Five Friday Favorites

Here are some of my favorite things on this last Friday of July....

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Collection for PB Kids
I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty sad when they released this line. I was always hoping they
would, but really wished that they'd wait and do it once I had kids.  It may seem odd to you, but my love for Eric Carle runs pretty deep, and I'm truly in love with The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Although I'm not a huge fan of how the quilts turned out, I love how you could mix pieces of this line with other primary bedding for a little boy's toddler room! 

If it were socially acceptable to buy things for children you'll have 3-5 years down the road, I totally would.  My favorites are the wall art, plates and cups, backpacks and lunchboxes, sheets, and caterpillar Halloween costume.    I may not be a mom, but the kiddo loving teacher in me is obsessed!

2. Project Runway Season 9
I'm definitely not lacking in the TV department this summer! Between Bravo and the other cable channels, I feel like I have a new summer show premiering each week!  Project Runway premiered on Lifetime last night and I have high hopes that it will be a great season. 
3. Bow Tie Fiesta
Although I'd made this favorite of Blue Eyed Bride's to take to friends before, I'd never made it for ourselves until this week.  We both loved this pasta casserole and will definitely make it again and again.  I love that with just the two of us, we have plenty of leftover for at least one more dinner and even a few lunches.  I guarantee we'll make this at least once a month once school starts, and our schedule gets more hectic.
(FYI: I subbed chicken for beef, and left out the olives).

4. School Idea Galore on Pinterest
Maybe I just follow a lot of teachers, but Pinterest has been full of wonderful teaching ideas now that we're getting closer to back to school time.  I've already found so many wonderful ideas that I can't wait to implement in my classroom this year.  I think it's almost time they add an "Education" category for all of us teachers to share! (BTW, I'm definitely stealing that character pumpkin idea for a book report around Halloween!)

5. A Fantastic New Job for My Dad
Although I'm really sad that my parents will be moving all the way to Virginia, I'm also thrilled for this new opportunity for my dad.  He has landed an amazing new job, that will allow him and my mom to embark on a new adventure together.  Today marks my dad's last day of work, and I can't wait to celebrate this exciting new journey with them this weekend.  I'm so proud of him, and know it's a fantastic move for them. 

What are you favorite things this Friday?

Have a great weekend everyone!
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Summer Salad Swap: Tomato Salad

Mel over at The Larson Lingo is hosting a summer salad swap today, and since I've been meaning to share my super easy tomato salad recipe for awhile, it seemed like to perfect opportunity to join in on the fun.

First off, I should say that I don't really like salad.  I have always had a pretty strong aversion to lettuce, and although it doesn't really have a taste, I despise the texture.  Salads have always been tricky for me, but I've finally gotten to the point where I can eat romaine and spinach salads.  To this day I absolutely WILL NOT eat iceberg lettuce, YUCK!

Anyway, I have no idea where my grandma found this recipe, but she originally made it for my family when I was a kid.  My mom quickly learned that this was the only salad I would eat, so it became a regular on our meal rotation at home.  This salad is super easy, perfect for summer, and goes really well with anything on the grill. 

Here's what you'll need:
(the measurements are approximate, you just kind of need to eye it based on how many you'll be serving)

Tomatoes, sliced 
            Just use what you like.  Today I'm using 2 small beefsteak tomatoes. 
            If you're using tomatoes that are on the smaller side, I usually include 1 tomato per person.
Provolone Cheese, quartered
         I usually use 1 whole slice of provolone per tomato.
Red Onion, sliced
Blue Cheese Crumbles
         Just use as much as you like, we love blue cheese, so we tend to use a lot
Balsamic Vinaigrette
          I make my own with a recipe similar to this, but you can use pre-made dressing as well.

Once you have everything prepared you basically just lay the tomatoes, provolone,
and red onion on a platter in layered stacks. 

Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles

Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette


If you've got a great summer salad recipe, hop on over to The Larson Lingo so you can join in on the fun!

