Baby Girl Nursery

Baby Girl Nursery
Baby Girl Nursery

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
Summer Bucket List

Drugstore Beauty

Drugstore Beauty
Drugstore Beauty

Meal Monday: White Chicken Chili

I know many of you are enjoying your spring weather and the last thing on your mind is chili.  It's funny because I plan my Meal Monday posts ahead of time and it didn't even cross my mind that it would be 65 degrees here in Chicago on the last day of March - go figure ;)  I'm not complaining though, we haven't had temps reach 60 degrees since early November 2013 and that's a looong time!  Not to fear, Wednesday is a high of 35 and possible snow so I've got you covered for dinner. This recipe comes straight from Mix and Match Mama - I only changed up a couple of things - and is officially a staple in our house.  It's made in the crockpot so it's super easy, the extent of what you need to do to prepare this meal is just opening up some cans :) 

Shopping List
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa verde
1 can chopped green chiles
1 can white northern beans, drained
1 cup chicken stock
Avocado and sour cream to garnish

In your crockpot, layer the chicken, onion, soup, salsa, green chiles, beans and chicken stock.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4.  Use two forks to shred chicken when finished cooking.  Serve with desired toppings.


Linking up with Leeann, Carly and Kate

Five on Friday 3/28

Ahhh Friday, I am so happy to see you.  It has sort of been an off week and I'm very ready for the weekend.  I haven't been feeling the best with the weather being so up and down and Nick is smack dab in the middle of hockey playoffs which means that he has had a game every.single.night - including tonight.  I'm so happy his team keeps winning but I also kind of miss him!  I'm looking forward to spending a relaxing weekend together, in between hockey games of course :)  It's also kind of crazy to me that this is the last weekend of March!  Not complaining though - bring it on April!  I'm ready for some warmer weather, Easter, spring flowers and obviously our trip to Florida :)  Here is what's been going on this week...

+ Have any of you tried Neulash?  It's a lash enhancing serum like Latisse.  The big difference is that you don't need a prescription for Neulash, you can actually get it from Nordstrom.  I've been hearing a lot about it lately and am really considering trying it - I just love long eyelashes!  The price is a little on the higher side so if you have any opinions about it either way, I'd love to hear them!

+ Yesterday was our 8 month wedding anniversary!  I can't believe how fast these last few months have gone.  We've started talking about where we want to spend our first anniversary and we've decided on Charleston!  Neither of us has been before but it's always been high on our list to visit.  So far we've got dates set, potential flights and a list of things we want to do while we're there!  Any hotel/bed & breakfast recommendations?

+ I know I mentioned The Good Wife on Tuesday but I'm all caught up now and all I have to say about Sunday's episode is WHAT?!  I did NOT see that one coming!  I'm sad but excited to see where the show goes next.  Craziness.

+ I did some shopping this weekend and found THE perfect maxi dresses at Nordstrom!  They are made by Lush and were very reasonably priced at $38.90.  The dress came in quite a few different patterns/colors and it was took a lot of will power to walk out with only one of them!  I have a feeling I'll be purchasing a couple more of these by the time summer rolls around.  Ps. ignore the terrible quality of this picture and just focus on the cuteness of the dress :)

+ While on said shopping trip, I fell in love with this bag from J Crew.  I will definitely be asking for this baby for my birthday!  It's such a classic bag that I'd use forever.

Cheers to Friday!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with April, Lauren, Jennie, Rebecca and Casey 

Thankful Thursday: Week 13

It's a rainy morning here in Chicago and I am kind of loving it.  The sound of rain hitting the roof, candles lit, yoga pants on and a day off of work = heaven.  There is so much to be thankful for and this week was no exception!  Don't forget to visit my 3 wonderful cohosts - Mia at Make Me Up Mia, Carly at Carly Blogs Here and Kristal at The Strong Family - and see what they've been up to as well!

Thursday, March 20

This picture is actually from last August but I'm always thankful for my friends!  We have a group text and Erica sent us this pic on Thursday from one of our best nights out last summer!

Friday, March 21

So thankful for a new haircut!  I cut 5 inches off and it felt so good.  What didn't feel good was the price tag - read more about that here!

Saturday, March 22

Date nights are the best nights, especially when there is BBQ involved!

Sunday, March 23

I took this picture on our walk home from church Sunday night.  God is so good.

