Weekend Reads with Paige

Hey guys, I’m co-hosting with Paige today for her weekend reads post! Here she is!

Weekend Reads

Hello! Welcome to Weekend Reads!

If you’ve never been here before, don’t worry, all the rules are below. Dos Equis and I are so glad you are here!

Weekend Reads

Basically, I started Weekend Reads because I felt like everyone disappeared over the weekend. It makes sense, because everyone is off work and able to get out and have some fun, but I love early mornings, cuddling with my puppy and reading some great blog posts.

That’s what this link up is about. I want it to be a place that only the best of the best posts are linked up, so be sure to bring your all!

We’re going to be doing this link up every two weeks (or so) and always on a Friday but here are the next few dates for you to mark down:

  • March 14th
  • March 28th

If you’d like to cohost for either one of those dates, email paige@adoseofpaige.com I’d love to have you!

Each time we get together, I share the TOP THREE posts from the previous link up, so be sure to tell your friends to get over here, link up their own posts and click their favorites! Here they are!

(Click the image/links below to view the posts and link up your blog. Sorry that WordPress can’t properly display them as they should!)


Sephora Gift Card Giveaway

I’m super stoked to be participating in my very first blog giveaway! I’ve teamed up with Brooklyn from A Little Too Jolley and some other lovely ladies to giveaway a gift card to Sephora! Because who doesn’t want free stuff from there?! Enter to win below!

(I can’t get the widget to display, so for now, just click on the Rafflecopter link below, or just enter on Brooklyn’s page. Sorry!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What would you buy at Sephora if you win?

Good luck!

The Celebrity I Most Want to Have Lunch With Is …

Linking up with The Albrechts and A Beautiful Exchange today for The Girl Between the Lines!

The question is: If you could have lunch with any blogger, celebrity, or public figure, who would you choose? Why?

My answer is: The Mowry sisters!

If you know me well, you know I’m a little obsessed with these girls. Sister Sister was great in itself, but these girls just keep getting better and I stalk admire them SO much. I absolutely loved their reality show Tia & Tamera, and when I watch it, I feel like I’m hanging out with my girlfriends. They make me laugh and cry and smile. They make me so happy.

I relate more to Tamera personally, but I adore them both. I watch every darn TV show and made-for-TV movie I can catch them on and always love every minute of it.

My love for these girls goes beyond a creepy celeb obsession or girl crush though. I TRULY admire them as women. They have so many qualities I think are so important. They’re great moms (as I mentioned in my post here). They’re stylish. They’re classy. They’re funny. They’re goofy. They’re professional. They’re relatable. They’re kind. They’re the kind of role models in Hollywood we don’t see much of anymore.

So yes, without a doubt, I’d lunch with them if I had the chance to of all celebs or public figures. Just don’t make me choose which twin.

Girl Between the Lines Link up
P.S. I’m featured on Amberly’s blog today! Go over and check it out! Also I’d love it if you’d hop over to Charlene’s blog and see my guest post on being a compassionate spouse!

Refrigerator Oatmeal: A Recipe!

If it weren’t for Katie at A Beautiful Little Adventure, I still would have no clue about refrigerator oatmeal. But thankfully I saw her post about it, followed by a Pinterest and Google search and was amazed by this fantastic breakfast. Apparantly it’s been a “thing” for quite awhile, but once again I’m late to the party. Oh well. I HAD to give it a try.

We love oatmeal in our house, but we are also incredibly lazy, especially in the morning. I’m lucky if I even have time to open the cupboard to grab a granola bar on the way out, let alone make a real breakfast. So I’m always looking for super easy and quick ways to have a better breakfast. Now that I work for a company that distributes health foods, I took it up a notch and ordered Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal and chia seeds as well instead of regular grocery store varieties that have more “crap” in them than they should. After you make the recipe, it “cooks” overnight in the fridge. So easy!

