Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Craigslist Coffee Table

How many of you shop on Craigslist
If you don't, then I urge you to go and check it out. It is seriously one of the best sources for buying and selling, especially when it comes to furniture. We have now bought three pieces for our apartment from Craigslist, and so far each has been a pretty good experience. We bought a wine cabinet that I mentioned in this post right after we got married, as well as Eric's desk in his office, and on Tuesday Eric picked up our new coffee table! 

Tadaaa!!!! I am super pleased with it. It is from the Granas series at IKEA and even though they no longer carry the coffee table, you can still get a regular table that sits two or four people. 
What I love about this coffee table are the clean lines of the black frame, the beautiful glass top that makes the whole piece seem lighter, as well as the shelf on the bottom to help store our ever growing book collection. I think originally you could buy this in the store for around $170, and we were able to snag it for $65...WINNING!!! 

Another view of our little living room. I told Eric to smile...but you know how that goes. I realized after posting this picture that we have made a lot of changes to our apartment since the last time I wrote about around six months ago. I may have to do a little house tour  in the near future :) 
So chalk another one up for Craigslist for helping us get a little bit closer to completing our grown up space! 

And for those of you who have never shopped on Craigslist here are a few tips: 
1.  Always look for a picture of the item you'd like to buy. If it doesn't already come with one, contact the seller and ask if you can have one sent to you. You wouldn't buy a piece of clothing without seeing or trying it on first would you? 

2.  Same rules apply for the dimensions of your piece. How awful would it be to pick up your new cabinet and it won't even fit through your front door! 

3. Look past a rough exterior, a new coat of paint can do miracles. 

4. It's always worth a little haggling with the price. If the listing price is $70, tell them you're on a strict budget of $50 and who knows? Maybe they'll let you have it for $55 or even lower! 

5. There are new postings every day. If you really really love a piece but it's too expensive, keep an eye on it, if it doesn't sell fast enough the seller may lower the price. Or if you have an item in mind you're looking for, just keep checking the site. Something is bound to come up eventually that you will fall in love with. 

6. BE SAFE! You may think that meeting the guy who is selling the pink floral rug is completely harmless, but in the end you're still going to a strangers house. Call a buddy, bring a friend, just let someone else know where you're going. 

So go! Go! Go and see the wonders that wait for you in the magical world of CRAIGSLIST!!! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Let the House Hunt Begin

After renting for almost the past 6 years, putting up with roommates, limited fridge space, mess that isn't ours, and having to deal with noise and other unpleasant sounds, I can say with full confidence that we are READY TO BUY!

I just LOVE saying that out loud. 

Of course making that decision is just the first step towards the very long journey that will lead us to our first house, but it is a start. We've also become addicted to and the App. It is so cool! You can pull up the area you want to find a house, draw a circle on the screen of where you're looking, and It'll pull up all of the listings within your circle. They also provide a lot of pictures and details for each listing. 
I could gaze at pictures of houses all day. Every house we look at could be our potential dream home! 
There is one house in particular that we have our eye on, but of course It'll be a few months until we're going to see it. It's cute, unique, and within our price range. The things I'm most interested in are what it looks like, where it's located, and how many rooms and bathrooms there are. 

So my questions for you are:
What are some important points to ask about when buying your first home? 
Is there something you wished you had asked before you bought?
What are some unique things to look for/check in older homes?

I'm so excited to start this process. My new obsession has been looking at home improvement and D.I.Y sites. Especially  Young House Love. These guys are amazing, they're a young couple with a daughter who have completely transformed their home. They're not professionals and they are super honest when it comes to their mistakes and what they did to correct them. I think I could watch their video tutorials and look at project pictures for hours. I've asked for their book for my birthday. :) 

Any help or suggestions you can give us will be greatly appreciated. Being a virgin buyer is a scary thing, but we are excited to take the leap into home ownership!! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Recipe Review

It's the remix to ignition hot and fresh out the kitchen mama rollin that body got every man in here wishen...
Little R Kelly to get you in the mood for cooking :) 

Warning: this post is very long and you may get hungry in the middle from seeing so much delicious food, so feel free to stop and get a snack, then keep reading! 

Eric and I have been trying out new recipes left and right these past few weeks. I try to come up with a list of meals for the week so we know exactly what to get at the grocery store, and so far we haven't cooked a dinner we didn't like!

So of course I wanted to share some of our favorites and maybe inspire you to make something new! 
Most of these have the link that will take you to the original site, otherwise I've included the recipe bellow.