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Our Mini-Getaway to the Beach

As you saw in my Friday Favorites, we were able to have a mini-getaway to Laguna Beach over the weekend!  We made it quick, and weren't even gone for 36 hours, but we had a great time. It was so nice to spend time in an area that we hadn't seen before, escape the heat, and just enjoy each other's company. 
We arrived Saturday morning, and walked around town before having an early lunch.  We then took a drive up the coast to see the sights, and checked into our hotel before laying by the pool for the afternoon. 
Saturday night we went to an amazing dinner at 230 Forest Avenue, and enjoyed late night drinks at the hotel. 
Sunday we slept in later than we have in a long time, and enjoyed a great breakfast before walking the beach and seeing more of the area.  The hot desert temps have definitely gotten to me, because I was really chilly while walking on the beach.  It was way too cold to swim in the ocean (for me anyway), but it was great to feel the sand on our toes and walk along the coast to see the beautiful beach front homes. 
Although it was quick, we had an amazing time in Laguna Beach!  We were so happy to be able to cross another CA location off of our "must visit" list.

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Five Friday Faves

Here are 5 of my favorite things this week...

1.  Giuliana and Bill on Style
Giuliana and Bill premiered this week on Style!  I absolutely love this show and I think they're such an adorable couple.  Although I was bummed to see that they sold their gorgeous Chicago home that I was obsessed with, I look forward to watching their seach for a perfect place in LA.

2. Somewhere With You by Kenny Chesney
Although I don't consider myself to be much of a country music fan, this song is definitely my favorite right now.  Love it!

3. School Supplies at Target
Although the arrival of school supplies means that school is starting soon, I'm still excited!  There's just something about fresh notebook and a new pack of perfect crayons that I have always loved!

I had a My Agenda and loved it, then I tried to take a year off of a paper planner and do it all via technology and hated it...so this year I'm giving Erin Condren's life planner a try!  I love the personalized covers, bright colors, and easy to use format.  Mine should be arriving soon, and I can't wait!

5. Anniversary Weekend in Laguna Beach
We're taking a mini-getaway to Laguna Beach this weekend in honor of our anniversary.  I can't wait to escape our miserable heat for a few days and enjoy the surf and sand. 

What are your favorite things this Friday? 
I hope you have a great weekend!

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I'm in Heaven

I'm not sure I can adequately put into words how amazing I feel right now.  This summer vacation has been exactly what I have needed to get out of a serious funk.  I don't remember the last time that was so relaxed, happy, and stress free.

I feel like I have time to devote to all of the things that are important to me, while also having time to relax.  I'm caught up on sleep and caught up on life, and it feels so good.
  • I am able to exercise frequently, without stressing over how it will fit into my schedule or effect my time with CAhusband.
  • I am able to make a real dinner (with side dishes and fruits/vegetables) for my husband nearly every night AND go to bed with a completely cleaned kitchen.
  • I am able to keep up with the housework and cleaning by tackling a little bit each day rather than having a 6-hour cleaning spree before company comes over.
  • I am able to spend lots of time playing with my pups, and no longer feel guilty leaving them to run errands or do something fun.
  • I have a short and manageable daily to-do list that doesn't daunt me all week long because I know it will consume my entire Saturday.
  • I am able to catch up on emails and return phone calls to friends without scheduling it into my day.
  • I am able to enjoy the night at home catching up with CAhusband, rather than "getting stuff done" from the time I get home from work until I go to bed. 
Keeping this work-free, super productive, and stress-free routine simply isn't an option for us (obviously), so I'm just trying to be thankful for these few months that I do have to get my life back in order.

I know that this extreme bliss is short lived, and that the time crunch will return once school starts again come the end of August. I'm just trying to enjoy every second of it now.  I plan to live the next 4 weeks to their absolute fullest and just relax!

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Recipe: Bruschetta

Last Friday I shared that bruschetta is one of my favorite thingsStephanie asked me to share my recipe, and I figured, why not?  Bruschetta happens to be one of the only things I can make without following an actual recipe, but I decided to measure everything out this time so I could share it with you.

I'm sure this recipe is pretty close to every other bruschetta recipe out there, but if you've never made it yourself before use this as a guide and give it a try.  It's super easy, yummy, and absolutely perfect for summer!

For the bruschetta you'll need:
5-6 Tomatoes, seeded and diced
(I used a variety based on what I had: 1 beefsteak tomato, 5 tomatoes on the vine, and a handful of yellow grape tomatoes)
1/2 c. Red Onion, minced
4-6 large Basil Leaves, chopped
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 c. Goat Cheese crumbles
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 t. Balsamic Vinegar
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir to combine.

