To DIY or Not to DIY

January 25th, 2014

Clearly I’m on a slightly DIY kick as you can tell from my previous post. But one thing I’m really struggling with is what, if anything, should I be DIYing for my wedding! My creative side would love to do lots of DIY projects for my wedding, but the other part of me doesn’t know if I’m quite talented enough to take on that task and I also am not sure what is not unreasonable to do myself and what I should leave to the pros? Also if I decide to DIY invitations or favors do I have enough time and patience to do enough for 130-150 guests? On the plus side, DIYing things like that usually does save some money, which is always nice. I’m planning to do my research, but just wanted to do a quick post to see if anyone reading this has ideas either pro or con DIY and if so please share in the comments! I’ll keep you posted on what I decide!

~love always~

Jen

Pinterest DIY Success (although sans pictures)

January 18th, 2014

For as long as I can remember I’ve been really into “crafts” and now that I’m an adult (haha I sound so old) I’ve been getting into a lot of DIY projects that are also functional! So where better to find DIY projects than PINTEREST! I’ve seen a few very humorous Pinterest Fail blogs, but that is not my goal. I want to make things and have them actually come out like the pinterest pics (easier said than done)! Now I have a lot of unfinished craft projects I’ve been working on, so I’m not allowing myself to start too many new projects until I finish my old ones (that doesn’t stop me from pinning everything I love though of course), but over the holidays I did make 2 pinterest projects that came out AWESOME. I was super proud of myself. Of course, I’m terrible at remembering to take pictures of my creations, but I will try to make a better effort about doing that especially if I’m going to be blogging about them. But I wanted to share them anyway…

My mom is a dog walker and therefore essentially lives in her car all day (I also used to be a dog walker while I was in school, so I know how messy it can get in there when you have dogs in your car, you eat in there, etc etc). So I saw this on pinterest and thought I would make it for her, so she can have a cute trash bag in her car. I have never sewed with a sewing machine before (I do know how to sew by hand, but that would have taken a while with this project and not been as neat), but Sam got me a sewing machine for Christmas (such a good fiancé!). It’s a really nice one too! Anyway, lucky for me the sewing machine showed up on our doorstep in early December in a very very obvious box (sewing machine pictures and words all over it haha). I got home first, so I found the nice surprise waiting for me. Since I knew what it was, Sam let me open it before Christmas, so I could use it for the project. Once the machine is all set up it is actually very easy to use (whoever invented the machine though is an incredibly smart person). And the bag ended up coming out GREAT! I got lots of good fabric and buttons from A.C. Moore and I made a pink and green pastel/watercolor looking bag. I bought extra fabric, so I think I’m going to make one for me too! (And now that it came out good, Sam of course wants one too, except in more manly colors). The important part of the story is that my Mom LOVED it and was impressed I sewed it with my new sewing machine. She has put it in her car and uses it.

The other pinterest project I made was these adorable Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites. Not as difficult to mess up since I cook/bake all the time, but I was told to bring a dessert to Christmas Eve at my cousin’s this year and I could not pass up the opportunity to bring these (and they were super simple to make!). The presentation and deliciousness was a huge hit (and they were a little ode to my Nana too who passed away 6 or 7 years ago now and would always have little cheesecake bites at Christmas Eve that I loved). I brought some leftovers to Christmas Day as well and they could not have gone over better. I mean how can you go wrong with cheesecake anyway let alone cheesecake that looks like Santa!

Anyway those were my pinterest successes last month. I’m still focusing on finishing my unfinished craft projects, but then I’m hoping to do more DIY stuff around the house, for my wedding, and for fun. I’m looking forward to sharing here too (WITH PICTURES NEXT TIME, I PROMISE!)