 -------- Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli -------

Servings: 8    WW P+: 7
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This dish we had last night. The end result isn't nearly as CHEESY as you're probably used to, but it's still really tasty. Talk about classic comfort food with pasta and broccoli . 

2 sprays cooking spray
12 oz uncooked pasta, gemilli or other twisted pasta (about 2.5 cups)
1/2 tsp salt (for pasta water)
10oz uncooked broccoli (about 2.5 cups)
1 tsp butter
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
3 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups fat free milk 
1/3 all purpose flour
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper 

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. 

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water according to package directions, adding broccoli to water 3 minutes before pasta will be done; drain pasta and broccoli and return to pot. 

  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until light golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer crumbs to a small bowl; stir in 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and set aside.

  • In same saucepan (wipe clean if necessary), whisk together milk and flour until blended; add onion. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar cheese, mustard, salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Pour over cooked, drained pasta and broccoli; toss to mix and coat.

  • Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle top evenly with bread crumbs. Bake until bubbly at edges, about 20 to 25 minutes. Divide into 8 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

-----  Turkey Meatloaf -----

Servings: 4     WWP+: 7
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Meatloaf is one of my  favorite dishes. Why I don't make it more I don't know. Probably because I can't make it taste like my mom's version. This was super good paired with a small baked potato and some peas. CLASSIC feel good meal. 

Get the recipe HERE!!

----- Cheeseburger Casserole -----

Servings: 9     WWP+: 7 
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I made this last week when my sister came down to visit. We were eating at like 9pm so I don't know if it was because we were REALLY hungry or that this actually tasted as good as it looks. (Just kidding, it totally taste delicious.)  Everything you love about a cheeseburger in a pasta dish. We omitted the pickle garnish, but feel free to add any thing else you usually crave on your burger! 

Get the recipe HERE!!!

----- Chicken Teriyaki with Broccoli -----

Servings: 4    WWP+: 7 
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If I were to make this recipe again I think I would double it. We had another couple over and it was just enough for us. It's a really good alternative to takeout, I just wanted more than the recipe made! 

2 cloves medium garlic, minced
1 lb uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
3 medium uncooked scallions, chopped
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
2 cups cooked brown rice, regular or instant, kept hot
4 cups uncooked broccoli florets, steamed 

  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic; cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add chicken; cook until golden brown on all sides, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

  • Add scallions; cook until soft, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add broth and teriyaki sauce; simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce reduces slightly, about 5 minutes.

  • Spoon 1/2 cup of cooked rice into each of 4 shallow bowls; spoon about 1 cup of chicken mixture and 1/2 cup of broccoli over each serving.

----- Taco Casserole -----

Servings: 6    WWPts: 8 (figured out by the recipe building at
recipe from
Doesn't that just look like taco cheesy heaven! Well it's pretty close :) 
Using ground chicken instead of beef really lightens up this recipe but doesn't take away from the taco taste. You can also served this with more tortilla chips if you choose or even a side of guacamole! 

Get the recipe HERE!!!

----- Crock Pot Italian Sloppy Joe -----

Servings: 6       WWP+: 8 
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So a crock pot has to be one of the God's blessings to man-kind. I LOVE when I get to use mine. Whip something together in the morning, go about your activities and then, BOOM dinner's ready!!! This is another great crock pot recipe, but I believe you can make it without one too. These sloppy joes are filling and great without a bun as they are with one. 

Get the recipe HERE!!! 

----- Broccoli and Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes -----

Servings: 8      PPT+: 3 
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So by now you've probably figured out that Skinny Taste is my go-to source for recipes. And for good reason! Make sure you check it out because this site has everything. Including this super yummy, skinny version, of twice baked potatoes. I always have mixed feelings about potatoes, but in moderation (meaning one  not the size of your face) they're quite good in points! 

Get the recipe HERE!!! 

Sometimes I do remember to take pictures of the food I make :)

----- Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas ----- 

Servings: 8     PPT+: 9 
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These enchiladas are perfect for when you just aren't feeling meat, or are in need to make a vegetarian meal. All the flavor of enchiladas but veggie friendly! Serve with some brown rice, or even some fat free re-fried beans to make dinner into a fiesta! 

Get the recipe HERE!!! 

----- Chicken Parmesan Casserole ----- 

Servings: 8   PPT+: 8 
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One of my favorite pasta dishes that I hardly ever eat anymore is chicken Parmesan. The breading on the chicken when they prepare it at restaurants is never good for you. So imagine my excitement when I stumbled across this recipe that gives me all the taste of chicken parm but without the pasta or breading. This cheesy, tomatoey (?) , garlicky, casserole is sure to please your inner Italian. 