For my first go, I followed this recipe to the T, minus the maple syrup. The next time, I started experimenting and used less yogurt and more fruit and thought it was better. The next time, I cut out the yogurt entirely and used a ton of strawberries instead, and added a little sugar. Better still! Several rounds later, that’s the formula I stick with because it’s been the tastiest to me. I found that using yogurt gave it a nicer texture, but a bizarre flavor and feeling in my mouth, and I much prefer it without. Some recipes also called for flax seeds, but it seems to be that chia seeds are better for you AND keep longer, so that’s what I used.

I made some versions with blueberries, strawberries, bananas and apples and cinnamon. My favorites were blueberry and strawberry. The banana got a little mushy for my tastes. Here’s the recipe I’m using now:

Refrigerator Oatmeal

refrigerator oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats (not instant!)
  • 2/3 cup milk (ish. eventually I stopped measuring and poured enough in to cover the oats, and then some)
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh fruit (depending on the ratio you like most. I like mine loaded with fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon or so of sugar it to sweeten it up more
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (optional but not recommended by this gal)

-Pour your oats, chia seeds and sugar in a jar that can be closed (Mason jars or Magic Bullet jars work great).
-Pour milk on top of dry ingredients (and add your yogurt here too if you so choose). Close lid and shake it up.
-Add fruit on top and shake again or just stir it up.
-Refrigerate overnight and take and go in the morning!

overnight oats ingredients

dry ingredients for overnight oats

Add dry ingredients to jar

cut up fruit for oatmeal

cut up your desired fruit

apple banana oatmeal

add to jar

apple cinnamon oatmeal recipe

ready for fridge

shake it up and stick it in the fridge

There you have it! It’s literally so easy and yummy. I highly recommend for any oatmeal lovers that are also too busy/lazy in the mornings to prepare a proper meal. Bonus: It’s super healthy and very filling. I don’t even snack in between breakfast and lunch when I eat it!

It’s especially easy if you use blueberries or raspberries and don’t actually have to cut up any fruit! When you eat it at work (or school!) the next day, it tastes great cold or warmed up. I’ve made this several times a week for our breakfasts and plan to keep it in rotation. Even the husband liked it!

Eat Drink & Be Mary

The weird thing I did to feel like a grown-up

There’s a bunch of things you should do once you become a wife. I did a lot of the standard ones, but I also had a list of some bizarre things that I wanted to do to feel more like a wife and an adult and less of a cheap college kid. So finally, six years after my official cheap college kid status, I have crossed one of those off.

What is it? Buying real pajamas. No more ratty old T-shirts I got for a random volunteer project in high school or those Pink sweatpants that once were cool but now have multiple spilled cheese stains and don’t even look that good.

I also have to credit one of the cutest reality TV shows ever to encouraging this. When Bill and Jenn from The Little Couple were in the process of adopting their son, Bill decided he should also get some real pajamas so his son wouldn’t have to see dear old dad in his skivvies in the morning. Makes sense.

My mom always wore real pajamas too. Like pant and top sets from the actual sleepwear section of stores. Of course in high school I thought that was weird and wore my Soffee shorts and said ratty (albeit less so then) T-shirts.

I must admit that sometimes I don’t wear much to bed now. I’m like an old lady these days and get hot flashes at night, so I just wear a bandeau bra and underpants to stay cooler (as in temperature, not trendy!). TMI? Sorry, blog world. I’m trying to keep it real here. Then I thought about what if there’s a fire at night and I don’t have time to put on real clothes before escaping? That’d be awful!

And so to Target I went. Thankfully I went at a time when Cartwheel had some coupons for pajamas, so I grabbed several items that were also on sale for a double shopping win. It was important to get things that let my skin breathe and were super comfortable, and I’m pretty happy with what I bought. I came away with the set pictured here, a warmer bird print flannel shirt for the winter months and this super cute pink chemise (whatever that is. I call it a dress).

pajamas from target

I don’t know why, but this silly little thing is a milestone I’m pretty proud of. Wearing real pajamas is just one of the weird things that makes me feel like an adult. That and meal planning, budgeting, talking about 401ks, saving for a house and thinking about kids too, but pajamas was an easy accomplishment.

