Thursday, February 28, 2013

SOMEONE SPECIAL


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH!!!!

I am very glad you were born.


And I cannot wait to celebrate with you tonight!

KINFOLK + MY BETTER HALF

It's been a long week here in DC, so I was elated to stumble upon my old copy of Kinfolk magazine last night. It's so pretty! I love to re-read it and look at the gorgeous photography.



I stumbled upon Kinfolk a few months ago when I was blog hopping around. 

I'm not quite sure how the progression went, or who led me to what, but I will say that I also found Amanda Jane Jones and her amazing couples series "My Better Half".

I'm into it. 

Like a lot. 

I keep thinking what wall Josh and I would stand in front of. (...she said dangling a preposition...)

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I would like to stand in front of a whitewashed wall. Or a white house. Or siding on a white house. 

A white wall I suppose. 

And then be wearing BRIGHT colors. I would wear my fuchsia dress. 

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  mmmmm dreamy. 

Please go read the my better half articles. They are just adorable! 

Maybe I should make my own and post it for you guys... thoughts?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

SLOW DOWN AND ORGANIZE


OK. People who know me well know that I tend to get overwhelmed all of a sudden. Either I have it completely together (or look like I do!) or I'm in a ball being dramatic about something or another.


It's a skill. Please try not to be too jealous.


Well, after coming back to work and life from the weekend this week, I've been feeling particularly crazed and busy and scattered in my thoughts. No thank you. It's not effective and I'm not actually that busy. I mean it's not like I'm running a company or being super famous or wearing the prettiest clothes of all time on my hit TV show.

What I am is a working professional who has a blog and a boyfriend and many wonderful friends and family. So, for anyone in a similar boat feeling like she doesn't have the right paddle or has seemingly dropped her only paddle in the water and it got eaten by a shark, then listen up!






Here's what I'm doing to climb out of this frantic feeling - maybe it will work for you too.

Step 1. Breathe.
That felt good. Congratulate yourself for taking the necessary oxygen into your body.

Step 2. Make a list of 5 things you would like to accomplish in the next few hours.
The key to this one is the time limit. You cannot make a list that you can't accomplish. Well you can, but it's going to make you feel like a Mexican jumping bean. (I think those are real.)

Step 3. Go down the list one item at a time and NIKE.
My mom often tells me "Nike." She means "just do it."
During this step, do not do other things. If you are on task 1, do not dabble in task 2 or in no task at all like reading blogs. Even if it's mine. Sorry me, but it's true.

Step 4. Reward yourself when you are done.
I am going to eat some of these and watch some of this on DVR.

Step 5. When you come to a time crunch again, repeat this process.
But remember: be gentle, be realistic, be committed. Don't yell at yourself. Set goals you can accomplish in the time you have. If they are huge then break them into baby goals. Or goalies. (I slay myself.) Then, Nike. You know what to do!



Today my list looked like this:
To-Do
A. Read / Organize emails
B. Edit Draft Proposal
C. Review Solicitation Tasks
D. Make Agenda for Weekly Meeting
E. Schedule Follow-Up with Client

When I put my mind to it, the whole process took me about two hours. And I felt great after. I still have work to do. But I got some of it done. So that is called progress. I'm going to choose to feel great about that. And to not worry about the things I have to do tomorrow until tomorrow.


And eat cookies. Of course.

P.S. I hope if you were feeling overwhelmed, you feel better after looking at these silly pictures of me :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DIY PUMPKIN BUTTER

So I love butter. 

And I love pumpkin anything. 

So what could be better than pumpkin butter?!?!?!


I followed this recipe almost exactly.

ENJOY!!!!!







WORDS OF WISDOM

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Christine Hassler is awesome. She is one of my favorite authors and gurus about life in general. So, after reading this article, I just had to share some of her wonderful words with you.


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Which sentiment speaks most to you right now? I often put so much pressure on myself to 'know what I'm doing" that I miss the moment I'm in. I mean, heck! Living in the present moment is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place.

Of all the advice Christine gives, I think this last one hit me the most when I read it.

No one is grateful for heartache. But maybe we should be. Something to ponder. :)


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Monday, February 25, 2013

PALEO FRUIT COMPOTE

Interested in a delicious fruity dessert? I was and it was sooooo yummy. I put a bunch of rando ingredients into my food processor and it turned into a lovely fruit paste. I topped it with berries and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Success!



Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • Large dollop of maple syrup
  • 5 dried, pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 5 prunes dried and pitted prunes
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
Instructions:
  1. Put everything into a food processor and blend it up!
  2. Serve with any fresh fruit or toppings of your choice


It looks odd in this picture but it is SOOOOO delish! Try it for yourself and let me know!