~love always~

Jen

New Year 2014

January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year, Everyone!! Spending time with the family, friends, and of course the fiancé over the holidays. Now it is back to business. I love the New Year. Like many, I get a lot of renewed energy to commit to goals, make new ones, and just be the best version of myself I can be. 2014 is going to be a great year. In approximately 5 months I will be getting married. Lots of planning done with this and lots of planning still to do. Also in 2014 I will have been working as a nurse for a full year! I don’t have any specific new year’s resolutions, but I definitely want to focus on continuing to get fit (I fell off the bandwagon for a while, but have FULLY recommitted and so far so good!) including running my 2nd official 5K, getting my house back to “15 minutes away from company ready” at all times, and working on expanding my job skills. I want to learn how to insert IVs and I’m considering becoming Asthma Educator certified. Per usual, I of course also would LOVE to blog more. This is my first year recertifying as a certified pediatric NP, so I want to discuss more about that as well as go fuller in depth in my wedding planning. Maybe even participate in some more 5 minute Fridays. I hope that at least for a little while you’ll be hearing from me more and we can reacquaint ourselves. I continue to think about if I want to change this blog up a bit more as well. It is a great outlet for me, but I’d love to provide more information as well!

Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday period and everyone is enjoying 2014 so far!

~love always~

Jen

The Usual

November 11th, 2013

Checking in to share what’s new with me! My life seems pretty “usual” these days. I’m working Monday-Friday, 40 hours a week, so that definitely keep me busy. Work is great though. I love the environment–it’s exactly the type of place I’d want my “forever job” to be as a primary care pediatric NP. I absolutely adore my coworkers. It is so nice to go from a job (dog walking) where I was completely secluded from human contact for the most part to where I work now with a great group of medical assistants, nurses, and doctors and get to talk to people all day about what I love (pediatric medicine!). It’s the perfect job for me at this transition point in my life and is getting me great experience.

I’m still working on getting healthy and losing weight (this hit a major plateau for a while, but I think I’m FINALLY breaking through it), which means early mornings and if I want that to realistically happen it also means early evenings. I’ve been alternating running (gearing up for a second 5K) and pilates and doing some sort of dance or zumba once a week. Last night I went to bed at 10:15 PM and woke up AWAKE at 5:40 AM. It was amazing. Maybe that will motivate me to keep up with it, along with wedding planning, which brings me to my next life update:

My biggest “new stuff” is that I also have been doing lots of wedding planning because my wedding is in SEVEN months. WHOA!! When did that happen? I don’t think I’ve really updated on that since we picked a date back in February/March. Now we have our ceremony site, officiant, reception site, photographer, dj, videographer, I have my DRESS (which I just found out came in last week!!! AHHHH!!! I can’t wait to go see it. I miss it and I need to take better pics in it), bridesmaids have their dress, we have our rings picked out, rehearsal dinner is pretty much planned, and engagement pictures are this weekend, which is all planned out too. Up next I’m working on bridesmaid shoes, my mom’s dress, flower girl dress, flowers, registry, and honeymoon planning, with a bunch of other stuff thrown in between. It’s going by so fast, but I’m loving it. I’m really looking forward to engagement pictures with our awesome photographer next weekend. I have a couple outfits and locations picked out for pictures which I’m happy with (those were my big decisions this weekend). I also plan to use our engagement pictures as our Save the Dates/Holiday Cards hopefully and for our guest book at the wedding. So I will get lots of use out of them. Plus, how often do you get professional photos taken with your fiancé?! It’ll be fun, though I’m a bit nervous because I am certainly no model. Maybe I’ll share some when they’re in!

Otherwise Sam and I are just enjoying the New England fall and trying to hang on to as many warm weather days as we can (for living in Massachusetts our entire lives we’re pretty pathetic when it comes to winter)!

~love always~

Jen

 

Recipe Challenge Week 7

October 27th, 2013

Alright I know this is almost a joke at this point, but I thought I would continue on with my recipe challenge (I have been doing it slowly but surely). I won’t be doing a new one next year, so if I have to continue into the new year it won’t be the end of the world. Plus, it’s fun for me to take pictures of the food I make. I think whenever I do FINALLY finish this challenge I will showcase a recipe of the week instead of a recipe each day (for example tonight I made Tilapia with Brown Butter and Pecans–OMG SO GOOD!! I’ll have to feature that recipe at some point).

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Monday, February 8th – Hummus: For someone who just 5 seconds ago claimed that I enjoy taking pictures of the foods I cook, I take terrible pictures. Probably because I don’t think about it. I made this and then was like “oh shoot I have to take a picture”, so just snapped a picture of it already in the Tupperware. But anyway, homemade hummus is actually very easy to make and it is also very easy to customize depending on what sort of seasoning you want to put in. I may have to try some other varieties while using this base recipe.