Get the recipe HERE!!! 

----- Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers -----

Servings: 6   WWP+: 4 
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THESE ARE SO GOOD! I love stuffed peppers, and this is a great recipe for them. You use lots of corn and beans with ground turkey, but without the rice so you don't worry about as many carbs! Yeah low carb!! They're colorful, cheesy, and delicious! 

Get the recipe HERE!!! 

A pic of my own version...

So get cooking and try something new! If you find a recipe you just love please share it! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Recap: Casino, Izzy's, and Shamrock Day!

Monday Monday (La laa la la la laaa)
Happy day after St. Patty's day! Hopefully everyone is still alive, and this morning didn't hurt you too much :) 
Eric and I celebrated the wearing-of-the-green on Saturday, but honestly didn't really do anything yesterday. Guess we're getting old. 
We did do other things though! I was so pumped to check a few more things off of my "We Live in Cincinnati so Lets Take Advantage of It!" list. At one point Eric even said "I think we've gone on enough adventures for one weekend" oh how I love his little hermit-ness.

So Saturday we ventured out to check the new Horseshoe Casino downtown. It literally took us 10 minutes to get there. How to do I know for sure? Because we got there, realized my I.D. was in my other purse, went back home, then drove back again. 
Anyhow, once we did get inside I was totally impressed. The whole place is just beautiful! GIANT chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, lights flashing everywhere, hundreds of slots and gaming tables. Not to mention the places to eat and drink! We didn't actually do any gambling, but it was pretty awesome just to walk around and take it all in. 

Bobby Flay's restaurant "Bobby's Burger Palace" looked really good. The thing though is that you can either sit at the bar, or you're at these big tables where you end up sitting with a bunch of people you probably don't know. The whole place isn't huge though, so maybe this is so that you get in, eat, then get out. 

Eric in front of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville! 

Another little cafe you can eat at. 

They also have a super swanky steakhouse called "Jack Binions Steak", and a giant buffet called "Spread". People were lining up to get in a good hour before that place opened. 

Saturday was also the night we went out to celebrate our Irish heritage! I even got to bring out my sparkly heels! Gold at the end of the rainbow :)

Sunday was our re-energize day. Not a whole lot happened since we were both pretty tired from the night before. We did go out to lunch at one of Cincinnati's classics; Izzy's, home of the worlds greatest reuben sandwich. 
This place is adorable. They have a great variety of food on their menu aside from reubens including soups, wraps, salads, and desserts. 
'Hmmm which sandwich will give me the most meat possible.."
Adam Richman from Man V. Food Nation has also been there. They have a 110 Reuben Challenge that weighs over 5lbs! 
Unfortunately I'm not a huge fan of sauerkraut so my one bite of Eric's sandwich was enough for  my Izzy's experience, but the turkey breast sandwich and soup I got was extremely tasty!

So those were the highlights of our weekend, did you have a fun St. Patty's day? Hopefully you had enough green beer, corned beef, and cabbage to last you until next year! And if you ever need a little weekend away, get on down here to Cincinnati and check out our new Casino! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Red and Teal Wedding Invitations

It's almost WEDDING SEASON!!!! 
This summer Eric and I have four weddings in three months. Two of which are back to back weekends, and we couldn't be more excited! One of these weddings is for my friend Elyse and is extremely close to my heart because I have been asked to be a bridesmaid! I haven't been in a wedding since I was in the eighth grade, and just thinking about it gets me all pumped up. I believe my exact words when she asked me to be in her bridal party were; "OMG yes! Now I can stalk your wedding board on Pinterest and it won't be weird!"...yup that's how it went down. 

But not only is Elyse a great friend, she is a kick-ass graphic designer. 

You can check out her website here: 

Yesterday when I came home there was a little white envelope laying on the table, and inside was one of the most beautifully designed wedding invitations I have ever received. As soon as I opened it I grabbed my phone and started snapping pics because I knew I just had to share it with you! 

Yup...all those masterpieces of paper laying in front of your eyes? Elyse the graphic girl of wonder did that! And Elyse, if you're reading this, you should be just so so proud of your work. It is all just gorgeousness and I have no doubt the rest of your wedding will be even  more stunning. I am so so happy that you decided to include me in your special day! 