Is that weird? I feel like it is. But who cares. I have new pajamas that I got on sale!

My Favorite Pins EVER!

Linking up with The Albrechts and A Beautiful Exchange today for The Girl Between the Lines!

A post about my all-time favorite pins EVER has been on my list for awhile, so considering the topic of this linkup, it seemed perfect to finally pick my fave pins. Without further ado, here are the pins that have been the most successful, most delicious, most helpful or most inspiring to me.

1. Through a Rapist’s Eyes: Tips for Women. One of my biggest fears is getting murdered/attacked/raped/something else awful, so articles like these make me feel better about my chances of possibly surviving something like that. Call me paranoid, but I call it prepared.

through a rapist's eyes tips for women

2. Spa in a Jar. I made my own slightly altered version for some friends and family for Christmas, and they loved it. I made my own bath salts too, which made it more special. I’m totally doing more things like this in the future.

spa in a jar project great for gifts

3. Upcycling old candles. We have tons of old candles laying around that I didn’t have the heart to throw away, so this was a perfect project for me. I used the old wax from several to make one new candle! You can even read about the result of my doing this pin one weekend!

upcycle old candles

4. Leo and Harry with a dog and a cat. No real reason for this one besides great for looking at when you need to smile.

leo and harry with a cat and dog

5. I simply cannot pick just one recipe pin. So here’s a few of the recipes I’ve actually made from Pinterest and loved so much that they now are in frequent rotation in our household’s meal plan.

Baked Spinach Eggs. Love this for breakfast on the weekends.

baked spinach eggs

Cheesy Chicken Tacquitos. So easy and delicious! Make extra and freeze for leftovers too!

cheesy chicken tacquitos

Potato Corn Chowder. Best soup I’ve ever made at home. Yum!

potato corn chowder

Chicken with Pesto and Asparagus. Shameless self promo, this is my own take on a pin that I loved so much I made my own pin and blog post about it.

pesto chicken asparagus

P.S. I wouldn’t be upset if you followed me on Pin Land:)

P.P.S. YOU GUYS. I made it into the top 3 in my category for best new blog in My So Called Chaos’ Best of Blog Awards! This is HUGE for me and I am so friggin’ stoked. Please go vote for me and let’s see if I can win this thing. I will love you forever! Every vote counts so I need you! Vote here.

P.P.P.S. I wrote my first-ever guest post on how to be a compassionate spouse for Charlene at From Bisons to Buckeyes and Beyond. Watch her blog on Saturday as I’ll be there! Whee!

Girl Between the Lines Link up

The Value of Friends

This past weekend, a good friend of mine came to visit. Amy and I met in college freshman year when we had a few of the same classes together. After two years in the dorms, we moved into a real apartment together and she was my first real world roommate. We get along grand. Since she moved away, I only get to see her a few times a year, and when we do get time together, it’s really nice. We’re both low-key people and prefer to stay in and hang out and drink wine and just catch up on each other’s lives. This time, though, I wanted to go try out a new restaurant in town that’s all the rage, a German-themed pub called the Wurst Bier Hall (clever, right?!). The drinks were pretty good (this beer wussie loved the pear cider), but I thought the food was a little overrated, but who cares. It was the company that was best.

with my friend at wurst bier hall

I’ve never been one to make friends easily. I’m incredibly shy, and opening up to new people is really hard. Many people would label me as a snob because of it, which can be hard when someone doesn’t give you a chance and judges based on an assumption. But over the years, I’ve learned to let that go. If you don’t want to get to know me, fine. You’re not worth my time then. I’d rather focus on the small handful of people who have gone beyond the surface and made that effort to get to know me.

