Tuesday, May 31, 2011

well people,

It's been 15 days and I'm sticking to the plan. That's right. Not skipping a day, not taking the easy way out. Running regardless of how hot it is in the house (yeah, I'm sticking to the treadmill for now), how much my knee and shins hurt...doesn't matter. (I'm thinking about getting good shoes after we return from vacation) I'm pushing through and I'm getting this thing done! Needless to say, I'm still enjoying this whole running thing. I feel good afterwards, more energized and I feel like I can take on the world. Plus, I found these 10 benefits of running. And hey, that's motivation enough, right?

your daily quote

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.

Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, May 30, 2011

books, lately

The Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts
(series includes: Vision in White, Bed of Roses, Savor the Moment and Happy Ever After)

This is the first of Nora Roberts' work that I've ever read. I've heard people say that they just looove her and others that say it's kinda cheesy. I have to say that by the end of the first book I was thinking "you're kidding me, it ended that easily? That was kinda cheesy. But also kinda romantic and sweet". With each book I became more involved and hooked to the series. And seeing as I'm a person who mourns the end of a good book it was great to have four books regarding the same main characters! I did enjoy reading them, they were sweet and light and very romantic. Also very predictable. But I figured if I was having the reaction as stated above then maybe I was reading a lot of cynical and depressing books. And I like variety, so it was welcomed. I did enjoy them a lot and recommend them for someone who needs a break from the "struggling/suffering" main character and just needs a little something sweet and light. Also note: I had to constantly remind myself that my husband wasn't going to come home one day and say "let's go to NYC for a night out!" or bring me 3 dozen roses for no reason. Let's stay grounded in reality people :)

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Looooved this book! Loved, loved, loved it! This is the second book I've read by Hilderbrand, the first was Barefoot, which I highly recommend. I love that Hilderbrand focuses on the relationships that women have with each other. The books that I've read thus far have been centered around the main (always female) characters, their lives and struggles and most importantly their relationships (mothers/daughters/sisters/nieces/aunts). The relationships are very real, sometimes uncomfortable but in the end it all seems to work out in its own way. I was seriously hooked by this book and read it within a few days. It made me yearn for the beach as well as the relationships that I have with the women in my life. Great read for the summer (or anytime of year, really)!

your daily quote

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It's only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.

Steven Pressfield

Sunday, May 29, 2011

must try...now!

So I was just prepping some food for a cook out we're going to in a bit and thought I should "get my greens in" (to borrow the phrase from Tim Lail) while I was cooking. So I threw together a salad of sorts. It included spinach, red onions, feta and this. Let's rewind a bit.

A couple of months ago I went to the Pittsburgh Public Market with my friend and we ate lunch at a sweet little Greek place while we were there. She later commented that it had been the best Greek dressing she had and she was a little mad she hadn't bought a bottle. This left me inspired to make a Greek salad on my own. So I bought fat free Greek dressing from the grocery store. I was sorely disappointed, it did not fulfill my craving whatsoever. So yesterday I was at the PPM again and decided that I MUST buy a bottle of that Greek dressing, just cause.

Let's just say that in the little time that I woofed down the salad I thought this:
"Oh my God, I'm never buying another brand of Greek dressing"

"Should I eat another salad?! No, we're going to a cook out soon, don't want to spoil my appetite but it is a salad for Pete's sake."

"I have to buy more of this"

"I wonder if John will like it...probably not as much as I do so I shouldn't waste it on his immature taste buds (wink wink)"

"I need to write a blog post solely dedicated to this stuff"

"I wonder how it would be on chicken as a marinade"

"I wonder if it's easier to buy it online instead of going to PPM again, because of the horrid parking situation"

"When we move away from Pittsburgh I'm definitely still buying this stuff...online"

"I never want to use another salad dressing again, EVER!"

"I'm buying this for family members for Christmas"

" I really hope I remember to buy this for them come Christmas time because everyone is going to love it!"

And no, I am not exaggerating on the mental process stated above. That all ran through my head in no less than 3-5 minutes. So if we're related, you're probably getting a bottle come December. If you live in Pittsburgh, you are a fool not to go buy it yourself. It's that good. Just sayin...

your daily promise

Good things to remember. Found here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

your daily quote

Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.

Max Lucado

Thursday, May 26, 2011

only martha...

