Saturday, March 31, 2012

10 things I would do if I won Mega Millions

Everyone in this poor state of Louisiana is always secretly asking themselves, "What would I do if I won the Lottery?" Truth be told, no two people would do the same thing.

To preface this, I haven't bought a Lottery ticket since I turned 21. Yes, on my 21st birthday I bought a handful of scratch offs and lottery tickets and won nothing. I always won something when Nanny would buy them for me. The year of the 21 year old Emily also involved 2 more casinos which ended sadly in me putting a $20 in a machine and coming up with nothing. I did however get a free meal for being there for the first time. This my friends is why I am not a gambler. I like my money in my pocket where some machine with confusing instructions won't flash a pretty light to distract me while it robs me blind.

If Capital One starts flashing lights and pumping oxygen I will run for the hills.

Knowing deep in our hearts we would never win I decided to jump on my parents bandwagon and get a Mega Millions ticket. I mean heck, one dollar could change everything. EVERYTHING!

Our conversation when something like this:

Mom: You Dad said if we won Laura would never get out of bed again.
Me: Very true.
Mom: I told him if you won we would never see you again, you would be off traveling the world.
Me: Very true, I'd go to a different country every month. If I win I will pay off all our student loan debt, the cars, and what is left on your kitchen renovation. Then I would travel forever.  Of course, I would take y'all with me. Imagine the look on our church's faces when they saw that tithe in the offering plate. We could seriously tithe that and not even notice the money was gone.
Mom: Ha ha. [yeah I can't totally remember what she said here haha]

With that being said here is what I would do, in no particular order.

[1] Pay off cars and student loan debt for Jeremy and I and my parents. Let's face it they paid a lot for our wedding and my college stuff.
[2] Put money aside for a house for when Jeremy is done with school.
[3] Put money aside for our imaginary kids to go to college and Joshua.
[4] Go to culinary school - legit culinary school, like in France. None of this NSU business. Sorry it's true.
[5] Travel travel travel
[6] tithe it, our little church would die if they saw that money come in. Imagine what they could do.
[7] At this point I would probably move to England. I've wanted to for years and now money wouldn't be in the way.
[8] Buy a new bed, this one is broken. Jeremy rigged it.
[9] Invest a huge chunk for retirement
[10] Pimp out my classroom with things I could take with me when we moved after Jeremy is done with school. SmartBoard please! My kids would be rolling in wireless internet and iPads. Poor things would be bored to tears at recess and only wish they were still in class.


[7 questions] & FITBF

Time for some 7 questions, as usually I am late for every party. But here is my funny photo:
This one was taken back in April 2008 when we had only been dating a month. It was actually taken in the car after eating at Chili's where I met his sister for the first time.  


1. What is your favorite color TO WEAR?
Blue. It just looks good with my skin. I am also a huge fan of black. 

2. You are given the choice between visiting every country and landing on the moon. Which would you choose?
Every country, hands down. I think I've blogged it before but I have a huge fear of outter space. Think about space along with what is actually inside my body gives me the heebie geebies. 

3. What's your favorite animal and why?
Dachshund. I'd love to say something else, but after 5 years of living with these nutty things that keep me laughing they win by far. Thursday Maddie left her squeaky hedge hog in my laundry and took a balled up sock to play with. I caught her tossing the sock in the air and running for it. I promise you, she doesn't play fetch with us. 

4. You are forced to do one of the following, which would you choose? Sky dive, scuba dive, or world's largest rope swing.
Rope swing. I probably need therapy for my vast amount of fears, but I am terrified of drowning-no one can touch me in water, and I hate flying. So jumping out of a plane would be out of the question. 

5. You are given the chance to go back in time. Which era would you visit?
Middle Ages in England. Something about it seems so romantic, I am speaking more from the literature and not historical perspective of course. Who on Earth wants body lice and black death? Not this girl. 