I’ve never understood how some people can just talk to anyone they meet like they’re old friends. The funny thing is that nearly all of my friends are like that though! They are mostly exactly the opposite of me. They’re friendly, talkative and outgoing. They can easily swap life stories with the checkout lady. At social gatherings, they’re the ones telling jokes and hamming it up while I sit awkwardly in the corner observing. And that’s how I like it.

Give me a chance though, peel back some of the Amanda layers, and I will start to open up … and eventually never shut up. In those small setting with my closest friends, I feel so comfortable. That’s the real me that comes out. Few people get to really see it, and I guess in a way, I treat my friendships as gifts that I don’t just give to anyone. You have to earn me!

Life’s sort of this funny journey where along the way you pick up people who stick around. Some others come and go, and that’s OK. But those few that stick are really special.

I met my best friend Amanda when I was probably less than a year old in the church nursery. Well, technically, our moms met because of the nursery and they became friends, so naturally, we grew up together and stayed friends too. For 28 years, almost my entire life, she’s been in it, and that makes it so special. We have tons of memories and experiences together, and we saw each other through every single awkward and awesome moment.

The Amandas on our first day of school

The Amandas on our first day of school

Years later she was my matron of honor

Years later she was my matron of honor

Even though Amy and Amanda are some of my very best friends, for some reason, since they both live far away from me, we tend to not keep up while we’re apart. Maybe it’s because we’re busy, maybe we’re lazy, maybe there’s no good reason and that’s just how things are. The thing is, the second we’re together again, it’s just like old times and it goes right back to where we left off. We have Facebook to keep us updated on some of the daily life events, but we’re always there for the big events now. Maybe that’s strange, but it works for me.

I then met Meredith at what I consider to be my first “real” job. At our local Fargo newspaper, I got hired to write obits and do some of the other odd newsroom jobs, and she trained me in on that job as she was moving on to copy editor there. We found out pretty quickly that we had lots in common, and it all snowballed. I don’t think there’s been barely a week we’ve gone without hanging out since then.

with mer

She pushes me to do cool, fun things. We’ve gone on many road trips to concerts and even back to Indiana, and we love going out to the movies or for margaritas. It’s pretty crazy stuff, I know, but otherwise I’d be sitting at home, so I appreciate this. She’s the one I’m constantly emailing back and forth with, often while also texting and IMing, and talking to for endless hours about who knows what. She now is engaged, and it’s so fun to help her plan her wedding since she was such a rock to me when I planned mine.

These days, I count my mother as a friend too. You know, once you get past those angsty teenage years, you start to see how cool your mom is and actually want to be around her more! And now that she lives 800 miles away, I miss her so much. Like my girlfriends, when we get together now, we giggle uncontrollably, and then she looks over my paperwork to tell me which 401k plan I should choose. I spend hours on the phone with her every week, and no one is more excited about hearing about my life than she is. That’s what moms are for though, right?

But my best friend above all now is my husband. He may not know about all those embarrassing things about me from when I was 14 (thankfully), but he has become my confidant now. He knows everything I worry about, everything I love, everything I want. He knows what I do when I get home from work and he knows what makes me tick. And that’s how it should be, I think. The relationship with your husband has to go deep. You have to love being with that person every single moment and tell them every single thing. To be close, to stay connected, to have a solid marriage, I think they have to be your best friend.

That being said, even the husband will never really fill the gaps of your girlfriends. They can’t dish on how cray cray the last episode of The Bachelor was, they can’t understand how much you friggin’ love cupcakes, they can’t tell you that new skirt is adorable and try on 20 of them with you at the mall, they can’t spend hours at a jewelry party and love every second of it, they can’t giggle uncontrollably with you about the cute guy over there, they can’t debate Ryan Gosling versus Ryan Reynolds, and they certainly can’t understand what’s going on with you that time of the month.

All of these people in our lives round us out, and we need all of them to be our best. We’re not really complete without them. Sure, it’s great to be a powerful, independent women, but it’s also great having people you can’t live without.  I’m sure I’ll feel the same if and when I have children, too. It will be one of those blanks I don’t really know I have now, but is added on my journey through life that becomes something I couldn’t have expected would mean so much.

