Friday, January 31, 2014

Top 5 Favorite Books

I read a lot of books on deployment..about 20.  That is a lot for me, considering I usually worked 18 hour days, for 10 months straight. fun.  I loved each of these books, all for different reason.  Each taught me a lot about life.  Check them out if you get a chance!

Sea Glass

Art of Racing in the Rain

Lone Survivor


Praying for Strangers

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Recipe: Berry Smoothie

So in terms of all things healthy, I made a new smoothie this week for breakfast. 

I love and I often make a lot of her recipes. 

I found this smoothie recipe, and gave it a shot.  The yogurt has a ton of protein, so it was a bit different than most of the ones I make with protein powder. 

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe?

Happy Blending!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

I didn't have a tough time figuring out who would be my bridesmaids, but I did have trouble keeping the number to a minimum.  I have met so many beautiful women in my life, and I didn't want to leave anyone out. 

I asked my dear friend Liz to be my Matron of Honor.  She is such a kind soul.  I met her through my ex boyfriend.  I like to say "I got her in the divorce".  Ha.  I am so glad I met her in 2007.  She has been my rock, and we always pick up right where we left off, despite living in different cities starting in 2008.

One of my other BFFs, Ellen, is my Maid of Honor.  I met her on a plane to San Diego in the summer of 2001.  Who knew I would pick up chicks on an airplane?  We had a great time that summer training with the Navy, and the rest is history. 

My oldest friend, Tara, is one of my bridesmaids.  We met in Kindergarten, and have always stuck together.  I love spending time with her on the South Side, and reminiscing on the old times!  I can't wait to have her by my side on the big day!  Even if I am not marrying Gibbs.  :)

My other half, Meghan, is another bridesmaid!  I met her in 2009, when my friend Erin introduced us.  I went to high school with Erin, and Meghan and I became instant friends.  We share a love of the South Side, Magners, The Cubs, The Blackhawks..well, anything and everything Chicago.

I asked my ladies to be by my side via these adorable cards I bought on  I am glad that my girls received them last week! I kept getting great phone calls saying "Yesss!"

I would have had my wedding colors in the dresses, but I haven't quite figured that out yet.  I really want to secure a venue, before I make that decision!

How did you ask your ladies to be in your wedding?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Megan's Meatloaf

My mom always used to make this meatloaf growing up.  I made it for Mike when we started dating, and he loved it.  I mean, we as kids loved it, but I didn't know he would think it was the "cat's pajamas".  Hmm:) 

Megan's Meatloaf

  • 1 Envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 2lbs of ground beef
  • 3/4 cup of dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of water
Preheat oven to 350degrees.  Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Place the ground beef mixture into a 13x9 inch baking/roasting pan.

Bake uncovered for about an hour.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

This serves 8, if you don't want seconds.  I say this serves anywhere between 4-6 people. 
Such a great Sunday dinner!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Parmesan Tilapia

I can't say I "made" this, but I did buy a great and healthy dinner last night.  This is another one of my "cheat" dinners.  It only takes about 15 minutes to make!

I bought tilapia and lemon orzo salad at Fresh Market, and paired it with steamed corn.

So amazing!  It is about $7 a serving, but worth it for a nice dinner on a Friday night.  I cut the fish in half, to make a smaller portion, and saved the rest for Sunday!


and then I splurged on this fruit tart!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Will You Be My Flower Girl?

So in terms of updating the world on wedding planning, I will post from time to time things I have done in terms of planning.  Doing long distance planning has been tough.  Not just because of the physical distance, but because most of my ladies are in Chicago.  I have friends all over the country, and I can always pick up the phone and talk with them like we were together the day before.  That is one thing that the Navy has done for me-given me the opportunity to make some amazing friends!

The first thing I have done was make these amazing cards for my flower girls.  I asked three of my nieces to stand up, and I sent these in the mail.

I just sent little cards, made with calligraphy pens, and filled the cards with confetti type flowers and wedding bells.  It cost a few bucks, but I enjoyed making them.  Now onto more projects and ideas!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jacksonville Weekend @ Home

My fiancé came to visit this weekend, and we had an amazing time!  The logistics were hairy because I was at sea, but luckily a friend of mine picked up Mike at the airport while we were entering port.  He then brought Mike to the ship, and we all took off to Seven Bridges Brewery.  I love their food and beer..especially any kind of mac and cheese they make.  Yumm.

