peach Balsamic Vinegar, for drizzle (about 1 T)

Place greens on a pretty plate. Layer on tomato, cucumber, feta, and avocado. Top with a heated black bean burger, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Who knew these beauty burgers could get any better?

Nutritional Information:
409 calories, 17 fat, 53 carbs, 20 protein, 15 fiber, 14 sugar

With Love and God Bless,

Friday, April 17, 2015


1. The Vera Bradley Outlet Sale 2015 came and went. I was there. I bought all the things. My list for next year has already begun. Y'all, the joy I have for this annual trip with my best girlfriend.... I.CAN'T.EVEN.

I'm planning an entire post on this, but this year's haul has been my favorite yet. I am obsessed with ADORE my new purses and bags! I was so happy to see many patterns were still available during the weekend sessions. And since we went back on Sunday, it was exciting to discover different patterns had been brought out that weren't available on Saturday. ANNNNDDD, VB finally makes phone cases for Samsung! And the heavens opened. The angels sang. If you love Vera and have never been, I promise you, this is something you should not miss. Mark your calendars.

Next year it's April 6th-10th, 2016

You know, just so you know.

2. Five years ago tomorrow,  Mr. B and I signed some pretty serious paperwork.

FIVE YEARS!!! Oh my stars, where did the years go??! This is a big one. We might have to do something special. Although, we booked a mini vacation to Hocking Hills for next month as a sort of belated anniversary celebration....and if you refer back to the above, I spent a tiny bit of money this weekend...but, it's FIVE YEARS, right? We must celebrate. We must go crazy.

3. And speaking of cabins in the woods, vacations, and summer, I should probably start my Yogalosophy program again. Dig deeper into clean eating. It's boat and bikini season again. Yikes. Wasn't I just devouring cookie platters??!

4. It's National Library Week!!!! Woot. Woot. To celebrate, enjoy these.

5. I'm a mess. I have all of these plans to organize, organize, ORGANIZE! But instead I find myself on the couch watching Netflix. Me <--- in desperate need of motivation.

6. And one more. Because I can.

Happy FIVE years, Mr. B, you stud.

With Love and God Bless,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Re-Visited: Cooking Club #14

[Original post date Dec. 2011. --Updated 4/7/15: original separate content, with updated photos and/or more details, if available.]

---> Cooking Club is coming up soon, and now that I'm blogging, I want to share these moments but I thought I should play catch-up first. So without further ado, here (and in more posts to come) is what we've been up to. Enjoy!

#14 August: Special Diet

The Menu:
Green Stuffed Appetizer Shells (Vegetarian)
Barbecued Baguettes (Vegetarian)
Party Stuffed Pinwheels (Vegetarian)
       Main Course
Italian Zucchini Pie (Vegetarian)
Coleslaw (Sugar Free)
Vegan Cupcakes

Jessica had the theme for this month. Lately, we had been talking about trying more vegan and gluten-free recipes because some of our family members have special diets. However, the ingredients for "special diets" can be quite on the expensive side. And when you're on a tight budget, it's not the easiest to do. Hence the reason most of us chose to go vegetarian for this month's menu. [Isn't it amazing what a few years can do? These ingredients are nowhere near as expensive now. Awesome.]

I was excited to skim through my vegetarian recipes, hungry to try something new. After much consideration, I chose the Italian Zucchini Pie, out of The 1,000 Best Recipes.

My husband and I have been on a huge zucchini kick lately. I've used it shredded, fried, baked, in patty form and, Mr. B's personal favorite, Zucchini Chips (<--- find this recipe here).

Zucchini and cheese in a pie, yes please. It sounded delicious. It looked delicious. It smelled delicious. The filling was delicious...the crust...was a little hard.

I'd make this again in a heart beat, but with a different crust recipe.

Italian Zucchini Pie
*adapted from The 1,000 Best Recipes

Serves 6

2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp
1/3 c olive oil
1 egg, beaten + 3 eggs & 1 egg, lightly beaten for glaze
3-4 Tbsp iced water
1 1/4 lb zucchini, grated
5 oz provolone cheese, grated
4 oz cottage cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp finely chopped basil
pinch of nutmeg

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt and make a well. Combine oil and beaten egg, and almost all of the water and add to flour. Mix until mixture comes together in beads, adding more water if needed. Gather into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Heat a baking sheet. Grease a 7" pie dish. Toss zucchini with 1/4 tsp salt and place in colander for 30 minutes to drain. Squeeze out any excess liquid with your hands. Place in a large bowl and add cheeses, 3 eggs, garlic, basil and nutmeg. Season well and mix thoroughly.

Roll out 2/3 of the pastry until large enough to line base and side of pie dish. Spoon zucchini filling into pastry shell and level surface. Brush exposed rim of dough with lightly beaten egg. Roll out remaining dough to make a lid. Cover filling with it, pressing edges together firmly. Trim edges. Crimp rim. Prick top all over with a skewer and brush with egg.

Bake on hot sheet for 50 minutes or until golden.

My other favorite this month was Jenny's Coleslaw. I usually like my coleslaw a little thicker and not as sweet, but I found it to be quite tasty.

[Oh, and if you couldn't tell by now, I forgot my camera. I don't have any of the other tasty dishes. Fail.]

*I hope you enjoyed these Cooking Club snippets. I've finally caught up! I hope these themes, and even Cooking Club itself, inspire you to gather with your friends and family in the kitchen, and make sweet moments (and delicious food) of your own.

**I've only included the recipes to the dishes I made. Only because I'm unsure of where everyone got theirs...and hey, we gotta give credit where credit is due. If you have any questions about the other dishes, I'll ask the other members where they got their recipes and pass it along!

Check out our previous meetings!
Cooking Club #1-4
Cooking Club #5-8
Cooking Club #9-12
Cooking Club #13

With Love and God Bless,

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

He Is Risen!

He is not here: for He is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 
---Matthew 28:6 (KJV)

"He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!"

There are no truer words than those.

There is no greater love than that.

Nothing is more beautiful.

Google Images

Start off your blessed Easter morning with this beautiful worship song, "Because He Lives," performed by Matt Maher.

"I'm alive, I'm ALIVE because HE LIVES!

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through HIM. ---John 3:17 (NASB)

With Love and God Bless,