Monday, March 24

Nick was in Atlanta for work on Monday night so yep, this was my dinner.  #noshame

Tuesday, March 25

Shopping for our upcoming vacation to Florida has begun!  So many good sales out there right now, it's the perfect time to stock up on fun spring and summer things!

Wednesday, March 26

I thought I would start this post with friends and end it with friends - my blogging friends!  After a day of running around like crazy, it brings me so much happiness to sit down and read all of your sweet comments and emails.  I love you all!

Ps.  Does anyone know why Instagram makes pictures so pixely (that's a real word, I'm sure)?  You can obviously tell which ones were from Instagram due to the quality and I'm wondering if there is a trick to fix this or something I'm missing?

Beach Essentials

With our trip to Florida just around the corner, my mind is consumed by thoughts of the beach, spending time with my family, and just relaxing in general!  To say that I am beyond ready to get out of the tundra for a little bit would be an understatement.  It's been a long, long winter as I'm sure most of you can attest to :)  I did some shopping yesterday to pick up some of my warmer weather necessities and thought I'd share with you some of my "must have's" for heading south.

My girl Lindsay over at Pink and Fabulous recently posted this tunic from J Crew and I knew I had to have it.  Since everything at J Crew is 25% off right now, pick one up for yourself!

Coconut Lime Breeze is my vacation scent.  I make sure to pick up a bottle before every warm weather vacation!

Nobody wants to be stinky at the beach!  This deodorant is a splurge but it smells SO good!

A big ol' beach blanket is way better than a beach towel.  This mint aztec one from Victoria's Secret is super cute.

Essie Fiji is my go to nail color for warm weather.  It goes with everything and looks so fresh.

Nick tends to get sunburn on top of sunburn so we always have this after sun lotion on hand.  It's a lifesaver!

These are some of my favorite t-shirts.  I own them in like 10 different colors and I've had some of them for years now.  You can't beat the price!

I'm pretty lazy when it comes to my makeup while on vacation and usually don't use much.  If I'm going out to a nice dinner or something, I will use this Jouer Luminizing Tinted Moisturizer.  It's super light and really pretty with a tan!

Now all that's left to do is packing! What are some of your warm weather essentials?

A $300 Haircut (a big oops)

This weekend was such a nice one.  After a crazy previous weekend with St. Patricks Day and visitors, I was so looking forward to having absolutely nothing planned for a couple of days!

Friday I had the day off work and my big haircut scheduled.  I haven't cut any length off my hair in 5 years and have literally no color in it so as you can imagine, I was slightly nervous/anxious about making some big changes.  I arrive at my haircut and come to find out, my hair stylist (that I've been seeing for 2.5 years and totally trust) is sick and won't be back in for a couple of weeks.  Blah.  They offered another stylist, Joey, that had availability right then so I met with him and he seemed trustworthy enough so I decided to just go for it.  I ended up cutting about 5 inches off my hair and adding in some lower highlights and am so happy with it!

Buuuut - and this is a big but - after he finishes with everything, he walks me up to the register and tells me it will be $246.  My heart dropped.  I didn't even know a haircut/color could be so expensive!  My normal girl charges me $50!!!  I handed over my dignity debit card and said goodbye to Joey (forever).

My mistake that I didn't even think to ask him his prices but the salon could have at least either #1 put me with someone that charges similar pricing to that of my normal girl or #2 told me upfront how much it was going to cost.  I then of course had to tip him on top of that and the bill came out to a solid $300 - woof.  My first thought walking out was that Nick was going to murder me!  Thankfully, I love the haircut and I love the color but that was definitely a one time deal.

After that traumatizing experience, I walked home swearing to myself that I was not going to be buying anything for the next month.  I felt so bad about spending so much money on a HAIRCUT.  The rest of night was spent relaxing at home (for free) and hockey for Nick.

Saturday morning we slept in until 10:30, did some things around the house, went on a Target run and squeezed in a couple House of Cards eps in between naps - so basically it was a great day.  Nick left about 4 pm for his second hockey game of the weekend and we had plans for him to pick me up at 7:30 pm for our dinner date.

We headed to Smoque BBQ in Irving Park as we were craving ribs.  The first year we lived in Chicago we drove over to Smoque and there was a line out the door and down the street so we skipped it but we were determined to get some this time!

When we got there, there was still a line but it didn't look too bad.  It was a pretty casual place, super busy but with a fun atmosphere and the food - amazing.  I had a half slab of Baby Back Ribs with french fries and peach cobbler and Nick had brisket and Texas sausage with fries and baked beans (we love our fries).