It's under those yummy strawbs!

THANK YOU JLAW

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Jennifer Lawrence provided us with a beautiful metaphor for life last night. By falling on her face on her way up to get her well-deserved Oscar, she was in fact teaching us a life lesson.

It goes a little something like this...

Once upon a time, you are born and come into this world and life is good and you get to wear beautiful dresses and beautiful earrings and you are radiant and happy.
 
And you work really hard and grow up, and hone your craft, and you are successful. So successful in fact that you get nominated for an award.
 
Hooray! You are great!
 

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 And then you WIN the award! And everything is well in your world. You are floating. You are flying. You are... holy crap... FALLING.
 
And then you are on the ground. In front of the world. The world has watched you fail. And people are laughing and you are just crouched there with your head down on the stairs. Life has gotten hard and embarrassing. You messed up. And you're down.
Literally.
At the bottom of the stairs.
 
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But then you think to yourself, "Yes, I've messed up. But that doesn't really mean anything. I still did all that great work. I still won this award. I am human. I mess up. And I can lay here and wallow. Or I can get up."
 
So you get up. And kind people (oh heyyyyy Hugh Jackman) offer to help you.
But you realize you don't need it. You get up and walk up the rest of the stairs.
They are a little harder to climb and you're nervous,
but you also know that you have fallen and can get up. 
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And you reach the top. And you're standing again in front of the world - standing on your own two feet. And the world still loves you. And you still have your award. And your beautiful dress. And you are now even more radiant. Because you are human.

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And at the end of it all. It's just you. You created your success, you messed up, you got up, and you persevered. And at the end of the day no one has seen your boobs in a movie.
 
Get it girl!

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Now you know you can do anything. It may be hard and it may be embarrassing.
Be humble and never give up.
And if you trip and fall, get up.
Because chances are, there's something really good waiting for you at the top of the stairs.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

WISH LIST: WEDDING


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I haven’t been planning my wedding since I was 5 years old. I want one, don’t get me wrong, but I have some fears about marriage ending that make me a little hesitant to dream out loud about how I want to walk down the aisle.

But sometimes (read: when I come home from work and am shoving my face with delicious snacks) I browse Style Me Pretty and drool over the gorgeous things floating around on the page.



Like THIS stunning Charlottesville wedding.






Swoon.



Seriously.



Having grown up in Virginia, I do think I’ll end up getting married here one day. And while it could be in DC. Prices tell me I’ll likely opt for something a little more country.

Needless to say, this wedding ignited my inner five-year-old wedding planner. Hold on to your bootstraps. I may have unleashed a monster.



Especially since I’m happily dating and not engaged! No rush here.  :)


*all wedding photos via*

Saturday, February 23, 2013

REAL TALK: MONEY

This is going to be simple. My new job means that I am adjusting to a new lifestyle. It is extremely important to me that I do not spend more than I make. Because my friends, if I don't have it, then that means debt. No thank you.

I prefer to spend my money on trips and clothes and food and not on interest payments.

All this week I have been swooning over the following items. They are all on sale. They are all beautiful. And I want them. I mean, LOOK!


I mean, really! Lulu's, I love you!

In order to buy them I would have to spend more money than I make. So I'm going to post them for you to buy them instead.

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I want you to know that even right now I'm thinking, "I can buy them. They are such a great deal!"

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I am thinking, "It would be a sin NOT to buy them."

I REALLY WANT THEM. Especially this dress most of all.


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However, here is what self-restraint looks like. It's not pretty but it's real. And when I'm posting pictures of my friends' weddings that I fly too, it will be worth it. Even though I'm not wearing this pink dress. I'll be there. Without credit card debt. And that is what is most important.

It's hard to real talk yourself. But it's worth it.

What are some things you struggle with?

Friday, February 22, 2013

ADVICE TO ME AT 23

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The Everygirl turns one today. Thanks to Alaina and Danielle for constantly inspiring all of us who need a little inspiration.

In all of their features, they often ask what advice each woman would give to her 23-year-old self. This is ALWAYS my favorite part of the article. I feel as though each woman is able to say something that is so true and yet something that I needed to hear so much.

Today, they asked on the site what advice you would give to yourself at 23? I sat with this question all day and here is what I would say to myself... over a beer and nachos. Mmmmm.


