2016 goals

  
It’s been awhile since I have written anything on my blog, so I thought the best way to ease back into writing would be to make a list of my resolutions for 2016.  I don’t even really like the term resolutions because often times it seems most resolutions are too big and broad and end up as failures and something else to feel guilty about.  And no one needs more guilt about what they aren’t doing.  I changed the title to GOALS.  

1. Say yes more than no.  As someone who is a chronic worry wort, I tend to over analyze EVERYTHING imagining every worst case scenario.  This especially rings true in new and potentially uncomfortable situations.  I want to continue to challenge myself to say yes to most all invites/requests/opportunities because chances are, I’m going to have an OKAY experience (at very least!). 

2.  Floss.  Dentists have been harping on me for years now.  This will be the year!  Maybe.  I don’t know why this one is so hard. 

3. Run at least 3 times per week.  I am usually in the 2 runs per week rotation and would really like to increase my mileage. 

4. Related to #3 -get to my wedding weight (5 years ago). I won’t share how many lbs this is.   

5. Read more. I have been pretty good about reading my magazines regularly, but I’d like to add in some books.  Maybe 4 this year would be a good goal. 

6. Continue crafting!  I never used to think I liked crafting, but I didn’t know how to pick out the right projects that appealed to me.  Thanks, Pinterest!

7. Related to #6, I want to find ways to use the 2 huge blackboards we inherited with the house.  These suckers are anchored to the wall so it would be a major task to take them down, so I want to challenge myself to do some chalk decorating to celebrate the seasons.  Any other ideas, anyone?

8. Continue to drink lots of water including at least 3 glasses before I go to work in the morning.  More energy! Less headaches!  Great skin!  And lots of other reasons. 

9.  Feel more connected to friends and family back home.  This is so hard!!! We are all so busy. I need to get better at more calling, texting,  face timing, and e-mailing. That said,  I hope we have some visitors in 2016!  (Free room and board!)

10. Remembering to focus on the positive.  Even when all is well with life, it’s so easy to let the stress, doubt, worry, anxiety, fear, loneliness, etc. creep in.  Most often if I focus on what I do have instead of focusing on what I don’t have it makes a BIG difference. 

I would love to hear what other people’s goals are!

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year (with more fun and less worry)!

Love,

J.

Happy Fall Ya’ll! (Almost)

  
It is beautiful out today!  Mid-seventies, sunny, and low humidity.  Definitely feels like Fall!  Speaking of Fall, I was invited to a Fall themed “Crafternoon” party today where everyone brings a craft to work on and/or a dish to share.  I am not one to be too crafty, so I had to look to Pinterest for inspiration.  I only attempt crafting projects when it’s #1 easy and #2 I’m pretty certain I can’t mess it up!  So, I wanted to share the links for the pumpkin cheese ball I made as well as the Fall ribbon wreath.   Did I mention that I LOVE fall?  It’s my favorite. 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pumpkin-cheese-ball-recipe.html

This recipe is super simple.  It really looked cute served with black tortilla chips. 
  

Onto the ribbon wreath! I went to Hobby Lobby to purchase the  ribbon. Originally I intended to make a halloween wreath based on the pin I found on Pinterest.  Well, little did I know how much ribbon costs so I went for the fall colors which were 40% off.  I wrapped the straw wreath first with brown ribbon so that no straw would peek through.  I cut each ribbon to about 22 inches and I think I ended up cutting around 10 ribbons from each pattern.  Then, all you have to do it start knotting the ribbons all around the wreath until it is covered.  It’s as easy as that!  I was satisfied with how it turned out.  I would definitely do this again for other holidays. 
    
   

http://m.landeeseelandeedo.com/ikgrkuc/articles/77287/Halloween-Ribbon-Wreath

Likeability

   
   
So much for writing daily blog posts…or even weekly posts!  It’s been awhile.  The truth is most of my days have been pretty ordinary and I haven’t wanted to bore anyone, but now some positive things are in the works!  Recently I accepted a state job at Dekalb Community Service Board in Decatur, GA.  I have to say this is the most excited I have ever been about a job.  The biggest difference I see so far is that from day one I felt that I was WANTED. I don’t feel I am going to be treated as just another number.  I had a good feeling after the interview and gladly accepted the position.  One of the best things about the job is that it is through the state of Georgia which means great benefits including getting all of the good holidays off.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?  Yes, please!  Thanksgiving and the day after?  Even better!  The biggest job perk will be having my own company vehicle and office.  No more wear and tear on my Jetta and my own space to work! Seems too good to be true, but I feel I have put my time in over the years and deserve this kind of opportunity. 