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Tuesday, February 9th AND Wednesday, February 10th-Roasted Asparagus with Olive Vinaigrette AND Spaghetti Sauce: I ended up combining these recipes because they went well together. I love asparagus, so enough said there. The spaghetti sauce, as you can tell from the picture, is not your typical Italian spaghetti sauce, but it was still very tasty. It had spinach in it along with mushrooms, seasonings, etc. which is giving it its greenish color. There are tomatoes in it as well, but you can’t tell as much from this picture. Ironically, it tasted very tomato-like still though.

 

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Thursday, February 14th (Happy Valentine’s Day! and Happy Birthday, Dad!)-Fruity Curry Chicken Salad: This is all prep because literally the only direction is “Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl”. I love those kind of recipes haha. I think this was too much different textures for me though. I’m not a chicken salad person in general and then to add fruit to it was not my favorite. It was edible though, so that always gets points especially after my flan mishap.

 

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Friday, February 15th-Chocolate Fudge: NOW THIS IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT! CHOCOLATE! Yum! This recipe makes so. much. fudge. And it is so not good for you when you’re trying to lose weight. But it was very yummy. I shared a lot of it don’t worry.

 

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Saturday/Sunday, February 16th/17th-Cajun Burgers: This is the mother of all burgers, let me tell you. Not only is it ground beef (or you can use ground turkey), but it is also Italian sausage, all combined into one to make an epic burger. Looking at the original recipe I don’t see any cheese included and there is definitely some on my burger (I’m obsessed with cheese), so I think I added sliced Monterey Jack or something to keep with the spicy theme. Sam helped me with these too because he is my own personal grill master.

 

And there you have it (in case you were wondering what I ate for dinners in February now that it is October…I know.) More to be continued!

 

~love always~

Jen

What’s New?!

October 2nd, 2013

I have so neglected this poor blog!! I keep wanting to write though, so that’s a good sign. Life is just super busy!

  • I’m still loving my new job at the pediatric office. My fellow nurses are GREAT (the providers, medical assistants, and other staff are great as well!) and I feel like I am learning a lot and also can contribute a lot of my knowledge to the other nurses and patients. I have definitely been a happier person, someone who feels like I can conquer anything, since I have been working at a job I enjoy and is part of my career path.
  • Wedding planning is also picking up again. I have my dress! I also made my bridesmaids these adorable paper doll cards I found on Pinterest (gotta love it). The bridesmaids have their dresses. We have our DJ. Next up is finalizing the guest list, booking a videographer, working on our registry, planning for the Hawaii honeymoon, and helping my mom find HER dress! I’m still enjoying the planning process too. I like taking it one little bitty detail at a time.
  • Still doing my daily recipe challenge, but I’m kind of behind on making them and SUPER behind on posting. Someday I’ll catch up. It’s fun to blog about it anyway!
  • I’m unfortunately semi-restarting my weight loss/getting in shape journey. I didn’t gain the weight back, but I haven’t lost weight in a few months though. I re-committed yesterday (HELLO, hopefully getting engagement pics done in November and then I have a wedding in June!) and I’m feeling great about it. Day 1 went very well, but I want to keep that up, so you’ll probably see me write about it from time-to-time to keep me accountable.
  • Sam, Daphne, and Priscilla, and the house are all great too! Priscilla just had her annual vet visit last weekend and was given a clean bill of health. Daphne’s appointment is coming up 10/12. She is very feisty (that is being very kind) at the vet, so I always dread her annual visit. But preventative care is important for kitties too, so we will do it of course.

The stats show that I’m still getting readers to my blog even though I haven’t posted in a while and the ones that I have are kind of sporadic and spaced out. You guys are awesome and that also motivates me to blog more. Keep visiting!

~love always~

Jen

Positively Amazing

August 14th, 2013

Sorry it has been so long–how about some positivity (4/25-5/31) to welcome us back to each other!