Sunday morning meant alarms unfortunately.  Even more unfortunately was that it was snowing!  Nick had his third hockey game of the weekend and I had to be to work at 9am so we were up and at 'em for a busy day.

A perfect weekend - minus the way overpriced haircut!

Meal Monday: Spicy Seafood Pasta

I'm normally all about one stop grocery shopping - I'm the lazy type of person that would rather pay a little more for the convenience of only making one grocery run instead of getting the lowest prices at a few different stores.  Before Mariano's opened near our house, I didn't have one specific grocery store I visited - instead, I changed it up every week by either going to Jewel, Dominic's or Trader Joe's with the occasional Whole Foods trip.  If it was ever a TJ's week, you could bet this seafood pasta was on the menu.  I had to stop at Trader Joe's last week to get THE ice cream sandwiches (which are all gone, so sad) and figured while I was there, I would pick up the stuff to make this delicious dinner.  It was just as good as I remembered it and I have a feeling there might be more trips to TJ's in my near future. 

And don't worry, if you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, you can find any of these products at your local grocery store - I just think TJ's makes the best, most reasonably priced seafood blend!

Grocery List
3/4 lb linguini noodles
1 jar of TJ's Arriabata Pasta Sauce
1 bag TJ's Frozen Seafood Blend, thawed and drained of excess liquid
Fresh parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese to taste

1) Boil water and cook noodles as directed on box.

2) While pasta is cooking, heat the arriabata sauce in a large saucepan with the THAWED seafood blend over medium heat.  The seafood will cook as the sauce heats which takes about 10 minutes.  The seafood is done cooking when it is opaque.

3) Drain noodles.

4) Reduce heat and toss the cooked linguini with the sauce/seafood mixture for about 3 minutes.

5) Serve with freshly chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.

It's really that simple!  If you're feeling fancy, you could totally add it in some onion, spinach or mushroom to take this dish to another level.  My husband also likes to throw red pepper flakes on top to really kick up the spicy.  Enjoy!

Five on Friday 3/21

Having my day off fall on a Friday = perfection.  I love having lazy Fridays around the house.  Today I'll be soaking up the sun on our porch (it's a high of 60 degrees here in Chicago today!) getting in lots of blog reading, making a delicious seafood pasta for dinner (recipe coming on Monday) AND getting my hair chopped off!!!  This is huge for me!  I've had my hair long for the last 5 years so I'm slightly terrified.  I'm definitely ready for a change though so I'm also excited! Hope you're all having a wonderful day as well!

+ I'm not a huge basketball fan but I've always enjoyed March Madness.  My bracket is ready to go and I've got bets placed with my husband!  My alma mater - Western Michigan University - even made it to the tournament this year but lost out yesterday (horribly) to Syracuse.  My family has always been big University of Michigan fans so I'll be cheering them on.  I've got Florida, Arizona, Michigan State and Louisville going to the Final Four!

+ Go to your nearest Trader Joe's and BUY THESE NOW! Sooo delicious.  My girl Amanda from Meet at the Barre was posting about these and I knew I had to get them for myself.  I'm not even going to tell you how many nights in a row I've had one for dessert..

+ You all know how much I love my Netflix and I found this really great article that lists the 35 shows you should be watching on Netflix.  We've seen 8 out of 35 so far.  Speaking of Netflix, we just started House of Cards!  I have to say, 3 episodes in I'm not that impressed yet.  So many people are obsessed though so I'm going to hang in there and keep watching!

+ I've been getting Birchbox for almost two years now and have really loved trying the new stuff they send me every month - not to mention it's just fun to get a package in the mail instead of bills :)  However, the last three boxes have been pretty disappointing.  Most products I've received I've only tried once or have gone straight into the trash.  I'm really leaning towards cancelling which is such a bummer because I used to get the BEST stuff!  Have any of you felt the same way about your recent boxes?

+ I saw this on Pinterest and I need it now.  It's a bar necklace with your wedding date in roman numerals.  Found HERE on Etsy of course.  So cute!

Linking up with the fabulous Five on Friday gals - April, Christina, Darci and Natasha

We have a nice, relaxing weekend ahead of us with no set plans and I can't wait.  We will probably be doing some spring cleaning, lots of relaxing and lots of basketball watching - Go Blue!  Who do you have going to the final four?