...could make a jello shot classy. Check out this article. Pretty stinkin cute.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

what i've learned

...during my week of running. Yes it has been 8 days that I've been on this program. And I have to say I'm quite proud of myself and feel pretty dang good about me. I guess it's just something about working up a sweat or really pushing yourself past your comfort level that makes you feel almost (definitely) victorious at the end. So here are some things I've learned about myself:

  • Stomp by Kirk Franklin is awesome to run to, really gets me jazzed up to run and for God (multitasking, people)
  • Last Resort by Papa Roach is also a fave, like I really get pumped listening to that song (insert mental picture of me sweating on a treadmill doing a fist pump as soon as my ipod switches over to this song)
  • I psych myself up while running. Yes, this does involve swearing (in my head). Hey, a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do in order to psych herself up. For instance, if I'm feeling a tad like I may want to quit I'll say (in my head) "Oh yes, I can do this sh*t!". Hee hee. True story.
  • Lesson for the reader: if you see me running (and most of you won't, seeing as you don't live near me...wah wah) don't come up and surprise me because I might've psyched myself up so much that I may turn around and punch you thinking you're someone harmful. Or I could be on a "go me!" high and be thinking I'm a real bad ass with all of my mental swearing and what not. Yeah, so to be on the safe side, no surprises during workouts.
  • I love not having to do anything, like talking to anyone or answering to anyone or doing dishes or laundry or...umm any household chores for that matter except jam out to music and freaking run. Also, the concentration of running and fully focusing on the music mutes my inner dialogue (you self-analyzers out there get me).
  • Absolutely any song by Taking Back Sunday is great for running. Love punk while working out.
  • My shins started to hurt today, wah wah. Will push through.
  • I actually have more energy after I work out. So, I'm starting to think that this "runner's high" that everyone talks about could be a real thing, not that I've achieved it yet...
And that about sums it up. Hopefully I've painted a nice, pathetic little picture of me for everyone out there. I know ya'll were interested. And as I review my sweet little bullet list it really sounds like I'm a hard core runner. I am not. I am merely trying to survive as the treadmill belt goes on like a bat outta hell beneath me. We shall see where this leads one day.

your daily quote

“May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong. May you stay forever young.”

- Bob Dylan

(this would be great painted on a wall in a child's room)

Monday, May 23, 2011

your daily quote

I thought this was a bit deep for Bob Marley but it's definitely something to remember.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

weekend update

Here's what I've been up to as of late:

I went to see West Side Story this week with my friend and it was wonderful! I've seen the movie before and thought it was OK but seeing it live was just awesome. Things are always better live, right? The music is great ("I Feel Pretty" and "Tonight" are my favorites) but I forgot how great the dancing was. I mean like really great dancing. Like ballet/jazz/50s jig kind of dancing. It was awesome. I'm definitely glad I went to see it, plus it makes me feel like I'm taking advantage of this whole "big city" thing :)

We watched The Fighter the other night and I have to say I was a little bummed. I was really looking forward to watching it because I think Amy Adams is amazing, plus Christian Bale is great and Marky Mark ain't too bad either. Also, I had heard a lot of great reviews and it was nominated for a ton of awards. I did enjoy all of the main actors' performances though. I guess I just wanted to feel like "wow, that was an awesome movie!" at the end and it just wasn't there. So you go through this struggle with this struggling fighter (go figure) and in the end I guess I wanted a bigger win. Kinda like Cinderella Man. But it was still good and I do recommend it.

And that brings us to last night. We went to see the Pirates play. It only took us an hour and 15 minutes to get into downtown (normally a 5-10 minute drive) and find parking. Let's just say by the time we found parking and walked to the game I was thinking "hmm, why did I agree to this?". But, alas, I did enjoy myself. I know, right?? I've suffered through games before to appease the hubs, but I actually enjoyed this one! I usually bring a magazine with me for when I get bored but I didn't even have to pull it out. I actually followed where the ball was going, kept up with how many bases were loaded/strikes/outs and I liked it. Weird, I know. Plus it didn't hurt that they won too. First time we've been to a game that they've actually won (no joke). Go Pirates!

chicken potpie, ya'll

I've been in the mood for a chicken potpie since my neighbor mentioned making one last week. Surprisingly, I've never made one before. So that led me to rifle through my usual recipe databases. I always check CookingLight.com first to see if there is a light way to fix it. Nothing there. I checked the two family cookbooks (one from John's grandma and one from my Mom's side of the family). I found one recipe but I didn't like that it had a stick of butter in it. Next Allrecipes.com and boom, there you have it. Here's the recipe that I tried. Delicious! I saved it in my Allrecipes "recipe box" because this is most definitely the one I'll be sticking with for like...ever. Loved it.