What do friends mean to you?

I’m nominated – help me win!

Somehow, I got nominated for the Best New Blogger Award from My So Called Chaos‘ new blog awards. I feel so loved and so happy! This whole new world of blogdom, has meant a lot to me since I started. It’s really helped me grow, express my feelings, feel connected, make new friends and feel really fulfilled. But to actually be recognized for what I’m doing means so much. So. Much.

If you enjoy this little spot of the Interwebs, I would be oh so appreciative if you would take a few moments to vote for me in these awards. Click on the button below, or in my sidebar, and select me in the new blog space. You do have to vote in all the categories for your vote to count, but if you don’t have time to actually look at all the blogs in that list (who would! we’re all busy people), you can just pick at random for some categories. Let me recommend though that you vote for some of my bloggy friends who are also in the list (Voyage of the MeeMee, The Florkens, Endlessly Beloved, Texas Mrs., Wifessionals, The Best of Intentions, Whispering Sweet Nothings; and Stop Apologizing for most inspirational).

My So-Called Chaos Best of Blog Awards

On another note, I love that I’ve discovered tons of new blogs from the nominations in these awards. I’ve already started following several of them. And that Be Nice Box? What an amazing thing! Even if I don’t win my category, that is totally OK. It’s already been a success for me just to be nominated and to have found great new places on the web from the list.

But you should still vote for me if you have time. Please. I will give you virtual hugs and love you forever. Maybe even make you a cake. Name my first child after you. You get the idea. 🙂

Carabox Reveal

I participated in my very first Carabox recently, a super cool and fun thing that Wifessionals hosts. Basically, it’s a special gift swap where bloggers and some non-bloggers sign up to be paired up with a few other ladies based on location. Over the course of a few months, we get to know our partners, make new friends, share words of encouragement, and in the end, exchange presents to uplift our new friends!

I got to know two special ladies in this process. I sent a box to Kathryn, who blogs at The Grace Filled Home. (Check out what I sent her here.) And the box I got was from Maria, who doesn’t currently blog, but is on Instagram. Both of these ladies have the cutest kids. Seriously. Aside from getting to know both of them, I loved seeing pictures of their adorable little ones. What amazing ladies.

Maria got me an AMAZING box of stuff. In fact, the day that I picked it up at the Post Office, I was so excited that I ripped into it right from my car in the parking lot. And then I started tearing up because 1) everything makes me cry nowadays, and 2) I so so so loved everything she got me and it was so touching to have received such incredible stuff. It was totally a perfect box.



My favorite thing was the canvas art that said “Will work for cupcakes.” I already have a “Keep calm and eat cupcakes” sign on my desk at work, so I knew this would be the perfect addition to my cube. And I love cupcakes.

I also got some cute little dip bowls, and seriously I love dip. So much. In fact, there have far too many nights than I’d like to admit where my whole dinner has been chips and dip. I crave it all. the. time. Now my dips will be much cuter in these bowls than the ones I stole accidentally took home from various restaurants.

There were also some kitty toys. This made me so happy because I love my kitties, and I love that Maria thought of them! It was so nice of her to give them gifts too. Right away, they both started playing with their new jingly toys. So cute. They love them.

lg with toy-cropped

And then I got a new scarf! Which was perfect timing, because I was seriously just thinking about how I wanted a new fashion scarf. I only had two and really wanted one more to round out some of my outfits. I’ve worn it twice already!

And a new to-do list! Seriously, there are never enough lists, and I go through pads of paper so quick. I love the magnetic ones too to put on my fridge, so I totally am into this.

And some chocolate, which I promptly devoured right after taking these photos:) And some tea, which was really quite yummy! I had to try one cup right away. That Tazo brand is really good!

I can’t say how much I enjoyed this experience. I loved getting to know both of these amazing women, and I feel like I have some new friends. It’s great that this Carabox was arranged as a way to help connect women with to encourage and support each other. It’s something we all can use more of. If you want to participate in the next Carabox, I absolutely would recommend it. I can’t wait for the next sign up.