~Wagging tails~ Walks with Mom~ Biggest Fan~ TGIF~ His hugs~ Planning vacation~ NAPNAP~ Great speakers~ Easy drives when you don’t know where you’re going~ Zoo animals~ Meetup friends~ Ice Cream Sandwiches~ Getting ready~ New Routines~ Pride~ First day of new job~ Nursing~ Pediatrics~ Primary Care~ Leftovers~ Strong Medical Assistants~ Benefits~ “Running a doc” on my own~ Compliments~ Rocking my first week~ Confidence~ Laughing with coworkers~ Swapping cat stories~ Double date~ Happy again~ Him noticing I’m happy again~ Orthodox Easter~ Syrian food~ Phone triaging~ Knowing my stuff~ Girl gossip~ New Moms~ Fellow nurses~ Taking advantage of 5 AM energy~ Morning sun~ Open windows~ Boy soap smell~ Favorite month of May~ Cuddling in bed early~ Watching tv shows and movies on the Kindle~ Chirping birds~ Game night~ Laughing until it hurts~ Sleeping soundly~ Pulling weeds~ Flower shopping with Mom~ Mother’s Day~ Family dinner~ Hanging plants~ Airbags~ First responders~ Family members sharing cars~ Insurance~ Supertunias~ So You Think You Can Dance~ Long talks~ Anticipation~ Straight Hair~ 26 years~ Cheesecake~ New sandals~ Packing~ Clean house~ Perfect weather~ College roommate~ FroYo~ Honey Mustard~ Road trips~ Understanding~ Vacation!~ Farm animals~ Fresh honey~ Farm fresh eggs~ Gettysburg~ Nature walk~ Ghost tour~ Convincing me to ride a rollercoaster~ Greatest Show on Earth~ Acting like kids~ Porch swings~ Brain puzzlers~ Cats on the porch~ Chocolate World~ Running together~ Hershey~ Horse and Buggy Ride~ Strangers become friends~ Off the beaten path~ History~ Great stories~ All smiles~ Cats in windows~ Welcome back~ Feeling more myself~ Helpful siblings~ Getting what I need~ Baked goods~ Still smiling at left ring finger~ Catching up with Mom~ Hot pink~ Part of the team~ Stepping up to the plate~ Still loving work after 1 month~ Being on my own~ Vacuumed carpet~ Cozy sweatshirts~

I’ll have to catch up on more later, but for now I’m off to bed (other updates to come: wedding planning, work, house projects, vacations, and a great book review).

~love always~

Jen

Hello there!

July 6th, 2013

Sorry I have been so MIA!! I am LOVING my new job at the pediatric office. Even though it is not an NP position, pediatric primary care is the field that I love, I’m getting GREAT experience as an RN, and I have fantastic coworkers who are really supportive. It has been very different transitioning from weird dog walking hours to full time regular hours. I like it actually, I work better with a more regular schedule, but it still is a transition (e.g. I now get up at 5:30 AM to workout because I know by the time I come home I will be WAY to exhausted from a full day every day to workout then).

Otherwise I have been busy planning my WEDDING (date, venue, church, officiant, photographer all done! Working on DJ, dress, and some minor details here and there), working on the house (an ongoing project for sure), working on my fitness/nutrition still (I’m down 15 lbs, but still have about 10-15 more to go), and spending lots of time enjoying the summer with my fiancé and my family. My fiancé and I took a vacation to Hershey, PA in May and had a blast! Our best vacation so far! We did lots: Gettysburg, Hershey Park, Chocolate World, Butterfly Gardens, Elizabethtown, Bird-in-Hand/Amish. So many good memories! Only sad thing is now our vacation for the whole summer is over. We will be taking a long weekend to Winnipesaukee, but otherwise we’ll just be here in MA. We’re hoping to plan some day trips though.

Just wanted to pop in for an update. As usual my best intentions say that I’d love to start blogging more again (I’m reading a new midwifery book that I plan to review on here–I was so busy with the new job that I’m only starting it now, but I love it so far!), so hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me soon (still doing the recipes too, although I’m ridiculously far behind!).

~love always~

Jen

Recipe Challenge-Week 6

May 5th, 2013

Time for another recipe update. I can’t believe I’m still going!!