Chef Jessi's side note: I didn't make my own crust like the recipe does. I used frozen pie crust for the bottom and a frozen (then thawed) puff pastry sheet for the top. Yumm!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

how to partner with God

Love Donald Miller. Love his work. Love this article.

I think he says it beautifully. Here's my fave part:
"That said, I think God is working on much, much more than building the church. If we look at the work God has done, we see God has made beauty, so I think creating beauty is Gods work. We see that God has created structure and order, so cultivating a place is God’s work, too. God created love, and seeks to protect love, so creating and protecting love is Gods work and we can partner with him in that work. God created brains that can solve problems, so science is God’s work as well as theater and literature."

Thursday, May 19, 2011


So remember last week when I had that crazy idea that I should think about, maybe consider, actually maybe try to run a 5k? Well guess who got started? This girl! Oh yes I did. (And the more I hype myself up about it and talk about it the more likely I am to actually follow through with it)

So I conversed with my friend Whitney about how she trained for a marathon awhile ago. Now don't get excited people I won't be running a marathon until...oh yeah, never. Anyway, she sent me this helpful layout and I decided that this was do-able. So I began and because my life is not terribly exciting right now I will share with you how the days have gone.

Monday: took Dixie for a walk, great
Tuesday: after much trepidation I bit the bullet and ran...for 20 minutes straight!! For those who don't think that's a big deal, maybe you don't know me, because I don't know if I've ever run for 20 minutes straight, like ever.
Wednesday: pilates
Thursday: (mistakenly) took Dixie for a run. Today was the day she decided she had the runs (if you know what I mean) and our first potty break was 17 seconds into the run, I kid you not. The next one was 2 minutes in. I literally said "you have GOT to be freaking kidding me dog!" as I'm trying to maintain speed (?) and stamina. She also decided that there were a couple of particularly good smelling spots so she just stopped mid run to sniff and not budge. Which led to me yanking and semi-pulling her for a bit. Then she promptly got a second wind and began to yank and pull me. I'm sure we looked hilarious, although while trying to concentrate on running it was not so hilarious to me. Live and learn people, live and learn.

your daily quote

Not all those who wander are lost.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Hilarious! I really, really liked this movie :) It was sassy, the humor was dry and it was just downright funny. Also, a tad crass so just beware. But if you've ever been a part of a wedding in any way or really just know how to laugh for that matter, you'll love this movie! Highly recommend :)

your daily quote

I found this here and knew I had to post it as the daily quote. Profound scripture. And again with the pictures of words, love it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

your daily quote

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

C.S. Lewis

Saturday, May 14, 2011

a few new things

I know, I've been binge blogging today. I've had a lot I wanted to say and Blogger had a screw up the other day and I couldn't log in to blog so it's all here right now. Sorry I'm not sorry people, love ya!

OK, so back to business, my friend Pallas was telling me how a local Steven Madden store was having a fabulous going out of business sale (2 pairs for $30!!) and we both decided we must go stat! Thank God we did! Here are the latest additions to my shoe closet. (apologies again for the lack of camera skills)

originally $110, purchased for $15

oh yes, beautiful chocolate brown suede knee high boots, you are so beautiful to me, can't you see? too much? no, i didn't think so either.

chocolate brown Ugg-type boots

originally $230 (just kidding, there wasn't a price tag so I like to imagine they were wildly expensive)

purchased for $9.95. oh yes i did.
Go check your local Steve Madden store and see if they're going out of business!

Also, some of you may know, I've been having a dilemma as to whether I should grow my hair out or cut it again. International news worthy, right? I know. Well I decided that I was growing it out.

Until I was driving to the hairdresser...

And I decided that I thought my hair was stringy when it was long.

So I told her to cut it. Now. Before I change my mind, again.

So here is me now. And don't get me wrong, I love it, a lot. I just have the hair cut flippancy of my mother. We can never decide what we want to do. And thank God I have a hairdresser who actually understands that I am a partially crazy, yet functioning adult who can't make decisions. Love her. Completely love her.

(Oh, and I know I look like a goof in the pics, we've already discussed this...I hate taking pictures of myself.)

kale chips revisited

So I told ya'll how I tried kale chips and I really wanted to like them but I just didn't.