Make sure to get all of the seeds and guts out of the tomatoes completely,
or your bruschetta will be too watery.

For the toast you'll need:
French Bread
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Slice french bread into thin slices, place on large baking sheet
Brush EVOO onto 1 side of the bread
Lightly dust bread with garlic powder
Bake for 5 minutes, flip bread, and bake for 5 more minutes

Serve bruschetta on toasted bread, drizzle with extra balsamic.


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2 Years of Wedded Bliss

2 years ago today I married my best friend. 

It was an amazing day that I wish I could re-live again and again.   
It was by far the best day of my life so far.

There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for my wonderful and very handsome husband. 
We truly make a great team, and I can't imagine my life without him.

Celebrating an anniversary on a Monday isn't so easy, so tonight we will celebrate with a special dinner at home followed by a movie!  We're hoping to escape to Laguna Beach next weekend (pending CAhusband's work schedule) for a mini-getaway, as we decided to forego traditional anniversary gifts again this year in lieu of a weekend away. 

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Five Friday Faves

Happy Friday everyone!  Is it just me, or did this week fly by? 

Here are 5 of my favorite things this week...
1. Friday Night Lights
I have loved watching this show so much, and I don't know why I've never watched it before now!  In the first month of my summer vacation I've already watched the first 4 seasons on Netflix, and I can't wait to get my hands on Season 5.  I am so sad that FNL will officially end when the NBC finale airs tonight!

2. Naked Eye Palette by Urban Decay
I bought this palette a few weeks ago, and have gotten so many compliments on my eye make-up ever since.  I love all of the colors, and highly recommend it for anyone who loves neutral shadows.

3. Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
I cleaned house at early access to the Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale while in Indiana last weekend.  My favorite purchased were these Hudson jeans I've been eyeing since January, and CAhusband's favorite AG jeans for a great price!  It was a super successful shopping trip, and it only make me miss having a Nordstrom close by even more.

4. Bruschetta
I've always loved eating bruschetta in the summer-time, and this year I finally mastered making it on my own.  I add a little goat cheese to the mix of tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil, evoo, and balsamic, and could literally eat it for lunch every day! 

5. Elliott Lucca 3-Way Woven Leather Demi Bag
While at my friend Monica's wedding, I spotted her sister carrying an absolutely perfect purse!  I've been looking for a small metallic bag that can be worn cross body, that is reasonably priced, and I have finally found it.  I can't wait to snatch up one of these bags!

What are your favorite things this Friday?

Have a great weekend everyone!
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My Summer Movie List

CAhusband and I hardly ever go to the movies, and this is one thing that I truly hate about us.  CAhusband is not a fan of the movie theater in general, and it just never seems to fit into our schedule.  I could honestly go to dinner and movie once a week, it just never actually happens.

Typically, the summer is full of huge blockbuster action films, but this summer none of those are appealing to me.  There are lots of movies I would love to see between now and the start of school though.

Cars 2
in theaters now
I'm a sucker for Disney Pixar films, and absolutely adored the first Cars.  I've heard great things about the second film, and am really hoping we'll get to see if while it's still in theaters.

Midnight in Paris
in theaters now
I was a little unsure of this film at first, but once I heard all of the fantastic reviews I decided it was a must see.  I love Woody Allen films, and look forward to seeing Owen Wilson in a different role.

Larry Crowne
in theaters now
Although this film has gotten iffy reviews, I adore Julia Roberts and make it a mission to see all of her films.  The storyline seems very sweet, and I'm always a sucker for a romance.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2
opening July 15th
I'm going to start watching all of the Harry Potter films in order this weekend, and hope to see the final HP sometime soon.  I've heard excellent things about the final installment in the series and will be so sad that the story is officially over.

Crazy, Stupid, Love
opening July 29th
I'm in love with the cast in this film, and think the story sounds great.  I might actually get CAhusband to see this one with me too, which makes it even more appealing.

The Help
opening August 10th
I am more excited about this film than any others this summer.  I love the casting, and have heard great things about early screenings.  I can't wait to see one of my all-time favorite books come to life on the screen. 

Have you seen any of the already released films on my list?  What did you think?
What flicks are you dying to see this summer?

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