6. If you had the power to remove one thing (ie: flies, mosquitos, junk food) from the earth for good- what would it be?

Oh this is hard, living in Louisiana I immediately want to say mosquitos. But that is only a problem during the summer here. Junk food wins this. I can wear OFF for mosquitos, I can't seem to find a OFF for junk food. And let's face it, no matter how healthy I eat and believe people should eat I have a serious love of all things chocolate candy and chips.  I don't indulge often, but I love them. For instance my babies (students-I typed it out and then realized only my students would know who I was talking about) brought me a ton of Easter candy, because they know how much I love it. I ate the Reese's bunny in the dark quiet of my home while secretly hoping I won the Mega Millions last night. All I got was extra bunny calories. Please take the junk food. 

7. What is one thing you've learned from Pinterest that made you think "GENIUS"!
 
Essentially all of the green cleaning recipes. I am not doing them for the green factor, but more for my health. I feel like I have a full blown cold every time I clean with store bought chemical products. Since I've been cleaning with natural thing and homemade laundry detergent I have come to enjoy little to no allergy problems at home. [that sounded like a comercial] 


...........................................................


1.  My greatest strength is   my list making skills. With a properly made list I can get tons of stuff done and stay organized   .

2.   My greatest weakness is   my ability to lose said lists. They work great until I have one of those days where I can't even find my face    .

3.  People always compliment me on     cooking or clothing.     .

4. If you found me procrastinating you'd probably find me    playing on my iPad and looking at Pinterest, or watching my trashy reality housewife shows.  .

5. The most cozy place in all the world is  my antique bed in the guest bedroom. It was my bed for years until I married a giant who needed a king size just for his length. He hangs off of everything else. The antique bed has a comfy mattres anyway, but I added a down topper to it. People who sleep on that bed usually don't want to leave it .

6. Something new that I tried recently was    Overnight Oatmeal from Pinterest, and I am in love. Actually I love anything that makes getting breakfast before work easier. I have been taking this one with me and slicing up a banana in it at work. So far I've had 2 comments on it 1) Oh gross what is that [students] and 2) Is that ice cream [my favorite partner teacher Lauren-because let's face it she knows me well and if I were eating ice cream at 7 am she wouldn't be surprised] .

7.  This weekend I would like to   hang out with my husband,I mean dogs. Husband is on a camping trip, which is totally not fair because I like to camp. I am having coffee with the ladies today though and then shopping. I also need to clean, I think that pile of clothes on the guest bed is starting to procreate - there seems to be more than there where the other day and I didn't do laundry.   .

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meal Pinning Monday, yeah I know it's Thursday.

I know I am super late on this, but it has been one heck of a week. This is the week before Spring Break & when we get back we have state testing - did I mention I teach 4th grade? Yeah, in LA the 4th and 8th grade scores count twice for a school. Stressful is an understatement. I totally thought I knew what I was dealing with until I taught 4th for the first time. Oh dear, I do miss how laid back 5th grade was by comparison. 
[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. 


Beef with Snow Peas & Mushrooms
I don't have a photo but I use a pound of ground beef or turkey, 2 bags of fresh snow peas (the steam kind), and 8oz of fresh mushrooms. Then I add every Asian thing I have in my kitchen to it. It usually contains soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, Chinese 5 spice, siracha, green onion, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and sweet chili sauce. 


Overnight Oatmeal - Breakfast



Chicken Tamale Pie
Source: pinchofyum.com via Ruth on Pinterest


Tex-Mex Frito Salad -
I add ground beef or turkey & we add chips on our own, I don't mix them in.