Well, my friend Em shared her recipe so I thought I would give them another chance. So I did for dinner the other night annnnd I loved them! So tasty and so easy! Also, such a great way to incorporate a good leafy green into your diet.

And for my friends who have kids that are picky eaters I really think they'll like these. If they can get past the "eww they're green and leafy" thing then they'll like them. Trust me, I had to go through the same thing with my 26 year old kid. :)

A+ for kale chips!

welcome home

I was greeted by this happy, if not hesitant face yesterday. Normal you may say. But no it's not normal because our dog doesn't wear clothes, like ever. So when I saw her jumping on the baby gate that separated me from her and saw that she was wearing her NC State basketball jersey I lost it. I laughed for like 5 minutes straight. And this is why...

Can you tell how tight it is on her? Yes, it is a tad too small.

Oh, the reason she has on a basketball jersey you may ask? Well she received it as a Christmas gift from my parents last year (2009) and she looks fabulous in it. Now the real reason she was wearing it yesterday. So we've had a couple of thunderstorms round these parts lately. Dixie does not take well to t-storms. So much so that she pooped in our living room two nights ago out of sheer nerves (so I like to think), with us right there! Household pooping is not normal for this dog. When a t-storm comes she gets all nervous and pants and paces for hours on end. There is no soothing, she will have none of it. Maybe you remember when she broke down her baby gate due to a t-storm. So I told John how my aunt Donna told me about a Thunder Shirt she bought her dog for this very reason. So I guess while I was at work yesterday and a t-storm came John took it into his own hands to create his version of Thunder Shirt, which leads us to her too tight NC State bball jersey.

And that picture is pretty much what she was like the entire time she had on the jersey. She acted like a lifeless old lady. She couldn't even find the strength to hop up on the couch when asked to. Or to do any of her tricks. And get this, she didn't even chase her ball when it was thrown to her! This is not our spunky four legged pal. So after I finished laughing at her and made a few jokes about her gaining weight and not being able to fit in a shirt a year and a half later I asked John to please take the dang jersey off of her because she was scaring me.

(I think that was during the fat jokes, she couldn't even look at the camera...poor baby. Yes, I apologized to her later because no female likes fat jokes)

Anyway so I guess our homemade Thunder Shirt served it's purpose. She stayed in one place and panted and there were no pooping sprees. Although we may have to buy a size up and get used to her being lifeless during a t-storm. You win some you lose some.

your daily quote

““My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’ ‘You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.””

- Jane Austen (Persuasion)

review time

So I read this book a couple of years ago (wow, has it really been that long?) and I adored the book so of course I was looking forward to the movie. I went to see it this week with my pal Anna (for $5 because it was during the day on Wednesday!) and I have to say it was good. Not great but good. I felt like they didn't follow the storyline enough and they kinda made up some stuff that wasn't in the book. But let's be real, that happens to almost every book-turned-movie so what should I have expected? Had I not read the book then I think I would've thought the movie was awesome. And it was good, I promise that. So I recommend you going to see it regardless of reading the book or not. And John Krasinski is in it and his performance alone warrants your money for a movie ticket, love that guy! Also, there's a great scene where two of the characters are talking in the park and a woman beside them is reading the sequel (Something Blue) and Anna pointed out that it was the author! How cute and sneaky!! Loved that :)

see? sneaky little lady to the right :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

your daily quote

You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

Ruth Smeltzer

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

strange (bucket list item #16)

So I woke up this morning at 5:45 a.m. (yes, you read that correctly) to go to work. Now here's the real kicker...while I was getting ready for work (i.e. brushing teeth and putting on clothes, no need for make up or primping) I thought "hey, I should totally run a 5k". What!? Where the heck did that thought come from??? I don't enjoy running. Running makes me feel like I'm going to keel over and die. I literally hate every minute of running. After recovering from what can only be described as TBI I thought that the plus side to (maybe) running would be I wouldn't have to hate myself after eating that extra cookie. Or that extra brownie. Or whatever indulgence I plunge into at any given moment.

Let me explain something...every year around this time (I guess it has something to do with the fact that I'm rejoicing over being able to go outside and not get frostbite) I think that I could totally dominate running. Ha. ha. ha. Who am I kidding? (see above on feelings regarding running) My logical side says "you have a healthy body", "you need to prove to your chubby 10 year old self that you can do this", "it would make your husband so proud", "you could maybe have one thing in common with husband if you took up running", "this would be a great way to stay in shape".

