goals + recipes for the week of 2/22

Hi there, friends! What did you think of the Oscars? I really need to get out to the movies more because out of all the Oscar nominees for Best Film, I had only seen one. I really want to see Boyhood, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Birdman!

We went over to my Aunt Annie and Uncle Arn’s house to watch the Oscars and eat a delicious homemade pasta dinner. I need to get the recipe for my Uncle Arn’s tomato sauce so I can share it with you guys! He is Italian and makes a darn good pasta sauce.

I’ve been missing Celine a lot today. Trying to be gentle with myself. The grief ebbs and flows. I was talking with my brother earlier, trying to analyze my feelings — how maybe it’s starting to feel real that she’s truly gone; maybe I’m coming out of my denial of her death; maybe my sadness felt overwhelming because of all the beautiful gowns at the Oscars, my dear Celine who loved fashion so much.

me and celine

Greg just listened, and then he said, “Or maybe you’re just missing your friend.”

Yeah. I think that’s it. I’m just missing my friend. A lot.

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last week:
– send out queries to agents
– compile tutoring worksheets through end of Feb.
– finish editing manuscript for a friend
begin process to renew passport
connect with two friends
finish reading A Few Thousand Words about Love

few thousand words about love

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write 10 pages
– finish editing manuscript for a friend
– mail in passport application
– connect with two friends
– finish reading The Autograph Man

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
southwestern kale power salad via Cookie + Kate
white chickpea chili via Two Peas and Their Pod
flourless almond butter chocolate chip cookies via Two Peas and Their Pod
easy chocolate raspberry energy bites via PB Fingers
banana cake with cinnamon glaze via The Pajama Chef
– my own strawberry coconut chocolate-chip cookies

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Winter
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

a year of Wooden: week 15

Hi, everyone! Monday means it’s time for this week’s year of Wooden challenge!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day.

This metaphorical shelter includes family, friends, good work, faith — but, since we will focus on these elements in other months, right now we are focusing on the financial interpretation.

Last week, the challenge was to keep track of where you spend your money — even small amounts. Not counting staple items like groceries and drugstore purchases, I tend to spend my discretionary money at Starbucks, bookstores, the movie theater, and going out to lunch at places like Panera.

This week, the challenge is to take just ONE of your weekly discretionary purchases and drop the money into your spare-change jar instead. For example, maybe I’ll swap one of my Starbucks chai lattes for a mug of home-brewed green tea on my own back porch. Or instead of meeting up with a friend for lunch at a restaurant, maybe we can meet up for something free like a walk outside in this beautiful weather.

Having a savings safety net is so important, and these little actions can really add up! I’m inspired by these words from Coach Wooden:

john wooden quote

Questions of the day:

  • Where do you tend to spend your discretionary money?
  • What small change are you going to make this week to drop a little extra money into your spare change jar?
  • Have you ever had the experience of not taking the time to do something right the first time, and having to go back and do it over?

goals for the week of 1/19

Happy Sunday! My weekend has been filled with good things: family time, yoga, meditation, fuji apple chicken salad + acai iced tea at Panera, a phone date with Erica, lots of reading, and a moving sermon at church this morning about social justice. Last night I saw the new movie “Her” with two friends, and on Friday I saw “Saving Mr. Banks” with my aunt. I’d highly recommend both movies!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
write 10 pages
go to two yoga classes
take Charley in to dealership to be serviced
– complete three chapters of copyediting project {only did two!}
finish reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander in time for book discussion group at church
connect with two friends

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write 10 pages
– go to two yoga classes
– complete two chapters of copyediting project
– finish reading all of the old Narrative Stories of the Week in my email inbox
– connect with two friends

Questions of the morning:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What have been your highlights of this weekend?

fabulous friday #5

It’s the last friday of 2013, and it’s been far too long since I’ve done a “fabulous friday” post. So here you go…

… 5 things I’m loving right now

1. Getting to spend time with my sweet family. My poor brother is sick and hasn’t had much energy, so I rented a bunch of movies and we’ve been spending lots of time laughing and talking on the couch.

movies rented

I spy a Mr. Mur-dog sleeping on the couch!

2. Speaking of laughter, I can’t get enough of the Michael Bolton Honda commercials that have been playing this holiday season! Every time one comes on I start busting up. This one might be my favorite. They always remind me of the SNL digital short that Michael Bolton did with The Lonely Island … hilarious!

3. For Christmas, Erica got me this amazingly delicious tea from Flying Bird Botanicals called “Bluebird Morning”… it’s caffeine-free but really gives me a boost of energy in the morning. I can’t get enough!

bluebird tea

4. I also can’t get enough of these dark chocolate oranges from Trader Joe’s. The little chocolate orange slices are so cute, I can never eat just one!

dark chocolate orange

5. One of my favorite bloggers, Nicole Antoinette at A Life Less Bullsh*t, put together a wonderfully motivating and helpful guide to de-cluttering your life as you head into the new year. You can download the guide and worksheets for free on her blog, because she’s just that awesome. Something I really love about Nicole is that she always gives clear, actionable steps that you can take to make a difference starting now. In her de-cluttering guide, she breaks it down into four categories: physical space, mental space, digital space and emotional space. I’ve never felt more energized to clear out the clutter in my life and set a game plan for my goals in the new year!