The next morning, I took my guy to Mimi's Café for breakfast.  I love their muffins and mimosas.  I mean, who doesn't?  Then I dropped him off at the apartment so I could get a manicure and groceries.  I figured he wouldn't want to endure the "girly" part of the day, so he relaxed at home with Bella.  I may or may not be addicted to gel/no-chip manicures, since my job is a bit unforgiving on the hands.  The nails were almost out of standards with the Navy, so I had to get them trimmed down.  I then made him this for lunch, and we relaxed at home doing some much needed wedding planning.  After the relaxing afternoon planning fest, we went and got dolled up for date night.  I took him to Matthew's, and it was everything I expected and more!  We ordered foie gras, escargot, for appetizers, and I ordered gnocchi for my entrée, he ordered the grouper.  We shared a Mexican chocolate souffle.  I was so impressed by the ambiance, the service, and above all, the food. 

Sunday, we woke up late, and I made this.  I love this recipe, turns out he doesn't like baked oatmeal.  Lesson learned.  I will continue to make it for me, and make an alternative for him.  We then went to lunch at the North Beach Fish Camp.  I had some amazing Fish Tacos.  I can't wait to go back.  The location was great, and the food was even better.  We killed some time walking around, and then hit up the jetty's where we took  Engagement photos.  I can't wait to see how they turned out!  We went home, and I make him his favorite dinner.  I made him meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and steamed green beans.  I will post the meatloaf recipe soon!  We relaxed, and watched We're the Millers.  Hilarious.   

Monday, I had to work in the am:(  Luckily it was a quick pop in, and left to take him to sushi at Bento, and then to the airport. 

I am so happy we had a bit of a staycation this weekend.  We were able to enjoy time together, eat great food, and just have fun! 

Mimis Café.  Yum. 

Rent the Runway.  Dress for Date night!

Blueberry Oatmeal in the making

Oatmeal baby

Cocktails at North Beach Fish Camp

Amazing Fish Tacos!

Beach walk..

Sunday night dinner.  Yum!

The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize?? [Official Music Video]

Love this song.  Best song on this album.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wedding Stuff

Ladies, I am planning my Chicago wedding from far, far away.  I won't be able to fly back as much as I'd like to, because of my work schedule. 

What did you love about your Chicago wedding?  From flowers to photography, please let me know. 

I am compiling what I like, want, must haves, and hates for my wedding planner.  Yes, I said wedding planner.  When you live 900 miles away, and are in the Navy, sometimes you have to bite the bullet.  Figuratively. 

If you have any lady friends who also love this wedding planning stuff, please have them comment on this post!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lone Survivor

I went to go see this movie last Saturday.  One word.  Amazing.

Many people might not know the back story to the movie, but it is outlined in the book, Lone Survivor. 

I read the book in the summer of 2010.  My chaplain at work told me about it, and I decided to give it a read.  That chaplain was the man who had to notify one of the families of the death of their son due to this operation.  I couldn't put the book down.  I was reading on the 22 Clark Street Bus in Chicago, and started to cry.  Yep, cried on the bus.  But I wasn't embarrassed.  People can look at me like I am a crazy person.  Its cool.  I then gave the book to family members to read, and I haven't seen it back.  This is one story, that if I could buy copies of this book, and just distribute it to the masses, I would. 

After I finished the book, the chaplain called me into his office.  He asked me if I had time, and I did.  He then told me about that day, from his perspective.  He had the video of the memorial, which he put together for the families of the fallen.  He asked me if I would like to see the video.  I watched the video that day, and cried.  A lot.  With the chaplain.

Yesterday, when my friends and I went to the movie, I had one piece of advice-bring Kleenex.  I didn't loose it until the end, and then the waterworks kept going.  It wasn't just me.  It was the entire theater.  Who just sat there.  Cried, and then the applause was deafening at the end.  There was silence as everyone left the theater.  Grown men dabbing their eyes with Kleenex. 

If you get a chance, and can, please read the book and or go see the movie.  I won' t ruin the whole story for those who haven't had a chance to learn the story of Michael Murphy, Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz, and Marcus Luttrell.  But if you see the movie.  Watch it carefully.  I noticed one thing, that made my heart happy in the end.  If you have seen it, and wonder what I am talking about, email me!!

Have you seen this movie or read this book?  Let me know what you think..

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Crockpot Mushroom Barley Soup

I made this recipe during the "polar vortex" that was last week.  Turned out that the day I made it, it was 70 in Florida.  Don't hate.  It was 24 the next day!

I love my crockpot, and wanted to make a soup, and viola, I found this recipe.  Super easy, and amazing.