The emotional (and let's be honest, more practical) side of me says "I don't want to pass out on a busy street while running", "husband should love me the way I am", "I don't want a stranger finding me unconscious in their front yard", "I can't even run with Dixie because she would totally drag me along the sidewalk", "and again, don't want to face public humiliation by passing out mid-run".

So I'm left with this: I have decided to add "complete a 5k" to my bucket list. It may happen later this year, it may happen in 10 years (yeah right) or maybe never (hey, there's my old self!). We'll see.

Now onto how the heck this idea got into my head...I swear John does some kind of neuro-conditioning on me while I'm sleeping. I've also been having thoughts of making bacon topped cupcakes, actually enjoying football and wanting to be more competitive at absolutely everything...now where could that be coming from? (I kid, I kid)

weekend update

So as you may have gathered my mom was here this past weekend and it was fabulous! We had a great time catching up, shopping, eating, drinking and just having mother/daughter time in general, thanks so much for making the trek up here! For her Mother's Day gift she received tickets to see Hairspray! Here are a couple of pictures of that night. There is no other documentation of the weekend, sorry peeps. I love you Mom, I had a great time! :)

Yes, that's wine in sippy cups that we bought at the theater. We like to keep it classy and reasonable...well not so much on the reasonable part or the classy part for that matter. But, hey, it was fun :)

Real excited for the show. And rightfully so, it was amazing!

This is inside the Greek Orthodox church where I took Mom for the delicious Greek food festival. Oopa!

your daily quote

A little cheesy? Yes.
Do I still love it? Absolutely.
(ps-if you can't tell, I totally dig the pictures of words stuff. this one was found here)

Friday, May 6, 2011

mama said

Ain't that the truth. Speaking of, my Momma is here today!!!! She flew into Pittsburgh last night and I'm so thrilled to spend the next few days with her! Last night around 1:50 a.m. I told her we were not going to bed for the entire time she was here. We would literally spend every waking moment with each other. She rolled her eyes and 10 minutes later we were both tucked in our respective beds. Ah well, what's a gal to do? Yippee!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

your daily quote

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it's expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Eleanor Roosevelt

leaving carolina

Hmmm....how did I come across this book you may ask....divine intervention? No, not really...well, maybe. So here's the story: I was raiding Borders' going out of business sale a couple of weeks ago (extremely discounted books=this gal's paradise) and this book title happened to catch my eye. Hmm, I wonder why? The next thought in my head: "no Pittsburgher should own this book, it was meant to be in the hands of a true Southerner!" And no, I'm not joking or exaggerating and yes, I am that proud and protective of my heritage. So along with the story, I'd never even heard of this book or this author for that matter but I knew it had to be mine (so maybe it was divine intervention). Anyway, I just finished it (in less than 2 days) and it was really cute! I really enjoyed it and find myself craving for more of the story at the end. Not that it wasn't enough but I kinda wanted to see a little more (that often happens to me when I'm done reading a book I really enjoy). Lucky me, I do a little googling on this Tamara Leigh and find out she has more books and that this one is just #1 in a series, yippee! So I promptly added the rest of her books to my Goodreads list and I will be getting around to them pretty soon.

So yeah, back to the book review: cute book, love the author's "voice", however it was difficult for me to follow the beginning of a couple of chapters at first, but I caught on after a few paragraphs. And as I said, I'm definitely interested in reading more of her stuff. Oh and yeah, she's definitely Southern through and through. Like the "you just can't make this stuff up unless you grew up there" kinda Southern. Love that. Let me know if you want to borrow it, because as you well know, I own it :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

kale chips

Kale chips have been all the rage lately. They've been on multiple food blogs, featured on TV shows and everything in between so I decided I must try them for myself. Since kale is supposed to pretty amazing for you and these people claim that it tastes "just like a potato chip" I figured, how can you go wrong with this?

Well somehow it didn't turn out just quite right. I think maybe I cooked them too long even though I followed this recipe and it seemed pretty foolproof. They were pretty dry as in "cough cough, now I need some water to wash this 1/2 a bite down" kinda dry. I just wasn't impressed. I think I may try them again and not cook them as long but I kind of feel that that's just how the texture is supposed to be. In that case I think I'll stick with my good ol' collards for some green veggie super powers.

your daily quote

If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself.

Charles M. Schulz