Recently I was listening to a podcast and she was talking about how to improve your likeability and discussed that the more you are liked, the better your chances are for someone to go out of their way to help you.  Without saying too much, during the process of obtaining this new job, I was both shocked and disappointed about the lack of support from someone I expected it from most, and then also amazed and grateful for the abundance of support where I least expected it.  Life is just like that sometimes. We can be hurt by those that we would have never thought would hurt us.  Other times people who we used to be very close to, but time and distance have separated us, still may care so much that they will go above and beyond to  make sure something good happens to you because they just genuinely like you.  These are the people you want to keep close.  These are the people you will return the favor to. 

I once read a good article about how to deal with those who have wronged you. Mentally, you just have to put them on another shelf.  It doesn’t mean you burn bridges with them, it just means that they no longer need to know what is going on with you and you aren’t going to share anything with them anymore.  It’s a lot easier to do this than to have anger, hurt, and resentment.  In facebook world this is called, “unfollow”!  Maybe some day I will have enough bravery to “delete” them totally.  Ultimately, you are being the bigger person.  You are not allowing the unfair actions of someone else to get you down.  Man, I have been through a roller coaster of emotions since I have moved here, but overall I am feeling very happy and settled.  It helps that most everyone here in the South is so flippin’ nice!

Tomorrow David and I are going to start house hunting.  FINALLY!  We are also looking forward to having brunch with one of his co-workers and his wife and they are going to show us around the Kirkwood/East Atlanta area where we are interested in buying a home.  David and I love being with each other, but it will be nice to spend time with another couple! It’s been too long.  After we have picked out our favorite homes, our realtor, Chip, is going to take us out to look at some next Saturday.  Hopefully it will be an easy process from there. 

Yep, life is good right now.  We have so many blessings to be thankful for.  Atlanta is feeling more and more like home and I even catch myself wanting to say “ya’ll”.  Not yet though! There’s something about hearing it over and over again. 

I’ll try not to go so long without posting the next time.  I SO appreciate the people who have made an effort to keep in contact with me.  Miss everyone!

Love,

J. 

2 words…BACON WEAVE

Summer is the perfect time for one of America’s favorite sandwiches, the BLT.  I have always cooked my bacon (which is like twice a year) in the microwave, but it’s always such a mess.  I can’t remember where I recently saw the idea to weave your bacon slices.  The main benefit is to keep your slices nicely on your sandwich without falling out so I wanted to give it a try.  The baking method also seems easier to me than using the microwave.

I found this 2 minute tutorial which I used as a general guide. 

http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2015/03/02/how-to-make-a-bacon-weave-for-the-worlds-best-blt
I’m not sure if my brain wasn’t working today or what, but the weaving of the bacon on the video seemed complicated so I improvised.  I still followed the instructions of cutting the bacon in half.  I laid 3 of the slices vertically. The other 3 slices I “wove” through horizontally doing the over-under technique. 5 bacon weaves total.  Really simple.  I bet kids would love to help with this part!

Before pic of the 5 bacon weaves.  The little piece in the bottom right corner was for Brutus. 😊 

 

I cooked it for 20 minutes on 400 degrees.   
  Put them on some paper towels to soak up the excess grease.   
Voila!  Don’t forget to add the avocado slices!  Makes it so much better. 

  Yummy.  

Depending on the size of your family or how good you are trying to be with your diet,  this could make 5 sandwiches.  Or, hypothetically speaking, you could do double bacon or just eat the extra weaves by themselves and then it is a perfect dinner for 2 people who really love bacon. πŸ˜‰

Happy Eating!

Love,

J. 

Changes

  
   

Yesterday we were on the move again!  Yes, we moved into a new apartment.  So, a couple weeks ago we found out that the lady we were renting from had not paid the rent and was at risk for eviction if she didn’t pay by whatever specified day.  Well, of course she had an explanation for that and it was taken care of.  Then, the cable went out for the past 2 days.  We attributed it to the recent storms and then the electricity went out yesterday.  It was only our electricity and not anyone else in the building.  For us, that was the last straw.  Too many things seemed off and the lady had no excuse not to be paying her bills since we pay her directly.  We weren’t going to stay at a place where these things keep happening.  It was a nice place, but too many red flags.  I picked up David from work ASAP and we immediately started packing.  I don’t know how my husband is so brilliant, but he managed to find us a nice, furnished apartment in a super short period of time. For a brief moment I did feel a little homeless, but luckily David is the man and made things happen quickly.  He is good at that.  Wish he would teach me his skills.  Ha!  

Our new apartment is located in Sandy Springs, GA. The management here seems top notch.  It is a little farther out from the city which I like.  Less traffic. Yay!  It’s also only a couple minutes from the MARTA station for David.  Awesome! Fantastic location with stores and restaurants all within walking distance.  Although we were both stressed and panicked about having to move our things yet again, I believe that everything happens for a reason and ultimately we will be happier and more comfortable here.  It also gives us yet another area of the city to experience to figure out where we want to live permanently.