So if you haven't already, head over to Elyse's site and see what else this talented little lady can do! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend Recap: Ohio Valley Antique Mall

It's Monday! 
And of course after an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day yesterday, we are blessed with rain and dark gloomy skies. Oh well, take what you can get huh? 
This weekend I didn't really take any pictures, which now I am kicking myself because we actually did some fun things! Friday Eric was out of town for the night so I did what any girl who had a whole night to herself would do, went shopping!! 

After work I drove to the Ohio Valley Antique Mall. This place is HUGE! I was there for almost an hour and a half and maybe saw half of it. There is just so much to look at! I was in heaven :) 
screenshot from 
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SO MUCH STUFF!!! I love places like this, there is a story behind every item. This antique mall is especially nice. Every aisle is named a road so you can find something and remember its "at the corner of Colorado Dr. and Washington St." its super helpful. They also have a cafe open during the day that has a ton of sandwiches, drinks, and other snacks to help you refuel after a long day antiquing.  
So there you go! Another hidden gem of Cincinnati that I highly encourage you to go to.  
Again, sorry none of these pictures are my own, maybe next time I'll remember to snap a few. 

Enjoy the rest of your Monday! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Your Struggles Develop Your Strengths

Hello bloggosphere :) 

A really good friend of mine sent me this quote a while back when I was having a rough day, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

 I have read and re-read this over and over again these past few weeks because I seem to be on the struggle bus when it comes to my weight loss journey. Before Thanksgiving I told myself that I wanted to be under a certain weight before the holidays. I weighed in the week before Thanksgiving, made my goal, and was pumped! Since then though I have not been able to get past this plateau. Every week it's +0.5, - 1.2, +0.6, -0.8, +1, - 0.7 I am just up and down, up and down, circling this same weight and not making any progress. 
I have only lost 2 pounds the last 24 weeks. So since September there has only been a 2 lb difference. 

After expressing my frustration on twitter (lame I know, but whatever...), my amazing friend came to the rescue.

"Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." 

 Everyone needs to chant this to themselves when they think they're failing. I have no plan to give up, I have come a long way, and the goal of my journey is to be healthy.
 It is not a race. 
I know that I need to make changes to knock myself out of this funk, and every week I've been trying a new strategy. (P.S. anyone out there have something that's worked for them when they get stuck?? I'd love to hear about it!) 

So the next time you think you've failed, don't give up! What doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. Make that choice to keep going, and know that because of this setback, your victory will be that much sweeter.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Design for Cheap! Pantone and Jonathan Adler at JCPenney

Exciting news of the day!!!! 
I was browsing on the blog How About Orange (one of my absolute favorites by the way) and they have a post about the Pantone and Jonathan Adler lines at JCPenneys. Both of which I had NO idea even existed! 
Color this girl ecstatic. 

Image from 
How great is this! I absolutely am obsessed with anything Pantone, and being able to get Jonathan Adler at a price that won't wipe out my wallet is making me extremely giddy :) 

bath towels in Hot Pink, pillow in Tangerine Tango, and bed heets in Orchid Bloom from JCP

And HELLOOOO JONATHAN ADLER! A man as adorable as his designs, these super chic pieces will be in my home I guarantee it! Bright patterns, funky shapes, beautiful lines, everything you need for a fantastically pulled together space. 

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Happy Chic bedding by Jonathan Adler 
How absolutely adorable is this bedding!!! If I had a little girl I would buy this for her in a heart beat!  I will be so unbelievably disappointed if this doesn't come to our local JCPenneys. 

So there you go! Fantastic design by two of the best brands out there in your local store at affordable prices! Hope this made your day as much as it made mine :)  

JCPenney did not ask me to say any of this nor is any part of this blog. These are all my opinions and mine only. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Recap: Jungle Jims

Have you guys ever been to Jungle Jims? It is AWESOME!!!! 
Think international grocery store on steroids. You can get food from any part of the world here. Tons of different types of cheese, meats, spices, seafood, fruits, vegetables, anything you can think of. 

Me, Eric, his brother, and his brother's girlfriend all went there this Saturday. We only got a few things but I took a bunch of pictures to share. If you're ever in Cincinnati and looking for something a little different to do I definitely recommend stopping by. 

Wine, wine, and more wine! There were some bottles that were over $500!! 
Cheese shaped like animals. 
Beautiful vegetables in every color 
Coconuts and papayas 

The Cereal Bowl Band! 
Pepino Melons from Equador
Kitchen Market
Live bass in the fish market
Like I said, some seriously cool stuff! We bought some fresh pita bread, Servatti's pretzels, chocolate and raspberry jam, peach salsa, and some wine. Just thinking about it is making me want to stop typing and get some snacks! 

Hopefully everyone else had a great weekend too!