  • 1/2 pound White Button Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 pound Baby Bella Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Method:
    • Combine all ingredients in slow cooker
    • Set on low for 6-8 hours
    • Once finished, taste for seasoning

    Friday, January 10, 2014

    More Rent the Runway!!!

    So as you may know, I have a newfound love for RTR.  Seriously.  What an amazing site.  Dresses, and more dresses.  I rented this dress for a wedding, and it was great!  I am not used to sleeves like this, but it was extremely comfortable.  I can't wait to use my Pro Plan this year to its fullest!!!

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

    Taking a Step...

    I have had an interesting week.  A long one at that.  Sick fiancé, sick dog, work has been stressful, etc.

    Out of the blue, I received a phone call from the past.  I was worried, because it felt like ex boyfriend day.  I was congratulated by one on my engagement (odd), and then, in the same day, another ex called.  All of this odd because these are relationships from over 10 years ago.  (Now I sound old). But I digress.

    Well..ex numero dos called, and I was shocked.  I literally did not know what to say.  He apologized to me.  For all of his shortcomings in our relationship.  We broke up because he hid one thing really well.  He was an alcoholic.  In college, it was tough to see this, and when I realized he had such an issue, I begged him to get help.  I supported him.  I rallied behind him.  But he did not think he had a problem.  All in all, we broke up after I was commissioned as an Officer.  We kept in touch for about 5 years, but I haven't talked to him in 5 years.  When I did reconnect with him, I was trying to be his friend, and continued to try to get him help.  He refused. 

    Fast forward to the phone call.  He called to tell me that he appreciated everything I did to push him in the right direction.  The genuine concern I had for him.  He said "I could have killed myself or someone else.  I finally got help 9 months ago when I hit rock bottom.  I haven't drank since".  I was in shock.  I didn't know what to say.  He proceeded to go on.  "I know it is selfish of me to apologize, and even think that you might accept this apology, but I have to do this."

    What a lot of people might not know, that this is one of the steps of AA.  I am happy for him.  Truly.  He is on the right path in life.  He has gotten help, and will continue to thrive on the right course. 

    Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    Was it selfish of him to call.  Maybe considered that way to some folks.  Do I care?  No.  I am just glad he is ok.  The Lord works in mysterious ways..


    Today has been a helluva day.  Between my dog breaking her collar and almost running away, to her then proceeding to throw up six times this morning, to work being just plain awful...I am just "done" with today.

    One of my friends posted this on my FB page this morning.  It brought a smile to my face. 

    Makes me realize that no matter how bad your day can suck, there are always people to bring you up when you are down.  Some of those people are family, some are friends, some are strangers...and above all, God.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    Turtle Bars

    So as promised, I am sharing the one recipe that I made over the holidays.  I had the busiest December, and didn't even think of baking until the 22nd.  Ugh.  So NOT Megan. 

    I found this recipe online, and gave it a try.  I made three batches, and they are pure heaven.  I tried them on Chicago's finest, and they were impressed:)

    Happy baking!

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

    Friday, January 3, 2014

    Cleaning Out the Closet Sale!!

    Hello ladies!  I am in desparate need to clean out my closet.  New Year, new me?!

    Anywho, I have listed some items on Ebay for sale.  Mostly cute date night/work clothes. 

    My Ebay handle is

    Happy Shopping!!

    Chicago Christmas!!

    This is the final post..ok, not final, I have a recipe post from the trip!

    The 22nd, I went over to my future-in-laws house to bake holiday treats.  I wanted to spend quality time with them while my guy was at work.  I made the best dessert.  Recipe to come!
    We talked, drank some wine, and went to dinner.  It was a great day! 

    The 23rd, we met with a wedding planner to get some ideas rolling.  Then I met with one of my bffs, and we headed to the South Side for a friend get together.  All of the girls from high school gathered, ate Mexican food, had a blast with the littles!!

    The 24th, my friend's momma gave me a ride back up North, and we made many pit stops along the way.  The first one was to our fav bakery, Wolfs!  If you are ever near Evergreen Park, IL or Beverly, you have to stop there!!!  My guy and I made stops that day to his Aunt and Uncles house, and then to my middle brothers house.  We had so much fun visiting with family, eating, and playing with my nieces!

    The 25th, we had breakfast, and then went to his parents house.  His mom made such a great Polish feast.  I was so spoiled that day!!

    Magners with Meghan!

    Middle Brother and I on Christmas Eve!

    Me and my guy!


    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    Happy New Year!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!
    I am looking forward to what 2014 has in store.