Barely oriented to my surroundings, I managed to get to my interview in one piece this morning and it went GREAT!  Sometimes all you can do is pray and hope for the best.   This experience is really testing me and teaching me to be a more flexible and relaxed person.  Even though things feel chaotic right now (well, they did yesterday), I am still able to have a sense of peace and calm.  No doubt it’s because I have had time off to de-stress and collect myself,  but I have really been focusing on taking good care of myself by exercising and eating well.  Natalie introduced me to Chalene Johnson‘s podcast, something new that I hadn’t tried before and I LOVE HER!  She is so inspirational.  Thanks, Nat! 

Here are some pics of where we will be staying for the next few months.  

  
    
    

View of the pool from our apartment.  So excited!

 

Poor Bru barely had a place to sit while we loaded up our cars.  Still, he was in good spirits.    

After awhile, he was OVER IT, just like his mom.  We were exhausted. 

 
Getting settled in….

  
Anddddd totally adjusted! That was fast.  Yep, I think this place will do. 

 I will keep everyone posted on the job situation. πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™
Thank you for the prayers, well wishes, and continued support.   Miss everyone SO much!

Love,

J. 

Homesick-adjective; 1. sad or depressed from a longing for home or family while away from them for a long time.

  
Last night was the first night that I truly felt homesick since I moved here a month ago.  I don’t know if it’s because the day felt unusually long and monotonous or because the feelings have finally caught up with the time passed.  I couldn’t really pinpoint the particular reason for the tears and I guess I don’t really need to understand why.  I think I was trying to figure out a reason because I had been doing so well, staying strong during a difficult transitional period.  That’s what this has been since March when we made the decision to move here…a transitional period.  I hate referring to it as that but that’s how I feel.  It makes me feel better because transitional really means temporary and I know I will feel settled at some point. But I’m not yet.  I guess I am just missing my family and friends and routine.  I miss our neighbors, our house, our yard, our garden, our grill, our patio, just EVERYTHING that made me feel I was at home.  After about 10 minutes of tears I fell asleep and woke up deciding that I wasn’t going to feel sorry for myself today.  NOT TODAY!  As I have said before, I am not naive enough to think I am the only person who has ever made a big move to a new city leaving everything comfortable and familiar behind.  

The good news is TODAY WAS A BETTER DAY!

Maybe it was because I made the conscious effort to MAKE it a good day.  After 30 years of life I finally understand the psychology and research behind making your own happiness. This is something my Mom has been preaching to me my whole life.  It all made sense when I read The Secret years ago. Why is it so hard to put into practice during the hard times?!  Because the truth is, not every day is going to be good or happy or effortless.  We all go through struggles and trials and tribulations of varying degrees.  Life isn’t easy and it isn’t supposed to be.  So, I continue to remember that life is what you make it and I can either be sad and irritable for what I don’t have and what I’m missing or I can accept these trials knowing that it will get better over time and slowly, but surely, I will feel like Atlanta is home

  
A few simple things that helped make my day a good one: Prayer, Good Morning America, exercise, starting a new book, sun (2 1/2 hrs worth of pool time), random texts with friends and family, making a good dinner, and looking forward to future plans (Mom and sister are visiting in 3 weeks).  I almost forgot I have 2 episodes of Real Houswives of NY to catch up on tonight. It really is the small things we need to appreciate. 

It helps having a supportive husband and David is there for me every step of the way.  He makes me laugh all of the time and that’s something to be grateful for.  He is there for me even when he may not be able to fully understand what I’m going through.  That’s love.  

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to share this, but I just did.  This wouldn’t be an honest blog to only paint things in a perfect light.  That’s not the way things are and that’s not me.  I’ve never done well with hiding my feelings.  Don’t get me wrong, I would totally rather write about Pinterest recipes and awesome restaurants, but this is my therapy for right now. 

Thank you to those reading for allowing me to share these thoughts.  I’m sure I will look back at this someday and laugh because everyone knows you only remember the good and forget all of the bad

  
Love,

J. 

Happy Independence Day!

Can’t believe it’s the 4th of July.   This year is just flying by.  Today was a lazy day.  Slept in, afternoon movie matinee to see Jurassic World (awesome, but holy cow $40?! gotta have popcorn and soda obviously),  napped, and dinner out.  Now we are back at home watching the Macy’s fireworks show on TV. We can hear the fireworks outside and Brutus is being a very brave boy!  He is usually terrified, but it seems he is adjusting to being a city dog.  Very mellow holiday and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Oh, how the times have changed. 

 Brutus in his thunder jacket.  Works for fireworks too! 