Questions for the evening:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

 

saturday upsides: my favorite romantic movies

saturdayupsidesbutton

Happy weekend, everyone! Time for another edition of Saturday Upsides — today, in honor of Valentine’s Week, I’m excited to share with you some of my all-time favorite romantic movies. I came across an article on Cracked.com yesterday about how the weather influences people’s preferences when it comes to movies: when people are warm they generally prefer action movies; when they are cold they generally prefer romantic movies. Makes sense to me!

valentines week

Valentine’s Day + cold winter weather = the perfect time to curl up under a blanket and watch a good romance!

Here are a few of my top picks:

Serendipity

Serendipity

This is probably my favorite “chick flick” of all time! It came out when I was in high school and I think I saw it three times in the movie theaters alone. My friend Micaela and I were obsessed! I love the idea of serendipity {a fortunate accident} and love that is “meant to be.” This movie twists and turns and keeps you guessing until the end. I love the characters, the music, the settings, the dialogue. There’s also a lot of humor in the movie — Eugene Levy’s character is hilarious!

When Harry Met Sally

when-harry-met-sally-poster

This movie just makes me feel so happy and warm inside. You know those movies that make you feel like everything is right with the world? When Harry Met Sally is at the top of my list. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are fantastic together, and the dialogue and storyline are Nora Ephron at her best. One of my favorite things about this movie is the intersplicing of “real life” older couples sharing how they met. Best love quote of the movie: “At that moment, I knew. I knew the way you know about a good melon.”

You’ve Got Mail

you've got mail

Another Meg Ryan classic … I can’t even count the number of times I’ve watched this movie with my friend Holly. It’s just so sweet and wonderful! Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are superb together. I love the music in this movie; I love the book/reading theme; I love the backdrop of NYC. This movie is actually a remake of a Jimmy Stewart class, The Shop Around The Corner, which I have watched many times with my Gramps and would also highly recommend! The ending of both movies always gives me a grateful, goofy, teary smile–one of the best kinds of smile, in my opinion.

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!

Win_A_Date_With_Tad_Hamilton

This is such a fun movie! I remember it came out when I was in high school, and I had a bad day at school and my sweet dad and brother took me to see this movie in the the theaters. {My mom was at work.} How lucky am I, right? Best dad and brother ever! I loved every minute of this movie that first viewing, and I love it still. This is the perfect rainy-day movie, sleepover movie, lazy Sunday movie when you just want to watch something funny and sweet. Which guy should she choose: the famous celebrity or her small-town best friend? {Okay, you might already be able to guess who she chooses, but getting there is the good part!} 🙂

The Notebook

the notebook

There’s something about the love story in The Notebook that really sweeps me away. The kiss scene in the rain is amazing!!

And of course, the perfect movie to celebrate Valentine’s Day would have to be …

Valentine’s Day!

valentines-day

It doesn’t get much more love-packed than this! While I don’t think this movie is quite as good as its Christmas-themed inspiration Love Actually, I still really enjoy the multitude of interweaving storylines, star-studded cast, and of course the day all the action revolves around: Valentine’s Day! This movie explores many different types of love in many different relationships. Plus, my girl Taylor Swift is in it! Love her.

What are some of your favorite romantic movies? Please share in the comments section!

Hope your weekend is wonderful,
Dallas

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you might enjoy these other valentine-themed posts:
easy + inexpensive valentine’s day cards
an adorable owl craft project
6 simple sweets to make your sweetie for valentine’s day
budget-friendly valentine’s day ideas
hand-crafted valentine’s day decor

homemade chocolate-covered popcorn

I read in a magazine recently that popcorn contains more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables! Adding to that, one cup of popcorn {the healthy, air-popped variety, that is} has less than 50 calories! Hello, my new favorite snack. I also love popcorn because it is so versatile – you can add seasonings to make it salty, cheesy, spicy, or sweet.

Or … kick it up a step further and add some chocolate to the mix! {I know, I know, this definitely crashes-and-burns the whole “under 50 calories” thing … but the way I see it, chocolate-covered popcorn is pretty healthy on the dessert scale!} I made mine with dark chocolate to take advantage of even more antioxidant power.

chocolate popcorn

Before making this dish, I had never even attempted to melt chocolate before. I do not have a double-broiler so I just used my microwave. I was worried it would be difficult or time-consuming, but it was incredibly easy. I am already looking forward to livening up my next movie night in with Mike by whipping up another batch of this addicting treat!

homemade chocolate-covered popcorn

– 1 package popcorn of choice {I like to use a healthy, whole-grain version with no added butter or salt}
– 1/2 cup chocolate chips
– 2 tsp butter
– salt, cinnamon, or other spices to taste

1. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Dump into a big bowl and pick out any unpopped kernels. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon.

2. Melt chocolate and butter over a double-burner or in a microwave-safe bowl. {Melting times vary based on the power of your microwave, but I’d recommend using a series of shorter time increments and stirring more often so as not to burn the chocolate by cooking too long!}

3. Pour melted chocolate onto the popcorn.

popcorn

4. Using a spoon {or your hands!} mix popcorn and chocolate together, breaking apart any large clumps of chocolate, until the popcorn is evenly coated.

chocolate covered popcorn

5. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.

I gifted a batch of this popcorn to a coworker using a homemade “upcycled” gift container. I’ll share more about making homemade gift containers in my post tomorrow, so stay tuned! 🙂

upcycled gift containers

Have a wonderful day!

Till soon,
Dallas