Thankful Thursday Week 12

Pretty crazy that we are 12 weeks into 2014, right?!  Time is flying by!  And I am so, SO happy because today is the first day of spring!!  Woohoo!  While it's not exactly spring weather in Chicago yet (we have snow in our forecast next week), I can definitely tell it's on the way.  I love hearing the birds chirping in the morning and love the fact that it is staying light out until 7pm.. it's all about the little things.  And that is what this link up is all about - celebrating the little things we are thankful for each week!  I hope you'll link up with my 3 cohosts and I - Mia at Make Me Up Mia, Carly at Carly Blogs Here and Kristal at The Strong Family - for today's Thankful Thursday :)

Thursday, March 13

Some people live for their morning coffee, I live for my morning orange juice.  And not just any regular old OJ, it has to be Mariano's freshly squeezed.  So.Good.  If you live in the Chicago area, do yourself a favor and stop at Mariano's and buy a bottle of this.  You'll never look back.

Friday, March 14

I spent all day cleaning the apartment before our visitors arrived (nothing like having people over to force you to clean...) and decided to take a little break on our porch.  It was only 50 degrees out but our porch is enclosed by our building so no wind reaches it which made it feel at least 10 degrees warmer!  It was so nice to feel the sun's heat.

Saturday, March 15

Nick's cousin and his wife stayed with us over the weekend!  We had to take them to see the Chicago River get dyed green and then we proceeded to get some green beers.

Sunday, March 16

After our visitors left, we headed to the early afternoon church service.  I love spending Sunday's here and am happy we found a church we really feel at home at in Chicago!

Monday, March 17

I attempted crockpot white chicken chili and OH MY, good.  Look for this recipe soon!  I had to throw the avocado in there for something green.. it was St. Patty's Day after all!

Tuesday, March 18

Haha I'm sorry for this awkward/slightly gross picture.  We played in the championship game for our volleyball league on Tuesday night and unfortunately lost.  I was bummed so when I got home, I had to do something to cheer myself up.  The obvious answer was to try my new face mask of course!  Thanks to Biana at B Loved Boston for the recommendation, I'm loving the Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask!

Wednesday, March 19

Rainy days make me happy because I get to wear my Hunter boots!  One of my best purchases this winter - I wear them all the time, rain or shine!

The ABC's of Me

Some of my favorite posts to read are when I get to learn more about the girls behind the blogs!  I've been seeing the ABC's of Me floating around so I thought I would do it myself.  In case you were interested - and even if you aren't ;) - here is a quick glimpse into my little life!  

A- Age: 25
B- Birthday: June 16th 
C- Color: Pink, any shade! 
D- Drink: Ginger Ale :) 

E- Eyes: Brownish but they tend to change colors
F- Flashback: The beginning of spring brings me back to my college days - I was in a sorority and spring always meant Greek Week!  Some of the best times of my life! 

{Greek Week 2009}

G- Gent: My BFF and husband, Nick 

H- Hobby: So many!  Blogging, shopping, cooking, volleyball, organizing..
I- Indulgence: Desserts for sure 

J- Job: Member Services at a private country club on the North Shore of Chicago 
K- Kiddos: One day!  For now we are just enjoying being married.
L- Love: My friends and family obviously.. and then the beach, Starbucks, traveling, sunsets, game nights :)

{Doesn't get much better than a sunset in Hawaii on your honeymoon

M- Music: I'm the lamest music person ever.  I just listen to whatever is on the radio which is usually country!
N- Nickname: Kate, Lizzy (my real first name is Elizabeth) and then the ridiculous nicknames my husband has for me that I will spare you all from!
P- Pets: Not yet.. as soon as we move out of the city, it is ON!  I've already picked out my future golden retriever puppies name :) 

{I die}

Q- Quote: Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord.  "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future."
R- Residence: Chicago, almost 4 years and counting!

S- Siblings: A younger brother and then a younger step brother and sister :)

{We're a mess}

T- Temperature: 75 and sunny, all day every day
U- University: Western Michigan University

V- Vehicle: Ha, if you can call it that!  I'm still driving my car from high school but since I don't do much driving in the city, there is no point in getting a new one for now! 
W- Worst Habit: My dislike for working out :)
X- XRays: Most recently on my ankle almost 3 years ago.  I've never broken a bone before!  #knockonwood
Y- Yuck: Germs, germs, germs.  Oh and snakes.  And the word moist - it makes me shudder. 
Z- Zodiac: Gemini!

So there is a little bit more about me!  Happy Wednesday :)
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