Since we didn’t get to grill like we usually would, bbq sounded good.  We went to The Pig and the Pearl restaurant in Atlantic Station.  Let’s just say we definitely got our bbq fix and then some. Going to have to run extra this week!  
  Oyster shells on the ceiling.   

Pic outside after dinner.  We were uncomfortably stuffed!

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable weekend relaxing with family and friends!  Be safe!

Love,

J. 

Little red stool

Alright, so I feel like most of my posts are about food, but I can’t help it.  I have always had a love/hate relationship with the stuff.  I LOVE to cook food and obviously love eating it just as much.   That’s where it has got me in trouble in the past.  God didn’t bless me with my Father’s speedy metabolism and I have had to work really hard over the years to keep my weight in check.  It has always been a struggle and always will be.  I am forever trying to figure out a balance between my passion for good eats and trying to be healthy. No easy task, right?  No magic solution.  So, I am just trying to eat less and exercise more.  Seems to be working.  

Who DOESN’T enjoy a good meal?!  I laugh every time I think about one of the psychiatrists at my previous job repeatedly asking the clients in his Eastern European accent, “Is food your friend?”  Well I don’t have a mental illness, but food is certainly my friend!  What a silly question. 

Anyway, when I come across a particularly delicious recipe I really like, I enjoy sharing it.  Even when my sister said she didn’t enjoy cooking and wasn’t too interested, I would still e-mail her recipes hoping to hook her in.  Natalie is now cooking at least 3 meals a week and I like to think my encouragement had something to do with it! 

My mom and I have always had this hobby in common.  One of the first memories I have are in the kitchen with my Mom and Grandma. I don’t think I was tall enough to see over the counter tops yet so I would stand on a kitchen chair or on my little red step stool.  Even when I didn’t feel like observing and learning my mom would say, “Come watch me do this so you know how. ” Well, at some point something must have clicked and the rest is history. 

Ok, back to the recipe.  So, this is another recipe found on Pinterest.  I didn’t take a picture, but trust me when I say this recipe is super simple and damn delicious.   I think that is the name of someone’s popular food blog, but I am stealing it. πŸ˜† The recipe only has a few ingredients- chicken breasts, bbq sauce, yellow onion, and shredded cheddar. I added some green onions on top for extra zip.  We used Weber bbq sauce and it tasted awesome…peas and Zatarains yellow rice were the sides.  Perfect meal!  I baked mine on 375 degrees for 40 minutes even though the recipe suggested 350 degrees.  Just makes me and the hubs feel safer. 

http://www.thepinningmama.com/easy-barbecue-chicken-bake/?m
Happy cooking!

Love,

J. 

Fried plantains

I figure it’s time for another post since I have been slacking the past week.  Things are good here in the ATL.  I continue to look for jobs 2-3 times per week.  Haven’t had any calls for interviews yet, but I am hopeful that will happen soon.  

I have been exercising every day and really watching my calories so I can splurge on the weekends.  It has been fun researching new restaurants to try.   

Friday night we went to Cypress Street Pint & Plate.  It is located in Midtown in Tech Square.  We drove through Georgia Tech’s campus and saw some of the sorority and fraternity houses.  Couldn’t believe how BIG and nice they are.  I tried to be semi-healthy and had a grilled chicken quinoa wrap with jalapeΓ±o coleslaw.  Really good and I didn’t feel too guilty eating it. 

Last night we went to The Vortex, also located in Midtown.  David saw it on an episode of Man Vs. Food and it did not disappoint!  Fabulous burgers and good drink selection.  I had the Four Horsemen burger (minus mushrooms of course) and fried plantains. Yum!  Plantains are my new favorite side and they seem to be everywhere. We will definitely be back soon!  There was a random mixture of decor covering the the walls with red lights glowing throughout.  Very fun and ecclectic place- can’t wait to go back with out-of-town visitors. 

Check it out here-https://thevortexatl.com

   

            

Missing all of my friends and family!  Thanks to those who have called, texted, and e-mailed checking in on me the past few weeks. It’s nice to know that despite the miles, I am still able to feel close to home.  πŸ’œ

  
Love,

J. 

Summer nights

I am no hair expert, but I was feeling creative yesterday and found a cute updo to try.  I like it because it’s super simple and kind of elegant looking and perfect for hot, summer nights.  Basically all you have to do is put a headband around the crown of your head and starting from the outside closest to your ears take chunks of hair and wrap and tuck over the headband.  Keep tucking finishing with the middle of your head.  It doesn’t have to be perfect!  Didn’t even need hairspray and it stayed put all night.    

   Here is the link…http://www.hairromance.com/2014/06/curly-hairstyle-tutorial-rolled-headband-updo.html

We went out to dinner last night at Five Seasons Brewing Company. Super good food, and of course the beer was great too.  We will be back very soon!