Pioneer Woman Comfort Meatballs -
using her mash recipe, but using half cauliflower





Guest Post [ Wear a Wonderful Wedding Dress in Various Ways]


Wear a wonderful wedding dress in various ways

Marriage is considered to be an important day in any body’s life. You start a new chapter in life with your partner. The most important and unique thing in your marriage is your wedding dress which is selected by lots of pain and hard work. So, once the wedding is over what does any average bride do about this wedding dress? Generally people send them to any laundry get it cleaned by the professional and keep them inside a secured box for posterity. You often wonder as to how some of the finest and expensive dress laying inside your wardrobe remain untouched and unused. You often feel sad for not wearing or using it in anyway. However, now you don’t have to lose your heart since you will find in this article a number of ways of using it in various ways. Here’s how:
1. Cut your dress short and wear it again
This idea will work depending upon the kind of dress you have. If you have the scope of cutting it short and embarking with some creative design well and good. Just try it. You can surely design something incredible which can be worn in any party or any get together. For this you need to think out of the box and try something different as per the dress style. You can find a number of do it yourself (DIY) websites which gives you creative ideas of making effective use of your wedding dress by cutting it short and coming with a new one. For instance you can transform your gown of floor length into a three quarter or a knee length or cut to an extent of mini.
2. Consider using like lingerie
Sounds odd, but still possible to convert your wedding dress into colorful and mind blowing lingerie. There are many types of wedding dresses especially the ones which come with the considerations of body consciousness like the Carolyn Bessette Kennedy gown which appear like lingerie. Such dresses can be easily converted into your lingerie with the help of a couple of tweaks. These can be a perfect choice for your special nights and even therefore would be helpful for love making things with your partner.
3. Wear it with a different dye
You may find it awkward wearing your white gown which you had in your wedding at any special occasion of your friend. And you even may find yourself into trouble of appearing like a bride at any your friend’s wedding; hence the best way is to change the color. Try dyeing with darker shades and you will certainly embark with a new kind of dress which you don’t mind wearing any moment or occasion.
4. Transform it into halloween
There are many Halloween costumes which are based on various kinds of wedding dresses. You can therefore think of converting your dress into this option. So it can be called as a good idea to try with many possibilities and styles.
So with these ideas on the board you can certainly reuse your wedding dress the best. Now, you do not have to worry about seeing your dress being kept inside any protective box or saving it for your next generation. By playing with the above said ideas, you can change the fate of your wedding dress for sure.
About the author: Kate is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of watches. She recently bought a watch from Skagen Watches latest collection. These days she is busy in witting an article on Simple Wedding Dresses.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

English Muffin Bread

Why I am just not getting around to posting this I will never know, I had tweeked this recipe a month ago before the cooking blog hype over English Muffin Bread. Talk about kicking yourself for procrastinating! Better late than never. Most recipes I saw had this doubled and tripled, that just doesn't work for our little family. It would have gone bad in no time, and we don't have the freezer space for a million loaves of bread. 

English Muffin Bread is a great little recipe for English Muffin lovers like myself (and my mother). It is great with just butter and honey, or anything else you can think to slather on it. This makes awesome toast. Plus it doesn't hurt that it is super easy and even worked with my expired yeast. It rose slow, but imagine who fast it would have rose had the yeast been in date! Trust me this is an easy recipe that you will love! Depending on the type of flour you use it will come out a different color, as always I used whole wheat and it made my bread much darker. 

English Muffin Bread
**makes 1 loaf
Ingredients:
14.6 oz warm water
2 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
3.6 c flour (I used whole wheat)
1 package of rapid rise yeast
cornmeal (optional)
melted butter (for brushing the top at the end)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients (dump them in together, yay for easy) in a stand mixer, or by hand, until combined. Cover with a dish towel and allow to double in size. 
Grease loaf pan and sprinkle with cornmeal, if you don't have it skip it...I did; it just gives the grainy outer texture you get from store bought English muffins. Transfer your dough to the loaf pan and allow to rise, it should double in size again. Preheat oven to 350.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Ten minutes before it is done brush the top with melted butter. Allow to cool before cutting. 
I found that the recipe lasted about a week in the Louisiana humidity before starting to mold. But it was a yummy breakfast until then. 