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Monday, February 4th- Salami and Cheese Panini: Pretty basic recipe here. Also pretty delicious. I love a good Panini. No need for a fancy Panini griller either–a simple countertop George Foreman grill will do!

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Tuesday, February 5th- Sweet Potato Burritos: Sweet potatoes are something that I used to think were just for Thanksgiving time. Now I’m obsessed! Sweet potato fries, sweet potato burritos, sweet potatoes by themselves as a side. They’re so tasty and really pretty good for you!

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Wednesday, February 6th- Cedar Planked Salmon: I was so excited to do this recipe and then I completely FORGOT to take a picture. But I did make it. Sam helped me out as he is the grill master. I would say it was pretty successful. I’m still getting comfortable with cooking different fishies, but I get better each time. I almost cook a fish recipe a week now!

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Thursday, February 7th-Chicken with Port Wine: I have made similar recipes of this in the past. I wasn’t fully impressed with this particular recipe however. Or the port that I bought…I’m not sure which. The flavor just wasn’t there.

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Friday, February 8th-Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies: Apparently I couldn’t be bothered to take off the saran wrap (probably because I was afraid I would eat the rest–as you can see I already had eaten quite a few before I took a picture). Needless to say these were delicious! Anything with peanut butter, chocolate, and sugar is FANTASTIC in my book.

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Saturday/Sunday, February 9th/10th-Almond Biscotti: Didn’t come out as hard as legit biscotti (I’m okay with that). Love the almond flavor in it though!

And there you have it! Another week of my recipe challenge (only a couple months behind, but that’s okay)!

Life is really great right now otherwise. Lots of fun wedding planning and I FINALLY GOT A JOB (be patient, friends! It will come!)! It’s an RN position at a pediatric primary care office and I love it already (I just started last week). Now when I get a chance to blog some more I can finally start talking about the job search process and what not. Just wanted to give you all that little update in the meantime though!

~love always~

Jen

Bravery..sort of

April 25th, 2013

I have this weird fear of going places and trying new things alone. I always would rather go with Sam, or a friend, or my sister, or anyone. When I go somewhere with someone I am outgoing and fun. IF I even manage to go by myself I tend to be quieter and only make small talk if spoken to first. The “if” was key… a lot of times I just won’t even go, unless I put money on it, or if someone is counting on me. This is a weird and annoying quality of mine that I’m not proud of, but in the year 2013 dedicated to being the “best version of myself“ it is something that I’m working on.

Anyway you may or may not know that I danced for a long time: on and off since I was 5 years old through college. After college, I went to nursing school and only danced in the comforts of my own home and that has continued. I miss dancing as part of a class, but adult classes are few and far between and I’m not going to travel crazy distances for a dance class, no matter how much I miss it. But I finally found one in February just down the street! I was so excited. But I had no one to go with. Dancing is not really Sam’s thing (especially not “Cardio Hip Hop” haha), nor my sister’s thing, nor really very many of my friends’ things. So I was alone in that. I sort of went back and forth about it for a month. Then in March I finally emailed the dance studio to ask for more details (if I have to go somewhere by myself the next best option is being as prepared as I can be). I asked about what people wear, how much it costs, and how many people usually attend. The staff emailed me back, very friendly I might add, answering all my questions. I also looked at videos/pictures on their website, so I know what the class was like and what the studio looked like. Everything seemed good to me. It took me another month to gear myself up enough to go, but this week I finally did it. I put on my exercise clothes, my dance shoes, and headed to a 7PM dance class at this local studio. I was super nervous going by myself (Sam was on his way home from work and I talked to him on the phone beforehand to have him help calm me down haha), but I was committed. I found it. Went in. Told them I was interested in taking the class. I was feeling very brave at this point. And then they told me the class is no longer being offered. WHAAAATTTT!!! Then I asked if they were offering any adult classes. The answer: “Not at this time, but check again in the Fall”. I replied that I will definitely be keeping an eye out and then I drove home. Haha so anti-climatic and disappointing. *Sigh*. On the bright side–I went! And now I feel like if they really do offer classes in the fall that I will be ready and not hesitate the next time. I will also call first :)

~love always~

Jen