Nieces, Anniversary and Pee, Oh My!

Well, the title of this post pretty much sums up this last weekend. My in-laws came to town on Friday night, and while the oldest niece, her friend and her mom went to the Justin Timberlake concert, Cal and I got to babysit their three youngest girls, aka my official nieces now! Since the concert was going to go really late, past the girls’ bedtime, they also slept over.

We were actually pretty excited for this. We haven’t spent much, if any, time with the girls outside of going to their house when we go back to his hometown to visit. So to have them on our turf this time was going to be fun! I was a little concerned that our smallish apartment wouldn’t be large enough for three young girls, not to mention our three pets and us, to be in, especially if they wanted to run around and play. Well turns out the girls were absolute angels on their visit, but it was our pets who were too rambunctious!

Friday night started out well enough. Cal cooked them dinner, their favorite meal, tater tot hot dish, and they made fun of him for squirting ketchup all over his portion. After dinner, we watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Laci, the youngest, didn’t want to sit alone, so she snuggled up with me on the recliner. The two other girls shared the couch with Cal…and then Brick jumped up…and then Little Girl. It would be an understatement to say that the pets loved the girls.

blog babystiting nieces over the weekend

movie time with the glowy-eyed puppy

Then when it was bedtime, we discovered that an unknown culprit had peed all over the air mattress and blankets we had set up for them. Thankfully we had a sleeping bag and extra blankets to make do for the night.

Come morning, after Cal fed the pets, Little Girl puked right next to the girls. Which is actually nothing new. She often eats way too fast then runs around and heaves up her breakfast. Cat never learns. Then after our big breakfast of bacon, eggs and pancakes, Brick started peeing on the floor right by the couch! I tried to make him stop, but how do you really do that, so I just dragged him into the kitchen so the pee would at least be easier to clean up there. He peed the whole way I dragged him over. And kept going. It didn’t stop! The girls thought it was the funniest thing. And actually it kind of was. Brick never pees in the house, so I think he must have just been so excited that he simply couldn’t hold it in. This leads us to believe he was the mattress culprit too.

Despite the massive amounts of pee from the dog we had to deal with, we really had a nice time. I really enjoyed spending time with my nieces. Oh, and Laci whispered that she loved me at one point. It was so cute. Love those girls.

Feb. 9 is our dating anniversary. I know it doesn’t matter much anymore, but I want to keep celebrating it for just a little longer. It’s been nine years since we’ve been together! Which has been long enough to feel like Feb. 9 is special now. I think at least till we hit that 10-year mark anyway. Plus it’s so close to V-day that we just kind of wrap them together. Anyway, we had plans to go out for dinner on Sunday, but we both had our presents ready for each other on Saturday, and we couldn’t wait, so we exchanged gifts a little early. I got him a Datevitation book, so he can redeem coupons I made just for him, such as a Matt Damon (his favorite actor) movie night whenever he wants.

He got me flowers in a pretty pink vase. We went years of dating and I never got flowers till finally he realized I like receiving them, so it seems extra special now when I get them. Plus, what might be the coolest thing he’s ever gotten me, I also received a necklace with a little bottle on the end just like the “drink me” bottle from Alice in Wonderland, and I totally love it.

flowers for anniversary on blog

On Sunday we went to Red Lobster for our anniversary dinner since we had $85 in gift cards there. So naturally we ordered two apps, several alcoholic beverages, big entrees and a dessert and ate it all for free. The best way to eat! We waddled back home and watched Insidious 2. Fun fact: I absolutely love horror movies. They scare the crap out of me, and I often can’t sleep after watching them, but it never stops me. I can’t get enough. It was pretty good! I told Cal to please never let himself become posessed, that would be great. Then to end the night on a non-scary note, we finished with Free Birds.

It was pretty much an awesome weekend.