Nutrition Information:
Cal. 158.5g    Fat .7g    Carbs 33.4g   Fiber 5.6g   Sugar 2.6g   Protein 5.6g   Iron 8.4%

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life Well Lived: Looking Your Best - Face Tips

This weeks Life Well Lived: Looking Your Best question has to do with your face, and boy do I love this topic.


What are your favorite tips and tricks for framing and showing off your beautiful face?


There are a ton of products I love, but let's start with hair.


Hair
A good hair cut is key to framing your face. I always have my hair feathered so it frames my face, and I really like bangs...but lately I've taken a break from them. I seem to have a love/hate relationship with bangs. Here are two pics of how I like to keep my hair cut so it frames my face.
Longer Bangs
No Bangs

 Short Bangs to the side
Short bangs to the front

Short hair and bangs poofed back
Short bangs to the side

Notice how the way I wear my bangs changes the shape of my face? Bangs to the front are not for me, I am definitely a bangs to the side kind of girl. This pic below is by far my favorite hair look though. 
 Long hair curled with long bangs pushed to the side. Best hair on me ever. 
 Skin Products
Let's face it, you won't show off much of anything if your face is constantly broken out and your skin is uneven. Check out the last pic of me holding Ellie, clear skin and glowy. I never had breakout then, and I never wore more than eye makeup. Yes, you heard right. There is only eye shadow, eye liner, and mascara on my face in the pic above. But in recent years stress has changed that. After ditching the carefree life of college and joining the real world working force - in my case teaching - my skin has gone to hell. I now have problems with fine lines, I am fighting before they actually are noticeable, acne, and dry skin. 

I have always had a good skin cleansing routine, but have never been able to grow out of teenage acne cleansers. This year those teen cleansers stopped working and my partner teacher turned me on to Proactive. I've thought about it for a long time but she had a sample I could try, and let me tell you that after a week my skin looks like it did before I started teaching...nearly all my blemishes are gone!

Here are my other usual products:
From left to right here is the rundown. (1) Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Sun Damage with SPF (2) Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Protectant B.B. Cream (3) Garnier Ultra-Lift Night Cream (4) Clinique Pore Minimizer (5) Clinique Acne Solutions Healing Gel
(1) Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Sun Damage Daily Moisturizer- This is a great daily moisturizer and I love how it feels on my face. I typically put it on and it soaks in immediately. Recently I have started wearing it under my BB Cream instead of doing one or the other. 
(2) Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Protectant B.B. Cream - If you haven't bought a BB Cream go and get one now. It works miracles, no lie. I started out using a tinted moisturizer (Merle Norman $38) but was very disappointed in it, after my mom found this BB Cream I was obsessed. BB Creams have been around overseas for awhile, but are just now making their way to the U.S. The offer SPF, tint, moisture, and vitamins that just plain old tinted moisturizer doesn't. The best part, this brand is only $15, that is half the price of most brands. I tried a few of the more expensive brands and with Garnier you not only get more for $15 than you do for $40 in the bottle I can tell not one difference in this and the more expensive brand.
(3) Garnier Ultra-Lift Night Cream- If I don't wear this at night I wake up looking dehydrated. This product somehow makes my skin look plump and hydrated overnight. It seems to take away the damage of the day. 
(4) Clinique Pore Minimizer - I have used this for years on my cheeks, chin, and nose. I can tell a big difference when I haven't used it for awhile. I may be able to weed it out now though because the BB Creams help with the look of pores. 
(5) Clinique Acne Solutions Gel - this straight salicylic acid gel sucks the gunk out of pimples and dries them up super quick. 

Makeup
Like I said, I don't wear a lot of makeup. I just don't like the spackle face clown look a lot of women sport. Plus, this Louisiana heat does not make for makeup that stays on for long. Here is what I use, and don't forget the BB Cream serves several purposes, one of which is evening skin tone and adding a hint of color. 
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer - best stuff on Earth. I have tried may concealers and this actually makes the circles under my eyes disappear.