----

Dear 23-year-old Maureen,

 

Stop crying. Wipe the tears off of your face, get off of the mattress you have on the floor and go out into the world. You live in Manhattan. I can tell you that you won’t always live there. Go outside right now and meet a stranger. Walk in the park. Browse a store. I know you don’t have a lot of money but that will change. Just be in NYC. You have always wanted to live there and you do. I want you to enjoy it because you won’t be there forever.

 

Break up with the guy you are dating. You are not going to marry him. You’ve always wanted someone to tell you yes or no when you ask the question, “am I with the right person?” The answer to this one is a definitive no. So go out and kiss some more frogs. J

 

It’s ok that life isn’t what you thought it would be after graduating from college. You are not supposed to know what to do with yourself right now. Don’t focus on the bigger picture right now, just enjoy today. Wait your tables, pay your bills, spend time with your best friends who live only blocks away from you – what a great life.

 

You will find the man you are going to spend the rest of your life with and you will find a job that fulfills you and you will learn about what you truly want in life. Right now, you are 23. You don’t need to know those things. Be free. Be fun. Be fearless. There is nothing that is holding you back from accomplishing your dreams except your own silly expectations and rules. Those aren’t real. The only thing that is real is that you wake up every day and are healthy and full. You are loved and you are alive. Go live. Don’t worry about the future… you make it. I promise.

 

Love,

 

27-year-old Maureen

 

P.S. I still don’t know what I’m going to do with my life or where I’m supposed to live or how I’ll ever afford to buy a house. Maybe 35-year-old Maureen will write us a note soon. J


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What would you say to YOURSELF?

SPAGHETTI SQUASH ALFREDO


So far this dish wins the award for the most yummy paleo treat. Yesssssss.

I mean what doesn't sound delicious about roasted spaghetti squash? 


Ok you're right. All of it. It sounds gross. But it's not I was skeptical but it was DELICIOUS.

Recipe
Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 8 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • Sprinkle salt
  • Sprinkle pepper
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put foil on a pan. (Yeah, it's that easy)
  3. Cut the squash in half and put it on the foil pan.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper everywhere and place four heaping tablespoons of coconut milk on the squash. 
  5. Bake it for 20 minutes, flip it over and bake another 20 minutes, let cool, scrape out with a fork, and be amazed. 
Makes roughly 6 servings. 





It seriously tasted so creamy and delicious. And no dairy involved. #paleo

Thursday, February 21, 2013

PALEO STEAK

I think I may have mentioned that when I had active Crohn's disease I was a bit of a meatatarian. It was awesome. Well minus the being sick part. But I do love a good steak. So I made myself a delicious paleo version.

It was flavorful and really delicious. I highly recommend it!


Seasoned Steak (Paleo, AIP friendly)

Ingredients:
  • Cut of steak
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 sage leaves
  • 2 tsp Real Salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Instructions:
  1. Pour the olive oil into the dish and top with the sage leaves, 1 tsp pepper and 1 tsp Real Salt.
  2. Place the steak on top of the oil / sage / spice mixture and add the rest of the spices to the top of the steak.
  3. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes depending thickness of meat and personal preference (rare-well done).
This cut of meat served Josh and I and then I had a little bit left over for lunch. 


After it was cooked.... so juicy!


I served it with roasted asparagus and mushrooms, baked spaghetti squash, and a fruit compote topped with strawberries and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Oh and red wine. Duh.


SUNSET HILLS WINERY WEDDING SHOWER

A little over three years ago, my friend Michelle and I picked up a rando roomie on Craigslist. Who knew we would fall in love with Allison so very much. The three of us lived together for three years and it was AWESOME. 


Mich and I are both in Allison's wedding in March and to celebrate her future nuptials, her mom threw her an awesome wedding shower at Sunset Hills Vineyard. Michelle did some amazing planning and we had a blast!



It was freezing but you would never be able to tell from these gorgeous pictures!



The food was amazing. And check out the Breakfast at Tiffany's Cake!


The details of the day were so sweet. The vineyard gave us our own room downstairs in this gorgeous wood cellar. It was intimate and classy but also rustic feeling. I honestly could have sat down there all day. Al's momma ordered a beautiful flower arrangement and Michelle had so many cute decorations, we were able to turn the space into a bridal heaven.



Oh hey, decorating committee. M2 gets the job done. :)


Presents and delicious wine for the tasting!!!!


After telling how we all met Allison (I loved these stories!), we ate lunch, played a game, made scrapbook pages for Al, and tasted six wonderful wines. What a wonderful afternoon.


You can see the wine, presents and scrapbooking glory happening below! WINNNNNN.




Thanks for making the rehearsal bouquet Gretchen!



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