Bare Minerals Big and Bright Eyeliner in granite - goes on smooth and stays on all days.

Clear Mascara - the eyebrow miracle worker. Swipe over and they stay in place all day.

Loreal Double Extend - until I discovered this my eye lashes constantly fell out. 

Cover Girl Blush in Rose Silk - very natural looking

Cover Girl - Shimmering Sands Trio. 

Sugar lip moisturizer -  I got this as a sample and I will be buying it as a regular size. Love it!

As you can see I don't spend a ton of money on face products (the Bare Minerals was the same price as Cover Girl when I got it on sale). I feel like you can get great products without spending a ton of money, big price does not always mean it works amazing - you may be paying for the name. In all the pics above I have on everything except the BB Cream, I may have it on a little darker or a little lighter depending on what the occasion is, or maybe my gray eye shadow trio for night, but it is always the same drug store brands. 

So there you have it, you can frame your face and have great makeup for a reasonable price. Let's face it, not everyone has money to blow on makeup. Even if I had it I would probably still buy the drug store brands. 

If you have any questions or suggestions about a product I should try let me know!

Make sure you check out this weeks post on BlogHer Life Well Lived: Looking Your Best!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Greek Quiona Salad

I've been wanting to try quinoa for awhile now and finally decided on a recipe to incorporate it into-the pasta salad I usually make. 
There are plenty of reason you should consider quinoa, for one it's a complete protein. I love finding sources of complete protein outside of meat. Let's just be honest, I'd probably be vegetarian if it weren't for the meat eating husband. I typically only eat meat at dinner. Except for the occasional hard boiled egg at breakfast, but is that really "meat"? I sure don't feel like I am eating meat when eating eggs. But let's not start something with true vegetarians. Quinoa is also gluten free, easily digested, and low calorie. I also discovered that I can cook it in the microwave like Minute Rice, score! 

If that isn't enough reason to try this recipe then try it because it is healthy, but still full of feta. There is a good chance I could survive on feta, hummus, and pita alone. 

Greek Quinoa Salad
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups of uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Cavender's Greek Seasoning
4 oz crumbled feta
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 split grape tomatoes
3 green onions

Directions
Cook quinoa according to package directions. 
Add all other ingredients and stir to combine. Chill. Serve cold. 

There are many variations to this recipe, if I am taking it to a family gathering or church potluck I will use pasta. Depending on the time of year you can add or change the raw veggies to what is seasonal or to your liking. 

What's your favorite quinoa recipe? Have you tried this grain yet?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

7 Questions

I am always late to the party, so why on earth would I be on time for linkys? I blog like I live...5 minutes late for everything. Now let's do some [7 Questions]!


This pic was taken in Italy at the Castel San' Angelo, that is the Vatican in the background. Needless to say it is the one pic Jeremy didn't make a crazy face in and my hair looked good..I can't say the same for my face ha!

1. Pick a boyfriend: Edward Cullen, Peeta Mellark, or Harry Potter
Without looking at pics of Peeta because I have no clue who he is I am going with Harry Potter. Now, I will say this out loud, but don't stone me...I could care less about Twilight so I honestly could care less about Edward Cullen. I have always love British guys [pick up an accent Jeremy *hint], and I love Harry Potter books/movies. So Potter wins, hands down.

2. If you HAD to have a crazy hairdo, what hairdo would you choose and why? (mohawk, mullet, etc)

Maybe something like this? I've always wanted to be blonde haha!

3. If you could be a celebrity what would you like to be celebrated for? (Dance, Singing, Acting, Reality TV [ie no reason], Political Leader, etc)
I hate stress, so I will go with no real reason like the Kardashian's. Reality show about my life, rolling in the money, all sorts of fashion opportunities for no reason...yes please! Trying out for acting gigs...heck no. 

4. Be honest- do you brush and floss your teeth daily?
I brush everyday, usually twice. But I forget to floss, when I think about it I do. 

5. What is one fear you are working to overcome?
I have always been terrified of lizards, snakes, and frogs. I have gotten tot he point (since childhood) where I can see a frog and as long as it doesn't touch me I am okay...at least outside. I can even take pics of frogs. One came in the house the other night though (1st time for this married) and I immediately jumped on top of the stove and started screaming...it was in my house and had the potential to hide, can't have that. Plus it was hopping like it was at a party. Jeremy thought I lost my mind. Now my fear of lizards and snakes is much more severe. I saw a snake at our old house and grabbed my keys, jumped in the car, and sped away, all in about 15 seconds. Snakes are no bueno. Now lizards will be the death of me. I freak out hysterically if they are in my house, especially the geckos. Last summer I got in the shower and noticed a massive green one, totally lost it! I have torn the house up trying to keep an eye on where a gecko was so Jeremy could get it when he got home, furniture moved and sitting on the counter crazy. Of course my psychologist husband thinks I should be "flooded" to get rid of this fear, I'd just stroke out.

6. White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, or Semi-Sweet (isn't that just dark chocolate)??
Milk Chocolate. Yummmmm. Milk Chocolate.

7. What is one trend you wish you could pull off? 
Hats in general, I just don't have the head shape to putt it off. And yes, I said head, not face. I have a big head, it is just hard to tell under hair, but if you ever want to feel my lumpy head just let me know haha. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mid Week Hodge Podge

In no particular order, here is what's been up lately.
-First off, someone tagged me in a 5 random things on Instagram the other day, just thought I'd share what I pur up here. 
-Have y'all tried Naked Coconut Water? I really honestly wanted to hop on this coconut bandwagon, heck I tried to drink coconut water when I was 10 because I thought it was cool to bust open a coconut...but I just can't. It taste like sweat. More specificially, my first thought upon drinking it is that it tasted like "sweaty balls". Not to be offensive or vulgar, that was just my first thought. It is just that bad. If you know of a better brand to try let me know. 
-If you are related to me, or have been in my classroom you know my obsession with Vicks Vapor Rub. I have a jar on my desk at work and one on my nightstand. Obsessed with it is an understatement actually. And I don't follow the guidelines, I stick it up and in my nose. I even use it for chap-stick. One blogger suggested I eat a gob of it once for a sore throat and I did, it worked. I learned this bad Vick's habit from my grandmother, blame her when I get sent to rehab for it ha! To get to my point I found the holy grail of menthol camphor smelling things (now if they would only come out with a scented candle)  and it is made by J.R. Watkins. It is called a relief mist and you spray it in the air around you, or what I am excited to try...in the shower. I love it, but then again when Jeremy gets home tonight I will have to explain why the house smells like menthol camphor. I sprayed it in my car-hello happiness! I can breathe better! They should really just call this stuff body spray for the Vicks addict. If you are suffering from sinus and allergy grief like I have been for the past few months give it a try, I found it at Walgreen's.
-About a week ago I made my own laundry detergent. Best thing I ever did. It came out to about $20 and will last us over  a year. The blog I read that used this same recipe used it for 9 months and 8 loads a week...we do 2-3 a week. Umm yay for saving money. 
Homemade Laundry Detergent
makes 288 loads(1 Oxy Clean scoop per load)
1 4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz) 
1 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg)
1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz)
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap
2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand(3.5 lbs total)

Grate Fels-Naptha by hand, or I used my food processor grater. Combine with all other ingredients and store in a air tight container. 


-Another cold kick I tried was drinking apple cider vinegar with water...it only gave me indigestion. 
-Last weekend we saw Shane & Shane in Morgan City. We took some friends with us who hadn't seen them before. I think we all really enjoyed it. Shane & Shane always have a fun show. Their song Liberty has been stuck in my head for days, I added the Youtube video of the song below. 
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